Star Wars, Original Recipe: Why Episode IV Is Still The Best

In which I alienate people who hate fun… .

cinest5Over the past couple weeks I have watched Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (hereafter Star Wars) twice, along with bits of other films from the prequel and original trilogy.  Also last month, I saw The Last Jedi in a special preview.  My kids talk about Star Wars nonstop, have huge amounts of Star Wars Legos, books, lightsabers, droids, and video games.   This is different from when I was a kid: we saw Star Wars once a year on TV, and The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi once every two to three years (seeing the Ewoks was a treat).  Star Wars bonus material was hard to come by even in gaming stores and other genre-oriented places.  It wasn’t until I had kids who were old enough for Star Wars that I noticed the glut of material now available (including the entire EU, which was around, but not really part of my universe).  Soon after that Episode VII was announced and you’re all familiar with the story from there.

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Quick Update and Reading

A quick update on where the latest novel draft stands: I sent Firesage off to Mark Gottlieb this week, after LibreOffice decided to completely quit on my machine I had to emergency myself to the library to get the manuscript into Docx format. But it’s gone now, and if it’s anything like The Queen’s Night, I won’t hear about it again for months. In the meantime I would like to try writing a few more short stories, maybe trying some different approaches to coming up with stories, and I’d really like to get back into reading as if my life doesn’t depend on it. Continue reading “Quick Update and Reading”

Young Adult Protagonists

In which I alienate fans of lawyer books…

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Young people: horny, stupid and capable enough to get into major trouble.

First the news: I am about a quarter of the way through editing Firesage. I don’t have much inclination to do anything else because editing is so rewarding. I thought about doing a blog post on my editing procedure, but actually editing is so much more fun, I thought I would share some thoughts on the age of protagonists. I got two more short stories rejected this week, and will post them here soon. If you haven’t read “Talons of the Sun” or “The Lapis Dragon-Tamer” yet, head over to my short fiction page, and stay tuned for more.

The subject came up on Facebook about why so many stories are about people of a particular age, and I have some quick thoughts on this.

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Is this blogging?

In which I say I’m going to keep a regular schedule…

I am finally getting an idea of what blogging is supposed to be about, particularly because I noticed that I get the most reads on days when I publish a post. So I will start keeping a regular schedule and write at least one post a week on Friday. I used to be really puzzled and irritated by people who apologized for missing their scheduled blog posts, as if the whole internet is hanging on every word of this person I’ve never heard of. I would think “go ahead, don’t blog for a week, I won’t miss it.” But now that I notice why people should keep a regular schedule, I will try it.

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Reading for fun

In which I try to redeem my previous intellectual arrogance

A few weeks ago I questioned “reading for fun” in a post that started an excellent discussion with Michael McLendon and a few others on Facebook. I put forth that although Brandon Sanderson exhorted his students to always remember they are writing for entertainment, I don’t read for what I would strictly call entertainment, and I always aim to get something more serious out of reading a book. I don’t have the same expectations for movies and TV. Sounds reasonable enough and the discussion went fine without too much hair-splitting.

However, I became aware that I sounded a little like this:

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In Defense of Villains

What does Sauron really mean for Middle Earth? What does Voldemort want?

I was browsing the Youtube Channel Write About Dragons the other day, and came across Brandon Sanderson discussing villains.  At the beginning of the discussion he mentions a problem that has plagued me since I was a child, and more as I’ve read  fantasy as an adult: what do villains want?  It’s easy to understand villains with short-term motivation, like robbing a bank and flying to Venezuela, or getting revenge, but what’s hard to understand are creatures like Sauron, Robert Jordan’s Dark One, and Emperor Palpatine.  Jordan actually deals with this question in the later Wheel of Time books, and especially (in collaboration with Sanderson) in the final showdown between Rand and The Dark One.  Palpatine is easy to understand as a dictator, who uses political power as a cover for making himself a kind of living god.  The problem does remain: what does a wrinkled old man want?  Food?  Sex?  Yuck.  What could Sauron possibly be going for when he doesn’t even have a body other than the power to gloat and watch Hobbits suffer? Continue reading “In Defense of Villains”