The inevitable Hunger Games thread

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well i avoided twilight so i might give these a go i guess

― thomp

Those two things need to be decoupled: Everyone should avoid Twilight no matter what you plan to do later in the day/month/year/life.

xp remy is right! Don't lower your standards for young peoples' sakes, they don't need it!

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:28 (3 years ago) Permalink

i don't consider young adult fiction junk or i wouldn't be reading it. but have you ever read harold bloom's young adult fantasy novel, 'a flight to lucifer'? yuck

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:29 (3 years ago) Permalink

remy, are you serious that you expect literary erudition to shine throughout young adult novels?

Also this is a patronizing and makes you sound like a jerk. Don't do that.

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:30 (3 years ago) Permalink

I don't see how a lifelong reader/critic not turning out to be a great YA author in the genre of fantasy is proof of anything, btw. False dichotomy, or at least an extremely lazy one.

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:33 (3 years ago) Permalink

the girl who played mystique in the last x-men. that's who they cast, right?

Yeah, but I prefer to think of her as the girl from Winter's Bone, which makes her seem more promising, tbh.

Yeah she really has nothing to prove in the confident-lead department.

THIS IS SATIRE BTW (Simon H.), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:33 (3 years ago) Permalink

like harry potter, i think these stories may succeed better as movies than books: there's very little in the story besides a kind of reportorial narrative.

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 15:37 (3 years ago) Permalink

laurel do you like hunger games

Ayatollah Colm Meaney (Princess TamTam), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:38 (3 years ago) Permalink

laurel & r.bean recommend two or three good YA novels i should read for contrast to 'hunger games', if i read 'hunger games'

thomp, Monday, 11 July 2011 15:39 (3 years ago) Permalink

Haven't read 'em. Storyline seemed a little too pat, and then they got the commercial success to match so I just didn't make the effort. remy is saving me from having to try again.

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:40 (3 years ago) Permalink

Remy already did!

Rick Yancey in his Will Henry series – 'The Monstrumologist' & 'Curse of the Wendigo'

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:42 (3 years ago) Permalink

@thomp, for the sci-fi/horror/gore/monster angle i'd recommend rick yancey's 'the monstrumologist.' it isn't really my cup of tea, but i think it is a well-written book and a good read for a certain type of kid. it introduces a lot of great elements, and ties well w/ frankenstein, lovecraft, etc.,

for total contrast w/in the genre i recommend peter cameron's 'someday this pain will be useful to you' for great, deceptively simple, characterization.

i've recently enjoyed green & levithan's 'will grayson, will grayson' and paolo bacigalupi's 'ship-breaker'

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 15:44 (3 years ago) Permalink

halfway through ellen klages 'the green glass sea' if historical fiction is your thing

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 15:45 (3 years ago) Permalink

Yay, Ship Breaker!!

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:45 (3 years ago) Permalink

so good, right?

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 15:47 (3 years ago) Permalink

thanking u

just out of curiosity, how would you rate the possibly-not-as-ubiquitous-as-i-think-they-are franchises:

i. artemis fowl
ii. diary of a wimpy kid
iii. skulduggery pleasant

thomp, Monday, 11 July 2011 15:47 (3 years ago) Permalink

Sorry, actually quite busy so reduced to being cheering section. Also in terms of new stuff, I get most of my reading from work these days and our YA is extremely "commercial" so apart from SB'er and some others, most of it isn't what you're asking for.

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:48 (3 years ago) Permalink

you attacked me for reading 'the hunger games.' then you call me a jerk? sorry if i offended you somehow

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:48 (3 years ago) Permalink

(my vested interest here is that my nephew is being put off reading by being deluged with brightly coloured FOR THE KIDS type books that people get him which largely appear to be .. kind of awful, and it is a lot harder to go into the bookstore and buy YA books than it was to buy picture books)

thomp, Monday, 11 July 2011 15:48 (3 years ago) Permalink

there's a general-purpose YA thread somewhere, isn't there? maybe i should revive that one

thomp, Monday, 11 July 2011 15:49 (3 years ago) Permalink

you attacked me for reading 'the hunger games.'

You can keep thinking that's what I was "attacking" you for, or you can re-consider about how dismissive you were about the literary "merit" of books for kids/young people.

thomp, honestly I haven't read any of any of those three. They give me the lip-curl when I see them around...hadn't realized Skullduggery Pleasant had become a thing?

