These days, we’re all seeing our beloved Victorian era (but let’s face it, timeless) Alice books retold using various forms of cutting edge technology. Here’s another example, this time from Adobe, that plays with special CSS (cascading style sheet, for non-developer folks) tags to tell the story in a stylish, web-based environment. You will note that the graphic design is quite distinctive, as well. Alice looks like a cross between a goth bobby-soxer and a dominatrix. And the caterpillar with the hookah–well, I confess the image did make me think “hookah” when I saw it! ;-)
Regardless of what you think of the project’s success in telling the Wonderland story well, it’s technically impressive. And it’s always fun to see that Lewis Carroll’s works continue to inspire people all over the globe. (If the video doesn’t show below, try reloading this page in your browser.)
Pop singer and pop culture icon Boy George (formerly of Culture Club) credits a passage from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as the inspiration for the song “Any Road” from his new album, This is What I Do. There is alas no video yet for this track, but apparently George uses a Wonderland theme to address the various paths one can choose in life, and his own choice to step away from the various forms of addiction that have dogged him in the past.
Addendum: Inconvenient People author Sarah Wise (see prior post) has kindly shared with us the dates of two more blog posts from her web site that reference Uncle Skeffington Lutwidge: May 19, 2013 and June 27, 2013.
If you are a Facebook user, you probably already know that there are a number of Facebook pages that pay tribute to Alice illustrations, or have other Carrollian connections. Here are just a handful, in case you’ve missed any of them. TIP: You can find these and others under our “Likes” section on our Facebook page. If you know of more, please send us the link!
Attention, all Mimsy Minions! (If Lady Gaga can dub her fans “Little Monsters” then surely Lewis Carroll’s must be called “Mimsy Minions”.) It’s a lot of work to keep up with nifty Carrollian information for our blog. Please pitch in and show your colors! Submit any blog-worthy items (with URLs where appropriate) to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Do this early and often! Let’s demonstrate just how nifty blog crowdsourcing can be. Thanks! :-)
Imagine the scene in the gallery: on a giant screen, you watch Alice leap off a book and lead you into Wonderland. Slowly you realize that the animation you are watching is somehow watching you—and copying your every move. As the artist, Ruth Sergel, describes it: “In front of the looking glass, fantasy and reality merge as Alice fluidly mirrors the viewer’s every move.” The interactive work is currently being exhibited at Multimedier Schlachthof in Berlin, Germany.
Ruth Sergel is an American artist, activist, and “interactive technology designer” whose film and performance work has appeared at MOMA in New York, and in galleries around Europe. More information about “Alice in Berlin” can be found on Sergel’s website, Street Pictures, where there is also a video showing visitors interacting with Alice.
If a ginger cat dressed as an English bobby going by the name of Cheshire, Jr. gave you a mystery to solve, could you say no? If the one thing the white rabbit feared above all was Alice’s embrace, would you help him evade it? If the answer to the first question is no, the answer to the second question is yes, and the answer to the question “do you enjoy playing games on your phone or tablet?” is also yes, please read on.
Mirrors of Albion from Game Insight, LLC
Mirrors of Albion looks pretty intriguing. For starters, it’s free. For the main course, it’s a hidden object quest game inspired by both Through the Looking-Glass and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Christine Chan in her review on AppAdvice.com has a lot of praise for the drawings and visuals and she makes the premise sound interesting too:
“Cheshire Jr. will help you in the beginning by showing you the ropes. Basically, you will navigate around the city map, and various buildings will become accessible to you as you level up and make progress through the story. The game will feature various quests and objectives, which you can access by tapping on the Quest button when there’s an exclamation mark on it.”
“Free” always comes with a hitch and it seems that your playing experience can be enhanced–or, at least, accelerated–though in-app purchases. The game can be downloaded for free from the App Store, through iTunes and Google Play, or directly through your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
A Wonderland Story from Alchemy Games
A Wonderland Story, developed by Alchemy Games, is a sliding block platform game in which you help the white rabbit to escape from “Alice’s hugs” (the horror!) to allow him to arrive on time for his date with the Queen. Harry Slater in his review on PocketGamer.co.uk explains:
Rather than controlling the rabbit, you’re in control of the terrain. Each level is made up of a series of columns of blocks and gaps, which you can slide up and down. Your bunny walks to the right automatically, and you need to clear a path for him. Stay trapped for too long and Alice will catch up. And you don’t want that to happen.
