I more or less finished my MOOC on sci-fi & fantasy and I figured I’d write a short review.
Oh god I’m so tired of it by now haha. No, just kidding, I really enjoyed it but I am excited to get back to Reading Whatever I Want. Out of 10 weeks, I finished readings for 8 weeks and posted essays for 7 of them. Due to a business trip I didn’t have time to finish Unit 9, and I was so tired I have decided to give up on Unit 10 as well.
Still, I figured I’d write super-short reviews for the books and short stories I read. This was our original reading list:
- Grimm — Children’s and Household Tales
- Carroll — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
- Stoker — Dracula
- Shelley — Frankenstein
- Hawthorne & Poe — Stories and Poems
- Wells — The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, “The Country of the Blind”, “The Star”
- Burroughs & Gilman — A Princess of Mars & Herland
- Bradbury — The Martian Chronicles
- LeGuin — The Left Hand of Darkness
- Doctorow — Little Brother
Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm
It was interesting finally reading these ultimate classic fairy tales. Not sure how I feel about them though. Some I loved. Mostly I didn’t care much about to be honest. But it was good to read them!
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland This was actually a re-read for me. I read an edition wonderfully illustrated by Yayoi Kusama before. But it was just a nonsense fantasy story back then because I simply do not have the background of the 19th century English reader 😉 This time I read the book with annotations and that was a really interesting experience! I enjoyed it more.
Through the Looking Glass Meh. Didn’t really enjoy this.
Dracula I enjoyed Dracula more than I thought I would! Sure, the story went on and on and that got a bit tiresome at times. And I wanted to slap all the men. And Van Helsing was really annoying. But otherwise: amazing classic, really enjoyed it!
Frankenstein Ridiculously underwhelming. It went on forever, I hated Frankenstein and the book just didn’t do anything for me.
Hawthorne We had to read a few short stories (The Birthmark, Rappaccini’s Daughter, The Artist of the Beautiful, Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment). I must say… Hawthorne is definitely not my thing. I didn’t like his writing style and I didn’t like the stories.
Poe We read a few short stories and poems (The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, The Oval Portrait, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, The Bells, The Raven, Annabel Lee). I have fallen in love with Poe. His way of storytelling is amazing. I enjoyed everything we had to read, but especially The Black Cat, The Bells and The Raven. Hopefully I can finish Tales of Suspense (a collection of short stories) soon!
The Island of Dr Moreau Meh.
The Invisible Man Alright.
The Country of the Blind LOVED this short story.
The Star Short but pretty good.
Burroughs – A Princess of Mars Big. Fat. Ugh. I know I should have read and judged it for what it is: a science fiction pulp classic. But I just can’t make myself appreciate this in any way.
Gilman – Herland Ohh this was pretty clever. A utopia with only women, but you can read this in a billion different ways and I really liked it (although it got slightly tedious and overly philosophical near the end). I enjoyed it so much I picked up Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper right afterwards and I loved that even more (very short story, highly recommended!)
The Martian Chronicles I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. It’s absolutely brilliant and clever and entertaining and a little bit sad. Basically you can read this two ways: as a collection of short stories (that were published separately), or as chronological events happening in the same universe. Did I mention it’s brilliant?
So yes, I skipped The Left Hand of Darkness and Little Brother. Hopefully I’ll pick them up in the future!