Also the third book by Thomas Harris with Hannibal Lecter, with a Movie adaption planned for 2001, according to IMDB.

The events in the book take place about 7 years after Silence of the Lambs. Clarice Starling is on a dead-end career path in the FBI, and Lecter has found a new life in Florence that does not require him to kill anyone to get by. However, Mason Verger, a wealthy sick bastard who is also Lecter's sole surviving victim, has put out a bounty for the kidnapping of the good doctor. In addition, Starling gets involved in a public scandal when she kills a drug dealer during a firefight, while the dealer was holding a baby. These events throw Verger, Starling, and Lecter on a collision course that is unravelled over the 500-odd pages of the book.

I didn't care for this book. It read too much like a movie script, and the motivations of the characters were just too unbelievable. Especially for Harris' twist ending, which I despised. We are also presented with a motive for Lecter's actions, which I think was best left unsaid.

Read the book, and you'll see why Jodie Foster decided to turn down her movie role for Starling.

****Ending spoiler follows****

In Harris' ending, Lecter kidnaps Starling, then drugs her and gives her some therapy of his own (the helpful kind). After a dinner in which Lecter and Starling devour Starling's nemesis at the FBI, the two fall in love and run away to Brazil together, to live happily ever after. Not only did this seem pretty perverted (it reads like all Clarice needed was a good fucking), it also seemed a cop-out, as though Harris was unwilling to let Lecter die, which I think was necessary. Imagine watching Apocalypse Now, but at the end of the movie, Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando team up to win the Vietnam War for America, returning home as heros. That was the kind of stunt Harris was trying to pull.

Personally, I think a formulaic Hollywood ending would be preferable to Harris' choice. IMDB lists both Harris and the talented David Mamet as co-writers for the screenplay, so maybe Mamet will be able to talk sense into his partner.

A funny little town in Missouri. When I tell someone that I grew up there, and I see a glimmer of recognition, I immediately say "You know, the boyhood home of Mark Twain." and they say "Oh yeah." Hannibal was the setting for Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which was based loosely on his childhood.

The town is bravely nestled against the mighty Mississippi river. Its historic downtown was saved from the Great Flood of 1993 by a flood wall erected just a year earlier. Hannibal's wall was one of the few levees that actually held that year.

My strangest memory of Hannibal was the mayfly explosion. Every three years the mayfly nymphs living in the river all mature at once. The adult flies live for less than a day before laying their eggs and dropping dead. One year, I was near the river when the blight happened. The swarm was so thick it was difficult to breathe without getting one up the nose. They had to scrape the inches-deep layer of corpses off the bridge with a snow plow.

The book Hannibal is sadly, as bitter_engineer states above, nowhere near as good as the original. Lecter is a peripheral character in The Silence of the Lambs just as he is in Red Dragon. In this book, Harris appears to have fallen in love with his creation. His habit of writing in the present tense is somewhat indicative of how much he identifies with characters.

What particularly got to me about this book, even more than the absurd dénoument, was the frequent references to Dr Lecter's "exquisite taste". However, the examples given , sadly, do not speak of excellent taste by any means. Rather, they read as though some had bought a catalogue of "The World's Most Expensive Stuff" and picked random items from it.

Dr Lecter may have exquisite taste. Thomas Harris isn't anywhere near as refined, and his attempts to portray it merely smack of pretension. Harris writes cops and FBI Agents incredibly well. He should stick to his strengths in future and maybe he'd return to literary form.

The FILM Hannibal is actually pretty decent. I have not read the book, but the friend I saw it with explained that there are many differences between the two. One MAJOR difference is the ending, which I won't give away, but - IMHO - is much better than the one in the book.

The key to enjoying this movie is NOT expecting to see Silence of the Lambs again. Essentially, they have taken the characters and history of the original, and made an entertaining movie that plays out more like a comic book than anything else. It is not mind blowing, there is no major suspense, but it is generally a fun watch.

