It Review: A Horror to be Imagined | Book Analysis

‘It’ tells a story of seven eleven-year-olds who face an ancient evil entity they call ‘It.’ Along with their daily social and family problems, the Losers club defeats It sending him to sleep. Twenty-seven years later, It awakens, and the group of once children fight the monster in one last attempt to kill it for good. Stephen King’s ‘It’ showed that there is always a triumph of good over evil.

In my view, many parts of Stephen King’s ‘It’ showed the transcendence of each member of the Losers as they left childhood into adulthood. For most people, the depiction of the members of the Losers club having an orgy marked the point they lost their innocence.

However, other events come to life that showed each member losing the elements of childhood in a specific way. For one, each member had a different fear as an adult. This, in itself, showed that they had gone beyond the point of being scared as little children. Another worthy event that marked members of the Losers club losing their innocence was their thinking. Bill felt the selfish thoughts of him using the rest of the club to get revenge was something only adults thought. One could say Bill had lost his innocence at that point.

Another feature noticed in the book is the victory of good over evil. One may think that the only problems the Losers club faced were ‘It’ and the Bowers gang, but the fact stands that the members of the Losers club had family and personal problems.

Throughout the story, each member of the Losers club faced hardship, and those hardships made them stronger. For Bill, him having to watch his parents become a shadow of themselves after they lost George was a cross he had to bear. For Beverly, it was having to withstand being abused by her father and husband. For Ben, being mocked for his obesity was a burden on him. For Eddie, it was facing his controlling mother, who didn’t want him to have anything to do with his friends. In the end, the suffering and hardships each member of the Losers club faced gave them the strength to triumph over evil.

‘It’ is a book that has a heavy impact on its reader. The book shows a town in a post-WWII era where bleakness and death reign. The horror of Derry is synonymous with the problems of society today. According to Christopher Lehman-Haupt of The New York Times.

It concerns the evil that has haunted America from time to time in the forms of crime, racial and religious bigotry, economic hardship, labor strife, and industrial pollution.

Though ‘It’ is a lengthy book with over a thousand pages, reading the book ignites curiosity to know what happens next. Stephen King’s innate detailed writing and events expression makes a reader engrossed in the book. It becomes as if one were in the same place at the same time with each character, one can feel the fear of the characters as each action is detailed. In my opinion ‘It’ is an excellent book worth the time.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Constants and variables – a high-brow theme of Bioshock Infinite, but one that’s just as appropriate for The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. In the land of Hyrule there’s always a princess, always a boyish hero, always dungeons to explore, gadgets to explore them with and always an overworld, full of monsters, magic and surprises, linking the whole shebang together.

In this, the latest Zelda is no different from any other. But then those variables come into play. On one level, like the New Super Mario Bros. games, A Link Between Worlds uses 3D graphics and recent technology to return to the 2D roots of a series. On another, it’s surprisingly innovative, taking risks with the established Zelda structure and finding out what happens when you do. Put it all together and you have one of the strongest games on the 3DS, or on any other handheld platform you could mention.

A Link Between Worlds has one specific vintage Zelda in its sights, and that’s the 1992 SNES classic A Link to the Past. It has the same top-down view, a broadly similar game world and is explicitly set up as a successor, though the hero, Link, and the princess, Zelda, are – as usual – not exactly the same people they were before.

It’s also styled in much the same way, with similar scenery, architecture and monsters, and a look that’s effectively what A Link to the Past might have resembled if it was being rendered in 3D on reasonably modern hardware. The aesthetic doesn’t have the charm and grace of the cartoon visuals of the Wind Waker HD, as used in The Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks on the old DS, and we can’t really say that we’re fond of Link’s latest look. Yet this style turns out to have some major plus points, which we’ll come to later.

The tale begins in the way so many Zeldas start; with an urgent summons and a critical event that drags Link into contact with an evil power: this time an art-obsessed sorcerer named Yuga. Yuga is busy transforming the Sages that defend Hyrule into feeble paintings, and is only too happy to do the same for Link should he get in the way. Luckily, his plan backfires, giving Link the ability to transform at will into a 2D drawing that can wander along walls and past 3D obstacles. Armed with this power and every tool at his disposal, Link must find three magic pendants and then claim the ultimate weapon – the Master Sword.

So far, so standard Zelda, albeit with a unique twist. Yet right from the start A Link Between Worlds starts to mix things up. Most Zelda games have a strict structure, where you journey through Hyrule to a dungeon, find a new piece of equipment, use the new kit to reach and then defeat the dungeon boss, and then use it to explore new areas and reach the next dungeon. Not so A Link Between Worlds. Now nearly all the equipment you need is available at the start, and you just need to rent or buy it from a mysterious bunny-eared merchant.

