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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-08-17 01:46
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View
Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View - Paul Kemp

A short story anthology celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope, featuring 40 stories about the events of the film told from different perspectives. Overall I really liked it, even though I’m a raging pedant and there were some inconsistencies between stories. It’s all true from a certain point of view, after all.

 

  1. RAYMUS by Gary Whitta: An okay story about the Tantive IV’s flight to Tatooine.
  2. THE BUCKET by Christie Golden: A kind of boring, pointless story about one of the Stormtroopers who apprehends Leia having a tiny pang of conscience.
  3. THE SITH OF DATAWORK by Ken Liu: An amusing story about an Imperial paper pusher using bureaucratic kung fu to help the guy who didn’t fire on the escape pod avoid summary execution for incompetence.
  4. STORIES IN THE SAND by Griffin McElroy: A freaking delightful story about Jot, one of the Jawas on the sandcrawler that picks up C-3PO and R2-D2. In my head-canon, he makes it to a spaceport before the Stormtroopers torch the sandcrawler, joins the crew of a freighter or something, and has a sweet life of adventures like he dreamed of.
  5. REIRIN by Sabaa Tahir: An okay story about an apparently Force-sensitive teenage sand people girl (I think?) tasked by some shady character with stealing a kyber crystal from Jot’s sandcrawler. In my head-canon, she keeps the crystal and she and Jot make it off Tatooine on the same ship and have adventures together.
  6. THE RED ONE by Rae Carson: A freaking delightful story about the real hero of the Rebel Alliance, R5-D4, the little red droid with the “bad motivator.” Spoiler: He survives the Stormtroopers and rolls off into the desert to have adventures. YAY.
  7. RITES by John Jackson Miller: A kind of boring story about the sand people who ambush Luke on his way to Obi-Wan’s hut. I did like the nod to the sand people village Anakin Skywalker slaughtered. Nice touch.
  8. MASTER AND APPRENTICE by Claudia Gray: A meh story about Force Ghost Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan having a chat, and the first Star Wars offering by Gray that I didn’t like. Sadness.
  9. BERU WHITSUN LARS by Meg Cabot: Ghost Beru muses on her place in Luke’s life after her violent and fiery death. Sadly, it’s pretty meh. Beru deserves better.
  10. THE LUCKLESS RODIAN by Renée Ahdieh: An okay story about the Han-Greedo cantina confrontation from Greedo’s perspective.
  11. NOT FOR NOTHING by Mur Lafferty: A hilarious story about the cantina band presented as a chapter from the memoir of a band member.
  12. WE DON’T SERVE YOUR KIND HERE by Chuck Wendig: The events in the cantina from the bartender’s perspective. It was dull and I still freaking hate Wendig’s writing style.
  13. THE KLOO HORN CANTINA CAPER by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction: Mildly amusing tale of cantina patron shenanigans that went on WAY TOO LONG and written in a style that was only cute for the first few pages.
  14. ADDED MUSCLE by Paul Dini: That horrible added Jabba-in-the-docking-bay scene from Boba Fett’s point of view. Meh.
  15. YOU OWE ME A RIDE by Zoraida Córdova: An okay story about two bounty hunter (?) sisters who think about stealing Han’s ship but miss their chance. The writing was good, but I don’t remember these characters in the background and it just felt a little random. I’ll have to look for them on my next rewatch.
  16. THE SECRETS OF LONG SNOOT by Delilah S. Dawson: The events in the cantina from the perspective of Long Snoot, who is apparently a super spy who resents being duped by the empire. I like Dawson’s writing, but the story is just okay.
  17. BORN IN THE STORM by Daniel José Older: The best account of all the Mos Eisley antics from the perspective of a Stormtrooper who has HAD IT with pretty much everything and just wants to ride off into the double sunset on a noble dewback. I freaking loved it.
  18. LAINA by Wil Wheaton: I saw Wil Wheaton and expected humor, so it’s on me and my unfounded expectations for not liking this account of a Rebel dad on Yavin 4 sending his baby girl to safety on . . . Alderaan. Shut up, Westley.
  19. FULLY OPERATIONAL by Beth Revis: That command staff meeting on the Death Star from General Tagge’s point of view. Calling it meh because it’s completely unmemorable. Revis has yet to wow me.