Julianne Moore is excellent in the role as Special Agent Starling (rrowr), and the fact that she replaced Jodie Foster (who supposedly turned down the role because she didn't like what happened to her character) actually helps to create a mental separation from the original. This enabled me as a viewer to treat it as a separate work. Comparing the two now becomes more like comparing Bond Films that starred different leading men.

Anthony Hopkins was excellent, as is to be expected. Not much to say there, except he plays the same character, but he is slightly more fallable due to age. Ray Liotta does a great job of playing a jerk FBI agent who gives Starling real trouble. And Gary Oldman even has an uncredited, but major, role (see if you can find him).

All in all, worth seeing in a theater, but like I said before, don't expect great art. Just expect a fun watch. One warning though, the gore level is kinda high. At times it is on par with Texas Chainsaw Massacre in that department.

Cast and crew (Thanks IMDB):

"This is a song about L.A. at its very best."

—introductory patter to a live recording of "Hannibal" I found online.

Track 3 of Dan Bern's dog boy van EP. Another one of them catchy tunes that get caught in my head and some absolutely blistering guitar work (even more so in the version I saw live). Like all of my favorite Bernstein songs, it takes a highly personal approach to its subject and themes, starting with a reference to the relatively contemporary L.A. riots and proceeding back in time to the Holocaust and the death of Jesus, although the latter is tied back to the present day ("just the other day").

Why Hannibal? To be honest, I just don't know. Maybe it's a Mark Twain reference I'm not catching. But I can't complain too much about the song; it's one of my favorites.

Lyrics (reproduced here by permisssion):

Let the niggers burn down nigger town
Step aside for burning and looting
But if they set foot in Beverly Hills
Time brother, brother time to start shooting

Everything everybody has in their homes
Will be taken away next week Wednesday
And everything everybody ever believed
Will be disproved next week Friday

I'm going down to Hannibal
Going down to Hannibal
Gonna buy a new suit of clothes

Hitler never hurt a soul
I read it in a book
That I finished up just this morning
I was happy and I just couldn't wait to tell the good news
To all of my dead uncles
When they tore down the Berlin Wall
Everybody danced
But between what I feel and what I say
There's a thirty foot barbed wire fence

I'm going down to Hannibal
Going down to Hannibal
Gonna buy a new suit of clothes

The world is one big cosmic joke
Played on me, I hear
As soon as I leave this room
All of you are going to disappear
Time begins to bend and shift
Maybe you haven't noticed
But just the other day a man in Washington state
Admitted killing Jesus

I'm going down to Hannibal
Going down to Hannibal
Gonna buy a new suit of clothes

I'm six foot tall and 180 pounds
I can punch through a wall with my fist
But I don't understand how with just one kiss
You can wrap me around your finger
You can wrap me around your wrist

Everybody who has ever ever been alive
Is alive today in Georgia
As for the rest of us, I don't even know who we are
It's a mystery I guess

I'm going down to Hannibal
Going down to Hannibal
Gonna buy a new suit of clothes

You see, everything I know, I learned from my dad
He learned it all from his
And his dad just happened to be
Wrong about everything

I'm going down to Hannibal
I'm gonna buy a new suit of clothes
I'm going to wear three neckties
You're going to help with the bows
You're going to help with the bows
You're going to help with the bows

—Dan Bern

Hannibal Barca, Carthaginian general; b. Carthage 247 BCE, d. Libyssa (near modern Bursa), Bithynia 183 or 182 BCE.

"Of all that befell the Romans and Carthaginians, good or bad, the cause was one man and one mind--Hannibal." --Polybius, Roman historian

Of all the great generals the world has seen, Hannibal Barca, son of the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, ranks as one of the most able--and one of the most unlucky. His many victorious battles yielded scant gain and his few defeats were monumental in consequence. His name translates to "Joy of Baal" but ultimately the gods of Rome would laugh last.

Legend says that young Hannibal first went to war, alongside his father, during the conquest of southern Iberia. Following the First Punic War and the loss of Carthaginian territories, the Carthaginians turned their attention westward and let the Romans keep the Mediterranean islands they had gained. There in Iberia, the same story goes, his father, as part of the deal to take him to Iberia with him, swore him to dedicating his life to fighting Rome. Whether he took that oath as a child or not, this did become Hannibal's single pursuit in life.

