This will be a spoiler in a lot of ways.
It was kind of a moment of catharsis, getting to watch Frozen II with my daughter as her very first movie in a theater, I think even more so than getting to watch the first one with her would have been. I had heard people say lots of things about it, some theories about its meaning. As my wife and I talked after the movie, I expressed my combination of enjoyment and feeling of disjointedness.
I was going off of my understanding of the first movie, of course, and I might have known, you can't do that with Disney, at least not anymore. Disney doesn't do just plain old enjoyment. Not since they hold the second biggest stake in the universe of all media just behind Comcast. A company like that cannot afford not to have an agenda, not in this society. And you can just about bet what Disney's media messages will center around by looking up this uncomfortable chart of the millions in campaign donations the company makes each year.
I knew this going in, and so having been through some studies at a highly liberal university department (at least as liberal as the Church of Christ goes) I was familiar with the ideas. But it's not something you expect. The liberal message is never so studied of itself from normal media exposure. Never so thought out that I didn't see it coming. It's a very liberal message, but actually it's so clear, so pure about it, so devoid of the politics and centered around its own unique metaphor that you're compelled through every turn and don't know why like real, truly good writing does to you. It gets past the sticky topics and to what is really true and honest about its position in a real way. It's the public realization of something begun by a lone philosopher and phenomenologist many have never even heard of, but if you want to understand Frozen II, you need to get yourself acquainted with a guy named Emmanuel Levinas. Here is his page in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
If you want to get why they keep talking about gates and stepping off of cliffs and running out into nothing and why Olaf appeals to maturity while staring into his own reflection that becomes overtaken by a "creepy, creepy face," Then you need to read that Encyclopedia page. If you want to understand why Disney didn't write a story that ends with some Captain Planet figure like anyone who has watched too many eighties movies to get their idea of love and romance, why so many things never happen like you know they will from every other movie, you have to come to understand what Emmanual Levinas is saying about the concept of the "other."
Emmanuel grew up in the limelight of Barthian theology's heydays, it's "shockingly liberal" denial of natural theology, and at the time the only resonating answer to the dominating scholarship of German theologians backed by the Nazi Party. (Crazy, huh?) Though Karl Barth did a lot for modern Christianity, it left questions about the integrity of the Scriptures as it was known, namely the apparent errors that had only become more glaring over time. Here you go. There's a fun one too. The mysteries left behind by Barth's expansive dogmatics probably inspired Levinas, like some others (Boenhoffer) to try to approach God in new ways. Karl Barth famously pointed out that one can say what God is not, but when trying to define God in earnest, it's difficult to do. Who can say what God IS? Well, Levinas had an answer. It was an answer to not only Barth, but to all doubters, that took up the slack Barth left behind, and became one of the foundational advancements in liberal theology since.
So foundational in fact that you've probably heard of it even far removed from its original context, in fact, the term is often used without any reference to its pioneer or origins anymore, it's all so muddled. You've probably heard it and not thought much at all, it's so deceptively simple. Levinas simply defined God as mystery. He is all that stands outside of that which we can possibly understand, He is "wholly other." And to understand Him, you have to walk through the gates of the unknown, out of the known.
Frozen not only embraced this very historical conversation, it takes you through the often terrifying journey of what that can be like. Everything is mysterious and wonderful and new outside of the gates, outside of the safe space and the zone of comfort, those bilaterally monikered same-things. Those things you don't leave, or pay.
Watching Frozen II was a catharsis because my daughter is a mystery to me. It was a gate through which I once passed, a terrifying resound of the voice of an old ghost from my studies I'd never met telling me to embrace the change. That God wanted me here. And now, in this world, today, and unlike any day that had ever been before it, I would have a story we could share that we both loved, through which I could explain to her some of the deepest things of God that man's mind has ever perceived. It's not just another movie, it's something we all HAVE to watch. It's a voice, calling from the wilderness, preparing the way for our better selves to step through, like Elsa and Anna together, into the unknown. It was also timely, because I watched it with my daughter on the first day of the New Year. The old, the new, young and old came together tonight. It was just really special in ways I can only say are just kind of...mysterious.
All in all, just a great movie, and probably the best, most passionate, and most intelligent movie Disney has ever made, movie that you will hopefully not walk away from thinking the same way.
