Category Archives: blog

Awesome written content only.

Star Wars: Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens – A Beyond the Films Review

With a backlog of recorded episodes and episodes to record very soonStar Wars Beyond the Films‘ Nathan P. Butler is now posting short, non-spoiler reviews for many new releases. Spoiler-filled discussion will often follow in the weeks thereafter on the podcast. (In the case of minor releases, that discussion may be kept for a Year in Review series of episodes.)


tfagffaa

Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens by Landry Q. Walker (hardcover, 2016)

Back in December 2015, four ebooks were released, featuring four out of six stories to be presented in April 2016 as a new anthology, Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens. Now that April has arrived, so has the hardcover edition of these stories, which includes two new tales exclusive to the print version.

I have previously reviewed the four stories released as ebooks. You can find those reivews here:

This review will focus on the two print-exclusive tales in the anthology, along with a final look at the anthology itself.

A Recipe for Death

The first new story in the hardback print edition of Landry Q. Walker’s Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens anthology is A Recipe for Death. It follows Maz Kanata’s head chef, Strono “Cookie” Tuggs (seen briefly in The Force Awakens) as he investigates the murder of the castle’s sous chef, Robbs Ely. The investigation is held in a “reality television” fashion through a broadcasted cooking competition, wherein the chefs vying for Robbs’ old job are expected to let their guilt slip.

Like The Face of Evil, this is a tale with some darker aspects to it. While it starts off a bit slow, it picks up once the cooking competition starts, and as odd as that may sound, it is a novel enough idea for a Star Wars story that it works well enough here.

True Love

Perhaps the weakest tale of the anthology, True Love puts its focus on junk boss Unkar Plutt. When two of his underlings try to steal some of his hidden riches, they use an artificial intelligence to simulate a female of Unkar’s species to interact with him through what amounts to a dating website.

The tale serves to make Unkar even more of a jerk than in The Force Awakens, but it relies on both the “emotions” of an artificial intelligence and the stupidity of his underlings to play out.

The New Anthology, Taken as a Whole

Fans have wanted a new Star Wars anthology for many years, building on the success of several prior works, particularly the Tales of… anthologies that built upon film characters in the Original Trilogy.

Those works (Tales from the Mos Eisley CantinaTales of the Bounty Huntersand Tales from Jabba’s Palace) featured stories that usually crossed through the events of their respective live action films, and the short stories, written by many different authors, tended to often intersect with each other. They created tapestries that gave more depth to what we saw at Chalmun’s Cantina, in the latter half of The Empire Strikes Back, and at Jabba’s Palace.

Walker’s new anthology (and make no mistake, every story is by the same writer this time) does not make any attempt to have any of its stories cross directly into the events of The Force Awakens, nor do they really interconnect with each other, though such a feat should have been much easier with only a single author. Each story is essentially a standalone outing for characters seen in the background of the film (except Unkar, who is a more prominent character), set an indeterminate time before the film, with no real impact on the film or its context.

The result is an anthology with some interesting, off-beat stories that go from goofy to horror/thriller territory but never seem to actualy matter. Interestingly, one major complaint from the ebook releases of four of the six stories has been addressed, as the final print version does not bear the label of The Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was again mostly inappropriate for the content of the short stories herein. (To me, that actually makes the anthology a bit of an easier sell: you will not find yourself spending the entire time reading wondering why it was labeled as part of the journey to a film it has little to do with.)

Having now looked at each story in turn, along with the book concept in general, it appears it is time for . . .

The Verdict

Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens is not the anthology that fans were hoping for. Its connections to The Force Awakens are minimal, and its stories stand apart even from each other in an unspecified time frame in the years (or even decades) prior to the film from which its characters hail.

That said, if we can look beyond expectations and just take the book for what it is, this is a volume that contains some rather unusual (sometimes downright bizarre) stories that are, for the most part, worth checking out if seeking off-beat Star Wars content. In particular, I would highly recommend The Face of Evil, which is perhaps the closest thing to a true Star Wars horror story since Red Harvest.

At a cover price of $12.99, this will be a tough one for some fans to justify picking up, but if nothing else, it would be worthwhile to consider the individual stories to pick out one or two to check out as $1.99 ebooks. You will not walk away with much in terms of new insights into The Force Awakens and its background characters, and you can surely skip this one without ever noticing that you have missed anything. It is entertaining, though, in its own strange fashion. Your mileage will definitely vary.

Recommended for: Those looking for strange, off-beat Star Wars stories.

Not recommended for: Those looking for something that truly ties directly into The Force Awakens or evokes the same sense of connectivity of the early Bantam Spectra Star Wars anthologies.

