Yep, I'm back from my holiday, sporting not just a lacklustre tan but a tasty new titbit of infomagination, courtesy of a book I read on the beach.
Having loved the film, but hearing it was vastly inferior to the book, I thought I'd give the original graphic novel of Watchmen a go. Whilst I'll let other people tell you how amazing it is (and it IS amazing), I will pluck out a surprising piece of prose from the end of one chapter. It's an article written by the man behind Nite Owl, one of the "costumed heroes" that star in the story. A keen ornithologist, he writes an entrancing personal story showing why information is nothing without imagination. Here's a short extract:
BLOOD FROM THE SHOULDER OF PALLAS
Is it possible, I wonder, to study a bird so closely, to observe and catalogue its perculiarities in such minute detail, that it becomes invisible? Is it possible that while fastidiously calibrating the span of its wings or the length of its tarsus, we somehow lose sight of its poetry? That in our pedestrian descriptions of a marbled or vermiculated plummage we forfeit a glimpse of living canvases, cascades of carefully toned browns and golds that would shame Kandinsky, misty explosions of color to rival Monet? I believe that we do. I believe that in approaching our subject with the sensibilities of statisticians and dissectionists, we distance ourselves increasingly from the marvelous and spell-binding planet of imagination whose gravity drew us to our studies in the first place.
This is not to say that we should cease to establish facts and to verify our information, but merely to suggest that unless those facts can be imbued with the flash of poetic insight then they remain dull gems; semi-precious stones scarcely worth the collecting... the two enhance each other, a more lyrical eye lending the cold data a romance from which it has long been divorced.
I couldn't have said it better myself.