Quidnunc Pro Quo

A Thousand Ships, by Natalie Haynes – This book dives into the thoughts and actions of numerous women involved with the Trojan War, giving their perspective on the whole thing. It utilizes a lot of sources, and gives each one a voice. There’s even a chapter from the point of view of Gaia, who wants war as a form of population control, as she’s overburdened with so many people. Penelope comments on her husband’s various adventures, versions of which she’s heard from bards over the years. It skips around quite a bit instead of being a straightforward narrative.

Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods, by Catherynne M. Valente – This children’s book is similar in style to the Fairyland books, the first things I read by Valente, with its heavy whimsy and somewhat old-fashioned tone. Osmo is a bit of a know-it-all who’s discontent with his life in the town of Littlebridge. When his mother accidentally kills a Quidnunc, an intelligent creature sort of like a living hill, the animals of the forest bring up an old agreement between the town and the woods that the killer’s oldest son has to atone for it through a ritual marriage to a ghost. The forest is a place where all the animals talk, and they’re all of two natures, sort of like Wuzzles. Osmo is accompanied on his journey through the forest and into the land of the dead by a cantankerous skadgebat (part wombat, part skunk, and part badger) and a lonely pangirlin (part pangolin and part girl), who initially distrust him but come to be his friends. Pangolins are known to be very solitary animals, who only interact to reproduce and abandon their offspring once they’ve been weaned, and Valente uses this in the story. Nevermore is accustomed to being alone, but secretly desires companionship. The woods are full of mushrooms, which the inhabitants not only live in but can use for many other purposes. I can’t even remember the plot all that well; it meandered quite a bit. But the journey and setting are quite entertaining. I have to admit that I can’t see the title without thinking of Cosmic Osmo, a video game from 1990 that I never played, but I remember it being mentioned in Nintendo Power. It was for Macintosh computers, not Nintendo, but I think it was being used as an example of what a CD-ROM drive could do for games.

Kirby Manga Mania Volume 1, by Hirokazu Hikawa – Speaking of Nintendo, here’s a comic based on one of their properties. Like the Super Mario-kun comics of which a collection was recently released, these are pretty zany, but I’d say that style probably works better with Kirby than with Mario. This version of Kirby isn’t particularly heroic, at least not in any of these stories, instead generally causing trouble for King Dedede and others. He’s childish and generally well-meaning, but also chaotic and ravenous.

Unlike in the anime, Kirby talks here, but he also makes frequent use of the sound “Pepoh!” And he does inhale things and use his copy abilities.

As far as plots go, I noticed a common theme in that one has Dedede turned into a toy, another has Kirby pretend to be a toy, and a third takes place within a board game. There’s also one where the characters are exposed to future technology, and one with Kirby being banished from Dream Land and starting his own country.

They’re weird, but interesting enough for me to want to read some others in the series.

This entry was posted in Animals, Art, Authors, Book Reviews, Cartoons, Catherynne M. Valente, Comics, Greek Mythology, Humor, Kirby, Mythology, Technology, Television, Toys, Video Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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