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Fictional Worlds: Traditions in Narrative and the Age of Visual Culture, Vols. I-IV (Storytelling on Screen) Paperback – October 7, 2013
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"It is beautiful and most ambitious work. FICTIONAL WORLDS is especially suitable for screenwriting students, and this book's ideas on genre are very good as well. A formidable achievement." — Professor Stephen Mamber, Chair, Cinema and Media Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
Five stars! Well-engineered and easy to follow “Fictional Worlds” was created with moviemakers in mind. It would easily fit into most film curricula and would be useful resources for classic literature and fiction writing courses. This book’s true value lies in its universal appeal: there is truly something of interest to anyone. Intriguingly, Alexander argues that our methods of storytelling are connected to the very heart of human society and culture. As our species navigates its way into a globally integrated era our stories will continue to grow and evolve with us.
- Red City Literary Review
This sober, thoughtful resource speaks to the writers of all backgrounds, while exploring symbolic storytelling, the hero's journey, the elements of a finely crafted tragedy, film noir as a breakout new genre, or the talent of comedy that creates amazing mirth from the foibles of ordinary people. "Drama, tragedy, and the dystopian fictional worlds allow us to examine possible paths that humankind should not take, creating a narrative encyclopedia of missteps, or an extended list of Commandments: the demonstration of the logical consequences of doing what 'Thou Shalt Not.'"
- Midwest Book Review
"Fictional Worlds" offered a wholly original approach to studies of narrative and is noteworthy as well for its cross-cultural, cross-historical, and interdisciplinary scope, along with its rich range of examples and its clear accessible style. - Ellen E. Berry, Professor of English and Critical and Cultural Studies, Director, Institute for the Study of Culture and Society, BGST, author of "Postcommunism and the Body Politic"; co-author of "Transcultural Experiments"
"Groundbreaking... Compelling... A page turner. Wonderfully accessible! One of the most impressive recent books, [it] imaginatively takes on anthropology, cultural history from ancient Greece to the present and storytelling theory from a global perspective... [This book] also succeeds in providing helpful practical suggestions for developing and improving visual narratives.” — Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal
"Alexander’s exploration sheds decisive light on the foundations, characteristics, and possibilities of fictional worlds… Particularly interesting [are] such topics as the “Munchausen Effect”... the “Reverse Pathos” technique…, the “Second Hero’s Journey”… or the murder mystery as “a tragedy in reverse.” — Semiotica: Journal of International Association of Semiotic Studies
"Richly detailed, generous-spirited and inspiring book... filled with many intriguing ideas... Profoundly useful... A dynamic evolutionary approach to narrative from ancient rituals and myths to present. In a global digital age, storytelling offers a “new transcultural algebra” ... In developing this striking thesis, Alexander draws on an astonishing range of authors (including Homer, Euripides, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Joyce), directors (from Eisenstein, Vertov, Kurosawa, and Hitchcock to Lumet, Scorcese, Tarkovsky, Sokurov, and the Coen Brothers), world cinema and American television series.” — The Russian Review
"The scope of this book is enormous. It has a lot to say about theoretical issues concerning fiction and various fictional genres… especially films. Observations about video games make clear that they are hugely interesting philosophically.” — Kendall L. Walton, Professor of Philosophy; author of Marvelous Images: On Values and the Arts, and In Other Shoes: Music, Metaphor, Empathy, Existence
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Fictional Worlds is one of those rare textbooks that are accessible and useful to students who are researching a specific subject and to readers who want to explore a new topic during their free time. It provides readers with many ideas that offer new ways to look at the movies and books that are part of our culture. It's been three months since I read this book, and I am still applying the ideas that I've found in it to the books and movies that I watch. Overall, a very enjoyable and informative read.
Although I enjoyed many, one of my favorite topics was the reliance on patterns, symbols, and signals as a means of surviving and progressing both on individual levels and as a society collectively. I believe people live through associations and the connections they make. We learn by seeing and hearing things, and make our decisions based on that. I think this is a powerful tool. Animals, for example, interact through pattern recognitions, and synchronization. It symbolizes a collective action and cooperation that is essential or continuance of life. Meerkats have a variety of whistles that they communicate to each other when there is a sign of threat. The main goal is survival and they work together in their community to ensure the continuation of life. Each whistle is different and can be distinguished from the other, and each whistle tells a story that helps the meerkat know the right course of action. Like the animals, humans also collaborate and synchronize. We are constantly making associations with things and our memories are triggered in a way that allows us to make certain choices.
These ideas helped me understand many of the stories, films and myths that I thought I was really familiar with, but also the book introduced many that I have never heard of before, further expanding my knowledge. It was genuinely a pleasure reading this book, and i hope that others will have a chance to read it and make their own personal connections to it.
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First things first, anyone interest in purchasing this book should know that is a...Read more