‘Its that time of night’

Fate – Destiny – Blog explanation – Concepts – A few words.

Currently I am heavily into the Star Wars Expanded Universe. I was thinking deep about this most famous and successful franchise, its plot and the morality tale that it fundamentally contains. We all know about the Jedi Knights fighting against the Sith, its most famous characters being that of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader and lesser well known ones, but by no means less important, the battle between Obi Wan and Anakin Skywalker. The whole six episodes deal with issues such as pride, faith, anger, morality, the power of light over darkness, falls and eventual redemption. Also, and this made me think a lot more deeply about the storyline, fate and destiny are two main components throughout the two trilogies. Luke, Anakins son, ends up fated to discover his Sister, Princess Leia through the astrodroid R2-D2 – who is on a mission to find Obi-Wan-Kenobi. Anakin, as a boy, is fated to find Qui-Gon-Jinn – the Jedi Master from Episode One – and ends up being saved from slavery and is trained to be a Jedi. Qui-Gons discovery of Anakin stems from the conflict on Naboo caused by the Trade Federation and Separatists being told to blockade the planet by none other than the Sith Chancellor Palpatine. If Palpatine had not guided the Trade Federation into this conflict, then Anakin would have remained undiscovered. What force was working for this destiny to happen? Obviously the whole two trilogies are stories and hold no basis in actual reality – but re-watching them recently made me think a lot more deeper than I have done over these great films. They are, I would suggest, a futuristic science fiction tale from the Bible, combining politics, conflict, good vs. bad.

 

I was re-reading the blog posts I had created since December 2008, the date I activated my WordPress account. I think now at this point that I am really unsure what to write here, online. I believe that some of the life-situation posts were an attempt to explain how I felt since my ex-wife decided to throw me out of my home and, most importantly, what I suffered consequently, such as suffering and experiencing homelessness (and what an eye-opener that was), being robbed, violently assaulted and so on. As I stated, I am a quiet, gentle, sensitive guy and this really shook and rocked my whole world – and I still think that I have not recovered from it and probably will never forget. Blogging, for me, was a method of trying to literally and mentally deal with issues from this and I just may have tread on some of my families toes by saying things, which quite fundamentally, are very very personal to me. This also makes me question why I said things, or posted articles which basically bared my soul to, at a base level, the whole world. I am a private man, but I felt a need to write what I wrote and make it public. I did not go out to hurt peoples feelings – it was not my intent, and for those who will read this, all I can say is that I am sorry for re-opening things that were best left untouched. I am sorry.

Also, this blog contains works that I created whilst I studied a creative writing course. From the first one about some important childhood memories, to some short stories that I wrote for a particular girl that I really really cared about. I think the creative writing class I took was probably the best course I had ever taken – unfortunately I stopped attending, but it made me create some literate things and encouraged me to write deep from my heart. My teacher was lovely too and this always helps.

Not much is happening in my life at the moment. I am trying hard to finish reading the whole of the Dune novels – I had only read the first trilogy before, but now am making a final effort to finish the rest of them. What a great series they are however. Highly recommended. Great Science Fiction without it being Science. More philosophical than future technology and this good.

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Frank Herbert’s Dune – A Review.

Dune – a seminal work of American 1960’s Science Fiction. Published in 1965, Frank Herbert probably created a universe to fit his series of books which maybe has only been equalled by Tolkien. Perhaps Dune did for Science Fiction what The Lord of the Rings did for Fantasy Fiction. Both works are heralded as being classics in the alternative novel genre, the Grand-Daddies of their fields. Frank Herbert created this universe after studying about sand dunes in Oregon and wondered what it would be like to create a desert world. Dune is set eight thousand years into the future on the planet Arrakis, a desert planet which holds great political and social importance in Herbert’s Universe. Arrakis, or Dune, produces a narcotic substance called ‘Spice’, a drug which alters ones consciousness allowing some to gain incredible prescience. It is used widely throughout the Galaxy; ordinary citizens; Guild Navigators (who without it would never be able to safely guide Spaceships and see into the future); The Bene Gesserit whom are a Religious Sisterhood and use it for mystical purposes and last but by no means least – the Fremen who are indigenous to Arrakis and have a heavy Spice diet. The melange Spice is an incredibly addictive substance and the people who use it are characterised by their deep blue on blue eyes, denoting a user. When you understand how fundamental this narcotic is to the Galaxy and its adherents, then you slowly begin to understand what importance this desolate, desert planet is to Politics and the Dune Universe.

I think it is clear that this book drew upon the 1960s drug experimenting counter-culture, as basically it is about transcending consciousness using narcotics, and I guess the Spice could be seen as the equivalent of LSD, if you want an analogy. The novel is not just about drugs however. Dune is an epic work of Science Fiction, the first novel containing such a wide spectrum of issues; religion, politics, messiahs, family feuds, conflict, ecology and space-travel are all wrapped up in Frank Herbert’s world. Also, there is this kind of paradox throughout the Galaxy (and the story); yes, the setting is eight-thousand years into the future, but Religion still plays a very fundamental role here along with this medieval kind of Feudalism, as political association is based around Family Houses. We have House Atredies, House Corrino and House Harkonnen – the three main Families portrayed in the first novel. There is not so much advanced technology, and that aspect of Science Fiction is not really what the book deals with. The book, in its appendices explains that there was a Jihad (called the Butlerian Jihad), a holy conflict several thousand years previously that had eradicated computers and I guess most of, what would be seen as, our modern technology. Computers or thinking machines have been replaced by what are known as Mentats – highly intelligent ‘human’ computers. Also, people are fighting with knifes and swords; lasers, whilst they exist along with personal protective shields, are rarely used here. You could describe this as some sort of futuristic Universe that heralds back to a Feudal age with a pseudo-sci-fi slant.

Dune basically is a hero story. A son of one of the Great Houses, Paul Atredies, essentially becomes a messiah figure amongst the indigenous Freman of Arrakis. Paul, it is clear as the book begins, is no ordinary boy; trained in the ways of the Bene Gesserit, a Religious Sisterhood, by his Mother, he from an early age suffers from visionary dreams and acts older than his age should dictate. The Bene Gesserit, for generations, have been trying to breed what is known as a ‘Kwisatz Haderach’, a male version of one of them, and a super-being who has the ability to ‘be in many places at once’. When the Atredies family arrive on Arrakis, both Paul and his Mother become revered amongst the Fremen who, in their religion and prophecy, see him as their saviour, partly due to the Atredies family benignity towards their new subjects, but also fitting into the part of their mysticism and beliefs about their saviour. So, the hero becomes their long awaited prophet and messiah, saves the planet, unleashes a holy crusade with the Fremen, deposes the Emperor and replaces him. Classic hero story ingredients. This book is seen as a classic in the sci-fi world and in some ways it’s a cross between fantasy and science fiction, because of the feudal element. The science aspect mainly deals with ecology. One of the Fremens ideas for their eventual utopia is a terraformed Dune, one where there are plants and an abundance of water, and this they believe their prophet shall lead them into, away from their harsh, strict existence they currently lead. Paul is seen to herald the beginning of this new golden age.

Having read the book in my teens, I occasionally re-read it and with each reading I gleam something new. There was a film version directed by David Lynch in 1984 and also a TV-mini series. Both I think are good, and despite its many criticisms the film is not bad, with I think, great representations of Sandworms. Great series.