I’m Fixing Star Wars, Everyone Stand Back

No matter how many memes you throw at it or the revisionist history of The Clone Wars series, the prequels were a HUGE mess, an almost unwatchable mess.

The prequels need to be fixed. And that’s what I’m going to do.

A Tale of Two Padawans

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You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

What We Have: The relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan is… fraught to say the least. They meet when Anakin is an annoying child and Obi-Wan is a teenager with an unfortunate haircut and by the time Episode II rolls around, Anakin is describing Obi-Wan as “like a father to [him].” Then Episode III overcorrects by trying to sell the “brotherly” angle and a little too hard. It just doesn’t work.

How We’re Fixing It: Make Anakin and Obi-Wan both padawans of Qui-Gon Jinn at the same time. I mean, Qui-Gon was already rebelling hard by taking on Anakin to begin with, having two padawans is just a small step up. Maybe it happens by necessity, with Anakin saving both Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon on Tattoine as a teenager or young twentysomething.

Then, throughout the trilogy, we compare and contrast Obi-Wan and Anakin more closely and on the same level. When Qui-Gon dies (and midway through Episode I this time as an Act 2 turning point), Anakin explodes with rage while Obi-Wan shoves it down and internalizes his grief. They lock horns when Anakin believes Obi-Wan isn’t even grieving at all until the latter finally lashes out with exactly how much he’s hurting.

This moment defines their entire relationship throughout the trilogy and defines them as characters. And it makes the final confrontation sting.

Shut Your Political Pie-Hole

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I am the Senate

Emperor Palpatine, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

What We Have: Meandering, hard-to-understand scenes about alien politics that are barely explained. How much power does a senator have? How do their powers coincide with that of local rulers? Is Padmé ever conflicted between her duties as a queen and her duty as a Senator? What role do the Jedi have in government? It was never exactly fully explained.

How We’re Fixing It: Take a look at the original trilogy. How much government fits into it? We see a little – the Grand Moffs (Moves?) discuss dissolving the senate in the first movie, Tattooine is held under martial law, and Darth Vader has to awkwardly answer to middle-management.

That’s exactly how much government should be in the prequels. No trade federation, no senate, no politically radical Jar Jar Binks. We, the audience, do not need to see how the Galactic Senate fell and became the Empire in microscopic minutia.

The movies should focus on only a few things: the fall of Anakin Skywalker, the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan, Anakin’s romance with Padmé, and sweet laser-sword battles.

SMH Anakin

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I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.

Anakin Skywalker Episode II: Attack of the Clones

What We Have: Putting aside wooden acting and a clunky script and sand-hatred, let’s take a look at who Anakin Skywalker is as a person. He goes from gawkish socially awkward teen-slash-twentysomething to a homicidal maniac in movie-seconds. He might be an ace pilot and a genius inventor (somehow), he honestly doesn’t have much of a character and things just seem to happen around him.

How We’re Fixing It: The movies already might possibly imply the vaguest little idea of it, so let’s bring it to the forefront. Anakin is unusually strong in the Force and we’ve seen in the past that the Force can influence the mind of others. While we’d only seen it work on “the weak-minded”, is it that much of a leap to imagine a very, very strong Jedi being able to manipulate the mind of anyone?

Imagine it: Anakin is charming and friendly and seems to have a Mary Poppins-like ability to get what he wants. At first, it’s for the good of others, to help other people and to have a good time. Sometimes it might be a little selfish, he gets the best table for his and Padmé’s dates, he makes sure his speeder is well taken care of at the valet. But slowly, it becomes more horrifying.

Palpatine takes Anakin under his creepy cloak wing and teaches the Jedi that not only does he have this power, but he can control it willingly as opposed to the accidental uses before.

He manipulates government officials. He makes Obi-Wan agree with him. He orders Padmé to stop arguing and to say that she loves him. In fact, he may have been manipulating her into loving him since the beginning.

Over the course of the trilogy, we see the charismatic Ferris Bueller-like character become Jessica Jones‘s Killgrave.

That is how you build a villain. George Lucas, pay attention.

A Love Triangle (But You Know, If It Must Be Done)

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What We Have: What we have is an age-old question, “Why in the hey did Padmé go for tiny baby Anakin (awkward) when Ewan McGreggor is RIGHT THERE?!”

How We’re Fixing It: But if we apply the above point of her maybe being Force’d into loving Anakin, we have a good answer. But lest we forget that Padmé is Natalie Portman, one of the most beautiful actresses in our generation.

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Even if you shave her head!

What if a part of what tears apart Anakin and Obi-Wan’s relationship is that Obi-Wan is in love with Padmé too? And now that Anakin and Obi-Wan are around the same age, it’s less awkard.

He sees them together and thinks Anakin doesn’t deserve her. He finds out about the Force manipulation and he gets angry.

This is what leads to the final confrontation, THIS breaks them apart. Obi-Wan learns that he too was being manipulated the whole time and that Anakin had knowingly done it.

The finale is a crushing cavalcade of emotion, anger, betrayal, and yes.

Sweet Laser-Sword Battles.

Want More Star Wars?

