Friday, December 22, 2017

From Everyone at
Spacefreighters Lounge
Enjoy the Season!
See You Next Year


It's the usual pre-Christmas chaos at my house right now, so no post this week or next. Check out my personal video message, in case you haven't seen it yet, here.

In the meantime:

Cheers, Donna

Thursday, December 21, 2017

I'm over the moon

(C) Greta van der Rol
There are two reasons for that title. The first is because, after a depressing several days of believing I'd lost all the photos I took on my last European holiday, and my trip over to Perth to catch up with my friend, I located them. It's a messy business being old. I explain all that over at my personal blog. To say I was relieved to recover the pictures is an understatement. A tour of Europe is not exactly cheap - although if I could do it again with better weather and less illness it might be worth my while. Still, it's never the same the second time around, and despite the occasional travail, there were some magic moments.

Back up your data, people. It's very, very important.

The second reason is that it seems The Last Jedi doesn't suck. Opinion is certainly mixed, but I'd expect that. I'm heartened by the fact that several people whose opinions I respect are saying it's exceptionally good. That means I'm looking forward to seeing the DVD out in the stores so I can watch it for myself.

The third reason is that Timothy Zahn has written another Thrawn book - which is hardly surprising. Although I wouldn't say it was brilliant, I enjoyed the novel Thrawn enough to have read it twice, and will no doubt read it again because that's how I roll. The new book is called Thrawn: Alliances and it's out for pre-order as an ebook. The description is mouth watering.

"Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Vader ally against a threat to the Empire in this new novel from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

The sequel to Sunday Times bestseller Thrawn, Thrawn: Alliances will continue to follow the rise of Grand Admiral Thrawn to the heights of Imperial power—and accompany him into the past, witnessing his first encounter with the man who will one day become Darth Vader."

I've also bought Neil de Grasse-Tyson's book, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Excellent holiday reading. And look at that - over two THOUSAND reviews for a work of non-fiction! I wonder if he's FB friends with any of those people? Maybe fellow authors?

And as soon as we all recover from The Last Jedi, next year in March we'll be seeing the young Han Solo movie, imaginatively titled Solo. More things to look forward to!

This is my last post for the year. I want to wish everyone a wonderful solstice, however you celebrate the turning of the season. 'Traditional' Christmas is such a very cold climate, Northern Hemisphere thing. Here in Australia it's the start of the Summer holidays, where we enjoy surfing, the beach, cold beer in the shade, maybe a few fresh prawns (shrimp) on the barbie. And really, it doesn't matter, does it? It's about caring and sharing. Enjoy.

Catch you all in 2018.

(C) Greta van der Rol

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Farewell 2017 (and good riddance!)

While 2016 was tragic in terms of world events and celebrity deaths, 2017 has pretty much rocked my personal world...and not in a good way. Most of it I can't and/or don't want to talk about, partly because we've managed to move on from those bumps in the road (bumps? Gaping, lava/spider/alien filled chasms more like!) and are happily putting them behind us.
They did make me reconsider an awful lot of things, especially my writing life, to the point where I wasn't merely talking about giving up - I was totally ready to hit the Unpublish buttons at the surviving retail sites and never type another word.
But apparently even in the worst of times, I still can't give this writing habit up. Publishing on the other hand...well, despite that I did still manage to publish one new title this year (though I was close to going my first year since 2011 without a new release).
A Scifi Romance Novella
Love can come when it’s least expected... 

When an injured alien crashes on her planet, Soraya follows her instinct to repair and restore it despite the challenge of their differing physiology. But as she gets closer to her patient and he recovers, Soraya confronts a whole new form of existence...and a desire that could destroy her completely. 

Yoran chose exile in order to release the woman he thought his soulmate from a marriage contract she had no wish to fulfill, and almost paid for it with his life. Now he finds himself drawn to his alien savior. But how can he ask her to give up the only existence she knows when he’s already suffered the consequences of such a sacrifice himself? 

