lunedì 29 agosto 2011

The Citadel of the Autarch - Gene Wolfe

I had never seen war, o even talked of it at length with someone who had, but I was young and knew something of violence, and so believed that war would be no more than a new experience for me, as other things - the possession of authority in Thrax, say, or my escape from the House Absolute - had been new experiences.
War is not a new experience; it is a new world. Its inhabitants are more different from human beings than Famulimus and her friends. Its law are new, and even its geography in which insignificant hills and hollows are lifted to the importance of cities. Just as our familiar Urth holds such monstrosities as Erebus, Abaia and Arioch, so the world of war is stalked by the monsters called battles, whose cells are individuals but who have a life and intelligence of their own, and whom one approaches through an ever-thickening array of portents.

One night I woke long before dawn. Everything seemed still, and I was afraid some enemy had come near, so that my mind had stirred at his malignancy. I rose and looked about. The hills were lost in the darkness. I was in a nest of long grass, a nest I had trampled flat for myself. Crickets sang.
Something caught my eye far to the north: a flash, I thought, of violet just on the horizon. I stared at the point from wich it seemed to have come. Just as I had convinced myself that what I believed I had seen was no more than a foult of vision, perhaps some lingering effect of the drug I had been given in the hetman’s house, there was a flare of magenta a trifle to the left of the point I had been staring at.

I continued to stand there for a watch or more, rewarded from time to time with these mysteries of light. At last, having satisfied myself that they were a great way off and came no nearer, and that they did not appear to change in frequency, coming on the average with each five hundreth beat of my heart, I lay down again. And because I was the throtoughly awake, I became aware that the ground was shaking, very slightly, beneath me.

The Citadel of the Autarch - Gene Wolfe

mercoledì 24 agosto 2011

I titoli di testa di Kung-Fu Panda o dell'importanza delle immagini

In caso non abbiate visto il primo Kung-Fu Panda, gustatevi i titoli di testa che trovate nel video qua sotto:

Trovo ottima la realizzazione tecnica, credo che funzionino molto bene per introdurre la storia, il protagonista e il tono del film. Soprattutto mi piacciono perché si staccano dal design imperante nell'animazione CGI degli ultimi anni. Non parlo tanto di questioni tecniche: a me personalmente di quanti peli si muovano nella pelliccia di un personaggio o del numero di ombre proiettate dai fili d'erba importa molto poco.

Certo aiutano a dare un senso di profondità al tutto, ma quando il tutto non si discosta molto da quello che si potrebbe chiamare un character design "carino e coccoloso", io personalmente ne rimango poco affascinato. Perché tendenzialmente* il "carino e coccoloso" è stravisto e non aggiunge nulla all'atmosfera della storia.

Si, la storia sarà pure regina, ma ogni regina sa la differenza tra truccarsi come una qualsiasi barbie photoshoppata e farlo invece con stile, personalità e secondi fini.

E questi titoli secondo me di stile ne hanno parecchio. Mi piacerebbe imbattermi più spesso** in film d'animazione che battono strade dal design meno canoniche, sfruttando l'enorme vantaggio che hanno rispetto al live action: creare tutto quello che vuoi, con la palette di colori e lo stile che pensi possa venire a tuo vantaggio nel raccontare una storia. Invece fai i soliti personaggi puccettosi, con le solite cazzo di linee tondolose tutto calato in un mondo sbrilluccicoso. Due palle.

In Kung-Fu Panda lo stacco che si prova tra i titoli di testa e il resto del film non è gratuito ma funzionale: Po sogna di essre un figo carico di figoseria che combatte orde di cattivi. Poi si sveglia ed è un un personaggio puccettoso e tondoloso. Secondo me funziona. Proprio perché non è solo la sceneggiatura a rendere una storia efficace ma anche la sua messa in scena, che me la rende immersiva e suggestiva agli occhi.

Dopo tutto si tratta di storie che vengono narrate per immagini. Per cui queste immagini, per favore, fate in modo che siano belle, abbiano personalità e aggiungano qualcosa alla storia. Sennò tanto vale che mi limiti a leggere la sceneggiatura. Grazie.

