Dune 2021

The release of the movie Dune is a big deal for me (yeah, yeah- it doesn’t take much). My absolute most favorite story of all time, my absolute favorite character of all time, brought to the big screen with integrity paid to the themes of the book, is an exciting treat.
But the only way I could see it was with my sister, who shares my love for the story. Since she lives in Syracuse and my current semi-permanent home is Somers, CT, some travel plans were needed. Not a problem. I enjoy the travel and it turned the weekend into something closer to a real adventure.

BY TRAIN

I have never been on a train and was excited to make this my first time.
It’s a much slower form of travel than I expected. Apparently, I watch too many sci-fi movies where trains travel above cities at 200 mph. In this reality, with stops, a 3.5-hour drive is 6 hours by train. But that’s okay. I found the steady, elevated travel inspiring.

I wrote this as the train made its way from Springfield, Mass into the countryside:

“A train is a romantic way to travel. I’m thinking of Laura Ingels, her sister Mary traveling by train to and from her school for the blind. How different the countryside of the Midwest from the North-East? How different now from then?

Fall is setting in. The leaves just turning. Mostly green to contrast the changing colors. The sky bright and clear and blue. The fall typically means rain but not today. Today the universe wants me inspired. Today, I ride a train.

It’s the little things that can so largely influence perspective. Sitting up, higher than the freeway, higher than most roads, one can look down and out and across and away over the land. The golden stalks of harvested corn are like amber waves. The closeness of the trees, of the dirt and grass, makes the path much tighter than the many lanes paved for cars. At first disappointed we wouldn’t be traveling at 100 mph, I’m now glad. There is a peacefulness to this pace, to watching the land slip past.”

INCLUDING FRIENDS

Opening day is Friday, October 22 (we’re ignoring the blasphemy that HBOMax allowed an early release time). Friends that are going to see the movie with us can’t go until Saturday. Not okay.

So, we’ll go twice. Friday night and Saturday night.

Opening night, it’s a mostly packed house. The crowd is varied, which is fun to see. Couples my parent’s age sit near groups in their twenties. I wonder if it’s Dune they are here to see or just an epic-looking science fiction movie.
It starts. The first chord of music tingle through the darkened room. Hans Zimmer is a master. Tears are in my eyes as the first scenes reflect from the big screen. The music is perfect. The sights are perfect. Already, I’m glad to see it again tomorrow and the first line of the movie has barely sounded. I know there will be too much to absorb from a single sitting.

SATURDAY

I’ve called home to talk about the greatness. There are a few flaws I can speak of, but petty overthinking and more for the point of conversation than that they tainted the film in any way. But I can’t talk about these specifics because I can’t give anything away to those who haven’t seen it yet. A third viewing is planned.

Watching it a second time is better than the first. All the details you can watch for when you already know the overview.

BACK ON THE TRAIN

Headed East and North, the train is delayed and I’m worried there won’t be time to see the movie again this evening. There is always tomorrow, but I’m hoping not to wait. Sure, I’ve seen it twice but I want more!

WHY DUNE

Paul Atreides is arguably one of the best characters in fiction, especially if you’re arguing with me.
“A great man doesn’t seek to lead. He is called to it,” his father says to him before they leave their home planet. At that moment, in all of Paul’s fifteen years of wisdom, he feels he will never have the need. He has a moment of peace when the future he’s already glimpsed isn’t real.
When the need does arise, when Paul is called, he is both compelled to sabotage the moment as well as take up the mantel. The horrible acts he sees in his future, a future, if he accepts, will subjugate atrocities on all of humanity, is weighed against what that future would be without it. So great is his burden, he considers allowing his own death to eliminate his responsibility for the future.
It is Paul’s prescience, a genetic inheritance come a generation early, enhanced by the psychedelic properties of the spice harvested on Dune, that allow him this sight. Even before he steps foot on Dune, glimpses of possible futures plague him. Once the spice enters his system, just the small amounts caught on the wind of the planet, he sees more and more; sees multiple paths that he might play god and decide the fate of all.

I’ll leave it to that. If you haven’t seen the movie, or haven’t read the books so don’t know what’s coming, I won’t spoil it. There is so much to explain, I won’t do it justice anyway. It’s really hard to talk about things in a blog post…

Tell me what you thought of the movie. Do you know the Atreides story, or is the movie your introduction into herbert’s universe?

Happy Reading (and watching) 🙂
CMM

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Review: From Blood and Ash

This book has a solid 4.5 star rating with over 24K reviews on Amazon and I was so, so excited to finally pick it up. I’ve seen so many great things, ‘best love story’ even, that I was sure I’d found a new favorite book…

From page one, I was let down.

I just couldn’t. I put it down at page four.

A few days later I started it again. This time, I forced myself to continue reading. So many voices in my head were telling me it was supposed to be one of the greatest reads of my life. I think I got about 20%. Maybe not quite. Every page was a struggle.

First of all, the writing style… it was so clunky. I could never fall into a flow, constantly kicked out to slow down my reading to interpret sentence structure. I wanted to send it back so it could go through another round of edits.

Sure, the world seemed cool. The problems seemed problematic. The MC was in a place to dive-in and leave her mark and get some things set right, damn the man! But I just couldn’t stick with it long enough to see if that happened.
The main character—I don’t even remember her name—just no. I have not liked MC’s before and it isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for the book. I think a lot of MC’s we’re not even supposed to like. This one though, I think we are supposed to like. We are supposed to geel sorry for her and be so curious about her traumatic past. But it all seemed so forced. Something about her seemed—inconsistent?
I hated the opening scene. I hated the forced nature of it, like it was saying ‘look, I’m not afraid to be sleazy. I know you like that.’ And I can like sleazy. Erotica is one of my most-read genres (don’t tell my mom). But I hate things being force fed and that’s how I felt this was. Maybe it would have made more sense if I’d stuck around to find out what happened, but I have too many books on my TBR…

A part of me wants to go back and see if maybe I was just in a mood of some kind. But the rest of me will just put this one in that column of ‘didn’t do it for me.’

What books did others love that you just couldn’t stand?

From Blood and Ash

By Jennifer L Armentrout

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.