However, this writing lark is now relegated to a hobby, and publication relies on time and having the money to finance edits and cover art. That situation hasn't improved since I made the move to royalties alone having to finance publication. I might have got myself a paying day job now, but the money from that is going into the family funds so of no benefit to my publishing finances. My books have to be self sufficient, and if that means only releasing one book a year, so be it.

So what did I achieve on the writing front this year? Well:
I wrote 31371 new words, including 11K during NaNoWriMo.
I edited nearly 80K, with Reunion finally back to my editor last week and hopefully with a release date up coming.
I released Unexpected, my first alien contact romance, some two years after starting it.
I've now accumulated 700 ratings on Good reads with 17 titles released.
I have lots of plans in my head but other than Reunion I've no firm release dates for anything as yet.

The Last Jedi
I promised my fellow crew mates a spoiler free quickie review, but find myself unable to do so after seeing the film. I've been in love with Star Wars since I was eight years old. After an exciting, twist turny romp through the galaxy that had me crying both in sadness but also many happy tears almost nonstop, the last ten minutes killed it. For me, the saga might just be over with Episode Eight. We shall see (and that's all I'm going to say on the subject).

This is my final post at Spacefreighters for 2017. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and May the Force be with you however you celebrate this time of year.

Love and luck, Pippa Jay. xx

Monday, December 18, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Non-Spoiler Review)

Images property of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or Walt Disney Studios
As promised here's my review of the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I'll make it as non-spoilery as humanly possible for the many who haven't seen the film yet (even though I'm dying to talk details). But that's not to say it may not contain some hint-ery and scene specifics later on. I'll give you fair warning.

Admittedly, I went into the movie with a skeptical "don't you dare ruin the franchise!" attitude. After 40 years of loving Star Wars and everything it stands for, I was so fearful that Hollywood was going to totally fumble this crucial middle segment of the new trilogy.

What did I think of the experience? I'll sum it up in three words. I loved it!

Images property of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or Walt Disney Studios

This film manages to not only give homage to the Star Wars legacy, but to break out the franchise in new directions with a decidedly bold take and a hint at a limitless future. As one reviewer put it (paraphrasing), this saga has the potential to go on forever.

Images property of Lucasfilm Ltd.
and/or Walt Disney Studios
I saw the IMAX 3-D version of the movie because those were the only premier tickets available, and though not my first choice, it turned out to be an enjoyable option. Though there were a few moments of background blurriness, for the most part the scenes were crisp, clear and not overpowering. There were even a couple of moments where the ships seemed to come right off the screen and float over our heads. Amazing!

The cinematography was mind-blowing, but that's only to be expected of any Star Wars installment. This story literally kept me on the edge of my seat from the opening scene. It's very past-paced, with multiple plot-threads and locations, but with many well-timed "breather" scenes to keep it from becoming a constant car chase.

From here, I get a little more specific, though no major details will be revealed. If you want to be totally in the dark before seeing the film, don't read on.

I have to say this is the first installment where I actually felt like this was an all-out, galaxy-wide war, and not just a few good guys vs. a few bad guys on a planet or some sector of space where the taking out of one key installation would win or lose the war. The scenes had scope, high stakes, complexity and desperation. (And can I just vaguely mention...Poe is freaking certifiable!)

I've always been a huge Luke Skywalker fan, so I loved Luke's expanded role in this film, and even his curmudgeonly rejection of the past. When I saw the last glimpse of Luke in The Force Awakens, I saw an old man. Not so in The Last Jedi.

Images property of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or Walt Disney Studios
Here I glimpsed a man who has only aged on the outside, and still carried the fire of the Force on the inside, even if he's become resentful and disillusioned over past failures.

You remember how Rey hands him his lightsaber at the close of The Force Awakens? That scene is carried forward in an unexpected way. There was one interchange between Luke and an old comrade that took me right back to the early days of the franchise and revealed that despite his decades of struggle and rising to become a powerful master, he also has some very human flaws that will forever be a part of him.

