Thursday, January 21, 2021

Where to now for The Mandalorian?

 


I think The Mandalorian is the best thing that has happened to Star Wars in several years – since Rogue One, in fact.

The Mandalorian is set in the Star Wars universe after the demise of the Empire. Removing Vader and his Emperor would have started the process but it would have taken years for the still-powerful Empire to fall completely – and even more for the New Republic to take over. Out there in the frontier regions pockets of Imperial loyalists would use what muscle they still had. We see Imperial stormtroopers in grubby white armour co-existing with bounty hunters and bandits. Law and order is sporadic and local. I can imagine this is the sort of thing that would have happened as the Roman Empire crumbled so I find that setting eminently convincing, made more so because I know what happened to the Empire in the past.

The show has been described as a spaghetti western in space and that's pretty accurate. In each new episode, the Mandalorian (a mysterious man in a mask) arrives in a new setting, looking for a way to reunite Baby Yoda with his own kind. That quest is the thread that ties the series together. Mando is usually told he can have the information he seeks if he carries out a certain task – which, of course, he does.

The Star Wars background is always there. In the first series we had a number of blasts from the past. In one of the earliest scenes in episode one Mando strides through a frontier town and we spy a creature being roasted on a spit. It's the same species as the nasty little critter we saw in Revenge of the Jedi sitting next to Jabba in his palace, enjoying Leia's torment. When Mando takes on the bounty, he is assisted by Kuiil, an Ugnaught who had been indentured to the Empire. The Ugnaughts appeared in The Empire Strikes Back in Cloud City, scavenging parts which turned out to be sections of C3P0, who had been blasted by Imperial troops. IG-11, the bounty-hunting droid, first appeared on the bridge of the star destroyer Executor in The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader sent out bounty hunters to find the Millennium Falcon. And so it goes.

In the first season, we never saw a Jedi – although it was clear that Baby Yoda had the power. The characters were fresh and new, with no lingering nostalgia about the Skywalker legacy.

 
 
 Enter season two. We still have the spaghetti western vibe, with each new episode a new adventure. In the first episode, Mando returns to Tatooine to help kill a krait dragon, which looks remarkably like Dune's sand worms. You might remember the skeleton on a sand dune, in shot as we see C3PO struggling in the desert early on in A New Hope.) We meet a group of Mandalorians who don't keep their helmets on at all times. They are true Mandalorians, from the planet Mandalore who want to regain control of their planet. (That's a bit of history you'll find in the animated Clone Wars series.) They want the dark sabre, a symbol of Mandalorian kingship currently in the possession of the series villain, Moff Gideon.

In a later episode we meet Ahsoka Tano, a Jedi who had been Anakin Skywalker's padawan. And then Boba Fett reappears. It seems the legends were right – he survived being ingested by the Sarlacc (Return of the Jedi).

I loved the final episode of season two of the Mandalorian. I was on the edge of my seat several times and found the ending – frankly, quite astonishing and very convincing.

And yet…

To me, the Mandalorian is a masked stranger riding into town to right wrongs, the Lone Ranger in space. He's a tough, resourceful individual – but he doesn't have any super powers. He's not a force-wielder. I hope the producers don't go down the Skywalker path. Keep on setting fun stories in that Galaxy far, far away but don't try to resurrect the old characters as was done in Solo: A Star Wars Story. And keep the Jedi encounters to a minimum.

After that final episode, after the credits, there is a short teaser starring Boba Fett. I gather, though, that The Book of Boba Fett is a spin-off, not The Mandalorian season three. It should be fun.

And for those who like flashing light sabres, Ahsoka Tano apparently gets her own series, too, set within the timeline for The Mandalorian. Ahsoka will debut on Disney Plus around Christmas 2021. 

Disney has finally admitted there will be a Kenobi series, starring Ewan McGregor. It sounds promising.

So there'll be plenty to see in the Star Wars Universe. What The Mandalorion season three will bring is anybody's guess. There's plenty of room for more content, for instance the battle to regain control of Mandalore. And what actually happened to Moff Gideon? And why do they want Grogu's blood?..

But please, please, please - nothing resembling The Force Awakens. Please. 

And since you're here... one of my books is part of the Our Heroes story bundle. You can buy 4 full books for $5 or 11 for $15. It's great value and part of the profit goes to Hero Dogs which helps to support veterans returning to civilian life. Here's my contribution

Interested? Pop over to Story Bundle and check it out


 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Get yourself a story bundle and help Hero Dogs

 


The hero is at the core of every great story—facing fierce foes, defying death, fighting for the greater good... The Our Heroes Sci-Fi StoryBundle celebrates the men and women who undertake an epic journey, sacrificing so that others may be spared pain and suffering.

Our collection features a robust range of science fiction books from subgenres ranging from space opera to time travel to galactic exploration. These novels have been handpicked based on their excellent reviews, professional editing and covers, and, of course, superior storytelling—all curated especially for you, our loyal readers.

Keeping with our heroic theme, a portion of our proceeds goes to benefit Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit corporation that "improves quality of life for our nation's heroes by raising, training, and placing service dogs and other highly skilled canines, free of charge with lifetime support of the partnerships." – Melissa Snark

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For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you're feeling generous), you'll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.

         For the Greater Good by Greta van der Rol

         Pets in Space 5 edited by Pauline Baird Jones

         Command Decision by S.E. Smith

         Star Cruise: Outbreak by Veronica Scott

 

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus seven more! That's 11 books total!

         The Caledonian Gambit by Dan Moren

         Central Galactic Concordance Boxed Set by Carol Van Natta

         Archangel Project by C. Gockel

         Apocalypse How? by Galen Surlak-Ramsey

         Abendau's Heir by Jo Zebedee

         The Auriga Project by M.G. Herron

         One Two Punch by Pauline Baird Jones

 

This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com/scifi. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub, .mobi) for all books, and .pdf for half of them!

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Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

         Get quality reads: We've chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.

         Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that's fine! You'll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.

         Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there's nothing wrong with ditching DRM.

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         Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you'll get the bonus books!

 

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.

For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.

About Spacefreighters Lounge

Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.