  20. AN INCIDENT REPORT by Mallory Ortberg: It’s Admiral Motti’s written complaint re: the staff meeting Force-choking incident. The best part was Motti insisting that thinking the Force is woo woo rubbish doesn’t make him a bigot. Otherwise it was pretty dull.
  21. CHANGE OF HEART by Elizabeth Wein: Another “Stormtrooper has a change of heart after encountering Leia” story from a Death Star trooper this time. What makes it even worse than the first one is the second-person-past-tense writing. What a choice. Ugh.
  22. ECLIPSE by Madeleine Roux: A heartbreaking account of the destruction of Alderaan from Queen Breha’s point of view. I freaking loved it, ugh, it destroyed me.
  23. VERGE OF GREATNESS by Pablo Hidalgo: Tarkin’s view of the events on Scariff and the destruction of Alderaan, with a quick paragraph from Krennic’s POV on Scariff. It wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t memorable.
  24. FAR TOO REMOTE by Jeffery Brown: A funny cartoon panel depicting the Imperials looking for the Rebel base on Dantooine.
  25. THE TRIGGER by Kieron Gillen: Doctor Aphra gets caught trying to strip the abandoned Dantooine base for salvage, then has to avoid execution by a baby-faced Stormtrooper. My first experience with the character, and I liked it.
  26. OF MSE-6 AND MEN by Glen Weldon: The true story behind what that mouse droid was doing in the corridors of the Death Star. Apparently it was ferrying messages between a lowly yet gorgeous Stormtrooper and an unnamed official with Alpha One security clearance. I really enjoyed it, but I have mixed feelings about implying Tarkin was gay. Ye olde “gay-code the villain” trope is not my favorite.
  27. BUMP by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker: That Stormtrooper who got Force persuaded by Obi-Wan in Mos Eisley (these are not the droids you’re looking for) gets back on the Death Star and realizes he has made a Terrible Mistake. I liked it.
  28. END OF WATCH by Adam Christopher: An okay story about a tired administrator who is only too happy to hand over the headaches in Docking Bay 327 and Detention Block AA-23 at the end of her shift.
  29. THE BAPTIST by Nnedi Okorafor: A surprising story about the Thing in the trash compactor that nearly drowned Luke. She was Force sensitive! And she had a Purpose! And I freaking love her!
  30. TIME OF DEATH by Cavan Scott: Obi-Wan sees visions of the past during? after? his confrontation with Vader. I liked this one despite my confusion.
  31. THERE IS ANOTHER by Gary D. Schmidt: Yoda bides his time on Dagobah and dreams of training Leia as a Jedi, not that angry, impulsive Luke. It’s too late to train him. Too much like his father, he is.
  32. PALPATINE by Ian Doescher: Doescher doing what Doescher does, i.e. a speech by the Emperor, Shakespeare style. It was okay, but Doescher is better and funnier and clever . . . er when he’s working from someone else’s script.
  33. SPARKS by Paul S. Kemp: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of Dex, one of the Rebel pilots who blows up. (Spoilers.) It was okay, but not terribly memorable.
  34. DUTY ROSTER by Jason Fry: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of a pilot who didn’t get to fly due to a shortage of functioning fighters. Slightly more memorable than Sparks.
  35. DESERT SON by Pierce Brown: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of Biggs. I already have trouble separating this one in my mind from Sparks. Biggs knew Luke from before and lasted longer than Dex. That’s about it.
  36. GROUNDED by Greg Rucka: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of the Rebels’ chief mechanic. Slightly heartbreaking look at the ones left behind, WAY more effective than Duty Roster.
  37. CONTINGENCY PLAN by Alexander Freed: Not my favorite thing by Freed. It’s basically Mon Mothma agonizing over everything while trying to make sure the Rebellion still has a future if she dies.
  38. THE ANGLE by Charles Soule: Lando Calrissian finds out Han Solo took his beloved Falcon into battle against the Death Star. I freaking loved it. Soule really caught the essence of Lando.
  39. BY WHATEVER SUN by E.K. Johnston and Ashley Eckstein: A character from Johnston’s Ahsoka novel reflects on her time in the Rebellion during the medal ceremony. I really liked it, and it was nice to see a familiar character from novel canon.
  40. WHILLS by Tom Angleberger: A freaking hilarious account of the Whills bickering over the text crawl for Episode IV. I loved it, especially the Star Wars Holiday Special reference.
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review 2020-06-15 07:36
Under the Banner of Heaven ★★★☆☆
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith - Jon Krakauer

