Thursday, August 25, 2011

Post #3 of WorldCon 2011 at Reno: God and Manga

By Linda

Creating Gods

The Creating gods (and other super powered individuals) panel was an interesting one. The panelists were Brandon Sanderson, Carrie Vaughn, Brenda W. Clough.

Do other characters become insignificant if there are god-like characters? Carrie Vaughan said no and gave Greek mythology,with its human and god interaction, as an example.

Brandon said that disparity in power causes conflict. The panelists agreed that power need not define a person (I was reminded of those endless debates over power levels of Wheel of Time characters at Wotmania; they are probably still happening!) A protagonist needs to overcome adversity to impress the reader. Too easy is not as interesting. Foreshadowing makes using magic to solve problems satisfying for the reader.

Super powered beings can have a weakness. (Brandon wrote a novella on this topic from which he read an excerpt earlier in the Con.) The classic way is to cripple the god, but the panelists found this often feels contrived. (Erikson has a god literally named the Crippled God).

Brandon tries to surprise the reader with how powers are used in interesting ways to solve or overcome problems. He said he “inherited” Rand when Rand had ultimate power and struggled with how to handle it. While Rand has god-like power, Brandon emphasized Rand’s difficulty with interpersonal relationships, and also the Shadow’s strategy to subvert Rand so they can win. He concentrated on Rand’s despair. These things have nothing to do with super powers.

I noticed that all panelists except Brandon talked about writing the death of a god. Hmmm…

Manga panel

I attended the Manga: which series got you hooked panel to get ideas for surprise gifts for my teenage son who likes manga and came away with plenty. Better still, Peter Ahlstrom kindly provided me with more suggestions after the panel.

Some, such as Full Metal Alchemist, I had written down on a piece of paper and then lost it. I have heaps of paper with notes on at home.

These ones sounded worth checking out to me:

    Hikaru-no-Go - about the game of go. (I’ve written about go in the Wheel of Time here).
    Barefoot Gen – about a Hiroshima survivor
    Dazzle – a complex series not complete about a small group of wanderers. (Heck, I’ve been waiting for series to be completed for years; I don’t see why my son can’t suffer too!)
    Gantz – ongoing series about souls who become part of a semi-posthumous "game" in which they are forced to hunt down and kill aliens
    Sanctuary – a political thriller
    Naruto – about a ninja
    Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle - by Clamp, refers to earlier works and has Sakura as the main character
    Planetes –a sf manga

These are all shonen (aimed at male readers) manga.

Some examples of shojo (aimed at female readers) manga recommended by the panelists are:
    Red River - about a girl sucked back into Hittite and Ancient Egyptian times
    Angel sanctuary – has incest, archangels (interesting mix)
    Ceres, Celestial legend – about an angel kidnapped and kept
    Fushigi Yuugi – about a girl sucked into a vortex and transported to China
    Basara – post apocalyptic Tokyo

Other shojo manga were mentioned, but I didn’t get them all.

Recommended anime are Twelve Kingdoms and Rurouni Kenshin.


Anonymous said...

How old is your son, what kind of movies/books does he like and how mature is he?

I ask because there is such a wide range in the manga you've written down. Gantz is a vastly more dark, mature and disturbing story then Naruto for example.


Jacques Blaauw said...

Also have a look at Bleach.
It's a sword fighting shonen anime, slightly more adult than Naruto. The main character (Kurusaki Ichigo) has always reminded me of Rand in the sense that he refuses to let evil triumph, and he'll do anything to protect those dear to him.

Linda said...

Rurouni: He's 18 and studying at university. Even though he's quite mature he'll read younger stuff if it's good. I'll look at these to see if they'll suit his taste before buying them. He liked Rurouni, Death Note, Black Cat and others I can't recall.

Jacques: I'll ask him about Bleach. We've seen it, but I don't know why he hasn't taken it up. Perhaps its length?

Anonymous said...

bleach is the best around and its endless so length isnt an issue

Joakim said...

Check out Death Note, it's great, really awesome

Linda said...

Joakim: My son has watched Death Note in anime. I want to get him something new first, but might well get the Manga version later, just as I ultimately plan on getting the anime version of Rurouni Kenshin.

Yesterday at a Borders closing down sale I got 3 3-in-1 volumes: the first two Bleach and a Gantz.