I was amazed or charmed by some of the surprises. I laughed out loud at most of the well-timed jokes. I felt warm fuzzies at some of the visual cues back to early Star Wars days. There was one element that I knew was probably inevitable and I dreaded it--but I think it was handled as beautifully as could be hoped for. It actually left me nodding my head in a "well played" acknowledgement at the dignity and honor of how it came about.

This installment managed to avoid an emotional bottomless pit--a feeling of utter shock and horrible grief like I felt when Han Solo took a lightsaber to the gut and fell to his doom in The Force Awakens. Or when Jyn and Cassian were engulfed by the shockwave from the Death Star at the end of Rogue One. Those scenes had the potential to end my fanship forever. But in time, I managed to survive even those black moments to love Star Wars again. The Last Jedi is largely responsible for that. 

There was one WTF moment for both David and me. A scene where a new character was revealed, and she's a look-alike for co-blogger Sharon Lynn Fisher! It turned out to be well-known actress Laura Dern, but the resemblance was uncanny. To the point where I thought, "Wow, Sharon didn't tell me she had a part in Star Wars!" (Sharon, you'll have to let me know what you think if you see it.)

Along with all the good came a few things that felt a little off.

I had a couple of moments where "suspension of disbelief" became a little difficult. For one, a bomber in space? I'm sorry, but no. Space has no gravity, those bombs are not going to "fall." They're going to float away. But that's always been part of the Star Wars brand--starships that roar (no sound in a vacuum), bank (no air resistance in a vacuum), and now--drop bombs. After some thought, I gave them a pass in that the bombardier mechanism might possibly carry enough power to propel the bombs on a trajectory toward the enemy craft. Okay. Acceptable.

Images property of Lucasfilm Ltd.
and/or Walt Disney Studios
I also had some moments of discomfort when the power of the Force was revealed in all its glory. If the Force is that damned powerful that it allows individuals this level of manipulation of nature and physics--and sometimes even to return from beyond the grave--there would be no need for bombs, blasters or fighters. No need for opposing fleets at all. The all-powerful Force would decide everything based on who was the stronger conduit and could use it in the most clever, deceptive or effective ways. It would simply be a war of champions of the Force--the Light Side against the Dark Side of its spectrum.

And if Jedi Masters never die, why couldn't a ghost army of former Jedis materialize from the past (much like the impressive ghost army in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), because, yeah, Dark Side... game over! For that matter, why couldn't the redeemed Anakin Skywalker simply return to have a long chat with his adoring grandson about the error of his ways. (Apparently only Jedi Masters and not Dark Sith Lords have this power to return.)

But I digress. As a writer, my mind tends to explore both the what if's... and the but wait's...

These little glitches in logic did not in any way ruin or taint the grand experience for me. And it truly was grand.

Though definitely not a "happy feel good" ending with a triumphant ceremony or a big party as in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, it offered a feeling of tenuous victory but a very ominous challenge for the Rebels/Resistance, one from which it will take them a long time to recover. Perhaps...another generation? also concluded with a surprise--a completely unexpected, yet perfectly set-up scene that left me with a feeling of wonder and hope that I haven't felt in, ohhh, about forty years.

At the start of the closing credits--and a bittersweet tribute to "Our Princess," the late actress Carrie Fisher--Star Wars: The Last Jedi left me with a wistful and satisfied smile and a strong desire to see it again--soon!--to catch all the nuances and details I may have missed the first time in my wide-eyed amazement.

I honestly couldn't have been happier with this new addition to the series. Waiting another two years to see where they're going to take the saga is going to be tough. Fortunately, I'll have the distraction of Solo--a segment about Han Solo's early days--to look forward to next summer.

In the Go/No Go rating system we use here in the Lounge, I rate The Last Jedi a resounding GO!

And as always, my opinion may or may not reflect those of my co-bloggers.


Please note that after this week, Spacefreighters Lounge will go dark until after the holidays.

