Stephen's blog

Book reviews

Writers read, it's a given. Other writers influence how we approach ideas, what we can discover from successful books, abd what we don't like. While I read a lot, i don't review a lot. Below are the book that I have decided, arbitrarily, to review.
 

Luke's Father

As we approach the debut of The Last Jedi, and may get an answer to Rey’s parentage, I thought I’d look back on the great reveal about Luke’s father, and how we reacted to that news. Back to 1980. We were more critical, more cynical (already!) and harder on things like the effects errors that we saw on screen than we had been three years earlier. But what engaged us most in post-viewing discussion was the burning question: Was Darth Vader really Luke’s father? READ ON

Thank You Christopher Tolkien

Right off the bat I want to do exactly what the title says and thank Christopher Tolkien for his decades of diligent management, guidance, and protection of the legacy of his father, J.R.R. Tolkien. As you may have heard, Christopher, now 93, resigned from managing his father’s estate this past August.

Some media companies are apparently rushing to try to acquire new rights or projects from the estate, now that the man seen as “the biggest hurdle” to their progression is gone. READ MORE

Twitter Translations UPDATED

Real time translation is great. It even mostly works, some of the time. Facebook has gotten pretty good at it, from what I see. Friends’ posts in Korean or Japanese translate pretty well. When Arabic friends write in Arabic the translation seems pretty accurate - when they use a western keyboard and a phoneticized short hand, Facebook usually fails. But I don’t hold that against Facebook. They’re trying and doing a pretty good job.

Twitter, on the other hand…

Yeah, not so much.

READ ON

Spice World - the seminal Dune story

Everyone knows Dune (you do, don't you? If not, why are you here?), and if you’ve even given this blog a cursory glance, you know that lately I’ve been obsessing about Dune more than a little.

I happened to chance onto a book called The Road to Dune in a local second-hand book store. Within this book, along with deleted or early draft scenes from Dune and Dune Messiah, was a novella called Spice World.

Brian Herbert detailed in the introduction that this story came from his father’s notes - a detailed chapter by chapter breakdown of the story. But Frank had abandoned this story, making a new start and creating Dune.  READ ON

Star Trek Discovery is not the Star Trek We Need

1966 was a time of rebellion in America: The Civil Rights movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the Free Love movement, were all on the rise. People were pissed — at the government, at the establishment, at each other, and at the ‘other.’

Along came a TV show called Star Trek (now referred to as The Original Series, or just ToS). In the show, we had gotten past our differences, we had gotten past greed, we’d molded the establishment. We were out to make the known world a better place for everyone, and we were actively seeking out new members. It was a very positive, stabilizing message.

Fast forward to today.

READ MORE
(Spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery episodes 1&2; The Orville episodes 1-3)

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