Category Archives: Sci-Fi

Star Wars Again (Episode VII)

I didn’t expect to be excited about the new Star Wars movie and became even less enthused when I found out the title The Force Awakens or that light saber with the tangs like it was a broadsword. Nor did I expect to get sucked in to the trailers or speculations about the new film, but I have.

Who knows if it’s going to be any good? Disney purchased the the franchise from George Lucas and they intend to make lots more money from it, so no doubt it will do that. ┬áHere’s the final trailer to get you in the mood.

The first is the speculation that Luke Skywalker is the villain of the Episode VII. Again like my earlier post Growing Old With Star Wars I mentioned that all these speculative pieces though compelling they may be may simply be a result of too much time on their hands.

This Luke Skywalker Theory Destroys Everything You Thought You Knew About ‘Star Wars’
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-conery/luke-skywalker-theory-destroys-everything-star-wars_b_8392698.html

The second one is speculation that Jar Jar Binks is a Sith Lord. I did recognize that Jar Jar was a fool and fools are a common archetype in fairy tales and are prominent in Russian fairy tales. They aren’t really fools at all.

[Theory] Jar Jar Binks was a trained Force user, knowing Sith collaborator, and will play a central role in The Force Awakens
https://www.reddit.com/r/StarWars/comments/3qvj6w/theory_jar_jar_binks_was_a_trained_force_user

Text with animated gifs illustrating points of main article.

This Guy Just Changed The Way We See Star Wars. Mind Blown.
http://www.tickld.com/x/jaw/this-guy-just-changed-the-way-we-see-star-wars-jar-jar

Growing Old with Star Wars


I saw Star Wars in the movie theaters when it first came out when it wasn’t called Episode IV A New Hope. I saw it four times. My friends at the time saw it dozens of times. By the time The Empire Strikes Back came out it was Ep. 4. And as far as I’m concerned the second film, aka Episode V is the best one of the six. After the first movie came out I recall reading that Lucas was planning on making nine films Then Return of the Jedi came out and nothing untiláThe Phantom Menace came out sixteen years later.

I should back up a bit and say that I watched Star Trek first. It was and always shall be the first scifi show that I loved. TV introduced me to science fiction. Not only did I watch Star Trek, I saw Batman, Lost in Space, I Dream of Jeanie, Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants, and Land of the Lost. It wasn’t until much later that I got to see Time Tunnel and Space 1999, so they weren’t formative.

As for movies, I saw Silent Running, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Rollerball, and Logan’s Run. I also watched many a Godzilla movie and the Planet of the Apes movies. This was all before Star Wars. 1977 was a turning point as SciFi went mainstream and became Hollywood blockbusters. Star Wars wasn’t science fiction and to compare it to Star Trek is like comparing apples and oranges.

Thanks to Star Trek and DC superhero comic books I became interested in literary science fiction. I was introduced to the big four, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Ray Bradbury. I stuck with science fiction until I met my friend Mike in college. He introduce me to fantasy, authors such as Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, Glen Cook, and Roger Zelazny. I could list many other writers I discovered in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but I’m not here to reminisce about them.

Over the years I’d encountered the fandom that Star Wars generated. I should note I did see the Star Wars Holiday Special when it was broadcast. Lucas tried his best to bury it, but bootlegs of it can be found all over the place. It was notable for introducing us to Boba Fett.

Parodies

Here are the best Star Wars parodies I have seen over the years.
Hardware Wars was the first and it paved the way for all parodies and pastiches that followed.

The absolute best one I’ve seen so far is TROOPS. It is very clever and tracks the plot of A New Hope.

The second best parody film which is almost tied with TROOPS Star Wars Talk to Your Kids PSA. Although I do not have kids, I know fellow fans that have encountered this dilemma.

Analyses

There have been critical looks at the films. One of the best is when Joseph Campbell talks to Bill Moyers about the first three films in the landmark mini-series, The Power of Myth. However, there are some other analyses and that put new interpretations on them. Now the thing is they could simply be people with too much time on their hands, overthinking what is in the movies and then cherry pick the elements that fit their hypothesis. I do find them compelling and they may change the way you view the films.