Wishing you a wonderful time with friends and families and a very happy close of the year.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Snippet Saturday: Alien Contact #firstcontact #scifirom

Since Laurie has kicked off a new tradition of weekend excerpts, I thought I'd share one of my newest release before I go offline for Christmas. This is my first alien contact SFR, and in this snippet it's clearly not going well despite good intentions...
I will heal you... The voice, soft as starlight, caressed his thoughts and held the pain at bay. He floated in golden light, warm and comforting. The terrible agony and fear had faded to dim and distant aches, as if it had been nothing but a nightmare. He’d never felt so at peace or so safe. This was heaven.
The thought stabbed into his mind, jolting him from the calm. He remembered his ship rocking under weapons fire, shaking him in his seat like some helpless creature in the jaws of a predator. The blare of emergency sirens, and the irresistible yank of gravity pulling his ship downward in a crazy, out of control spiral. The impact that had shattered every bone in his body and left him choking in a toxic atmosphere.
Cold bled through him, and yet even facing those memories didn’t shake him out of the euphoria. Damn it, I must be dead. I was dying. And now I don’t care about any of it. That wasn’t normal. If he was alive he should be in pain, his craft a wreck around his equally broken body. He should be panicking over being stranded on an alien planet, while at the same time terrified his family would catch up with him. Especially dad. Yoran shuddered. Oh, frick. If he wasn’t dead, his father would surely kill him.
Relax. The voice that wasn’t really a voice poured more warmth and reassurance over him, and what little fear he’d felt through the fog clouding his mind disappeared.
Why worry? I’m dead. Nothing else can hurt me now. Except he was still thinking and, judging by faint twinges in his body despite the soothing warmth, still feeling. Remembering. Conscious.
Yoran opened his eyes, and white moonlight shone through the fractured plazglass of his front screen. Craggy spires of dark gray rock rose to either side of his view. The landscape was a stark, unfriendly monochrome, with no sign of possible civilization or help.
The euphoria sank into cold, gray despair. He hadn’t dreamt it. He’d crashed into that lifeless lump of rock he’d been trying to avoid as Chevelle’s siblings had pursued his ship and shot him down. Hell knew if he could take off again.
He groaned and closed his eyes, wanting to sink back into that sweet cloud of ignorance he’d surfaced in.
Wait a minute. If I crashed and was in so much pain, why am I okay now?
His eyes crept open again, and he dared to look down, half expecting to see the mangled mess of his body that somehow hadn’t woken him in agony. Instead, something the color and consistency of mercury wrapped his body like a skin suit, the soft gleam of moonlight undulating over it as it pulsed in time with his own heartbeat.
Seksumi!” Yoran leapt to his feet, ignoring the sudden rip of pain through his body as his legs threatened to give under him. But the strange wrap of silver simply moved with him. Worse, he felt it creeping up his neck, warm but smothering.
“Get the hell off me!” He swiped at it, scattering globules of it across the spaceship. He backed away, heart pounding, still trying to swat it from his body. As he retreated, the globules reformed into domed beads on the floor and ran together, forming a larger and larger puddle of metallic liquid that kept coming for him.
“No!” Yoran yanked the weapon from his belt, and fired repeatedly into the silver mass. Parts of it exploded, scattering splats in all directions that simply ran down the walls like water to rejoin the mass. But now it had stopped trying to approach him, forming itself instead into a defensive huddle.
“Get off my ship! Get away from me!” His hand shook as he kept the gun aimed at it. It rolled a few centimeters toward him, and he fired again. This time the silver menace, in a frightening burst of speed, shot up the wall of the ship and squeezed through a hole in the ceiling to disappear.
Yoran collapsed, his shaky legs no longer able to hold him up. Panting, he leaned back against the wall and tried not to throw up.
Love can come when it’s least expected... 

When an injured alien crashes on her planet, Soraya follows her instinct to repair and restore it despite the challenge of their differing physiology. But as she gets closer to her patient and he recovers, Soraya confronts a whole new form of existence...and a desire that could destroy her completely. 

Yoran chose exile in order to release the woman he thought his soulmate from a marriage contract she had no wish to fulfill, and almost paid for it with his life. Now he finds himself drawn to his alien savior. But how can he ask her to give up the only existence she knows when he’s already suffered the consequences of such a sacrifice himself? 