Hannibal who, along with his brothers Hasdrubal, Hanno and Mago, would be one of a fearsome foursome of generals dubbed "the lion's brood" by the Romans, was afforded the education worthy of a general's son and was groomed for military life from a very young age. Indeed, by the age of 26, he had proven himself a skilled commander in the field and was himself chosen to be a general by the army he would command, taking over the Carthaginian troops in Iberia following the death of his brother-in-law (who had himself taken over after the death of Hamilcar in 230). He began to consolidate the Carthaginian hold on Iberia, took a local princess by the name of Imilce for his wife and, one by one, picked off any of the peninsula's tribes that resisted him.

In 218 the Second Punic War began. Hannibal viewed the close Roman relationship with Saguntum, an independent Greek enclave in Carthaginian territory, as a threat to the Carthaginian dominion in Iberia. With an army of veterans under his command, he attacked Saguntum and set the stage for a direct confrontation with Rome. After the eight-month siege ended in victory, he crossed the Ebro river and set out against Rome. It is during the sixteen years that followed that Hannibal and the motley army of mercenaries that he held together with sheer willpower and skilled leadership became a fighting force that is studied in military training 22 centuries later.

His trek across the Pyrenees and the Alps with his band of Numidian, African and Iberian men, overcoming hostile tribes in the former and famously guiding his elephants over the latter (though the exact route he took and whether it was the same one followed by Napoleon 2000 years later is still the subject of debate), is now the stuff of legend. Between the two mountain ranges, he fought and negotiated his way through Celtic, Greek and Roman territory but never intended to hold it. His mind was set on one prize: to break Roman domination over northern Italy and once again make Carthage mistress of the western Mediterranean.

In single-midedly pursuing this grand goal he ravaged Italy, leaving Roma and her allies with a death toll of at least 300,000. Every Roman legion he encountered, he routed with insight and tactics ahead of his day and age. He proceeded thoughtfully, taking care to have a good base in the rear before advancing and pioneered modern-style military intelligence where scouts, doubling as liaisons to the indigenous tribes, went ahead of the army and gathered useful information about the terrain and population ahead.

Indeed, nothing seemed to be able to stop this masterful general from taking his 35000 men and 37 elephants all the way to Rome. While he lost most of his elephants and 9000 of his men on his way to Italy, some due to defections by Iberian troops, some due to the Alpine winter and the hostile tribes of the Alps, his forces numbered about 40000, including a 6000-strong cavalry (with the addition of the Gaulish allies he had gained in the area). Since most of his elephants perished in the Alps, they did not all charge into the Roman legions spreading panic, as romantic historians would have it. A few elephants only go so far towards inciting fear and it was his cavalry that won victory over the Romans.

During the two years that followed he pressed southwards but skirted Rome itself, preferring instead to take a show of strength on the road and try to impress Rome's allies into switching allegiance while he solidly defeated every Roman army that came his way. In the field of diplomacy, his greatest but by far not sufficient success came when 12 of 30 colonies refused to contribute men to the Roman struggle. Even when he came within three miles of the city walls, he never made the decision to attack the city itself but continued to try and incite hostility against the Romans. Given Rome's track record of rebounding given half a chance, that turned out to be a grave strategic error.

Around the same time he made a pact with Philip V of Macedonia, wanting him to keep the Romans occupied in Greece. His good political sense did not have the material backing he had promised Philip and, when the Carthaginian navy never materialised to help Philip in his own war, the alliance fell apart.

"Hannibal ad portas!" -- "Hannibal at the gates," was a Latin phrase which is still used today to indicate an imminent threat by a formidable force. His name served Roman parents as an ancient equivalent of the bogeyman for many years.

During this campaign, the Romans countered with a propaganda war, which was designed to discourage their smaller allies from siding with Hannibal. While the man may have been made the subject of many rumours, including cannibalism, the less biased accounts portray him more in the light of the gentlemanly (by the measure of the times, of course) warrior more commonly seen in the 18th and 19th centuries who treated his slain enemies with respect, negotiated prisoner swaps and took no more property than he needed to provision his army. Any sins the Romans ascribed to him were more likely to have been committed by his lieutenants or generals than by the man whose wit and personality held together an unprecedented patchwork of men for sixteen years and took care of them as well as their animals.