This was not really the book I was expecting - a true crime nonfic with an exploration of the religious fanaticism that drove the murder, how man commits atrocities and somehow uses his God to justify it to himself and others, especially when God has conveniently provided him with a divine revelation to go ahead with whatever it was he really wanted to do, anyway. 

 

Krakauer does this, peripherally, but he really spends far more time just giving us the history of the mainstream Mormon church and its splinter fundamentalist groups that more closely resemble the original founders' intents and revelations in all its glorious 19th century brutality, xenophobia, misogyny, and racism. Ah, the good old days. 

 

I'm generally suspicious of all organized religions, but even I felt that, if the author was going to spend so much time sifting through LDS history for all the dirt, he could at least make the effort to provide a more balanced view of what the church is and what, if anything, they do about the lunatic fringe. Besides excommunicating them. 

 

And I still have very little sense of who Brenda Lafferty was, besides a woman with enough courage to fight back. 

 

It was interesting enough reading in short bursts, but this is the longest I've taken to read a book since the pandemic began and the social isolation and cancellation of baseball left me a LOT more time to spend reading. 

 

 

I read this for the Booklikes-opoly 2020 lot The Lake House 19: Read a book with a cover that is more than 50% blue, or by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-A-K-E. 

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review 2020-05-28 16:30
Everneath ★★☆☆☆
Everneath - Brodi Ashton

I'm not sure it's possible for a book to fail the Bechdel test when there are no actual conversations in the first 50 pages, but this one seems to fail the intent, anyway. This re-imagining of the Persephone myth has an interesting premise and (what I read of it) is well-written. But our main character is wholly defined by (and obsesses over) her relationships to people with penises, with a token "best friend" with whom she exchanges three sentences, outside of hellos and goodbyes. 

 

I just am not the target audience for this kind of book. DNF at page 50.

 

Hardcover, signed by the author, who seemed like a very engaging person at her book tour. 

 

I was reading this for the Booklikes-opoly 2020 game, for the lot Stay-cation 8: Read a book that was published during the months of May, June or July, or that contains an item that would be used as a school supply or an article of clothing or an accessory pictured on the cover. This book has a girl in a dress on the cover. With half her head cut off, in true YA cover fashion. Since I DNF'd early, I don't earn any $$ for it. 

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text 2020-05-26 02:38
PM’s BL-opoly – Update #1

Yes, I'm using the coronavirus for my marker. Sorry. 

 

 

 

Everneath - Brodi Ashton 

 

I have relatively low expectations for this book. YA romance really is not my thing, but I met the author at the book tour and brought home a signed copy and some promotional swag, so it's been sitting on my bookshelf for 8 years, unread, staring accusingly at me every time I pass it over for another book. I guess it's time. 

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text 2020-05-25 15:51
100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories - 70/512 pg
100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories - Gary Raisor,Richard Chizmar,Al Sarrantonio,Avram Davidson

This anthology has been the perfect palate-cleanser between books for me. None of the stories are more than a few pages long, and it's a fun mix of classic and modern authors, with very few duds so far. I just finished stories by Henry Slesar, Richard Chizmar, Avram Davidson, and Gary Raisor. Chizmar is the only one I'd even heard of. 

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