Buy links:

Friday, December 15, 2017


Here we are, less than a week away from the longest night of the year, and I’m feeling the strain. Come back, sun! Don’t leave us here all alone in the dark forever!

It’s primal, this feeling of abandonment and loss as the Earth tilts and turns the face of the northern hemisphere away from Sol. Somewhere deep inside, my cavewoman-brain fears spring will never come again. I fight depression and a tendency to do nothing but eat and sleep. After all, bears hibernate, why not people?

I know I’m not the only one that does this. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a real thing, recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, not as a separate disorder, but as a type (or “specifier”) of depression. Studies have shown that a percentage of the population (ranging from 1.4 percent in Florida to 9.9 percent in Alaska) exhibit the classic symptoms of SAD—depression in the winter months, with problems of oversleeping, lethargy, and a craving for carbohydrates. A slightly higher percentage of people in the U.S. overall may suffer milder symptoms of SAD, which tend to clear up rapidly if they are exposed to sunnier weather. (Of course. Who wouldn’t feel better if offered a two-week vacation in Cancun in the dead of winter?)

I have my own remedies for the relatively mild symptoms of SAD that afflict me this time of year. I get out in the sunlight (what there is of it) for some time almost every day—walking with friends is my favorite activity, but I have been known to play in the snow. And I do my reading under a full-spectrum light. The lamp I use gives me all the wavelengths of full sunlight, and at least 10,000 lux (the equivalent of being outside on a bright spring day).
Then, too, my office is on the south side of my house, built to take advantage of passive solar heating in winter. My cats agree it’s the best place to be on a sunny day in the winter time. (Which should encourage me to work, wouldn’t you think?)

Light therapy (as in exposure to a full-spectrum lamp) has recently been shown to be useful as treatment not only for SAD, but for other forms of depression, according to an article in the December issue of the AARP Bulletin. Says Norman E. Rosenthal, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, D.C., the light works by stimulating the retina, which signals the hypothalamus of the brain, which, among other things, boosts serotonin.

Other studies have used LED lights, worn as a headset, to treat Alzheimer’s patients. Michael Hamblin, principal investigator at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, reports that patients who wore the device for 12 weeks saw a dramatic improvement in their cognitive abilities, an improvement that diminished when they stopped wearing it. When they started wearing it again, they improved again. The scientists believe the light stimulates new cell growth and connections between neurons, a process called photobiomodulation. Though the experiment is in its early stages, they hope to expand its potential to the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury and other brain ailments.

So, until the sun begins its long journey back on December 21, remember that it is better to light a candle (or a whole bunch of them) than to curse the darkness. Let there be light!

Cheers, Donna

*Information for this post taken from "Bright New Remedies," by Christina Ianzito, AARP Bulletin, December, 2017.
Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan (2014). Abnormal Psychology (6th ed.). New York, New York: McGraw-Hill Education. p. 179. ISBN 978-1-259-06072-4.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

I (still) have a bad feeling about this

It’s that time of year again. Christmas? Holidays? Yeah, I guess so. But just before the winter solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere), has become the time for the latest Star Wars episode, and fans can’t wait for the latest offering, pre-ordering tickets, and queuing for hours for the first screening. I’m sure you all know I’m a die-hard Star Wars fan. Have been for many years, since I watched a movie that back then was just Star Wars. Later it became episode 4: A New Hope, after the little SF offering became a mega-hit and evolved into a franchise.

I was meh about the prequels, saw some hope in the cartoon Star Wars Rebels, (because Grand Admiral Thrawn), and waited in star-struck anticipation (tempered by the cynicism that comes with age) for the new dawn in The Force Awakens

It’s no secret that I was underwhelmed with the The Force Awakens. It was episode 4, rewarmed and with a few vegies added. Maybe a sprinkle of cheese. I won’t go into details, maybe there are still some people out there who haven’t seen Star Wars 7, and I expect that would be a good idea before they watch Star Wars 8: The Last Jedi. Way back in May 2017 I said I had a bad feeling about this and my opinion hasn't changed.

