Friday, August 05, 2005

Reading William Sleator

Remember Choose Your Own Adventure books? When I was in elementary school my library had a few of them. I was very into them for a while. But when I read them, I cheated. I’d pick an option and look ahead to see what happened, while I left my pinky marking the spot (who didn’t do this). Because if I fell from a cliff and died or walked right into a trap, I obviously didn’t want to go that way. The goal was to stay alive and finish the adventure. There was a proper ending to all these adventures. There was only one way to go, but hundreds of different ways to go. I think all but the right one turned into a bad thing like slavery or being eaten alive by a giant praying mantis or something.

Last night I finished this book called Parasite Pig by William Sleator. If any of you have read Interstellar Pig, then you will definitely want to know about Parasite Pig, because it’s the sequel. I read Interstellar Pig when I was in junior high. Yes, it’s young adult science fiction. So is the sequel. But that doesn’t matter. William Sleator is an excellent author and if you have kids or are a kid, you want to get his books. They turned me onto theoretical physics and science in a way nothing else had. My honest opinion is that Parasite Pig isn’t as great as its prequel. Probably because of the rather gruesome way he depicts the scene of two girls being grilled alive by human-eating crabs from the planet J’koot.

But don’t let that turn you off. It’s still good.

So the human characters are trapped on this planet with few options for escape. The aliens who could help the humans escape also want to use them for diabolical purposes and then kill them. I’ll give it away and tell you that the humans get off the planet without being eaten by the crabs. They return to earth and life goes on as normal. But the feeling I had when I finished it was . . . desolate. The way I felt after seeing the movie 12 Monkeys when I was 17 (I might have missed something, I don’t know. I haven’t seen it since). I hate that feeling. I think I’ll do anything to avoid it and if I have the hunch that something’s going to make me feel that way, I’ll say to hell with it and walk away. That desolate feeling is also how I felt after choosing the wrong route in Choose Your Own Adventure books. I think it’s why I gave them up.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. I guess I’m just annoyed that even though the humans made it home, I didn’t feel resolved and okay with life when I put the book down. I think Sleator dropped the ball and tried to sum up the human narrative side of things too quickly. It reminded me of a Choose Your Own Adventure. You should only feel that way when reading one of those. Not when you’re reading a real book. As we all know, Choose Your Own Adventures aren’t real books. They’re dumb. It’s a poor excuse for a book.

But at this point, I guess I’m reading just about anything. The weird thing is, I still miss Harry, Ron and Hermione. It’s like Rowling puts an addictive chemical in her books that make you crave them fortnightly….


BloomCrafty said...

You crack me up - I love your writing style. I think when you looked at the pics on my site you weren't looking at me - I wasn't the bride in either of hte pictures. :o) No way would I post my wedding pics. But thanks for saying I'm cute anyways. I LOVED the choose your adventure books....I think it was my control freak side that was drawn to them....and still miss them. Do you have any? Mine were sold about 10 yard sales ago.

Notyetfamousartist said...

LOL!!! I love that movie!!!!!! "his head is like sputnick! like an orange on a toothpick!"
heh, if no one else catches that reference, I caught it!

I used to love and hate those choose your own adenture books. I almost always died, or had to cheat. I felt ripped off. I always got locked in a closet, with air running out. or shot gun pointed at my face. What do these books teach children? You only have on right path, but the chances of finding it are so slim, you might as well just kiss your ass goodbye, life sucks and you're gonna fuck it up and die horribly.

12 monkeys and Seven were two movies that were very well done, but so damn depressing. I know what you mean about feeling desolate at the end. and I HATE when books and movies wrap up the ending too fast (or drag it on too long). You feel cheated, just like in those books, right?
Good luck with missing the Rowling characters. The movie comes out in september, doesn't it? or am I wrong?

Yara said...

Thank you for being so nice. And I want to feel confident. But it's hard to be confident but not arrogant for me. And it really is sexy if you have the confidence to dance like nobody's watching.

But what I think is sexy is at the same time scary to do. Dancing when there's nobody you know nobody that you know understands you, that will help you making excuses whenever you need one.

Dainty Fairy said...

Heh I am looking forward to reading the new Harry Potter book but at £11 or something ridiculous I am not prepared to pay for it right now.
I never had these adventure books you speak of heh.

Aries327 said...

Bloomcrafty -- Thanks for the compliment. I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure books too, but looking back I realize what a joke they were. I don't have any. My mom wouldn't buy them for me as a child because she's smarter than me and knew what a gag they were. So I checked them all out. I imagine they're worth a lot of money now. But then again, maybe not.

Dual Identities -- I'm so glad you got the reference. I wonder if anyone else did. It was the same way for me, the stupid CYOA books. Locked in a closet, shot gun pointed at my face. I hated it. There was really no way to outsmart the book. It was like playing chess with the computer as your opponent. Impossible.

I have no idea when the new Harry Potter movie comes out. I can't believe how much I love the books, though. It's disgusting. Rowling is a genius.

Yara -- You don't have to make excuses for yourself. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone, unless of course you're doing something illegal and you get caught. Otherwise, you don't owe the world an explanation of yourself. You are who you are and that's that. If someone has a problem with it, they can leave. They should be mature enough to like you the way you are, and a person with a strong character will know this and choose to be with you regardless of how you dance. Have you seen Eddie Izzard's Dress to Kill dvd? He does the skit about people telling the truth and the woman who says, "I like to have sex with people who have a strong character" or something like that. And it's true.

Anyway, that's what I think. The most beautiful people are real and sincere people.

Well, sorry. I got on my soap box.

Dainty Fairy -- Yeah, everything is more expensive in Britain. Maybe you're parents would buy it for you. They have to think it's a good book for their daughter to read, right?