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February 2022 News Roundup

6 Feb

February 6,2022

I have only one story this month, but it is very important and may save your life.

I had just finished reading a very important article about Kim Kardashian’s cellulite world peace in the New York Post mobile app (their motto: “We’ll Send You Alerts On Whatever We Want”) when I got to the end of the article, the bottom, where all the clickbait articles are, and I saw this:

Mayonnaise? Not on the list.

Good thing I did! I spit out the bite of weed killer sandwich I was about to swallow because maybe weed killer is one of the three deadliest poisons I never, ever, want to ingest. Now I may be willing to take my chances with the fourth or fifth deadliest poison (and number 10? Ha! I laugh at you, great-tasting arsenic) but the top three? Hey, momma only raised one idiot, and she tells me I’m not it, despite being an only child. I’m not messing with one through three.

But the article begs the question, which deadly poisons do I want to ingest? Are there many poisons that it is OK to ingest, or at least not bad? If I had a hankering to drink a glass of toxic snake venom, is that wrong? Should I not do that? Could I have a slice of delicious salmonella?

Well, I’m sorry, but the world may never know since I never did click on that link. I was too busy trying to find out if that’s Peter Dinklage in the Beastie Boys No Sleep Till Brooklyn video.

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My Review of Star Wars: Tarkin, by James Luceno

25 Jan

January 25, 2019

In Star Wars, Grand Moff Tarkin was played by Peter Cushing. He’s easily my favorite character, more villainous in the film than Darth Vader. He’s also played by one of my favorite actors, so when this book came out I went against my better judgement and read a Star Wars novel. I’m glad I did.

I give Tarkin 5 stars, but bear in mind, this 5 star rating is not the same 5 stars I give Flowers for Algernon. This is 5 stars as far as Star Wars books go, a totally different scale. Flowers for Algernon is a triumph of literature. This is a good read.

I generally dislike Star Wars novels. This one, though, breaks the mold. It is more sci-fi than fantasy, ignoring all the Jedi mumbo-jumbo nonsense that other books get bogged down in. In fact, being from the bad guy’s point of view, this has a nicely negative view of the Jedi. It reads more like the old Alan Dean Foster novels, like Splinter of the Mind’s Eye or the original Han Solo novels. It bridges the gap to the New Hope era, disposing of The Clone Wars and entering the better era of Star Wars. If  you need a movie reference point, consider this as happening just before Rogue One.

Peter Cushing

Some reviewers don’t care for the plot, which they dismiss as Tarkin and Vader chasing around some random disposable rebels. They miss the point. This book is all about the backstory. You learn a lot about Tarkin and what molded and motivates him. You also learn a bit about The Emperor and Vader too. The main plot is really just the skeleton that the meat of the backstory hangs on. This is a character study / biography of Grand Moff Tarkin, and as such it works. The novel also explores the relationship between Tarkin and Vader, and for all those who wonder why Vader would take orders from anyone besides the Emperor, let alone someone who isn’t even a force user, this book explains.

The writing is also well done. In fact, just compare it to the two excerpts of novels by other authors that follow it in the paperback edition. Not only is neither the least bit interesting or original, but their writing is clearly not as good. James Luceno may be the only Star Wars writer today worth reading.

 

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