I enjoyed V for Vendetta better than Watchmen. I like them both, though for differing reasons but V for Vendetta just gripped me more. I’m not entirely sure why, but it was one of those books that once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. With Watchmen it took effort but I could stop at the end of chapters if i wanted to. But V… Because I’m only reading them at home I don’t really have that much reading time, but I read it in 2 days. I started reading it last night and finished it tonight. I’d read two thirds of it by the time I went to bed. I could happily have sat up and kept reading but I start work at 7.30am so that wasn’t really an option. And I know exactly why I liked it so much. Sure there were good characters, gorgeous imagery, intriguing plot twists and intelligent political writing. That wasn’t it. I loved it even though i’d figured out a couple of the twists before the reveal. It was something I’ve never associated with this kind of writing. Immersed in the visceral dystopian world, I encountered something that I don’t think I’ve encountered in any of Alan Moore’s works before, or any other dystopian future view, with the possible exception of Farenheit 451. Hope. Or at least the potential for it. I’ve been discussing the appeal of Moore’s work and it has been pointed out to me that Moore’s an anarchist and that this heavily influences his work and the world view within it. I see what she means about that now. Reading V explains so much about why I enjoy his work, no matter how much the realisations it brings might repel or horrify me. He’s showing us the bars of our prisons, forcing us to face the terrible things we are all capable of and ask ourselves the uncomfortable questions about ourselves and our society. Through V he may have shown us the bars of our cages but he’s also showing us that the door to the cage is already open, all we have to do is walk through it. That’s the hard bit though. That’s the bit that we have to do for ourselves, to take responsibility for our country/society’s problems, to stop bleating about others failure to solve them and do it ourselves. We need to find the strength to keep hold of that last inch…no matter the cost.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see the film or not after I read it, I don’t want it spoiled, but in the end I needed to know whether it does it justice or not. I’m in one of those moods after this book where I want to everyone to read it too. Overall, despite all that was changed, I believe it did. The essentials remain in the film. People need to know just how close the abyss is, and that all is not yet lost.
Written Summer 2006