*sono sicuro ci siano eccezioni. Se avete suggerimenti datemeli nei commenti, grazie :)
** Iron Giant, How To train Your Dragon, Coraline, Appuntamento a Belleville e altri. Anche qua, suggerite titoli dai disegni interessanti nei commenti :)

lunedì 22 agosto 2011

The Sword of the Lictor - Gene Wolfe

"It was in my hair, Severian," Dorcas said. "So I stood under the waterfall in the hot stone room - I don't know if the men's side is arranged in the same way. And every time I stepped out, I could hear them talking about me. They called you the black butcher, and other things I don't want to tell you about."
"That's natural enough", I said. "You were probably the first stranger to enter the place in a month, so it's only to be expected that they woul chatter about you, and that the few women who knew who you were would be proud of it and perhaps tell some tales. As dor me, I'm used to it, and you must have heard suc expressions on the way here in many times; I know I did."
"Yes" she admitted, and sat down on the sill of the embrasure. In the city below, the lamps of the swarming shops were beginning to fill the valley of the Acis with a yellow radiance like the petals of a jonquil, but she did not seem to see them.
"Now you understand why the regulations of the guild forbid me from taking a wife - although I weill break the for you, as I have told you many times, whenever you want me to."
"You mean that it would be better for me to live somewhere else, and onlu come to see you once or twive a week, or wait till you came to see me."
"Thats' the way it's usually done. And eventually the women who talked about us today will realize that shometime they, or their sons or husbands, may find themselves beneath my hand."
"But don't you see, this is all beside the point. The thing is..." Here Dorcas fell silnet, and then, when neither of us had spoken for some time, she rose and began to pace the room, one arm clasping the other. It was something I had never seen her do before, and I found it disturbing.
"What is the point, then?" I asked.
"That it wasn't true then. That is now."
"I practiced the Art whenever ther was work to be had. Hired myself out to towns and country justices. Several times you watched me from window, though tou never liked to stand in the crowd - for wich I hardly blame you.
"I didn't watch" she said.
"I recall seeing you"
"I didn't. Not when it was actually going on. You were intent on what you were doing, and didn't see me when I went inside or covered my eyes. I used to watch, and wave to you, when you first vaulted onto the scaffold. You were so proud, then, and stood just as straight as your sword, and lookesd so fine. You were honest. I remember watching once when there was an official of some sort up there with you, and the condemned man and a hieromonach. And yours was the only honest face."
"You couldn't possibly have seen it. I must surely have been wearing my mask."
"Severian, I didn't have to see it. I know what you look like"
"Don't I look the same now?"
"Yes" she said reluctantly "But I have been down below. I've seen the people chainde in the tunnels. When we sleep tonight, you and I in our soft bed, we will be sleeping in top of them. How many did you say there were when you took me down?"
"About sixteen hundred. Do you honestly believe those sixteen hundred would be free if I were no longer present to guard them? They were here, remember, when we came."
Dorcas would not look at me. "It's like a mass grave" she said. I could see her shoulders shake.
"It should be" I told her. "The archon could release them, but who could resurrect those they've killed? You've never lost anyone, do you?"
She did not reply.
"Ask the wives and the mothers and the sisters of the men our prisoners have left rotting in the high country whether Abdiesus should let hem go."
"Only myself" Dorcas said, and blew out the candle.

The sword of the lictor - Gene Wolfe

lunedì 15 agosto 2011

The claw of the Conciliator - Gene Wolfe

Morwenna' face floated in the single beam of light, lovely and framed in hair dark as my cloak: blood from her neck pattered to the stones. Her lips moved without speech. Instead I saw framed within them (as though I were the Increate, peepin through his rent in Eterniy to behold the World of Time) the farm, Stachys her husband tossing in agony upn his bed, little Chad at the pond, bathing his fevered face.
Outside, Eusebia, Morwenna's accuser, howled like a witch. I tried to reach the bars to tell er to be quiet, and at once became lost in the darkness of the cell. When I found light at last, it was the green road stretching from the shadow of the Piteous Gate. Blood gushed from Dorcas's cheek, and though so many screamed and shouted, I could hear it pattering to the ground. Such a mighty structure was the Wall that it divided the world as the mere line between their covers does two books; before us now stood such a wood as might have been growing since the founding of Urth, trees as high as cliffs, wrapped in pure green. Between them lay the road, grown up in fresh grass, and on it were the bodies of men and women. A burning cariole tainted the clean air with smoke.
Five raiders sat destriers whose hooked tushes were encrusted with lazuilte. The men wore helmets and capes of indanthrene blue and carried lances whose heads ran with blue fire; their faces were more akin than the faces of brothers. On these riders, the tide of travelers broke as a wave on a rock, some turning left, some right. Dorcas was torn from my arms, and i drew Terminus Est to cut down those between us and found I was about to strike Master Malrubius, who stood calmly, my dog Triskele at his side, in the midst of the tumult. Seeing him so, I knew I dreamed, and from that knew, even while I slept, that the visions I had had of him before had not been dreams.

