- Paperback: 212 pages
- Publisher: McFarland (December 23, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786445629
- ISBN-13: 978-0786445622
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,024,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Millennial Mythmaking: Essays on the Power of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, Films and Games
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
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About the Author
John Perlich is a professor of communication studies at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska.
David Whitt is an associate professor of communication at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Top customer reviews
I personally enjoyed Djoymi Baker's essay on how mass media actors carry ghosts of their prior roles over into the new ones they play. For instance, George Takei brings the gravitas of Sulu to his supporting role on Heroes, and as such represents an intellectual shorthand for everything the actor's prior CV represents. And Dee Geortz and John Perlich do an excellent job adding female aspects to Campell's extremely male mythic archetype.
But reading this book as opposed to the prior, I saw something I overlooked before: these mythic forms are all proprietary. Unlike Greek heroes or religious innovators, no one can expand these myths. No one but Miyazaki can use the mythic implications in Spirited Away, for instance. Thus I wonder if these "myths" really serve the same role as the oral tales of Homer and Hesiod. Perhaps that will come up in the next volume (the editors mention a "trilogy").
Nevertheless, I think this book does a good job expanding the themes of the prior, and showing how we bring the ancient mythic forms into a modern setting. Be warned, these scholarly essays aren't meant for bedtime reading; they're dense with information and written in the difficult manner favored by academics. But for readers willing to invest themselves in this level of complexity, these essays offer copious rewards for intense reading.
A positive thing about Millennial Mythmaking is that it does not limit itself to English-language texts. While it is much less broad than it could be, it does go far enough to include some Japanese, Spanish, and French works. It focuses more on films than anything else, which can be a little disappointing for literature buffs, but it didn't detract too much from my overall impression of the book. So, for anyone interested in modern comparative mythology or the analysis of sci-fi/fantasy, this is a decent read.
Disclaimer: I received my copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
I've always liked the Oz stories, and have read a few of the books, besides seeing the original movie and Return to Oz, which is a closer rendition of the written stories. But after reading the essay focusing on the Wicked Witch, as portrayed in the book and show "Wicked," I do feel I will stick with the original. Although the writers seemed to appreciate this deviation from the source material, I could tell I wouldn't like it. So this book at least kept me away from something I had been considering as a future read.
The next essay focused in on The Planet of the Apes. I'm an apes fan, and have been for many a decade. This essay was interesting and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it.
Following that we get some in-depth detail on Spirited Away. This was worthwhile reading, as I'm also a fan of Miyazaki. Based on the Potter, Apes, and Spirited Away essays, this volume was worth it; not to mention the fact that I can gladly skip reading Wicked.
The Triplets of Belleville was a film completely unfamiliar to me, but the essay on it was interesting enough that I may have to catch it sometime. The article on Pan's Labyrinth was fascinating. It's one of those movies on my "must" list, and it moved up the chart after reading about it.
While the article on actors and their mythic heroes was entertaining at times, and infused some nice humor, I found myself let down with the portions on William Shatner. I don't really know what I was expecting, but I couldn't read it fast enough to get past it. On the other hand, this did make me interested in Doctor Who, which I've never viewed.
The last two essays, on Second Life and Ghost in the Shell, didn't mean much to me. I have experienced neither, and have no desire to. This helped confirm it. But for those who do love virtual reality in Second Life and fans of GITS, I'm sure they would appreciate these articles.
A book such as this will rarely have complete appeal for readers, as many of us haven't experienced all this contains. However, on the whole, this was a worthwhile reading experience and I look forward to reading more of these types of works that McFarland produces.