[ARC] Object Lessons: Souvenir and Rust


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Souvenir by Rolf Potts

In this volume belonging to the Object Lesson series, the author focuses on all the souvenirs, providing also a historical perspective about the first relics that religious pilgrims used to take home.

The short book faces the theme from the market point of view – souvenir kind and tourist requests – keeping into account also the industrial replicability and the tourist psychology, who wants both to keep memory of a travel or an experience, and something that reflects the location history (e.g. to confirm that exotic places are inhabited by savages).

I think Souvenir is one of the most interesting book of the series because of the way the topic was dealt with.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

Rust by Jean-Michel Rabaté

Rust is the exact opposite of Souvenir: as much the latter is concrete, the former is focused on a philosophical reflection that takes the rust as metaphor of other things.

The Object Lesson books are always aesthetically appealing, but their content is like a bet, there is no hint on how the author decided to deal with the topic. Unfortunately for Rust, I like better a more scientific and practical non fiction, with respect to the philosophical one.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.

* Souvenir by Rolf Potts ★★★★☆
* Rust
by Jean-Michel Rabaté ★☆☆☆☆

*I read this book in english

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang


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Stories of Your Life and Others is a collection of tales by Ted Chiang, famous recently for the movie Arrival, that is based on the story that titles the book.

Story of Your Life is wonderful and compelling, and the mix between reading the story and seeing the movie helps in understanding better the thematic (time perception, cause – effect system, interacting with an alien culture); it’s one of the rare situation when text and video helps themselves.

The tales have a philosophical / theological implication: the ambition to reach the divine in Tower of Babylon, the angelic influx to human in Hell is the absence of God, the contact between science and religion in Division by Zero.

Other tales explore ethics and moral: Seventy-Two Letters is set in a hypothetical reality where man is able to give life to golem (that can be compared to artificial intelligences), Liking What You See: A Documentary analyze the theme of perceiving beauty also with respect to the actual standards provided by the media, and Understand shows two opposite ways of dealing with supreme knowledge.

The collection is of great quality, the main thread is the speculation of science fiction; the stories are useful to reflect, but they are not suited for the sf action-lovers.

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang ★★★★☆

*I read this book in english

L’incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Moebius


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The Incal is a complex book for structure and themes: in a future civilization, with the government contended between various political factions, the private detective John Difool receives from a dying Berg (an alien with the aspect of a bird) the light Incal, a sentient entity able to provide immense power to the one who owns it.
It will begin like this the various adventures of Difool to put through the Incal purpose and that will make the main character meet new friends.

The story is complex, both because of the political issues in the plot, both for the philosophical reasoning, that have the climax in the ending. The only recurrent element is the main character, not suited to be a hero but an honest representation of humanity always wandering for answers.

Concerning the graphic the book is wonderful and rich: the images are always realistic and very detailed; the illustrator skill comes out also in the evolution of Difool appearance during the story and in function of him having the Incal.

The Incal deserves some time to be read: going too fast some details could be lost (and I however am planning a re-read).


* The Incal by Jodorowsky & Moebius ★★★★★

*I read this book in Italian