Today on Book Riot:
My coworker Claire quoted me in this opinion article on bookish pet peeves.
I posted “The Apotheosis of Paul Atreides” on my Medium, a follow-up to my first essay on Dune.
CN: sex; images of violence; spoilers
I recently blogged about an odd musical coincidence: an eerie similarity between the music in the personality test scene in The Parallax View and a current Kia commercial. Really. It’s one of my weirdest ideas. Thank you for reading it! I just re-watched The Parallax View legally and free on Pluto TV. I don’t have Paramount +.
This scene is sometimes inaccurately called a “brainwashing” scene, but it’s the last phase of Joe’s job interview to become an assassin. In the movie clip, the empty seats are shown for a second. When occupied, they’re where the commission sits in the first and last scenes to say there’s no evidence of conspiracy. Hmm.
In the movie clip linked in my essay, the music starts at almost 1:00, the humming by 1:35. After Joe exits the testing room, the score is an instrumental, tense version of the melody the singer was humming in the test. The score was composed by Michael Small.
This musical era would often use dissonant, plucked guitar strings to sound psychedelic and distorted. Jimi Hendrix’s work is another great example. So is the Beatles song “A Day in the Life.”
Similarly, some of the images re-used later in the test are reversed. This doesn’t surprise us in 2023 but may have been shocking in 1974.
I said, “the images are presented in a more disturbing, Freudian context.” Freudian ideas, such as the Oedipus complex, were more influential in 1970s pop culture than today. The juxtaposition of unrelated photos–adults undressing before sex, a boy smiling at his mother, and then a woman screaming–imply the Oedipus complex. The test gauges Joe’s reaction to these images in context.
Yes, I know the song from the 2022 Kia ad is probably imitating that Bon Iver style of nature folk. But both pieces of music sound eerily similar to me and as if they’re trying to lull listeners. That’s why I find them cloyingly manipulative.
I first posted on my Medium blog about the series A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas in December 2020. I finally wrote a follow-up on ACOTAR and ideas I didn’t explore in my original essay.
When I wrote about fantasy maps on BR a couple of years ago, I didn’t know that Hibernia was an ancient Latin name for Ireland. However, just the shape and relative positions of the countries Prythian and Hybern on ACoTaR’s map should have tipped me off and reminded me of England and Ireland. Now that I know, I think this is careless fantasy world-building.
I also mention The Perilous Gard, a major influence on my reading and writing since childhood, and what I noticed when rereading it around Halloween 2022.
I like Season 2 of Shadow and Bone on Netflix. I didn’t like the plot changes to S1, but they fixed some of my issues in S2. It’s starting to gel together (mostly) into the plots and relationships I enjoyed in the books. I was glad to see Wylan, Nikolai, Genya, David, and more in this season, plus more of Kaz and the Darkling’s backstories! I’m glad there will be a Six of Crows spinoff, although a lot of the plot of that duology is in the Shadow and Bone show anyway.
It was kind of strange seeing Dean Lennox Kelly as Pekka Rollins soon after I saw him as Shakespeare in “The Shakespeare Code” (a 2006 Doctor Who episode). I wrote about “The Shakespeare Code” and more on Doctor Who on my Medium.
I liked Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse books and the show. However, I don’t want to read her book Ninth House or its sequel, Hell Bent. In 2022, Meredith Mooring, an author with albinism, criticized the Hell Bent cover, which shows a rabbit with albinism. Dan Brown’s older book The Da Vinci Code also uses albinism in an ableist way to seem creepy. I write about the intersection of ableism and the idea of the uncanny a lot.