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inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read:
www.interlinkedtheseries.com

Robots Who Are Trying Their Best

Robots. In fiction, they range from homicidal to cute and they are incredibly smart machines who more often than not outwit us monkey-brained humans. But in real life? They have a lot of catching up to do.

But they’re trying just so hard.

Cereal Box Battle Bot

The Bot: “The Krave Monster” is like an angry kitten. An adorable cute little thing but also surprisingly dangerous and pointy. Just look at it masticate its enemies in its adorable, delicious maw! Aww!

Room For Improvement: In order to be considered a truly fearsome foe, it needs to find a much scarier look than bizarrely goopy cereal.

Rating: 7/10

The Heinz Automato57

The Bot: MIT’s follow-up to the seminal Catsup Crapper, the Heinz Automato57 offers automatic condiment dispensary with the talent and enthusiasum of a three-year-old. Even if you do manage to stop it before it makes your entire life resemble a sticky murder scene, all of your food ever is now an inedible mess.

Room For Improvement: Aim, for one. Control of application is certainly another. Not having terrifying chicken wing arms would also be a plus.

Rating: 2/10

The Breakfast Machine

The Bot: Don’t’cha just hate mornings? This robot is here to help! Even in your most hungover, apathetic, or lazy state, this cheerful little friend will pour you a bowl of cereal and even feed you, you clumsy ape!

Well, in theory, anyway. It tries and then drops the spoon like one would drop a mic after spitting a fire rhyme.

Room For Improvement: It’s great if you only want a shot of breakfast and not an entire bowl. So there’s that.

Rating: 1/10

Ben and Jerry’sBot

The Bot: After careful selection and entering of the keypad, and diligent work by the robot to retrieve your daily delights, BEHOLD! LID!

Room For Improvement: Unlike most of the robots on this list, it doesn’t suck enough.

Rating: 1/10

Deliverybot

The Bot: Special Delivery! This robot is trying so hard to be organized and helpful but he does about as well as trying to arrange things in a game of Skyrim.

But he isn’t just a robot made to arrange things. He FEELS things too. And those things are despair.

Room For Improvement: This robot doesn’t need so much as more work in programming as much as emotional support. I hope someone gives him lots of hugs, even when he fails.

Rating: 9/10

Can’t get enough of adorable robots who are just trying to make their way in this crazy universe? Check this out!

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read:
www.interlinkedtheseries.com

5 Hilarious and Terrible Foreign Covers of Familiar Books

1. A Game of Thrones – Russia

In the dark times before HBO/Starz/Showtime/Taco Bell/KFC/NASA told us what everyone looked like, bizarre fantasy book illustrations reigned supreme and this Russian cover for A Game of Thrones from the 90s is beautifully, horribly no exception.

Who even is that in the front? Arya? Joffrey with unfortunately-shaped armor that gives him ladylike curves? Is that supposed to be The Hound? Yoren protecting Arya from the Kingsguard? And who the heck is that ponce with a hat? Is that supposed to be a direwolf beside him because it looks like a husky with a mental deficiency.

Russia, you’re so strange.

2. Eragon – Italy

Apparently, Italy missed the memo that the first book is The Blue One and that it’s the second book, Eldest is The Red One but the confusion is understandable considering the dragon on the cover is name Saphira like sapphire like blue rock.

I’d also just like to point out that in the International Covers Gallery on his website, Christopher Paolini has pictures of his leather-bound copies of the series that look like they belong on your grandma’s bookshelf next to the 1984 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica.

3. The Hobbit – Sweden

Tove-Jansson-The-Hobbit

Being such an older and ubiquitous book, there were lots of weird foreign editions to choose from but this one is just beautifully bizarre.

I like to call this “Ten Year Old Bilbo Takes a Power Nap” because, I mean, just look at it. Between the nightcap and the youthful, cartoony face beneath it there’s just a lot here that makes no sense, up to and including the battle axe. Sting? More like Smash! Maybe they confused him with Tyrion for a hot minute.

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This action figure deserves its own article.

4. The Catcher In The Rye – Arabic

The Catcher in the Rye cover Arabic by دار المدى للطباعة والنشر والتوزيع

The original cover of The Catcher In The Rye is already kinda out there with its terrifying carousel Pale Horse Of Death thing going on (I still have nightmares of the giant poster in my freshman year English classroom), this one is. Um. It’s there.

Some other covers play up the hat or just go full abstract, but this one… this one looks like the kind of project I’d make in the third grade when we had to design new covers to go with our book reports. It certainly gives Holden Caulfield a reason to be so depressed and obnoxious. Just look at that hairline, you’d be whiny too!

5. Harry Potter – Korea/Japan

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source

No, it’s not technically a cover, but it’s too amusing not to share.

I recently discovered in my adventures in NYC’s Koreatown that Harry Potter is actually split up into smaller, easier-to-carry novella-sized volumes since small books are much more popular there.

While it must be nicer to carry than the massive tree-chunks that were the later books, that means that the entire series is broken up into 23 volumes.

In Japan, there are only 19 books, much more convenient!

