You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Mormonism’ tag.

He was an educated man who would have been only too glad to give information about the customs, history and organization of India if Phileas Fogg had been the kind of man to ask for it. But he asked no questions. He was not travelling – he was just going round the world. He was a heavy body describing an orbit round the earth in accordance with the laws of rational mechanics. At that moment he was going over again in his mind the hours he had spent since leaving London and he would have rubbed his hands if it had been in his nature to make an unnecessary movement of that kind.

Oh what a fine joke, I thought to myself. A book about travelling the world in eighty days, reviewed on a website dedicated to staying on this side of the world. For if my appeal to stay in Australia was to be rejected I could be bounced right back to Ireland in less than twenty-four hours (I’m saying this would be hypothetically possible – not likely).

Also Round the World in Eighty Days is yet another one of those classic tales which we may all be familiar with, but have not actually read. Personally my knowledge of it mostly stems from that 80’s cartoon series Around the World with Willy Fog (ah just listening to that theme song brings so many memories back – they don’t make ‘em like that anymore).

Phileas Fogg is described by his creator Jules Verne as carrying a Byronic aspect in his appearance, seeming the quintessential English gentleman, possessing great wealth and impeccable manners. However, in many ways he is also an automaton, a creature of fastidious habits who fires his manservant for providing shaving water two degrees Fahrenheit too cool and attends meetings of the London Reform Club solely for the purpose of playing whist.

It is after the firing of his manservant that Fogg employs the Frenchman Passepartout, a former acrobat in search of the quiet life. Afterwards he attends the Reform Club and accepts the fateful wager that he will travel around the world in eighty days. His confidence in the prospect of his success is due to his own reckoning of the reliability of modern forms of transportation. The announcement of Fogg’s plans sends London into an uproar. With twenty thousand pounds at stack – and the gentleman’s stock literally declining due to concerns about weather delays, faulty track-work and other obstacles – he is declared a madman by most, his confirmed eccentricity now viewed as the product of a deluded mind.

Meanwhile an extraordinary bank robbery of fifty five thousand pounds has left the capital bewildered. The thief in question posed as a gentleman and relying upon the honour bound principles of the Bank of England staff, made off with the incredible sum without attracting any notice. A private investigator named Fix decides that Fogg must be the culprit, with his infamous wager merely a cover for his escape to parts unknown. He decides to follow the man and Passepartout on their journey, in the hope of arresting them in British territory.

As the time required by the wager passes, Fogg and a growing party of companions face any number of dangers, including death cultists, the machinations of Inspector Fix, storms, mobs and even Sioux Indians! Through it all Phileas Fogg remains imperturbable, travelling in accordance with methodical time-keeping and trusting to his not inconsiderable wealth to solve most problems. Passepartout proves to be a devoted and cunning servant, although too gullible not to identify the intentions of Fix, who soon insinuates himself into his company. Fogg undertakes the wager not to win any great glory for himself, or even for the financial reward, but out of a profound trust in the orderliness of things.

Verne writes his travelogue fable with great verve and ironical wit. That Fogg and his companions see so little of the world while travelling through says as much about the nature of ‘civilized travel’ as it does today. What little local colour does make it into the narrative, Verne employs to good effect. No doubt the memorable rescue of the lady Aouda had some influence on similar adventures such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Then there is the American electoral debate that descends into a boxing match in San Francisco, or Passpartout’s lecture on Mormonism.

Great fun, I enjoyed this book immensely.

I felt like I was trapped in one of those terrifying nightmares, the one where you have to run, run till your lungs burst, but you can’t make your body move fast enough. My legs seemed to move slower and slower as I fought my way through the callous crowd, but the hands on the huge clock tower didn’t slow. With relentless, uncaring force, they turned inexorably toward the end–the end of everything.

Lady, I hear ya.

It’s almost been a year since the events of the first book and Bella Swan’s birthday has come round. Turning eighteen only serves to remind her that she is growing older, while her vampire boyfriend Edward remains seventeen. And a high school senior! So things are already not proceeding that smoothly for the ‘teenage’ couple when they decide to celebrate Bella’s birthday at the Cullen family household. Then Edward’s adopted brother Jasper is sent into a frenzy at the sight of Bella’s blood caused by a small papercut. As this confirms the worst fears of Bella’s vampire swain, he decides to leave her and the town of Forks, taking his family with him to some unknown destination.

Abandoned by Edward, Bella falls into a deep depression, only surfacing when she reacquaints herself with Jacob Black, who still nurses a crush on her. She enjoys his company and so tries to insist that their relationship is simply a friendship. Jacob proves to be extremely persistent, taking her gentle refusals with good humour and puppy-dog eyes. Still she cannot forget her passionate obsession for Edward Cullen and even begins to experience hallucinations of his presence when her life is in danger. Eventually Jacob’s warmth and affection slowly wears away her resolve and she starts to think of a life without Edward. Until one day he simply cuts off all contact. Feeling lost and bewildered she wanders into the forests surrounding Forks, only to meet Laurent, a member of the vampire pack that had hunted her the previous year. He brings her a message from Victoria. They’re going to kill her and with the Cullens gone, there is no one to protect her. Bella’s fate seems sealed, but then a pack of werewolves arrive to defend her. One of them even looks familiar to her. Are there any boys in Forks that are not mythical monsters!

Are we sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin. Perhaps my description of the plot implies that this is an exciting tale of danger. Well, it’s not. Not be a long shot. There are upswings of excitement in the narrative, but they come few and far between. I hate all the male characters. I am sick of the endless descriptions of Edward’s perfection and in this book Jacob’s muscular frame also heaves into view. The only other things Meyer seems interested in are cars! There’s a major disjunct in the story after the Cullens leave, with the plot of the first book seeming to repeat itself when Bella discovers yet another clan of fantasy creatures living nearby. As for the main character, I dislike how what little description of Bella we get show her to be a clumsy clod, a ‘magnet for danger’ and completely unable to cope without a man in her life. The religious subtext of the books also bothers me. Worst of all, Bella’s rejection by Edward leaves her an automaton, focused on being a ‘good girl’ for her dad, cooking, cleaning and keeping her grades up. She never feels any anger towards the vampire, which usually helps when you’ve had your heart broken.

On the other hand… I don’t like these books, but lots of folks do, so who am I to throw the first stone? After all I just reviewed Brandon Sanderson purely to get a bead on how he would finish up the Wheel of Time series and they are terrible books. Maybe the kids reading Twilight will grow out of them and find Jodi Piccoult. Or if they’re fans of the beefcake, maybe they’ll discover Anais Nin? Also if the Volturi are a dig at the Church of Rome, well I’m not too bothered by that. Hell it reminded me of a Bill Hicks quote. So I guess live and let live is my conclusion. I’m tired of all the obnoxious complaining about Twifans, as it only led to this.

Furthermore…Team Alice? Oh Meyer, you cad!

Join me at The Momus Report

Vote For Me!

Share this blog

Bookmark and Share