Saturday, August 21, 2004
Semi-Fortnightly Short Shrift
The book du jour is The Battles Of Corrin by Brian Herbert. A lot of people have expressed dissatisfaction with the Dune prequels put out by Herbert, but they actually go a very long way in explaining and clarifying a lot of the storyline and concepts that occur in the classic Dune trilogy. There's a great explanation on the origin of the Navigators in this volume. The previous book (Machine Crusade) was a bit disappointing, however, the read so far (I'm about 1/3 of the way through it) is fast-paced and entertaining enough. There could be a legitimate criticism about predictability here, however, since it's a prequel, you know that it has to agree with the history of the main trilogy.
Keeping on the sci-fi novel theme, I've also taken a look at Harry Turtledove's Return Engagement, the latest in his alternate history of an ongoing war between the USA and the Confederacy. He's gotten up to the World War II analogue now, and the bad guys in the CSA bear an awfully strong resemblance to certain nasty Central European characters in real history. I've always been a sucker for alternate histories, and Turteldove's first take on a USA - CSA alternate history ("The Guns Of The South") was an absolute masterpiece, but this series suffers from one of Turtledove's main flaws, too many characters and plot threads to keep track of. It's interesting to see how Turtledove works in real people, such as Al Smith, FDR, and George Patton, but the most interesting storylines rarely intersect in these books (they do occasionally, and the results can be satisfying), but this one is probably best borrowed from the library.
Finally, the howler of the day. Mrs. Ritchie gave the soon-to-be Mrs. Federline a rare 12th century Jewish text. The money quote from the article:
"Britney was delighted with the book. She has read it thoroughly and seems completely taken with it."
I don't think the Zohar was translated into English in the 12th century, and if you ever read Canterbury Tales in the original Medieval English, you know how different it is from modern English. Therefore, the soon-to-be Mrs. Federline read it in the original Hebrew or Aramaic. I have one Yiddish lesson for the soon-to-be Mrs. Federline, "Zeit nisht mishegoss!".