Thursday, July 26, 2007

Yet another great comic turned movie....

That Frank Miller is just awesome and a graphic novel (aka comic book) turned movie has been Hollywood's saving grace. So with Frank Miller's 300 turned to movie you have got not only a cinema classic but a classic all around. Check out the following press release:

Get ready for a cutting-edge, heart-pounding, visual masterpiece on July 31st when 300 arrives on DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video. Based on the stylized graphic novel from icon Frank Miller ( Sin City ), 300 is an epic action-adventure about the 300 Spartan warriors led by the heroic King Leonidas who challenged Xerxes and his massive Persian army at the ancient Battle of Thermopylae. Facing insurmountable odds, they fought to the death to defend their honor and freedom, inspiring all of Greece to unite against the enemy.

From visionary filmmaker Zack Snyder (upcoming The Watchmen , Dawn of the Dead ), 300 combines stunning live action with virtual backgrounds and features spectacular performances from Gerard Butler ( The Phantom of the Opera, Reign of Fire ) , Lena Headey ( The Brothers Grimm, The Cave) David Wenham ( The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ) and Rodrigo Santoro ( Love Actually, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle ).

The 2-Disc Special Edition and hi-definition versions are loaded with over 90 minutes of thrilling extras, including additional scenes and revealing featurettes on the real-life Spartans. With the HD DVD Combo, experience the entire film with “blue screen” picture-in-picture running throughout the feature and special commentary by Zack Snyder, plus an exclusive strategy game “Vengeance and Valor.”

300 will be available on Single Disc at $28.98 SRP in both widescreen and full frame formats. The 2-Disc Special Edition DVD will be available in widescreen format for $34.99 SRP. The HD DVD Combo will be available at $39.99 SRP and the Blu-ray Disc version will be available at $34.99 SRP.

“An incredible visual ride.”

- Jeffrey Lyons, NBC'S REEL TALK


- Susan Wloszcyna / USA TODAY


The epic graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City) assaults the screen with the blood, thunder and awe of its ferocious visual style faithfully recreated in an intense blend of live-action and CGI animation. Retelling the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, it depicts the titanic clash in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his massive Persian army. Experience history at swordpoint. And moviemaking with a cutting edge.


The 2 Disc Special Edition features over 90 minutes of special features including:

• 300 SPARTANS – FACT OR FICTION?: The Shocking Life of a Spartan Revealed

• ADDITIONAL SCENES of the Traitorous Hunchback and Never-Before-Seen Giant Warriors

• FRANK MILLER's vision realized on film

The HD DVD COMBO features the following special features:

• BLUESCREEN PICTURE-IN-PICTURE VERSION: Director Zack Snyder Compares the Pre-CGI-Enhanced Version to the Finished Film

• ADDITIONAL SCENES of the Traitorous Hunchback and Never-Before-Seen Giant Warriors [in High Definition]

• FRANK MILLER's Vision Realized on Film [in High Definition]

• 300 SPARTANS – FACT OR FICTION?: The Shocking Life of a Spartan Revealed [in High Definition]

• WHO WERE THE SPARTANS?: How the Actors Built Their Characters Based on Spartan Customs [in High Definition]

• WEBISODES: Go on Set with the Cast and Crew

• Exclusive to HD DVD Game Vengeance and Valor: Lead More Spartan Warriors into Battle Against Xerxes' Forces and Test Your Combat-Hardened Knowledge of Tactics and Strategy

• PICK YOUR FAVORITE SCENES: Assemble Your Favorite Clips and Create Your Own Montage

• WEB-ENABLED FEATURES: Cool Mobile Downloads

The Blu-ray disc features the following special features:

• ADDITIONAL SCENES of the Traitorous Hunchback and Never-Before-Seen Giant Warriors [in High Definition]

• FRANK MILLER's Vision Realized on Film [in High Definition]

• 300 SPARTANS – FACT OR FICTION?: The Shocking Life of a Spartan Revealed [in High Definition]

• WHO WERE THE SPARTANS?: How the Actors Built Their Characters Based on Spartan Customs [in High Definition]

• WEBISODES: Go on Set with the Cast and Crew

• COMMENTARY by Director Zack Snyder – and MORE!

