Do we need Klaatu to wake up humans?

Michael Rennie as Klaatu in the classic 1951 Science-fiction movie
Michael Rennie as Klaatu in the classic 1951 « The Day the Earth Stood Still »

Dialog from the movie « The Day the Earth Stood Still » (the original):

Secretary Haley: « Now that you understand the situation more clearly, perhaps you’d like to discuss it with the President. »

Klaatu: « I will not speak with any one nation or group of nations. I don’t intend to add my contribution to your childish jealousies and suspicions. »

Secretary Haley: « Our problems are very complex Klaatu. You mustn’t judge us too harshly. »

Klaatu: « I can judge only by what I see. »

Secretary Haley: « Your impatience is quite understandable. »

Klaatu: « I’m impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it. »

Secretary Haley: « I’m afraid my people haven’t. »

This 1951 classic directed by the legendary director Robert Wise is one of my favorite movies of all times (forget the more recent version with Keanu Reeves which was horrible). This movie is not great because of its old special effects or just the wonderful actors, it’s because of its message: Evolve or die! and the numerous sub-messages in the movie which set it largely apart from others of its time.

Why this movie’s message matters to me.

In our world today, we are dominated by forces who dictate to us who we need to be without regards for any consideration of our true natures. These forces are hell bent on expanding their psychotic moral schizophrenia to as many of us as they can by keeping us docile with toxic and dead foods, drugs, brainwashing entertainment which serve to keep us numbed (and dumbed) down and with the help of puppet politicians who are really serving a hidden elite of wealthy individuals who are addicted to power and greed.

We are dominated by a tiny percentage of oligarchs all over the world who pass whatever laws they want about our food, our production systems, GMOs, repressive police, their war addictions, etc.

Each day, we wake up to information overload. We are monitored from the moment we are awake through our televisions, smart phones and now we might even have to worry about Amazon using drones to ship our book purchases (which would destroy competition for even more small businesses – are there any left?).

So what’s next? Pills to make us like whatever corporations want us to buy? They already own us as consumers just through advertising alone (turn off the damn TV!). They also are in fact trying to patent our DNA which I guess would give them total control over our bodies even though some people try to oppose it. They force our kids to get vaccinated and they brainwash them into getting addicted to animal flesh and secretions.

As the website Energy Grid said very well on their home page:

« Despite living in « the free world », there are very few free men and women walking around in our democracies. Very few indeed. This is because some men and women have a human failing that drives them to want to manipulate others for the sake of power. That manipulation has enslaved humanity throughout most of its history, and still presents the most ominous threat to democracy. »

 

So, what are we left with?

Here comes the Vegan revolution (which I could rename the Klaatu revolution just for the purpose of this article). This is the only revolution which can potentially free us. Do we need some external extra-terrestrial force to make humans evolve to avoid obliteration, as the movie clearly demonstrates? Or can, you ask, Veganism be a solution to all this maze of control over our freedom to think?

Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is – whether its victim is human or animal – we cannot expect things to be much better in this world… We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creatures.
~ Rachel Carson (1907-1964)

As Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! once said: « We need a media that covers grassroots movements, that seeks to understand and explain the complex forces that shape our society, a media that empowers people with information to make sound decisions on the most vital issues of the day: war and peace, life and death. Instead, the media system in the United States, increasingly concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer multinational corporations, spews a relentless stream of base « reality » shows (which depict anything but reality), hollow excuses for local news that highlight car accidents and convenience store robberies larded with ads, and the obsessive coverage of traffic, sports, and extreme weather (never linked to another two words: climate change). Perhaps most harmful of all, we get the same small circle of pundits who know so little about so much, explaining the world to us and getting it so wrong. »

Amy is right (too bad she doesn’t cover Vegans however) and indeed Veganism, as well as other social movements, has grown because of people-powered media who have been able to get around the mainstream corporate propaganda and its destructive agenda. That growing awareness is fueling a growing activism around food justice, animal rights, environmental issues and other social issues. Let’s not forget that, despite being crushed, the Occupy Movement was able to survive several months through independent grassroots activism and public powered media. Others, like the Black Lives Matter movement, are creating change. And the LGBT movement just won the right to marriage equality. These movements are all fueled by people armed with only cell phones, social media and determination. The vegan/animal rights movement has proven that it can do the same but not until we stop fighting with each other over ridiculous things. Our biggest enemies are not the animal abusers, it is us when we are divided.