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:52 (3 years ago) Permalink

There is an excellent YA sf/f thread somewhere but it's probably like 700 posts.

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:53 (3 years ago) Permalink

artemis fowl are kind of silly –- they've got some good ideas, but they seem a little too calibrated (?) cynical (?) for my taste. there's definitely an audience, but they're so commercial that they sometimes seem more like a product than a series of books in their own right. whenever i'm reading artemis fowl, i sort of wish i were reading diane wynn jones

diary of a wimpy kid is fluff, but its formatting is obv. very appealing for struggling readers (marginalia, text design, illustrations, limited words/page) and it's pretty funny, i think. they series isv. easy, and doesn't go to any depth or characterization so the books don't have a cross-generational appeal in the way they might the format was used to better, and more interesting effect in tom angleberger's 'the strange case of the origami yoda' which came out last year.

i haven't read skulduggery pleasant; it hardly made splash over here. i've got an ARC of it sitting on the sofa and i'm meaning to get to it.

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 15:54 (3 years ago) Permalink

sorry abt. poor editing above ^^^

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 15:55 (3 years ago) Permalink

@thomp: how old is your nephew? how is his reading?

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 15:58 (3 years ago) Permalink

I think the really good stuff ends up coming out in areas that aren't popular at the time, it just goes unnoticed a bit until things quiet down. I don't think the repetitive and increasingly sensational sf/f that's everywhere right now is going to be the stuff of this era that lasts -- not when we've got Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and some gender-bendy/LGBTQ "issue" books by Julie Peters and others that are also v good and will probably burrow into kids' thinking more deeply and, one hopes, lastingly, but aren't going to make headlines now.

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:59 (3 years ago) Permalink

And I normally dislike like "issue" books, I'm just sayin'.

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 15:59 (3 years ago) Permalink

i sort of wish i were reading diane wynn jones is basically my motto in life.

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:01 (3 years ago) Permalink

when was i ever dismissive about the literary merit of books for kids/young people? i haven't said a single negative thing on this thread . . . that i revived! how very district one tribute of you

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:04 (3 years ago) Permalink

i'm sorry. i said something negative about harold bloom

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:04 (3 years ago) Permalink

well, help yourself to that. he's kind of a turd.

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 16:05 (3 years ago) Permalink

i'm reading his new book alongside 'the hunger games.' definitely prefer 'the hunger games'

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:06 (3 years ago) Permalink

black jelly bean: cold oatmeal

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 16:10 (3 years ago) Permalink

why people get so defensive about their aesthetic tastes i'll never understand

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

i really enjoyed patrick ness's 'chaos walking' trilogy despite some incompetent and repetitive plotting. certainly i think its a little more sophisticated in how it approaches its dystopia & the way it presents moral questions to the reader than hunger games.

my baby eats special k all day (Lamp), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:17 (3 years ago) Permalink

good call, lamp: I am actually thinking of reading the first novel in the series w/ my class in the fall. I think Knife of Never Letting Go raises some really interesting ontological questions.

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 16:19 (3 years ago) Permalink

qualmsley:i'd say that maybe for a lot of people 'aesthetic taste' represents a cultural investment or a hard-won knowledge and experience, and there's a lot of ego bound up in what is a kind of half- arbitrary judgement.

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 16:19 (3 years ago) Permalink

It wasn't even about my taste so I'm not sure what that was? It was about remy, are you serious that you expect literary erudition to shine throughout young adult novels? But let's agree that you're not going to understand what I was saying and I'm not going to keep trying.

