Dune – A Tour De Force in Science Fiction

So my previous post was meant to go very differently, it was meant to go very differently, but I decided to focus on the conversion of stories across different mediums. So now we’re back again, and I’m going to see if I can say something intelligent and worthwhile about Dune. I honestly don’t think I can do it justice, but good news it’s my blog, and JL has thoughts to share in spades.

Be warned, spoilers ahead – I’ll make sure there’s a cut in before we get to anything too spoilery.

So…. Dune, the book series by Hugo and Nebula award winning Frank Herbert (Franklin Patrick Herbert Jr.), and it’s easily one of my favourites – I dare say the first book Dune is probably my favourite piece of fiction of all time,.

I still remember my dad giving me the book, I’d been ill, again I think (my memory isn’t always as reliable as I’d like it to be, unlike the Kwisatz Haderach in the story itself), I must have been eleven at the time. At eleven how much of it I could follow is probably debatable, but it’s such a rich story and world that as I grew my understanding and appreciation of it grew with me.

Without going into spoilers, Dune is a series book about the distant future of humanity as it’s spread among the stars. It features themes of survival, power, religion, ecology, economy and evolution, and collectively is a treatise on the human condition as interfaces with the world.

It’s probably the daddy of the epic science fiction, the first book being one of George Lucas’ inspirations for Star Wars. Before it, the idea of so deep a sci-fi story was  rarity. It’s scope is so massive, dealing with from tens of thousands of years into humanity’s future, and the series covers thousands of years from that point onward. The series covers a span of time nearly as great as recorded history today, and the time before the series begins isn’t just dead time, it has a whole back story that you learn as you read through, with many of the functions of future humanity coming about in the thousands of years preceding the books.

Unlike Star Wars, they’re not action orientated – there is some satisfying action in them, but it’s very tactical based, and fleeting, just to support the movement of the story. In fact, overall they’re some of the most dialogue laden stories out there.

So, in short if you like a detailed grand epic science fiction… there’s an awful lot to love. And if you want to go further than the original series Frank Herbert’s son Brian and Kevin J Anderson (who is a major contributor to the Star Wars universe), they’re a lot cleaner writing so easier to read, and some elements maybe didn’t need an explanation, but they do bring the whole thing together at the end and finish of the story in a way Frank Herbert wasn’t able to do before his death, and they do add to the grand richness of the universe created in Dune.

So much to love, the books can be hard to read at times, and you find yourself trying to hold on to factoids, stories,  and ideas as you’ll need them later for reference when something else happens. They’re not a casual reads, but well worth your time.

So that’s a general look at Dune… from here there may be spoilers – somethings I have in my mind to say just can’t avoid it. If you’ve not read the books  go check them out, Frank Herbert’s original series are also all available on Audible if you want an easier time (well read by Simon Vance, Euan Morton,  Orlaigh Cassidy and several others bring the books to life, and they’re unabridged.

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 44: Nothing gained

This is the 44th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

The Wolf’s Time, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 14th January 2012

Word count: 586

Theme: futility, war, loss, destruction, politics, alliances, waste

The story:

“We’ll not stand for this,” those were the words my king uttered that launched us into a decade of warfare.

King Correstus was right to oppose the kingdom of Sowii’s threats, blackmail really, of annexing our Eastern holdings if we didn’t support them in a war against our ally the kingdom of Eglasia, not a single man of the court would disagree.

So the land of Casii readied itself for war. The army was enlarged in a wholesale recruitment drive, the nation’s blacksmiths went into overdrive to provide the arms we would require, (though as any soldier will tell you, the quality left a lot to be desired at times), farmers and laborers doubled their efforts to prepare to feed a significant portion of the population that would no longer be working towards the goal of providing sustenance or resources. Our less powerful allies were pressed for support in a variety of ways, and of course we contacted King Veron of Eglasia.

Two months later in a coordinated move the armies of Casii attacked the Eastern border of Sowii, while the armies of Eglasia attacked the Northern border.

It should have been enough to force the Sowii to surrender, but they had prepared for war too, and they had large companies of mercenaries to swell their numbers.

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Poetry Practice: Day Seven

Well I’m now upto a week of writing daily poetry, it’s going pretty well, I even managed an extra one on Monday – however it was so bad, I dare not let the rest of the world see it.