Street Date: July 31, 2007

Languages: English, French, Spanish

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish

Running Time: 116 minutes

Rating: R (for graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity)

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posted by Gil T. @ 1:41 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Say Kids, do you like that metal music?

Then check these guys out


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posted by Gil T. @ 1:16 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Fool Moon: The Dresden Files Book 2" by Jim Butcher

So If you are wondering whether the wizard by the name of Harry is alive or dead, I can tell you there are at least 8 more in the series to go and well he is the subject. But let me tell you this one is close...It seems as though the common chapter opening in this book is "I woke up." just after a life threatening event. Oh by the way this is the wizard Harry Dresden, not the other Harry, I haven't read that book yet. I'm in line after 2 of my I'm reading another wizard Harry's series. And of course this one is geared more for the adults anyway.

Okay, this is only book 2 in the series, but oh my gosh, the action is intense. In "Fool Moon" Harry Dresden is up against werewolves. But the late show werewolves aren't quite the way Harry's werewolves are. For one thing there is more than one kind of werewolf, as Harry finds out, there are: hexenwolves, lycanthropes and loup garou. (The book explains the difference!) The loup garou is the nastiest beast of them all and in this book Harry goes up against all the types found in the book. (Actually no book just Harry's spirit computer, Bob.)

The events in "Fool Moon" take place 6 months after book one and well it's not the best of all situations for Lt. Karrin Murphy. After the events in the first book Murphy is under investigation by Internal Affairs. They believe she may be in cahoots with mobster, Johnny Marconi. After all how do you explain a dark wizard blowing people's hearts out of their chests, other than magic. Anyhow there seems to be a series of murders during the days of the full moon for the past 2 months. Harry is not called in until the 2nd month and after one of Marconi's bodyguards is the victim. Harry does confirm that it is werewolves, but can't offer too much else, he didn't pay attention much during that part of his training. Also the crime scene is immediately interfered with by FBI agents, led by Agent Denton, and Denton is quick to inform Murphy she is out of her jurisdiction and that she shouldn't be bringing Harry in on this.
Harry and Murphy are followed as they leave the crime scene as Murphy drops him off at his home. Harry does a spell to track the owner of the blood found on the crime scene only to be led to a seedy part of Chicago by the University where he finds a "gang" of college kids arguing. Their leader, Tara, then comes in and says they are being watched. A chase goes on and Harry is attacked, but only slightly by a wolf, before finding Murphy outside, she had followed the car that followed them.

After consulting with Bob, the spirit assistant to Harry, Harry finds out enough about werewolves to scare him. To scare a wizard takes a lot. Harry then brings his information to Murphy, but she is being question by I.A. and Agent Denton offers to take the report in to her. After Harry leaves one of the other FBI agents approaches him and asks, "Are you for real?" After Harry tells his standard answer of hire me and find out. The agent gives Harry a lead. This lead is a group of lycanthropes. Well then Johnny Marconi gives Harry another lead and this points to a loup garou. Without giving too much away a group of hexenwolves are also involved...but you may be surprised as to where.

Besides the edge-of-your-seat-staying-up-all-night-because-you-can't-put-the-book-down action, the book also delves into some heavier subject matter. The big one is the issue of trust. Lots of questions of who to trust from Harry trying to find out who's who and from Lt. Murphy as to whether Harry is on the up and up about helping the police.

After all that is said and done...this is simply a great fun read.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:38 PM Comments: 0

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Night" by Elie Wiesel

Much of mankind's history is fraught with tragedy so severe that it is almost unbelievable. Some simple yet severe examples have happened in only the last 2 centuries. The destruction of the race of Indigenous Americans, Indians, and the slaughter of the Jews during the Holocaust. These things should never be forgotten, lest we repeat them (to paraphrase, Santayana). Elie Wiesel has captured his experience in the book "Night." The amazing thing is that this book, with only 120 pages or so, captures so much emotion, destruction, sadness and loss of faith to cover many lifetimes.

