#BQ The Yellow Wallpaper by Casey Carlisle

The next of the top 5 quotes from the most memorable novels read has to include the short story ‘The Yellow Wallpaper‘ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. A narration on mental illness, post-partum depression, and being trapped in a archaic marriage, unable to play the role of a dutiful housewife. It was the first time I’d read anything so heavily steeped in symbolism. It was required reading for my first year of university and seemed to open my eyes in regards to feminism, equality, and gender roles.

Are there any books that opened your eyes to views on society?

Film vs Novel – The Body Snatchers

The alien threat that started a sci-fi movement…

The Body Snatchers Film vs Novel Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

The Body Snatchers’ has stood the test of time, from being written in 1955, it still managed to draw me in with its creepiness. And as evident, has inspired many screen adaptations, tapping into the audiences paranoia and wonder at the unknown.

The Body Snatchers Film vs Novel Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGiven the different era where the novel takes place, I found I was noticing how many of the characters smoke, and how our protagonist, Miles Bennell was the hero for the love interest Becky Driscoll. While Becky did have moments of her own heroism, she was still, at most times a silent companion and willingly followed Miles’ instructions. Much of that machismo is slowly deconstructed through its various incarnations, with a female lead in over half of the adaptations.

I loved the scientific explanations and long expository paragraphs of the state of affairs in the original manuscript – they reminded me of recordings of radio broadcasts of the 1950’s I listened to as a child in my grandparents lounge room. I could hear the accents and intonation where they sounded ‘proper’ and knowledgeable. It added an old-timey ambience to the story. A respectful gentleness that is absent from much of today’s new fiction. This esteem of knowing gets lost in many of the screen adaptations, apart from the earliest version. The later versions become more sensationalised and heavy on special effects, losing some of the core tension of the original story. Though the latest Nicole Kidman version does try to make a return. Labels as a bit of a box office flop, it was one of my favourite released of that year.

There is a strong sense of the paranoia of the time (in the 1950’s) of the novel, when the country was at war against communism, ‘The Body Snatches,’ taps into that fear to build a scenario where the people you know and love are not what they seem, where your home has suddenly found itself in the grips of an invasion. I’m greatful to say that this theme carries through all incarnations, whether it be sci-fi, horror, or suspense.

While this novel isn’t particularly scary, or alarming, it does possess an aura of the unsettling. An unassuming tension which resonates with the reader long after the book has been returned to the shelf. And I really wish that embodiment had translated to the screen – I think the closest it came was with the tv series ‘Invasion’ starring Eddie Cibrian. I’d discovered this series after it had been cancelled and loved their take on the franchise. Sad to have it canned after just one season.

I have seen all the movie and television adaptations, being the big sci-fi geek girl I am. ‘The Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ is one of my cult faves. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to read the original script that kicked off this movement. I guess I was scared I’d be underwhelmed. But thankfully not. I really enjoyed this origin that has spurned so many re-inventions. Though, I must say none of those actually mirrored the story completely, and all had different twists and endings. So, while you will already know the premise of the story, there is still an element of surprise with this debut.

For lovers of the classics, old fashioned values, cult followers, and anyone in between, I highly recommend you give the novel a go. Just to see what happens. It has stood the test of time for a reason. Some of the screen adaptations – well, let’s just say they tried. And for the time in which they were released, pretty good. But now I have to try and stop laughing in some, as the over acting and special effects just about do me in. But it’s all in good fun!

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – A Maze of Death by Philip K. Dick

Dark, mysterious and loaded with insensitive protagonists… and very aggravating.

A Maze of Death Book Review by Casey CarlisleGenre: Science Fiction, Mystery

No. of pages: 192

From Goodreads:

When fourteen people arrive to colonize the otherwise uninhabited planet of Delmak-O, they quickly discover that their bizarre new world is more dangerous – and much, much stranger – than they could ever have imagined. The colonists have nothing in common and no idea why they’ve been sent there. All they know is that there’s no way to leave and, one by one, they are being killed..

Page border by Casey Carlisle

I’d been longing for science fiction title for a while, having reviewed so many YA paranormal and contemporaries lately, I was itching for a change. So I picked up ‘A Maze of Death’ because it looked promising and reminded me of the types of books I liked to read in high school (yes I was having a melancholic moment) And well… what can I say?

Firstly, I put this book down a few times, because the narrative is oddly formal, making it feel jarring. With long stretches of dialogue, followed by a simple description of action … it was more like reading a screen play. The dialogue also ran on in a continual stream in some parts, without formatting, so it was difficult to determine who was talking at times. So you can see why I put it down and walked away for a rest.

Additionally, for such a science driven writing style, the narrative felt immature – like absolutely everything had to be explained. Distracting. And with that said, the content was very technical, but the way the characters addressed each other, was like they were talking to a child… the whole novel felt out of wack!

On the plus side, ‘A Maze of Death’ has a dry wit, reminding me of a very unfunny grandpa.

Through the first part of this novel, I had a hard time working out what was going on with the characters – they are all snarky and not very relatable.

There is a point to all this whinging… it was written that way on purpose. I’d explain, but you know – spoilers!

Yes this book is extremely grating and frustrating to read. But has a great twist that leaves you floored.

A Maze of Death Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThe planet, Delmak-O where most of the novel is set is a puzzle, and the beginning had me intrigued. Weird things that didn’t make sense. A murder. So many questions I wanted answers for… I was so, so curious.

And you know what curiosity did right?

Well, it slayed me.

I would’ve loved to have experienced better world building, and a more articulate flow of dialogue (also formatting). The conclusion is completely unexpected. Some readers loved it, some loathed it! For me – it felt a little like a cop out and left me wondering why I’d wasted my time with the book. But ultimately it’s a great novel to get you critically thinking. And possibly re-read with this new knowledge.

I appreciate it for what it is, but it’s ultimately not the kind of enjoyable reading experience for me.

Overall feeling: Did that really just happen?

 A Maze of Death Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

A Maze of Death Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.