As a massive Stanley Kubrick aficionado and aspiring filmmaker myself, Kubrick’s Game exceeded my expectations greatly. Reading this book, I knew that the author,
Derek Taylor Kent had done a huge amount of in depth research into Kubrick and his work and this is evident not only in the story at face value, but also in the subtext and its allusions.
One reason this story works so well is that the protagonist’s journey follows that of the hero’s journey, or monomyth and this creates some parallels between the book and Kubrick’s films. The monomyth was first introduced as a concept by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which Kubrick introduced to Arthur C. Clarke during the writing of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is also worth mentioning that Campbell’s book was heavily influenced by the work of psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who was also an immense influence on Kubrick and even gets a mention in Full Metal Jacket.
I found the main character, Shawn to be an accurate representation of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. The book does well to avoid the clichéd stereotype of a Sherlock Holmes type genius with superhuman intelligence who doesn’t care for those around him and instead presents the character in a realistic way that is relatable to the reader.
Building on that, I feel that the book also succeeded in respecting Kubrick and his legacy by portraying his personality accurately whenever he was mentioned, avoiding the completely wrong, but broadly believed in view that Kubrick was insane and uncaring.
There were times where the book would make me think that the story was following an obvious route, but then this expectation would be flipped completely and as a result would give much more meaning to the story. By the end of the book I felt as though I had taken some personal meaning of my own from the story too.
Overall, I found this book to be a great read in which I always wanted to know what would happen next. The book is made up of smaller chapters than most books, which made it a lot easier to invest reading time in, particularly if you’re quite busy. Not only people as obsessive about Kubrick as me will enjoy the many references and pieces of trivia in the book, but so will those who haven’t yet fully explored Kubrick and his work who will learn some things about him in reading this book. I really enjoyed the story and am sure that others will too.
There is an audio book that’s been released on iTunes with a narration by Jonathan Frakes and a supporting role played by Yvette Nicole Brown, for those who would like to experience the story like that.
You can also participate in an online Kubrick’s Game, which requires the book to solve clues and puzzles etc. I tried out the first clue and was pleased with the challenge presented, which involved cracking a code and receiving instructions in order to carry out a real life task. I found the process to be very fun.
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