Is It Too Early to Ask for a Do-Over of 2020?

The month of January is almost over and so far 2020 seems to be shaping up to be a repeat of 2016. The notable deaths over the past month of people who have had an influence on me:

  • Neil Peart
  • Buck Henry
  • Christopher Tolkien
  • Terry Jones
  • Jim Lehrer
  • Bob Shane
  • Kobe Bryant
  • John Andretti

It’s just a reminder of how limited life is and how we should take our chances to be an influence when the opportunity arrives. Also a reminder that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us.


The Gereg by The Hu

In a previous post, I mentioned a particular love I have for folk metal. While stationed in Germany, I received an education in folk metal through German cd shops. I was instantly fascinated by the idea and sound of using traditional cultural instruments and musical sounds to create a new form of heavy metal.

About a year ago, I encountered a new folk metal group called The Hu through a couple of YouTube videos. One year later, I recently got my hands on The Hu‘s first album The Gereg, and thought I’d share this so you could check this one out.

The Hu is a group of Mongolian musicians who’ve created a remarkably unique new sound. The Gereg is what happens when traditional Mongolian instruments, Mongolian culture, and the Mongolian language meets heavy metal music.

If you don’t speak Mongolian, no worries. The lyrics for this album are included in both Mongolian and English to help the rest of us enjoy the messages of the songs.

If you’re a fan of hard rock or heavy metal music, have an interest in Mongolian culture, or are just looking for something to expand your music horizon’s, this is an album that and a band who should be immediately placed at the top of your music to buy list. Check this one out, you won’t be disappointed.

The War of the Worlds and Socio-Political SciFi

I’ve always been baffled by the complaints by certain groups in recent years that too much scifi addresses social and political issues. The verbal and voting wars over the scifi Hugo award stands out as one of the biggest fights over socio-political scifi. The complaints baffle me because scifi is always about socio-political issues!

To discuss this, let’s just take one example story, H.G. Well’s The War of the Worlds (TWotW). From its original publication to the present, TWotW is always a socio-political (s-p) story.

When Wells first published TWotW, he was making a s-p statement about the British Empire and its imperialism and colonization program. Wells offers a look at imperialism and colonization from the perspective of the conquered, especially during the Victorian Era period of Empire expansion.

A few years go by then TWotW reappears in the form of the Orson Welles radio drama in 1938. The resulting chaos from public reaction demonstrates that once again, TWotW was making a s-p statement. This time, it was addressing the spread of Hitler’s Third Reich across Europe.

TWotW fades from memory for a while until George Pal’s 1953 movie version of TWotW emerges in theaters. This time, TWotW was making a s-p statement about the recent (at the time) Korean War and the larger Cold War taking place between the Soviet Union and the United States.††††

Again TWotW vanishes from the public consciousness until the 1978 album, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of TWotW, appears. Appearing in record stores and on radio stations, this time the s-p statement continues the fears of the Cold War while also addressing the uncertainty of the non-victorious U.S. military after Vietnam.

Public interest in TWotW disappears again until the 1988 tv series brings TWotW into American homes. Once again s-p statements are made in a world where the Cold War is winding down, the Soviet Union appears to be collapsing under its own economic weight, and the U.S. appears to be rising as the new empire of the world.

TWotW once again drops out of sight until Stephen Speilburg’s 2005 movie version of TWotW. And again, the s-p statements are in forefront. Here the fears of terrorism in the post-9/11 world are addressed as well as the clash between parents and their children over the nature of duty and service on the part of children who want to fight the new evil in the world.

The War of the Worlds has once again been sidelined in the minds of the general public. In the current state of the world, I think it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable return of The War of the Worlds and its latest socio-political statements addressing the current chaos of the world. Until then, there’s a whole host of scifi stories making socio-political statements.