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Special Mentions go to:

Harry Potter and the Cooky Art Teacher Vibes

(Germany)

Harry Potter and the Alarming Reminder That He’s WAY Too Young To Be Putting His Life In Danger Like This
(He Should Be Worrying More About Pokemon Cards Or Something)

(Spain)

Harry Potter and I Have No Idea What Is Happening Here

(Italy)

Harry Potter and Have They Ever Seen A Train Before, That Might Be the Ocarina Of Time?

(Sweden)

Harry Potter and The Only Things Still Clean on Laundry Day

(Denmark)

Harry Potter and IS THAT SUPPOSED TO BE UMBRIDGE THEY DID NOT NEED TO MAKE HER WORSE and Also Why Are There Two Harry’s and Hermione Is Now Part House Elf Now, Cool and Everyone Is Wearing Ravenclaw Colors There’s So Much Wrong With This Help

(For f&@(‘s sake, Finland!)

And Finally:

Harry Potter and I’d Like To Point Out That Snake Has a Face

(Ukraine)


If you love my writing with all its snarky sarcasm and hilarious commentary (if I might toot my own horn for a moment) you’d love inter_linked the Series, a serialized novel about friendship, sarcasm, and robots.

Anny messed up. Big time. Now she’s stuck with WISR, the most bitter and sarcastic android every programmed. Now they travel the stars, trying to save every robot they can – if they don’t kill each other first!

It’s free to read on www.interlinkedtheseries.com with updates every Monday and Friday.
Patrons read a day early!

Read More:

Read It and Weep Re-Read
4 Books That Are Just Un-Film-Able (and How to Pull It Off Anyway)
I Read a Bunch of Star Wars Novelizations So You Don’t Have to (Part 1)
I Read a Bunch of Star Wars Novelizations So You Don’t Have to (Part 2, Rogue One)
Steven Universe: The Movie: The Review

4 Books That Are Just Unfilmable (And How They Can Be Pulled Off Anyway)

Books vs Movies. Nothing divides the literary community deeper than speculating which mode of media shall reign supreme, an unending war of many bloody battles that begin and shall always end with “I liked the book better”.

But no matter what you believe, some books just can’t be movies.

For one thing, you lose out completely on any third-person impartiality, whether that be backstory, or worldbuilding, or non-cringey flashbacks. They’re meant to be longer forms of entertainment, several hours as opposed to the “few” of film and cramming all of that detail into a tiny chunk of time like a narrative space bag is bound to be problematic.

But studios still try even though they should leave some of these alone.

Such as…

The Hobbit

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I know, I know, we’ve heard it before and a thousand other times that these movies were just plain terrible. I won’t delve into the why as so many others before me have. You know exactly what is wrong with this trilogy that should have never been.

But what exactly is it about this book that makes it just so unfit for the silver screen?

Well, for one thing, most of the most “cinematic” stuff happens off the page. The Battle of Five Armies? Was elsewhere. And that’s most of an entire movie right there. The book is also “narrated” in the “voice” of Tolkien, lending a very unique texture and flavor that just can’t be captured on celluloid. On top of all of this, if it feels like the chapters are on the episodic side as opposed to one cohesive story, well, it’s because they are. This book was intended to be a bedtime story, not a million-hours-long epic and shouldn’t be devoured in one sitting.

How To Actually Pull It Off

Make it actually for kids. Seriously. This was never meant to be a gritty PG-13 war epic and as much as I dig the edgification of the media I adore, this one needs to be left the h*ck alone. Let it be goofy, let it be fun, let it be a bouncy adventure with songs and riddles and magic rings.

I’m imagining a really fun animated miniseries something like Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network can air between longer shows made by an animator who knows how to have a fun, colorful time.

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BUT NOT THIS AAAAAAAAAAAAA

A Wrinkle In Time

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Hate me all you like, Brie Larson, but neither movie of A Wrinkle In Time were very good. Bouncing between melodramatic dreck, PS1 level CGI, and overwrought feel-good moral goop, they both fell on the “unwatchable” side of mediocre.

But why?

For one thing, he book falls into a weird place in, well… time. It’s very clearly a period piece – what with how the kids talk – but from a period that makes us think of other things. And having it set mostly in space and in a sleepy town where I guarantee nothing ever changes – believe me, I grew up there – it sort of takes you out of that time period, too.

The book is deeply mired in cerebral thought, contemplating physics and religion and emotion and memory and the price of knowledge. That kind of stuff just doesn’t work on film.

Oh, and most of the science stuff is pretty inacurate now.

How To Actually Pull It Off

For this one? You kind of don’t. Maybe if you really set it in its own time and really sell the 50s Suburbia Hell of Camazotz instead of trying to shove it into “modern day” to make it “relatable” then it could possibly work. If not, then maybe it’s better as a concept album or something.

The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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This movie should have worked. It had Martin Freeman who is an excellent actor who has shamefully popped up earlier on this list. It had Sam Rockwell who went on to make one of the most moving and beautiful movies about space that you should never google before watching. It had Professor Flitwick in a robot costume with the voice of Severus Snape.

Literally what else could you possibly ask for?

