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Old 02-15-2003, 09:56 AM   #1
swords
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I recently read a book by Michael Crichton entitled "Eaters of the Dead", and there is also a movie based on it, under a different name called "13th Warrior". Anyway, it's a excellent read, and I reconmmend it to all.(haven't watched the movie though, but plan to)

Set in 922 A.D, it involves the journey of a group of vikings, accompanied by a Arab, to Northern Russia, near Norway. They investigate strange occurances, for settlements are being terrorized by "monsters". Crichton though, describes these "monsters" as Neanderthals, short brows and strong build bodies, shoulders broad.

I found it interesting to note, from Crichton's bibliographies and referrences, that the works of Beo-wolf are his notes he used to create the novel. He accounts for the real life Arab, by the name (looks in novel)...Ahmad Ibn Fadlan, who really went with a group of Vikings in the 10th century. But thats where the facts end, for Crichton makes the rest fiction, with the group encountering the Neanderthals.

Now it offers a interesting topic, that Neanderthals existed in the late Dark Ages, but only in pockets. Do you think it's possible? For Neanderthals to have existed at that time?

Has anybody read this book, by the way?....




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Old 02-16-2003, 01:43 AM   #2
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I have read that book and loved it. Much better than the film (doesn't mean the film is bad).

The Beo-wolf legend is also used by Tolkien for his "Lord of the Rings". Ever heard of that book?
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Old 02-16-2003, 06:59 AM   #3
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Cant say ive read the book (sounds good though )
I have heard of an Arab encountering the Vikings in the North

As for Neanderathals although nothing is impossible it is really nonsense:
- Neanderathals existed mainly in Southern Europe and the Middle East upto the time of the last ice age; Russia was uninhabitable on account of Glaciers for this period.
- Neanderathals were always small in number due to the horrible nature of Ice Age conditions (it is thought 10,000 lived in the whole of Europe) think of them as Eskimo like in some ways but not as ingenious (i.e without advanced tool techniques or advanced clothing technology)
- Neanderathals were driven to extinction by the arrival of the far more ingenious Homo Sapians (us) who could hunt properly, had an advanced language, were far more ingenious etc. Although there is the possibility of inbreeding of course, but we will never really know as most of the modern humans were killed when the Ice Caps advanced even further again destroying the genetic evidence.

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Old 02-16-2003, 10:33 AM   #4
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Ya thats right, what bob says. It's an intriguing idea though, Neanderthals existing at that period of time. And I like how the author gives us a Arab perspective, on the Vikings culture, what they are experiencing. Anyway, read it, its awesome...

Yes, I have read LotR,(including the Hobbit) both are very good as well...
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Old 02-17-2003, 06:18 AM   #5
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Michael Chrichton did an outstanding job of blending mythology (Beowulf) with the actual diary of this Persian diplomat, IBN Fadlan. The remaining pages of the IBN Fadlan Manuscript, possibly revealing some mythical tribe of "Bear people," would make for a good Indy subtheme in a Scandinavian or Middle Eastern setting. I tried to incorporate this into an Indy novel, but the book is more fiction than fact in its basis. Still, a good read!
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Old 02-17-2003, 10:26 AM   #6
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Beowulf is thoroughly entertaining! I thought Chricton did a great job of portraying a legend in that fashion. The movie was closer to the book than I thought it would be. Did you see the Lost World? That was nothing like the book! They even combined the two children from a black boy and white girl into a black girl! They made the coolest character a balding middle aged wimp and took a lot of excitement out of it.
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Old 02-17-2003, 12:39 PM   #7
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I'm a fan of Beowulf also. I knew Tolkien used many ideas from Beowulf for Lord of the Rings, however, I'm real surprised to find out Micheal Crichton used some for Eaters of the Dead. It does sound like a GREAT novel, and I will defintely have to read it sometime.
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Old 02-17-2003, 07:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kill Cavalry
Beowulf is thoroughly entertaining! I thought Chricton did a great job of portraying a legend in that fashion. The movie was closer to the book than I thought it would be. Did you see the Lost World? That was nothing like the book! They even combined the two children from a black boy and white girl into a black girl! They made the coolest character a balding middle aged wimp and took a lot of excitement out of it.

And can you believe it's directed by Spielberg himself? Crichton has a reputation for writing poorly(even though this novel was great), but the film adaptions of his books are usually better than his novels themselves, as cited by some. I can't confirm that, though I have watched the films, but haven't read others except "Eaters". Anyway, I thought the first Jurassic Park was better than the Lost World as well.

Crichton presents awesome ideas though, involving history, and science, as evidenced by, for example, the Andromeda Strain(well the film, not the novel). And I like the premise for this novel, involving Neanderthals...





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Old 03-08-2003, 12:59 PM   #9
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Beowulf

Quote:
Originally posted by Shqipo
Michael Chrichton did an outstanding job of blending mythology (Beowulf) with the actual diary of this Persian diplomat, IBN Fadlan. The remaining pages of the IBN Fadlan Manuscript, possibly revealing some mythical tribe of "Bear people," would make for a good Indy subtheme in a Scandinavian or Middle Eastern setting. I tried to incorporate this into an Indy novel, but the book is more fiction than fact in its basis. Still, a good read!
---CrownsOfIllyria@theIndyExperience.com

Crichton wrote "Eaters of the Dead" on a bet. Someone said he couldn't make Beowulf interesting. (There are some people that have trouble wading through the Old English poem.)

