?

Log in

Speculative Fiction Literature
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.
You're looking at the latest 10 entries, after skipping 10 newer ones.
Missed some entries? Then simply jump back 10 entries or forward 10 entries

Security:
Subject:!!!!Books For Sale!!!!
Time:07:09 pm
Any Stephen King, Dean Koontz book, Hardcover or Paperback, all in great condition.

Shipping generally $1.50 for paperback, $3.00 for hardcover

Ask for bulk rates.

Also, several Sue Grafton, John Grisham, Danielle Steele paperbacks. You name it, we have it.

Please inquire about other books. Many other authors and books available.

Paypay accepted.
comments: Leave a comment Share

Security:
Time:06:15 pm
Just wanted to let everyone know of a new horror writing community. Head on over to horror_writing and post some of your stories or just talk about horror in general.
comments: Leave a comment Share

Security:
Subject:Desert Path: The Road to Dune
Time:02:30 pm
Tyler Volz
Mrs. Harper
AP Literature
20 September 2004

Desert Path: The Road to Dune

“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.” Princess Irulan speaks these words in the award-winning novel Dune (Novel). Frank Herbert knew this quote was the truth because he carefully planned his epic masterpiece before he started writing. Dune has many different influences; from the Islamic culture to beaches in Oregon. Frank Herbert’s complicated book, covering a variety of themes, took six years to complete (Wikipedia).
Frank Herbert was born in Tacoma Washington on October 8, 1920. He carried around books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells in a Boy Scout backpack. At the age of eight, he stood on the kitchen table and declared that he wanted to be an author. His maternal grandfather, John McCarthy, said that Frank, only a small child, was much smarter than his age. Frank was very similar to Lady Alia, a character in Dune. They both had the mind of an adult in a child’s body (Dunenovels).
Herbert did not immediately become a writer, but started work in journalism. He lied about his age to work for the Glendale Star in 1939. He put his writing career on hold and joined the United States navy during World War II. He married Flora Parkinson in 1941 and divorced in 1945.
After the war, Herbert met a young woman named Beverly Ann Stuart in a creative writing class at the University of Washington. Frank’s son, Brian, once said that Frank did not graduate from college because he did not want to take all of the required courses. He only wanted to take the classes that interested him. Herbert and Beverly, his future wife and sounding board, were the only two in the class who had sold a story for publication. Herbert had sold two adventure stories and Stuart had sold a romance. They were married in Seattle on June 20, 1946.
Herbert began reading science fiction in the 1940’s, and by the 1950’s decided that science fiction is what he wanted to write. Some of his short fiction appeared in Startling Fiction. He was an infrequent writer, though. He only produced twenty short stories in a decade. His first published novel was Dragon in the Sea, also titled Under Pressure.
The origins of the novel Dune began in 1959. Herbert was assigned to write an article about sand dunes in Florence, Oregon. The government was trying to stop the spread of the dunes over the coastline. He became very involved with the project and ended up with a mass of information. Herbert never handed in the article, but it served as the seed for the ideas that created Dune. He stated about the incident:
I had far too much for an article and far too much for a short story. So I didn't know really what I had--but I had an enormous amount of data and avenues shooting off at all angles to get more.... I finally saw that I had something enormously interesting going for me about the ecology of deserts, and it was, for a science-fiction writer anyway, an easy step from that to think: What if I had an entire planet that was desert? (O’Reilley).
When Herbert started writing the novel that would eventually evolve into Dune, he originally conceived of seven topics he wanted to cover. He wanted to have a human occupied planet being used as a giant energy machine, penetrate the interlocked works of politics and economics, examine absolute prediction and its pitfalls, write about an awareness drug and what could happen if one were dependent on it, have potable water which would be an analog for oil, and write an ecological novel with a story about people and their concerns with human values.
The themes of philosophy, religion, politics, ecology, and psychology are prevalent throughout Dune. Herbert also included the theme of human evolution and survival, a subject he was fascinated with. The Fremen on the planet Arrakis, more commonly known as Dune, adapted to the desert to become a fighting force not to be reckoned with. The Emperor’s warriors, called the Sardaukar, overcame their harsh conditions on the dead world of Salusa Secundus to become deadly fighters.
The author of Dune was on of the first science-fiction writers to stress the importance of ecology. He wanted people to think about the present and the future. In the Dune saga, the planet of Arrakis is transformed from a barren wasteland into a fertile planet, but has dire consequences in the end. Herbert wanted the human race to analyze what they were doing to their own planet, and how they slowly let the world change for the worse around them. One character, Liet Kynes, says this in Dune:
The thing the ecologically illiterate don’t realize about an ecosystem is that it’s a system. A system! A system maintains a certain fluid stability that can be destroyed by a misstep in just one niche. A system has order, a flowing from point to point. If something dams the flow, order collapses. The untrained miss the collapse until too late. That’s why the highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences.