The size and importance of the Star Wars juggernaut was illustrated last weekend, when the cover of the Weekend Australian (a respected national newspaper) magazine was devoted to a head shot of Mark Hamill in Luke Skywalker costume for the new movie. Several pages were devoted to an interview with the film’s producer. I read it. Of course. And after reading that interview I (still) have a bad feeling about this.

The pattern was set by The Force Awakens. The heroine, a young girl (Rey), of unknown parentage, discovers by accident that she has Force skills. We are introduced to the senior villain (Snoke) and his apprentice (Kylo Ren), and learn of the First Order (in lieu of an empire) which is bent on oppressing the Galaxy. Oh, and there’s a band of brave rebels, led by General Leia Organa, bent on stopping the First Order. The film ends with Rey handing her/his light sabre back to the Wise Old Man (Luke Skywalker). This is all standard fantasy stuff and the parallels with A New Hope are obvious.There's even a precocious droid to rehash R2D2.

The stage is set and there’s no turning back. The director of  The Last Jedi had to build on that beginning.

Let’s take a look at my very favourite Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back (TESB). (Yes, it’s still better than Rogue One – which I thought was great). It's rare for a sequel to hit the heights of the first movie, but most people agree that TESB was better than its predecessor.

Luke has discovered that the Force is with him. Now it’s time to learn. His past mentor, Obi Wan Kenobi, has voluntarily left the building, although he’s still around on the astral plain, to the extent that he can tell Luke to find the Jedi Master who instructed him. Now, I’m assuming after all these years, and if you’re still reading, a few spoilers won’t be amiss. Really, if you don’t know some of this stuff I’d have to ask which planet you just arrived from. After coming across young Skywalker in the destruction of the Death Star, Darth Vader has become obsessed with finding the young Jedi, which leads to the battle of Dagobah, which the Empire wins. However, Luke slips away to find the Jedi Master. One of THE greatest object lessons in TESB is the little green frog-like being who turns out to be Yoda. Luke’s looking for a great warrior, to which Yoda retorts, “Huh. Wars not make one great”. The whole episode on Dagobah is essentially spiritual as Luke learns the relationship between life and the Force, and the balance between good and evil, light and darkness. Then there’s the denouement. Luke fears for his friends, goes to rescue them, and faces his arch-enemy, Darth Vader, bent on revenge. The choice to fall down that exhaust vent after Vader informs Luke of his parentage is kind of symbolic. He’s reached his lowest point, mentally and physically. When he’s rescued by Leia and Chewie, there’s only one way to go.

Segue to The Last Jedi.

I’ve watched all the trailers. I’ve read a few analyses. Even now, I can see some inevitable similarities. A bit of new hardware appears in this movie, equivalent to my favourite spaceship, Executor from TESB. Snoke has a floating arsenal called Supremacy, and I’m guessing he's obsessed with finding the young Jedi who defeated his protégé, Kylo Ren. Rey has gone for training. We know who the Jedi Master is, but maybe there is another – the Bendu, who appeared in Star Wars Rebels, an entity of both the light and the dark. I’m saying that because of the reference to the ancient Book of Whills. So Rey will get trained. And one way or another, she’ll find out who her parents are/were. (Snoke? Surely not) Then there’s her friends, Po and Finn, who get mixed up in battles with the First Order. Is she going to have to gallop in and attempt to save them? Going by the trailers, the denouement scene involves Rey being tortured in a manner reminiscent of Luke being hit by the Emperor’s Force lightning in Return of the Jedi.

I hope that The Last Jedi isn’t going to be a thinly-veiled rehash of The Empire Strikes Back or maybe TESB plus a few bits from Return of the Jedi. There’s potential for it not to be. It seems Kylo Ren loses his mask, which was a bit of cosplay to emulate his late grandfather. What that means is another matter. Kylo (sans mask and with a scar over his eye just like Grandpa’s) is pictured piloting a TIE fighter. (Which is interesting, because all the other human pilots wear breathing apparatus.) Are we going to see a union of the dark and the light through Kylo and Rey? And that gets a bit sticky for me. Kylo apparently murdered all of his uncle’s Jedi students, and certainly his own father. Forgiving and forgetting… yeah, no.