I will warn you this book will play on your conscience long after the book has been read. The amazing and tragic events of the German slaughter of the Jews during World War II really makes one question humanity. This book follows the life of Elie Wiesel during the time period when his family was removed from their home in Sighet, Transylvania by the Germans in 1944 to the Auschwitz concentration camp and then to Buchenwald. Every terrifying event builds onto the other to help destroy a family and to kill Wiesel's innocence, and to eventually destroy his faith in God.

The German SS soldiers take over his village and begin shipping out all Jews to Auschwitz. Upon arrival at Auschwitz Elie and his father are separated from his mother and sisters never to see them again. Keep in mind when this all begins he is only 14 when he enters a concentration camp where the stench of human bodies being burned and the vision of babies being thrown into burning pits changes his life. He and his father then begin their 3 year fight to stay alive living on meager food scraps and having to do labor for the Germans.

One phrase that seems to stick out in this book is when the family is warned that the Germans are exterminating the Jews, Elie's father asks, "Can this be true? This is the 20th century, not the Middle Ages. Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?" In his prize acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize for this book, Wiesel says we must continue to fight for human rights and that we must never be silent again.

Trust me, this book will create an overwhelming sorrow deep within. Maybe enough to not allow such actions to ever occur again. I will be assigning this book to my home-schooled step-son and I will be very curious as to see his response.

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posted by Gil T. @ 11:06 PM Comments: 0

Monday, July 16, 2007

"In the Spirit: conversations with the spirit of Jerry Garcia" by Wendy Weir

Okay this is one of those books that may make folks cringe or say that woman (Wendy Weir) is crazy. But I do have to say that there's a lot in this book to be gained. The premise of the this book is that it is a collection of conversations with Jerry Garcia's spirit by Wendy Weir, sister to Bob Weir, the other "frontman" for the Grateful Dead.

I will try to point out the good and the bad of this book, but it's one of those books that I'm on the fence about. First of all the conversations are not actually with the spirit of Jerry Garcia but rather Jerry's Oversoul, which is like the guidance counselor for the souls as the spirit incarnates to flesh. Before I go any further, yes this is one of those "new agey" books that talks about the betterment of mankind by being kind to one another and to the earth. So if you are a Deadhead and expect some insight on the band and Jerry, there really is none of that. However If you are looking at saving your spirit and creating a better Gaia, and you are a fan of the Grateful Dead you may have some fun.

The use of the Grateful Dead lyrics to emphasize points and the whole aspect of Jerry's Oversoul spreading love to the world does open the ideas to a different audience. I will say at this point though, that there are other books that explain these ideas better. "The Celestine Prophecy" and anything by Deepak Chopra will probably give you more info and actually have more of a real world feel.

I was let down that there was no insight into the band with this book, but I do appreciate the love heals message. One other thing I got out of the book is an explanation as to why the show I saw in 1987 in San Francisco for the Chinese New Year totally sucked. Earlier that day Bob Weir's dog died and well let's just say the show suffered because he was not in good spirits...I can forgive that.

Thank you Jerry for the music, but don't let people use your name this way.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:48 PM Comments: 0

"Storm Front: Book one of the Dresden Files" by Jim Butcher

A wizard by the name of Harry needs to earn money and make a living. So what does he do? He sets up shop in Chicago and hangs out his shingle to let the folks know he is a wizard for hire. No this is not Harry Potter after he has graduated from Hogwart's. Rather this is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, one of the coolest wizard characters ever created. Jim Butcher has created a great character and a fun series of books subtitled the Dresden Files. So far there are 8 in the series; Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks, Blood Rites, Dead Beat, and Proven Guilty. Storm Front being the first in the series seemed a good place to start for me. The series of books has led to a TV series on the Sci-Fi channel "The Dresden Files." The TV series has left a lot out that was in the books but as a set of side stories it covers the feeling behind the books. In fact, in episode 8 of the tv series they somewhat told the story of what happens in Book 1.