Herbert explores the possibility of human potential. The Bene Gesserit are a sisterhood who have extraordinary abilities. They use a hypnotizing voice to make people do things against their will, control bloodlines, and can control any function of their body. Most are not naturally talented though. They must be taught through rigorous training. The mentats are essentially human computers. They calculate problems and tell the possible outcomes.
Drug use is a very strong theme in Dune. The known universe is addicted to a substance called melange. This spice can only be found on the planet of Arrakis. It is used in virtually everything throughout the empire. Melange also has the ability to prolong life, but it can be very addicting. The mentats also have an addictive drug called sapho juice that they use to enhance their visions.
The novel also goes into depth about government and religion. Frank Herbert once
said: “Never give over all your critical faculties to one person. They have human faults
as well” Herbert also said “[Dune] began with a concept: to do a long novel about the
messianic convulsions which periodically inflict themselves on human societies. I had this
idea that superheros were disastrous for humans.” The messiah in Dune, Muad’dib has been compared to Hitler and Usama Bin Laden. Muad’dib, once known as Paul Atreides, used religion to rally the Fremen against the enemy called House Harkonnen (Wikipedia).
Dune has deep Islamic and Arabic roots. The main character of Dune is Paul Atreides. The son of the murdered Duke of House Atreides, he comes in contact with the Fremen, gains their respect, and becomes their leader. He is called the Mahdi. In Islam, the Mahdi means “the rightly guided one”. The Madhi is a human messianic figure who comes to "fill the world with justice.” The private name given to Paul is Usul. In Arabic, it means “the base of the pillar.” Paul’s Fremen name that he chooses for himself in Muad’dib. The muad’dib is a desert rat that lives on the planet of Arrakis. The word mu’adib in Arabic means “private tutor” or “teacher.”
A holy war between the Fremen and their oppressors, House Harkonnen and the Emperor’s Sardaukar. The stereotype of the word “jihad” today is that of planes crashing into buildings and suicide car bombings, but the way Frank Herbert described a jihad is much more accurate. The word jihad is also used to describe the destruction of the thinking machines roughly 10,000 years before the events of Dune.
The title given to Paul's mother among the Fremen is "Sayyedina". It is said to mean
"the friend of God". This is clearly derived from "Sayyed” meaning "master.” Both the Ottoman
Sultan of Turkey and the Shah of Iran once had the Persian title Padishah, which means :
"Chief ruler; monarch; sovereign". Shaddam IV uses this title.
The huge worms that inhabit Dune are called Shai Hulud by the Fremen. The worm is
also the source of the spice. In Arabic, the name can be split into "Shai" ("thing") and "Hulud"
("eternal" or "eternity"). Some characters call the sandworms Shaitain. This is the Arabic word
for "Satan" or "The Devil". It is also borrowed by Hindi for the same meaning (Baheyeldin).
When asked why he used Arabic derivatives in his novel, Hebert said:
If you want to give the reader the solid impression that he is not here and now, but that something of here and now has been carried to that faraway place and time what better way to say to our culture that this is so than to give him the language of that place.. . . That oral tool--it has its own inertial forces; it's mind- shaping as well as used by mind (O’Reilley).
Dune was rejected twenty-three times before finally being accepted by a publisher. Persistence paid off because Dune won the Hugo and the Nebula, the two most prestigious awards for science-fiction. Dune eventually went on to spawn five sequels by Frank Herbert and six prequels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. Two more sequels are also scheduled for release in the next few years. Frank Herbert passed away in 1986, but his vision lives on (Dunenovels).
The merging of various themes and cultures is part of what has made Dune so popular.
The novel has been translated into more than twenty different languages and is constantly being
reprinted. The many influences of Dune, including the Arabic words, the Islamic culture, and
real ecological problems helped shape Dune into a timeless classic.

Works Cited

Herbert, Frank. Dune City of publication: Publisher, publication date

DuneNovels. 10 Sep. 2004. 12 Sep. 2004 <http://www.dunenovels.com>.