Issues around food are being discussed all over the world by more and more people and choosing a plant-based diet or go full-fledged vegan is the biggest tool of power we have against those who seek to control us. And the reason is that we become AWARE and INFORMED about, not just animal rights, but every other social issues and stop relying on what is being taught or told to us. We connect all the dots and get out of the imposed veil of ignorance on our minds, or as Will Tuttle calls it, the « herding mentality ».

We will never have real democracies through just the tool of voting at the booth (and I’m not saying we shouldn’t vote, I’m not Russell Brand! and I love Bernie Sanders for many reasons, most notably his record of integrity, oh well I had to say it!) but voting for someone, even an honest man or woman, is just the tip of the iceberg and doesn’t create any real change unless people keep being active after the votes and push for change as a mass movement. It is too easy to think that « well, we voted, that’s all I need to do. » We saw the result of that thinking last time. The roots of change come from people changing themselves, not trying to change a failing system which is self-destructive anyway. The powers that be will then be forced to follow after they try to repress us to stay in power. They won’t let go easily (and without causing pain) unless we are a massive force for peace and real change. It starts with, as always, ourselves. The fact that people seem to be turning to Bernie is a symptom of a real possible inner change for the end of inequalities and new values (at least I hope so). And even if Bernie doesn’t get elected, the desire for social change might be under way with or without him. He is just a symbol of it.

Dr. Vandana Shiva would say that saving seeds insures freedom for small farmers from the monsters of Monsanto and she is right. Since we have no control over the powers who control our food systems and try to control our lives (with mass surveillance, now also passed in France after the drama of Charlie Hebdo, the NSA and so on), we need to connect with each other even more than before and build our own communities, our own food gardens, our own sustainable lives and educate others to do the same by teaching them the WHYs of Veganism in a holistic way. Even in France, we talk a lot about veganic agriculture as the solution and we have regular environmental weeks which include a large emphasis on Veganism.

Until most people learn why Veganism is such a powerful tool of inner and outer change, nothing will really change. They can’t win against the police state with weapons. As many before them demonstrated (King, Gandhi, Chavez and many others), violence has never been the answer. But we can be non-violent and still resist while promoting change and give tools to others to become more independent themselves. Imagine what is possible.

As my friend Butterflies Katz once said about the Gentle World community: « Since then, the experience of living with Gentle World has transformed me into someone who is much different from the person I would have been had we not joined paths. My personal transformation has taken me from being a suburban, consumerist, superficial person – to a country girl, a naturalist who tries to live at one with her environment, and a non-consumer, a recycler and conservationist. »

In today’s economy, this is nothing short than a huge challenge (and dream) for a lot of us. I know that I depend on my own government financially at the moment. I am awfully aware of it. But I’m also aware that I need to seek solutions to this corporate/government slavery which, on the one hand allows me not to be on the street but on the other hand gives me very few ways for being independent.

I had friends recently who suggested that we take over some old abandoned villages in France. I thought this was a brilliant idea. Let’s create vegan communities in these beautiful locations, left behind by people who needed work and abandoned them. I bet there are a lot of such small towns in the USA and other countries too which could serve to create vegan communities, independent (at least for the most part) of corporate control and relying on each other for services by using the creativity and the know-how of each of us. Is this an utopist idea? Maybe it seems like it now. But I do believe this is what we will have to do in order to survive the disastrous policies of our corporate owned governments (in wherever country you are).

It has never been more important than NOW for vegans to educate non-vegans, social activists and anyone not yet part of our movement to all the issues of respect for life, environmental, animal ethics, sustainability and how we can achieve it with communities.