@disneyFrozen #Frozen2 #moviereview #intotheunknown
“Smart, ardent tale that will make readers want to revisit the series’ world.” — Kirkus Reviews
“An imaginative, squirrelly adventure.” — The Independent Review
“An excellent read for anyone who enjoys lavish, epic fantasy and well-realized and enjoyable animal characters.” — Readers’ Favorite
“A young adult fantasy tale that is practically worthy of the pen of T. H. White, the acclaimed author of The Once and Future King.” — The U. S. Review of Books
“A flamboyantly written story with clever word plays and characters so complex you'd never peg them to be the furry four-legged kind. I believe it would be a good weekend read for anyone who is a fan of this genre and style.” — The International Review
The Voyage of Gethsarade is available wherever books are sold.
#Fantasy #bookmarketing #publishing #Selfpub #mustread #bookish
Solar Winds documents the lives of several people coping with an aging empire where one, yes one, of its galaxies stands at the cusp of rebellion. Yet, there is an even greater evil at the center of it all that threatens all existence. Will our heroes and heroines find the "ghost" in the Empire's machine?
Great Fiction is made by first laying groundwork. One has to consider the seed of meaning in their genre. For science fiction considers primarily the massive scope of the universe, and how the inevitability of what is to come affects the characters in the story of future history in their every day struggles. Bryan Shewmaker touches effectively on this, leaving the reader at the end of this book facing that uncertainty and inevitability that sci-fi was invented for through the medium of his story.
In its look at the oddity of the future, with its moral complications like Adam Roberts' Jack Glass and the great Orson Scott Card, it does not disappoint. This book however is more focused on action than an examination of the philosophy of human nature, using the advanced tech described in relentless detail as the main driver of plot. A reader might thing moral examination is not there seeming disconnected from the story as characters, even the main characters, make decisions based on the tragedy or urgency of the moment. Yet one realizes the real point of the book was there all along when it all comes crashing down, the dark one emerges in Star Wars like fashion, and utters his crushing logic. Many people won't see it, because so few people really are aware enough of themselves to become anything more than they are.
The vividness of detail and the control the author exerts in his storytelling allowed me to clearly imagine every bit of action. However, I do not feel the story needed an expanded edition, rather the appendices should serve as the seed for writing the rest of the stories in this universe, a verse huge enough in scope to take several lifetimes if Shewmaker doesn't get over the 'second novel slump' of realizing how difficult it really is to self publish and then keep going (if I had to guess). More readers will come when they see the story will continue and Shewmaker's abilities will only get better, I feel.
With that, I felt the book's greatest hindrance was the cover. It's just a huge mistake, and the book seems to be one of those common tragedies of independent marketing. Most of the Scifi I read is disappointing fluff with a stunning cover. This book is the opposite: thoughtful, bold, unique, and has a great point, but the branding around it is the only letdown; an odd hallmark of an early and promising writer that gave it all for a story he believes in, and it shows. Overall, it needs professional branding, a trade review, and a sequel to justify the book's real value and Shewmaker can step into the well deserved light. I definitely look forward for a continuation of the story.
Now available on Amazon.com and wherever books are sold.
"Five stars for sure!" The US Review (recommended status)
"A well deserved Gold Quality Mark." BooksGoSocial
"A warm literary welcome." Readers' Favorite (5 Star Review) Full Review and press release here
"If you have a son or daughter, or just know of a child who loves to read, these books are pure enjoyment. Tell them to put those phones away. They will love these books which have good moral values."
#TheyVoyageofGethsarade #books #newbooks #writing #fantasy #mustread
Now available for preorder : The Voyage of Gethsarade, Book Two of the Elderwood Chronicles by M. G. Claybrook, a new Young Adult Fantasy
"Author's new book receives a warm literary welcome."
Currently available for pre-order at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1973490838.
Readers' Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the "Best Websites for Authors" and "Honoring Excellence" awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.
Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite:
"The Voyage of Gethsarade is a work of fantasy fiction written for young adults and was penned by author M G Claybrook. Focused on the importance of accepting and understanding our differences, this traditional animal-based fantasy tale envelops its moral purpose within an epic tale of adventure, forming the second novel in The Elderwood Chronicles collection. The tale begins with Sangareth, a squirrel who captains a vessel and is persuaded into a challenge by his fierce enemy, Barrogan the black rat. On his journey to find a mythical place with magical promises, the tale of the identity of Gethsarade unwinds, with much mystery and self-discovery along the way.