But much like Tolkein, Douglas Adams had a strong, musky flavor to his writing and even when you intercut with some prime absurdity, it’s just lost on the viewer if you play everything else around it straight. It’s also a book not meant for any heart-wrenching pathos (at least not for a while), it refuses to fit any of your silly three-act structures, and also it just kinda ends. So it’s hard to wrap a script around.

How To Actually Pull It Off

Give it to Baz Lurhman. Really. This is not a joke here.

Now, you may be thinking that the man had one amazing perfect movie that was only improved upon by putting Aaron Tevit in it, one movie that had Claire Daines making weird noises, and heahyeahthatotherone….

But here’s the deal. H2G2 has been adapted, re-adapted, re-written, and chopped into stew-sized chunks by its own author. Neil Gaiman wrote a book about it!

This more or less gives any director with the rocks to try complete creative freedom to be as zany and off the wall as theoretically possible and if you don’t think Luhrman’s quick-dollying rapid-cut rave seizure gooey handprint isn’t perfect to stamp upon it, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Harry Potter

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I heard that. That gasp of utter shock and then the heart-shattering consensus that yeah, these movies weren’t that great.

Many have picked apart the shortcomings of this adaptation, from cutting every plot thread like they’re writing Game of Thrones Season 8 to squashing characters entire personalities and motivations flat like they’re the Whomping Willow, these books have not been treated well.

How To Actually Pull It Off

A part of it does come from the medium, those books were doorstoppers at their smallest, the whole series clocking in at roughly four times as long as War and Peace.

Not only that, but the way movies treat characters is very different than the way books do. Book characters are allowed to be wrong, misguided, even unlikable, and they can stay that way for a decent chunk of time. In movies, that stuff needs to get out of the way very early on – or the exploration of these gray areas needs to be the point of the entire movie which is not the point of a series like Harry Potter. Turning Harry into a lovable goody-goody with a bit of an angsty streak who can do no wrong, Ron into a doofy best friend who’s along for the ride, and Hermione into a naggy know-it-all who never needs to grow past her Smartest In The Room phase does them all a disservice.

My thought is to write it all as one collective whole. The books weren’t written that way and it kinda shows in some barer patches, but this is a chance to smooth it over.

Producers would also need to decide whether each director will be allowed to have a wildly different idea of what Hogwarts and magic and the Wizarding World are like and make their own interpretations or it needs to be handled by one director, one team, one set.

And it should probably be a much longer thing on HBO.

Which book do you think can just never be adapted? Can it be done anyway?
Share in the comments!

My own book may or may not be film-worthy, but you can read it anyway! (whether you’re a movie exec or not!)

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read:
www.interlinkedtheseries.com

Songs About Space

While I may have compiled some instrumental science and space-themed faves, and discovered plenty more along the way, there’s something to be said for songs that sing about space too.

Here are a few of my favorites:

(please note: I’ve excluded songs with boring, earthly things like “sunlight” and “moonlight” but songs about being on or travelling to the moon or sun made the cut)

1. “Drops of Jupiter” – Train

The moment that slamming piano line comes blasting in, you know you’re about to be taken on a journey through the atmosphere, to make your way through the constellations, to dance along the light of day.
Although Train has more or less distanced themselves into the generic (and kind of annoying) flavor of pop, 90s and 00s kids will remember this hit.

2. “The End of All Time” – Stars of Track and Field

Like Train above, the way the piano mixes into this long-forgotten track brings a celestial vibe that’s hard to beat. Throw in an electric drum machine and the occasional electric guitar and you have a winner.
(and yes, I’m fully aware that I’m the only one who even remembers this one, but Pandora suggested it once upon a time and more people should listen, and also it was on Grey’s Anatomy once.)

3. “Angels on the Moon” – Thriving Ivory

I’m not entirely sure what “angels on the moon” means: maybe it’s an obscure drug reference, or perhaps it just means some really vivid daydreaming, either way this song has the soapy operatics of its contemporary My Chemical Romance with the voice and grit of The Smashing Pumpkins.
Thriving Ivory is one of those bands that tried oh-so-very-hard to make it, and they enjoyed some minor fame at the time, but they never quite hit the big time. Which is unfortunate, because in a sea of emo wanabe’s, at least they were unique.

4. “Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do)” – Nadeah

Come on, everyone, you know the words to this 80s power ballad “IF YOU GET CAUGHT BETWEEN THE MOOON AND NEWWW YOOORK CIIIITTTYYY…!” Another song about New York and the Moon, this highly dramatic song comes from a goofy comedy . Considering there’s a few million miles between the two aforementioned locales this song is wonderfully silly.
The version I’ve included here is a cover from a compilation album called “Hollywood, Mon Amour” that tried to turn 80s cheese into viable, modern tracks. It most of the way works!

5. “Don’t Stop Me Now” – Queen

Unlike the other dramatic ballads above, this upbeat, instant cheer number needs no introduction. There’s something about the way Freddie singing about being “a shooting star, leaping through the sky like a tiger defying the laws of gravity” that makes you just want to get up and take on the entire universe. This is especially true if the urban legend of him doing the entire track in one take after downing a fifth of vodka is real.

