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November 28th, 2003

the Speculative Fiction Workshop.

my speculative fiction workshop has been filled. it's running in january for two days, and aims to introduce high school students from year seven to ten to the world of strange and subversive fiction that is in the speculative fiction genre, and which they won't usually find on a steady diet of lord of the rings and harry potter and all the similar work out there. i'm using speculative fiction as an umbrealla term, and beneath it is fantasy, science fiction, horror, and all the tiny little sub genres that spread out from these, including movies and poetry and comics, assuming it doesn't blow out to be bigger than the two days.

anyhow, it should be fun.

i've got a pretty good idea of the texts i'll be using, but if you want to suggest something, please, feel free.

Origin.

i read origin, the graphic novel that proposes to be the origin of mutant favourite wolverine.

i've heard different things. i've heard people who liked it and people who didn't. myself, i didn't know. it took a while for me to work up to buying it. i like andy kubert's art a fair bit, but paul Jenkins', the writer, can be a bit of hit and miss with me. i also must admit that the proposed origin of wolverine was not exactly something that i thought could be pulled off well, and that it might just as well ruin the character. especially considering that there was barry windsor smith's very fine weapon x, which detailed the adamantium skeleton and everything.

but, you know, i was surprised: it works.

it takes the interesting technique of not presenting wolverine (or logan, as he is also known) as the central character. instead, the story is experienced from the point of view of the young woman rose. the name is a bit of a mistake, and she is a bit bland (and i really could have done without the explanation at the back of the book for her name) but it removes the focus from wolverine, who, as a young man, builds his personality out from his experiences and the people he meets and admires. clearly, jenkins is working on the idea that we are created through out experiences, rather than born with our personality in tack. it was an interesting take, i thought, and added an extra dimension to the story, and the narrative unfolding.

this is not to say that origin is perfect. there is the hint that the father isn't quite the father, and the hired help was a bit obviously a mislead for the narrative. but the opening chapters do have a nice sense of dread running through them, that something quite tragic is going to happen. and the final chapter, when a man is sent after logan... well, i could have done without that. the end with rose seemed a bit contrived, too.

but with that said, that central idea of jenkins, with kubert's fine art, brings origin up to an interested level, i believe. it even manages to end and allow for the mystic that wolverine has build around him, which i had originally thought that the book would dispel, but doesn't. tricky thing to do, but it's focus on everyone around logan aids this. i suppose if you've got no interest in the character, then you won't with this either, but i've always liked him, and i was pleased with the book.