Wikipedia. 12 Sep. 2004 <http://www.phatnav.com/wiki/index.php?title=dune_novel>.

O’Reilley, Tim. Frank Herbert. Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., Inc, 1981.

Islamic Themes in Frank Herbert’s Dune. 12 Sep. 2004 <http://www.baheyeldin.com/islamic>.

Sparknotes: Dune by Frank Herbert. Barnes & Noble12 Sep. 2004 <http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/dune>.
comments: Leave a comment Share

Security:
Subject:Reading Update
Time:01:33 am
January - May:

1. Dune: The Machine Crusade - Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
2. Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton
3. Nemesis - Isaac Asimov
4. Kinsman - Ben Bova
5. Millenium - Ben Bova

June:

6. The Saga of Seven Suns: Hidden Empire - Kevin J. Anderson
7. The Saga of Seven Suns: A Forest of Stars - Kevin J. Anderson
8. Mars Crossing - Geoffrey A. Landis
9. The Long Walk - Stephen King
10. Foundation - Isaac Asimov
11. Prey - Michael Crichton

July:

12. Contact - Carl Sagan
13. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls - Robert A. Heinlein
14. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury
15. Doomsday Book - Connie Willis
16. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
17. The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King

August:

18. The Time Machine - H.G. Wells
19. Rendezvous With Rama - Arthur C. Clarke
20. The Martian Race - Gregory Benford
21. Darwinia - Robert Charles Wilson

Reading: The Sands of Mars - Arthur C. Clarke
comments: 4 comments or Leave a comment Share

Security:
Subject:Foundation Series
Time:10:56 pm
Current Mood:geeky
*cross-posted to several places*

I'm reading Foundation's Edge currently.

I've heard differing thoughts on this- What next?
Foundation and Earth
or
Robots and Empire?

Please no spoilers as I'm enjoying watching the story unfold for myself. Thanks!
comments: 2 comments or Leave a comment Share

Security:
Subject:Book Trade
Time:02:38 am
http://www.sf-books.com/register.asp?refname=shardyk

Sign up a friend and get a free book! Please... everyone sign up. You're not obligated to anything.
comments: Leave a comment Share

Security:
Subject:Southern Vampire series, by Charlaine Harris
Time:03:13 am

Just a quick little review for these, I think, seein' as it's kinda late at night.  Yep.

Anyway, I just recently finished reading all of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse (aka Southern Vampire) novels; and, as all of the female members of my family will tell you (having all read them at about the same time -- 'twas very vampire-y around here for a bit, reading-material-wise . . . ), they're actually quite decent for novels of the vampiric persuasion. 

The big difference between the Sookie books and other vampire novels I've read is probably Sookie herself -- although she occasionally suffers from "look at me, I'm the heroine, so I can't figure out glaringly obvious things" syndrome and also waffles around (rather a lot) in the love department, she still seems to be much more a normal person and react more convincingly to the weird events in her life than a lot of other vampire-novel heroes/heroines.  Her "real" life is very firmly intertwined with her supernatural adventures, and she always has her house or her finances or her job or her laundry to worry about in and around her romantic entanglements and mystery solving, which is rather nice.  The small-town setting and the rather sizable cast of supporting characters are similarly realistic and decently-developed -- so that's all quite nice.

Anyway, down to the problems, then.  A) Sookie gets hurt.  A lot.  She's been almost killed and handily healed about once or twice on average per book already -- and, somehow, it's hard to really feel any impact when she ends up bleeding to death on the floor again, since you know some vamp or other supernatural'll come along and leave her feeling pretty dang healthy a few moments later . . .  B) Supernatural men seem to be universally attracted to Sookie.  Regular men don't like her and/or are scared of her, but vampires, werewolves, etc. . . . apparently, they just can't keep their hands off her.  It's slightly hard to feel sorry for a character who has four or five prime-speciman type men constantly following her around, just begging for her to have fantastic sex with them (in Sookie's defense, she doesn't end up sleeping with every guy around -- she's fairly monogamous and makes a point of being in relationships for more reasons than just the sec -- another rather refreshing change from many vampire novels out there).  C) Although the books do build on one another significantly, they still have a kind of "mystery novel" formula to them -- something shady happens; intrigue and danger run rampant while everyone tries to figure out what exactly happened and who's responsible; finally everything's figured out and the major problem, at least, is solved (preferably with some nice action-y scenes); we get a few little downtime/epilogue quiet scenes at the very end; and then on into the next book, where a similar string of events occurs.  It's not really that big a deal at this point in the series -- but if things don't change some as the series goes on, it could get pretty old pretty quickly.

