Westworld: 15 Books and Movies for the Western Android Fan

HBO’s new series, Westworld, is a big sprawling story set in a future where humans have begun imbuing robots with sentience in order to make a large, corporately owned theme park, more immersive for its rich clientele. It is based on the 1970s Michael Crichton movie of the same name where Androids in a Western based theme park become murderous and start to terrorize its patrons. Unlike the movie, the show seems to be developing some bigger questions, such as how is consciousness developed and what is a creators ethical responsibility for its creation as well as examining what is entertainment and what will immersive game playing experiences look like in the future. Overall, it is a great viewing experience, that balances a fun story while still letting its audience delve into references such as Shakespeare, Da VinciAlice in Wonderland, Hieronymus Bosch, and Julian Jaynes’ theory of the Bicameral Mind.

If you have been enjoying the show or are just interested in some some of the themes or genres it presents, then try out some of these titles we have at the Prairie State College Library.

Blood meridian: or, The evening redness in the West
by Cormac McCarthy
FIC MCC

Based on incidents that took place in the southwestern United States and Mexico around 1850, this novel chronicles the crimes of a band of desperados, with a particular focus on one, “the kid,” a boy of fourteen. An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America’s westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the “wild west.” Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.


Do androids dream of electric sheep?
by Philip K. Dick
FIC DIC

It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill. Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there, lurked several rogue androids. Deckard’s assignment–find them and then…”retire” them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn’t want to be found!


What to think about machines that think : today’s leading thinkers on the age of machine intelligence
Q335 .W445 2015

Weighing in from the cutting-edge frontiers of science, today’s most forward-thinking minds explore the rise of “machines that think.”
Stephen Hawking recently made headlines by noting, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Others, conversely, have trumpeted a new age of “superintelligence” in which smart devices will exponentially extend human capacities. No longer just a matter of science-fiction fantasy (2001, Blade Runner, The Terminator, Her, etc.), it is time to seriously consider the reality of intelligent technology, many forms of which are already being integrated into our daily lives. In that spirit, John Brockman, publisher of Edge. org (“the world’s smartest website” – The Guardian), asked the world’s most influential scientists, philosophers, and artists one of today’s most consequential questions: What do you think about machines that think?


The Ox-bow Incident
by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
FIC CLA

Set in 1885, The Ox-Bow Incident is a searing and realistic portrait of frontier life and mob violence in the American West. First published in 1940, it focuses on the lynching of three innocent men and the tragedy that ensues when law and order are abandoned. The result is an emotionally powerful, vivid, and unforgettable re-creation of the Western novel, which Clark transmuted into a universal story about good and evil, individual and community, justice and human nature.


The complete stories of J.G. Ballard
by J.G. Ballard
FIC BAL

Short story, ‘The Largest Theme Park in the World’, describes a Europe of the near future, ‘the first totalitarian system based on leisure’. Former pilot Paul Sinclair drives his young doctor wife Jane to the French Riviera when she takes up a post at the exclusive high-tech community of Eden-Olympia. The multinational corporations behind the business park are conducting a psychological laboratory there, a huge experiment in how to ‘hot-house the future’. They become aware of the violence and paranoia under the project’s glossy surfaces and its increasingly sinister undercurrents: sado-masochistic sex, robberies and racist attacks, unexplained murders. Jane falls into promiscuity and drug addiction, while Paul investigates the death of the former medical director of this ‘Alcatraz-sur-Mer’ in a deranged shooting spree.


Continue reading “Westworld: 15 Books and Movies for the Western Android Fan”

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Graphic Novel Display: Image Comics

imagecomics
Image Comics creators (clockwise from top left): Erik Larson, Rob Leifeld, Todd McFarlane, Mac Silvestri, Jim Valentinio, Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio

For most of comic book’s history the two major companies, DC Comics and Marvel, have not always been very kind to their creators. In fact, the creators of arguably the most important superhero, Superman, saw very little in residuals from DC Comics. In the 90s, during comic books second major boom, companies would hire creators to work on known creations, but would give them very little in regards to creative process and even less when it came to residuals and royalties. Even in instances where the creator, developed their own superhero for the company (e.g. Deadpool, who was created by Rob Leifeld in the 1990s for Marvel), the company would retain all of the rights to the creator.

In the Winter of 1991-92, seven Marvel artists (pictured above), who were disillusioned with this corporate model, decided they had enough, and started their own company with a new creator-friendly model comics. This company was called Image Comics. You can watch rise of the company in the new documentary, The Image Revolution (AV PN 6725.I434 2016), or read about in the EW feature The Coolest Comic-Book Company on Earth by Clark Collis.

What was interesting about this new company is that the only thing that image would own would be the the logo of their company. Everything else would belong to the creators (including most of the costs). It was a new way of doing business, that the major publishers hated, but eventually would have to embrace (if only slightly). And to this day, Image Comics is the main competition to the Big Two, and still continues to shape public consumption of comic books, with titles like The Walking Dead, Spawn, and Saga. You can find all of the Image titles we have on display this month of the Creator-Owned comic book display.

TV Shows: Based off of Books

The new AMC show, Preacher, created by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, starts up May 22nd. It stars Dominic Cooper, as a Texas preacher, who decides to seek out God after witnessing a supernatural event. I’m excited about this because it will be based off of one of my very favorite comic series of the same name from the 90s by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillion (which the Library own all of the volumes of).  It also got me thinking about what other TV series that are based of books which the library owns.

