Here is my story map
One thing that I think that Anti-gone does succeed in is its use of perspective when it comes to the main characters. Even though a lot of the book is not explained, the comic does take care to explain some things in great detail, not only to Spyda and Lynxa, but to us as well. Likewise, there are some scenes in which neither the characters nor the readers understand what is going on. These tools help to place us as readers in the perspective of Spyda and Lynxa, and the two scenes that help to capture this are the ones with the drug dealer and the protests. When the drug dealer is offering the different drugs to the characters, she goes into such excessive detail about the different effects that they will have. While this makes sense narratively, it also is important that the reader can become acquainted with the experience that the two are going to have. This attention to description helps convey an emotional experience through the pages in a way that virtual reality couldn’t achieve. In the protest scene, Lynxa leaves the cinema having no idea that there is a riot brewing outside. She is completely caught off guard, and we share in that experience. When she is thrown off the pier, we feel her sense of helplessness and the chaos that surrounds her. While many things in Anti-gone don’t make sense and put the readers at unease, this connection with the characters helps to ground the book in their experiences
In the web-comic “Contact High”, a society is created that forbids skin to skin contact. While the comic is all about defying this societal expectation, an interesting aspect of the comic is how the society is actually formed. There is only one clue to this formation, but it reveals an awful lot about it. When he is confronted by the guards in the hallway, Ziggurat references a virus: “After all, with that so-called virus out there…” (16). This is the only reference to the virus in the comic, but it seems to be the cause of the shift in society away from skin to skin contact. However, the use of the term “so-called” calls into question the legitimacy of this virus. The domineering authority that we see governing the society in the brief glimpse we have seems to have a somewhat nefarious feeling about it, especially with the comic being told from the point of view of someone rebelling against it. The way that Ziggurat talks about the virus and the suits leads me to believe that the virus was created by the authority in order to establish a new social hierarchy that adheres to their ideal standards of society. This idea of societies being founded on a lie is prevalent in many dystopian worlds and attests to the false reality that people seem to engage in.
In class today, the scene from The Handmaid’s Tale movie with the nuns was briefly discussed, but I wanted to go further into it. At first glance the scene is obviously hard to watch, seeing these people who have forsworn sex to enter religious life being forced to become handmaids because of their genetic luck. We see this forced service with the scene depicting the screening lines too. A woman’s reproductive usefulness becomes more important than any other aspect of their lives, including their own wishes. Not only is this scene representative of the patriarchal oppression that dominates the book, but it also speaks to the perversion of religion. We talked in class about how the new society has essentially censored the bible, but they have also stripped away other aspects of the religion. For example, no longer can women devote themselves to God and God alone; rather they must serve the new society and give up their bodies if they are fertile. It is strange that in a society that has become entirely based around the principles of religion, it appears as if religion no longer holds a true part in it. Rather it is a tool used to serve the leadership and order of society.
At the end of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Sandman: Dream Country, Dream gives a rather fascinating speech on the nature of stories. In talking about the play that Will Shekespear has written for him, he says that the piece will keep the memory of his friends alive in the human world. Even though Queen Titania says that the play does not reflect reality, Dream argues that it does not matter: “Things not need to have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot” (pg 21, 3, 2). The stories that have been passed on through history has in some cases been better preserved than the history itself. This argument that a true reality doesn’t need to be real is extremely interesting and relevant to our study in the class.
In the “Calliope” story of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: Dream Country, the tale of Erasmus Fry stands out as an interesting mini plot of the short comic. When he was 27, Erasmus captured and enslaved Calliope, forcing her to give him divine inspiration for his writings. When he gives her to Madoc in exchange for the bezoar, it appears as though he is trading his continued success for some chance at eternal life. However more than 3 years later, it is revealed to Madoc that Erasmus had actually killed himself via poison. This is important as the bezoar was supposed to have the magical properties of healing sicknesses and curing poison. Therefore Erasmus either didn’t have a chance to use the bezoar or decided not to. When looking for some motive for his suicide, his final lines to Madoc are revealing. He asks Madoc to “persuade some publisher to bring ‘Here Comes a Candle’ back into print” as he “was particularly proud of that one” (pg 7, 3, 2). Later when it is revealed that he killed himself, it is said that the last act that he committed was sending a letter to his publishers asking to bring back that specific story. I believe that the reason that Erasmus committed suicide was because after living a life of success and fame, he could no longer live without the pleasures that he gained from Calliope’s influence. In an attempt to regain this glory, he tried to have one of his previous works republished, effectively revitalizing him, but when he was refused he realized the emptiness that his life had become.
As discussed in class, the machine that Morel creates serves as a kind of immortality for the people on the island. This discussion made me think about the different ways that we as a society portray immortality and the different mediums. We talked about how a person can be immortalized in history through their name alone, but what are the other ways in which a person can be visually immortalized? Art is perhaps the easiest way to achieve this, with Greek and Roman busts serving as some of the earliest representations of ancient figures. We know the early Roman emperors not only through written descriptions of them, but also through the many sculptures that depict them. As we move through history, different methods of representation occur: painting, embroidery, carving. All of these styles can etch a person into history, as our modern audience can still look at their faces. When technology changes, so does the ways in which immortality works. Photo allows real life representation of a snapshot of a person for all time. Video takes this even further, allowing for motion and voice to be shown. As technology has advanced, so too has the possibilities of immortalization. One question that I would pose to the class is: What happens when the representation is distorted/decayed? For instance if The David statue lost one of its limbs. What would happen to its immortality?
Here’s my Tin Woodsman based on the illustrations in the book
When we were working in the group projects today, one of the interesting questions that came up during our discussion was how the story that we chose was going to be able to be translated to virtual reality. The two aspects of the stories that are key to this translation are the world of the reality and the experience of the reality. The world of the reality is most obvious in stories like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Through the Looking Glass. The setting is a huge part of this, as it is how the reality around the user can be shaped and manipulated in order to capture the essence of the text. The experience of the reality is far more difficult to capture. This comes in stories like Axolotl and The Secret Miracle, where the visual nature of the reality is substituted for the feelings that the narrator goes through. This can be more difficult to recreate because you must make the user of the virtual reality experience the same story that the narrator describes in order to be effective.
One of the interesting differences between Through the Looking Glass and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the ways in which the young girls perceive the realities around them. In Alice’s case, there is a lot of attention drawn to the fact that the world she is experiencing is a dream. This is emphasized by the claim by Tweedledee and Tweedledum that Alice is merely a part of the Red King’s dream. Alice is left not knowing throughout the entirety of the book whether she is the dreamer or the dream.
Dorothy, on the other hand, does not perceive Oz as a dream, but rather a world within the same reality as her own. Despite many people interpreting her adventures as a dream, Dorothy very much believes that the world of Oz exists. We can see this by her attempts to get home via crossing the desert. If Dorothy believed that she was in some sort of dream world, then simply crossing the desert would not be the solution to her getting home, affirming that she believes that Oz and Kansas exist in the same reality. This belief is reinforced by the Wizard’s admission that he came from Omaha, a place in the same world as Alice.