Monday, October 24, 2011

Everything is Alien

Lilith Awakens once again to find herself in yet another strange room, this time with more amenities than in previous Awakenings. Even though she has a bathroom this time, complete with a shower, the entire situation is still alien to her. She hears voices that only talk to her when she answers the speakers' questions, and she has no idea who they are or why they're holding her.
Once Jdahya enters the room, the alieness becomes far more apparent. His appearance is hidden by the shadowy confines of the room as he stands in a corner, speaking to Lilith. Once she moves forward to see him up close, the true alien nature of her captors is revealed. In this case, Jdahya is a humanoid sea slug with thousands of wormlike tentacles coming off his body, in his case, in locations where humans have hair, ears, and beards. This makes him feel less alien in spite of the obvious differences.
Stepping outside of the expectations, we see that Lilith herself is just as alien to the Oankali. They don't have diseases like cancer, and after removing a tumor from Liltih, they begin to study the way it grows in order to harness the potential in medical research. Humans don't live as long, and that is alien to them as well.
What other things do you see that point to Lilith being as alien to the Oankali and they are to her?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WE3 and Symbolic Representation

I've chosen to talk about page 49 in the text. This is the same page that I chose for the tracing that we did in class, and I still find the overall flow of images incredibly compelling and worth taking a closer look at.

At the top we have two panels that take up only about one quarter of the page. These first two panels sit one over top the other, spanning all but the full width of the page, with the top panel left justified, and the one beneath it offset to the right. These two panels give the impression of motion by this positioning, but also in the change in focus. The first panel offers a close-up view one doctor's torso, with word bubbles covering his waistline. To his right we have a close-up of Dr. Berry's face, as she looks on with concern. The second panel zooms in, giving us an extreme close-up from the same angle, this time of the man's cellular phone and again of Dr. Berry's face, but this time with a focus on her eyes, and a look of resolve. The word bubble in this second panel, coming from the man's perspective, says simply, "Oh, those poor men." and refers to the soldiers who've gone after We3.

The third panel, taking up three-quarters of the page, is a great perspective shot through the windshield of a military jeep. The inside of the jeep is completely black, and frames what the two silhouetted soldiers see through the window in front of them. The only clear images are those outside the jeep. This keeps the focus completely on the animals that the soldiers men to destroy. But the blackness does have its own details. We not only see the outline of the two soldiers, one holding the steering wheel and the other the radio mike, we can make out the shadow of the rearview mirror, complete with a "lucky" rabbit's foot hanging from it.

"Aim for the heads! Aim for—" the soldier says into his mike as the jeep bears down on We3. The word bubbles convey a lot more than just the words readily convey. Centered in the panel, we see 1 (the dog). His head is turned toward the jeep, fangs bared and froth coming from his mouth. Behind him we see 3 (the rabbit) crouched in anticipation. He appears to be waiting to see what 1 is going to do before acting himself. In both instances, we can clearly see the heads of the animal cyborgs. Above the radio operator's head, we see the tail end of 2 (the cat) as she scrambles up a tree. We do not see her head at all.

This image and the words that go with it play up the individual roles of the team that is We3. 3 is an explosives expert, so it makes sense that he wouldn't be a frontline combatant. He is shown almost cowering behind 1, who is the tank of the group. In this role, 1 is fearlessly facing off with the jeep, looking far more ready to pounce than even 2, the cat. 2 is the stealth specialist, and takes it upon herself to get into hiding. She knows she's much more deadly when striking from the shadows, and is moving into position to take advantage of her area of expertise. The "Aim for the heads!" is said when we can't see the cat's head at all, which gives us the impression that the soldiers can't hit what they can't see.