After a relative stalemate for the next few years in which Hannibal continued to parade up and down the Italian peninsula and gained and lost Sicily while the Romans reconsolidated their hold on northern Italy, the year 209 saw the war turn against him. Roman forces not only captured Cartagena, one of his main supply bases but also defeated his brother Hasdrubal in northern Spain as he marched to join Hannibal and gave Hannibal the news by throwing his head into his camp. For the next five years the Romans fought a war of attrition against the virtually resident invasion force and Hannibal saw his supplies stretched thinner and thinner while the Romans decided how to get rid of him. Hannibal proved himself to be an unrivalled master of tactics in the field but his army, like any army in hostile territory, was vulnerable to the Roman version of guerilla warfare. In the end, he was a fine strategist but not good enough to overcome the odds piling up against him and too bent on his own campaign to pay attention to the big picture and to his own domain.

In 204 Rome finally decided that the best way to get Hannibal out of Italy would be to reciprocate Hannibal's occupation of Italy by launching an invasion of Carthage. Scipio the Younger, later Scipio Africanus in honour of his African exploits, not only landed in North Africa but also, with his successes, forced Hannibal to send word that Carthage should sue for peace and accept his recall to his homeland. There, however, the presence of the hated Romans was too much for him to resist and he broke the armistice and attacked them. The decisive battle of that war in 202 saw a better-equipped Scipio, long a student of Hannibal's tactics, apply them against his unwilling teacher and deal him a solid defeat.

Following the end of the war that established Rome as the supreme power in the western and central Mediterranean and left Carthage without a navy or the ability to wage war, Hannibal remained an influential figure in Carthage and became a Shophet, or chief magistrate between 200 and 196. Hannibal, an honest man who, despite his failures in the field, had only the best in mind for his country, launched a full-scale attack on the privileges and corruption of the ruling aristocrats. As a leader of the people he became so influential and listened to that the rulers of Carthage themselves wanted him gone. They denounced him as part of a plot involving Antiochus III of Syria to attack Rome again. Rome promptly dispatched a team of investigators to Carthage but Hannibal was more or less convinced that they were coming to shoot first and ask questions later.

His flight took him to the court of his alleged co-conspirator in Ephesus, where he turned what had probably been a frame job into reality and incited Antiochus to take on Rome. An exile now, he still believed in Rome being the ultimate enemy. Antiochus' defeat in 190 spelled another journey for Hannibal since Antiochus' terms of surrender included handing over Hannibal to the Romans. His whereabouts during the following years are unknown but his mastery of both Latin and Greek (and probably an acquired skill in local dialects and knowledge of customs) saw him by some accounts in Crete, by others in Armenia where he helped found the city of Artaxata. Ultimately he found himself in Bithynia, at the court of king Prusias I whom he served as military advisor in his war with the Roman-backed king Eumenes II of nearby Pergamum, in which war he scored his only and famous naval victory by hurling pots full of snakes at the enemy ships in a crude and odd but imaginative form of biological warfare.

In 183 or the following year, unknown by what means, the Romans finally cornered their aging nemesis in a Bithynian village called Libyssa. There the old warrior, rather than suffer humiliation at the hands of his eternal foe, took the poison he had carried with him for at least 15 years in anticipation of this finale. Ironically, around the same time, his victor, Scipio, died... himself ostracised by his native Rome. In fact, Plutarch tells of an encounter at Ephesus in which Hannibal placed himself third on the list of great generals, after Alexander and Pyrrhus, both of whom he had studied as a youth. Upon Scipio's remark that he had, after all, defeated him, Hannibal said that, had he not been defeated by Scipio, he would have ranked himself first. Plutarch also mentions an oracle foretelling the circumstances of Hannibal's death: "Libyssan shall Hannibal enclose." The same historian, in his biography of Flaminius, also provides Hannibal's famous last words:

"Let us ease," said he, "the Romans of their continual dread and care, who think it long and tedious to await the death of a hated old man."

