Tag Archives: star wars

Where Has All The New Sci-Fi Gone?

With the upcoming release of the new Star Wars film, Episode VII – The Force Awakens, The Atlantic posted an article called When Science Fiction Stopped Caring About the Future.

This article tackles the idea that Science Fiction as a genre has given up on new ideas because the movie industry just keeps recycling old sci-fi franchises into new movies. To quote the article:

It’s not just Star Wars either. Science fiction is everywhere in popular culture, and it seems like it’s managed to be everywhere in the present by largely jettisoning the future. The massive, major franchises are all decades-old; the triumphal rhythmic successes of Star Wars and Star Trek and Dr. Who vie with sporadic reboots of Robocop or Planet of the Apes. Even newer stories, like The Hunger Games or Divergence feel less like fresh visions than like re-toolings of stagnant dystopias. Poor George Orwell wants his panopticon back.

While I agree that Hollywood has been rehashing old movies or YA dystopian fiction that is reminiscent of older sci-fi, this article got me wondering about sci-fi as a book genre. Is this too happening in the world of books or just in the realm of movies?

How to Raise a Star Wars Book Nerd

I have to confess my nerdiness, although I’m not really sure that I have done a good job at hiding it. Not only am I a bookworm, I am a Star Wars aficionado. Some people say “Fan Boy,” but that makes me feel like a little kid. Having these two hobbies/interests/obsessions comes with its own struggles; of course one of them is fighting the ladies off with a stick. I love reading and I love Star Wars, but sometimes people do not have the same passion that I feel when these two topics arise. So you can imagine my fears when I found out that my wife was pregnant. What if he hates books? What if he doesn’t love Star Wars? And worst of all, what if he likes Jar-Jar?

I have a very young cousin (now in middle school) who loves books and reading. I buy her books whenever I can to encourage her love of reading. I made a deal with her a few years ago that any book that I gave her I would read too, and we could enjoy it together as part of our shared interest. Naturally, the first book I gave her was Star Wars themed. She loved it. Now I have my own son and I want him to be raised with the force as part of his life, but more importantly I want him to appreciate the written word. How could I ensure that I raise him to love reading?

I have found a solution to this problem that eases my concerns. Listed below are a few wonderful Star Wars themed books written for children; well, written for parents wanting to brainwash their children into loving the same franchise that they were raised on.

Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown

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This was actually the first book we purchased for our son while my wife was pregnant. It is mostly a picture book with little dialogue and it is about the struggles that Darth Vader encounters as part of being a father. Some of these include Luke getting a boo-boo, Vader digging Luke out of the compactor, and even Vader/son naptime. Brown has also written Vader’s Little Princess which is about the Dark Lord’s little girl, Leia. This was the first book I read to my son, but mostly I just show him the pictures and say things like “look son, a lightsaber,” or “that’s Darth Vader.”

I Strike Thee Quickly with My Light Saber

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Don’t you love when two of your favorite things collide to make one super-awesome thing? Peanut butter and chocolate? Amazing. Rum and Coke? Delicious. Bacon and milkshakes? Well, that might be an acquired taste, but you get the idea. Last year I stumbled upon another exciting marriage of two seemingly opposite things: Shakespeare and Star Wars.

Ian Doescher, who in my opinion should be canonized as a saint, has rewritten the Star Wars films in beautiful iambic pentameter. It is truly a unique way to once again enjoy the saga from a galaxy far, far away.

And I haven’t even mentioned the best part. Doescher has provided an educator’s guide on his website. This is a wonderful way to introduce students to Shakespeare in a new and creative way. Of course you are mixing two nerdy things and that might not fly over so well at first, but the beauty of this lesson is how someone can find deeper meaning, compare themes across genres, and use poetic devices within the text. That covers a couple standards. Even students who are not fans of the holy Trilogy will be impressed at how Doescher transformed one medium by using another.

The Educator’s guide has mini lessons on iambic pentameter, themes, and comparisons between Star Wars and some of Shakespeare’s most famous works (including Henry V, Richard III, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Julius Caesar just to name a few). The guide also includes information on Shakespearean devices and how they are used in context. The educator’s guide legitimately turns a novelty quirky book into an awesome Shakespearean introduction for all students.