Most enjoyable for young adults at the younger end of the teen spectrum, this delightful and daring tale of adventure has much moral and entertainment value. Author M G Claybrook writes in the great tradition of authors like Brian Jacques and Richard Adams, giving his cast of characters strong, relatable emotions, family ties and bonds of honor so that readers will find themselves supporting and falling in love with the flawed heroes of this tale. The descriptions are vivid and exciting, bringing bygone days of derring-do back to life, with adventure, risk, and heroism keeping the plot moving along at an excellent pace. Gethsarade’s discovery of himself and his sense of alienation are also sensitively explored with a great deal of emotional intelligence. Overall, The Voyage of Gethsarade is an excellent read for anyone who enjoys lavish, epic fantasy and well-realized and enjoyable animal characters."
You can learn more about M G Claybrook and "The Voyage of Gethsarade" at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/the-voyage-of-gethsarade where you can read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly or through their website and social media pages.
If you'd like to experience the fantastic world of Elderwood without the financial commitment, you can subscribe here to download your free ebook copy of Matthew's first book in the series, Mabby the Squirrel's Guide to Flying. Happy flying!
#YAlit #mustread #newbooks #fantasy #Bookish #Shelfie #freebook #ReadMore
Click here to view.
Review Rating: 5 Stars
The Voyage of Gethsarade is a work of fantasy fiction written for young adults and was penned by author M G Claybrook. Focused on the importance of accepting and understanding our differences, this traditional animal-based fantasy tale envelops its moral purpose within an epic tale of adventure, forming the second novel in The Elderwood Chronicles collection. The tale begins with Sangareth, a squirrel who captains a vessel and is persuaded into a challenge by his fierce enemy, Barrogan the black rat. On his journey to find a mythical place with magical promises, the tale of the identity of Gethsarade unwinds, with much mystery and self-discovery along the way.
Most enjoyable for young adults at the younger end of the teen spectrum, this delightful and daring tale of adventure has much moral and entertainment value. Author M G Claybrook writes in the great tradition of authors like Brian Jacques and Richard Adams, giving his cast of characters strong, relatable emotions, family ties and bonds of honor so that readers will find themselves supporting and falling in love with the flawed heroes of this tale. The descriptions are vivid and exciting, bringing bygone days of derring-do back to life, with adventure, risk, and heroism keeping the plot moving along at an excellent pace. Gethsarade’s discovery of himself and his sense of alienation are also sensitively explored with a great deal of emotional intelligence. Overall, The Voyage of Gethsarade is an excellent read for anyone who enjoys lavish, epic fantasy and well-realized and enjoyable animal characters.
Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
Putting your book out to market is so weird and funny sometimes.
My books have been given five star reviews, accepted into major library journals, and still independent stores like Interabang books don't want to have anything to do with me because I'm not big five, and therefore not this mythical guaranteed money grab for them. That doesn't exist.
I realized early on that I wanted more control of my story as it had lots of moving parts. I realized my mistake, and am glad my publisher went out of business and I got my rights back. It enabled me to republish the book as something I could be proud of, and have chosen to remain independent for the foreseeable future.
I wanted to write the way I knew it needed rather than something that pandered to the lowest common denominator. The idea in mainstream publishing is that having your book too specialized or too high level concept makes it less marketable. They want mass appeal.
Yet the idea is continually disproven by the success of independent books, written with quality craft. In the particular there is contained the universal. That is what makes books relatable, and concision, complexity, and uniqueness makes them interesting and compelling.
In other words, stupid people don't read, they say they read. Smart people just read, and if you're just trying to write to the widest possible audience, you're actually committing to making your book as mediocre and unmemorable as possible.
Sure, there are lots of people that like to be 'swept up' and don't like to be challenged but rather just entertained. There is a comfort in the easy read. That's most people most of the time, but no one all the time. Because ease, while comforting, is boring and predictable, and skilled readers don't read to be comforted. They read to extinguish an inextinguishable fire that they got from the pages of that like them, stands uncomforted, unwilling to apologize, and peerless.