This has two effects. First, you need to keep bringing in the wonga if you want to get the gear you need. In fact, dying means you lose rented equipment, forcing you to return to your home and cough up more of your precious dosh. Zelda’s Rupees have never seemed so valuable or so much worth collecting.

Secondly, you have a lot more freedom in how you explore the dungeons. In the game’s first section you can opt to tackle dungeons two and three in either order. Once the action really kicks off you have even more dungeons in need of attention, and while you’re subtly encouraged to deal with some before others, it all really comes down to what you can afford, and whether you’re willing to rent or buy it.

It’s at this point that A Link Between Worlds throws in its second big mechanic. The first few hours have their share of tricky dungeons, asking you to make full use of two great gadgets – the Link lifting Tornado Rod and the always handy Hammer – not to mention Link’s new 2D form. Get beyond this, however, and the game opens up a whole new world, Lorule: a dark mirror image of Hyrule where a different princess, Hilda, is only just holding out against the forces of evil. Link can move between the two worlds by transforming into 2D form then creeping through psychedelic cracks in the walls, and the puzzles become as much about exploiting the constants and variables between the two worlds as using new equipment, solving puzzles and defeating all the monsters.

Together, this handful of new ideas freshens up the Zelda gameplay, even as the presentation is raising nostalgic memories of Zeldas past. One of A Link Between Worlds’ key strengths is that it doesn’t tell you where to go or what to do, but leaves the situations lying within its two landscapes and giving (or at least renting) you the tools to do the job. There are hint and help systems built-in, like a handy fortune-teller, some helpful specs and a broomstick-based fast-travel system, but it’s great to see a game that makes you work out what you should do, even if it’s going to drag a few players towards the inevitable FAQs.

The best Zelda games are all-absorbing, dragging you from dungeon to dungeon with a mixture of sheer charm and the thrill of discovery. This is unquestionably one of the good ones. Along the way you’ll find the usual side-quests and eccentric characters plus some enjoyable mini-games, while collecting a range of gruesome ingredients for life-saving, damage-dealing potions. For a game with a reasonably small game world and a limited cast, there’s an awful lot of stuff here to get lost in.

That matters. A Link Between Worlds is on balance the best Zelda we’ve yet seen on a handheld, and one that can keep you sucked in for hours on end. It kept your writer going for two lengthy train journeys within hours of each other, where the time flew by like it was nothing. And while we usually poo-poo the 3DS’s 3D capabilities, they also count here.

The world and the dungeons are rendered with a palpable impression of depth that actually makes them easier to navigate with the 3D effect switched on, and that’s helped by the clean style of the graphics. There aren’t many 3DS games where the 3D actively encourages immersion, but here it does, adding a vertiginous edge to some of the environments, and making some of the boss battles genuinely spectacular.

The downside of some of the changes is that it can be frustrating. The help systems are unobtrusive and do nothing to break the magic of the world, but we can guarantee you’ll get stuck somewhere along the way, particularly once you have to switch from Hyrule to Lorule and back again. The routine of having to return home to re-rent equipment every time you die can spoil the flow, though being able to buy equipment later takes most of the pain away. And while we’re grumbling, the new systems for managing inventory and choosing items isn’t bad, but you can only use one piece of equipment at a time, and switching quickly from, say, the bombs to the typhoon rod is a pain.

Well, more of a niggling ache, really. A Link Between Worlds is sometimes a little too easy, and sometimes a little too tough, but it’s always utterly beguiling. It says something that with a new generation of super consoles just around the corner, some small part of us would rather find a desert island (with a plentiful supply of power) and settle down to make the very most of this pocket-sized marvel.

A Link Between Worlds has one foot embedded in the series’ past and one foot firmly in its future, and the result is another classic Legend of Zelda. It doesn’t have the visual flair of The Wind Waker and its DS progeny, but it makes up for it with fresher gameplay, some brilliant new ideas and a more freewheeling style of epic adventure. Handheld games don’t get any better.