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:24 (3 years ago) Permalink

fwiw i liked the first hunger games book & read it in a single afternoon. its working w/in a structure that i really like tho & i thought the simple, direct language a point in its favor. i did sort of think it was interesting how it seemed to be geared at readers who needed to be able to visualize the action clearly, & think it suffers a little emotionally/psychologically for that.

but honestly idk for a reluctant reader i think theres also value just in 'reading what everyone else is reading', in being able to take part in the conversation surrounding the books. helps make it more social/interesting/compulsive? this is just an idea i have about ~culture~ tho idk

my baby eats special k all day (Lamp), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

Definitely, there's always the argument for encouraging kids to read whatever they WILL read, and to get the habit of reading and talking about reading, which conveniently dovetails with publishers' desire to sell a great number of copies. My cynicism about the second part shouldn't negate the good stuff about the first part.

manager expects you to work past 6PM but won't allow you to change into (Laurel), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:28 (3 years ago) Permalink

remy my nephew is actually only like nine. but he's actually a moderately advanced reader for his age -- it's just that he seems to be rapidly losing enthusiasm & it seems kind of hard to find stuff that's suitable, neither overly-childish nor alien in its concerns. i'm not about to get him the hunger games, i gotta say

like okay when i was a kid i was hooked on dragonlance and shit by that age, that was easy enough;
but i don't know what to do w/r/t the 'repetitive and increasingly sensational sf/f that's everywhere right now', as laurel puts it, which seems to be what kids want to actually read (how long until the first zombie series for kids) (brb, writing to a publisher) --

like what you say about a. fowl: they sometimes seem more like a product than a series of books in their own right: seems to apply to about 75% of what's in the kid's section of the bookstore at the moment

thomp, Monday, 11 July 2011 16:31 (3 years ago) Permalink

Thread's already too long, but I thought the "Lemony Snicket" books were among the most subversive, post-modern, just plain smart and funny YA-ish books I've ever read.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 11 July 2011 16:34 (3 years ago) Permalink

Lamp: Agreed. I'm approaching these books as a teacher, if that helps to qualify my bile. I'm all for kids reading what they'd like, when they'd like. I don't totally buy the 'as long as they're reading' line, but I do think that independent reading – especially in the case of reluctant readers / LD kids – should be self-directed for a start, and gradually channeled into a careful, but not oppressive, appreciation for good books.

thomp: there's a lot of great realistic fiction for boys that is not reductive or lame, or overly issues-driven (ugh), which has not always been the case. YA sci-fi/fantasy is a mixed bag at best, but I agree w/ Laurel that it is not mostly lasting and some of it is passing fun.

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 16:34 (3 years ago) Permalink

I'm tired of marketable book series-to-film. I got over Harry Potter ages ago and Twilight was a pitiful joke. Hunger Games doesn't look much different. I miss when authors used to write individual novels rather than serials, I get tired of the sameness after the second book.

Breezy Summer Jam (MintIce), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:36 (3 years ago) Permalink

xxxp lemony snicket was like thomas pynchon jr. plotwise but i could never quite handle the prose.

my Sonicare toothbrush (difficult listening hour), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:36 (3 years ago) Permalink

not cuz it was so bad just because it was Always On.

my Sonicare toothbrush (difficult listening hour), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:37 (3 years ago) Permalink

I think the Snicket prose is part of the joke. It'll suddenly digress into a discussion of King Lear or the water cycle with no warning, just to keep you on your toes. If anything, it reminded me a whole lot of Tristram Shandy, right down to the black page.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 11 July 2011 16:38 (3 years ago) Permalink

Like, wheel-spinning as an art.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 11 July 2011 16:38 (3 years ago) Permalink

remy bean, Monday, 11 July 2011 16:40 (3 years ago) Permalink

I'm tired of marketable book series-to-film. I got over Harry Potter ages ago and Twilight was a pitiful joke. Hunger Games doesn't look much different. I miss when authors used to write individual novels rather than serials, I get tired of the sameness after the second book.

― Breezy Summer Jam (MintIce), Monday, July 11, 2011 12:36 PM (54 seconds ago) Bookmark

the 'best' part about the hunger games adaptation is they're making 4 movies out of 3 books

Ayatollah Colm Meaney (Princess TamTam), Monday, 11 July 2011 16:42 (3 years ago) Permalink

i love the voice of cinema blend

mustread guy (schlump), Sunday, 9 March 2014 16:17 (6 months ago) Permalink

it's in there! xpost

Doctor Casino, Sunday, 9 March 2014 16:45 (6 months ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

