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Elisabet Ýr Atladóttir p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. Elísabet Ýr Atladóttir is a computer game artist from Iceland, currently residing in Denmark. She directed Memoria, a short 3d animation which is on Youtube. It’s a tragedy about a drug addict who finds shelter in an abandoned house where his demons go to work on him. In this interview, Elisabet Ýr Atladóttir gives some good insights into story telling, and talks about making animated movies, working in computer game production and creating her other artwork. See elisabetya.com.

READERSVOICE.COM: Can you mention some of your favorite books, fiction or not?

ELISABET ÝR ATLADOTTIR: I tend to favor fiction and fantasy over non-fiction. Some of my favorite books include the A Song of Ice and Fire series, Wheel of Time series, Lovecraft’s stories, such as The Hound [short story published in Weird Tales in 1924], The Call of Cthulhu [1926 story published in Weird Tales in 1928] etc, then books by Neil Gaiman: Stardust, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book and Neverwhere. Then there’s the amazing Perdido Street Station and The Scar by China Mieville. Hyperion, Fall of Hyperion and Endymion by Dan Simmons. So many books, so many different types of stories, and I love them all. I could list endless amounts of books here, but I’ll leave these, as these are my absolute favorites.

RV: On your website you said you’d always been interested in all forms of storytelling. Is there a particular style or subject matter to Icelandic and Danish story telling that has influenced games or animations?

EYA: Yes, I’m interested in all forms of storytelling. There are so many ways to tell a story, but in the end, it’s the story that sticks to your mind. So if you tell a story through film, but the story itself is lacking…well, you get a very unmemorable film.

I’m not very familiar with Danish storytelling, as I’m not very good at Danish. But old Icelandic folk tales and written stories from the 1200’s and forward are absolutely fantastic.
Icelandic stories are riddled with battles and heroes, but they’re not all these warrior heroes. No, more often they use wit and cunning to get out of difficult situations, which is really fascinating. There’s a bunch of stories that have this futility to them as well, where no matter what you do, you will lose somehow. Stories to warn you of doing something, or to teach children to behave by telling them absolutely gruesome stories of monsters that will get them in the night. There’s no bogeyman in Icelandic stories, but there are an endless amount of mystical beasts and creatures that will try to trick you or use you. I like that in a story, where you have to be smart to get out of something. MEMORIA was specifically about futility, about regret and personal punishment. It was about jealousy. I can’t say there’s a specific style or subject matter that influenced my work directly from Icelandic storytelling, but I have a feeling that me growing up around these stories has a lot to do with how I think of them.

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– copyright Simon Sandall