But imagine if most people just went to the gym to have fun and would rather the machines do the work for them. If gyms were like publishers, gyms would turn into day spas, smoothie joints, and massage parlors, and no one would benefit from what they claim to be on their signs, and most would be fine with that, and likely even pay a premium to be able to say they go to the "gym."
If gyms were like publishers, and only cared about what is marketable to the athletically disenclined, because that group is of course larger and thus theoretically are a deeper money well, they would entirely lose their substance, and actual athletes and people desiring to actually get in shape would have to find something else.
That is what publishing has become, literally a sellout crowd.
And that is why when so many people only read what is popular, they don't realize how they are being conditioned in doing so to become politically biased, intellectually average, and actually just how boring and cookie cutter-like they become in their thinking. That is what popularity is; the seeking of the safety of sameness, by peddling conformity disguised as revelation.
Those who would go to that kind of gym, don't go to the gym.
Gyms in reality are sustainable business even in an era of obesity because they know what they are there for.
Publishers however, don't care if a book is good, unique, or original. They care if it is marketable. It is the reason why so many publishers fail. It is also why the public is so entitled and the reading level is so, so low.
That is the reason for independent authors.
Believe it or not, most independent authors are so by choice, not because their writing isn't good enough. It's because they realize the same thing I did after long enough doing this.
Because if that's the brand I have to become in order to sell books in their theory, then I'd rather take my chances. If you support major media today, and only consume media to have what you already know and believe fed back to you, then fine. But if you want something better or at least more interesting, then support and even check out your local independent author, at your local Barnes and Noble.
Counter-intuitively, small, independent bookstores are scared to death of the pressure of Amazon and BN sinking them, so at least in Dallas they only want big authors to come in their stores, who won't because they're big authors and have sense enough not to. The truth is, long-time chain booksellers, not book publishers, are the ally of the free writer, because they know the connection to their community and thus sustainability in business is the local and independent author. Everything else is hit and miss.
The struggle has been like this, actually, for a long time. If you doubt me, read here about James Joyce, the greatest novelist, perhaps of all time. He struggled because he was different, and therefore dangerous.
Go to your local store, and you'll be able to tell quickly if the owner thinks their 'aesthetic,' which is a shrouded term for 'one sided-ness,' is what sells. Then go to stores like Lucky Dog, smell the old pages, the wholesome knowledge that some new mysterious treasure is waiting there for you because the books are many and diverse. The 'specialty' bookstores like Deep Ellum, Lake Pointe, and Interabang, just play the same game all the time. Paperbacks Plus welcomes any and everyone, and you know it because they welcome any and every book, and their stores are what bookstores are meant to be.
Barnes and Noble, and those kinds of independent stores know that good business means community engagement, supporting local authors, and having something for everyone, which are the mission of the independent, not the big five author. You'll realize instantly which store is the real treasure in your town. The truth is, independent bookstores and publishers fail often because the industry has lost its purpose, and it's actually the intellectual and creative freedom you will find in independent writers who now dominate the market because they are giving its life back slowly, to the chagrin of the shrinking empires of Hachette, Penguin, Bantam, et cetera, despite their palatable supplication to the masses. And to the benefit of sellers who smartly back the independent. If you want to make it, it's about small or independent press, big bookstores, and community engagement. That is where unique voices are heard, so that is where the new generation of great writers will come from. Actually, it always has been.
The support given to indies by Amazon and Barnes and Noble has made them successful precisely because they do. Branding is modern day mythology. Dare to venture from the copy and pasted normology, be willing to read to grow or find something new, not to be branded.
The truth is, publishers are more like restaurants, and the biggest restaurant chains are the ones that care the least for your health. They are concerned with quantity. The best food is still, and always will be, made at home, with no brand, no need for an agenda, except the sole purpose of giving joy and nourishment to those to whom it is served. So is the best writing. So if you want America to change back to the kind of place where we cared about thinking, about fact, about good, nourishing thought and imagination, believe it or not, it starts with what you read. Be more selective, and don't just read what's shoveled in front of you by people with an agenda, or a bottom line to meet. If you only want to eat at McDonald's every day, fine. I can't say I don't partake sometimes. But don't kid yourself into thinking you're giving your money and time to something worth your money and time, and then wonder why books and reading just doesn't seem worth your time. It is, you're just doing it wrong. Open your mind, come home where the message still has integrity and concern for you, and eat good words. Go Indie.