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text 2018-02-17 14:29
The Endless Loops of Space Opera: "The Last Jedi" by Rian Johnson


'm a Star Wars fan and I hate this movie: "Star Wars - The Last Jedi" by Rian Johnson.


What follows are the ramblings of a deranged mind after having watched this…


My feelings before the movie:


Yeeeeeeeehhhhaaaaaaaa! Tickets booked!!!!

Groaners can groan, moaners can moan,

Carpers can carp, and stay bloody home!

Jeeves! To the pictures! And don't spare the horses!!!


For some reason I continue to follow the endless loops of this space opera, despite having to endure long passages of painful boredom watching interminable fight sequences and passages of cheesy dialogue and chases down spaceship corridors pursued by ineffectual stooge soldiers wearing white plastic armour. People speak of episodes one to three as a low point in the series, but in a curious way they are representative of the many low points in much better received episodes. So why continue to watch it, even to the point of paying 10 euros for an IMAX cinema seat? Perhaps because it functions in its clumsy way as a ring cycle for our times, reverberating in some strange way with the sinister zeitgeist of the period between the fall of the Russian empire and the ascent of Trump. Or maybe it is because I like science fiction, even when it seems determined to bore me to tears.


I liked Palpatine in the prequels. The whole manipulating the entire galaxy into beating the shit out of itself was a good concept...Unfortunately they let Lucas write dialogue so we got... complaints about sand, and Ewan McGregor desperately trying to salvage something from Hayden Christiansen (who I blame less and less as the years go on - he did okay given the dialogue he had to work with). So yeah, what could've been an excellent piece of villainy over 3 films, manufacturing a galactic civil war whilst also successfully turning force-Jesus into force-Satan by playing off the inherent flaws of an ancient religious order (which was unable to look inward and understand why their centuries old dogma needed to change or they would inevitably face destruction) against the expectations of a young lad who's literally been told he was the chosen one by his mentor. A lot...So yeah, I like Palpatine in the prequels. I also fix the prequels a lot in my head. Part of the problem for me is that the villains since Darth Vader have not been scary in the slightest. I mean Anakin Skywalker going over to the dark side because he had nightmares or some such bollocks was really pretty unimaginative and drab fare. When I have loads of money, I'm going to buy a really big window, just so I can stare out of it and look all moody and vaguely sinister. Even the original one is pretty goofy (and Mark Hamill is incredibly whiny). The series probably peaked with Empire Strikes Back. So, while overhype is all-but-certain for this one, it looks pretty good for Star Wars Move #8. You'll forget about global warming, North Korean nukes, and Trump tweets for two hours. About all you should expect, really.



If you're into good SF of the movie kind, don't read on.

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text 2018-02-08 02:04
Loving Shawl's work, and question about Ken Liu?
Everfair - Nisi Shawl
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories - ... The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories - Ken Liu
The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty) - Ken Liu
The Wall of Storms (The Dandelion Dynast... The Wall of Storms (The Dandelion Dynasty) - Ken Liu
Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi The Legends of Luke Skywalker (Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: the Last Jedi) - Ken Liu,J.V. Jones

So I'm loving Shawl's Everfair.   It's a steampunk alternate history of Belgium's colonization of the Congo, and it's a period I know nothing about.   It's also written by an African American women, which is nice: last year Readercon had a woman guest of honor and an African American woman who was a guest of honor. 


This year, it's an African American woman and an American man of Chinese descent.   (Liu was born in China, in fact, and immigrated at age eleven.)


I bring this up because it's nice to see diversity: Readercon has been fairly committed to diversifying it's guest and panelist pool, and so far I think these guests have been living up to that.   (I've also met a diverse mix of authors in general, although I think we always have to keep vigilant and work at keeping that diversity.   But it's nice to see it working a bit.)


Anyway, I've been staying away from most of Liu's stuff, because I feel like he's most well known for longer fantasies, which I'm usually not a fan of.   Novik's stuff worked for me because of the wit and the fair amount of action.   


So... have you read Liu?   Liked it?   And should I start with his Skywalker/Star Wars young adult collection?   But, then again, I never liked Luke all that much, so I've been hesitating. 


Anyone who's read him and has an opinion?   I'd love to hear it.   Or on Shawl's work, but I feel like she might be less well known.   (And I'll probably continue to love Everfair, but, yeah, I'd like to hear from you guys!)

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url 2018-01-23 12:58
"Cold Hands: Warm Reads" in Science Fiction
The Sea Beast Takes a Lover: Stories - Michael Andreasen
Redwood - Mark Z. Danielewski
Thrawn (Star Wars) - Timothy Zahn
Artemis: A Novel - Andy Weir
The Gone World - Thomas Sweterlitsch
Gnomon - Nick Harkaway
Iron Gold - Pierce Brown
Adventure: The Atari 2600 Game Journal - Atari

List is from publishing house Penguin Random House's email newsletter.

Source: forms.em.penguinrandomhouse.com/ats/msg.aspx?sg1=6f3147f6c4cd8e0d831165f5f45b3b2d&ref=PRHAB653FE4CC3C&linkid=PRHAB653FE4CC3C&cdi=23CF0F9E33762BF3E0534FD66B0A902E&template_id=8102&aid=randohouseinc49531-20
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review 2017-12-23 17:34
Review of Star Wars: A New Hope by Alan Dean Foster
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope - Alan Dean Foster,George Lucas

This book was the novelization of the original Star Wars movie.  I have not seen the movie in quite some time, but other than a few very minor points, I think this followed the film completely.  It was entertaining to read and as books tend to do, it had the reader look more deeply into the thoughts of the major characters.  

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review 2017-12-21 15:51
Book #861 - 346,531 Pages Read
Honor Among Thieves: Star Wars - James S.A. Corey

A pretty fun tale set between Ep. 4 and Ep. 5, this one captures the essence of Han, Luke, and Leia pretty well as they pursue a rebel spy (Scarlet Hark) planted deep in the Empire. The problem is she doesn't have the intel they need yet and Han is forced to join with her in pursuit of a rogue operative with the crucial information against the Empire. Fast-paced and well-written characters make this a good addition to the Star Wars novels.

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