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Bibliography by Meghan Dion

Page history last edited by Meghan Dion 9 years, 2 months ago

Annotated Bibliography Assignment


By Meghan Dion, Into the Zone: A Study of Adaptations


 1. Bjorling, Fiona. "When The Film is Better Than The Book." Russian Studies in Literature 40.3 (2004): 64-75. Academic Search CompleteWeb. 4 Nov. 2013. 


Bjorling considers the differences between film and book adaptations of the same story based on the 1976 Russian novella, Farewell to Matyora, and the 1982 film, Farewell. The essay takes on a comparative tone, primarily seeking to prove that “the two works show distinct focuses, the result in part of different media, in part of the idea being expressed. As we turn from one to the other we experience a cumulative effect: the book is brought to the film and the film back to the book” (64).


The article provides keen insight into the adaptation process. While Farewell to Matyora and Farewell are both based on the same story, they nevertheless can be interpreted differently. Bjorling seeks to prove that a visual aid is different than a written one. However, she does admit there are similarities between the two forms of media as well. Bjorling notes that both the novella and film end on an uncertain note, staying true to their vague natures.


The comparison of these two different forms of media parallels the research we plan to do in our project. Using another Russian novella, Roadside Picnic, along with its film and game counterparts, we plan on studying how adaptation across multiple forms of media alters one’s perception of the same story. While we do expect differences in interpretation, we nevertheless believe the core tone and theme of the story will stay consistent over each medium.              


2. Lern, S., Schieder, E., and R.M.P. "About the Strugatskys' "Roadside Picnic"' Science Fiction Studies 10.3 (1983): 317-32. JSTOR. Web 4 Nov. 2013. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/4239570>


Lern, and Schieder analyze the Strugastsky brothers’ novella, Roadside Picnic, and discern how the text follows and strays from the typical formulas of a science fiction narrative. Particularly, in the science fiction genre, the two note that a text usually grapples with vague and abstract questions, questions concerning the unknown, and reasons their beliefs using logic and facts. In this sense, Roadside Picnic is not limited to one genre. Indeed, while it involves aliens, technology, and a dystopian universe, the novella also adopts a fairy tale like structure when the main characters embark on a quest for specific items. 


While Lern and Schieder’s arguments concerning the text are fascinating, it is not so much their arguments that are relevant to this project, but their analytical use of the text. Lern and Schieder use the Stugastkys’ text to study the science fiction genre. The text becomes a piece of evidence, just as it will become evidence in our project. As a group we plan on studying how this narrative, particularly a narrative with a unique tone, is transformed through different types of media. By considering the uniqueness of the story, there is no doubt that its translation across media will be altered. However, we predict because of this same uniqueness, the story will also retain many characteristics, such as tone and theme. 


3. McLuhan, Marshall. The Medium is the Massage. Berkeley: Gingko Press Inc., 1996. Print. 


The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan is a complex work that combines both written word and visual imagery in order to emphasize the relationship between a specific medium and the medium’s audience. The book itself is presented as a form of propaganda and seeks to impact the viewer/reader on a sensory level.


Ultimately, McLuhan’s book advocates the theory of technological determinism. McLuhan believes that technology directly and decisively determines how people think and act in the world they live in: “Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication” (8). By chronicling the transformation of media from oral to print, and finally, to television, McLuhan uses his work both in text and in context to demonstrate the power that different forms of media have in shaping the human world.

In our project we expect to counter McLuhan’s thesis by demonstrating that a consistent tone and theme can be evidenced across all forms of media. McLuhan argues that media affects and transforms society, but our project will attempt to prove that society is aware of different forms of media, and therefore, the viewer actively seeks to interpret the media’s messages instead of passively letting media transform him or her. Further, we assert that the messages in these various works can maintain a certain element of stability, such as tone and theme. In this sense, the medium does not always alter perception, and technology alone does not determine anything by itself. It is how society uses technology that forms culture.


4. Sanders, Joe. "Found In Translation." Publishers Weekly 259.11 (2012): 42. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.


Joe Sanders interviews Olena Bornmashenko, a woman who is dissatisfied with the existing English translation of Boris and Arkady Strugatsky’s novella, Roadside Picnic (1972). Through a Q&A style article, Bornmashenko describes her translation process.


Ultimately, this article is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it describes the translation process as crude and unorganized. Bornmashenko notes that she first deciphers words on paper without worrying about grammar, and then eventually alters the wording so it may flow with the English language. She also states slang words are especially hard to convert to readable English, and as a result, tone and evocativeness are often sacrificed. Second, the article notes that Bornmashenko chose to translate the text because she was unhappy with the previous translation of Roadside Picnic done by Antonina W. Bouis, the version of Roadside Picnic our group has chosen to read. This is especially important because it highlights the imperfectness of the translation. As previously noted by Bornmashenko, meaning and evocativeness are often sacrificed at the expense of understanding. No one translation can perfectly capture the meaning of a text.


To reiterate, the text our team uses is the translation done by Antonina W. Bouis. It is important to note that this translation is not perfect. In the process of adaptation it will be interesting to observe how this translation will be increasingly altered over the course of different mediums. 


5. Strugastky, Arkady and Boris. Roadside Picnic. Trans. Antonina W. Bouis. Cryptomaoist Editions, 2013. PDF file.


Roadside Picnic, by Arkady and Boris Strugastky is a Russian science fiction novella that tells the story of a group of scavengers called the "stalkers" who live in a dystopian universe. It describes their conquests in Harmont, one of six Visitation Zones left behind in the aftermath of an alien invasion. The text takes on a dark narrative tone, and is often told from differing points of view.


As a form of written literature, it is evident the Strugastky Brothers’ novella contains a psychological and eerie tone as shifting perspectives comment on the expanding influence of the Zone and the effects it has on the human population around it. As a result, the reader comes to empathize with the stalkers as they navigate through the hostile universe around them.


Roadside Picnic has inspired multiple adaptations. In fact, the book itself is an adaptation, translated from Russian to the English language. In addition, the film, Stalker (1979), and the video game series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R, have received mostly positive reviews from critics. Thus, Roadside Picnic and its counterparts serve as interesting pieces of evidence concerning the effects of adaptation. They can be used to answer questions that ask how a varying forms of media can alter or maintain aspects of narrative structure.   


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