Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Merkabah Rider: The Mensch With No Name" by Ed Erdelac (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Official Author Website
Read FBC ‘s review of Merkabah Rider: Tales of a High Planes Drifter
Read FBC Interview with Ed Erdelac

LinkAUTHOR INFORMATION: Ed Erdelac is the author of various books and is also a regular contributor to the Star Wars canonical universe. He is an award-winning screenwriter, an independent filmmaker, a chain reader, and a closet gamer. He was born in Indiana, pursued his education in Chicago and then moved to L.A. to pursue his career interests. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his family.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: The Merkabah Rider continues his journey across the American Southwest of 1880 in search of the renegade teacher who destroyed his mystic Jewish order in the second volume (containing novella episodes 5-8) of this acclaimed weird western series.

In this installment the Rider unravels more of the mystery of Adon's Hour of the Incursion plot and quickly learns that demons are the least of his troubles. He defends a remote settlement against a gang of half-demon gunmen in 'The Infernal Napoleon,' joins forces with Doc Holliday to hunt down an invisible creature in 'The Damned Dingus,' aids a group of Indians against the mindbending horror of 'The Outlaw Gods,' and takes his hunt to hell itself in 'The Pandæmonium Ride.'

CLASSIFICATION: This tale is a mystical western coupled with Jewish mythology. Think of it as David Gemmell’s Jon Shannow series meets Stephen King’s Dark Tower meets H.P. Lovecraft.

FORMAT/INFO: This book is 231 pages long divided into 4 novella sections and comes with a glossary of various Jewish esoteric terms. Narration is via third person omniscient and consists of various characters mainly including the Rider. It is a self contained story however has a few references to the events occurring in the previous book.

September 1, 2010 marked the paperback and e-book publication of the book via Damnation books.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: The Merkabah Rider series began with Merkabah Rider: Tales of a High Planes Drifter. I read the book nearly 2 years ago and was very much surprised by the quirky amalgam of Jewish mythology with the 19th century west settings. I did enjoy the author’s vision and so happened to read book II as well last year however due to certain personal reasons never got around to reviewing it, this is the review which got left behind.

The Mensch with No Name continues the trend of the first book by being a mix of four novellas which are sequential in time frame and continue to showcase more of the world of the Merkabah rider. The four stories are:

- The Infernal Napoleon

- The Damned Dingus

- The Outlaw Gods

- The Pandæmonium Ride

The stories continue the Rider’s search for his previous master Adon who has been revealed as the main mastermind behind all the supernatural incursions, he however cannot discount the fact that his teacher is also aware of his search and is also doing his active best to stay hidden.

The book directly opens with its first chapter wherein quite a few weeks have passed after the end of chapter four “The Nightjar Women”. The fifth chapter chronologically and the first of this volume is titled “The Infernal Napoleon” and it is set in Varruga Tanks wherein the Rider is passing thorough when he happens upon a strange phenomenon. His curiosity is awakened however before he can partake much of the mystery he finds that his pursuers have met up him and want a battle wherein only the victors will leave alive.

The second chapter “The Damned Dingus” showcases the Rider on his way towards Las Vegas wherein he happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time however he does have one right person by his side, that person being John “Doc” Holliday. Forced to join Holliday because of reasons revealed in the story, the Rider also does his best to acquit himself with various western legends besides Holliday as they search for something which seems entirely out of the realm of possibility.

The third chapter “The Outlaw Gods” has him rattled from the events of the previous chapter, fate however has a different plan when he meets a group of Apache tribesmen who have been waiting for him and take him to Tats’adah. This new round further exposes Rider to the mysteries of the universe which he thought he knew. The ending leaves him shattered and with out a clue wherein the next & last chapter “The Pandæmonium Ride” opens up in quick succession as the Rider is at his wit’s end with the things he has seen and now knows about. He is forced to go to the very ends of nature into Hell itself to meet the Lord of lies himself.

