Monday, November 11, 2013

Tough action heroes use visualization, too



Read the pages above. They come from Lee Child's A Wanted Man, which belongs to the Jack Reacher series. Picture the scene. Reacher is using a map-based visualization to pinpoint a target. The author even describes part of Ben Shneiderman's Visual Information-Seeking Mantra (overview first, zoom, etc.) quite well.

Some of you may have heard of Jack Reacher thanks to the recent Tom Cruise movie, one of the most glaring examples of miscast Hollywood has ever released; a better Reacher would look like Nathan Jones —the actor who plays the giant Brad Pitt kills in this scene— but with with hair. His adventures are my latest silly and guilty pleasure. I am in good company on this:
"It is one thing to like crime fiction and thrillers – to admire Ian Rankin, John le CarrĂ©, James Lee Burke, proper writers all of them – but no one, I imagine, values Child for the quality of his prose. One can hardly find, in the entire corpus of the work, a single sentence worthy of independent admiration. But put them together, one by one and page by page, and I am consumed, not by admiration exactly, but by something much more powerful – the great animating impulse of the whole story-telling business – the desire, the rage, to know what is going to happen." Read the whole article.

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