lunedì 21 aprile 2014

Doctor Who - Touched by an Angel


                                                Doctor Who - Touched by an Angel
                                        The Future is not written, sometimes neither the Past.  

In 2003, Rebecca Whitaker dies in a car accident. In 2011 her husband Mark is still grieving. He receives a battered envelope, posted eight years ago, containing a set of instructions with a message: "You can save her". Another thing makes the envelope weirder : it seems written by his own handwriting. From that moment Mark starts to see a statue of an angel on every screen he encounters. A man who call himself  "The Doctor" with a girl and a boy tells to him that is not a statue but a Weeping Angel and what it wants is to send him back to his own past. Mark have the chance to save Rebecca but why this is happening to him? What's the plan of the Weeping Angel? What happens if he save his wife?
Usually the books made for a franchise created for a media -cinema, comic books or, as in this case, Tv Show- are not so good: mostly they are a mere celebration of the characters born on the main franchise's product with pretty weak stories and poorly written secondary characters. Mainly this products are just for fans but Jonathan Morris with "Touched by an angel" , part of the Doctor Who's franchise, made something quite different. 
Morris understood a simple but extremely important lesson: is quite impossible for readers to identify themselves with characters like The Doctor, they need someone closer to them. The main character of this book is not the Doctor but Mark, an average guy who has the chance to save the love of his life. Readers can identify themselves with him, fear for his safety and joy with him. During all the story the Doctor is on the backgroound except in the end when he returns to save the day. Johnatan Morris use the Sci-fi to tell about human life in his developement. Touched by an Angel is an excellent example of how a writer can tell an intresting story no matter how old or complicated is the franchise.
Touched by an Angel can be liked even from those whom are not Doctor Who's fans and yet it will make the whovian happy too.

domenica 6 aprile 2014

The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

                                     The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
                                        The most dangerous place is our childhood

A middle-aged man returns by accident to his childhood home. He start walking towards the lane in front of his former house and whitout thinking he comes to the Farm at the end of the lane, Hempstock Farm. 

Here is welcomed by an old lady that resembles the grandmother of Lettie, a girl who was his childhood friend but it can't be her because Thirty years has passed. How can be her if she don't seems aged a bit? Beyond the farm there‘s a small duck pond where he start to reminiscing his past. But the past is not always as we rember it and sometimes monsters and marvels are hiding in it.
Neil Gaiman is worldwide known for is acclaimed and award winning comic books series, the Sandman, in which he describe the story of the lord of the dreams, combining myths, stories and ordinary people. This mix is one of Gaiman's distinguishing features and the Ocean at end of the lane has it too. Gaiman is able to make a miracle: give back to the reader the point of view of a twelve years old. Trowing back the readers in a time when a courtyard was a pirate ship, or when a weeded wild garden was a dangerous Jungle, when the life was full of magic and fears. Another one of the Gaiman's distinguishing features is that the human beings are more important than all the myths and magics. This concept stated with Sandman but it's became clearer from his book American Goods in which Gaiman portrays a series of acient goods who lives amongst humans disguised like them, because they‘ve lost their powers as people gives gods strenghts if they believe in them.
Gaiman, the Tardis (Suranne Jones) and the eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith)

It's not like the human race exist because the gods exists, but the opposite: the gods exists because the human race believes in them. In The Ocean at the End of the Lane Gaiman adopts this concept one more time and make it more ambiguous: the creatures from another world are connect to ours by our history. This book have some influences that are new for Gaiman's style: his rapresentation of childhood was similar in Coraline but this time it seems influenced by Sthepen King's It and Clive Barker's The Thief of Always and the first volume of Arabat, in fact this time the horror elements are more relevant. So, The Ocean at the end of the lane is a book for a reader who wants to revive is childhood and is not afraid of what can be found in it.

A review by Davide Schiano di Coscia