Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart - the brilliant professor from Bethel University - or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sci Fi Genre - Ever Popular - But not for me

I used to be a Science Fiction fan. But not anymore. Oh, Sci Fi is still a very popular genre, just look at the success of Star Wars. I used to like Star Wars. That is until I saw the third installment, which the Star Wars people called Episode VI. That was the one with the cute little teddy bears. And it was when the Star Wars franchise lost all credibility with me.

And that was a shame. Because when the first one came out, Episode IV, that is, I was thrilled. As a kid, I loved Science Fiction stories. I loved Sci Fi movies like War of the Worlds, Forbidden Planet, and Earth vs. Flying Saucers. Loved them. And when I first saw the trailer for Star Wars, with no prior clue that it was even being made, I was overjoyed. I remained overjoyed when I saw it. And I was even more overjoyed when the next one came out. Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. But it all came tumbling down with that ridiculous Episode VI.

The same thing was true for Star Trek. I absolutely loved the original Star Trek TV series. But it was cancelled after three seasons, and that was that. Until the movies came out. But they sucked. Every single Star Trek movie absolutely sucked. It was astonishing. Finally, they had a big budget, and they couldn't do anything worthwhile. Then Star Trek, the Next Generation came out. And that sucked, too. The magic was gone. As with the Star Wars franchise, the magic was just gone.

When the next Star Wars trilogy came out, meaning Episodes I, II, and III, the magic was still gone. At least for me. That Jar Jar Binks character was simply unforgivable. Just like the teddy bears. Credibility was nil. Even the latest Star Wars movie that came out this past year had no magic. It was simply a rehash of Episode IV. And the magic was just not there. Not for me, anyway.

Is it because I'm a grown up now? Is magic in a movie or story only a kid thing? For example, the remakes of Sci Fi classic movies recently, like War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise and The Day the Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves were completely void of the magic the originals had. But when I re-watched the originals recently, they stood the test of time. They were still great. The magic was still there. So it's not just a kid thing.

As a young man, I was actually writing a Sci Fi story. I was trying to make it a graphic novel. But writing and illustrating a graphic novel as a one man show was not going to work. Now, as a novelist, with five books being published, I've considered revisiting that story. As a novel, that is. But no. For me, as an adult, the magic of Sci Fi is gone. Maybe if another Sci Fi movie comes out that can rekindle that magic, I could change my mind. But that remains to be seen.

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