We truly need to be the change we want to see in the world. Because no-one is going to do it for us. We are the Klaatus that we’ve been waiting for; the ones who will make the change inevitable.

TDTESS3copy

Sources:

– Trailer of the classic (must see) movie « The Day the Earth Stood Still »

– Robert Wise about the movie on the AFI website

– Manipulation of the People — The Rudiments of Propaganda
John Smith—09/2003 (updated 09/05)

– 1,000,000 people against forced vaccination – Page on Facebook

– Mandatory vaccination bill for public schools passes California legislature – The Guardian

– The European Union forces GMOs on France – L’Europe autorise les OGM : la France n’a pas la possibilité de s’y opposer

– Interesting book to check out: Trade Is War – The west’s war against the world

– Amazon ships books with drones – Money magazine

– Law on mass surveillance in France: Mediapart.fr

– The 10 Biggest Revelations from Edward Snowden’s Leaks – Mashable.com

– Our DNA being patented – The Guardian

– Finding Community as a New Vegan – One Green Planet

– Vegan and vegan-friendly communities: Libaware

– Life in a Vegan Community by Butterflies Katz – Gentle World

– Black Lives Matter movement’s website.

Village des Possibles (or literally village of what is possible) in Montpellier (France). This video is subtitled in English. The village reunited various associations for the environment, economic justice, « Do it Yourself » workshops and vegan food!

– Will Tuttle’s article « Beyond Herderism » on the IDA website.

DaytheEarthStoodStill

Photos and poster of the movie found on Photobucket.com

© Copyright July 2015 – Vegan Empowerment/Veronique Perrot – All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or publication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

A VEGAN'S VIEW OF STAR TREK

The first passion I ever had in my life was Star Trek. That show with the silly costumes and the weird aliens contained so much intelligence that people were able to go beyond the 60’s hairstyles and the flashy uniforms to get to the message. It helped me when my parents were fighting, gave me an escape from being an isolated teen, you name it. Star Trek taught me about ethics, tolerance, etc… Many fans can relate. Star Trek fans, in fact, were my first « family ». They took me in and accepted me, therefore reducing my own social alienation and I met my first Vegetarian and Vegan friends. That was the early 90s.

Thirty years later, I am a passionate and relentless Vegan. It is my lifestyle, my raison d’etre. I consider Veganism the path humans have to take to evolve spiritually, physically, mentally. It is the only sustainable way we will be continuing on this planet. So how does Star Trek fit into this?

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, i felt compelled to revisit my old favorites and see how my perception has changed (or not and realize, geez i am older!). It is fair to say that a Vegan’s vision of the world is not as clouded by the persistent lies of the food industry, pharmaceutical industry, corporate bought politicians and their cohorts and the general conditioning in all of society as most non-Vegans’ is. Even liberals, with their progressive ideas about the environment, health care, women’s rights, etc.., fail, for the most part, to see the connection between what is on their plates and the movements they fight for.

I felt compelled to revisit Star Trek after many years and was stunned to discover that the very first season of ST:TNG contains this line from First Officer William Riker (played by Jonathan Frakes): « We no longer enslave animals for food purposes« . How did I ever miss this line? Last time I saw that episode (« Lonely Among Us » Season 1), I was still a well conditioned meat eater and had no clue about animal cruelty, the environment or the cost of junk food. The original title of this blog was in fact « Why we don’t connect the dots when we have the facts » which I may still write. But I felt more inclined to go over the mythology of Star Trek and how his creator Gene Roddenberry influenced his two creations (Original Trek and Next Gen). What I realized is how much of his philosophy got washed down by his successors. I am not attacking Rick Berman who co-produced the Next Generation and co-created Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise, but something along the way got lost or put to the side.