Harry concludes that, though the games suffers a little from a surfeit of good ideas, the end result is still enjoyable. A Wonderland Story can be downloaded from the Apple Store for $0.99 and is available for the iPhone or iPod, or in HD for the iPad. There’s no mention of versions for Android phones.
Now we have crossed into that magic time between Halloween and Christmas, it seems fitting to pay a visit to the latest in Alice-inspired fantasy fiction. Always a deep well (not to mention a dark and, at times, disturbing well), here are five books we haven’t mentioned before, all published within the last year.
Alice in Deadland by Mainak Dhar
The Alice in Deadland Trilogy, comprising Alice in Deadland, Through the Killing Glass and Off With Their Heads, is dark fantasy written by Mainak Dhar. Dhar’s first book was AnEconomic History of India, since then he has published books on brand management, ancient spaceships, superhuman librarians, and Taliban zombies. What next? A post-apocalyptic Alice in Wonderland, of course. Here’s the teaser:
Civilization as we know it ended more than fifteen years ago, leaving as it’s legacy barren wastelands called the Deadland and a new terror for the humans who survived- hordes of undead Biters.
Fifteen year-old Alice has spent her entire life in the Deadland, her education consisting of how best to use guns and knives in the ongoing war for survival against the Biters. One day, Alice spots a Biter disappearing into a hole in the ground and follows it, in search of fabled underground Biter bases.
RabbitHole by V. J. Waks
Rabbit Hole by V. J. Waks was published only last week. Waks is a native New Yorker and screenwriter. Her book is set in England and has a really scary dust-jacket; to know any more we will have to wait for the reviews. Any volunteers? Here’s the blurb:
In the wake of tragedy and loss, Caspian Hythe has returned to his family’s ancestral home in England. But home is not as it should be.
No longer a place of safety or of peace, home is now a place of horror and fear. For an ancient mystery has re-awakened – bloodthirsty and unimaginable – something is killing in the town of Guildford. And the trail of blood is just the beginning.
Gears of Wonderland by Jason G. Anderson
Gears of Wonderland by Jason G. Anderson, as the title suggests, is a blend of steampunk and fantasy. The book has been self-published (as has the Alice in Deadland series) but that isn’t necessarily a bad sign. One reviewer from Utah says: “For folks who may still be wary of self-published fiction, Gears of Wonderland is a good place to see that not all good books come from large publishing businesses.”
James Riggs lives a normal life with a mind-numbing job, an overbearing boss, and a demanding fiancée. Then he witnesses the murder of his best friend. Saved from the murderer by a strange man in a white suit, James is cast down a hole and into a world he always believed was a kid’s story. Wonderland. But things have changed since Alice’s visit. The Knave of Hearts has seized the Heart throne, conquered all of Wonderland with his steam-powered technological marvels, and rules the land with an iron fist. Aided by the Mad Hatter’s daughter, James journeys to discover why he has been brought to Wonderland and how the tattoo on his arm could be the key to Wonderland’s salvation—or its destruction.
Long before the world knew anything of tablet PCs and iPads, David Neal had an idea for an animated audiobook that children could watch on a screen. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was the inspiration, more specifically the many talented illustrators who had brought the story to life. Fast forward twenty years and Neal has brought the story to life in his own way. As he puts it, “to make a long story short, twenty voices, three animators, an investor and various other help and ten or so months later, we have created Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The 150th Anniversary Edition for Tablet Computers.”
In the audiobook, classic illustrations are animated and sometimes merge into each other. Watching the preview, it is quite strange to see Bessie Pease Gutmann’s white rabbit metamorphose into Margaret Tarrant’s white rabbit and from there into Alice B. Woodward’s white rabbit—hopping all the way. Illustration afficionados might like to take the opportunity to test their knowledge as the scenes unfold!
The audiobook can be purchased via the website Alice Winks for $9.95.