Tag Archive for Science Fiction

AWARD ELIGIBILITY POST

So it’s that time of the year again, when the voting periods open for all kinds of spiffy SF/F awards. Now, let’s be honest, I’m fairly new to this field as a pro (but certainly not as a fan) so anything I write is going to be up against works by authors with a list of publication credits as long as their arm (or longer, in some cases).

In the era of internet self-promotion, it’s nearly impossible for a writer to sit back and wait for discovery. In fact, I’d wager discoverability is just as hard for new and upcoming authors as it is for a brand-new indie app in the Apple store.

I have two pieces published for you to consider. Both were released in May 2018 as inaugural pieces by indie publisher imprint “Strange Fuse”.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKTYRS8

WISHES FOLDED INTO FANCY PAPER,
a novelette length piece of science fiction (a little more “social sci-fi” than my usual pew-pew with robots stuff).

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKYXT1M

THE GOPHERS OF HIGH CHARITY
a novella-length fantasy about the adventure that sets two street urchins on the path to becoming classic adventurers. This one’s the first in a planned series, so if you like it, keep your eye out for more in 2019.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is All About Trust

Trust me.

I want to talk a little bit about trust in the Star Wars Solo movie.

Because, at it’s core, that’s what this whole film is about.  Trust. Trust that Solo will end up where he needs to be to put him on his path to the original trilogy.  Trust between characters. Trust that the filmmakers are going to do right by the audience.

Normally, when you build out a backstory or you build a narrative for a character you spend a certain amount of time reeling the viewer in.  You show them that one time our hero managed to fight off a pack of wild dogs with a stick of chewing gum and a whistle. You show the audience why this hero is the hero and thereby build the tension through camaraderie.  With Solo, the audience knows already, but the other characters in the film do not. The onus of trust, the leap of faith should be placed on the characters rather than the viewers. And we, as the audience, know that our hero is up to the task.  Our joy should come from the rest of the characters finally joining us.

And this is where it gets interesting.  Never, at any point in the film, do we (or anyone in the film other than Qui’ra, who grew up with the guy) get evidence of Han’s skill first. We don’t know if Han is a decent pilot, if he actually knows how to play cards, if he’s even capable of shooting first at this point.  We know he *will be* in the future, but this is a younger man. As an audience we are asked, repeatedly, to trust Han with only foreknowledge at our fingertips, no any real indicator of his past.  We never get to see him gamble until a critical moment depends on it, we never get to see him pilot until a critical moment depends on it, so many of these moments in the movie are relying on the fact that we know who Han will be eventually.  

This entire movie revolves around trust.

In a heist movie full of criminals and bad-actors (the character type, not the actual actors) trust becomes the key central point.  The entire plan holds together remarkably well until the moment that that trust is broken (by the one guy who told us not to trust him).  Roll into that our trust in the filmmakers to get Han where he needs be by the end, to the trust that the writers and the actors understand the archetype rogue that Han Solo has become after so many decades as a part of the public consciousness, this film takes that one core idea and threads it through all levels of the experience.  

 

Before Leia dropped the “Princess”

I have to admit, when I was younger, I always hated Princess Leia (I knew nothing of Carrie Fisher, the person, until decades later so for me, at the outset, there was only Leia). Perhaps not the most popular idea right now, when so many women are coming out and citing her as their inspiration, their role model, the quintessential “non-princess”.  As her character evolved (and I grew older), my opinions of that character certainly changed for the better (particularly when she took out Jabba the Hut), but for a very long time the idea of Leia was tainted by how she was translated into real-life.

Princess Leis in her detention cell.

Post the release of Star Wars, this was the only subject on which all the kids in the neighborhood could agree to play.  Every group game became Star Wars, no more Cowboys and Indians, no more Firefighters and Forest fires, which was AWESOME for a while.  Everyone on the block had seen the movie (some had actually seen it TWICE, which was almost unheard of) so we all had a common world to build on.

Except for that annoying “Princess” thing.

In practical application, Leia got categorized with every other Princess (note the Capital “P”). Nobody remembered that she was the only one other than Han who could shoot straight.  Nobody remembered that she had kept her secrets under torture, that she was the one who stepped up to lead when Han and Luke’s half-baked rescue plan unraveled.  She had Princess in her name and that meant one thing only.

Whomever played her had to sit on the sidelines and wait until someone bothered with a rescue.

So for a very very long time, I HATED Princess Leia and would simply bow out of any game that involved her.  There was never a win to be had, I had to be Leia because I was the girl.  Fortunately, the boys in the neighborhood took the hint and we eventually agreed on an “invisible” Princess who would wait and do all the boring things until the game came back around to rescue-time (yeah, okay that may not have been a “better” solution per-se, but we were little and it solved the immediate problem).

I feel that a lot of people forget where the world was back in the 70’s when this film was first released.  That girls were still supposed to be “girly” and boys were supposed to be “heroes in training”.  The value (to me) in the Star Wars franchise, is not that they provided a strong female character to identify with in science fiction, because at the outset they didn’t, not in real concrete terms.  Instead over time that character evolved.  The writers and showrunners learned and grew and took a character that was supposed to be a slightly more exciting Girl in a Tower and turned her into force to be reckoned with.