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Tag Archives: movies

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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One Day in Metropolis (JLA Blog 1)

9 Nov

November 9, 2017

With the impending release of the Justice League movie, which I fully expect to be mediocre at best, I re-present my better, and more realistic, take on Superman. 

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August 15, 2014

Tourist: Look!

Man: Wha?

Tourist: Look! Up in the sky!

Man: Get outta my way, I’m walkin’ here.

Tourist: Seriously, look in the sky!

Woman: I think it’s a bird or something, I dunno, like an owl.

Man: That guy’s nuts.

Tourist: Look! In the sky!

Woman: Now it kinda looks like a plane. It’s just a plane.

Man: Jeez, I’m supposed to get all excited over a bird? This is Metropolis, try to not see a bird or a plane.

Tourist: It’s Superman!

Woman: That’s all? I’m late for my appointment.

Tourist: But it’s Superman!

Man: Let me tell you something about this Superman, pal. Maybe you wazzn’t here back then, but when Brainiac got a mad on and wanted to kill Supes he didn’t go to no Pittsburgh. He showed up right here and stood right in Shuster Square, daring Supes to hit him right in the kisser. Traffic was tied up for miles. Think I got to work that day? No I did not. Lost my job over that. And unemployment don’t take “lost my job cuz of Brainiac” and pay off a jackpot.

Tourist: But what about Lex Luthor, huh? Superman kept him from destroying the Boring Building.

Man: Yeah, but not before Luthor ripped up half the block. Yeah, Superman saved the Boring Building, but what about the Good Chops Diner down the block? They’ve been closed for three weeks tryin’ ta fix it up. My wife used to work there. Let me tell you, there ain’t no work there now.

Tourist: Well, ok, I’m sorry, but wow, look at him. Don’t you wish you could fly like him?

Man: Yeah, I’d fly away to a place where I ain’t got no bills. MetroBank don’t let you pay off your credit cards with Daily Planet coupons.

Tourist: Oh, yeah, I see…

Man: Yeah, great, now you see. You think about that while I’m on line for food stamps. See ya around, I’m late already.

 

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