The plot of this book is much darker to begin with, from the last one and has a lot more going on in each of the chapters as well. The reader is exposed to more of the world’s mythology and this increases the understanding about the stakes which the main characters are worried about. The story is much more streamlined as each story follows on the heels of the previous ones. Another plus point was all the extensive Jewish mythology which was utilized, since I didn’t have much knowledge about it. It was fascinating as the information was tabulated at the end of the book and the glossary of terms helped tremendously.

As for the characters, the main protagonist is put through a lot of physical, mental and theological wringing by the author along with quite a few character deaths as well which makes for quite a few grim endings. The author also has managed to insert a few historical characters in the story and therefore that was an additional plus as I got to discover a few more names in western front history. Also this time around the main protagonist’s story is much more akin to Roland Deschain and Jon Shannow as Rider is constantly facing challenges and even when he’s not looking for any trouble, it still manages to find him. There’s also the stoicism portrayed by the main character which was reminiscent of those two characters, I found that these aspects were much clearer in this volume.

The book while have these plus points also has a couple of drawbacks namely that it goes out of its way to showcase the problems faced by the rider and therefore falls to the predictably factor. So while the problems faced by the protagonist are gargantuan, the reader knows at the back of their mind, probably how it’s going to end. This is usually the faltering point for most serial stories however the author does his best to entertain by giving us a world wherein Jewish mysticism is meeting the western wilds giving the readers a strange mix wherein there is something new to be discovered at every nook and corner. The other point is that this time around the climax of the book is not as strong as that of the last book and while it ends, it leaves the reader hanging. This was a bit of a downer since I was expecting a few more revelations in regards to the Hour of Inclusion storyline as well as the appearance/motivations of the main antagonist.

CONCLUSION: A weird western novel which has a very intriguing storyline that acts as its main propellant along with the eclectic cast of characters that populate the land. Ed Erdelac has to be lauded for his wildly imaginative efforts in recreating a time that never was but feels as wonderfully alluring as the other fictional times and places that SFF readers often love to read about.

High heels and high fashion

Cone, wedge, prism, kitten or puppy, whatever the style, high heels are a classic feature of women's fashion. As the struggle to combat foot pain, risk of falls and dodging racks and soft grass, did you ever stop to consider the history of these iconic pieces fit?

The origin of high heels is debatable, but many believe it originated in ancient Egypt, where the use of any shoe was a symbol of power and wealth. The precursors first in what is now called stilettos were discovered in an Egyptian tomb dating from around 1000 BC.

Legend has it that high heels were introduced to the European aristocracy in the 16th century by Catherine de Medici in Paris. Betrothed to the Duke of Orleans, who later became King of France, the diminutive of 15 years, Catherine put her shoes with two heels to enhance his stature and respect.

In 1850, men had arrived in the act, too, with noble and "off" in England and France, falling on the heels sometimes five inches high. It was past time fraught with danger for the French, however, as the heels are higher than those being used by the king could be thrown in jail or worse.

Fortunately, the heels of the forgotten man during the French Revolution and the ideals of equality took over the traditions of the aristocracy and privileged. Along with the disappearance of the heels of men, women also disappeared. Not everyone was happy with this, of course, the French queen Marie Antoinette supposedly went to the guillotine the use of two-inch heels.

Idea Of ​​Men In High Heels | Best Made Shoes

While the idea of ​​men in high heels makes the most painful or even laugh right out loud, high-heeled shoes for men are actually in! Although most men do not wear high-heeled shoes that are made for women, more men shoes are being made with a heel, and are technically high heels! While some men may choose to wear high heels that are made for women, most men do not, but they still fall into the high heels that look was attractive to women for years! Men in high heels can be something that makes most of us breath, but it is becoming increasingly common, just look at the feet of the men in your life!