Gene Roddenberry created Mr. Spock and allowed actor Leonard Nimoy to help him develop the personality and culture of his creation. The Vulcans went on to evolve into this elegant, sober and logical civilization which is still the most beloved one by the fans. However, on Star Trek: Enterprise, a clear effort was made to tarnish their ethics which really bothered a lot of fans including myself and served no purpose (but that is a long story). According to the original show, Vulcans are Vegans (or at least Vegetarians, it is never stated clearly in the original show although T’Pol (Enterprise) is known as a Vegetarian) and they are also not driven by their emotions. It is interesting to note that the eating of meat is associated with aggression and violence. Therefore it makes perfect sense that Vulcans, who are peace lovers and diplomats, would be Vegans or Vegetarians. Gene Roddenberry was a Buddhist AND a Vegetarian and that is definitely reflected in how the Vulcans were created. They follow a code of logic which seeks to embrace all life forms but they look at everything with detachment and peace. This is not dissimilar to Buddhism’s ideals of peace and commitment to include animals as well. It falls then that Gene was a visionary. Fans called Gene Roddenberry « The Great Bird of The Galaxy » (Bird is fitting).

He embraced women’s rights as well. In the very first pilot of Star Trek, « The Cage », (with Jeffrey Hunter, pilot rejected by the network as being too « cerebral »), women were wearing pants, not mini-skirts. Captain Pike’s (Jeffrey Hunter) first officer was a woman (Majel Barrett). The original pilot was more visionary than its second pilot with Kirk. The mini-skirts and silly hairstyles showed up on Pilot #2 (with Shatner) but Gene managed to keep a woman on the bridge (and an African one!) however restricted he was by 60’s conventions and the television network. He had liberal ideas and included also a (then Communist) Russian on his bridge in season two (Chekov played by Walter Koenig). This was also the first TV show to be clearly multiracial and inclusive, although still sexist. The only two times animals are mentioned as (potential) food in the show are when a supernatural teenager transforms fake turkeys into real ones (according to the cook) to piss off Captain Kirk and the Tribbles (remember the cute furry breading nightmare?) invade Kirk’s chicken sandwich which had just been created by the replicator machine (and therefore no animal was ever killed for his meal). On the show, the food looks more like small pieces of starches or plastic than anything else. It doesn’t look very appetizing but it is clearly cruelty free!

The enduring effect of the original show is linked to its progressive, visionaries and inclusive ideas which in fact didn’t make the show a success on its first run as it was probably too ahead of its time (still is in some ways if you ignore the look of the show and its pre-women’s lib inherent sexism). It is like being given a secret message, fall asleep with it, only to wake up a few years later and realize what it meant.

Let’s fast forward a century later. On Star Trek:The Next Generation, Gene got to create more of his vision. Women finally become active participants, not just second to the men, more species are represented. We still see mini-skirts on crew members but some men also wear them (that, I thought, was a cool reversal slap). However, exit the Vulcans who become secondary characters or cameos and enter a more serene and enlightened human race.. or is it? Yes, we know and it is established from the start that 24th century humans don’t enslave animals for food anymore. But have they resolved their superiority complex over the animal kingdom? the answer is no. Gene Roddenberry became sick in the early 90s (around the 2nd or 3rd season of the show – he died in 1991) and this is apparent that, even though he retained his status as creator and executive producer, he was too sick already to keep it going with season one’s ideology and co-producer Rick Berman was clearly more in charge as heir apparent. As soon as the show enters season two, we see Riker cook eggs (alien eggs but still eggs) which are not computer generated (he says so) but from real animals. Surely, I thought, these were computer created eggs not real, but no, alas, they were real. Worse, in yet another episode, the Enterprise rescues colonists who returned to a « simpler » time and are raising farm animals (reminiscent of the so-called humane farmers of today). The poor frightened pigs (attached to cords), chickens and geeze (who are in cages) arrive on board the ship (questions of animal cruelty on the set were apparently not the producers’ problem) and once again we see that humans have not learned to live without animal exploitation. I am not suggesting, by the way, that Rick Berman allowed these changes to happen as there are so many people involved on these shows but he was one of the main producers and obviously not concerned about ethical animal issues.