One of the neat things about this book and the series of books is the format they are written. Remember the old Film Noir detective movies. Where the detective narrates the cases and stories? This is exactly the way Jim Butcher has written this series. Harry Dresden tells the story in Film Noir style. Another way to describe the story telling would be to say if Stephen King were to write about Harry Potter as a private dick in 3rd person narration. But then that doesn't adequately describe what's going on. In general this book was extremely fun to read and I can't wait for the next.

Okay here's the basic story; Harry Dresden, Wizard for Hire, solves missing person cases and such and on occasion helps the Chicago P.D. with some of their rather strange cases. Lieutenant Karen Murphy the director of Special Investigations out of downtown Chicago calls Harry in when something doesn't seem right. But Harry still needs to pay his bills so he takes on cases on the side to supplement the rare job from the police.

In this book, Harry is first contacted by Monica whose husband has taken a recent interest in magic and gone missing, Harry sets up an appointment to meet with her and immediately after Lt. Murphy calls Harry to bring him in on a case of a double murder. Harry hurries to the grisly murder scene so he can get back in time for the appointment. At the scene he finds a man and a woman in a hotel room, whose bodies are entwined in a passionate moment, except for both of their hearts have been exploded from the inside blasting a large hole in each of their chests. Harry immediately finds that a strong wizard has done this and decides to help Murphy. One of the victims is a body guard for the notorious crime boss, Johnny Marconi. On his way back to his office Harry is bullied into a limo in which Johnny Marconi offers to pay for Harry's services. Rather, Marconi wishes to pay for Harry not to investigate the murders.

After turning Marconi down Harry meets with Monica who explains that her husband is missing and that his recent interest in magic may have led to his demise.

Harry Dresden then becomes swamped in 2 cases which become intertwined and lead him into a battle with demons, vampires and a dark wizard. During the process we meet many of Harry's friends and enemies. Bob the spirit familiar which serves as Harry's supernatural computer (since any technology decides to stop working when a wizard is near), a tabloid reporter who falls in love with Harry (thanks to drinking a wrong potion), Morgan the Deputy for the White Council who threatens Harry with death if he should stray on to the wrong side of magic due to Harry being on "probation" for an unexplained murder of his mentor.

Lots of fun and lots of action. Get started on this series now. Yes, the books are better than the tv series.

"... just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:09 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Book Review: "Errors and Omissions" by Paul Goldstein

Michael Seeley an alcoholic attorney is entering a personal and professional abyss. His career as an attorney has been focused on the artists who wish to keep their art, a lot of pro bono work but he also works for a large firm in New York City so he also works for some corporations who still pay the bills by trying to sometimes cheat those same artists. Michael Seeley mainly wants to fight for the little guy.

One of those corporations wants Seeley. United Pictures, a huge movie studio, still has the rights to its cash cow, the Spykiller series, now coming up on its eighth installment. However due to a recent Supreme Court Decision the author's carry rights and not the Studios. Before a sequal can be made the original author needs to give permission to the studio to use the story. What appeared to be a simple legal brief, however, takes Seeley back to the Hollywood of the 1950s when blacklisted writers were forced to conceal their identity to sell scripts—a practice that muddies the Spykiller pedigree for United. Soon, Seeley finds himself in a violent tug-of-war among studio bosses, the screenwriter's union and long-forgotten blacklist victims. Sharp dialogue and a well-formed main character more than make up for a shortage of action and a finale that could use a bit more kick. Goldstein, who does a fine job of breaking down complicated moral, ethical and historical issues to understandable nuggets, has laid the foundation for what could be a strong franchise.

In this novel the reader travels from New York city to Hollywood and then to Germany to track down the original author of "Spykiller." All the time Seeley is wondering where his loyalties lie, with the studio or with the little guy, the author. Also the twists and turns of who's the good guy and who is the bad guy keeps this page turner an exciting read.

Great book for someone who likes a whodunit or a legal mystery. The nice thing about this book is that it opens up a chance for the author to have an ongoing series with a character that could lead a series of books.

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posted by Gil T. @ 6:39 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Book Review: "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess

Where to begin? This novel, my brothers, has many concepts which I, your humble narrator, shall try to cover and maybe intrigue you enough to go out and read the book on your oddy knocky. Oh wait before I continue with more of this "Nadsat" language maybe that's where I should start. Not only did Anthony Burgess create a novel that gave us a philosophy of freewill and choice makes us human, but he also created his own language. Actually the language was a mix of slang and some borrowed foreign languages..

