Sunday, January 15, 2017

War is a tragedy, no matter who wins

The tragedy of war is enormous.  Civilians, soldiers, prisoners of war, and the animals and environment all are damaged, if not destroyed as a cost of war.  However glorious war might be, it is a path that requires destruction. 

The reason I like "what ifs" is due to the cultural currents that surround me.  Many people assume in this instant gratification world that everything that happened was meant to be.  Inevitability accompanies the mindset of people who stare at their screen, listen to their music, and communicate with others only when necessary and via text.  The belief in inevitability is a result of the victory, ironically enough.  The people who never went to war, or never had to pay such a cost as those who did during World War II do not comprehend the effort given, nor the sacrifices made, to help defeat the greatest enemies of democracy ever known.  Nazism and Japanese Militarism could have won the war, if various events had not happened as they did. 

The true power of Alternate History is in the ability to show what was at stake, and how various pivots were essential for the original event.  Had the Allies fallen the world of the present would be far different, and for me knowing that, makes me feel obsessed with a need to know what needed to happen in order for the right ending.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Hibernation Readingnation

It is pretty lousy cold here in Minnesota.  And for a few months I've been shivering.  It seems these below zero temps are Wintery.  Well that just makes me want to go to sleep.  And cuddle with my cats.  And read many books.

The Alien franchise has been my favorite since the very beginning.  That it has branched out is ok, that it has been linked to other works, and has been extended, is all my pleasure.  I was introduced to it by scary as hell trailers and advertisements, then I read the book, then I went and saw it in Minneapolis during summer, in a nearly empty theatre, with only me and a huge theatre of nothing to protect me.  Alan Dean Foster's work made the fear tolerable, and took nothing from the film.  It added to it for my sake.

Sigil is a comic series from the long lamented passed CrossGen comics, who sought to write and create more than superhero comics.  What they did was create a fictional universe and created a universal event or power, the 'Sigil', that linked them.  But the book Sigil wasn't a confluence of many different works, it was a space opera, and it was pretty damn good.  And the art was even better than the concept or writing.  Scot Eaton was a genius, creating science fiction effects that only comics could do.

And then there is poetry.  Wordsworth-editions are cheap editions of great literature.  If you like poetry but think I like this or that, well, they cover most of the best of the past.  If you like poetry of the present then these might be older than your taste, but their quality is unquestioned.

I love epic fantasy.  Homer, Robert E. Howard and Lord Dunsany all wrote poetry.  They also wrote of amazing events in ways that carrying you along in ways you might not expect.

The 47 Ronin story is one of the greatest of all time.  It captures the course of events following a confrontation between a lord and his subject.  When loyalty is tested, seppuku is the result.  But the samurai of the lord who has been betrayed carry out revenge, leading to insight into the story of what the life of a samurai is worth.

Comics about samurai all celebrate the values of the warrior caste of Japan.