Manga Entertainment released anime that can be cherished now

A still from X (1996), directed by Rintaro

One of the books that I’m particularly glad to have acquired several months ago is titled ‘The Atlas of Legendary Places’ by Jennifer Westwood and James Harpur. It was published in 1989, and I bought it at a used books store (Book Lovers in North Vancouver). It’s rare for me to shop for new books because new books, or simply books that got published since the 21st century began, are very often poorly written and illustrated. The quality of books, like the quality of almost everything else in the West, began to seriously get worse after the 20th century came to an end. I do, however, go to Indigo Books and Music at times and look at what’s available. One of the new books that I bought several months ago is titled ‘An Illustrated History of 151 Video Games: A Detailed Guide to the Most Important Games’ by Simon Parkin. According to the author, it’s “a chronological history describing important games, but it’s also a celebration of 151 games, holding up each example as a wonderful marriage of art, design and coding waiting to be played, enjoyed and experienced again.” Like other modern books, it’s not really that well written. It even contains some grammar errors. But I like how the book is structured, I like the author’s choices, and I like that it features plenty of information and pictures. It’s one of my favorite books in my collection. The book doesn’t only include information about the 151 chosen games. It also includes information about video game consoles and it goes over the history of video games. One book that I bought recently is titled ‘The Ultimate Playstation Games Collection: The 100 Greatest Games from Alien Isolation to Yakuzo’ by Dan Peel. This book’s intro page mentions that “Sony’s PlayStation revolutionised the videogame industry. It wasn’t the first home console, but it brought gaming to the masses in a way few other systems at the time managed to do. Now, more than 25 years after its initial release there are over 10,000 games spanning Sony’s home and handheld consoles, and PlayStation leads the way in console exclusives. With so many experiences and genres to choose from, it can be daunting. But fear not! We’ve compiled 100 unmissable titles that no PlayStation fan’s library should be without.” I think that this new book is now my favorite book about video games. In addition to the list of 100 games, the book features articles from Retro Gamer, EDGE, and GamesRadar. Retro Gamer, in particular, is a magazine that I read frequently. Anyway, when it comes to ‘The Atlas of Legendary Places’, the book features a list of, and information about, some legendary and inspiring places around the world. I had been to two of the places on the list, which are the Alhambra in Spain and the Nile in Egypt. The Red Square, for example, is another one of the places that I had been to, but it’s not mentioned in the book. The main reason why I bought this book is because it features beautiful photographs and illustrations. Since this book was published in the 20th century, the writing is excellent and often inspired. Reading about the Alhambra in this book not only reminded me of the time when I had seen this palace and walked through it. It also reminded me of the time when I read ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ more than a decade ago. This work is one of the most memorable and enjoyable classics that I’ve read. Having read it, I understand why it’s such a popular book. Let’s not forget that it influenced classics like Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and Alexander Korda’s The Thief of Bagdad (1940). While I’m on this subject, I can mention that I recently came across some quotes that I like by Averroes (Ibn Rushd), whose works are yet another great product of the Islamic Golden Age. Averroes didn’t live in the Abbasid Caliphate, but he still had some interesting things to say. One quote of his is, “Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hate, and hate leads to violence. This is the equation.” Anyway, the first chapter of ‘The Atlas of Legendary Places’, which is about the Eternal Realms, opens with the following introduction. “According to the Book of Genesis, God created the Garden of Eden, a lush idyllic place where plants and fruit-bearing trees abounded and the first man and woman lived in harmony with animals and birds. Such visions of an earthly paradise, places of wonder and delight, can be found in the myths of other cultures. The Greek philosopher Plato was the first to describe the island of Atlantis, where the inhabitants enjoyed a Golden Age existence of luxury and ease. In the same tradition is Avalon, an island of myth and magic, where enchantresses healed the wounds of those who came to them.” Another book that I bought at the same time and in the same store is titled ‘Art of the Western World: From Ancient Greece to Post Modernism’ by Bruce Cole and Adelheid Gealt. It was published in 1989 too, and it’s in good condition. In addition to featuring many beautiful photographs, the book is organized well. Before I bought it, I already had several very good books about art. A few of them are gifts from my mother. I will probably review them in future posts. Well, my mother doesn’t only gift me with books from time to time. She also provides me with health advice from time to time because she reads a lot about how to avoid health problems. For example, for about a year already, she has been telling me that eating burned food and consuming liquids that are kept in plastic bottles or plastic containers can cause cancer. So, it’s best to avoid drinking liquids out of plastic bottles, heating food in plastic containers, and keeping liquids in plastic containers because chemicals from plastics end up in food and liquids and then in the body if consumed. Moreover, cancer becomes more of a threat to people when they reach their mid-thirties. Anyway, when I was a student in elementary school and in high school, I took art classes. Therefore, I have an interest in art. There are some things that I’ve noticed about Western art after reading about it and looking at it. Western art has some characteristics that the arts of some other cultures don’t have. For example, there are differences between Western art and Russian art. Western art very often features female nudity and depictions of horror or death. These characteristics are present not only in Western art but also in Western cinema. But cinema can be regarded as an art form, I suppose. These characteristics are not present in Russian art, for example. Russian literature too is different from Western literature in some ways. Western books and comics very often feature incredible individuals and heroes. For example, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote novels about an incredible detective (Sherlock Holmes). Ian Fleming wrote novels about an incredible secret service agent (James Bond). Stan Lee wrote comic books about incredible heroes (superheroes like Spider-Man and Iron Man). Russian literature, on the other hand, rarely features incredible individuals and heroes.

