Atomic Antelope‘s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland digital pop-up book for the iPad was not just a best selling app for the new tablet device, it was also one of the most innovative eBooks on the market. The New York Times ran an article last November complaining that, with the possibilities in the touch-screen age for cool interactive books, most of the releases were “boring.” The Alice pop-up was one of their “honorable exceptions.” It wasn’t just games or angry birds, it was actually the full Carroll text with the Tenniel illustrations that moved and danced as you played with them.
Guess what!? Atomic Antelope is back with more Alice, released this week. This time, her adventures are in the Big Apple. Judging from the illustrations, it’s their variation on Through the Looking-Glass. Alice in New York appears to also have something to do with physics. It’s available for $8.99 in the iTunes store. I’ll let the specs and screenshots speak for themselves:
You loved Alice in Wonderland. Now join her in New York! Touch, tilt and shake your iPad to bring this amazing book to life. Meet Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Humpty Dumpty, the Walrus and the Carpenter, the Lion and the Unicorn and dozens of other classic Lewis Carroll characters. This book is from the same publisher that created the blockbuster “Alice for the iPad”. as seen on the Oprah Winfrey show.
Take a tour of Manhattan with the Red Queen as your guide. Ride with Tweedledum and Tweedledee in their taxi. Meet the Frog and the Fawn. Ride an elevator through the Empire State building. Attend a fireworks party and eat oysters with the Walrus and the Carpenter. Plus lots, lots more.
Alice in New York is a groundbreaking adaptation. A special celebration of the 140th anniversary of Through the Looking Glass, first published in 1871. This incredible iPad book includes a new story and never-before-seen color illustrations that transport Alice from Sir John Tenniel’s original drawings and into modern New York.
Just a few highlights of this magical book:
• 140 years in the making!
• Explore New York for the first time with Alice
• Enjoy 136 beautiful digitally-remastered pages
• Feast on 27 fully interactive illustrations
• Be stunned by pictures that come to life as you tilt your iPad
• Based on a Lewis Carroll classic, with illustrations adapted from Sir John Tenniel
• Delight in the physics engine that responds to your touch
Leave us a comment if you have any opinions about the new app; we poor far-flung bloggers have no iPad.
Thanks again to Adriano Peliano at the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil, and her lively blog AliceNations, for posting pictures from this beautiful exhibition at the Biblioteca de Andalucía en Granada, Spain, from 2009. It’s called “Alice’s Adventures under Ground. 75 Aniversario de la muerte de Alice Liddell” by Leonor Solans. There are more images at the AliceNations blog, and she also embedded this video of the show set to the great Tom Waits song “Alice”:
[…] Y aunque la sombra de un suspiro
quizá lata a lo largo de esta historia,
añorando esos «alegres días de un estío de antaño»
y el recuerdo desvanecido de un verano ya pasado…
no rozará con su infeliz aliento
el mágico encanto de nuestro cuento.
We all know that the original Alices of John Tenniel are to rigid and formal to allow flows of subjectivity, body sensations, subtle feelings, vital experiences. These Alices of Leonor Solans welcome Alice in her dive in the potency of life. The exhibition is sweet and delicate, the song of Tom Waits fits perfect.
Cindy Watter, who sent us the tip-off, advises “This is a restaurant style product for heavy use. If you dropped a plate on your foot, you would break your foot before you broke the plate” – so, not the preferred flatware for throwing at babies or pigs. Each dish, glass, mug, and coaster is illustrated with Tenniel drawings. They also make a pretty cool tote bag, now priced at $10.36.
"Lewis Carroll Collection," by Macrender, screen shot
Publish This, LLC, has a new app for the Android Market (Android is the operating system Google developed for non-iPhone smartphones) with the zingy title “Lewis Carroll Collection Books” ($0.99.) It claims to have the text for AAIW, TTLG, Phantasmagoria and Other Poems, The Hunting of the Snark, and A Tangled Tale. I should have been warned by this app having the impossibly low rating of 1 Star (out of 5) – it appears to simply not work, and crashes every time I try to open a book. Never fear, though, Android users, if you need nothing more than to re-read one of Lewis Carroll’s books on your 4″ screen. There appears to be at least a dozen apps that offer the text of AAIW or TTLG, ranging from free to $4.99 (“Lewis Carroll Collection” by Macrender, which, judging from the screen shot to the right, has very little bling.)
