April 6th, 2005

Books!

Well, that sure was different ...

Bible Code IIGee ... as opposed to the last book to appear in this space, it only took me two days to blow through Michael Drosnin's Bible Code II: The Countdown! As folks paying attention no doubt recall, I found this at one of the dollar stores a couple of weeks back, and I was sort of interested in getting into it, so once I got Universes done, I popped into this. Needless to say, it was a "fast read", primarily due to the many "grids" (see the bottom half of the cover pic) where the "crossword-like" words show up.

I had read the original Bible Code book many years ago (maybe eight?), and was interested in seeing the follow-up, given all the brou-ha-ha over the whole theory of the thing (which is, briefly, that the original parts of the Bible, the Torah, were delivered to the Hebrews in one long unbroken string of letters, and that a program that looked at any X# of characters might find "hidden codes" in it). While that's all well and good (and it could be argued that one could do something similar with nearly any text string), the essence of the Bible Code theory is in the groupings of words and the odds of such groupings being randomly generated. Needless to say, I can't really speak to that aspect of it, but it IS interesting what stuff (the predicted assassination of Rabin, the election of Clinton, the 9/11 attacks) can apparently be coaxed out of it.

Now, many of the books I've been reading have been "staler" than this, but due to the "predictive" nature of the subject, this has gone a bit stale in only a couple of years (published in 2002), as it was expecting a global financial crisis (ala the Great Depression), and was very focused on stuff to do with the late Yasir Arafat. It has, however, not quite run out of "the sky is falling" material, as it projects some sort of nuclear attack happening in 2006 (and perhaps a bio/chem attack in 2005), but much of what the author seems to have his panties in a knot about clearly did not play out the way he was expecting.

And, speaking of expectations ... I had mine blown away by another aspect of this book. The focus of most of this Bible Code stuff has been prophetic / theological / political, and the biases of the author certainly appear to fall in the latter part of that triad. However, a significant portion of Bible Code II sounds like it comes straight out of the work of Zecharia Sitchin! It seems that, in probing the nature of the code, it gives up clues about buried obelisks, spaceships, and even genetic manipulations by aliens to engineer modern man! Drosnin spends a not inconsiderable portion of the book chasing down these clues, and even traveling to the Lisan peninsula in the Dead Sea, which is where the code says all this cool super-ancient extraterrestrial stuff should be appearing. How, you ask? Well, the level of the Dead Sea has been dropping about a meter a year, so a lot of what used to be fairly deeply submerged is suddenly above water for the first time in millennia (in this picture, everything on the peninsula but for the sharp pointy bit at the very top level was under water as recently as the 60's!).

My biggest complaint about the book (aside from a few bitchy political things) is that it's all a TEASE ... he never gets a dig together, never even gets a rough survey done. Of course, he was writing during the start of the Intifada, so there was a lot of resistance in Jordan (where Lisan is) to letting a "Jewish expedition" dig on "their" land, but you would think Drosnin could at least leave us with some tantalizing "we found something" to lead us into a Bible Code III, but he just leaves all that stuff hanging in the midst of the other story lines, which is all very frustrating!

Anyway ... what to read next? I took a brief count of what's up on my to-be-read shelves and found I have about a gross of books there ... 12 stacks of about 12 books each ... so I have plenty to choose from (as regular readers know, I barely got to read anything during the 10 years I was running my own publishing company, thus the huge backlog)! I noticed a 3-book set on the mythologies of Central, South, and North America, and am thinking I might plow into those next ... I know, you can hardly wait to hear about them!


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