The copy of this book used for review was a retail purchase, alongside paid purchases of the four ebooks in December 2015.

Help Support Rancho Obi-Wan’s Mission of Inspiration for Every Generation

Here’s a message from our friends over at Rancho Obi-Wan:

Inspiration for Every Generation

Last year’s build-up to The Force Awakens took us many places. We saw lots of old friends and met many new ones. Today we’d like to tell you all about what’s up this year–our fifth anniversary!

We have two collection installations that you can currently view:

  • “Eye of the Collector” at The Perot Museum in Dallas can be seen through Labor Day. Enjoy a sampling of the items found here at ROW as well as many other diverse collections like PEZ, Dallas Cowboys and fossils.
  • Copperfield’s in Petaluma has a small selection of unusual Star Wars books from ROW displayed in one window.
Our free school-tour program has tripled now that we have docents who are expanding our ability to serve the increasing number of young people embracing Star Wars fandom. We have recently inspired groups from local middle and high schools, universities, homeschoolers and continuing education programs.
Please partner with us to continue these endeavors as we use the collection at Rancho Obi-Wan to serve the public and inspire the world.
Announcing our spring 2016 fundraiser:
Inspiration for Every Generation
You can join with Rancho Obi-Wan to fulfill our mission to inspire creativity for generations to come! Even a small donation helps fund:
  • the operation of the museum
  • the protection and documentation of the collection
  • free educational tours for schools
  • donated tours to other charities for their fundraisers
  • traveling exhibits of specially curated objects

Every donation of $45 or more receives a one-year membership to Rancho Obi-Wan and a special thank you gift. This year’s membership patch features art by Daniel Bergren.

Rancho Recruiter continues–refer a friend or Become a Fundraiser with your own official Rancho Obi-Wan fundraiser page and share with your office, Facebook friends, or family.

FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 6-10PM PT
LIVE PODCAST FUNDRAISER @ WWW.RANCHOOBIWAN.ORG
 

Listen to a live podcast fundraiser to benefit Rancho Obi-Wan hosted by Jimmy “Mac” McInerney of Rebel Force Radio and Steve Sansweet.  Special guests from the Star Wars world and beyond will be coming to you direct from Rancho Obi-Wan in Petaluma, CA. You won’t want to miss the fun!

Listen Live at www.ranchoobiwan.org and www.rebelforceradio.com
Submit questions for Jimmy Mac, Steve or anyone at ROW by April 27 10pm PT
 
 

TUESDAY, MAY 3, 5:30-8:30PM
“STAR WARS DAY: THE PREQUEL”
FUNDRAISER @ LAGUNITAS TAPROOM
1280 N. McDowell Blvd in Petaluma, CA. See Jabba the Hutt and costumed characters! This family-friendly event includes a raffle, door prizes, kids’ costume contest, and Roy’s Chicago Dogs available for purchase (as well as great Lagunitas refreshments for the adults). Silent auction contributions from Brian’s Comics,Comic ImagesEntertainment EarthFunko,Kotobukiya, artist Michael O’Shields, and Santa Cruz Skateboards.
$20 cover for adults. Purchase tickets online at
donate.ranchoobiwan.org/lagunitas2016

Limited number of tickets available at the door.
*OTHER WAYS TO SUPPORT RANCHO OBI-WAN
AS ALWAYS, YOU HAVE OUR DEEPEST GRATITUDE FOR
YOUR PARTNERSHIP AND SUPPORT IN INSPIRING THROUGH THE FORCE!

A Trooper’s Point of View – Building a TIE Fighter Pilot Part 2

IMG_6058_me

Previously, we discussed the basics of trimming the armor kit.  This time, we are getting into more of the fun stuff.  Now I’m beginning to assemble pieces and it’s actually starting to take shape.

I have to admit that my anxiety around this build has been pretty high.  I think it’s two-fold.  First, I gave myself such a short time frame to get this kit to be wearable.  Second, I haven’t been able to locate as much in the way of tutorials as I have for previous projects so I’ve been having to figure a lot of it out on my own.  This isn’t a very hard build, but it’s been stressing me way out and I am constantly in fear of screwing it up.  While a few pieces have not turned out exactly the way I wanted them to be, there isn’t anything that is beyond fixing.

IMG_20160417_230245374

After cutting the pieces to the correct sizing, you have to sand the edges smooth.  Most of your time working on armor is either spent sanding or waiting for glue or paint to dry.  Measure, compare to your reference, measure again, cut, sand, sand, sand, sand, sand, sand and sand some more.  Then you get to line up the pieces and glue them.  You will need to clamp the pieces while the glue cures.  Depending on the piece, you may need to get creative with how you clamp it by using magnets or even tape in addition to the regular clamps.