His tomb, built by the Roman emperor Severus, still exists near the Turkish town of Gebze.

One strange influence Hannibal has had on today's world comes, surprisingly, from the field of psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud refers to Hannibal as a key to his own identity and role in life as a Jew under attack by Rome, the Rome of today being the Catholic church. Freud identifies himself and his father with Hannibal and Hamilcar and compares the impact of being told one of his father's childhood tales of oppression to that of the oath taken hy Hannibal as a boy.

And thus, with that little twist, ends the tale of one of the great warriors of old.

Hannibal was an autonomous robot built at MIT from 1989 to 1991. Along with its "sibling" Attila, Hannibal was a six-legged rough-terrain explorer designed to serve as an experimental platform for autonomous planetary exploration. It contained over 60 sensors, 23 motors and 11 computers. Sensors up and down the legs included force sensors, touch sensors, color sensors, and potentiometers for measuring motor position. Mounted on the chassis were force-sensing whiskers, a gyroscope, a pitch-and-roll sensor, a near-infrared rangefinder and a small camera. Approximately three feet long by one foot wide, Attila and Hannibal were recognized as among the most sophisticated robots of their size.

In 1991, Hannibal was invited to an international event in Death Valley sponsored by the Planetary Society. It participated in a number of tasks including traversing rough terrain and docking with a planetary rover built by the Soviet research team.

At its best, fan fiction deepens and broadens the original subject material, filling in human dimensions, extrapolating philosophies and details, turning particulars into universals, making the generic specific. At its worst, we have one-dimensional masturbatory fantasies, and childish wish-fulfillment: wouldn't it be nice to know these people? what if the story had a happy ending instead? Gee, I wish I lived there. In between, we have origin stories, death stories, explanations of hidden motives and every possible dangling plot thread is tied up with a neat red bow. Charismatic villains show their good side, minor characters take center stage, heroes become saintly, while less interesting characters are simply dropped. As befits a parasitic art form, memorable details are magnified: incidental details about a character become mannerisms, and mannerisms become obsessive to the point of nausea.

Hannibal suffers from most of the deficiencies of bad fan fiction while trumpeting itself as being an attempt to turn the Lecter mythos into Real Literature: worse, it's by The Author himself.

Now, one of the things that made Lecter so wonderful to contemplate was his irrepressible autonomy, even when faced with the stiffest and starkest of constraints. No matter how squalid his surroundings, he managed to retain his identity as a man of taste, erudition, and courtesy, at sharp variance with the savagery of his compulsion to kill and eat other human beings. Now, it doesn't take a literary theorist or psych professor to point out that Lecter's brilliance and refinement are only enhanced by this contrast: take away the fact that he's a convicted murderer serving time in prison, and all you get is an acid-tongued expression of Harris's not-so-veiled homophobia. Give him a luxury apartment, money and freedom, and he becomes a pompous, pedantic bore. Give him a background to match his taste for expensive knickknacks (and a reason for obsessions with Italy and food) and he becomes more of a cartoon, not less. Given an equally rich, decadent nemesis, and it starts to become clear that the only real difference between Mason Verger and Hannibal Lecter is that Lecter's simply got more style.

Accordingly, what made for drama in Clarice was her gradual development as a full human being and the revelation of her deepest, darkest secret: at the end of the book, she had a boyfriend in the works, whose warm, loving and affluent family would make up for the deficiencies of her own bleak past. Instead, she's still an emotional basket case who, like a romance-novel heroine, pines for her dear Hannibal's touch. Given another couple of sessions with Lecter, and we don't get any new and startling revelations, just more "I miss Daddy" drivel, and the fact that she can swear. (Confidentially, it would be more revealing if her oaths were less colorful, not more.)