This language or slang used by the "humble narrator," Alex, is called Nadsat by Anthony Burgess. It is a form of slang the young folks use in the book. It is a mix of modified Slavic words, Cockney rhyming slang, derived Russian (like "baboochka"), and words invented by Burgess himself. One of Alex's doctors explains the language to a colleague as "Odd bits of old rhyming slang; a bit of gypsy talk, too. But most of the roots are Slav propaganda. Subliminal penetration." The use of the slang makes for a very interesting read. The context in which the words are used make it easy to pick up what is being said, so the reader is not left in the dark. I found myself using some of the slang in my everyday use. If you would like a guide to Nadsat there is a nice listing here:

So with that little bit of fun out of the way let's talk about the title of the book. When I viddied the movie...see I slipped into Nadsat...when I saw the movie, I never really understood the title "A Clockwork Orange." But the book has the explanation. The explanation was left out of the movie as was several other important features which I may try to list in this review. Basically you have to understand the term "A Clockwork Orange" and the rest of the story really fits into place. The author, Anthony Burgess explains it in the introduction to the book like this:
"A creature who can only perform good or evil is 'a clockwork orange' — meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with color and juice, but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil; or the almighty state."

So knowing that the author is British and the term for a wind-up toy is a clockwork toy, really explains the idea presented in this story.

Another aspect of the book left out of the movie was also left out of the original American release of the book, and that is the great 21st chapter. First of all the number of chapters is significant in that at the age of 21 a person is "of age" and well into adulthood. So that age of 21 may give you a hint of the missing final chapter. (at least missing from the American version and the film.) That hint would be that the narrator and main character Alex comes of age and actually becomes a fully functioning adult. The book is written in first person so Alex is constantly referring to himself as "your humble narrator" throughout the book as the reader you get the feeling he is trying to fool you into thinking he's humble, but that's furthest from the truth. However, when you get to the final chapter you realize he did become humble. The book was re-released in 1986 in America with this much needed 21st chapter.

The book is separated into 3 sections and this is how I shall summarize this great book for you.

Part 1: Alex's world

The book is set in that popular not so distant future which all Utopian or Anti-Utopian books are presented. In this section we get a feel for the violence capable. Alex and His droogeys go out every night and wreak havoc on the world with ultra-violence which includes beatings of innocents, burglary, and rape. There are also gang fights between others which are full of the ultra-violence. The reader also finds that Alex is fond of classical music, especially that of Ludwig Van Beethoven. Alex and company frequent a bar which does not sell liquor but rather a concoction known as milk plus. The plus being synthetic mescaline or other drugs. We also find that Alex is only 15 years old and rules his household by keeping his pee and em (pop and mom) scared of him. He also gets visited by a social counselor , P.R. Deltoid, who gives the reader the clue that Alex has been in trouble before and the next time he will be doing Jail time. During this section his droogs become disenchanted of having Alex as their leader and leave him at the scene of a botched robbery to be picked up by the police.

Part 2: The Ludovico Technique

This section covers the time when Alex is sent to prison. Apparently the murder of the botched robbery victim is enough to try him as an adult. In prison He feigns an interest in religion, and amuses himself by reading the Bible for its lurid descriptions of "the old yahoodies (Jews) tolchocking (beating) each other", imagining himself taking part in "the nailing-in" (the Crucifixion of Jesus). Alex hears about an experimental rehabilitation program called "the Ludovico Technique", which promises that the prisoner will be released upon completion of the two-week treatment, and will not commit crimes afterwards. This Ludovico Technique is pretty much a simple brainwashing. Alex is injected with drugs that make him violently ill and as he is ill he is forced to watch movies of violent actions much like what he took part in in the first section of the book. This in turn makes it so that anytime he sees or thinks of violence he becomes ill and therefore must do good. A side effect noted here is that the soundtracks to the movies all featured classical music "to create severe emotional response." This in turn now makes it so Alex gets ill when hearing his favorite, Ludwig Van.