I downloaded another free app called “Alice’s Adventures” by Popbook, which seems to simply be the text of AAIW in 76 screens without any way to jump ahead to a chapter. There’s not even any space between paragraphs. Marvin Huang has a free app called “Alice in Wonderland,” which at least has chapters and the ability to create bookmarks. Ditto for the $0.99 Double M Apps “Alice in Wonderland Ebook.” None of these have any illustrations. (Thank heavens they left in the conversations.) It fascinates me that some young readers’ first experience of Carroll’s masterpiece will be in this format. If anyone has any opinions about any of the other apps, or can compare them to the iPhone Carroll offerings, please comment on this post! Meanwhile, it seems the market is wide open for some creative talents to take on classic children’s books with fancy smartphoney illustrations.
Rovio's popular smartphone game "Angry Birds"
The Atomic Antelope digital pop-up version for the iPad we’ve reported on before has touch screen interactive illustrations, but those are based on the Tenniel. All we ask from our Android Alice in Wonderland apps is that, when the Rabbit sends in a little Bill, we can slingshot him like an angry bird.
Mentioning every Carroll-related item that comes up for auction would be impossible, and not the good do-it-before-breakfast kind of impossible either. Nevertheless, here’s a couple of lots coming up at the end of this month that seem worth a mention.
Christie's Sale 5475, Lot #212
On November 30, Christie’s in London will be auctioning a number of books and pamphlets. Lot #212 (pictured left) is a uniformly bound set containing the first published edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (the true first edition was recalled by Carroll due its unsatisfactory reproduction of Tenniel’s illustrations) and a first edition of Through the Looking-Glass. Sale 5476 also features Algebraical Formulae and Rules for the use of candidates for responsions (Lot #214), never mentioned in the author’s diary, but possibly an expanded version of Algebraical Formulae for Responsions.
The following day, on the other side of the world, the Leonard Joel auction house in Sydney, Australia, will be auctioning a facsimile of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (Lot #294), signed by the author and dated November 15, 1895. The lot also includes two letters to Olive Gould and one to Mrs Gould and, intriguingly, “part of a poem on bats.”
A photo of the poem is below. With a bit of squinting I can read that it begins “She gave it both some bread [and?] milk / and felt its furry wings / which were as soft as softest silk / and said all sorts of things,” but I can’t make out much of the rest. If you can decipher it, please leave a transcription in the comments! Click on the photo to see a larger image.
I’m slightly daunted by the fact this Cheshire Cat pumpkin stencil is only rated “3/5 Intermediate” by Ultimate Pumpkin Stencils. Look at all those teeth! Upping the ante, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter stencils (fair likenesses of Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp respectively) are rated “4/5 Challenging.” (Advanced pumpkin carvers seeking the giddy heights of “5/5 Ultimate” may have to turn to either a stencil of Conan the Barbarian lunging with sword, or Mr T point straight at you, as if to say “I want you to pity the fool”.)
A single stencil can be downloaded for $4.95 or you can purchase the full Alice in Wonderland trio for $9.95.
I have a feeling that LCSNA members might not need inspiration either from Tim Burton or from pre-cut stencils in carving their Alice-themed jack-o’-lanterns. Please send us your pictures of any Carrollian cucurbita creations, and we will delight in honoring them on this blog. Tenniel jack-o’-lanterns will receive an automatic “5/5 Ultimate” rating. Any individual who attempts a Jan Svankmajer jack-o’-lantern will be crowned Jack the Pumpkin King without contest.
This essay by Joyce Carol Oates, “In the Absence of Mentors/Monsters: Notes on Writerly Influences,” was actually published in Narrative Magazine in Fall 2009, but it’s now available online at the Huffington Post. Read this whole essay here, and I’ve excerpted a few relevant passages:
Early Influences. Often it’s said that the only influences that matter greatly to us come early in our lives, and I think that this must be so. Of the thousands–tens of thousands?–of books I’ve probably read, in part or entirely, many of which have surely exerted some very real influence on my writing life, only a few shimmer with a sort of supernatural significance, like the brightest stars in the firmament: Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass,” Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden,” and “The Gold Bug and Other Tales” by Edgar Allan Poe–the great books of my childhood.
Most of the children’s storybooks and young-adult novels my grandmother gave me have faded from my memory, like the festive holiday occasions themselves. The great single–singular–book of my childhood, if not of my entire life, is “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass,” which my grandmother gave me when I was eight years old, and which, with full-page illustrations by John Tenniel, in a slightly oversized edition with a transparent plastic cover, exerted a powerful influence on my susceptible child’s imagination, a kind of hypnotic spell that lasted for years.
