Wednesday, February 5, 2014
I began this book with the hope that it would not be anything like the King Kong version. I was not disappointed! This was a very different point of view indeed! It was a fascinating take on a pretty simple poem, which does not delve too deeply in to character development (but then, it is a poem right?). I will leave that kind of discussion up to scholars who actually care about this (I laboured through Tolkien's lecture "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" which was, while well written, not that interesting to me).
Grendel was unexpected. I felt like Gardner was playing with me, poking a little bit of fun and borrowing some things from other sources... what I mean by that is that one night (when I was extremely tired, right before bed), I began reading the chapter where Grendel has this conversation with a dragon, and I could have sworn that the dragon was trying to explain to Grendel how he was able to see the future by the use of psychohistory. Now that snapped me awake! I would not be able to say for sure without going back and reading Prelude and or Forward the Foundation by Isaac Asimov to be certain, but I could have sworn that was the case...
Gory bits aside, it was a thoughtful, interesting read and the philosophies expressed by various characters was of course, quite unnatural, atypical of what we have come to expect from people of that era. I will have to come back to this book sometime (perhaps after I have re-read Asmiov's Foundation series...).