Two games that I recently finished playing are Final Fantasy X (2001) and God of War (2018). Playing and completing Final Fantasy X this time was my second time doing this. I guess that I don’t really need to shower this game with praise because it’s one of the best-selling video games ever and it’s acknowledged as one of the best video games ever. After playing games like Dark Souls and Dark Souls II not that long ago, playing Final Fantasy X was a breeze and a piece of cake for me. Grinding for experience in Dark Souls is a tedious, lengthy, and sometimes challenging process. But, in Final Fantasy X, on the few occasions when I decided to grind for experience in order to have an easier time in battles, I spent at most only about an hour on doing this. Perhaps the biggest thing that makes Final Fantasy X a joy to play is its intriguing story. Yoshinori Kitase’s direction was clearly very good. In addition, there’s a memorable cast of characters, beautiful graphics and designs, a fitting and memorable music score by Nobuo Uematsu, and, of course, there’s voice acting, which isn’t as bad as some people say it is. I’d say that the voice acting in this game is mostly decent. By the way, the cover for the PS2 release of this game is one of the best video game covers in existence. So, playing Final Fantasy X again, almost a decade after I played it for the first time, was a soothing experience. God of War was also a breeze to play after playing Dark Souls. I was surprised by how quickly I was able to finish playing it. I think that it took me 20 to 30 hours to complete God of War, and I tried to complete every side mission that became available (I even defeated the valkyries). God of War is the first PS4 game that I’ve completed so far. Playing this game is a lot like playing Resident Evil 4 because it too has an over-the-shoulder camera. Well, I did play it on the easiest difficulty setting because I play video games mostly for the story and not for the challenge. God of War has already been acknowledged as a modern video game classic. So, I don’t need to spend time on praising it. The graphics are obviously superb. The music score is effective, just like the music in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, though not particularly memorable. I would have preferred to play God of War on my laptop instead of on my PlayStation 4, which actually emits a considerable amount of heat when it’s turned on, but my laptop isn’t powerful enough to run a game like God of War smoothly. As impressive as God of War is, I don’t find it to be quite as memorable as the first two God of War games for the PlayStation 2. I haven’t yet played God of War III. God of War is also not quite as memorable for me as Dead Space, which too has an over-the-shoulder free camera. I like the Dead Space trilogy a lot. I had an excellent time playing the Dead Space games on my laptop in the second half of 2021. I like these games as much as, or even more than, the first three Resident Evil games for the PS1. I played the Resident Evil games at the beginning of 2021 on one of my PSP handhelds, having bought them before the PlayStation Store on the PS3 was shut down. When the Resident Evil games were released in the 1990s, they were sort of considered to be blockbuster games. Well, now they can even be played on something like a smartphone or on an inexpensive handheld. The music scores for the Resident Evil games are fantastic, and I have them in my music collection. Resident Evil 2 is probably the most memorable one out of these games because it’s longer, more polished, and more ambitious than the first game. Both Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 have a haunting atmosphere, but almost every aspect of these games can be praised. Well, in Resident Evil 2, there’s even a boss battle against a giant crocodile in a sewer. As for the films that I’ve seen lately, I can easily recommend X (1996). This film is one of a number of films that I own that had been distributed by Manga Entertainment in North America. The others include Angel Cop (1989), Appleseed (1988), Black Jack: The Movie (1996), Black Magic (1987), Bounty Dog (1994), Dangaioh (1987), Ankoku Shinwa (1990), Devilman (1987), Fist of the North Star (1986), The Guyver: Bio-Booster Armor (1989), Junk Boy (1987), Landlock (1996), Super Dimensional Fortress Macross II: Lovers Again (1992), Mad Bull 34 (1990), New Dominion Tank Police (1993), Orguss 02 (1993), Psychic Wars (1991), Rayearth (1997), Red Hawk: Weapon of Death (1995), Shadow Skill (1995), Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation (2000), Sword for Truth (1990), Tokyo Revelation (1995), Vampire Wars (1991), Violence Jack (1986), Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise (1987), and Ghost Sweeper Mikami (1994). When I acquired some of these releases after graduating from high school, I enjoyed watching them but I didn’t realize their value at that time. Now, some years later, I realize that the anime from the 1980s to the early-2000s should be cherished because it’s so much better and more original than the anime that began to be made in the mid-2000s. I have already gone over this observation of mine in an earlier post. If I take a film like X