6. “Like a Star” – Corinne Bailey Rae

This stellar track has been a staple of chillaxing playlists since it hit the charts in 2002 and it’s hard to miss why. No matter how bad you may feel, just throw on this soothing song and all your worries will melt away.
Similar to Norah Jones’ jazz-pop-fusion blend here across the pond, Corinne’s music is like your favorite local Fair Trade single-source coffeehouse but you know… without dealing with people.

7. “Cosmic Love” – Florence + The Machine

Like most other Florence tracks, this is a big, big sound, for all that it starts out relatively unassuming. But don’t worry, Ms. Welch and the relentless pounding of a timpani break in quickly enough.
Again, as with other + The Machine productions, the music video is worth watching, if even just for the cool, surreality they seem to create just by existing.

8. “Major Tom” – Shiny Toy Guns

Out of all of the high-minded concepts and continued stories out of music, “Major Tom” is one of the strangest. Was he a literally an astronaut from the imagination of the Space Race? Was he a heroin junkie, with space being a metaphor? Was he the “Rocket Man” of Elton John fame? Who knows at this point.
Of all the songs in this strange, strange Expanded Universe of music, I decided to pick this one because it’s happier than Bowie’s original (it always makes me super crazy sad) and because I like it. So there. This cover always makes me really happy, too.

9. Champagne Supernova

I don’t care if it sounds like they’re saying “supernoVAR”, if one of the Gallaghers is a jerk (no, I don’t remember which), and the song makes zero sense when you think too hard about it, I still love this song.
Even cooler than that, NASA named a real-life space explosion after them!

10. “3030” – Deltron 3030

Called “Ice Cube’s Eccentric Cousin” (they really are related!), Del the Funky Homosapien put together this future-space-rap opera concept album with his fellow soon-to-be Gorillaz alums like Damon Alburn and Dan the Automator that landed on the soundrack of Tony Hawk Underground and was promptly forgotten.
Not that I’m much of an authority on such things, but man are these hooks fire. I’m not sure when we’re going to see such a genre-bending concept again, but until then I’m going to keep spinning this.

Obvious Things I Didn’t Include:

Any of your favorites not make the cut? Are you cursing me forever for disliking Muse?
Shout at me in the comments!

If you’re ready to take a journey to outer space, check out the brightest new star in science-fiction!

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read:
www.interlinkedtheseries.com

I Read a Bunch of Star Wars Novelizations So You Don’t Have To. A Review. (Part 2, Rogue One)

If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 on the Original Trilogy novels

Rogue One is an odd entry in the Star Wars franchise. Even at their darkest moments, the originals and even the prequels always had the bad guys losing, the good guys winning, and as soon as the John Williams score began to blare over the closing credits, you felt somewhat good about yourself.

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Ahh, happiness. I’ve been told they stopped manufacturing that in 1982.

In this film, it really shows the realities of war, the people left behind, the families torn apart. Instead of the shiny Tantive IV hallways and the dramatic chasms of the Death Star, we see the raw and the real. Chipping paint, dust and dirt, a more “lived in” universe.

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It’s pretty gross, to be honest, but I kinda like it that way.

It might be one of my favorite Wars movies and probably the best written of the novels I made myself read, although after the disastrous Empire novelization, just about anything looked good.

One of the bigger changes for the book, however, was that they upped the tragedy hardcore. They wanted to bludgeon any reader unfortunate enough to think this might have a happy ending with the most unrelenting sorrow they could conjure.

When Jyn gets brought into Saw – her foster father’s – hideaway, she starts asking questions about friends and comrades she’d left behind, only to be told they were all dead.

Yowch.

The thing about Big Destruction in action movies is that you kind of don’t think about it. No one looks at a Michael Bay movie and thinks, “Wow, those poor people!”

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Don’t laugh, think about his kids who no longer have a father and WEEEEP

So when the Death Star blows up Jedha, I thought “Wow, that’s sad. And a cool explosion. Look, it goes all the way down to the mantle of the planet! That’s kinda rad!” But Rogue One the novelization pulls no punches. Four pages are spent describing the people in the city, their daily lives, their wants and hopes and dreams and then exactly how painful and brutal their deaths were. This includes STORM TROOPERS that got left behind.

Image result for storm trooper dead
“Tell… my wife… that I love…. her……… ʳᵒˢᵉᵇᵘᵈ”

In the film, Jyn finally finds her father and ekes out a fragment of a conversation as he lays dying and he tells her he regrets everything, how he loved her, how there was so much he still wanted to do with her. It’s tragic, it’s sad, it’s brutal.

But the book makes it so much worse. His last words are:

“Someone has to destroy it”

This is a significant change. It means that even this was taken away from Jyn by the Empire, by the war. She’s already lost her freedom, her foster father, her everything and now she doesn’t even have one final memory of her dad to call her own.

So with all this death and tragedy, the audience should skew older, right?

But no.

This exists.

This.

THIS.

FOR THE LITTLEST TINIEST BABIES THIS IS REAL.

Because, you know, it’s Star Wars! Pew-pew blasters, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Power of the Force, yay! And it’s PG-13, just like all the superhero movies, so it must be fine, right? RIGHT? This is certainly not the movie where our “hero” begins by shooting an innocent and unnarmed man in the back because he can’t deal with complications.