Anyway, I don't really mean to diss these books too much.  My sister and my mother both got a really big kick out of them, and I certainly don't feel like I wasted my time reading them or anything -- the series just didn't seem to do as much for me as it has for a lot of other people, I think.  So if you're a big light, non-horrific vampire fan, you should probably go out and read these -- I guess I'm just not, so much, I concludeth.  Ay, well.

So there you have it, then.  My semi-coherent reviewness.  I leave it to you, peoples.  G'night, then.

 

comments: 1 comment or Leave a comment Share

Security:
Time:03:08 pm
Yikes.. so far this year I haven't read much at all.

Nemesis by Isaac Asimove
Dune: The Butlerian Jihad by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
Jurrasic Park by Michael Crichton
Kinsman by Ben Bova
Millenium by Ben Bova

Sad, really... I usually read so much more.

Oh... I'm about to give this site a new look. I'm also thinking about starting a website with book reviews if anyone is interested.
comments: 1 comment or Leave a comment Share

Security:
Time:05:29 pm
Current Mood:pleasedpleased

Dawn is the first part of the Xenogenesis trilogy by Octavia E. Butler.  I haven't had time yet to read the other two parts of the trilogy, but I certainly mean to in the near future -- in any case, I liked this book quite a lot.  It deals with one of my favorite themes in science fiction and fantasy (in anything, really) -- the "what is human?" theme.  I really like it when plots deal with this idea -- the old "what does it mean to be human?"  Are you human if you discover you're really something else (like half-alien or half-vampire or a clone or what-have-you)?  Are you human if you become something else (if you're bitten by that vampire or radioactive spider)?  How would you deal with the change or the discovery?  How would it make you feel?  How would it make others feel and behave towards you, and how would you react to others in return?  It's a really interesting theme/idea, and I always really like it when I run into it in books, movies, comics, etc. and when it's done well. 

Anyway, this book is done well, I think.  It's about a women who wakes up from the end of the world (quite literally) to discover that humanity has survived and will continue to survive -- but only if it interbreeds/combines itself with the alien race that saved it in the first place.  Humanity can survive only by becoming something that is no longer really quite human.

The whole novel basically deals with how the main character (and later, other humans) deal with that inevitable truth.  People react differently -- and most of them, not well.  The main character, however, reacts the best out of anyone else in the book, basically -- and through her, we learn about the aliens and what they are and their new connection to humanity.

And, in Dawn, the aliens are just . . . well, great.  They aren't all good or all bad -- they're all individuals -- and while they're similar to humans in many ways, they're extremely different in many, too.  In the end, though, the similarities seem stronger than the differences -- and although I'm guessing many people wouldn't peg it this way, I almost felt the novel developed into something of a love (or at least, very deep friendship) story towards the end -- and I'm not talking the obvious love story, which didn't affect me half as much as the slower, subtler one that I felt was also there.

Anyway, I liked this story quite a lot, and I felt that the ending was appropriate and sad and right, and was very pleased to see that the same sets of character names show up in the second and third books -- which I hope means I'll get to see their story and the story of their children and relationships develop as time goes on.

comments: 1 comment or Leave a comment Share

Current Music:Air conditioning is loud today, by the beatles.
Security:
Subject:Rama series
Time:05:57 pm
Current Mood:coldcold
Just wondering if anyone had read this series of books by Arthur C Clarke before and the general feeling around it. Im reading it at the moment and it is the first book in ages that i have wanted to carry on reading, although im saying that about the third book, Garden of Rama. At the moment im on the last book, started a while ago and all seems pretty good. Just wanted to ask, did anyone else reading the third book (Garden Of Rama) find loads of spelling mistakes in it? In the copy i had though apeared as thought at least four times, and there were plenty of others. All the other books have been perfect. Anyone found this with any books? Also if it is only that batch, which will have been a reprinted edition cos i got it last june for my birthday, then would it be worth anything?

Bye :)
comments: Leave a comment Share

Speculative Fiction Literature
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.
You're looking at the latest 10 entries, after skipping 10 newer ones.
Missed some entries? Then simply jump back 10 entries or forward 10 entries