The claw of the Conciliator - Gene Wolfe

venerdì 12 agosto 2011

Le Geniali Invenzioni Del Professor Caspita! di Lorenzo De Felici

Magari conoscete Lorenzo De Felici per il suo lavoro di colorista, tipo le copertine di Caravan, o per i suoi disegni su Drakka.

Io personalmente l'ho conosciuto approdando sul suo blog e innamorandomi subito delle vignette dedicate a Le geniali invenzioni del Professor Caspita!, fulminanti battute a metà strada tra il no-sense e il surreale. A me fanno riderissimo ogni volta e le potete leggere tutte partendo da questo link:

E oltre alle invenzioni del buon professore trovate anche vignette estemporanee e roba bella da vedere, tipo qua e qua. Insomma girate un po' tutto il blog che merita parecchio.

lunedì 8 agosto 2011

The shadow of the torturer - Gene Wolfe

It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future. The locked and rusted gate that stood before us, with wisps of river fog threading its spikes like the mountain paths, remains in my mind now as the symbol of my exile. That is why I have begun this account of it with the aftermath of our swim, in which I, the torturer's apprentice Severian, had so nearly drowned.
"The guard has gome" Thus my friend Roche spoke to Drotte, who had already seen it for himself.
Doubtfully, the boy Eata suggested that we go around. A lift of his thin, freckled arm indicated the thousands of paces of wall stretching across the slum and sweeping up the hill until at last they met the high curtain wall of the Citadel. It was a walk I would take, much later.
"And try to get through the barbican without a safe-conduct? They'd send to Master Gurloes"
"But why would the guard leave?"
"It doesn't matter" Drotte rattled the gate. "Eata, see if you canslip between the bars"
Drotte was ur captain, and Eata put an arm and a leg through the iron palings, but it was immediately clear that there was no hope of his getting his body to follow.
"Someone's coming" Roche whispered. Drotte jerked Eata out.
I looked down the street. Lanterns swung there among the fog-muffled sounds of feet and voices. I would have hidden, but Roche held me, saying, "Wait, i see spikes"
"Do you think it's the guard returning?"
He shook his head. "Too many"
"A dozen men at least" Drotte said.
Still wet from Gyoll we waited. In the recesses of my mind we stand shivering there even now. Just as alla that appears imperishable tends toward its own destruction, those moments that at the time seem the most fleeting recreate themselves - not only in memory (which in the final accounting loses nothing) but in the throbbling of my heart and the prickling of my hair, making themselves new just as our Commonwealth reconstitutes itself each morning in the shrill tones of its own clarions.
The men had no armor, ad ai could soon see by the sickly yellow light of the lanterns; but they had pikes, as Drotte had said, and staves and hatchets. Their leader wore long, double-edged knife in his belt. What interested me more was the massive ky threaded on a cord around his neck; it looked as if it might fit the lock in of the gate.

The shadow of the torturer - Gene Wolfe

lunedì 1 agosto 2011

Do androids dream of electric sheeps? - Philip K. Dick

Una gioviale scossetta elettrica, trasmessa dalla sveglia automatica incorporata nel modulatore d'umore si trovava vicino al letto, destò Rick Deckard. Sorpreso - lo sorprendeva sempre il trovarsi sveglio senza alcun preavviso - si alzò dal letto con indosso il pigiama multicolore e si stiracchiò. Ora, nell'altro letto, anche Iran, sua moglie, dischiuse gli occhi grigi, tutt'altro che gioviali, sbatt le palpebre, quindi gemette e li richiuse.
"Hai programmato il tuo Penfield a volume troppo basso" le disse. "Te lo alzo e ti sveglierai come si dve e…"
"Già le mani dai miei programmi" La voce della donna aveva un tono di tagliente amarezza. "Non voglio svegliarmi"
Le si sedette accanto, si chinò su di lei, e le spiegò con dolcezza. "Se regoli la scossa su un livello abbastanza alto, sarai contenta di svegliari, capito? Al livello C supera la soglia cheblocca lo stato di coscienza; con me, perlomeno, funziona." Con premura e delicatezza, perchè si sentiva ben disposto verso il mondo - lui aveva scelto il livello D - la toccò sulla spalla nuda, pallida.
"Toglimi di dosso quelle manacce da sbirro! esclamò Iran.
"Non sono uno sbirro" Si sentì irritato, ora, senza che avesse digitato il codice corrispondente.
"Sei peggio di uno sbirro" disse la moglie, gli occhi ancora chiusi "Sei un assassino al soldo degli sbirri"
"In vita mia non ho mai ucciso un essere umano" L'irritazione si era intensificata, adesso; si era mutata in aperta ostilità.
Iran precisò: "Solo quei poveri droidi"

Do androids dream of electric sheeps? - Philip K. Dick