Archive for February, 2016

Judges Review

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

Judges does what it says on the tin and focusses upon Judges.

The chapter finds us in the allocated lands which have now been apportioned into twelve tribes.

Our protagonist seems to side with some tribes who live in a way that pleases him. Anyone who does not is delivered to their enemies and occasionally murdered.

This is an extremely messy process as those who are allocated as Judges tend to do our protagonist’s bidding before becoming powerful, corrupt and therefore delivered to Judges in rival tribes and this pattern seems to keep repeating itself.

I’m not sure what the authors were aiming to achieve with this narrative, as surely, if our protagonist is capable of anything and everything, he should just nip this in the bud himself instead of giving irrational, power hungry, flawed, hotheaded individuals carte blanche to commit murder and sack lands.

There is also some more amnesia on the part of the authors, as many of the roles allocated in earlier chapters are completely ignored and not referred to. I think this is a folly of having more than one author writing such an epic story. They all have their own ideas and seem to ignore each other’s narratives. This makes for a chronology seriously lacking in cohesion.

During all of these stories of tribes irritating our protagonist and thus being sold to their rivals for judgement, some interesting sub plots emerge.

One character promises our protagonist that if he wins his battle, he’ll sacrifice the next person he comes into contact with. His daughter turns up, so he duly does as he promised.

Later, another character gains exceptional strength simply by growing his hair. He is to marry a lady from a rival tribe and for some reason, kills a lion, then bees make a nest in its carcass.

At the pre wedding feast, he asks members of her tribe to guess what happened to him the other day, by saying: “out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.”

As you’d expect, nobody would deduce from that riddle that a man happened on a fully grown male lion, tears it open with his bare hands, leaves the carcass out in the sun, then bees do something that bees have never done and nest inside a dead animal.

The problem is, if they don’t guess the answer to the riddle within seven days, their forfeit is to hand over thirty items of clothing. If they do guess correctly, they receive that same prize from the lion mutilator.

Therefore, the tribe coax the lion mutilator’s future wife into begging him to tell her the answer for her to relay to them. She is successful in this betrayal, but he smells a rat when her tribe deliver the correct answer to him.

He duly pays his forfeit of thirty items of clothing by murdering thirty members of the tribe and delivering the blood stained clothes to them.

When the lion mutilator returns to his wife, she’s been married off to someone else by her father. He then reacts to this by taking the unusual step of setting fire to the tails of foxes who run through the tribe’s crops and burn them all.

The tribe return this favour by burning the house of his ex and her family with them inside it. The lion mutilator then goes on a horrendous killing spree clocking an impressive head count numbering into the thousands.

He flees the scene and takes refuge in a cave. He later falls in love with a woman who is given money by the tribe he has been warring with. They ask her to find the source of his freakish strength.

After much badgering, she discovers that his seven huge dreadlocks are where his strength resides, so she delivers a night of intense carnal passion which induces a deep slumber. Then the tribe send soldiers to cut all his hair off, which enables his capture (not before removing his eyes).

Some time later, the captors decide to wheel the lion mutilator out into their main temple to show off about how they eventually managed to capture their prized asset.

Foolishly, however, they managed to somehow forget that they needed to keep his hair shorn, and the lion mutilator pulls over two pillars holding the temple up and kills everyone in it, including himself.

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Joshua Review

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Onto Joshua now, and here is a chapter where the authors take leave of their memories slightly. 

Remember in earlier chapters when the chosen gang’s (now deceased) leader was instructed to tell his followers that murder was prohibited? Well now, our protagonist has reneged on this law, and has instructed the new leader of the chosen gang to wage war on the people who occupy the lands allocated to them. In doing so, murdering many people who had been living there for generations.

Our protagonist maintains that he is all powerful, knowledgable and just, but the power has clearly corrupted him as he seems to be making the rules up as he goes along.

The new leader is instructed to position his men all around the walls of the main city of the country they are to sack. Their weapons; bugles which they hope will deafen their enemies to death.

Now the authors use some artistic licence again here, as the bugles in question emit such a meagre decibel level, that 177db (which is 22db more than the world’s loudest speakers today), would be required to be blown at one area of the wall in order to breach it. This would require a total of 407,380 bugles.

Such a din would cause the air to turn to a plasma state and men’s heads would explode, so in my opinion, the authors should have probably opted for a more believable weapon.

Nevertheless, our protagonist’s chosen gang conquer the lands of no less than thirty one kings. They are instructed to then portion the lands between them.

If something like this happened in real life, I’m sure it would be considered a genocide, or ethnic cleansing. I have to say, aside from the bizarre amnesia of the writers and the difficult to believe magic realism, this is one of the more riveting chapters of this epic novel.

Hulk Smash-So He Does

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

There’s an environmental crisis in Northern Ireland, and it is in need of a hero.

The crisis: Northern Ireland Water have leased a stretch of a reservoir to a firm called Infrastrata who want to start probing for oil and natural gas using chemicals that could contaminate local water supplies.

This could adversely affect the area of County Antrim and would be the biggest threat to the stability of this tranquil region ever.

The hero: The Hulk. He has heard about the impending deal and is not happy…and we know what they say about The Hulk not being happy.

He has taken it upon himself to write a letter to the Mid Antrim council. He did this by using a queen size bed sheet and a giant squid to pen his concerns.

The emerald giant is concerned about this because he founded an organisation called Hulk Smash Aqua Contamination (HSAC). After penning his letter, he came to N.I to deliver it personally.

He knew that he needed to speak to environmental minister; Mark H Durkan, so he went to deliver the letter to him in a hail of rockets deployed from American stealth bombers.