For glues, I like to use E6000 on most pieces.  It’s an industrial strength adhesive, but when it dries it has a little bit of a rubbery flex to it which can be very helpful in certain areas.  Unfortunately, it also takes approximately 24 hours to cure, which means once you get glue on your pieces you have to let them sit for at least a day.  That is one thing that can slow down the process.  Some people swear by CA glue (think really hard-core superglue) or using epoxies.  I tried CA glue when I first got my original Stormtrooper kit, but I didn’t like it and I ended up redoing almost everything I had glued.  Epoxies are great for some parts, but I don’t like that most of them make a permanent bond.  E6000, for good or for bad, can be undone by extreme temperatures.  I learned that the hard way when I stored my armor in my car during a con in the winter.

IMG_20160417_200343311_HDR

Painting the greeblies

The 501st Legion is a great community of people.  Unfortunately for me, I was spoiled when I was working on my Stormtrooper and Sandtrooper armor because these are among the most common armor types and there is a wealth of information and various tutorials to follow.  However, the TIE pilot community is smaller and since there is less armor involved, a lot of the armor makers offer to sell it already assembled.  Thus, there are fewer tutorials to follow.  This is part of the reason I always try to document everything I’m doing.  It helps to show my progress and to give others a guide to follow.  Obviously here, I’m just giving a highlights and overview.

IMG_20160417_233319319

My deadline is fast approaching.  I want to have it wearable by this Saturday.  Yes, this whole process for me has been done under pressure and with an unrealistic timeline.  I feel confident that I have some of the major pieces finished and some of the hardest work is now behind me.  Now it’s just a matter of getting all the separate assembled pieces together to create a cohesive whole.

Rogue Rebels Reactions with Vanessa Marshall – SWR #117

Thoughts on Rebels with the amazing Vanessa Marshall who joins us this week! Riley has thoughts on the Rogue One Trailer, and an in-depth review of the TFA Blu-ray!

8841402_sal-looks-back-at-star-wars-rebels-finale_tfdc292e3

Star Wars Report is available on iTunes! Be sure to subscribe, rate and review! Continue reading

Stormtrooper Toothbrush Review

Do you have issues getting your children to brush their teeth? Do YOU dislike brushing your teeth? Fear not Star Wars fans, the new Stormtrooper toothbrush will help turn ‘brush time into play time’! The fine folks over at Firefly (no, not the space ship or the movie) sent us a couple of their brushes, and I have to say my teeth have been sparkling white and clean (almost like new Stormtrooper armor) ever since! Have I laid on the puns thick enough yet? No? Well, it’s like this toothbrush targets cavities and plaque like Stormtroopers do Rebels! Okay, okay, I should probably stop….

SideView-StormtrooperSculptedHandle

In all seriousness though, I do wish this had existed in my childhood, as these new Firefly Star Wars 3D Stormtrooper Toothbrushes would have made my bedtime brushing routine a lot more imaginative!

Firely Storm Trooper Toothbrush

This toothbrush is marked for ages 3 – 12, but we all know as Star Wars fans that it’s more like 3 – 105. (Hey, when 900 years old we are, need more dental care, we will.) The toothbrush is available at Target, Walmart, and Walgreens, and I imagine you can find it online as well.

It has soft bristles for those of us with sensitive gums, and the coloring of the whole toothbrush matches the Stormtrooper theme.

I love the fact that they stand upright even outside of the package. (I have a pet peeve about toothbrushes getting dirty when I set them down on sinks. Especially hotel sinks.)

Firefly plans on releasing other Star Wars toothbrushes as well, including Kylo Ren, and characters from other properties and franchises. They have lightsaber toothbrushes as well, and they make the number one selling kids toothbrush line, the Ready Go, which is available in Yoda, Darth Vader, Stormtrooper and BB-8 versions.

The brush has the feel of an action figure with a full Stormtrooper set on the front end.

I’ll admit I was amused by the idea of a Stormtrooper toothbrush, and so I do believe that parents who legitimately have issues getting their kids to accept brush time could use this to make brushing teeth fun. I’ve known several young children who associate brushing teeth with discomfort because of their teething, and I think this would be helpful in getting them over the idea that brushing teeth is unpleasant.

For more information, or to order your own toothbrush online, go here: http://fireflytoothbrush.com/.

Happy brushing, and may the force be with you.

~ Bethany