Here is my springboard into the imagination! Here is my model of what a storybook can be.
I was too young for such exalted thoughts, of course. Far too young even to grasp that the name stamped on the spine of the book–Lewis Carroll–was the author’s name, still less that it was the author’s pen name. (Many years would pass before I became aware that the author of the “Alice” books was an Oxford mathematician named Charles Dodgson, an eccentric bachelor with a predilection for telling fantastical stories to the young daughters of his Oxford colleagues and photographing them in suggestive and seductive poses evocative of Humbert Humbert’s nymphets of a later, less innocent era.) My enchantment with this gift began with the book itself as a physical and aesthetic object, quite unlike anything else in our household: both Alice books were published in a single volume under the imprint Illustrated Junior Library, Grosset & Dunlap (1946). Immediately, the striking illustrations by John Tenniel entered my imagination, ranged across the field of the book’s cover–back and front–in a dreamlike assemblage of phantasmagoric figures as in a somewhat less malevolent landscape by Hieronymus Bosch. (I still have this book. It is one of the precious possessions in my library. What a surprise to discover that the book that loomed so large in my childhood imagination is only slightly larger than an ordinary book.)
The appeal of “Alice” and her bizarre adventures to an eight-year-old girl in a farming community in upstate New York is obvious. Initially, the little-girl reader is likely to be struck by the fact that the story’s heroine is a girl of her own approximate age who confronts extraordinary adventures with admirable equanimity, common sense, and courage. (We know that Alice isn’t much more than eight years old because Humpty Dumpty says slyly to her that she might have “left off” at seven–meaning, Alice might have died at seven.) Like most children, Alice talks to herself–but not in the silly prattling way of most children: “ ’Come, there’s no use in crying like that!’ said Alice to herself rather sharply; ‘I advise you to leave off this minute!’ ” (Obviously, Alice is echoing adult admonitions–she has interiorized the stoicism of her elders.) Instead of being alarmed or terrified, as a normal child would be, Alice marvels, “Curiouser and curiouser!”–as if the world so fraught with shape-changing and threats of dissolution and even, frequently, cannibalism were nothing more than a puzzle to be solved or a game to be played like croquet, cards, or chess. (Alice discovers that the Looking-Glass world is a continual game of chess in which, by pressing forward, and not backing down in her confrontations with Looking-Glass inhabitants, she will become Queen Alice–though it isn’t a very comfortable state pinioned between two elderly snoring queens.) The “Alice” books are gold mines of aphoristic instruction: “Who cares for you? . . . You’re nothing but a pack of cards!” Alice cries fearlessly, nullifying the authority of malevolent adults as, at the harrowing conclusion of “Looking-Glass,” she confronts the taboo-fact of “cannibalism” at the heart of civilization… [Continue reading here.]
Check out this beautiful custom chess set, featured on the website English Russia. It seems to be a work in progress but, from the description, we gather that the grand scheme is for an ornately carved table concealing a glass chessboard and ivory pieces. Turning a handle shaped like a flamingo’s head will activate a mechanism that lifts the board out of the table and ready for play.
The work of an unnamed Ukrainian master ivory carver, each piece is a highly-detailed rendering of a Tenniel illustration – white players from Through the Looking-Glass and black players from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. See the website for pictures of the man at work and a longer description of the project. Let’s hope that pictures of the finished work make it online too.
Evertype has announced the publication of a new edition of Selyf Roberts’ 1982 Welsh translation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Anturiaethau Alys yng Ngwlad Hud is newly typeset and contains Tenniel’s illustrations. It is available from Amazon.com for $15.95.
“Y ffordd acw,” ebe’r Gath gan chwifio’i phawen dde, “mae ’na Hetiwr yn byw; a’r ffordd acw,” gan chwifio’r llall, “mae ’na Sgwarnog Fawrth yn byw. Ewch i ymweld â’r naill neu’r llall: mae’r ddau yn wallgof.”
“Ond does arna’ i ddim eisiau mynd i blith pobol wallgof,” ebe Alys.
“O, fedrwch chi ddim peidio,” meddai’r Gath, “rydyn ni i gyd yn wallgof yma. Rydw i’n wallgof. Rydych chi’n wallgof.”
Or, in other words….
“In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right paw around, “lives a Hatter: and in that direction,” waving the other paw, “lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you ca’n’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”