dinsdag 24 januari 2017

Dune

So I'm rereading Dune after some fifteen plus years. I am not disappointed.

Let's start with: people always say "Dune's maybe more fantasy. Certainly not hard scifi." Hard scifi means very sciency. They're completely right. But there is one science Herbert was apparently a big hobbyist in: geology, or the science of planet wide ecosystems. It's so absolutely lovely the planet Dune he creates in his minds eye. The balance of drought, sand, spice and 'the makers': the sand worms. It is so uplifting to me that he lets the Fremen have control ultimately over that balance.  And that's certainly something I can use in these dark times with a climate change denier in the White House.

Literary aspects. Beginning my read I was pretty turned off by how Gurney Halleck, for instance, is such a cliche, as a 'warrior poet'. On the other hand, I allow myself to be a complete sucker  for these soft things like Jessica's love for her son Paul-Muad'Dib.

Literary aspects, more. So for years and years I've wanted to reread Dune. Maybe what pushed me over finally was a comment on reddit/r/printSF (or it was a general subreddit, doesn't really matter). Someone said something like: "I started reading Dune, but I couldn't stand how it's such an obvious saviour story." (Saviour like how Muad'Dib is a Jesus figure.) And then someone else said something like: "Actually Herbert meant Dune as somewhat of a parody on those saviour stories." And I agree. It's not really parody like funny, but the story is very self aware. It's very nice how the saviour Muad'Dib can see the future and so knows how starting a religion can cost billions of lives in a Jihad, a holy war, unless he makes the most optimal decisions. It is *not* an uplifting vision in mankind, but who the heck can be fully positive on that subject.

Cultural appropiation (yes, I use that phrase ironically). Fifteen years ago I apperantly knew much littler because I hadn't noticed how the Fremen are so obviously styled after a muslim tribe. It's totally obvious exoticism of Herbert that it's muslims that go on Jihad (and not Christians that go on crucade). But again in these dark times: at least the muslims are *noble* wilds. I gotta love Fremen culture <3 p="">
Cultural appropiation, more. Dune's had such big impact on me. It was one of my first ventures into eastern stuff and it paved the way for me to later do kung fu, japanes sword fighting and yoga and be open to philisophy like zen, Islam and more particularly Sufi. Yay!

zaterdag 14 januari 2017

My Star Wars Rogue One Review

Todays big spectacle movies are geared at least as much towards the Asian as the Western market. I think that makes for interesting new movies. The movie in this genre I liked best this past year was World of Warcraft (WoW). Both Star Wars Rogue One and WoW introduced the idea of there mostly not being true evil and good, just shades of grey, Rogue One ultimately just played lip service to it. 

Most importantly, to me, WoW introduced a completely different kind of lore, with great depth, while Rogue One mostly did lame call backs to earlier movies ("it's a trap"). Rogue One *did* have incredible visuals and actors and acting performances (I was especially not disappointed in Ben Mendelsohn's role). 

The moment where Rogue One lost me was when the Yip Man actor was introduced as a Zatoichi character (mashing together a respectively ultimate Chinese and Japanese character).