She Wasn’t Mine

Star Wars wasn’t my fandom.

Oh, I saw most of the movies.  I watched Episodes IV – VI with my father and brother when they were re-released in theaters when I was in high school.  I had watched A New Hope at some point in my childhood and…

…it didn’t go well.  It scared the ever-loving snot out of me, to the point where I avoided most space-centric fiction unless somebody else happened to be involved.  My father and childhood best friend both liked Star Trek, so I got a fair amount of exposure to that particular corner of nerd.  Other than that?  Space was not my friend.

Not until Firefly.  However, I would argue that Firefly was more of a western anyway.  But that’s neither here nor there for the purpose of what I’m doing today.

So no, Star Wars wasn’t mine, and as such, Carrie Fisher wasn’t mine.  I re-watched Episode IV last week with my husband and a friend and while I enjoyed the experience a great deal, I believe that Rogue One will be the Star Wars movie of my heart.  If there is a scrappy female to thank for me getting into the franchise this late in the game, well, that honor goes to Jyn Erso.  Anyway, after my viewing of EpIV last week, I was in awe of Leia and her completely unimpressed attitude at her supposed rescuers.  She’s resourceful and tough, and I wish that I had grown up with her the way that some of my best friends did.  I went home that night and purchased Fisher’s memoirs (all three volumes).

Then I learned about her marvelous writing career beyond her personal accounts (which are marvelous).  Her work as a script doctor.  Her unabashed transparency about her own mental demons and struggles.  Wow, I thought.  Carrie Fisher is pretty damned awesome.

Tragically, 2016 attacked and swept Fisher away just as I was starting to truly understand how fantastic she is.  I am saddened at her death, and I wish that I could claim her as a role model the way that so many of my peers in fandom do.

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Lizzie Borden Took an Axe…

…and gave Cthulhu forty whacks.  Sort of.

If you haven’t read Cherie Priest’s marvelous Maplecroft, you are doing yourself a disservice.  I purchased the novel when it first came out.  I started reading it in December of 2014.  Then, unfortunately, Jay and I had to make an emergency trip to Texas for what turned out to be our last visit with his grandfather.  When I was throwing things together for us to leave, I didn’t pack Maplecroft. It was an oversight.  By the time we returned home to Virginia, I was reading Amy Poehler’s Yes Please.  Somehow, I never picked Maplecroft back up at any point during 2015.

Then our kitchen caught fire late last year, leading to extreme smoke damage throughout that level of our home.  Most of my books were ruined.  Maplecroft, fortunately, was among the books in our basement bedroom.  It miraculously survived with zero smoke damage and was returned to us in good condition.  I decided to pick it up last week after coming across it by chance.

Isn’t it pretty?  I adore this cover.maplecroft

The novel is fantastic as well.  I didn’t remember enough about it to simply pick up where I had left off (and my place had been lost anyway), so I began again.  It’s chilling!  Priest is an amazing writer.  This reminds me a great deal of Dracula (one of my favorite novels), both in style and mood.

I’m really enjoying the experience of reading this, too.  I’ve taken to reading primarily via e-book in the last several years.  I simply do not have the space to house as many books as I would love to own.  This, though, I am reading via dead tree format.  There’s a certain joy to be had in carrying around and showing off a book that one is reading.  Don’t get me wrong; I love reading with my Kindle and iPad.  It’s efficient, easy on my hands and wrists, and super convenient.  Reading something on paper, though, gives the experience a warmth and tactile pleasure that’s missing with e-books.  Also, I’m one of those wicked readers who enjoys underlining the especially important or meaningful passages in books.  You can underline with Kindle editions, but nothing’s as satisfying as marking a significant passage in a favorite book.

Here are a few lines that I especially loved from early in Maplecroft:

…I fear to the point of fretful, bowel-clenching sickness that I might chase her away even without the secrets that darken the space between us.

and

…I value beyond my life the time I spend with her beside me.

(pages 4-5)

Beautiful, old-fashioned lines, both of them.  Priest has gorgeously captured the language of this era.  She is one of those authors who is able to skillfully shape her prose to match her story.  I love it.  If you haven’t read her fiction before, give it a try.  Don’t care for Lovecraftian historical fantasy?  Maybe old west steampunk is more your speed?  Try Boneshaker and sequels.  Like comics and smart YA stories?  I Am Princess X might be for you.  Urban fantasy addict?  Bloodshot and Hellbent deserve your time (though, be warned: I don’t think there will be any more of those).

Baby’s First Star Wars

Something monumental has happened in my life.  Spouse, an avowed anti-Star Wars individual, accompanied me last Saturday evening to the opening of Rogue One, which I enjoyed very much.  I asked him what he thought afterward.

“It was okay,” he said.  “As a movie, it was awesome.  As a Star Wars thing…meh.”

My response was probably something along the lines of “MEH?”

I will spare the finer details (largely because I have mostly forgotten them at this time), but suffice to say that Jay had no problem telling me that he thought the entire Star Wars franchise was dumb, the special effects were stupid, and it was doubtlessly overrated.  I didn’t get offended, exactly, but I was a little annoyed.  This is probably because I was fairly sure that Jay hadn’t seen any other SW films.  I was half correct.  He has seen Phantom Menace, but he only remembered it because of the pod racing sequence and Jar-Jar.

Cut to this evening.  We typically spend our Thursdays playing board games with our friends Bill and Lissa.  This evening, sadly, Lissa had to work.  So we made alternate plans.  We would hold movie night at Bill’s, so that I could finally see The Force Awakens (yes, I am fairly sure that I am one of the last members of High Nerd society to have not watched it – last year was a bad year for us).  Instead, upon discovering that Jay hadn’t seen, or didn’t remember seeing, Episodes IV-VI, we ended up watching A New Hope.  (This was a plan leftover from last Thursday, but Jay came down with a migraine.)

Here’s the amazing part: Jay liked it.  I think part of him learning to appreciate it came from me leaning over, looking him in the eye and saying “Malcolm Reynolds would never have existed without Han Solo.  Also Chewie is basically a smarter Jayne with a better conscience.”  He has now agreed to watch the other films.  He even said that he would, and I am quoting directly here, “Enjoy that a lot.”  I have proposed having schnapps on hand if we decide to add Episodes I-III to the mix.  Bill seemed amicable to that plan, so who knows.  Drunk Attack of the Clones?  Why not.