Age of the Time of My Life

Do you know how sometimes you get an email and you have to read it a few times before it really sinks in because it can’t possibly be saying what you think it’s saying except it is? I got one of those last November. It ultimately resulted in this:

Continue reading

When Chicago Becomes Coruscant

Or… how I spent my unexpectedly snowy Star Wars vacation to Chicago. (Did you know that I hate snow about as much as Anakin Skywalker hates sand? Because I do.)

Snow aside, Star Wars Celebration was an incredible five plus days. I’ve been to a lot of conventions over the years but none of them are quite like Celebration. This is a convention that brings together thousands of fans from across the world just because we all love the same space franchise and then that franchise puts on the best damn show for us… literally. I’m not sure the Star Wars fandom fully grasps how lucky we are that Lucasfilm puts on the Star Wars Show live from the con and broadcasts so many of the major panels but that’s beside the point. What is the point is this: despite all the other cons that I love and routinely attend, Celebration is the convention I can’t fathom skipping. Why? It’s one big family reunion. Continue reading

Welcome to the Padmé Renaissance

Last week was Padmé Week. It was a damn good week.

When you’ve loved a character for a good two-thirds of your life and have consistently seen parts of fandom look down on her dismissively, in part because she died of a broken heart thanks to less than stellar storytelling decisions (that droid was broken, damnit!), it can be a little disheartening. It’s especially disheartening when done so to raise up other female characters. Hollywood has given the world a strange and, quite frankly, incorrect idea of what makes a strong female character. While yes, it’s fantastic to see women in warriors roles in media, women like Shmi Skywalker who never lift a finger in combat are equally strong. There’s no right sort of capable lady and we should stop acting like there’s only one. This isn’t Highlander.

But that’s beside the point.

(Yes, I have a point.) Continue reading

Mass Effect, Murder, and Morality

Mass Effect made me feel like a monster and it’s all my fault.

Wait. Let’s back up a minute and let me explain.

I have a long history of playing Bioware games. Honestly, I’ve mostly played Bioware games exclusively with occasional diversions elsewhere. Knights of the Old Republic was my jam in middle/high school and I adored the (non-Bioware but it felt like Bioware) sequel game just as much. There was something about being a part of Star Wars and getting to make choices that would affect not only me but the entire galaxy that was thrilling. Even though female Revan and female Exile will always be my preference, I made it a point to play through each game with all four potential paths at least once: light side female, dark side female, light side male, dark side male. It appealed to not only my completionist side but also let me experience the story in new ways.

And then Mass Effect happened. Continue reading

Musings on The Afterward and Queen’s Shadow

I think I’ve been waiting for Queen’s Shadow and The Afterward most of my life but didn’t how badly I needed them until last week.

Ever since E.K. Johnston’s forthcoming books were announced, I’ve been beyond excited for both novels. After all, I was already predisposed to love them given their strong emotional ties to my childhood. From the moment I watched The Phantom Menace, I’ve been enamored with Padmé Amidala and her handmaidens. To a nine year old, a band of teenage girls kicking ass and fighting for their homeworld and wearing gorgeous outfits while doing it looked like the dream. I wanted to be one of them. Queen’s Shadow finally gives Naboo’s loyal daughters the spotlight and it only took twenty years. I’m equally in love with high fantasy and stories about lady knights and read as many as I could get my hands on growing up. David Eddings, who specialized in high fantasy and the delightful use of tropes, has been one of my favorite authors since I started reading his books and, well, let’s just say there’s a very good reason we’re rereading his Elenium trilogy ahead of The Afterward’s release. Continue reading

What Iden Versio Means To Me

I’ve been thinking a lot over the past two months about how I could best describe what Iden Versio has meant to me since we first met her at Celebration Orlando back in April. For ages, I couldn’t seem to find the right words. Yes, I’ve talked about representation and how important that is to me and for the other Asian and mixed-Asian women out there. Yes, at this point just about everyone has seen the IGN video where I got to talk about my love for Iden and actually meet Janina Gavankar. And yet, I still didn’t quite find the right words even though my voice jumped an octave and I cried. (And then cried again two weeks later thanks to the DLC and The Last Jedi.)

I think I finally have.

For me, watching Iden Versio have her world view shattered and then find her new place in the galaxy is how I imagine it felt for some women to watch Wonder Woman storm across No Man’s Land, to watch the lightsaber fly past Kylo into Rey’s hand, to watch Peggy Carter tell everyone that she knew her value. Continue reading

Review: The Legends of Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker… I thought he was a myth.

Probably every review you read of The Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu will incorporate this line from The Force Awakens but when it’s apt, it’s apt. Liu uses this line as a springboard to tell a delightful collection of tales about the fabled Jedi Knight that are true… from their points of view. It’s a book that’s going to give the “BUT IS IT CANON?” crowd heartburn but will likely delight the rest of us who are okay with sitting back and enjoying the ride.

There are six stories within the book, all told to a group of young deckhands on a cargo ship bound for Canto Bight. My favorite might be the one in which Luke isn’t actually a noble Jedi Knight but rather a very talented con artist along with Han, Chewie, and Obi-Wan. One must respect the con abilities of Luke Plodhopper. The cherry on top of the tale is that Luke is secretly present for the telling and just quietly encourages the storyteller and never contradicts the narrative. He doesn’t feel the need for the entire galaxy to believe that he’s a hero. Policing people’s thoughts were the act of the Empire and he didn’t fight a war to continue that.

