Flooded In a Sea of Stories

Here we are; HatSoS is drawing closed its curtains, and with its end, I believe I can finally answer the question: ‘Are stories just morally good lies?‘. While some may feel it is a simple yes or no question, an occasional intellectual, such as myself, will take the time to say why. For you, (the reader), I have bolded key words so that the occasional skimmer knows where the good stuff is. And now, without further ado, here we go…

To begin, I believe the answer is mostly a no. The definition of the word ‘lie’ is described as: “Stating a false fact as though it were true for personal gain“. By this definition of a lie, I conclude that stories are therefore not a lie at all. The evidence is quite clearly stated in the words: personal gain. An author who writes a fictional story has absolutely nothing to gain from telling a story. Granted, the author gets paid for telling these stories, but not in the sense of exploitation of the reader.Image result for 7 deadly sins greedfig 1

If you still have your doubts, how about this: while the author arguably has something to gain from telling us these “stories”, it can also be argued that we have something to gain as well. Think about it-if these stories are morally good lies, then technically, we pay for the author to lie to us. It sounds ridiculous because it is. Its kind of like paying someone to beat you up- it makes no sense.

To put it in simpler terms, we pay the author to write a “lie” and in return we are entertained by said lie. So in no way is there anything to gain from either side without something in return. Each side gets what they want and each side is happy with what they get.

The book entertains us through many different uses of literary elements. Chief among these is the use of allusion. Several allusions that I have found in the book include allusions to Alice in Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz and many more that can be found on my page on it at https://spark.adobe.com/page/8QSVhpOPdtmQY/.

Image result for alice in wonderland cheshire catfig 2

Intriguing, also, is the fact that some people that read the story have broken it down into the Heroes Journey. Essentially, the Heroes Journey is a basic formula for storytelling in which the protagonist’s quest is laid out in a generic fashion found in most stories. The formula that the Heroes Journey follows is somewhat similar to that of the Existential Journey in that it both propels the protagonists character development, and sets the plot into motion.

Overall, the novel can be a confusing read with Seussian titles and names. Believe me when I tell you that the names of the animals and characters can get pretty confusing to keep straight. The book also follows a very generic plot mountain type story-line, which can be very frustrating at times. Since it follows the plot mountain template(see fig 3), there are some boring lulls which I feel can be tough to push through especially to those with shorter attention spans like me. Since the story is confusing enough as it is, I still recommend that you read these parts as they sometimes contain hidden Easter eggs, important information and foreshadowing that may come in handy to know later on in the book.

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To summarize that brutally honest and somewhat long paragraph, the book fluctuates quite a bit, boring sometimes and totally gripping at other points.

I love books, and I reread books all the time. HatSoS was a satisfying read, but something is just…missing, for lack of a better word. I do not think I’ll ever pick it up for another go.

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Haroun and the Sea of Stories #1:

First Impressions:

Haroun and the Sea of Stories(Hatsos for short) is definitely a unique story because of its ambiguous structure. It contains content that one might see in an adult book, but it is structured like a kids book.

It almost gives me a sense of vertigo, because every time I pick it up, I can only see its hidden meanings that are almost inappropriate for children. Kind of like sitting through an episode of Spongebob as a kid and watching it several years later and wonder how Nickelodeon gets away with so many dirty innuendos. One line of the book that struck me as particularly shocking was when Haroun sees that his father is at the mercy of the gentle Guppees. He says: “I suppose you rip out their fingernails one by one until they confess. Do you kill them slowly and painfully, or quickly with a million volts in an electric chair?” It definitely seems out of place in a book so obviously structured for kids.

My only other issue with it is its very seussian names and titles. Things like Plentimaw and Chupwala are somewhat frustrating when trying to remember what in the world they mean.

Again, the book gives me the feeling of vertigo, but I still find it at the very least, not a disappointment.

“Ready Player One” Book Review

First off, “Ready Player One” is about the 1980’s, and is a powerful nostalgia piece. It deals with the Hellish world in 2044, where gas guzzling cars and politics have caused the majority of people to succumb to poverty. The only thing that makes life bearable is the invention of a new type of immersive video game. The best part: it costs only a quarter. For 25 cents you can be a part of the greatest video game ever.

James Halliday, the creator and genius behind the “OASIS”(Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation) announced after his death via videotape, that he had hidden three keys and three gates inside the OASIS. An ‘Easter Egg’, if you will. With this message, Halliday announces that the first person to successfully find each key and complete each task that comes with its respective gate, will inherit his entire life fortune and ownership of the OASIS. In a world where more than half the population is impoverished, that sounds pretty good.

The story follows Wade Watts- an orphaned boy who lives with his abusive grandmother. When Wade, (or Parzival, as he is known in the OASIS), finds the first key that the original message sent the whole world searching for five years earlier, his life suddenly gets a huge kick in the crotch. His name becomes a household one and his world flips upside down. Unfortunately for Wade, fame comes with a price. IOI, the evil corporation who has been searching for the keys as well,  wants the prize not for money or fame, but for complete control of the OASIS. Everyone knows that if they win, the OASIS, the greatest thing that happened since the world’s virtual fallout, will require a ridiculously high monthly fee to access it.

Wade is blackmailed into helping the company find the keys and when he denies, his house is blown up. Fortunately, Wade wasn’t inside when it happened, but his family and his sweet, never-hurt-nobody neighbor dies.

The story has such a nostalgia factor because the easter-egg contest requires an extreme amount of 1980’s knowledge and references, ranging from Dig-Dug, Black Tiger, Tempest and other video game references(Pac-Man is huge, too). Movies such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Blade Runner etc. and TV shows, including Family Ties, Schoolhouse Rock and many more. Anyone who grew up in the 1980’s will be smothered in nostalgia throughout the entire book. 

To say that it is a nostalgia piece is an understatement. In my last blog post, I said that I was 15. I was born in 2001, but I absolutely love older music and movies starting around 1970. The 1980’s are something that I have never and will never truly experience, and I even felt like I was taken back then. For a story about the 1980’s to make a kid born in the 2000’s feel nostalgic for a time he never lived in is impressive enough. To make it good, that’s flat out amazing.

Enough about the plot and more about the content. The story has an easy to follow plot, characters who are easy to connect with emotionally and is extremely well worded. The plot has a basic problem-climax-resolution plot that makes it nearly impossible to put down.

The characters, as I said before, are easy to relate to and are very lovable. They’re the kinds of characters who make you cry at the theaters if they died. Character development is super important to me. If the characters are pretty static throughout the whole story, I think that is a recipe for a bad story. Every main character develops well and thoroughly, particularly Wade and his best friend Aech(pronounced ‘H’).

The resolution of the story, another huge thing to me when it comes to books, is satisfying. Ernest Cline’s second attempt at a nostalgia piece, “Armada”, has a lazy ending and terrible character development. That is a topic for another day, however. 

I have personally read this book at least thirty times and then some, and it still entertains me whenever I do. To whoever reads this post, I hope you enjoy(ed) the book. It’s a real page turner.

About Me

My name is Max and I am a high school student at Perkiomen Valley High School. I enjoy writing novels and short stories, making short films and skits, and I absolutely love music. 

This blog is primarily for English Class and other literature related topics. While I may occasionally post other topics, English and literature will be the most common.

As I post more on this blog, I hope you find that I evolve as a person. For those people who read blogs like this one, please remember that my blog will primarily consist of literature and education related topics.