so I got into a semi-argument the other night about this. I haven't read the books because I am not a 13yo girl; watched the first movie at the urging of my wife and a friend of ours. Friend was over on the weekend and we got to talking about it - basically I find the whole fascist police state conceit reactionary and that ruined everything else about it for me (the Minotaur myth parallels, the Jon Armstrong-style pop/fashion oppression parodic bits etc.) My problem with it is that if you're going to go the sci-fi dystopian route than your dystopia is only as effective as far as it mirrors actual current conditions/threats/fears. But the whole fascist police state thing is out-of-date - fascist police states aren't a threat in America, and the only people who think so are Tea Party reactionary idiots who think Obamacare's gonna take away their guns and give them to illegal immigrants etc. So why contruct a dystopia where an authoritarian state is the boogeyman? The current threats to our society are more explicitly capitalist in nature. Oligarchy, destruction of the ecosystem, corporate surveillance - the state is primarily a tangential player/enabler in these threats, it's not the driving force at all. So placing the state at the center of it and then building this silly pop culture scaffolding around it to support it doesn't really speak to any kind of fear I have, if anything it seems like misdirection by a right wing crank, which makes me suspicious of the whole enterprise.

I get that this doesn't even register w most people, who just want to see girl kick ass ooh look silly meta-media commentary and oh which guy will she end up with but it irritates me to have this reactionary crap out there in the broader culture. It seems like a misuse of the dystopian trope.

Οὖτις, Monday, 16 June 2014 20:33 (3 months ago) Permalink

and then there's the Battle Royale thing, a book/movie that I preferred and seemed to be more relevant and w a more interesting angle

Οὖτις, Monday, 16 June 2014 20:34 (3 months ago) Permalink

But... the angle of Battle Royale was also the reinforcement of the power of a fascist police state so I'm not sure how it's more relevant? (Better executed absolutely, but the Hunger Games story does twist in upon itself in some very interesting ways by the end of the third book.)

Star Gentle Uterus (DJP), Monday, 16 June 2014 20:37 (3 months ago) Permalink

Battle Royale was way more entertaining - but as I remember the backstory is never really explained very well. Hunger Games is supposed to be a spectacle at least, but Battle Royale was done in secret, wasn't it? The kids seemed to have no idea about it.

Brio2, Monday, 16 June 2014 20:46 (3 months ago) Permalink

found the evil government painfully relevant tbh in the first 2 movies. it's much more about the way power reinforces itself and how it operates from the individual outwards than it is about critiquing a particular formation of government.

the parallels to Battle Royale aren't that close either. the gov in BR is much more frightened of/repulsed by its teenage victims. HG's gov's relationship with youth is more celebratory, and it sacrifices them to get at their families, not because it fears youth itself.

Naamloze vennootschap (Noodle Vague), Monday, 16 June 2014 20:47 (3 months ago) Permalink

Battle Royale also takes place on the Korean peninsula iirc

xp

Οὖτις, Monday, 16 June 2014 20:48 (3 months ago) Permalink

BR - the first one, anyway - at its heart is a neat inversion of the sentiment behind Lord of the Flies

HG seems more about how a hypermediated environment eats up youth to serve adult ends

Naamloze vennootschap (Noodle Vague), Monday, 16 June 2014 20:51 (3 months ago) Permalink

The Battle Royale precedent is really not that bothersome to me tbh - I will say that given China and North Korea and the uniquely weird conservative bent of Japan's gov't and their history as an actual fascist state, the Asian fascist police state dystopia seems more resonant/relevant.

But Hunger Games takes place in America. and it's an America that is by and large completely unrecognizable to me, apart from the ludicrous gameshow window dressing.

xp

Οὖτις, Monday, 16 June 2014 20:54 (3 months ago) Permalink

i don't think the gameshow is window dressing, seeing as it gives the series its title and the plot revolves around it - hence also the Roman names - the whole thing is about bread and circuses

Naamloze vennootschap (Noodle Vague), Monday, 16 June 2014 20:56 (3 months ago) Permalink

An unpopular opinion, I know, but I really hate Battle Royale. If it's a satire, what exactly is being satirized? If the adults are the villains, why introduce some evil kids if not solely for the purpose of a big Lethal Weapon-style showdown? That Hunger Games essentially looks like a watered down copy of something I already disliked is the main reason why I've stayed away from that whole thing.