For a book about Luke Skywalker that never once gives us his point of view, Ken Liu does an incredible job of really getting the character in a way that has felt rare. Honestly, we’re very lucky to get this book and his mission in Battlefront II within mere weeks of each other. They’re very different stories and mediums but both get why so many people have loved Luke for decades. Even through the eyes of others, Liu makes it clear that he understands what sort of person Luke is and his relationship with the Force.

Much like with From a Certain Point of View, there’s a story here for everyone even if all of the stories likely won’t click on the same levels. Liu makes it a point to vary the tone and voices of the stories which not only makes sense given that different people are telling them but also keeps it interesting. A droid shouldn’t sound the same as a bug sized alien who in turn shouldn’t sound the same as a young woman who spends her time flying and trusts in the Tide.

Most importantly though, The Legends of Luke Skywalker adds to the mythos of Luke within the galaxy far, far way. He’s a hero in both of our galaxies but he’s also transcended being viewed as a historical figure within a relatively short time frame. It’s no wonder the Jedi also faded so quickly into a forgotten, mythological status. While these might not be “canon,” reliable narrator stories, they do still help expand the galaxy and let us understand it a little better.

If you’re looking for something to read, The Legends of Luke Skywalker is an excellent choice both for you and for the younger readers in your life that I would absolutely recommend.

Thank you to Disney/Lucasfilm Press for providing a copy of the book for review purposes.

Waru Express: Fate of the Jedi Part 2 and Mercy Kill!

Well.  It’s done.  I’ve finished reading these books and I’m ridiculously relieved to be through with Fate of the Jedi.  To be completely honest, even though there are a lot of things in Legacy of the Force that upset me, I’d rather read a series like that than this one.  I hated the character derailment that some of them were subjected to but I prefer that series as a whole to reading about anything with Abeloth ever again.  No more tentacles please.  There were a lot more high points in that series than this one.  To top it off, I just never felt as invested in these books.  There was both too much and too little going on.  I know that sounds impossible but I don’t know how else to describe it.   Basically, the majority of the series made me do this:

At least there was Mercy Kill waiting for me at the end.  Observe my Wraith Squadron related tears of joy.

Warning: There are some NSFW words on some of these gifs

Vortex
My sentiment about having to read this book again can be summed up in one word: Ugh.  (Editor’s Note: I’m a completionist and I still can’t bring myself to buy this book.) Continue reading

Waru Express: Fate of the Jedi Part 1

Well.  Here we are.  Reading Fate of the Jedi again.  I had actually just gotten around to reading the series in its entirety the month before I started this project and I can’t really say that I was looking forward to reading it again so soon especially given how long I delayed reading it in the first place.  This series was first published in March 2009.  By then, I was a poor college student and the prospect of reading and buying series published entirely in hardcover was not very appealing to me especially after Invincible.  At some point, I picked up the first book because it was Allston, liked it well enough, but wasn’t overly inclined to run out and read all the others.  In the summer of 2011, I finally convinced myself to read the first four books… and then got side tracked by a New Jedi Order reread and didn’t return to them until fall 2012 right before I started this project.  Basically, this is a very long winded way for me to say that this series never really managed to grab my attention and draw me in like some of the others.  Unfortunately.

I blame Abeloth.

Outcast
Well, they Allston-ed me again.  It’s nice to see that the previous galactic war had consequences and that they are carrying over here.  However, I still cannot figure out why the heck anyone would put Daala in charge.  It makes zero sense to me.  (Editor’s Note: I STILL DON’T GET IT.)

The good news is that this book has a lot of my favorite Allston moves.  We get a pilot reunion over on Kessel and thankfully, Wedge seems to still be retired.  We also get the Darkmeld group which I positively LOVE and not just because Winter finally get to reappear. (Editor’s Note: Okay, Winter was a big part of the love.)  It’s a rather excellent mix of people.  I also loved that we get Jag referencing his relationship to Wedge because that’s brought into play far too infrequently.  The relationship between Jaina and Jag is also very well written and it’s nice to see them together and functional again.  Also, every time Jag corrects someone about it being the ‘Galactic Empire’ instead of ‘Imperial Remnant’, I crack up.  (Editor’s Note: Jag 4 Emperor.) Continue reading

Waru Express: The Calm Between The Sith Storms

This was a much nicer trio of books to read between long series than my previous “palette cleanser.”  SO MUCH NICER.  All three are actually books that I haven’t had the chance to read yet and neither had I heard much about them so this was one giant blank slate for me.  The verdict?  Well, you’ll just have to read the post for that!

Crosscurrent
I had no idea what to expect from this book and yet I’m fairly sure that this wasn’t it.  I’m not saying that in a bad way.  I’m just saying it in a way where I tilt my head to the side and go “huh”.

For the most part, it’s an enjoyable book.  It took me a good 100 pages or so to really get into it though.  The start felt a bit slow but also jumbled with the introduction of a lot of new characters.  It took me a little while to keep everyone straight.  I’m also not sure how I feel about the time travel.  I liked the character of Jaden Korr though as well as Marr and Khedryn.  On the other hand, I’m really not sure what an Anzat looks like exactly but I don’t think I want to because they sound weird and a bit disgusting. Continue reading