What happened to not exploiting animals for food? Oh, sorry, it was only confinement which would mean they got rid of the CAFOs but not of the idea of exploiting animals to a certain degree (humane or not). In another episode of season two, we see Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) riding a horse (reminiscent of his horse ride with Captain Kirk in Generations) and both he and Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) refer to the (holographic) horse as just a thing (not once do they address the animal as a sentient being, even if he is holographic) pretty much during the entire conversation. Picard admits he needs companionship and that the horse he is about to ride is it. Troi even says: « I never thought of you as an animal person ». Is the 24th century still not clear on whether animals are more than just pets or food? If the show didn’t have so many great stories, I don’t think I could pass on that and keep watching as I did in my disconnected days. The beauty of Star Trek: The next Generation is the character’s drive to evolve, grow and learn. And they do rather well (by 21st century standard) but could have done so much more. Did the ship’s doctor forget to mention to Riker how bad Eggs are for his cholesterol? How about the white bread sandwiches that Picard feeds to Wesley Crusher (Will Weaton)? Haven’t they learned about diet? (ok, it’s a TV show, I keep forgetting, 24th century with a 20th century mindset, bla bla bla).

In this technology advanced 24th century society, i guess they found a pill to cure a cholesterol that is too high which, just like now, doesn‘t entice people to improve their diets. But it must be better though. If, as they say on the show, humans are no longer starving, meat consumption HAD to be reduced and Confined Animal Factories eliminated. There is no way around it. But it is never mentioned, so I am just speculating based on the facts that we know today. Case in point is that I have never seen a fat human or alien (unless it was a villain, which brings up the idea of stereotypes in a bad way) . One tendency of Star Trek is to be secular (and I’m not against it). Not one God is revered except the God of science. As Dr. Will Tuttle pointed out in the World Peace Diet, science and religion are the two bickering brothers who at their core are also behind animal exploitation. Fortunately, the writers of the show often put into questions the dehumanizing of a tech obsessed society. They do however put emphasis on the respect of sentient life forms and forget the life forms from our own planet. Speciesims in our own backyard: planet Earth, but tolerance for others: aliens. By the way, I am not attacking ST:TNG particularly, I just happen to watch the show again at the moment, so these scenes are fresh on my mind. I actually think that Deep Space Nine goes more in the bad direction with their Ferengi capitalism, Klingon violence and, even worse, the fact that the Federation gets corrupted! But it’s a long story.

Sometimes, though, a great line slips in and reminds us that Gene Roddenberry’s ghost still wanders over the show. On Star Trek: Enterprise’s pilot, T’Pol (finally a female Vulcan and played remarquably well by Jolene Blalock) says to Captain Archer (Scott Bakula): « Humans claim to be an enlightened species, yet they still consume the flesh of animals ». I went « hurray! » until she got verbally slapped on her Vegan face by the stupid human response from Trip Tucker (Connor Trineer): » Never judge a species by what it eats ». (facepalms). It is like the creators of the show wanted to make sure to acknowledge that Vulcans are Vegetarians but that it didn’t matter in the end. However, in a later episode, a new effort is clearly made in that direction. The Enterprise encounters a ship of renegate Vulcans who embrace emotions and eat meat in front of a clearly upset T’Pol. The writers of that episode, however, have understood the Vulcan ethic and by the end of the episode it is revealed that these emotional Vulcans (however liked they are by the humans on Enterprise) are also emotionally violent. Captain Archer is forced to admit that T’Pol and other logical Vulcans « have a point » and confess to her that he never understood her before, but that he now finally does. We clearly see that strong emotions can lead to violence and that aggressive people love animal flesh. There is a glimpse of understanding that is a precursor to what was done by Gene Roddenberry in the 60’s. Too bad they didn’t pursue it. I guess this crew is less evolved as the show is supposed to be in the 22nd century and therefore before Kirk and Spock. But come on! We could hope to have evolved then unless, like a lot of the show history reveals, we have a third World War and a post apocalyptic Earth.

