Bloodline: Just the Story I Needed

star-wars-bloodline-posters_crkkBloodline was just the Star Wars tale I’d been waiting for. I love politics, and I have been wanting a good Leia-centric book in which she’s really in her element as a politician. In that, Bloodline was outstanding- and it did indeed answer a good deal of my questions about The Force Awakens‘ political situation and just what had happened to the galaxy. I’m glad that not all of the questions were answered, and that there is still so much room to tell stories in the galaxy, but this was just what I needed to read.

Confession: I actually enjoyed The New Rebellion. A sudden crisis, bringing out internal conflict within the New Republic. Leia having her political competence questioned. Endless intrigue. This felt like a new reimagining of some of those themes, though with substantially better storytelling. Today on Twitter (yes, I write a lot of my articles the night before), there were many lists of favorite Star Wars books, mixing both new and Legends. Consistently, I saw Bloodline and Heir to the Empire, two books from dramatically different eras. Books that honestly don’t feel that different; twenty-five years and two GFFA’s apart, they feel so complementary. This is something that I, and many other old Legends fans, often need to keep us happy in Star Wars. I miss the feel of the Star Wars I grew up on, and reading a re-imagining of it brings me right back to this fandom.

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Escape Pod: The Feel of the Bantam Era

waruI love the Bantam era, and have in fact written in defense of a whole period of Star Wars publishing that, though ridiculous, is near and dear to my heart. There’s a sizable chunk of us fans who were brought in by books like the Thrawn trilogy and who kept reading even through The Crystal Star and The New Rebellion. Now, we’ve all had discussions about the plot quality, the villain and superweapon of the week, and all the other things we laugh at this whole era for. However, there are many good things. And one of them is the way this whole era handles politics and world-building. A galaxy that’s undergone two major government changes in the last twenty years of history won’t be the most reasonable place, and perhaps it took a publishing era of mixed-up timelines, impressively blundering villains, bizarre technology, and Waru to make it all really feel like Star Wars.

When I first heard that The Force Awakens might have a galaxy in which the New Republic or whatever wouldn’t be fully in power, I was suddenly excited. Even when I was twelve and devouring every last Star Wars book I could grab, I wondered just how the Rebel Alliance had made themselves into a functional government in just five years. How could they have gone from a rag-tag band of freedom fighters to a normal government, complete with bureaucracy enough to make us believe they’d been in power for years? It seemed a bit hard to understand, and seeing the New Republic withstand threat after threat to their rule and always come out unscathed made me wonder. Hearing that the reimagining of the galaxy might not be so secure actually made me feel better about TFA- it’s hard to reconstruct the government of a galaxy no matter what. We see that whatever’s going on between the New Republic and the Resistance and the First Order and whoever else is there, it isn’t very organized. Something happened that created the First Order, something happened that destroyed whatever Jedi were rebuilding, and the New Republic and the Resistance aren’t the same people. There are so many factions, so many layers of politics, and that makes for many stories to be told. Think back on all the different sides of the story in the old EU; we saw many small parts of Empire and Republic and others jockeying for power. It was a complicated mess, and that made for lots of storytelling space and a big galaxy for new problems to arise in.

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Lightsaber Combat, Sequel Edition

Finn_duels_Kylo_RenAfter I watched The Force Awakens for the second time, one of the many things my friends and I brought up was lightsaber combat. The iconic weapon of Jedi, Sith, and many other Force-users was featured prominently, and of course I had a few feelings about just how the combat was depicted. Like pretty much every other piece about TFA, this is not spoiler-free. You have been warned.

My interest in lightsaber combat and just how realistic it is has led me to some interesting places, like the time when I tried to recreate Jaina’s pose on the cover of Invincible and fell into a bookshelf. At least once while watching the prequels and doing the usual making fun of them, I have commented on how much I love the fight choreography. And one of my first thoughts on TFA’s combat was just how much it suited each of the characters. Three viewings later, I found myself muttering about lightsaber combat and about how good fight choreography can be very good characterization.

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The Force Woke Up- And I Loved It


This article is in no way, shape, or form spoiler-free.

There was a time when we all figured we’d never see a Star Wars movie in a theater again. I certainly didn’t expect to. And yet, at 7pm Thursday night, I was sitting there in a movie theater, watching the title crawl, listening to that music, and wondering if it was even real.

One of the biggest challenges for a sequel is maintaining the universe. One good movie is quite an accomplishment. Making a sequel can be a challenge; there are plenty of examples of sequels, three-quels, and more that do not hold up to the original. And there are of course franchises that have more than one movie whose quality is questionable. Just look at Star Wars- you could spend a lifetime on the internet arguing about the PT and just how good it is, and still never gain a consensus. We fans heard about The Force Awakens with quite a bit of understandable trepidation. Not only had we lost the expanded universe (which might not have always been much of a loss), but we were also waiting for a new movie (a new trilogy, even) made by people who were often new faces to the Star Wars universe. Let’s be honest- a lot of us were terrified going into TFA. Would it hold up?

I’m just going to use Han’s line. “Chewie, we’re home.” Read More

The Community of Fans: One Big, Happy, Dysfunctional Family

nycc drinksSo this year, I didn’t get a formal press badge for NYCC. However, I spent my Sunday hanging around at the Del Rey booth, surrounded by my Star Wars friends, and it certainly got me thinking about the community that fandom has really become. Star Wars fandom has been greatly fractured over the last few years, but it still plays such a vital role in so many of our lives. We’ve all met amazing friends through fandom, and some of us have even met romantic partners that way. It’s such an important part of our lives, even if our perspectives and place in fandom change over the years. It’s more important than I expected, for one.

One of the biggest changes in my relationship to fandom has been becoming a blogger. When your hobby also becomes something of a part-time job, it really changes how you think about it, and that’s likely true for anyone who ends up prominent in any fandom. A lot of us are probably old enough to remember the days of LiveJournal fandom, in which famous fanfic writers did end up with quite a following and substantial name recognition. We all probably remember a time when someone prominent in a fandom notices us; I definitely spent a few minutes slightly incredulous when I was first asked to write for this site. And here I still am, spending my spare time writing analysis about a fictional universe.

Fandom brings people together. We all have friends we’ve met because of fandom, and for those of us who are frequent con-goers, we have our groups of con friends who we always plan to see at the annual conventions. We all have stories of people meeting their best friends and significant others through fandom, and that’s no longer considered unusual. That kind of bringing people together is one of the many reasons I’ve stayed in fandom for as long as I have. Read More