Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Books Read This Week

Being laid up with surgery and drugged out of my gourd the first couple days took the joys of reading from me for the most part. That and I stressed about getting my book done on the time frame that I wanted and I also told my editor I could do it during a poorly timed moment of feeling better, I crashed the next day and for the rest of the weekend. In any case, here is what I have read the last week or two.

The Mystery of the Olmecs, by David Hatcher Childress
I love his unorthodox archaeological stuff. I highly recommend his Lost Cities series. I have not read them all but I mean to. I have used a lot of the North American for info and ideas for Heroes of the Fallen and its sequels. This book was no exception, it is chock full of central American weirdness and fun facts that don't automatically fit into the history books from only a couple years ago. One of the most fascinating things to me was how big the area of the Olmecs really is, Childress postulates and I agree with his assertions, that it is bigger than what we know either the Aztec or Maya controlled. And yet for years we have been told they only had a strip of coastline centered on La Venta.This multi-racial culture was massive.
One of the most intriguing things to me was about the Mayan port city ruins of Comalcalco. This city was built out of brick because there was not sufficient stone in the area. Huge structures were built using these bricks and almost 3% of all these city bricks have inscriptions upon them. Here is where it gets really interesting, these inscriptions are in numerous ancient languages not just Meso-American languages-Old World languages too. Such as Arabic, Egyptian, Ogam, Libyan, Phoenician, and Chinese. Some bricks even had pictures of elephants on them.
One more point about Comalcalco that relates to some other thoughts I have had for years now (its always exciting when support for personal theories come from far outside sources)is that the languages found and used at the site don't date from the supposed timetable of use namely 700 A.D. to 900 A.D. what fits according to the languages found is closer to roughly 0 A.D. to around 400 A.D. I have wondered for a long time if the supposed Classic dates were off by several hundred years, all it takes is for one scientific dogma to be taken as fact and anything opposed to that gets thrown out the window as heretical. It's funny how the Inquisition has changed sides.

Chronicles of Conan vol.14-The Shadow of the Beast, by Roy Thomas and John Buscema
This is the 14th (obviously) in the Dark Horse series of reprints of the classic Marvel comics from the seventies and early eighties. Some of the tales were good-some just nuh. I didn't really care for the 4 part take on Sons of the Bear God, but Shadow of the Beast itself I liked as well as War of Wizards which also had Red Sonja guest starring. All in all it is a collection I really like having considering the color is remastered and a comparison to the comics I have from back then that are horribly bleached and frail, is a no brainer.

El Cazador, by Chuck Dixon and Steve Epting
This is another graphic novel collection, this time of Pirate Tales. Graphic Novel's were easier for me to read while drugged. But I must stress this does not diminish their value to me. I learned to read on comics and love the dying art that it is. Chuck Dixon was favorite writer of mine for his work on Batman and the art of Epting does not skimp either. El Cazador or 'The Hunter' (in English) is a tale of revenge and good old-fashioned swashbuckling. The takes on sea battles is great as are some classic escapes. One scene reminded me of the best moments of hide and seek from the Hunt for Red October. It is a shame that the series only got into 6 issues before ending-I would definitely get more if it had not been discontinued. But comic titles come and go so-oh well. I still regret not getting more of Sojourn before it went belly-up, now finding those graphics will become another internet prowl. Back to pirates, I hope W. Everett Prusso's The Pirate Slayers:Ghost Wave series is this good, I am looking forward to that as well.


Tamara Hart Heiner said...

who's your editor, David?

Melanie Goldmund said...

Mystery of the Olmecs sounds pretty cool!

David J. West said...

Kristine is my editor and its been great.
Its a great book for all that kind of research, Childress finds new material that I think is gold for my backgrounds.