Even as I sit here writing this article, I haven’t cracked this book open out of fear of what I’ll find inside. Don’t say I that I don’t love you, readers.

The first thing I noticed is that the whole book is printed with this “gritty”, “grungy” pattern, which is kind of bizarre. Also, the font is weird and looks like it was chosen specifically to take up more page space.

Ew.

They are fully okay with talking about death and dying but when major characters start dropping, they start dishing out some wacky euphemisms like “he was gone”, “they joined the Force”, and “his mind went black” or they gloss it over completely with heavy implications. “The last thing he heard was the grenade’s boom”.

It also dealt more in the physical side of what the characters go through, as opposed to the official novelization that goes DEEP into each and every character’s mindsets.

They also cut out the entire part where Darth Vader starts slicing some fools, which even the toughest critics said was the coolest part of the movie.

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This is the closest we’re getting to a Star Wars horror movie so savor this, people!

I just have to wonder, though, who was this written for? There’s too much violence for it to be a Middle-Grade novel (for ages 8-12), it’s kept firmly in the PG-13 range. But it glosses over and cuts out just enough that anyone older than that who was looking for an easy read would be disappointed and patronized. It’s a strange, strange in between and for a movie like this, probably shouldn’t exist.

What other movies would make awful junior novels? Which of the Star Wars books are your favorite?
Let me know in the comments!

Some Unusual Game of Thrones Predictions

It’s happening folks. We’re seeing the first lights of the dawning of the final season of Game of Thrones.

It should come as no shock to you folks that I’m a massive fan, I own a House Baratheon keychain (Stags Represent!), I’ve watched it all half a dozen times minimum, and in college I wrote a paper on the series (Got a B-, thankyouverymuch).

While this deviates a bit from my usual writing schtick, this beautifully crafted show deserves a spotlight, especially considering it’s one of the best-written shows in our generation.

Spoilers abound below!

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TES25: “Oblivion” is the Best Elder Scrolls Game, Let’s Be Real

25 years ago, in a small forgotten town called “Bethesda, Maryland”, a miracle was born. A game series that would define generations, a franchise that would shape the RPG genre as we know it today.

This is The Elder Scrolls.

While the first two entries could only be described as “iffy at best”, there among the raw potential was a game so perfect in composition, it became known as the crown jewel of the medium as a whole.

Morrowind.

Or at least, that’s what people would tell you. But they’re wrong. So wrong. Morrowind is an… alright game, I’ll give them that. I’ve had my false starts with it, but the story is pretty cool.

But no, the best game of them all is actually the fourth in the series, Oblivion. And here’s why:

1. Everyone is Having a Really Good Time

Ever play a game that felt like pure misery? Like the only interesting thing was a celebrity voice actor and they were clearly there just to get paid? Like the studio just churned out something just to say that they did it?

Oblivion is not that game.

The whole place just seems created with so much love and care, from the tiny flowers blooming in the wilds of the West Weald, to the gleaming heights of the White-Gold Tower.

All of the voice actors seem to be having a ball, too. Lynda Carter, in particular, seems to love hamming up her battle dialogue and everyone gave their all into each and every line that was handed to them. Which was a lot, because most of them voiced more than one race.

2. They Tried

Image result for m'aiq saw a mudcrab the other day

Speaking of voices, there are two things anyone who’s ever played Oblivion for more than five minutes will tell you: A. That they saw a mudcrab the other day and B. They’re horrible creatures.

Oblivion was really ambitious, even by today’s standards. They managed to create a completely randomized conversation system for NPC chatter, an entire motivations protocol to direct how computer-generated characters worked and acted, and fought, and suite of actions and dialogues to go with them.

Compared to Skyrim, which is rife with just pre-scripted conversations that play almost every time you walk into the city like the Scandinavian equivalent of the squirrel at Splash Mountain, Oblivion is a masterwork of simulating civilization.

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“Blast, girl! You have your tools, I have mine!”

3. What a Wonderful World

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Skyrim had the advantage of coming six years later with better technology and more stunning graphics. Far be it from me to say that Skyrim doesn’t have more well-crafted images than Oblivion’s potato-face people.

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AAAAAAAAAAAAA

But Skyrim the country? Is ugly. Really ugly. When even the prettiest flowers one can find are scraggly little weeds that look like they’re only good for making really gross tea, you know your country is…. erm… “rugged”.

But when you come down the Colovian Highlands, among the huge stands of shady trees, down the Imperial Reserve and into the blooming fields of the West Weald, and towards the Abecean Sea where the grass grows golden in the glinting sunlight, it just takes your breath away.

4. It’s Actually an RPG and It Actually Works

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Morrowind. We need to chat. Because I am hitting this baddie and I am very clearly smacking ‘im good, but you keep saying I’ve “missed” because I’m… unlucky? Sorry. Say that one more time? It’s not my fault that I woke up in the slimy bilgewater of some leaky boat and dumped unceremoniously onto the shores of a country with two polygons to call its name. Heck, I was woken up by St. Jiub before his most holy veneration, I should be considered luckier for that! Or at least gotten an autograph.

