Thursday, January 29, 2009

A friend loaned me Storm Front, the first of the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. This book was rollicking right along and I liked it well enough, but he had me at shoe-whore vampiress:

She came into the room like a candle burning with a cold, clear flame. ...She was not a tall woman, but shapely, wearing a black dress with a plunging neckline and a slash in one side that showed off a generous portion of pale thigh. Black gloves covered her hands to above the elbows, and her three-hundred-dollar shoes [*SQUEEE*] were a study in high-heeled torture devices...

Um, what's not to like? The *squeee* was added by me, by the way.

Anyway, as I said, I loved the book. Good pacing and action kept this an enjoyable read, but then, at the very end, the author referenced a most profound poem, and I was mightily impressed.
Falcons and falconers.
The centre cannot hold.

Yeats had some kooky ideas, but The Second Coming seems eerily prescient. He believed the world was a gyre, a great spiral which would become increasingly unstable until-- at the end of the second millennium-- things would hie themselves to a fiery place in the conveyance of a woven basket. Turning in a widening gyre, the falcon flies up and away from the falconer and cannot hear him call for the return to its base. The falcon and falconer represent the primitive self and the intellect, with the former no longer governed by the wisdom of the latter. Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold. A structure with no core can not be stable. The wild outward spirals of the falcon only make for more instability. What a mess.

Then again, Yeats was living at the end of a century, and in such times, people always consider their moment pregnant with gravity and potential for as-yet-untold degrees of horror and misery. Probably means nothing at all, but it sounds mighty pretty.

Stop me now. I'll type for hours. Anyhoo. What was the point? Oh, yeah: read The Dresden Files. You'll like 'em.

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all around it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats


Joe Allen said...

If you enjoy the Harry Dresden books, check out the up coming "Monster Hunter International"

Also, SciFi channel had a short run series - about 13 episodes or so - based on Harry Dresden Files. I enjoyed it, and it's available for rent.


Peter said...

Oh, yes. The 'Dresden Files' series is up to 12 books and counting, and is one of the very best modern fantasy series out there. Highly recommended. Try his more 'traditional' fantasy series, the 'Codex Alera', as well - four volumes so far.

NotClauswitz said...

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

An apt description of our idiot Congress leaders.

Old NFO said...

Keep reading :-) Also the Codex Alera he wrote is now up to four books.

Christina RN LMT said...

MY *squeeee* is because you like the book! I love Jim Butcher. As Peter and Old NFO have said, try the Codex Alera as well, though they're more traditional fantasy (don't know if you like that). I did NOT like the TV series. I guess I'm too much a purist and get annoyed at deviations from source materials.

And Turn Coat will be out in a little over two months. I already have it on pre-order. I'm like that.

Zelda said...

"The best lack all conviction..."

That was us during this last election.

"The worst are full of passionate intensity..."

Does this not perfectly describe the rabidly hateful left? The Bush haters? The Palin-hating dogs? The conspiracy theorists in the face of obvious acts of war?