There are many theories to what the Grendelkin (or Crichton's Wendols) really were. The Grendelkin were aquatic and lived in the swamps or near pools. Beowulf has to dive underwater into a cave to fight Grendel's Dam (mom). In addtion to neanderthals there is the theory of throwback "aquatic apes." No one can quite explain why homo sapiens developed hairless. One theory is that there were aquatic apes who like other swimming mammals became relatively hairless. One theory for hair surviving on the head is that infants had something to cling to.

A board I frequent on Beowulf, "The Boar's Helm Pub," has a thread on Elaine Morgan's aquatic ape theory (AAT).
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Old 03-08-2003, 04:22 PM   #10
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Gee...5 million years of us getting used to terrestial life...yeah, seems to me like a Deus Ex Machina answer if you ask me. Then it says that we "re-adapted"..so that means we were land based, then water, then land again. Well, I'm surprised that someone hasn't mentioned the "Aquatic Ape Theory" to explain Atlantis
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Old 03-08-2003, 07:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by digman36
Gee...5 million years of us getting used to terrestial life...yeah, seems to me like a Deus Ex Machina answer if you ask me. Then it says that we "re-adapted"..so that means we were land based, then water, then land again. Well, I'm surprised that someone hasn't mentioned the "Aquatic Ape Theory" to explain Atlantis

Scoff you may, but whales and dolphins are also explained using this analysis. All mammals were originally landbased.

I do like the idea of linking it to Atlantis though. Can I use that in my next literary effort?

[Edited by Broomhandle Davis on 03-09-2003 at 03:47 pm]
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Old 03-08-2003, 07:59 PM   #12
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Sure, you can use the Atlantis idea. :-)
But I still don't have alot of stock in the idea because what was the advantage to being a aquatic based mammal? And if there was an advantage, then why did we leave the aquatic environment, the advantage?
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Old 03-09-2003, 04:01 AM   #13
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Aquatic Ape Theory

Quote:
Originally posted by digman36
...And if there was an advantage, then why did we leave the aquatic environment, the advantage?

I don't know. I don't think anyone knows. Survival I assume. Maybe this will help the Aquatic Ape.

[Edited by Broomhandle Davis on 03-09-2003 at 03:54 pm]
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Old 02-24-2004, 12:43 PM   #14
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The waters rose, and...

...then the waters receded. Perhaps not all apes were invited onto the Ark.

Or maybe there was global warming followed by global cooling.
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Old 02-24-2004, 02:42 PM   #15
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Prehaps Neanderthals did exist at that time, it may explain where stories of orcs and goblins came from.
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Old 05-29-2008, 01:14 PM   #16
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Eaters of the Dead was a great read and I enjoyed the movie adaptation 13th Warrior also.
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Old 05-30-2008, 02:02 PM   #17
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Eaters Of the Dead

While working on my Ba I read Eaters of the dead and since the Arab character mentioned in the story was real and the references Critchton had made were backed up by the travels of self same Arab I took the book as factual and as a result wrote a research paper on it and the Varanger Varangians or as Robert E Howard called them Vannier which is were the term came from. well after doing all my work I submitted it for a grade and got a A+, well i later discovered that the book was fiction and when I took it to my Professor to admit my mistake in my research to him and to my relief he told me that he himself believed that my references were correct and truthful so he let me keep my grade and applauded me for my dilligents on the subject
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:25 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by China Jim
While working on my Ba I read Eaters of the dead and since the Arab character mentioned in the story was real and the references Critchton had made were backed up by the travels of self same Arab I took the book as factual and as a result wrote a research paper on it and the Varanger Varangians or as Robert E Howard called them Vannier which is were the term came from. well after doing all my work I submitted it for a grade and got a A+, well i later discovered that the book was fiction and when I took it to my Professor to admit my mistake in my research to him and to my relief he told me that he himself believed that my references were correct and truthful so he let me keep my grade and applauded me for my dilligents on the subject

That's pretty cool that you could use Michael Crichton's adaptation of Beowulf and a race from Robert E. Howard's Hyborian world from the Conan stories and pull it off for a paper.
That is what made those stories so cool and Indiana Jones as well. Each story mixes fantasy with reality, each one has actual historical references or a basis on historical events or sites. Robert E. Howard studied a lot of mythology and ancient civilizations. J.R.R. Tolkien put so much time into making his world believable that he invented languages and alphabets. Crichton's novels have enough science or research to be believable to a layman. Indiana Jones is set in the real world with a slightly modified history that could have been. It also incorporates the fantastic along with the historical making it almost believable. Any good liar knows it has to be 99% truth with 1% falsehood to work. All storytellers are basically recounting how they perceived events or embellished them. The details are what sells any story and why things like the DaVinci Code or National Treasure do well is because we already believe the 99% of fact and we can suspend belief of the 1% to make them enjoyable even when we know it isn't factual.
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