Skyrim has Perks, not stats. They’re cool, I guess, but not an RPG where I can break the fabric of the known universe by using sabermetrics. Thank you, next.

5. Sheogorath

Need I say more?

Do you agree that Oblivion is the GOAT of TES? Are you going to track me down with a giant neon green claymore only to miss every time thanks to unfortunate numbers?

Let me know in the comments!

Read More:

I Read a Bunch of Star Wars Novelizations So You Don’t have To
Soundtracks to Write Fantasy To
6 Video Games With Actually Decent Writing
“The Umbrella Academy” is the Best Thing Netflix Has Done Since Existing, Probably

If you want more adventure, more beautiful settings, and more badly-programmed robots (sorry, WISR!) check this out!

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read:
www.interlinkedtheseries.com

I Read a Bunch of Star Wars Novelizations So You Don’t Have To. A Review. (Part 1)

Tie-in novels are great. Not only do they occupy a weird part of the production cycle most people don’t think about, but they also can add a lot of emotion and internal thought to characters we generally only see emote (barring some narration, of course).

I’ve always wanted to write a novelization or tie-in, truth be told, and not just because my fanfiction is awesome. It’s a challenge, it’s entertaining, it’s just plain fun to be able to describe these visuals on the page and to bring characters to life in a way they otherwise wouldn’t on the silver screen.

(if anyone at Del Rey is reading, call me.)

I’ve read a handful of novelizations in my time, not enough to call myself an expert, but enough to say that they have the potential to be decent. So in an effort to better understand the medium, the artistry, I picked up a few from my local library and got down to analyzing.

Maker save us…

And holy wow what I found was… interesting.

(I also picked up The Shape of Water but that one turned out to be fairly decent and not really worth mentioning besides “It’s Good, Go Read It.”)

Star Wars (A New Hope)

The first Star Wars movie had a famously troubled production, to the point where there are multiple documentaries, fan films, and books about the affair. So it should be no surprise that the novelization is zero exception.

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Alec Guiness, moments before realizing this is all anyone under the age of 30 will ever remember him for (1976, decolorized)

While I was reading, I noticed that it was actually pretty well-written. A little pretentious, perhaps (who says “essayed” anyway?) but not bad! For being credited towards George Lucas himself, it was better than I’d – well – hoped. To the point where I got suspicious. So I did my research and it turns out, it was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, who also wrote Star Trek: The Motion Picture (aka “The Bizarre One With the Computer Lady Who Has No Pants”) and the first Star Wars EU novel called Splinter of the Mind’s Eye (aka “The Bizarre One Where No One Told Alan Dean Foster That Luke And Leia Are Brother And Sister And This Is Very Awkward”).

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Star Wars was also very famously very bad when it was first put together and only the expert editing of Lucas’ wife-at-the-time and her friends saved it from being a bizarre slushfest. (There’s a great YouTube video detailing exactly what got changed around.) The novelization, however, comes curiously in-between. The subplot with Biggs Darklighter remains – who here remembers who that even is? – there’s the scene with Jabba the Hutt that got CGI’d in to later editions, and Luke is very much a troubled kid. He lies, he sneaks out, and his Aunt and Uncle are genuinely very worried that he might be getting into some bad stuff like his father did.

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“You don’t understand me… SPACE DAD”

Lightsabers are “still in use in some galactic quarters”, Chewie gets his medal, no they don’t say if Han Shot First, and it also has one of the only mentions of ducks in the Star Wars universe which Wikipedia tells me is notable.

It also mentions “The Journal of the Whills”, an early concept George Lucas invented. The idea is that the Star Wars films are actually a historical account by otherworldly beings, and that’s why the films start off with “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”

Out of all of the OT, it’s the weirdest but most readable and most interesting. It’s also the longest by about 50 pages, even though it’s shorter than the other two movies.

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Some people consider this the most perfect movie ever created which I disagree with strongly as I am busy getting a beer and nachos during the boring Hoth parts in the beginning. Those of you who do have this opinion, though, will be surprised to hear that the book is bad. Really bad.

For one thing, the author can’t seem to get away from real-world references and compound simile… things. Taun-tauns are “llamalike”. We also get “stiltlike”, “gazellelike”, “wedgelike”, and “skullike”, and many others I didn’t bother writing down. Oh and Star Destroyers are “mechanized death angels.” I wish I was joking.

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????

It also seriously lacks in the emotion department which is really tragic considering it’s the most emotionally-charged of the three.

“Now, as she looked at [Han], he’d never seemed more handsome. But she was still a princess.”

Girlfriend, you are the princess of a bunch of blowed-up space rocks and you have bigger problems to worry about. He’s Harrison Ford. Literally what are you waiting for?

“No, no! That’s not true…” Luke said, refusing to believe what he’d heard. “That’s impossible.”
“Search your feelings,” Vader said, sounding like an evil version of Yoda, “you know it to be true.”

That’s it?! That’s all you can conjure when it comes to the inner turmoil Luke must be facing, discovering not only is his most hated enemy his own father? That’s all? Evil Yoda. That’s all we get.

