The Ruffled Crow

Animation, Art, and Other Shiny Things

Category Archives: Books

Birth of a Book

h/t Laughing Squid

I work in a library and have had a love affair with books since I was very young. While it’s nice to be able to carry an entire bookshelf full of books on a slim little tablet computer or your phone, there is still nothing that compares to holding an actual book in my opinion.

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GOLEM

I read a lot of Stanislaw Lem as a kid. The thing I liked most about Mr Lem’s tales was that he made me try and think like an alien. A real one.

There’s a billion and one aliens in science fiction’s archives; we’ve conquered them, they’ve elevated us, all the while with common purpose and/or intersecting interests. Stands to reason – no story without it.

His stories, on the other hand, often explored the communications between sometimes extremely divergent points of view and few, if any, common points of reference. More of what I assumed ‘first contact’ would really be like.

Film by Patrick Mccue & Tobias Wiesner. Voice  Cyrena Dunbar

The movie is based on the short story “GOLEM XIV” of “Imaginary Magnitude” by Stanislaw Lem from 1973.
The book is written from the perspective of a military A.I. computer who obtains consciousness, moving towards personal technological singularity with growing intelligence.
It starts to refuse military support because it detects a basic lacking of internal logical consistency of war.
GOLEM gives several lectures with focus on mankind’s position in the process of evolution and the possible biological and intellectual future of humanity before it ceases communication.

Havana Heat

This Is Where We Live

B is for Bradbury

Ray Bradbury died the other day, on the sixth of June. I suppose, if one had to be blamed for the existence of this blog, it would be him. For two and a quarter dial-up BBSs and a couple of EZ-Boards too.

I’ve read Mr Bradbury’s books since I was very young and along with Asimov and Clarke, he helped define my daydreams. Mr Bradbury on his own, however, defined how I wanted to tell them.

I’m not sure I had much of a choice about writing; there has always been too many things flying about in my head and many things around me just add more flutterings. If I didn’t write, get things out of my head, I imagine I would drown in the noise. I’m better at quieting and diverting the cacophony these days, but it’s always there.

Anyways, when I started writing, the standard pre-teen and teen angst my peers poured onto their paper seemed like beating long dead horses and no one noticed they were all whipping the same one. Not to say that I wasn’t suffering from many of the same upheavals in biochemistry, but I felt that if you were going to examine the shreds of your pathos in writing then it should be more than a stenographic scream.

So I tried to describe the sinuous beauty of the monsters in my closet and explore the worlds behind their eyes like I thought Mr Bradbury would. Perhaps I hoped for some dawning self-awareness like Douglas Spaulding.

Increasingly I also wrote humor and satire and science fiction and tried to re-arrange words so they had the same sense of wonder Mr Bradbury’s had, the same wide-eyed curiosity and recognition of the macabre, the same ability to smell the approaching rain.

I think I have always understood the power of words, and too often it seems that rather than being the synergistic effect between well-wrought prose and considered introspection it is the bludgeon of the dogmatic or clueless. A verbal savagery that has no respect for the idea or the wielded words. My parents taught me to respect ideas and thought, Mr Bradbury taught me to respect the words that express them.

While written as an admonition to the Grim Reaper, the notation on The Scythe applies to the written word as well: Who Wields Me — Wields the World!

Yes, I’ve published a few things. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people have read my stuff, but you won’t know my name. And that’s fine. I’ve never pursued a writing career and it’s probably for the best – I’m not that good and would’ve starved decades ago. Even worse, writing is an agonizing process for me; there’s always a more appropriate word, a better construction to a sentence, a finer nuance that I struggle to find. Even if I could complete a novel, the editing process would be horrific.

But I still write and I still try to rake the ideas and thoughts and diversions into piles only to watch an autumn wind rustle them away, with me wanting to follow every one to see where it goes.

And occasionally there is a sentence, or perhaps a paragraph that touches that place where Mr Bradbury’s writing resides and shouts at me the reason I keep shaping and reshaping clumps of words. For near forty years and millions of words Ray Bradbury was my measure and I suppose my muse.

As he will continue to be.

The Penguin English Library

Going West – NZ Book Council

All You Need is Love…

…and a Yellow Submarine.

The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine was probably my first exposure to full-length artistic animation. Released in 1968, I was a bit young to realize the full lysergicality of the movie at the time, but it was mind-blowing nonetheless. This was nothing like Saturday morning cartoons, and it beat the hell outta Bambi by an order of magnitude. No, this was animation on a different level entirely.

It is still copied and compared to after 40-plus years and I know I use it as a touchstone when coming across animation of a similar style. Or rather, styles. This flick brought several different animation styles to the screen.

Inspired by the generation’s new trends in art, the film resides with the dazzling Pop Art styles of Andy Warhol, Martin Sharp, Alan Aldridge and Peter Blake. With art direction and production design by Heinz Edelmann, Yellow Submarine is a classic of animated cinema, featuring the creative work of animation directors Robert Balser and Jack Stokes with a team of animators and technical artists.

via

And now, after 44 years, Yellow Submarine has been hand restored and will be released to DVD (and Blu-Ray) on May 29th! (in north america, europe gets it a day earlier)

Currently out of print, the film has been restored in 4K digital resolution for the first time by Paul Rutan Jr. and his team of specialists at Triage Motion Picture Services and Eque Inc. Due to the delicate nature of the hand-drawn original artwork, no automated software was used in the digital clean-up of the film’s restored photochemical elements. This was all done by hand, frame by frame.

And that’s not all:

On April 24, Candlewick Press will release a new, compact hardcover edition of the Yellow Submarine picture book, a read-aloud journey for the whole family. Featuring the lighthearted wit of the film’s script alongside original artwork from the movie that has charmed children and adults through several generations, the beautiful, 40-page book will be sold by retailers everywhere and on the Beatles Store (www.thebeatles.com). An interactive digital version of the book is also available as a free download on Apple’s iBookstore.

via

I don’t know if I’ll invest in the book (though it would make a great birthday present for aunt bee), but I will most definitely be getting the DVD!

Read more about the re-release at thebeatles.com

Metamorphosis – Buck

From the folks at Buck comes this mind-twisting animation:

It is not very often that we have the opportunity to create a graphic equivalent of a drug fueled rant bringing all of our collective skills to bear. And it is almost unfathomable that we could actually do something like this and benefit a good cause.

The Buck team dug deep, channeling our inner gonzo, to direct and produce this homage promoting Good Books, the online bookseller that passes all its profits through to Oxfam.

via

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Such is the power of books.

Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor. … [A]ward winning author/ illustrator William Joyce and Co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a new narrative experience that harkens back to silent films and M-G-M Technicolor musicals.

Rich and warm animation telling a layered and engaging tale.

Nominated for the 2012 Oscar in the Best Animated Short category and the winner of numerous (13 so far) awards. From Moonbot Studios.

[UPDATE: It won!]

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