Over the duration of the first couple of weeks into the start of year two, we were given a mixture of 10 books and short stories to read which we would then choose to be our foundation from which we would create a game idea. This was a large task to complete for myself as I read quite slowly and we roughly had two weeks to complete as many of the reading tasks as we could. It meant that I would need to carefully choose which stories I wanted to read, as a whole book could take me the whole two weeks to finish. Due to this development I decided to start with the short stories initially before moving on to the other, much longer books in the future depending on how much time was left once I had finished. However, I would first read a brief blurb of each of the longer books, in order to see which ones appealed to me the most, rather than spend days reading through one and not enjoying it.

Book #1 The Gernsback Continuum:

  • Elements of a kind of forced future
    • Regards with the story mentioning elements of outlandish designs mimicking a possible technological future
    • “a particularly grandiose prop-driven airliner, all wing, like a fat symmetrical boomerang with windows in unlikely places. Labelled arrows indicated the locations of the grand ballroom and two squash courts. It was dated 1936.”
      • Making people almost excited about this possible future where a vehicle like this would be a reality, a future they wanted to see
  • World War II almost ruined this almost alien future that never happened
  • Later on in the story where the main character is hallucinating, it gave the impression of the mind seeing what it wants to see rather than whats actually there
    • Similar to the idea of people seeing figures or faces in the dark
    • Mirrors the idea that nothing is ever as it seems
    • Kind of jumping between time periods or time lines, one that is and one that could’ve been if things were different
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Image of Tomorrowland taken from http://freshwallpapers.net/movies/2015-tomorrowland-movie-poster.html on 24/10/2017

Book #2 The Outsider:

  • Includes ideas of inner turmoil in a sense that the narrating character mentions childhood memories bringing only fear and sadness.
    • “threatens to reach beyond to the other” suggests mental instability, clinging to the the opposite memories i.e. better or lighter ones.
  • Amnesia or some type of mental block caused by a possible trauma due to the main character not being able to remember simple questions such as who are they? why are they there?
  • Several Gothic themes as its set within a type of castle surrounded by a dark forest with skeletons and crypts etc.
  • No mirrors within this location shows an inability to see ones self
    • shown by the fact that there are no mirrors and it mentions that the character only being able to tell he is in his youth through drawings in books they’ve read.
  • First section of the story suggests that the character is a caretaker for the damaged and damned.
    • “Such a lot the gods gave to me—to me, the dazed, the disappointed; the barren, the broken”
    • Similar to stories about Alien abductions where people describe being in an unfamiliar environment with memories you cannot trust
  • Latter part of the story when the character finally reaches the top of the tower, its like they’re being treated like some kind of monster
    • this is shown when the room full of ‘people’ try their very best to get out of the room as quickly as possible
Outsider Book Cover.jpg
Image of book cover taken from https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/552887291732379735/ on 24/10/2017

 Book #3 The Metamorphosis:

  • Story suggests that a small physical change causes character Gregor to be shunned by his family
    • Ones appearance is everything in this story it seems, kind of alienating him
  • Entire story is Gregors slow and painful death by members of his family, with his life falling apart with each change he goes through
  • Sections of life moving on after your death, suggested by the family uprooting and moving to have a new start in their lives
    • You are gone but never forgotten
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Image of book cover taken from https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/543317142529936944/ on 24/10/2017

Book #4 The Variable Man:

  • Set within a dystopia/ utopia with everything within the story being somewhat peaceful but at the same time also destructive and chaotic
    • Shown when the ‘government’ within the story constantly bombs the main character in an effort to kill him
    • Complete disregard for the surrounding environment “He was seeing the destruction of a whole mountain range”
  • The main character enhances the ideal that nothing is ever as it appears to be at face value
    • There always another side to every story
  • Also personifies the almost paranoid sense that everyone is against you and wants nothing more than to see you fail, but you have to defy them and come out on top
  • Essentially, defying the odds stacked against you
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Image taken from https://fictionfanblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/transwarp-tuesday-the-variable-man-by-philip-k-dick/ on 24/10/2017

Book #5 Animal Farm:

  • The book portrays elements heavily influenced by greed
    • In the sense that the pigs want more power and begin to lie to the other farm animals in an attempt to convince them that its justified
  • Planet of the Apes types of vibe from it, mirroring the fact that the animals are taking over and becoming more human-like in the process
    • Similar to the idea of anarchy and overthrowing the government or leading party which in this case is the farmers which then try and take back what was taken from them
  • Betrayal of your friends, which stems from the pigs who were once equals to the rest of the animals on the farm are now choosing their own personal way of life above theirs
    • Also joins in with the fact that they sold the horse off to a glue factory rather than allowing the horse to die naturally
      • As well as lying to the rest of the animals saying that he was taken to a veterinarian
  • Whole book also mirrors the idea of a change in the dynamic of things, meaning that once humans ran the farm and now the animals do
  • Heavy imagery of poverty suggested by the fact that the pigs move into the warm farm house whilst the rest of the animals live outside in the cold with little food
Animal Farm.jpg
Image of book cover taken from https://shop.justnile.com.sg/collections/books-teen-young-adult/products/animal-farm-4 on 24/10/2017

Book #6 Peter Pan:

  • Heavy fantasy themes with regards to living shadows, fairies, flying, pirates all within a land where children never do up as well as being located within the heavens.
    • “2nd star to the right and straight on till morning”
  • The idea of children never growing up as well as the adults never seeming to age suggest that they are in some type of Time Freeze
    • Would make sense as to why no one seems to age even as later on in the book shows that several decades pass when Wendy is now an old woman
  • Also shows elements of trickery when Tinkerbell tells the lost boys that shes a bird and to shoot her down with an arrow
    • Also shows that Wendy poses a threat to the relationship between herself and Peter Pan
  • Some other theories suggest that Neverland is heaven, which fits with the principle that no one ever ages or ‘grows up’
    • Mixed with the idea that the fairies are angles of death
Peter Pan.jpg
Image taken from https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/328692472780181904/ on 24/10/2017

Book #7 James and the Giant Peach:

  • Whole idea of living in a scaled up small world reminded me of a story called the borrowers
    • Peach occupied by insects is usually small and insignificant but in this story everything is scaled up dramatically
  • Living in a type of time loop due to the fact that it becomes apparent at the end of the book that James was the one who wrote it
  • The giant peach being held up by a flock of birds also seems to defy the laws of physics
    • With the wondrous aspect throughout the rest of the book this section becomes unbelievable in an awe type of way
  • Also hints at the whole thing being almost like a dream where James manifests companions and runs away from the sad lifestyle he’s been left with
    • This is supported with each of the characters mirroring a particular emotional state, with arguments being internal disputes which James being the governing consciousness ends.
James and the Giant Peach.jpg
Image of book cover taken from https://www.crackingthecover.com/3056/james-and-the-giant-peach-turns-50/ on 24/10/2017

Conclusion:

Having read a majority of the assigned stories in the given time frame, the one I enjoyed the most was The Variable Man, as I was fascinated by the idea of someone who seems so insignificant making so much trouble. Not only this but he also seems to defy everything attack and threat that is thrown in his direction with his almost unwillingness to die in this unfamiliar world. I also liked the idea that in a world where interstellar travel is a possibility and the other technological advancements that were referenced within the story, a man from 1913 should’ve been completely out of his comfort zone. However, he seemed to rival the intellectual capability of everyone around him at the time, just by the way that he viewed everything. This has lead me to want to choose this book to carry forward to then use to create a game idea later on in the semester.

Title image taken from https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-open-book-page-159697/ on 24/10/2017