Sometimes, I wonder if violence is the only thing that the human race actually understands. The latest massacre (Aurora) is a reminder that cultivating hate, drugging kids, promoting violence with weapons (constitutional or not – America needs to evolve beyond that), force feeding kids animal carcasses and therefore teaching them that life is cheap (children are not born with the desire to kill and eat other animals or they would kill house cats and dogs, they are born Vegan but taught to become addicted to flesh and dairy) with the help of a violent media and competition will get us nowhere as a civilization. However, cultivating in them compassion, care, respect, inclusion (including and foremost the inclusion of other sentient beings), life education (which includes diet, proper sexual education as opposed to the idiotic abstinence education and life skills) and cooperation to turn them into intelligent adults is what makes Gene Roddenberry’s vision just a dream and not a possible reality for our future. Then I am reminded that there is a potential in all of us to grow and learn to be better people just like Picard and Co. That is the legacy of Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek: the potential for growth and learning. Now I wonder if a Vegan will one day come up with a great science-fiction show with a real Vegan perspective. Imagine what it could be: Vibrant Earth, no more animal exploitation and animals living theirs lives as nature intended, humans not dying of preventable diseases or preventable starvation, cities filled with trees, plants, gardens, farmers’ markets as the norm, pollution free cars and other methods of transportation, people walking, taking the time to live, looking healthy and content, REAL art everywhere, no advertising… Oh, I’m sorry, that is called Utopia.

If that world is to be created, we, as Vegans, need to be the example for others. We can‘t preach to others, we can only educate them. A study recently revealed that when an opinion reaches a 10% approval in the population, a shift happens which makes it a lot more acceptable to the entire population. We have 7.5 million Vegans in the US alone. It is about 2% of the population I believe. Let’s keep growing this number until that shift happens. If that number can double in only 3 years, there is no reason it can‘t quadruple, etc… By the way, we don’t need replicators to replace animal flesh, we have Torfurkey! To a Vegan future!

© Copyright July 2012 – All rights reserved. Printing rights by request only.

SINNER – The Wayfarer Redemption Book 4 – by Sara Douglass

I had anticipated a great sequel to the series but nothing that good. As we follow Axis and Azhure’s children into their own destiny, a new terror in the form of demons is preparing to invade united Tenscendor. Caelum, Axis’ son, is now ruler of Tenscendor as StarSon and is confronted to this uncle Zared (Axis’ mother’s son with Magaritz), a very popular ruler in his own right who tries to give some pride back to the human population of Tenscendor.

But Zared is nowhere the menace Starwolf’s late wife (Starlaughter) and her friends are and he has to make some hard decisions. In the meanwhile, his hated brother, Drago, is being accused of crimes after crimes and is only believed by his sister Zenith.

This once again is masterful work from Sara Douglass. She has once more succeeded at creating compelling and complex characters and given a fascinating story to follow. This is a highly recommended sequel. And please, Sara, give us the next one!

 

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© Copyright 2005 – All Rights Reserved – Reprinting by permission only.

THE LAST HAWK Book 3 in the Saga of the Skolian Empire by Catherine Asaro

This 3rd volume in Catherine Asaro’s superb saga is not disappointing at all. We follow Kelric (Imperator Kurj Skolia’s half brother) when he crashes on Coba, a closed world to outsiders, and under female rule. Kelric quickly realises he is a prisoner and is treated as second class citizen until he discovers Quis, the supreme Coba game. Soon he becomes a master of the game and, unvolontarily sets up a chain reaction which transforms Coba’s society in subtle ways.

I loved this books as much as I loved all of Catherine Asaro’s skolian saga novels. But this is probably one the richest (in details and characters) of the series. As Kelric, accepting his fate, is passed through from one ruler-manager to the next as consort and Quis master, his life becomes the center stage of political and social intrigues. And he becomes the most sought-after male on the planet!

This has proved to be a very good saga thus far and I’m sure Catherine Asaro will not stop bringing more to the saga. Highly recommended!

