bees

Review: 'The Bees', by Laline Paull

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The BeesThe man stared through the trees, not listening.

"There – thought for a moment it had vanished."

An old wooden beehive stood camouflaged against the trees. The woman drew back.

"I won’t come any closer," she said. "I’m a bit funny about insects." (p. 1)

The reader knows from the beginning that the orchard hive is on an old, out-of-business farm being sold, to be demolished so its land can be added to a light-industrial complex. But the bees in the old wooden beehive don’t know it.

Bees are controlled so much by instinct that it is very difficult to realistically anthropomorphize them. But it has been done, in A Hive for the Honeybee by Soinbhe Lally (original Irish edition, February 1996; U.S. edition, March 1999), and the award-winning 1998-1999 five-issue comic book Clan Apis by Dr. Jay Hosler, a neurobiologist specializing in the study of honeybees, collected into a 158-page graphic novel in January 2000. And now there is Laline Paull’s complex dystopian The Bees.

Front., bee illustrations from Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1897, NYC, HarperCollinsPress/Ecco, May 2014, hardcover $25.99 (340 pages), Kindle $12.74.

Rare TV screening of uncut 'Mr. Bug Goes to Town' this Sunday on TCM

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Mr. Bug Goes to TownIt’s been announced since August 3, but it just occurred to me that it hasn’t been announced on Flayrah yet. This coming Sunday, October 21, from 8:00 p.m. (EST) in the evening until 5:00 a.m. the next morning, Turner Classic Movies will feature “Rare Animation” including three features and eighteen shorts, hosted by TCM’s Robert Osborne and the Cartoon Brew’s Jerry Beck.

The three features will be the Fleischer Studios’ Gulliver Travels (1939) at 8:00 pm., Mr. Bug Goes to Town (1941) at 9:30 p.m., and Lotte Reiniger’s independent silent The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) at 1:15 a.m. the next morning. It is Mr. Bug Goes to Town, a.k.a. Hoppity Goes to Town, that makes this of interest to Furry fans.

Secret of the Stone Frog

David Nytra is a relative newcomer to the world of fantasy graphic novels. Still The Secret of the Stone Frog, his first work as a writer and illustrator, is drawing a lot of interest from fantasy collectors just prior to its release.  “When Leah and Alan awaken in an enchanted forest, they have only each other and their wits to guide them. In a world of pet bees and giant rabbits, they befriend foppish lions and stone frogs, learning to confront danger as they find both their own independence and the way home. Newcomer David Nytra’s breathtaking pictures break the boundaries of imagination, sending the reader on a wild flight of fantasy while experiencing the most universal of stories: Growing up.” According to the pre-order site at Amazon, Toon Books will publish this hardcover black & white graphic novel in early September.


image c. 2012 Toon Books