Movie Haikus

Buzzfeed ran a cute listicle (list+article, emphasis on the list part) turning Disney movies into haikus. We all found it pretty amusing:

(Credit: Buzzfeed)
(Credit: Buzzfeed)
(Credit: Buzzfeed)

I liked these so much I figured I’d making a writing exercise based off of this article—I was going to turn other movies I liked into funny haikus.

You see, this week I’m going to revise and edit some of my own poetry and submit it for publication. I know that writing these haikus will help warm up my creative bone, and I plan on having fun with it all at the same time. In my book, warming up and having fun at the same time is a win-win.

Haikus are a great poetic form to warm up with. They have a controlled meter that force the writer to not only think of syllabic count, but to be extra careful when selecting words. Each word used in a poem adds meaning and counts towards the overall message/theme of the poem, but this is especially true with a haiku where there are so few words, a writer really can’t spare any.

Without further ado, here are some movies I made into haikus:

Star Wars:

In a galaxy
Far, far away. Incest and
You know, clones and stuff.

Author Spotlight : M.D. Waters

AuthorSpotlightBanner_Waters

M.D. Waters is the author of Archetype. She lives in Maryland with her family. Archetype, now available from Dutton Books, is her first novel. Its sequel, Prototype, will be published July 2014. An excerpt from Archetype is available at the bottom of this post.

The Poetics Project: Describe your book in ten words or less.

M.D. Waters: An amnesiac pieces together her past from contradictory dreams.

Archetype_Final
Buy the book from:
Amazon
IndieBound

TPP: What inspired you to write Archetype? Was it other books, movies, art?

M.D.: I was inspired by a lot of years listening to my dad’s conspiracy theories. His “What If” questions. Combine that with movie images I’ve never forgotten—Luke Skywalker in a tank of water from Empire Strikes Back, and women sleeping in a gym from the Handmaid’s Tale—and the world sort of built itself.

TPP: In the novel, Emma has dreams about her past life. How did you go about writing those dreams? How difficult is it to write them so your readers know that character is dreaming?

M.D.: I don’t have an answer for how I wrote about them because I didn’t really have a plan. The entire novel was written with very little thought about where to go next, and I sort of felt my way through the plot points I’d typically plot ahead of time. The only thing I made sure of was to make sure the three sets of sequences followed a timeline of events.

I wrote them in italics to separate them from the rest of the text, but I had audiobooks in mind while writing as well. So I made Emma respond to the dream in some way. In the beginning, they are actual dreams, so she’d wake up and react to them. Later, she has them while awake, so she’d trip or something of that nature in surprise.

Modernizing Classics

I went to Barnes & Noble’s the other day and at the end of the checkout line I found this, and I had to buy it:

I think this might be the ultimate cosplay costume.

So, of course, I bought this book and started reading it while my friend drove us to lunch. While reading this book, I couldn’t help but be reminded of another series of classics that a modern writer had adapted into something new:

I think I prefer beards on dudes over tentacles.
Ah yes, a classic story of love and ninja swords.

I have read all of these books, but on top of reading these new fun versions, I have read things by the original authors – Jane Austen and William Shakespeare.

Reader, I am torn. While I recognize that modern readers don’t always enjoy the classics and these modern spins can make the Star Wars loving and zombie apocalypse preparing masses enjoy a spin on a classic that might act as a gateway to actually reading the classics, I am going to flat out say that these are just not good writing.

For The Girl Who Loves Books, Nerd Culture, and Thongs

My friend Kaylee, an English Lit major at UCLA, has an Esty.com shop in which she sells t-shirts, notebooks, and, of course, thongs that are, as I like to call it, nerd culture and book themed because, why not? Her stuff is cute and she gets a ton of sales around Christmas. We’ve talked about good gifts for writers before, and I think these are fun gifts to get a significant other who loves books or hell, even for someone to get themselves if they are a big enough fan. Below are some items from her shop I adore.

Snape Panties for the girls that love Snape(aka every girl who reads Harry Potter)