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Symbolic Forest

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Blog : Posts tagged with ‘Canada’

I’ve Liked You For A Thousand Years

In which we like Scott Pilgrim

The latest book in Bryan Lee O’Malley‘s Scott Pilgrim series, Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together, has been out in shops for a month or so, now. And it is, as expected, an excellent book. As it says on the back-cover blurb:

“Now with more kicks, punches, rock & roll, subspace, half-ninjas, experience points, samurai swords, girly action, and laughable attempts to seek gainful employment”

If you’ve never read it before: Scott Pilgrim is a graphic novel series, 2/3rds published so far, about a 20something Canadian slacker with a mysterious American girlfriend – who has seven evil exes, who all have to be defeated in top-notch video-game style. In the meantime he has to deal with his own exes, everyday life, and (in the new book) his girlfriend’s own feelings about relationships. She is, incidentally, a rollerskating rapid-response courier, who has learned the trick of shortcutting through other people’s dreams.* Which is how Scott initially meets her.

They intermingle reality and fantasy with a lovely deftness. Defeated villains disappear in a puff of smoke and a shower of coins – although sometimes barely enough money for the bus ride home. The realistic universe is punctuated by save points, extra-lives, and RPG-style bonus items. Alongside the fantasy, though, there’s a subtle take on the character’s feelings, emotions, and motivation, all of them entirely realistic. As I said, a lot of the new book is about the mysterious Ramona’s own emotions, completing the second half of a pun that begun all the way at the start of the series.

You don’t need to understand that, though, to enjoy the book. I’m sure there are plenty of other subtle references, to other worlds, that I’m not spotting myself. I really hope the rumoured Scott Pilgrim movie makes it into production, because despite the fantastic elements, the books are a wonderful slice of life.

* Other people’s dreams being the “subspace” of the back-cover blurb.

End of the week

In which we post updates on a few things

My rather cruel jibe at Fife the other day only seems to have invited a single complaint, from Greig, who pointed out that Fife was the birthplace of Sir Sandford Fleming. I’d never heard of Sir Sandford Fleming myself; but it turns out that he was rather important, particularly in Canada. He invented time zones, designed the first Canadian stamp, and surveyed the route of the first trans-Canadian railway line; more importantly, he was apparently the inventor of the in-line roller skate.

Now, I’m not being deliberately cruel to Fife again here; but it made me think: just how many famous people were born there but had to emigrate to do Great Things? Sir Sandford, clearly; Andrew Carnegie is another obvious one. Adam Smith is the exception – a lot of The Wealth Of Nations was written in Kirkcaldy. If you widen it to the rest of Scotland, you could add Thomas Carlyle,* Daniel Wilson,** and probably many more. Does it outnumber the people who stayed behind, though? No doubt this is something I’m going to be proved very wrong about.

My passport renewal application was sent off the other day – and, no, you’re not getting to see the photo. My current plan is for a trip around Bavaria and Austria, by train – I could apparently get the train from here to Munich in a single day without too much trouble. Big Dave thinks I’m mad.

More on bird flu: it’s all a bit over-hyped, isn’t it? The big news story this evening seemed to be: people are still buying chicken. The ever-helpful BBC has come up with a page of Useful Information, answering the questions on everyone’s lips. “Will my cat have to be put down?” “If I find a dead duck, who do I call?” DUCKBUSTERS, naturally.***

In other news, I’ve found that people still do suffer from curvature of the spine, after all. Clearly, this week was my week for insulting random strangers. Roll on Monday!

* Moving to Chelsea counts as emigration if you ask me.

** The famous Scottish-Canadian archaeologist, not the other one.

*** “Symbolic Forest – for the freshest 20-year-old memes around!”