 

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CATCH THE LIGHTNING – Book 2 in the Saga of the Skolian Empire – by Catherine Asaro

This book is set in the future of the 1st book « Primary Inversion« . In this new story, Catherine Asaro gives us the tale of Althor, son of Eldrin and Deya, nephew of Sauscony (we met her in Primary Inversion).

Althor, who’s a Jaggernaut, is stranded with his Jag in the past on Earth. However, after meeting Tina and discovering their empathic link, it is obvious he is in the past on an alternate universe Earth. Tina’s Maya heritage turns out to be similar to Althor’s Raylicans heritage. As Earth’s military discovers his ship, Althor and Tina try to find a solution for returning to the future.

Catherine Asaro, as usual, is a wonderful storyteller. The book is as much a page-turner as its predecessor. One advantage of this one is that it’s a stand-alone and you don’t need to read Primary Inversion first to understand it. The book is divided in two parts. One is set on Tina’s old Los Angeles. The second part continues in Althor’s universe of the Skolian Empire. I loved how Asaro can switch from one universe to the other so easily without a blink.

As usual, she is also very good at blending hard-core science-fiction theories with romance and this is what makes her so good in my opinion.

 

© Copyright April 2005. All Rights Reserved.

PRIMARY INVERSION – Book 1 in the saga of the Skolian Empire by CATHERINE ASARO

In this exciting beginning best seller, Catherine Asaro takes us to the Skolian world through the eyes of one of its children, Sozcony (Soz) Valdoria, Primary Jaggernaut and Rhon Psion.

First understand what a Jaggernaut is. It is a telepath/empath with technological « gadgets » throughout his body which allows her/him to become one with his ship. Jaggernauts are the cream of the military in the Skolian Imperialate and Soz is at the highest level being also the half-sister of the Imperator (like an emperor).

I got so excited reading this book that this is my second reading of it. I loved the universe right away and its characters fascinated me. I found it easy to get into the book and follow Sozcony’s story and discover, not only the Skolian world, but also the Traders and Allieds Worlds. Each culture is well defined and fascinating. The Traders, or Eubians, are particularly designed to be the perfect arch-nemesis (very important in the book and its following sequels). Aristos (or the Eubian aristocracy) are the anti-empaths. Their minds are designed to perceive pain from others, which is transmitted to them as pleasure. They call it « transcending ». They enslave Psions to make them their Providers (sexual/empath slaves) and the others (non-telepaths) become Taskmakers (also owned by them). They own billions of people. No empath/telepath can stand their presence. Their minds « suck » the minds of empaths/telepaths and they torture for pleasure.

So when Soz meets one of them, an Aristo (they own everybody else), her first reaction is to destroy him until she realizes this one is different. What happens between her and Jaibriol will change the course of history on three civilizations. But I leave you to discover that for yourself (wink!).

I read this book in only a few days, what you would call a pager turner. I immediately jumped on the sequels (9 so far!) and there is a new book coming out now. This is the best sci-fi series I’ve read in years! Highly recommended. By the way, if you like a bit or romance, there’s plenty of soap opera situations (but nothing stupid or mushy).

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© Copyright January 2005 – All Rights Reserved

HYPERION by Dan SIMMONS

In this incredibly epic story, Dan Simmons explores the world of Hyperion through the eyes of several pilgrims set on finding the Shrike, a killing creature worshiped by fanatics on thousand of worlds.

Instead of going directly into explanations about what is that Shrike creature, the author cleverly takes us into his imaginative world by allowing each character to tell his story. From a catholic priest to a drunk poet, each of them has a valid reason to search the Shrike and, in some case, to destroy it.

This is an incredible journey the author takes us to and the sequel « The Fall of Hyperion » should prove to be as entertaining. The writing is rich and imaginative, the characters interesting and the mysteries surrounding Hyperion compelling.

I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Get HYPERION at Amazon.com or at HALF.COM

© Copyright December 2003 – All Rights Reserved.