17 August 2006

Looking ahead and back at Looking Glass Wars

Dial is preparing to publish The Looking Glass Wars, by Frank Beddor, which has already been fairly successful for Egmont in the UK. The property's UK website and US website and other publicity (Beddor, with his background in show business, has generated a lot) offer some interesting remarks.

According to Publishers Weekly this month:

Beddor says his first spark for the idea of the book came seven years ago when he was visiting the British Museum and saw a deck of illuminated cards. It was his first real introduction to Carroll’s oeuvre, as he says he was “definitely not a fan” of Alice as a boy.

Once the spark was lit, Beddor locked himself away in an old Art Deco building in Los Angeles. He commissioned a visual artist to help flesh out the world he was imagining, and after two years of research and five years of writing, he had the first volume in his planned trilogy.
Back in July 2004, Beddor offered the Independent an additional reason for rewriting the Alice stories:
I guess I didn't realise how beloved Lewis Carroll's classic was. I was just seeking revenge. My grandmother and my mother made me read this book when I was 10 or 11 and I thought it was a terrible girls' book. This is my revenge; I wanted to rewrite it as a book boys would also enjoy.
No matter that Alice in Wonderland has been continually popular with many (but not all) children for over a century. "A book boys would also enjoy" seems to mean:
  • violence--lots and lots of violence
  • a graphic novel version on the way
  • good versus evil rather than Alice versus nonsense, which isn't really the same thing
On SF Site, Nathan Brazil wrote this review of the British version:
Clearly writing with the movie and game versions in mind, Beddor dispenses with complexities like characterisation and devious plot twists. Instead, what is presented is a tale where everyone is exactly who they seem. Black and white, good and bad with no shades of grey to trouble readers.
Contributors to Wikipedia and this video mashup on YouTube note similarities between The Looking Glass Wars and the American McGee's Alice videogame, which as of April was said to be becoming a movie for Universal Studios. There's also a John Le Carré novel called The Looking Glass War, of course.


David Lee Ingersoll said...

I tend to regard anyone who divides stories into "girl" and "boy" as a bit of an idiot. If he said, "Alice in Wonderland had too much talking for me and not enough stabbing and maiming and horror" I'd have much more respect for him.

fusenumber8 said...

I was struck by the sheer contempt the author seemed to have for Carroll as both a person and a writer. The greatest flaw in "The Looking Glass Wars" (and there are so many to choose from) is how humorless it is. Whimsy is a thing of the past. Gore, revenge, more gore, more revenge, etc. is the name of the game. Ick.