Monday, March 19, 2018

Rebels: "Homecoming" (Ep. 2.16)

-- They're always on schedule.

Ah, we get some background on Hera, finally!
And some action to go along with it.

Evidently, Hera's father was a famous general on Ryloth during the Clone Wars. Actually, having seen the episodes he was in in The Clone Wars, I'm familiar with him as a character. And he went to be a famous general. Kanan is kind of in awe.

To make things interesting, Hera and her father don't get along. He's not for the Rebellion, only Ryloth, which puts them in conflict when Hera comes for help for a Rebel cause. Hera wants to steal an Imperial ship; Cham wants to blow it up. A symbolic gesture.

All that and we get to see Ezra do his first Jedi Mind Trick.

"Hang on!"
"I hate it when she says that."

Friday, March 16, 2018

Ultra-Violet (pictures I like)

Actually, I don't know if these are violets. I should take pictures of labels when things have them, and I kind of think that things in nature should all be labeled.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Rebels: "The Call" (Ep. 2.15)

-- "It's not the strangest thing we've ever done."
"Yeah, that doesn't make me feel better."

So now we know that Jedi can survive and operate in the vacuum of space... unless Kanan and Ezra wear special "pressure clothes" just in case they need to space walk, but I'm going to go with the being functional in a vacuum. We kind of already knew that from an episode of Clone Wars, but, Plo Koon (at least, I think it was him, and I'm not looking back to verify) seemed to imply that was a very limited ability. All of that, or there was some kind of atmosphere around the asteroid they were on providing enough pressure to allow them to function without a suit? But not breathe. The breathing was definitely an issue.

Anyway... Space whales! This isn't the first time we've encountered giant creatures living out in the vacuum of space in Star Wars. Or even the second. The first, of course, being in The Empire Strikes Back and the giant space slug that wanted to eat the Falcon. Not to mention the mynocks.

This episode, the Ghost runs out of fuel. I have to wonder if this is where idiot Rian Johnson got the idea for an entire fleet of ships to all run out of fuel at the same time. Probably not. Anyway, as I said before, I don't have a problem with the fuel idea; it's that ALL OF THE SHIPS ran out of gas AT THE SAME TIME! This was much better. Just one ship running on fumes, not the whole fleet.

And what do rebels do when they're running low on fuel? Steal it from the Empire, of course.

"Sounds like a dangerous plan."
"Don't worry, buddy, you're staying here."
"Sounds like a good plan."

"There's no explosion. Why's there no explosion?"

"Next time we just plan on the plan changing."

Monday, March 12, 2018

Shadow's End (a book review post)

This is the third Tepper book I've read, and I'm beginning to sense a pattern. A pattern not in the stories themselves but in the themes. Of course, this is only the third book of hers I've read, so I could be completely wrong and what I'm picking up on could be isolated to only these three books (well, probably not just these three, because there are still two more books in the series with Grass, and I suspect the themes from the first book will carry into the other two); however, until proven otherwise, I'm going to go with these as common themes throughout her books:

  • Questioning women's traditional place in society and, through that, man's function in the world.
  • Telepathy. (Which seems weird to me but each of the three books I've read have had some sort of telepathy/empathy as a major thread in the story.)
  • Metamorphosis. (Which wasn't present explicitly in The Gate to Women's Country, but a case could be made for a metamorphosis metaphor in that book.)
Actually, let's throw in a fourth: apocalypse. Each book has dealt in some way with some sort of apocalyptic happening.

Shadow's End has an interesting perspective. It's a third person story told via first person much like, say, the Sherlock Holmes stories are told by Watson. This used to be a pretty common way to tell a story (see also The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Moby Dick among others), but we moved away from that as a society throughout the 20th century until, now, it's hardly ever used at all. It's a style that I like and find much more appealing than the glut of straightforward 1st person stories coming out over the last couple of decades.

The person telling the story tends to be someone who is mostly an observer, rarely taking direct action in the plot, as is the case in this book with Saluez. This allows a much more nuanced telling of the story, as you get, also, the perspective of the person narrating. I think it provides a much more flexible method of telling a story.

One of the ideas explored in this book is that of invisible people. I don't mean invisible people; I mean people who go about unseen. Saluez is one of these people, which makes her role of observer/narrator work quite well. There is a parallel here to, say, the maids at hotels being invisible people. I'm sure it's not an accident.

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book; well, I enjoyed most of this book. The exploration of the Dinadhi people was really quite fascinating, and the book pulled me along as the story progressed. However, I was not fond of the ending, about the last 10% of the book. I don't really know much about Tepper other than that she started writing after she had retired from whatever it was she had done all of her life and that I've read three of her books. So, not knowing anything about the way she wrote, this books feels as if she wrote herself into a place that she didn't know how to get out of.

I don't know; maybe, she's like me and pretty much knows the ending before she starts writing the story, which would mean the ending was what she had in mind from the beginning, but it didn't feel that way. And it's not that the end is bad or anything; it was just... unsatisfying.

It's not enough to dissuade me from recommending the book, though; it's just not the Tepper book I would say you should start with if you're going to check out her books. Go get yourself a copy of The Gate to Women's Country and give it a read.