Part 3: After prison

Fully "rehabilitated," Alex is released from prison and sent out to become a common law-abiding citizen. Troubles first come up when Alex returns home to find his parents have rented his room to a young man and no longer has a home to return to. Alex is forced to take to the streets. He finds himself in a public library and one of his former victims recognizes Alex as the one who beat him up and the patrons of the library begin to beat on Alex. Due to his conditioning he cannot fight back and becomes ill and tries to escape. Just as he is about to escape the police arrive. Well things don't get better here. The officers are one of Alex's former droogs "Dim" who felt wronged by Alex, and one of Alex's former enemies, "Billy Boy." Due to a shortage in the police force they have recruited thugs off the street to wipe out crime. Dim and Billy Boy take Alex out to the country and beat him up. Once again Alex can't fight back. Alex left to die in the country, wanders to find help and finds a home in which the resident is a good Samaritan and helps Alex. This good Samaritan is again one of Alex's former victims, and also the creator of an anti government book titled "A Clockwork Orange." The author's name is F. Alexander. F. Alexander decides to use Alex to thwart the re-election of the government by showing how the police beat him up and that he has no freewill and cannot defend himself thanks to the conditioning. In the process of preparing Alex for the unraveling of the government, F. Alexander finds out that Alex is the one responsible for his wife's death...F. Alexander now seeks another revenge, to kill Alex. The attempt fails and Alex ends up in the hospital. While in the hospital the current government finds F. Alexander's plan and decide to bribe Alex to keep him from spreading anything negative about the government.

Now for the final "missing chapter" of the book, Alex finds that the violence and such are no longer his way of life and he wants to be normal and have a family. And all the violence is waved off as the thrill of youth.

This book takes a stab at many social statements, the corruption of government and police, what determines humanity and where does religion and culture fall in the forming of the human psyche. Not only some fun reading but as Bill Cosby used to say, "You may learn something, if you're not careful."

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posted by Gil T. @ 1:02 AM Comments: 0

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Hunters of Dune" by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Well here it is the book that either ticked you off or brought relief. Many Frank Herbert and Dune Fans were offended by the conclusion of this book. Yet there were also many that were relieved to see that the many unanswered questions from "Chapterhouse Dune" were finally answered, at least started to be answered. Herbert and Anderson have put the final Dune book which was simply title "Dune 7" into 2 books. The two authors are working from the many notes and highlights left behind when Frank Herbert passed away in 1986.

Okay at this point I should warn anyone reading this that from this point forward there will be spoilers. This will be a review of the book with a bit of discussion as to whether or not the series is continuing in the direction Frank Herbert intended. So if you don't like to know the ending until you read it then you may want to come back to this posting.

First of all let's give a synopsis of what goes on in "Hunters of Dune:"

There are many different plots and subplots going on in this book. In a sense it is a return to the plots within plots and secrets within secrets that Frank Herbert introduced to the reader in the original "Dune" book. Another aspect of this book is that it is filled with lots of excitement and action much like the first book. However one of the many aspects of Frank Herbert's writing compared to the writing of Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson, is that of the big action scenes. Frank Herbert was a bit like Shakespeare in that the main actions or sometimes death and destruction would happen "off-stage" or better yet, in the reader's mind. Like for example the destruction of the planet Rakis (Arrakis, Dune), this only gets mentioned and the no-ship moves on. However when it comes to Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson, especially Anderson, they have to write the action out and fill with all sorts of scenes. In fact that is just what they do in the opening of this book, to give a complete writing of the destruction of Rakis as seen through the ghola memories of Miles Teg. This also explains why the book that was originally called book 7 is now two novels.

The book takes place on several areas and planets in the universe, with the bulk of the action happening within the wandering no-ship, beyond the known universe where "the enemy" is getting ready to attack humankind, the Bene Gesserit home planet, Chapterhouse and Tleilax, the home planet of the extinct Tlielaxu masters and now under the rule of the Honored Matres.