Continue reading “TV Shows: Based off of Books”

New Movies to Check Out and Borrow!

Stop by the Library this semester and check out some of the new movies we got in this semester. One of my personal favorite movies this year was Mad Max: Fury Road but you may also want to check out Dope, where a chance encounter at an underground party leads high school senior, Malcolm and his friends on an adventure in Los Angeles. Other notable movies include the HBO documentaries The Jinx, which reexamined the  strange life of Robert Durst or Going Clear which scrutinized the organization of Scientology. If these aren’t enough for you, you might want to try out some of their book companions listed below.

Movies

Books

One Book: The Signal and the Noise.

       

This year’s One Book selection is The Signal and the Noise.  Go to the One Book One Community website to find out more information.  For other books about real world mathematics and statistics, check out the book display outside the Library Classroom.  Take a look at some of the titles we have…

       
       
       

Staff Favorite: Scott Pilgrim

spcoverThe Library now has the complete collection of the Scott Pilgrim series by Brian Lee O’Malley. If you are unfamiliar with the comic or the 2010 Edgar Wright movie, Scott Pilgrim features Scott, a 22 year old, unemployed slacker, who falls in love with Ramona Flowers, a rollerblading message delivery girl. Unfortunately for Scott, to date Ramona means that he has to defeat her 7 Evil Exes.

Great for anyone who loves video games, anime/manga, or just pop culture in general. Stop by the Library and check them out.  You can also find articles and more information on Scott Pilgrim by using OneSearch.

Marvel Universe at the Library

Marvel-logo
With Avengers: Age of Ultron releasing this weekend it is as good a time as any to stop by the Library and browse the Marvel Books that we have available for checkout.

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story
Sean Howe
PN 6725.H69 2012

For those of you who are interested in Marvel Comics, check out Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe.

 

An unvarnished, unauthorized, behind-the-scenes account of one of the most dominant pop cultural forces in contemporary America Operating out of a tiny office on Madison Avenue in the early 1960s, a struggling company called Marvel Comics presented a cast of brightly costumed characters distinguished by smart banter and compellingly human flaws.

For the first time, Marvel Comics reveals the outsized personalities behind the scenes, including Martin Goodman, the self-made publisher who forayed into comics after a get-rich-quick tip in 1939; Stan Lee, the energetic editor who would shepherd the company through thick and thin for decades; and Jack Kirby, the World War II veteran who’d co-created Captain America in 1940 and, twenty years later, developed with Lee the bulk of the company’s marquee characters in a three-year frenzy of creativity that would be the grounds for future legal battles and endless debates.


 

You can also find out more about any Marvel character by checking out Marvel’s Online Encyclopedia.

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Getting Ahead: 5 Books to Read Before You See the Movie

We live in an age where movie studios and TV networks love to adapt new shows and movies from previously established books. From big blockbuster ratings smashes, such as Game of Thrones to smaller Indie flicks like The Fault in Stars, books have found their way into the mainstream of the industry. The good news is that you can find a lot of these books and movies for free using the library!

Snowpiercer vol 1 & 2
written by Jacques Lob and Ben LeGrand
illustrated by Jean-Marc RochetteCoursing through an eternal winter, on an icy track wrapped around the frozen planet Earth, there travels a train that never stops. This is Snowpiercer: one thousand and one carriages long. From fearsome engine to final car, all surviving human life is here: a complete hierarchy of the society we lost. The elite, as ever, travel in luxury at the front of the train – but for those in the rear coaches, life is squalid, miserable and short. Now the poor have had enough: it’s time to seize control of the engine – and their future!

Basis for the movie:

Snowpiercer

Get the Books (vol 1 & 2)
Get the Movie

All You Need is Kill
by Hiroshi SakurazakaWhen the alien Mimics invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally–the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji’s escape or his final death?

Basis for the movie:

Live, Die, repeat: The Edge of Tomorrow

Get the Book
Get the Graphic Novel
Get the Movie

  Divergent
by Veronica Roth In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

Basis for the movie:

Divergent

Get the Book
Get the ebook
Get the Movie

The Maze Runner
by James Dashner Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in “the glade” for two years, trying to find a way to escape through a maze that surrounds their living space. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change.

Basis for the movie:

the maze runner

Get the Book
Get the ebook
get the movie

Hunger Games: MockingJay
by Suzanne CollinsAgainst all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol wants revenge … and President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe!

Basis for the movie:

Hunger Games: Mockingjay pt 1 & 2

Get the Book
get the first two movies

Check This Book Out: Unfamiliar Streets: the photographs of Richard Avedon, Charles Moore, Martha Rosler, and Philip Lorca DiCorica

Unfamiliar Streets: the photographs of Richard Avedon, Charles Moore, Martha Rosler, and Philip Lorca DiCorica introduces readers to four in-depth profiles of American photographers (listed above) who captured the essence of street photos before the rise of social media.

Brussard also connects the images to their surrounding social histories, capturing more than just the photo. This is a book for both students of photography as well as those just starting out.

Find this book and other new books on the shelves outside the Quiet Reading Room in the Prairie State College library!