It's also clear that Harris was attempting to atone for his sins against political correctness. In "Silence", his two black characters were percieved as being both competent and (mostly) happy with their lives. Ardelia Mapp was a member of the new FBI, inclusive and color-blind: in Hannibal, she studs her conversation with comments about oppression on the job, "the drum" (the black rumor mill) and her sainted granny's concentration-inducing herb tea. Barney's interest in classic literature seemed intrinsic to his position as striving male nurse: it'a insulting to his dignity to reveal that he'd been launched on his course of reading under Lecter's tutelege. When "Silence" became a movie, it was feared that the character of the crossdressing, murderous Jame Gumb was going to touch off a wave of gay-bashing (as "The Crying Game" the next year was going to touch off a gay Millenium). Spin doctors accordingly pointed out that real-life lesbian Jody Foster was also involved with this project, and catapulted her into a renaissance of her career, which had (up till then) been in Former Teen Star Hell. In "Hannibal" Clarice and Ardelia's relationship is rife with lesbian overtones, and there's a sympathetic (of sorts) lesbian in the villain's sister.

And the ending. Yes, the happy ending, where Han and Claire walk off into the sunset together. Now, there's just one problem with that scenario: as Dr. Phil once said, kittens grow up to be cats, little boys and girls become men and women, and any relationship that's based on mentoring or a parent surrogate is going to founder when a) the "child" outgrows the "parent" or b) the "parent" becomes bored with a "child" who won't grow up. As it is, Harris couldn't have been more one-dimensional if he'd closed the book with the sentence "Imagine Lecter fucking you. OK, got it? Now leave me alone."

This is what should have happened: Clarice gets married to Burke, they have three boys together, and, mostly, a good life. (She might keep a tiger-eye necklace as a memento, and her honeymoon may have been in Florence, where she seemed both very happy, and very, very nervous.) She's in another department now, credit card fraud or the like, when a new serial killer comes down the pike: he seems interested in "collecting" people from all the various grievance groups, giving misleading clues that point the finger in every possible direction. Dr. Crawford, now retired, asks Clarice to give galpal Ardelia a little help. (Ardelia, a open lesbian, belongs to the new Hate Crimes unit.)

Meanwhile, Lecter has found a new life as the chef in a stylish restaurant, where he creates healthy and low carb entrees to a cheering crowd. But he's getting on in years himself, and wishes to leave a legacy to the world, and hits on the idea of "programming" an autistic to become the perfect woman. Doing a little hacking, he finds Robin Blake, who is currently incarcerated in a hellhole hospital run by none other than Dr. Chilton.

He kidnaps Robin, killing Chilton in the process, and installs her in a rented house in the country. There, he applies a little Lecter magic and she recovers. Tenderly, he dubs her "Empress Dido", and, as her most devoted subject, gives her milk-and-rose-petal baths while reciting Latin love poetry. Meanwhile, the Politically Incorrect killer is styling himself Hannibal Lecter and we can't have that now, can we?

There follows a three-way chase while a)Politically Incorrect hunts Lecter, b) Lecter hunts P.I. and c) the FBI, as represented by Mapp, Starling, and Crawford, hunt them both. P.I. kills Crawford, Lecter, in a fit of rage, kills P.I.

In a capstone sequence, Clarice and Hannibal debate Robin's fate. Hannibal points out that this girl has progressed far further under his good care than she ever could under Chilton's diagnose-and-dose regime, and reveals to Clarice that he's going to leave Robin enough money to set her up for life. Clarice tells Robin the truth about her benefactor -- he's a serial killer, and what does she expect of life on the run? Going to the opera forever and dancing the tango? Robin still leans towards Lecter (after all, there's nothing back in the World for her), but Lecter makes a sudden lunge for her with a knife, and Clarice shoots him. "Listen, Robin. Just tell everyone you were kidnapped and... well, you're too exhausted to talk."

In an epilog, Clarice and the blind woman from "Red Dragon" visit Robin, who has taken up residence in a small, idyllic, cottage near a busline. Robin is still doing well -- she's back at college and taken a part-time job. The blind woman proposes a toast to the man who brought them all together. Clarice blanches.

"She meant Crawford, silly." Robin remarks. They laugh.

But what do I know? It's just fan fiction.

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