The story as left off in the last book by Frank Herbert is that after the the God Emperor died the Universe was at a standstill with no more spice. Humanity scattered to the far reaches of the universe to find alternatives to the spice and to spread out the home base of humanity. The Honored Matres return to the central universe spreading destruction in their wake. They have two main enemies they wish to destroy. They are the Bene Gesserit and the Tlielaxu Masters. The reason they want to destroy the Bene Gesserit is so they can learn how to adjust their body chemistry to combat the biological weapons thrust at them by the great enemy. They no nothing other than conquer and destroy and diplomacy is not a choice. The reason they destroy the Tlielaxu Masters is because the the Honored Matres are formed from Bene Gesserit and the God Emperor's Fish Speakers and the freed women that were destined to be Tlielaxu Axlotyl tanks. This is how the Tlielaxu create the gholas and the spice substitute, turning the women into tanks for growing life or for chemical processes.

The half Bene Gesserit and half Honored Matre Mother Commander Murbella, is trying to combine the forces of the Bene Gesserit and the Honored Matres in order to destroy the enemy that will soon be coming to destroy humanity. She is met with much resistance from the Honored Matres who feel there is no way to destroy the enemy. Since the Honored Matres are the ones that alerted the enemy of the presence of humanity, they have first hand knowledge. The Honored Matres also have stolen some weapons from the enemy and use these to destroy on their escape across the universe. These "Obliterators" were used to destroy Rakis and are at times used to threaten the Bene Gesserit. Eventually Mother Commander Murbella does destroy the rebel factions of all the Honored Matres and prepares to do battle with the enemy.

In the meantime the escaped no-ship continues to try and find refuge from the war between Honored Matres and Bene Gesserit while at the same time avoiding the tachyon net set out by the enemy to capture the no-ship. The enemy wants the no-ship because the Kwisatz Hadderach is onboard, however we are not let on to know which passenger is this super-being. The ship is populated by Sheanna, the Bene Gesserit that can control the sandworms, The Mentat ghola Duncan Idaho, the Miles Teg ghola, Bene Tlielax Master Scytale, several renegade Bene Gesserit witches and 4 Futars rescued from the Honored Matres on Gammu. The Futars are a mysterious half cat half human being created to hunt and destroy Honored Matres. They are created by Handlers who are later found out to be Tlielaxu Face Dancers. Scytale also holds a great secret. He carries a null entropy tube, containing cells carefully and secretly collected by the Tleilaxu for millennia, including the cells of Tleilaxu Masters, Face Dancers, Paul Atreides, Duke Leto Atreides, Lady Jessica, Chani, Stilgar, Leto Atreides II, Gurney Halleck, Thufir Hawat, and other legendary figures dating back to Serena Butler and Xavier Harkonnen from the Butlerian Jihad. The Bene Gesserit on board the no-ship which has been named the "Ithaca," debate and decide to bring back gholas of Paul, Jessica, Chani, Stilgar, Liet Kynes, Thufir Howat and Leto II. But an attempted assasination on Leto II and a warning from prescience to Sheanna puts a stop to the further growing of gholas.

On Tleilaxu the Face dancer, Khrone working for they mysterious Daniel and Marty, grow gholas of Baron Harkonnen and Paul Maud'dib. This gives Daniel and Marty the backup for a Kwisatz Hadderach in case they can't catch the Ithaca. Yes it turns out that Daniel and Marty are the enemy. Which, and here's the jagged little pill, in turn they turn out to be the Evermind Omnius and The independent Robot Erasmus, who were "defeated" in the Butlerian Jihad.

This brings us to the point that creates a bit of turmoil among Dune fans. Many fans have a hard time accepting that the enemy is robots. But if you look at it this way it may be a little easier to swallow; They are not just robots but thinking machines. The entire Dune universe is based on the idea that there are no computers and that thinking machines were defeated in the Butlerian Jihad. So I ask what better enemy than one that humanity has forgotten and even taken for granted.

Well the entire run of the Dune Univers will be coming to an end in August of 2007 with the release of "Sandworms of Dune" so until then, try not to be mad at Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson. In my opinion they have made the Dune universe more fun and brought it to a point where we, as fans aren't left wondering.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:06 PM Comments: 0