6 Reasons The Jedi Would Be The Villain In Any Sane Movie
http://www.cracked.com/article_22320_6-weird-ways-star-wars-had-us-rooting-psychopaths.html

Star Wars: A Long Time Ago, in a Hive Far Far Away?
http://www.maxgladstone.com/2013/10/star-wars-a-long-time-ago-in-a-hive-far-far-away/

Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Probably Totally Illiterate
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/10/most-citizens-of-the-star-wars-galaxy-are-probably-totally-illiterate

Watching

There is much more I could say. I could even expand this post, but I’m done for now. So lastly if you still want to watch or re-watch the films consider watching them in the Machete Order.
The Star Wars Saga: Introducing Machete Order
http://www.nomachetejuggling.com/2011/11/11/the-star-wars-saga-suggested-viewing-order/


[Inspired by it, I’m trying to come up with an order to re-watch the Babylon 5 series. The idea is to list determine the few key episodes from Season 1 and Season 5 and then watch most of seasons 2,3, and 4.]

Podcasts

Not so long ago in a city not so far away I started two podcasts, The Conestoga Podcast and the Escape from Cubicle 17 Podcast. The former was for the now defunct Conestoga convention held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The other was not tied to any convention, but it was more or less the same format. I would interview authors, artists, editors, and fans. In all I did 52 episodes. If you go to the Podcasts page, you’ll see more information about them.

I’m doing this because I’ll be attending LoneStarCon 3, the 2013 WorldCon, in San Antonio, Texas. Chances are I’ll run into some of the people I interviewed. As both sftulsa.org and escapefromcubicle17.com domains are now defunct, this is the only place the podcasts are preserved. I’ve restored all the Cubicle casts, but not all of the Conestoga casts, but I am working on them.

K.D. Wentworth

I was sad to learn that author K.D. Wentworth passed away yesterday. Those who knew her called her Kathy.

In 2005 I had heard about this new medium called podcasting from Paul Fischer and wanted to give it a try to help promote Conestoga, our local science fiction convention in Tulsa. Kathy was very supportive of this endeavor and gave the very first interview. We were celebrating the 10th anniversary of Conestoga, Meisha Merlin Publishing, and Yard Dog Press. Alas, Meisha Merlin and Conestoga is no more but Yard Dog Press is still going strong.

I had the archive of all the Conestoga podcasts posted on another site but is now defunct. I’d planned to repost them here but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. But I felt it would be nice to reshare this one.

Here is Elspeth Bloodgood interviewing Kathy for Conestoga. It was recorded in Feb 2006 for the upcoming Conestoga 10 in July of that year.

 

Fen Con V

Just got back from Fen Con V. Had a great time. It’s a very well run convention. This is the third one I’ve been too. Saw a lot of people there that were at Denvention (WorldCon). The Brobdingnagian Bards performed at the con for the last time. Alas, Marc and Andrew are going their separate ways. They have one more performance in Austin. I look forward to seeing how their individual careers progress. Got to see Greg Benford, Jay Lake, and Brad Denton. Also got to see Caroline Spector, The Three Weird Sisters, TM Wagner, Gerald Burton, and David Lee Anderson. Alas Howard Waldrop was not able to attend. He was doing better but the doctors advised against him traveling just yet.

Fen Con has one of the best hotels for holding a convention, Crowne Plaza in Addison, TX. I really liked the way the meeting space was laid out. There were a lot of room parties. I think it would have been nice to consolidate the room parties in one or two of the hotel wings rather than spreading them all out over the floor. It’s the second year at the hotel and it’ll be there next year.

Tulsa fandom was well represented. Saw Curtis & Marylin; Richard & Lynn; Fran, Randy and his wife. There might have been others but didn’t know they were from Tulsa. Mel & I plan on returning for Fen Con VI. Lois McMaster Bujold will be Guest of Honor. It was Mel’s first time to Fen Con. She had a great time too. In fact we liked it so much we are going to adopt it as our home con.