Funk autocorrect (cryptosicko), Monday, 16 June 2014 20:59 (3 months ago) Permalink

kids in battle royale aren't aware they've been chosen until they're there (w/ a few exceptions). there is awareness in the media, you have the media swarming around a 'winner' at the beginning but it's not a tv show like the hunger games iirc. the program there is some sort of deliberate anti-youth thing, obv echoes of columbine w/ it but the paranoia it's tapping seems more similar to the early 90s fear of 'superpredators'. battle royale 2 probably closer thematically to hunger games w/ it's war on terror metaphor. hunger games pretty openly and somewhat on the nose response to iraq war, poor youth being sent to their deaths in a spectacle for the benefit of the rich. the fascist state is anti-bush crit though my understanding is the politics of the books are more nuanced and cynical than that (my understanding is the rebels are revealed to be fairly worthless as well, meet the new boss same as the old boss).

balls, Monday, 16 June 2014 21:01 (3 months ago) Permalink

xp

as i say BR is quite specifically Lord of the Flies reversed, and thus satirizes and not wholly unpopular opinion amongst a section of adults: kids are naturally wild beasts. BR turns that on its head by having an adult world that goes to elaborate lengths to transform its kids into wild beasts, simply to exorcize that underlying fear. not so much satire as documentary.

Naamloze vennootschap (Noodle Vague), Monday, 16 June 2014 21:02 (3 months ago) Permalink

Hunger Games is obviously a mashup of a lot of tropes and clichés, but at heart it wants to be a epic of The Hero. The Evil Government trope is just there to give the Hero a nemesis, to throw obstacles at her and her fellow heros, and to be an evil counterpart to all that is Good and Clean and Loving and Human. Οὖτις has every right to find the HG a particularly unthinking and reactionary misuse of the trope of Evil Government, but the number of 13 year old girls who are into the politics of HG as opposed to the Hero Quest aspect (with super cool archery feats!) are probably not numerous enough to be worth worrying over.

Aimless, Monday, 16 June 2014 21:28 (3 months ago) Permalink

ah great some ott misogyny

balls, Monday, 16 June 2014 21:58 (3 months ago) Permalink

w/ it's war on terror metaphor. hunger games pretty openly and somewhat on the nose response to iraq war, poor youth being sent to their deaths in a spectacle for the benefit of the rich

idg this. American troops weren't forced to fight each other, they were fed a bunch of fictitious lies about a demonized, external enemy.

Οὖτις, Monday, 16 June 2014 22:24 (3 months ago) Permalink

I don't think that word means quite what you think it means, balls.

Aimless, Monday, 16 June 2014 23:35 (3 months ago) Permalink

I remember reading an interview with the author where she said the inspiration for HG was flipping the channel between Iraq War news reporting and a reality game show like Survivor... So I think it's meant more of a comment on poor kids killing poor kids, TV entertainment, and the rich and powerful using the reality of the poor's struggles as political theatre which they sell back to the poor as heroics... maybe a bit more a mix of ideas than a direct analogue to either Iraq or now.

Brio2, Monday, 16 June 2014 23:38 (3 months ago) Permalink

I don't think that word means quite what you think it means, balls.

― Aimless, Monday, June 16, 2014 7:35 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

nah that's the correct usage

linda cardellini (zachlyon), Tuesday, 17 June 2014 01:24 (3 months ago) Permalink

I just watched this. I kind of liked the set up and all the TV stuff, Truman-show-esque as it was. Ending is basically 'oh the people in charge changed their minds' and not really because she did anything mind-blowing or outwitted them particularly? just 'they probably won't like this because TV' - so a massive anti-climax. And yeah, she never really has to make a morally challenging decision. But I'm also glad there was no 'wake up sheeple!'.

much bigger problem during the action scenes is that when peetah and that vicious psychopath kid were fighting at the end they looked so much alike i couldn't tell who was who (blonde buff young caucasians all look the same to me i guess)

i could tell them apart but this was the only time the shakeycam got annoying for me too, because it was so jerky that you couldn't tell what katniss actually shot such that she'd hit cato without him taking peeta with him.

(i looked it up afterwards, she shoots cato's hand so he's forced to release peeta as he falls backwards.)

― lex pretend, Thursday, 29 March 2012 09:34 (2 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

See this is one of the very few bits of obvious 'strategy' or something: Peter spends ages pointing to that spot on his hand and gesturing!

kinder, Sunday, 29 June 2014 21:15 (3 months ago) Permalink


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