Thursday, December 8, 2022

I Had a Dream

 The Vanished Series

I'm reading this really good series. It has a lot to do with the Navaho and some of their issues today, but that's not what my dream is about, though these people are involved. I'll do that sometimes, when a book is really good. This dream didn't have much to do with the book, just the people - two of them mostly.

There were two inflatable rafts, one with three people and one with two. They were floating down a quiet river. The water was like glass, it was so smooth. 

The leader, in the first boat was a proud Navaho, but he was dressed in his best army uniform, decorated all down the front with many ribbons and metals. The woman sitting in the middle of that boat was also dressed in a military uniform with a few such ribbons and metals, but not so impressive (They are not dressed this way in the book, not even close). She was white as was the man in the front of the boat. He was dressed like a businessman trying to rough it. khaki pants and a once-white shirt. 

In the second boat was two Navaho teenagers dressed like teenagers - bluejeans and some kind of T-shirt. The only real thing that marked them as Navaho was their dark skin and long black hair. I don't remember if they wore any jewelry or other such decoration. One was a bully, and the other was one of his toughs. 

The dream takes off with the teenagers deciding to start rowing ahead, ignoring the leader who tries to warn them back. Their mission is not just a peaceful float down a nice river. There is real danger out there somewhere, and if they're going to survive, they need to not be fools. 

Laughing, the kids row circles around the bigger boat. Eventually, as the sun starts to set, they pull over for a rest. As soon as they're out of the boats, the leader rounds up the instigator of the other boat. 

Now, in the book, the people of the reservation are all preparing for a festival where they sell artwork. There is also a stage setup where they show off traditional dances and such. This little detail is important.

The leader backs the kid up against a tree. "What's the matter with you? We're not playing here. It's dangerous out there. We have to be careful and quiet. Stop being an idiot."

"I'm not an idiot, not like you." The kid indicated the uniform and metals with no little derision. 

"This? I'm very proud of this. I worked hard for this. What are you proud of?"

"Proud. We ain't got nothing to be proud of no more." He indicated the woman. "Look at her. She got metals like you. What you so proud of?"

"What? You think because she's white, they just hand out those metals? She worked hard for them too, maybe harder than I did because she's a woman. Why aren't you doing anything at the festival?"

"I ain't about to go show off in front of a bunch of them. They..."

The leader slapped the kid across the face hard, rocking his head to the side. The tough took a step forward, but he wasn't quite brave enough to interfere.

"You are a fool. You can't fight a war against them; they won that war a long time ago, and they would win again if you tried, but don't you see? Even with all they've accomplished, they are lost. They got no pride. They're not proud of themselves or anything they've achieved. You? You're Navaho. You can be proud of that. You can be proud of your clan, your traditions, your customs. They don't have any of that. You need to show them what it means to be proud of who you are. You have so much more than they have. You are not lost. You have the Navaho way. They have no way."

And then I woke up. I thought it was kinda cool, so I thought I'd share. 


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

False Apron Strings

The Pendragon Legend

I am really disappointed in this series. Not because of the story, but because of everything else. The story is a great sword and sorcery tale, but it's riding on the coattails of a great name and a great legend. I'm certain all sales were attributed to that name and that timeless legend. Change all the names and change the titles, and it would be great on its own. The way it is, it is frustrating and disappointing. Of course, there are other issues, but I'm just talking about the story here. 

Aside from all the Pendragon names that have next to no connection with the legend, the books are each uncomfortably short. I looked up the first three books on Amazon and they were all less than 150 pages. So, ten books, three to four books combined into one, would make a very nice trilogy.

The next issue is what can happen when all you do to spellcheck is look for those nice little squiggly red lines in your document. There are LOTS of mistakes - repeated groups of words, words where one letter didn't make it, but it still made a word, words missing altogether. I can't help but think that there must have been a plethora of green squiggly lines, but I'm not that good an editor. 

The worst diversion from the legend was about the sword. According to people in this book, the great Excaliber was used once before to unify the country, but then that king went power-nuts and the sword had to be taken away from him. The unity all fell apart because none of the lords were willing to hand that sword over to one of them, so they reforged it into sixteen different swords to be held in trust until someone else worthy of it showed up. Enter Arthur. 

Arthur is running all over trying to get the different lords to commit enough troops to the cause of running off the Huns before they level the entire country. Most of those lords want to run away - understandable considering the devastation the Huns were leaving in their wake. But eventually, they see the light and he manages to gather enough of the lords together to agree that he is the one. Not something he wants, but whatever. He just wants to defeat the evil enemy and get on with a peaceful life, maybe marry the girl he's fallen in love with, which isn't Guinevere. Since these guys agree to pass the 'Sword' on to Arthur, they gather all sixteen of those swords together and reforge Excalibur. When they said that the finished product - which apparently took only a few hours (red flag) - They decided to see who could lift it. NONE of them could, not even Arthur. Out of curiosity, I made a few inquiries and did some math. A swordsmith told me that the average one-handed sword weighs between 1000 to 1100 grams, and google tells me that equals roughly two and one-third pounds. That, times 16 equals almost 37 pounds. Now I would certainly hate the thought of swinging around a 30+ pound sword, but most assuredly anyone would have been able to lift it, especially since it had just come off the forge and was just resting there, not embedded in some stone.

In a further digression from the legend, it was the Norse queen who killed Atilla the Hunn and she was aided in this hunt by Guenevere who was magical enough to be influential in the remaking of Excaliber as well as shapeshifting into a dragon. The queen rode her to Atilla's 'final resting place.'

Just before I'd finished the books I had, I learned there was another book in this series, but I'm not going to buy it so I can't tell you if there ever is a round table or not. 

This book just diverged way too much for me.