“I love you,” [Leia] said softly, “I couldn’t tell you before, but it’s true.”
He smiled his familiar, cocky smile. “Just remember that, because I’ll be back.”

Yeah, I’m glad these lines were improvised because yeesh.

I know.

Yoda is blue and so is Vader’s lightsaber which they keep calling a “sword” (this bothers me for some reason), and they keep calling Han “Corellian” but Lando is only called “black”. The 80s had issues, why are we so nostalgic again?

Star Wars Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Okay, I fully admit to being kind of tired of this book-chunk by the time I hit Jedi so I skimmed it because also who really likes this one anyway? It’s not the worst written, it’s not the best, it sits firmly in the middle of being “okay”, both the film and the book.

The opening is hilarious because the opening of the movie is a pan over empty space and then WHOA THERE’S A DEATH STAR I THOUGHT WE BLEW THAT THING UP IN 1977 WHAAAAAAT?!?!?!?!?

The first time I read this, I was super confused. It seems stilted, it seems kinda dumb, and then I realized what they were going for and I guess it makes sense?

Luke spends the whole book switching back and forth between this faux-eloquent “wise Jedi” talk and being a whiny “youth” (oh yeah, all three books continually call him this and it’s weird).

“Goodbye, dear sister – lost and found. Goodbye, sweet, sweet Leia.”

Um. Okay.

When O-Ben-Wan Kenobi’s ghost shows up, he talks for a LONG time about what actually happened to Vader, which is alright for a reader, I suppose, but wouldn’t fly for a moment onscreen. He actually talks about how Anakin “fell into a molten pit” and emerged as Darth Vader, making me wonder how early the lightsaber battle on Mustafar was planned out.

Leia has a complete meltdown when she finds out she’s Vader’s daughter, like a total blue screen of death that Han has to snap her out of and they imply they’d been having a relationship for some time offscreen. Aww.

There’s a really cool point-of-view chapter for Palaptine detailing what his worldview (worldsview?) was really like which was also, as the internet tells me, a criticism of Nixon. Neat.

Also, there’s an INCREDIBLY WEIRD part at the very end where Luke cries on an unmasked Vader’s face and he says how he LIKES HOW THE TEARS TASTE WHAT.

[Luke] saw the old eyes focus on him. Tears burned Luke’ cheeks, fell on his father’s lips. His father smiled at the taste.

Yes, there… he felt a raindrop on his lips. He licked the delicate droplet… but wait, it wasn’t sweetwater, it was salty, it was… a teardrop.

You thought I was making this up.

I think I’mma gonna puke up my bantha milk.

Want to hear more about my adventures into the Rogue One books? Stay tuned for Part 2!
In the meantime, don’t forget to like and comment!

What’s your favorite movie novelization of all time?

Science Fiction That Has (Supposedly) Already Happened

The thing about science-fiction is that many of the classics were written a long time ago with a vision of the future that was very different than the one we ended up with  (where’s my hoverboard?!)

Many of their timelines run right into the present day meaning we should already be seeing:

Megaman

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Capcom’s classic video game series is set in 200X which limits the possibilities to 2000-2009. While the later games are much farther flung into 21XX, it’s clear that the Super Fighting Robot should be here by now.

What We’re Missing

Sentient Three Laws Compliant robots, semi-magical elemental weapons, and – oh yeah – a massive machine apocalypse and total totalitarian 1984 government.

I, Robot

Image result for i robot isaac asimov

In a similar vein, Isaac Asimov’s 1950 short story collection about a future after the development and implementation of thinking machines. The stories are only loosely related but are set in the years 1996-2064 which means a lot should already be in motion.

What We’re Missing

We haven’t quite reached the giant computers that control the world, and Asimov’s vision excluded things like the internet and cell phones while machines ran on actual punched paper. But the positronic brain should have been invented in time to be traumatized by The Hunchback of Notre Dame and here in 2018, we should have space colonies on even the most distant, hospitable planets.

.hack//

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This strange anime-and-video-game series came out of the early 2000’s fueled by the afterburn of Y2K paranoia. While the originals were oddly set only a few years after their release dates, starting around 2006, the more recent works stretch into 2030.

What We’re Missing

In this fictional 2005, a massive virus hacks absolutely every computer in the world, bringing modern society to its knees. Afterwards, everyone uses only one OS with only one multiplayer game, the most massive of MMO’s in history. Having only one game to play must’ve gotten old very fast.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

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This one’s pretty obvious, the year is right there in the title. This novel about an omnipresent government and perpetual surveilance gave rise to cool terms like “doublethink” and “Big Brother is Watching You.”

What We’re Missing

This one is especially eerie because in an age of Cambridge Analytica, Happiness Indexes, and cell phones that probably spy on us, we seem to be moving towards this and fast. Just, y’know, three decades or so late. We may not quite have an Oceania yet and there’s not yet one single Party (as far as we’re aware) but things seem to be zooming along towards something… Orwellian.

 

Oh, and let’s not forget the end of Back to the Future where they go to the actual future… now!

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Which is your favorite on this list?
Anything I missed?
Let me know in the comments!