Doris Piserchia Weblog

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The Doris Piserchia Weblog.

The following posts include (1) "footnotes" for The Doris Piserchia Website (link at left), (2) texts-in-process that will eventually appear there, (3) texts from other websites, and (we hope) (4) stimulating discussion threads. The picture to the left is the back cover of The Spinner (book club edition), depicting a citizen of Eastland "hanging out" while Ekler the cop and Rune the idiot-superman look on.

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The closest thing you'll find to a cinematic visualization of Doris Piserchia's "jungle worlds" (in Earthchild, but especially Earth in Twilight) is Hayao Miyazaki's animation epic Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind. In the film's post-apocalyptic world, the Earth is gradually being overtaken by a toxic jungle called the Sea of Corruption, which is filled with towering flora and myriad exotic insect species. The beautifully-drawn scenes inside the jungle have the same chaotic density and sense of lurking danger as Piserchia's tales: swarms of hunter-killer dragonflies, tree-climbing pillbugs, and giant multi-eyed mites called Ohmu are among the many denizens of Miyazaki's ecosystem. According to this exhaustive article, Miyazaki had read Dune and Brian Aldiss's Hothouse before working on Nausicaš, but his emphasis on insects--as opposed to plant species--as the dominant lifeform in the jungle places his vision of a twilight Earth closer to Piserchia's than Aldiss's. Like Reee in Earthchild, Princess Nausicaš is surprisingly at home in her deadly environment, and communicates sympathetically with some of its most frightening creatures.

Good luck finding a copy of the film, however. It was released in the U.S. in 1984 by New World Video, in a heavily-edited cut titled Warriors of the Wind. Disney has since acquired the rights (along with Princess Mononoke and other Miyazaki films), but who knows when they'll release it. I found Warriors at my local video store, and enjoyed it thoroughly despite its mangling of the story line. I actually prefer the New World translation of the jungle as "Toxic Jungle" rather than "Sea of Corruption," although there's really no reason for changing Nausicaš to Zandra, and "Ohmu" is probably better than "Gorgons" for the giant bugs. One impediment to a Disney rerelease may be the sexuality of Nausicaš. Anime expert Susan Napier calls her "androgynous," but in the first half of the movie she's wearing a microminiskirt and apparently no underwe4r. I kept telling myself that Miyazaki was more "classy" than the typical p4nty-peeking anime director (surely the Princess is wearing flesh-colored tights!), but still found the flapping skirt distracting. I can imagine the corporate types at Disney discussing whether to digitally "dress" the Princess.
- tom moody 5-27-2002 11:08 pm [link] [1 ref] [6 comments]

[Chapter outline of Blood County, continued from comments to the previous post. (Postscript: all this material is now consolidated and on its own page.)]

Ch. 33. Little Charlie acquires his second adult guardian since becoming a Lamprou: in place of the late Gilda and her "kisses and protecting arms," he gets Jared Brewster and the "promise of drama and mayhem." Jared coaches him in the stalking of elderly villager Senior Ricco: a humiliating attack that begins when the old man is relieving his bowels in the woods. Charlie fails to drain Ricco of blood and retreats to the safety of the river; as the old man is preparing to wade into the water and brain him with a rock, Jared comes up behind Ricco and shoves him into the stream (where he disappears over the falls). Jared then takes Charlie to the mansion to be his "lookout boy."

Ch. 34. Senior's son Junior Ricco comes to Clint's house to file a complaint to be transmitted to "Jared Lamprou," the "new master." (From this scene we infer that the "civilized" Duquieu, when he was alive, gave villagers some means for redress of grievances.) Junior alleges that his father Senior has been turned into a Lamprou, has killed Junior's wife Mary, and has left eight children without a mother. He demands compensation for the transformation and its consequences. Clint says he doubts Jared will listen. Junior says he hopes Clint can "settle Jared down" so the town will have a master and crops will continue to grow, but avows that the townspeople will kill Jared and "open up his heart with a wood sword" if he doesn't behave. [Blood has a weird form of democracy: a bloodthirsty leader serves at the sufferance of the people; the townspeople won't administer but will happily kill the administrator. Or is this just bluster?] Another interesting detail: Junior has the "Hopemont yodel," which means "he has TB and will probably end up in the clinic in Hopemont."

[summary of the remaining chapters (35-55) continues in the comments to this post--or read the completed version here.]
- tom moody 5-21-2002 11:52 pm [link] [6 comments]