Whilst being attacked by the American military, The Hulk holds his giant letter in one hand and Mark H Durkan in the other.

This melee caused some logistical issues for county Antrim, so to stem the chaos in the streets, Northern Ireland Water have offered to work with The Hulk to shore up the equipment being used to dig for the fossil fuels. He could use his mass and strength to plug any gaps that chemicals could escape through and smash anyone trying to cut corners.

Infrastrata have been asked if they would be co-operating with assistance for The Hulk and the council. A spokesperson for the firm said “he’s one to talk about contamination!”

Deuteronomy Review

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

This chapter continues with the progression of our protagonist’s chosen gang on their quest through desert lands to reach the land allocated to them.

Some more characters are introduced to shore up the chosen gang’s numbers and things have settled down with the gang members and their complaints.

At this point, our protagonist drops a bombshell on his chosen gang’s leader whom he has liaised with directly in the last few chapters, setting rules and such. The leader is not to reach the destination that he’s been allocated.

This comes as a shock to the chosen gang leader, but our protagonist insists it is right because earlier on in his quest, the gang leader disobeyed a direct order from our protagonist which, even though he was completely unaware, was still a no-no.

Our protagonist has done it again. The absolute power he wields has long since corrupted him, and after announcing that his gang leader will die in the desert, while the people he lead will actually get to see the land their leader died to get them to, there were more rules being dished out.

Our protagonist reiterates the earlier laws about listening to your parents, not building any more inanimate objects to worship, not killing or stealing and all the rest of them. He also throws a few new ones into the mix. Dietary requirements and how to dispose of dead bodies.

Our protagonist also holds the chosen gang to ransom. He reminds them that he chose them specifically because they’re special before telling them that they must “fear” him or “they will perish.”

The final act of the leader of the chosen gang was to climb atop a mountain to catch a glimpse of the land his people would occupy. He dies immediately afterwards.

Numbers Review

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Now, Numbers is quite a confusing chapter. It still follows our protagonist’s chosen gang and centres around their leader.

However, many other characters enter the fray and things threaten to go all War and Peace. This is not only because of the many characters and their bizarre names, but also because there is preparation for an actual war.

Our protagonist is in the process of being an antagonist, provoking his chosen gang to put an army together to sack some land that stands between the desert they’ve been crossing, and the land that they’ve been allocated.

In doing this, our protagonist makes some extremely bizarre demands. His chosen gang are to set aside specific, randomly chosen days to sacrifice certain animals and hold specific celebrations.

The authors don’t give any reasons for these celebrations, and there are many occasions where our protagonist rceives complaints from his chosen gang, and instead of talking things through, he gives them an incurable skin disease. He also randomly cuts some characters from the chosen gang and engineers things so that some others lose battles. This seems like a show of petulance on the part of our protagonist.

The overall plot meanders lots in this chapter and takes longer than it should to get to its point. However, the point isn’t much of a point at all.

Leviticus Review

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Leviticus is effectively Exodus part two. It focuses on the same group of chosen people that our protagonist earmarked to carry around his newly founded (albeit far too late) laws to others that are not aware of them.

This chapter outlines explicitly what these laws are so that they are not deviated against by the chosen gang.

The author’s imaginations really run wild with these laws as they’re incredibly strange and creative rules that would never be able to be followed in a real, normal, human society. The punishments are unnecessarily brutal as well.

They start off with many sacrifices of other sentient creatures inhabiting the land. Lots of animals are asked to be slaughtered and burned by our protagonist as offerings of thanks, peace, apology and the like.

Meats of very specific creatures are only to be eaten, anything else is considered unclean.

Male babies have to have their genitals mutilated using a sharp blade by an appointed shaman who must stem the flow of blood from the genitals using his mouth. New mothers have to give offerings to our protagonist to prove that they have been cleansed following the filthy task of giving birth.

There’s fear regarding a skin disease which has affected a few of the gang, so the appointed shaman is to keep an eye out for any infected people and eject them from the group. If anyone has been cured of the disease, they should shave their heads bald.

If anyone has mildew growing in their home, the shaman has to inspect it. This is a confusing bit of chronology as surely this should refer to when the chosen gang land at their destination as opposed to during their trek through this desert.

Women and or men are considered unclean when they are menstruating and or have ejaculated respectively. However, the authors do not specify what the recourse is for this.

The next law states that nobody is allowed to have sexual intercourse with relatives or neighbours. It doesn’t cover eventualities where your neighbour becomes your spouse and the fact that your spouse is effectively a relative. They’re also not allowed to have intercourse when menstruating and they can’t have intercourse with any animals, the latter isn’t as imaginative as the other laws as it is fairly self explanatory.

The next law is a strange one as it prohibits homosexuality. Perhaps no members of this chosen gang have ever had the genetic disposition of finding people of the same gender attractive. But then, if this is the case, why would this law be made…and if they do have this natural preference, again, why would this law be made? Apparently, our protagonist wants anyone engaging in this natural activity put to death.

Our protagonist also wants those put to death who are disrespectful towards their parents, or anyone committing adultery.
Anybody wearing two items of clothing made from different materials should be deported.
The remainder of the laws are around certain days that should be earmarked as festivals for the chosen gang to give regular sacrifices and offering to our protagonist.

The authors put a lot of imagination into this chapter, and although it seems a bit dull and doesn’t appear to contribute much to the storyline at this point, it could form the basis of the culture of the chosen gang in future chapters. Also, can you imagine living in a world with laws and punishments like these?