Today’s poetry practice is brought to you by 12Seconds, the short video blogging site to which I just signed up. No idea what I’m going to do with a 12 seconds account, I’m not exactly photogenic, and my voice isn’t great – but for 12 seconds, who cares? It’s a bit of fun. Anyway, it’s the inspiration for today’s poem, and I’ve even done a 12 second version for 12Second, which will add after the poem itself.

12 Seconds…
“12 seconds you’re on Mister Legend”,
“Who me? I’m just well me”,
“It’s your 12 seconds Mister”,
“Erm, what do I say?”
That woman with the camera,
She looked at me funny,
And then just laughed,
“You’re 12 seconds is up Mister Legend,”
She said, with an impish giggle,
Indeed they were,
12 seconds flies by,
My 12 seconds of fame,
Good bye.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

[12svideo id=”167600″]

Video of me doing a 12 second version of this poem.

Poetry Practice: Day six

As part of my aim to enter some poetry competitions, I have been practicing writing (hopefully getting better along the way). Today (Tuesday19th May) is day 6, so here’s today’s poem:

On Tom Welling

In regards to Tom Welling,
I’m reliably informed,
The actor of Superman to be,
Is hotness to the core,
His love for fellow man is to be admired,
His humility in the face of fame,
Well shames even the fameless.

A story telling,
I am impressed by his Clark,
Across fandom it has stormed,
I’m told the love he portrays,
For villanous Lex Luthor,
Will be a thing of a legend making,
That isn’t the in my rules of the game,
I just love the hero making I guess.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

I was struggling a bit today, didn’t think I would make it for poem of the day, but hils came up with this idea, in response to my plea on Twitter. Now I do love Smallville, even as people are struggling with it – I think it’s been better, but since watching the most recent episode, initially I thought I was more disappointed than anything else – but once my super random brain kicked in, I’d formulated at least a handful of brilliant points, and ideas where it could be going when it restarts in Autumn.

Anyway, this is a short poetic tribute to the shows main star, Tom Welling who plays Clark Kent, the Superman in the making.

Hope you enjoy.

Poetry Practice: Day five

As part of my aim to enter some poetry competitions, I have been practicing writing (I’m a touch rusty). Today (Monday 18th May) is day 5, so here’s today’s poem:

Sleep Protector

Lie down in velvet shadows,
Find warmth in the heavy presence,
Wrap yourself in the love we share,
Feel our protection from the darkness,
I will be there for now by your side,
You need not fear this deep night,
As we rest in peaceful slumber,
Enjoy.

Rise in caramel illumination,
Flood awareness flood to your senses,
Find your way out of your downy care,
Avoid realising your profound cureless,
In your dreams to yourself you lied,
Found comfort away in the fright,
I’m a figment in the dream of forever,
Sorry.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

This is a really sad poem, it starts off sounding romantic, but it’s almost unreal. A couple go to bed, nice and romantic, but only one talks, sooths, the other offers no reaction, but to fall asleep. My intention was to invoke the feeling of a night guardian, he stands watch over our fateful sleeper.

I don’t know about you, but I long for that – it’s almost a magical romantic ideal. Which the second verse reveals is the truth. I would feel a prodound sense of loss at realising this dream wasn’t real, but can you be sure can you? The figment apologised – which to me, says that maybe this phantom protector is real, but gone when you awake.

Poetry Practice (four days catch up)

I had intended on posting these daily, however sometimes life takes over the best meant plan.

I have written a poem each day, as I committed to – none of them are really great, one I’ve really struggled with, partly because I was busy, and partly because the ideas just wouldn’t organise themselves into a decent poem. I’ve covered three topics: politics, society, and family (well I can honestly say my interest in sociological topics does in no way affect my writing – okay I can’t say that).

Like I said, none of them are really great, but I don’t think any of them are really terrible. Got to keep it up though, I would love to think that come June 1st, I’ll be confident of my own abilities again, also it’s good to know, even though I can’t write a story (in the traditional sense), it doesn’t affect my ability to write poetry.

What I’m going to do, under the ‘Read more’ link is display each poem, and after each one give a a few lines of explanation.  If you care to read some of my practice poetry,  feel free, comments are always good, if you want to be critical, that’s great – this is practice after all.

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