Archive for December, 2010

It Came From Half-Price Books”

Today (Thursday) was the last day of a 20% off sale at Half-Price Books and I took the opportunity to pick up a number of selections for the Collection.

 “Wonder Woman” — Season 1, 2, 3

All three seasons of the “Wonder Woman” TV series starring Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner. No other series features such continual mind control elements, especially Wonder Woman’s famous lasso, but there were also a number of other hypnosis or brainwashing elements in the stories.

Killers from Outer Space”

Peter Graves stars in this movie abut aliens who plan to mutate ordinary insects and animals into an unstoppable assault force on humanity. Grave’s character is essential for his scientific connections and is placed under the mental control of the aliens to provide that assistance.

Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe”

The entire 12 episode series, the third of the Flash Gordon serials. This one is noteworthy for the episodes where Dale Arden is exposed to an amnesia agent and is turned against Flash. The set also includes episodes from the 50’s TV series and might contain another mind control storyline.

Instant Self Hypnosis” by Forbes Robbins Blair

A do-it-yourself self-hypnosis book, with a large number of scripts to follow and directions on how to write your own scripts.

Hypnosis: Secrets of the Mind” by Michael Streeter

[amtap book:isbn=0764125931]

A lavishly-illustrated guide to the subject of hypnosis, starting with the history of the subject and moving on to specific subjects such as the applications of hypnosis, self-hypnosis, stage hypnosis, etc. (It also includes a chapter entitled ‘Hypnosis in the Media’.) Its a good book for the professional to give to non-professionals to describe what they do.

And the one that got away, as the store couldn’t find the DVDs to put back into the packaging:

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” — Season 1

The black&white season, early in the show’s history when it was as much concerned with espionage as with monsters. This collection includes the episode with the “fear gas”, where a foreign agent tries to disrupt operations by exposing the crew to a gas that multiplied their latent fears. 


There were a few others that are not destined for the Collection but I couldn’t just pass up, including:

Them!” (1954)

The first and best of the 50’s giant insect movies. Starring James Whitmore and James Arness (and appearances by Whit Bissell and Fess Parker and even Leonard Nimoy), its a taut and suspenseful story about mysterious attacks in the desert near where the first atomic bomb test was carried out. The first 10 minutes are especially creepy, set in a wind-blown desert where the only sign of the presence of the giant insects is the smell and the sound they make: there is a real feeling of claustrophobic danger here. Also to be mentioned is the female scientist (Joan Weldon) who demands to be treated as a scientist first and a woman later and gets it. 

This Week in Comics — 2010/12/22

Two entries this week, one expected and one unexpected. The first, “Zatanna”, is a title I normally collect, the second one, “Batman Annual”, that I normally don’t bother with but examined just because it was new this week, and I’m glad I did.

⇒ Continue reading “This Week in Comics — 2010/12/22”

No New Post this Weekend — On Holiday

Well, actually not just because I’m taking the weekend off for the holidays. I caught was is always called “what is just going around” and it came around here. I had to leave a video gig because I was too weak to continue standing all the time, then spent that night and the whole next day and night switching between the bed and the toilet seat. 

I only started feeling better yesterday but was still low on energy and I have a tough schedule starting Christmas Day through January 1st, and since preparing a blog entry (doing the research and the writing) is tiring, I didn’t want to push myself. (I even have a couple of entries from the new comics this week that I couldn’t get myself to complete.)

So, Happy (Hypnotic) Holidays everyone, and I will return next year.
 

Google Ngrams — A Hypnotic Resource

One of the more controversial things that Google has done (at least to authors such as myself) was to digitize and convert a wide variety of written material and present it to the public. (Writers were concerned about copyright issues, something that directly affects their profession.)

However, with that digitized material now available, it is possible to process it is many different and interesting ways. One of them is Google Ngrams, which is a search engine designed to track the appearance of certain words in the collection and relate them to specific eras when that word was used. In other words, this is a search tool to reveal the times in which a specific word became part of the literature and to track its popularity. The database only can provide information for the period 1800 to the present, however.

But since the word “hypnosis” and the related terms were created by James Braid in the 1820’s, they definitely fall within the time range. So, just as an experiment, I entered the terms “hypnosis”, “hypnotism” and “hypnotize” into the database and got this result. As I expected, the three terms started appearing in the 1820s, but what mildly surprised me was the jump in appearances in the early 1880’s, probably coinciding with the increased interest in the subject in Victorian Britain and America.

In contrast, a comparison between “hypnotism” and  “mesmerism” here shows a relatively similar rate of appearance since before the start of the data set, with a spike in the early 1840’s and 1850’s, then settles down to a relatively stable appearance rate up to the 1920’s and slowly declining to present.

Another part of the search engine, one that has been around for a while, allows for searches inside the various books, magazines and articles in the database, This includes not only a number serious books on the subject but also a number of pieces of fiction as well. They’re well worth investigating: one example here searched for anything in the 1800–1850 time frame that includes the word “mesmerism” and returns several items, including works by such early figures as James Esdaile and Thomas Buckland.

I plan on investigating this resource much more deeply in the future, but for now its an interesting tool in itself.

Birdland” by Gilbert Hernandez

[amtap amazon:asin=1560972009]

A three-issue series and a soft-cover collection with additional material, produced by Gilbert Hernandez, “Birdland” is the story of the troubled marriage between Mark and Fritz Herrera and the lives of the people (especially Mark’s girlfriend Bang-Bang, Mark’s brother Simon with a fixation on Fritz and Fritz’ sister Petra with a fixation on Mark) surrounding them, especially their sexual lives. What is particularly relevant is that Dr. Fritz maintains a psychiatric practice using hypnosis (and using her golden heart-shaped pendant as a hypnotic focus) in which she (and eventually her sister) has sex with her hypnotized male clients.

Then there’s the alien abduction (Greys, it appears) elements and the added era-spanning material which leads to Mark and Fritz’ possible reconciliation, all of which draws the story into ‘magical realism’ . Its all quite a conglomeration with very little overall plot or character development but that’s not really the point: the whole story is more of a snapshot of the relationships between the characters with plenty of sex included.

Note: The entire book is totally NSFW or viewing by anyone under legal age. It is also very much out of print (the publisher is out of business) and hard to find.

Addenda: Gilbert Hernandez is brother to Jaime Hernandez. Together they produced the award-winning and critically acclaimed “Love and Rockets” comics. Los Hermanos Hernandez are two of the best artists and storytellers in the comics business, individually and cooperatively: their work has consistently shown a strong B&W art style with strong depictions of the female characters and a concentration on Hispanic life and characters. Gilbert’s tale here is not as widely known as his other works and is correspondingly just as difficult to find. And although “Birdland” does share some characters with “Love and Rockets” they are technically not the same people.

Recommendation: The book is still worth checking out, if you can ignore the rampant sex throughout There are a number of levels that require several readings to explore.

References:

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