The movie opens in Australia on 14th December, tomorrow for the UK and US. No, I haven’t pre-ordered tickets. No, I won’t be in the queues for the midnight showing. I don’t think I’ll even see the film at a movie theatre. But I’ll be hangin’ out for the reviews to see if I was dead wrong. Hoping I am, before I watch the DVD to form my own opinion.

Oh - and if you're looking for a last minute, something different present for a die-hard Star Wars fan, s/he might like one of my books - Dryden Universe, Ptorix Empire, and Morgan Selwood are all space opera. You'll be doing a struggling writer a favour too. Merry Christmas - or Holidays if you prefer.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Feel The Conflict: Anticipation Nerves for #TheLastJedi

Have you felt it? In two days time I'm off to see The Last Jedi and I can't help feeling conflicted about it. It was the same for The Force Awakens. I was so excited to see Star Wars return and not only with the original trio but a female lead, yet trepidation over how Disney would handle it. Ultimately I loved it, even if they did play heavily to nostalgia. No, for TLJ I have a whole bunch of new concerns.

1. Will it be as good? For my own personal definition of 'good' that is. Early reactions from the premier seem mostly positive, even super-excited. You can check them out HERE - caution, I didn't see any spoilers but only skim read a few to be sure. I really want to go in with an open mind.

2. Will it progress? While I loved the nostalgia of TFA, Disney can't rely on that forever. They need to move forward, take the franchise in their own direction, and have the characters and universe continue to grow. From what I've read of the first reactions, it appears they've done that.

3. Will it be a repeat of Anakin's story? I never really understood his fall into the Dark Side in the prequels, and they also took what little sympathy I had for Vader and be annoyed over his redemption in RotJ afterwards. I definitely want to see more thought out motivation and reasoning for any relationships, betrayals and redemptions in this new trilogy.

4. Will they rely on special effects over plot? My biggest issue with Valerian, shown this summer, was while it was visually spectacular, the plot was poor (actually, calling it 'poor' is being kind). I felt like they'd spent all their time, money and energy on making it look glorious and threw in the storyline at the last minute. The trailers for TLJ definitely show snippets of some spectacular space battles (where would SW be without those?!) but I hope there's more to them than that.

And lastly, does Luke Skywalker survive?! I'm not going to lie - I'm a Luke girl through and through, ever since I first saw A New Hope at the age of eight and had my very first crush on a certain Tatooine farmboy (sigh). I love angsty heroes. If they kill Luke off...well, I might never be able to watch another Star Wars film ever again. >.<

Next week will be my last post at Spacefreighters as I go offline for the Christmas holidays, but I will post a short, spoiler free (promise!) review to let you know what I thought and if I survived!

Status Update
While I only hit 11K in my final tally for NaNoWriMo, it was all new stuff for a book that will sit between books two and three of my Keir series. It's nowhere near complete but the bare bones are down so I can now build on those. I also finished edits for Reunion, which will be going to my editor at the end of this week. With luck it might finally be ready for release early next year. Right now I'm using a rare snowfall here in the more temperate end of the UK as inspiration to work on my winter solstice SF mystery, another project more than two years in the making (and still not done). Sigh. Maybe next winter...

Chook Update
My girls are NOT enjoying the snow. Yesterday my two older chooks - Kyru and Scoop - refused to come out first thing, although they did venture out later. As I result I've now put food and water inside their nest box, as the last thing they can afford to do in these temperature is to lose weight. After reading up on some advice, I offered them warm porridge this morning and put down some spare barley straw we had to give their feet some protection from the now frozen bark chipping we use in their run. The ungrateful whatsits turned their nose up at the food and refused to go onto the straw even when I threw in some of their favourite treats. However, they did eventually venture out, even if they mostly ended up on their perches. Tomorrow it's supposed to warm back up so hopefully they'll feel a bit better.

See ya!