Monday, 19 November 2012

Sandworms of Dune

Sandworms of DuneSandworms of Dune by Brian Herbert
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The sad thing about this is that I sort of liked it. There were some stupid things, though. Did Frank Herbert really intend to bring all his characters back for a shoot-out at the OK Corral? Obviously, Murbella, Sheanna, and Idaho had to be there, but they were all accounted for in Chapterhouse. What is logical about bringing almost everyone back? Maybe Paul and Leto ... maybe ... just maybe ... but everyone? No.

The narrative was good, and there are several (sometimes predictable) plot twists, but the ending was a head-slapper. The story was mostly finished with 100 pages to go. In some ways it seemed like Frank Herbert sketched the story up to that point and the Bri and Kev decided on an easy solution. Frank never really took the easy route (except maybe to finish the first trilogy).

This ending was reminiscent of the movie (the original, not the expanded version that I haven't seen), where everything comes out fine and dandy at the end.

For the last 100 pages, I expected a Götterdämmerung ending, possibly where there is an emotive blood-bath of the main characters. No Kwisatz Haderach could really save the universe in an instant.

Unfortunately, that's what happened. Paul tells Duncan that he's the KH, and he says oh, maybe I am, and the magic Oracle comes and transports Omnius and the entire evermind into another dimension. Then Erasmus, who wields the real control submits to Duncan. But let's not forget the Face Dancers who are killed in an instant by some failsafe that Erasmus has hidden in their code - that's instant throughout the universe! Duncan shares with Erasmus, who decides it is time to leave this mortal coil, and everything is hunky-dory. Oh, and the epilog flits around the universe to give everyone the chance to put everything right and say goodbye to Herberts' loyal readership.

Did Bri and Kev lose their senses of tasted and decency? I was reasonably happy until the end, and then they blew it.

And now I've talked myself into lowering my rating to two stars, just because of the ending.

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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Neither, nor...

This morning on NPR there was a big debate: Was Jesus a Republican or Democrat?

I'm sorry folks, but he was neither. Each side put forward subtle readings of difference, but if you actually read the Bible, it's loud and clear in many places, no more clear than in Acts:

All that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. (Acts 2:44-45)

There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 4:34-37)

There are more clear places, even in the Gospels. I'm not advocating Communism in America, but the message of the Bible is clear: that you must take care of those less fortunate than you. If it means Welfare, that's provided for in the Preamble of the Constitution. You should read that, too.

American Evangelicals are putting words into Jesus' mouth. Listen to what he said, not what you read to turn it to your own narrow putrid conservative agenda. His was a message of love and cooperation, not of vengeance and denial. That's Old Testament. Oh, I forgot, the Old Testament doesn't count unless it suits your purpose. The Evangelicals have become the new Pharisees, more holy than the God they worship ... the one they have made in their own image.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

This Summer

I'm now moved in and have already taught for two weeks. Soon I'll be able to settle down and write ... well, hold on ...

I've been informed that this summer two of my arrangements will be premiered at Per Nørgård's 80th birthday concerts. Of course, that assumes that I finish one of them (don't worry, Michael). There is still lot's of time, and I'm working on it now. The other is Bach to the Future, which was supposed to be premiered last year, but was postponed due to a schedule conflict. So, it will be off to Copenhagen.

In the meantime, that will delay work on my piano concerto, but I'm still hoping to finish by the summer. The piece is about 60% there, and I've already arranged half of that. I just need to finish the arrangement, fill a hole in the middle and write the ending. Easy, right?

My other writing may have to wait. There are just too many things happening right now.