Men in high heels are becoming more common because shoes are becoming important now, even for men. Your average Joe every day and not care what your shoes look as going to a special store and release more money than he did in his Nike Jordan in the 1980's. The shoes are men because most men are learning that the shoes are part of the general appearance, something women have known for years. The style is increasingly important, and the shoes are an important part of style now, even for men what the rules of high heels for men and women right now.

Because there is this new awareness by men of their shoes, high heels in men seem only natural. Therefore, not stilettos but they are higher heels than men have been using in recent history. Dress shoes with a thicker healing, men's shoes with thicker soles, boots with higher heels and soles, and casual boots with a heel are considerable popular in men's shoes right now. Of course, high heels are not like men and women at all, because the look is so popular most men do not realize that hell is more than what they have been in your shoes in the past. What men know about these high heels is that they look good with all his clothes.

Women's High Heels - Tips and Facts Fun

High heels have been insane for decades for good reason, it is a fact, many women love to use them. High-heeled shoes for women offer a boost of confidence, which in turn means that women, like Tony the Tiger says he feels fine.

In harmony with this, is the fact that men love women watching them. A woman walking in high heels is certainly a beautiful sight that men never tire of.

Declaration of fashion and special events

Women's high heels turned out to be an icon of long-term and the trend looks set to be here to stay for many decades. Through the years, high heels have become a vital part of women's clothing. "Not only that, the most important events in the life of a woman can be measured by them.

For example, dance shoes for women, one of the first dates in the lives of many young women. "During the party, almost all girls wear high heels, but improve the appearance of party dress carefully searched. Almost never heard of someone who says they are looking for, or for that matter, the use of perfect floor to match your beautiful gown.

For formal occasions, women dress shoes work best. There are many different types of high heels of women, "offering a wide range of colors, fabrics and designs. For example, peep toe, platform shoes and dress shoes, to name a few. In addition, women's shoes design definitely cost more than regular shoes, but offer a look of elegance and design, and a more unique, signature look.

Logistics, all in the technique

Being able to walk to the time it takes to provide an effective attraction, but if you do not know how to walk in their shoes wonderful, you should practice before going out with five inch heels. Your safety comes first, this is a very important tip because it can break your ankles, if you really do not have a domain to walk in high heels. Moreover, the same men who enjoy seeing women in high heels can think you're a drunk, if you are walking across a room, however, have to hold everything to remain stable and upright.

You can hear the men now, "Yes, it's a real audience, but I think we have to mess with a few cocktails before leaving town."

comfortable shoes or high heels

Platform shoes are high heeled shoes with thick soles often made of cork, plastic, rubber or wood. What sets the other platform shoes high heel shoes is that they have both thick soles and high heels. Platform shoes therefore considered more comfortable than traditional high-heeled shoes because their feet are not as wide an angle when standing in them.

The current fashion trends, very high platform heels are associated with adult entertainment industry. Professional dancers strippers, pole and back are often seen in platform heels during their performances. Medium heel platform shoes are very popular among teenagers and women in their twenties in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

Platform shoes are the first, said they have used in ancient Greece to increase the height of important characters in Greek drama. These were also used by prostitutes and courtesans in Venice in the 16th century. Though platform heels gained some popularity in the U.S., the UK and European countries between 1930 and early 1950, his popularity increased considerably in 1970 and 1980. Rock musicians frequently wore platform shoes during their performances. Take on the trend, children had to draw attention. In late 1990, the band sensation in the UK - Spice Girls - brought platform shoes high heel back into mainstream fashion as they frequently performed in large shoes.

Colors and models available online

sexy platform shoes are available in almost every color imaginable and in a host of exquisite designs. At reputed online shoe stores can be found platform shoes to suit a variety of tastes, moods, attitudes and occasions. Browse through the online catalog and you will find platform heels adorning the soles of almost all types of shoes ranging from sandals, sling backs, pumps, Mary Jane pumps, knee-high boots, and shoes peep toe closed, sandals and more. The heel height shoes usually range from mid-heel to skyscrapers.