This is my equivalent of an artist influence matrix, prepared roughly in chronological order. I had to put this list into three separate post because it was getting way too long for one after adding short descriptions for each one of them. It has been lovely being able to revisit these stories again after all these time.
- 1.Asterix and Obelix – René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo (Comic Book)I first read Asterix when I was seven years old and loved it instantly. It turns out to be one of the keenest memories of my childhood as it was also the quality time I spent with my dad. We both had good laughs with all the jokes and sarcasm quite unique to the series. But more than great sense of humour, it is also about the fight of the individuals (Asterix and Obelix) against the system (the Roman Empire), and of the few (the Gauls) against the many (the Roman Army). It is the tale of the rural versus the urban, a commentary on history and, most of the time, just plain awesome adventures.
- 2.The Adventure of Tintin- Hergé (Comic Book)
I started Tintin along with Asterix, but only come to appreciate it when I turned a bit older. Compare to Asterix, Tintin is more about youth power (Tintin is always portrayed as a well-composed young journalist who slung head first into a mystery or a propaganda). It doesn’t have the sarcastic humour Asterix has. It is more of a who-dun-it and portrays the events and opinions of the time it was written. While Asterix is my friend, Tintin is someone I (and many other) wanted to be when we were kids.
- 3.Star Trek (The Original Series and The Next Generation) – Gene Roddenberry (TV Series)
Okay, I cheat. This is not exactly a story, but they belong to the same universe. I first watched Star Trek: Next Gen around the time I discovered Asterix and I love the series its vision and faith in humanity (albeit sometimes a rather cocky one). My dad introduced me to the movies later on and that was when I discovered Kirk and Spock – especially Spock who has become my all time favorite character of Star Trek. He and Data started my fascination with non-human intelligence.
- 4.The Matrix (first film) – Larry and Andy Wachowski (Film)
If any movie is worth the raving, it is the Matrix. I personally have a love-affair with si-fi+philosophy genre (as you will later see) and the Matrix tops most of what I’ve seen. It’s enjoyable and deep while not necessarily confusing and has a very satisfying ending. I’ve always felt that it is complete on its own that I oppose the idea of watching the sequels. So don’t bother me with Reload or Revolution.
- 5.Neon Genesis Evangelion – Hideaki Ann0 (Animated Series)
NGE is a cult, and I’m in! This is by far the most intriguing, mind-raping, infuriatingly confusing story I’ve ever seen. For 24 episodes straight, it was about a group of teenage boys and girls trained to pilot giant bio-robot to fight the invading giant aliens. But the last two episode are all about the mind, which has always the main point of the series, which leads to a totally unforeseen ending. I’m not even going to pretend that I understand it. Hideaki Anno said once that he wanted a story that does not underestimate his audience intellectual capacity. So prepare your brian before watching.
- 6.The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbits, The Silmarillion – J. R. R. Tolkien (Book)
Again three stories from the same universe, the Middle Earth, and – at face-value – a story of good versus evil. But it is actually a lot more complicated than that, especially if you look closely at the Silmarillion. The stories are everything except a plain good-versus-bad, laced with a fantasy elements laid on firm foundation. Tolkien made other fantasy universes look pale in comparison and other tragedies less heart wrenching.
- 7.Demian-Hermann Hesse (Book)
I’ve always called this the story that save my sanity. I was in high-school when a good friend introduced me to the book. It altered the way I think in such a fundamental level that I only realized the effect a month after I finished the book. It opened me to a whole set of different kind of thinking and I was able to manage a lot of my self-inflicted agony because of it. The most valuable thing I learnt at the time was to listen to yourself most intensely before you listen to any other, and you might want to know something about the bible of you want to follow a part of its discussion.
- 8.Childhood’s End- Arthur C. Clarke (Book)
I’m a fan of ACC, but Childhood’s End ranks the highest among them. It is a story when Earth encounters a fleet of alien space crafts who had come in peace to aid humanity into its Golden Age. The motivation of the aliens were hidden until close to the end. I remember sitting, my head completely blank for thirty minutes after finishing the story, don’t know how to assess my jumbled up emotions and thoughts. I felt sad yet happy, peaceful yet troubled, wholesome yet lonely – very, very lonely.
TBC for 9-16!