as an example, I can point out that its impressive hand-drawn animation alone makes it worth seeing and cherishing. It also makes modern anime look bland and amateurish in comparison. The film’s director, Rintaro, directed another film that I like a lot too, which is Metropolis (2001). The other films that I enjoyed watching very much this year are The Bodyguard (1992), A Damsel in Distress (1937), The Thing (1982), Firestarter (1984), The Transformers: The Movie (1986), Backfire (1988), Flashdance (1983), My Bodyguard (1980), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), The General’s Daughter (1999), 10 Rillington Place (1971), Absence of Malice (1981), Sudden Impact (1983), The Phantom (1996), Tom Horn (1980), Sisters (1972), 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984), Creepshow (1982), In This Our Life (1942), Blink (1993), Heaven Help Us (1985), Black Bart (1948), Ordinary People (1980), Under Siege (1992), Tombstone (1993), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), and The Road to Wellville (1994). As I’ve already pointed out in an earlier post, seeing almost any film from the 20th century is a pleasure for me. Modern films are bland and amateurish in comparison. However, not every theater-going experience was bad or forgettable for me this year. I was impressed by Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, for example. I’m not some Marvel fanboy. In fact, I don’t like to be a fan of anything. Therefore, I was honest when I reviewed Taika Waititi’s sloppy, even disastrous, Thor: Love and Thunder. But Wakanda Forever is another success for Marvel Studios. Seeing this film was the best experience that I had in a theater in a long time. When the film came to an end, I thought that it’s now my favorite film from Phase Four of the MCU. But, after thinking some more about this, I decided that Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are on par with Wakanda Forever. Some people have claimed that Kevin Feige has been giving directors more creative freedom since Phase Four began. If this is indeed the case, I understand why the output of Phase Four was uneven when it comes to quality. Wakanda Forever has director Ryan Coogler’s style all over it. First of all, there aren’t many action scenes in the film because it seems to me that Coogler prefers to focus on character development. This doesn’t become a problem in the film because the performances of the actors (especially of Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, and Tenoch Huerta) are good, the cinematography is good (for a modern film), the direction is good, and the music is good. Therefore, the scenes of people talking aren’t a snoozefest here. I cared about Shuri’s struggle more than I cared about T’Challa’s struggle in Black Panther (2018). It seems that Shuri intentionally puts on a suit that looks similar to N’Jadaka’s suit from Black Panther because she wants to get revenge. I do like the first Black Panther film, which contains more action scenes, but I like Wakanda Forever more because it’s directed better and because it’s more polished. Perhaps the reasons why this is the case are because the film has a bigger budget ($250 million) and because production and filming took longer. Or the reason could have been because Feige was more involved in making Wakanda Forever as good as possible. I think that the filmmakers and the actors wanted to make a fitting tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who died in 2020, but they also didn’t want the film to be a waterworks show. The country of Wakanda is a more believable place in Wakanda Forever than in Black Panther. Since Wakanda Forever is a Marvel Studios film, it might gross more than $1 billion by the end of its theatrical run. Its popularity also means that it has already gotten plenty of hate from the haters that hate its “woke” content and plenty of praise from the lovers that love the MCU. I’m neither a hater nor a lover of the MCU. I simply like it because it’s a good film and because it’s another fantastic addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Ice hockey riots in Vancouver

HUNDREDS of ice hockey fans went on the rampage in Canada after their team lost a showpiece final.

Vancouver Canucks supporters rioted after their side lost the prestigious Stanley Cup 4-0 at home to the Boston Bruins.

The mob torched cars and rubbish bins, overturned vehicles, smashed windows and showered giant TV screens with beer bottles.

Mayor Gregor Robertson said: “We have a small number of hooligans on the streets of Vancouver causing problems. It’s absolutely disgraceful and shameful and by no means represents the city of Vancouver. We have had an extraordinary run in the play-off, great celebration. What’s happened tonight is despicable.”

A store filled with smoke as thugs covered their faces with bandanas to continue the violence.

Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said: “It’s terrible. This city and province has a lot to be proud of, the team we have and the guys we have in here. It’s too bad.”

Riot cops used tear gas and drew truncheons as they battled to quell the trouble.

Police cars were also set alight and several people were treated for stab wounds.