Category Archives: Repost

What You Don’t Know Can Still Hurt You (Repost)

I’m reposting my first comic for Crossed Genres magazine’s initiative to raise money for the Haiti earthquake relief effort – Post a Story for Haiti. There are many more stories at the link. Go read them, and please click on the links and donate.

what-you-dont-know1

Image credits:
PDClipart.org
OpenClipart.org

Images used under a Creative Commons license:
y mírate y mírate…
Arthur10242-2
Untitled

Lettering font by Blambot.com

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Writer and Companion

Outside, there were fireworks going on. Inside, little stirred.

Outside, everything was noise. Inside, it was silent.

And she didn’t like the silence. She was sitting at her desk, and she was supposed to be typing furiously right now, but there was nothing to write about.

He sat behind her, on the sofa, reading. It was dark, and she had told him many times not to read in the dark, but she hadn’t the strength to tell him again now.

“What should I write about?” she asked.

He sat up and looked over his book at her. She had never asked him this. “Dunno. Something about … dunno. Or maybe you should … dunno, really.”

“You’re no good.”

“Hey! You’re the writer.”

“Just because you’re not one doesn’t mean you can’t have ideas.”

“Why should I let you steal my idea if I have one?”

“Hmm,” she said. “Let’s keep arguing. Might get an idea from that.”

“What’s it about, anyway? … What is it?”

“It’s supposed to be a hard-hitting article about shoes.”

“You don’t know shoes. Why’d you take it?”

“Sarcasm, love. It’s called sarcasm.”

“What’s sarcasm got to do with shoes?”

She started to explain, but then stopped and sighed. Then she heard him chuckling. She turned and threw one of her pens at him. It missed.

“Trajectory, dear. Paper-weights have better trajectories.”

“They’re also better at splitting heads.”

He looked at her for a few seconds, then turned back to his book.

“Maggots,” she said.

Memento vs. The Prestige

I keep telling my friends the reason I like The Prestige more than Memento. I have become tired of doing so (because so many believe I have no right to have this preference), and I will note it down here once and for all.

Memento is, in essence, a technique. It has plot (a fairly hackneyed one – but that seems intentional because it is heavily based in genre), and it has style, but it lacks thematic content. The straightforward (though backwards) chronology also works against true complexity. You get its point in first watch, and repeated viewings are essentially a geek’s exercise in spotting clues – it might be fun, but that’s all it is.

The Prestige has an advantage over it – a proper, complete story. Now this might require explanation: Experimental techniques in a medium tend to stand on their own in their first appearance. The pioneer has generally concentrated on the technique, and everything in the work apart from the technique tends to fade into the background. In that first instance. What is then done (by the pioneer or by another artist) is to apply the technique to a new work – this time, you will have content as well as style, not just the latter.

Memento has plot details, but little in the way of story. The characters (one of whom is a tabula rasa around whom the others interact) are drawn in broad strokes, with the final plot twist not actually having to add to the character anyway.

Memento was the technique (as was Following), and The Prestige was the later work. Nolan had a story – replete with plot, theme, characterization. He used his technique to bring out the correlations in the story, the thematic details that needed to be set beside each other, the twists that the plot needed placed at intervals irrespective of their place in a linear chronology, and the way the director had to keep track of the characters, so they made sense in both chronologies (the linear one and the one shown).

And that’s why I like The Prestige better. It isn’t just a series of events organised around a money shot, it’s a good watch too, and more complete.

Note: Previously posted in my tumblelog. This is for archival purposes.