Archive for Hunger Games

squid games

Posted in Books, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2021 by xi'an

Following my son’s prodding, I watched the Korean series Squid Games a few weeks ago, before it became a worldwide phenomenon, as illustrated by the French national public radio, France Inter, hosting a talk show with a philosopher and a psychiatrist on the layers of the game! And the French Ministry of Education warning primary and secondary school headmasters of the dangers of copycats in the playgrounds… My overall impression was one of originality with comparison with other K drama series I had watched, even though the realistic early scenes of a deeply indebted and failed father reminded me of several of them, not to mention the beginning of Parasite. The switch to the game playground was much less convincing, with the military organisation of the guards rather caricaturesque, growing worse with the appearance of the fromt row (?) evilmaster, and hitting ludicrous levels with the depraved male clients from all over the World. It seems to me that the series was trying to mix too many layers in its motivations, from the Korean debt culture, to organ trafficking, to keeping family structures, which made the result unconclusive and unsatisfactory. It sounded too artificial to be really dystopic. And knowing most of the characters were going to die (sorry for the spoiler!) did not help in relating to them. But overall I fail to see why this easy twist of children games is such a danger for humanity. Or carrying any deep message to the World. After all, The Most Dangerous Game did not change the course of history!

banned books week

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2020 by xi'an

Gideon the Ninth [book review]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2020 by xi'an

After much hesitation and pondering, I eventually gave in and started reading Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, and then rushed through it over the first of May extended weekend! Hesitation and pondering, because I am not particularly excited in zombie novels and animate skeletons literature and living dead books. However, since the book was getting a lot of praise from reading groups and ended up a Hugo Awards 2020 Nominee, I ordered the 2€ Kindle version and got to read it, being immediately caught by the irreverent tone of the main character and the punk style of the story, which mixes necromancy, death cults, living gods, space travel, chivalrous quest, sword mystique, AIs, deadly puzzles à la Hunger Games, and a whodunit à la Agatha Christie, Then There Were None on an island planet… (Although I have never been a fan of Christie’s novels either, reading some eons ago as an unsuccessful way to improve my appalling English skills in secondary school). The book gets addictive because of this highly unusual combination, plus the compelling story and relation of the two central teenage girls, turning away from murderous to loving, once all skeletons are out of the closet (literally). There are enough complex and un-charicatur-esque characters to make the structure and the whodunit puzzle very enjoyable, with unexpected twists and a massively enjoyable ending. To think that this is a first novel is staggering, with highly funny dialogues for Death believers. Definitely worth the read (and the vote for the Hugo Award!) And the second volume is coming out next August. (But the first Act is available for free on kindles.)

en route to Australia

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , on July 10, 2012 by xi'an

Despite the very long flights and the two transfers in Singapore and Brisbane, I found the trip to Australia only moderately tiring! Maybe because I managed to sleep for close to 8 hours on the first leg. Maybe because of the (great) facility of my new and cheap Compaq to keep running for a whole leg of seven hours without exhausting the battery (that I reloaded in Singapore). Maybe because I am finally getting used to twelve hour flights after my round trip to Kyoto last week. Maybe because having five breakfasts (my favourite meal!) in two days is a good enough reward. I even watched a movie, The Hunger Games, in two parts: one half before landing in Singapore and the other half over Bali. It is a terrible movie, with poor acting and even worse scenario. Plus, it has a rather lame ending, since the structure of the Orwellian society where those games take place is not at all perturbed by the actions of the characters since they were manipulated till the very end. However. the lame plot had some interesting game theory implications: in a game where all adversaries have to be eliminated, does it make sense to make temporary alliances? And then I suddenly remembered having read a blog about this, a few months ago!

The only painful part of the trip actually was to travel with two laptops, as I am not trusting the Compaq to stand the whole visit to Australia, nor the newly installed Macbook to be sufficiently stable. (I even took an external hard-drive to make daily security backups and to keep both laptops attuned…) I also wish my daughter had not “borrowed” my Canon point-and-shoot camera as there were particularly nice views when we landed both in Singapore and in Brisbane. Travelling with my (wife’s) Nikon J1 is not exactly as easy (more about this later!). And I do not think I can take it running, although I will obviously give it a try.

I now hope it won’t take me too long to get on Australian time(s) and look very much forward the interactions being an AMSI Lecturer can induce!

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