Wednesday, January 11, 2006

At The Library

For those of you who are in the know, you will know that my computer is on the fritz. It is something to do with my BIOS and memory. In that intersection is the reason why my computer still will not work.

Because of that, I am at the Library right now. In honor of that fact I am going to write about books.

Number One

I love Frank Herbert's Dune. It is a magnificent book and I enjoy reading it every time I pick it up. All of the details that he puts into his book created this fascinating world.

It is truly a great book. So, on one hand, I totally understand why another writer might want to rip him off and use a plot line of his instead of making up a new one. I understand, but I don't recommend or endorse. In fact, I think that it is a pretty lame thing to do, and yet, it isn't the first time I've seen it done. Colby Hodge did it in Stargazer.

I look at the cover of Stargazer, and I'm not exactly sure why I picked it up and read it. There is a half naked guy on the cover who reminds me of someone. I'm not sure who though, and that always drives me nuts, so... I still have no clue.

However, that does not change the fact that if you change the name of the Circe in Stargazer and think of them as the Bene Gesserit and think of Shaun as a Maud'dib, it is almost like reading a cheaper and shoddier version of Dune. With more sex and hints of Star Wars I, like Padme (oops I meant Lilly) going to go to the Senate for help to fight the evil invasion of her lovely garden-like home planet.

I think that I'd not be so annoyed with this, except that I've seen it before, and I'm a little shocked. I come from the University, where at the beginning of every term, students are warned of the terrible penalties that await plagarism. Failure, expulsion, a one way trip to hell... you are made aware of them all. Apparently if you are a writer, you get published.

I've also seen this before with the Liadan Universe. The Liaden Universe is a series of fluffy books by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller that are half science fiction, and half romance with a dash of fantasy. I can't remember which of them is a Dune ripoff, but just look for the "fear is the mind-killer" mantra and the scene where Paul Atreides is tested by the Reverend Mother. There is at least one other of the books that was probably a rip off of another science fiction book I liked, but I haven't read the Liaden books in a while so if you are curious, you can go look yourself.

Number Two
Robert Sawyer is coming to Edmonton Jan 29 to Stanley Milner Library at 2 pm. He is an amazing science fiction writer. Everyone who likes to read good books should go. I have one of them and I was so impressed by it. The two main characters go walking down Philosopher's Walk in Toronto, and when I was there last February, I absolutely had to go walk down it as well. Calculating God was a great book, and I'm only sorry that I haven't read more books of his.

Number Three
S.E. Hinton has written a new book. It is fantastic. Everyone should read it. Even if you don't like vampire novels. That's right. The writer of the Outsiders and Rumble Fish has given us a novel about a vampire. Hawkes Harbor is what a vampire novel should be.

And that is most of what I wanted to say today, because I'm running out of time here. Enjoy!

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