Star Wars: Thoughts

After watching SW: Attack of the Clones the other night with our son, I was thinking about the different trilogies and side movies/series. Unfortunately, I have not yet seen most of the animated series (Rebels, Resistance, or the recently released Bad Batch), and haven’t seen Clone Wars in order (or perhaps even the complete series, I caught it sporadically when it first aired).

Although there is, obviously, a lot that has been said about all three trilogies, particularly negatives regarding the prequels and sequels, some of it warranted and some simply the whining of interweb trolls & (generally white male) “fans”, I think all three trilogies have their strong and weak points. So, just to throw out my own opinion on the strengths (with brief comments on the down sides):

First Trilogy (eps 4-6)

This trilogy gets “Best Overall” simply because of being the first, and childhood nostalgia. Was it the best written? No. Was it the best acted? Heck no (even Carrie Fisher mocked her “floating English accent” repeatedly). But, it was the first, without which the rest would not exist. And it did some clearly groundbreaking things for the late-70s and early-80s in sci-fi. In terms of filming, Lucas stitched together scenes from WWII movies and Kurosawa movies with filler, that somehow worked.

Prequel Trilogy (eps. 1-3)

This trilogy, I give “Best Choreography” and “Best Space Battles” . Let’s face it, the original trilogy lightsaber choreography was . . . not the best. It’s often pretty clear that Vader and Luke are swinging at each other’s swords, rather than at each other. For this trilogy, they had great choreographers and the SFX had reached a level for excellent space battles to be composed. This despite the lack of chemistry between Christensen and Portman, and the “Best Future Plotholes” award.

Sequel Trilogy (eps. 7-9)

“Best Character Deaths” for Han and Luke. Both were, I think, satisfying and fit both within the plot and the character growth. I’ll also add “Best Fanservice”, because there’s nothing especially wrong with giving fans what they want. These three, despite their flaws, did a good job evoking the feel and sense of the original trilogy and had enough back references to the original to give a strong “feel good” vibe. Frankly, no one goes to SW movies looking for deep meaning and high drama (deeper meaning can certainly be found, but that’s not generally the goal in going to see them).

Others

Solo, Rogue One, and Mandalorean, I put down as “Best Writing” and “Best Acting”. As prequels in the first two cases, they had a difficult job in setting things up that already happened. In Rogue One‘s case, this was especially difficult, as we knew they would succeed in getting the plans (hence Ep. IV), but also that there was high likelihood of character demise (although not assured, since the team that got the plans is never mentioned in Ep. IV; the death of the Bothan team/s was getting Death Star II plans before Ep. VI). Mandalorean has done an excellent job as well, so far. Probably up there with Clone Wars on writing, and acting, in terms of character development, lore development, and clicking into the setting of the other movies/series.

Updates

Unfortunately, I realize that I’ve been neglecting this blog lately. I can only blame myself for that. 🙂

A few updates seem in order at least.

The latest book is past the copyeditors and headed to the layout department. Page proofs should be in my hands in a couple months, with release scheduled for sometime in the upcoming Autumn.

My employer (a community college) is taking a very careful approach to re-opening campus. Currently we’re at something under 5% of classes being face-to-face (F2F), and even those are largely the ones that require hands on work (ex. some nursing courses). Summer, the plan’s 10-15% with potential for some limited offices. Autumn, about 25-30% F2F with a comparative services opening. All of which is good and smart (unlike the approaches in some other states and institutions; one friend’s CC has been open F2F continuously through the pandemic).

In the meantime, I put pen to paper for a third book. Just starting notes for an introduction so far, but it’s started. Reviewing a few things, I think there are definitely two, possibly three, books left in me. The first (third) is built out of old posts here. The second is a hybrid of what my dissertation was going to be at the start (before I narrowed focus for time) and a few articles I thought about writing years ago. The third is more nebulous at the moment, as the rough idea occurred to me and I haven’t developed it yet. I’m not even sure if the last is a “book” or a collection of essays (edited anthology), e.g. me alone or a collaborative effort.

To explore the last option, I’m thinking I’l probably put together some posts here, to organize and mess with my thoughts on the subject. Eventually.

Manuscripts Away!

And the manuscript has been delivered to McFarland Pub. Well, uploaded to their ftp server.

Either way, it’s out of my hands for a month or two and that’s another stage of the publication process complete.

Just their editorial review, revision based on that, proofreading page proofs, and indexing to go.

TIL Academic History

TIL:
In the 1360s, annual tuition at Glouster College, Oxford was equivalent to the annual income of a master craftsman or lawyer.

In the 1360s, people were bemoaning the declining standards at Oxford.

In the 1360s, people were excoriating the behavior of Oxford students, particularly their treatment of books.

(Related & quoted in “The Light Ages: The Surprising Story of Medieval Science” by Seb Falk)

There is a Doctor in the House

Dr. Jill Biden

Doctor Jill Biden

Yes, she needs to use her earned title. Because representation matters. Because the archaic views of misogynistic fossils need to be slain & buried. As do their paternalistic, denigrating, condescending tones and language (particularly when directed at women who are better educated & more accomplished than they are).

Quiet

My apologies for seemingly abandoning this blog. It has not been intentional. It’s been a time and, in some ways, interest thing.

Between online teaching (which isn’t too bad, except for the number of students whom I really feel I could have helped pass the class if we’d been f-2-f) and tutoring (which is much more difficult online), my desire to be online and do serious, productive things has diminished. Add in book edits and that’s more screen time sucked away.

My creativity has been shifted to worldbuilding for fun, as a priority. Blogging hit the bottom of the heap, after work, family, book, kittens, and mindless writing.

On the fun side, we’ve been streaming Star Trek: Discovery and enjoying it as well as The Mandalorian. I’ve caught and enjoyed Umbrella Academy (Netflix) and The Order (Netflix). Wife’s been glued to The Crown (Netflix).

New Book In Progress

I know things have been quiet around here. Part of that’s Covid, family stuff, and work. Part of it is that things have been moving and shaking behind the curtain.

The result is that about mid-October, I sent a query letter to McFarland Books. Got a positive response in less than 24 hours. Sent out a full proposal a few days later.

Yesterday, I signed a contract to publish a book built out of the series of posts about magic from 2016 (tagged Magic Series). I need to add at least another 7,000 words, and have it all revised for delivery by mid-February. So, if things go well, it should be on shelves around May 2021.