Darth Vader IS returning . . . in a prequel.

Darth Vader IS returning . . . in a prequel.

Historically, Darth Vader and Star Wars prequels don’t go well together, but maybe this will work. In any case, I would love to see more Vader, and I only hope he’s not as “behind the scenes” as the article suggests. Really, what’s the point to having Darth Vader in your movie and not using him?

In fact, I think this could be a backdoor way to bring Vader into the sequel trilogy. See if my logic follows. In Rogue One, the prequel, they set up some way that he could be brought back to life after his death, whether willingly or not, or perhaps they introduce some entity that would have a motive to bring him back, then, in Part Two of the trilogy, they give the payoff to that set up by actually bringing him back.

What do you think — possible? After all, JJ Abrams has gone on record saying that “Darth Vader IS Star Wars”, so you know that’s at least on his mind. And, in a broader sense, I doubt they’re going to be able to outdo Darth Vader as a villain. That’s an awfully steep hill they’d have to climb.

I’m not say I’d want this to happen, but it would be annoying to have them keep giving us villains in terrifying masks in an effort to ape Darth. If they could think of a compelling reason to reintroduce him into the story, and write him well, I’d rather just have Darth.

Check out the io9.com article HERE.


About “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome”

ThunderdomeAfter watching “Mad Max: Fury Road” yesterday I was jonesing for more Max, so I popped in “Beyond Thunderdome” (I had just seen “Road Warrior” a few days ago), and I enjoyed it a surprising amount. Part of this was surely still being on the Fury Road High, but I think the bigger part came from finally “getting” it. I had never liked “Thunderdome” much before, although I had very much enjoyed the first third of it. When the attention shifts from Bartertown to the Lost Boys and Girls, I’d previously felt let down and irritated. I wanted more post-apoc mayhem and raiders, not kids! And so I’ve always felt toward “Thunderdome”.

Until last night.

Last night it hit me, the formula for all the Mad Max movies, and once the formula clicked in my head I was okay with the Lost Boys and Girls (LBaG) from “Thunderdome”. The formula is very simple: Max encounters post-apoc bad guys (who often wear black), setting up the threat; later Max encounters idealized good guys (who often wear white and have blond hair) who need his aid; Max resists helping; good guys are threatened by the bad guys; Max helps; good guys prevail. Max goes on alone.

Once I realized this formula, shortly after Max arriving in the valley of the LBaG in my rewatch of “Thunderdome”, I knew what to expect from then on and was actually pleased. Usually I hate formula and knowing what to expect, but somehow this was different. This was making sense of the previously annoying and bewildering plot turn of “Thunderdome”, where it went from awesome post-apoc villainy and action to . . . babysitting. No one wants to see Mad Max babysit. But once I realized the kids were the George Miller Idealized Good Guys (GMIGG) and were about to be thrown into conflict with Tina Turner’s Bartertown Baddies (TTBB), I was okay with it. I could enjoy the surreally perfect valley of the LBaG, just as I enjoyed the surreally idealized good folk in “Road Warrior” and the angelic beauties of “Fury Road” . . . and I could especially enjoy it knowing they were about to be thrown into the ring with TTBB.

Which they are, quite soon, even if the plot gets a little wonky at that point.

Max helps, there’s adventure, vehicular mayhem, and the ending is (no spoilers) typical Max. The ending’s tone isn’t quite as grim as Road Warrior, and I kind of wish it was, but it’s about the same content-wise. Anyway, typical Max.

There’s a couple of plot issues that I couldn’t resolve, though. Why did they need Master? The kids didn’t set out originally to find him, so why did Max suddenly decide they needed him? That whole thing seemed to come out of nowhere. Yes yes, I can see how Master would be helpful in rebuilding the fallen society, but this was never addressed that I can remember. It was never set up as a goal by Max or the kids: “Hey, there’s a guy that has the knowin’? Let’s go get him!” None of that.

That aside, it was a pretty decent movie. What I love most about it, other than the post-apoc mayhem, is the style. It’s done in a brilliant 80s high-adventure style, comparable to Speilberg or Lucas, and it’s marvelously done, with tight zooms, epic panoramas and tension in every frame. The first third of it feels like the Jabba’s Palace portion of “Return of the Jedi”.

All in all, I quite enjoyed my return to “Thunderdome”. How long will this enjoyment last? Once the Fury Road High has died down and I rewatch the movie someday, will I still dig it? Time will tell.

Is Darth Vader alive in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”?

Is Darth Vader alive in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”?

So does Darth Vader come back to life for the new Star Wars trilogy? In the new trailer, Luke’s voiceover uses the present tense when describing his father. At first I just thought that since that passage is taken from Return of the Jedi, that it didn’t mean anything. But that LAST line, “and so do you”, indicates that the passage may actually be taken from the NEW movie. Which means that Luke considers Vader to still be alive. And then there’s that melted helmet. Why bring the helmet into this if Vader doesn’t actually show up? At the moment I’m thinking Vader DOES come back to life in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

And that rocks.

Star Wars rocks.


Check out this awesome Star Wars short film!

This is some beautiful animation right here. I wish there was a bit more plot development and not just Star Wars space-fight porn, but . . . Star Wars space-fight porn!

Wait a minute. Did they just blow up Luke Skywalker and all the rebels? That’s . . . just wrong. That’s so wrong. I’m just going to pretend that didn’t happen, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this (otherwise)delightful little film. I hope to see more like this, only with less murdering of the good guys . . . which, let’s face it, is kind of lame. Fortunately it’s a very brief moment.


Changing the structure of the Atomic Sea series.

Amazon, oh Amazon. You give, then you take away.

Sigh. Amazon has instituted another one of their infamous algorithm changes, stripping away almost all of the bumps they were giving indie writers. They had helped promote indie writers in numerous ways, but now no longer. Why? Are they trying to weed out the chaff? I don’t know. The upshot is that essentially the only way Amazon is allowing indie writers to be visible these days is through the Hot New Releases section. If you publish a book and sell/give away enough copies, they’ll promote you up for up to thirty days since the release in that category (because after thirty days it’s not “new”). Writers are now calling this the 30-day Cliff. In the case of “The Atomic Sea: Part One”, that means they promoted it for two weeks. Why? Because I allowed two weeks to gather reviews before I scheduled the free promotion, so I only had two weeks left in that 30 days for Amazon to give me a boost. I sold very few copies before the promo, so Amazon didn’t give me a hand until I had.

What does this mean? It means that after those two glorious weeks “The Atomic Sea” dropped off the radar of Amazon almost entirely. Readers who had read Part One went on to buy Part Two (of course!), but since I released Part Two at the same time as Part One and did no additional promotion for it Amazon didn’t give me a boost for Part Two. So out of two massive epic fantasy / science fiction novels that I’m very proud of, Amazon only helped me sell one of them for two weeks. Two. weeks.

So I’m going to do this. Amazon seems to be forcing indie writers like myself to write in a serial format as in the old Charles Dickens days, releasing a chapter or two a month for loyal readers. I think this is pretty lame, and I don’t want to issue “The Atomic Sea” chapter by chapter. But if I don’t split it up I’m virtually committing business suicide. No one can find my books unless they’re new releases. So what do I do?

I’m going to split the difference. I’m dividing “The Atomic Sea: Part One” into two volumes, replacing what was “Part Two” with the second half of what was “Part One”. These are still hefty tomes, even divided, each at over 60,000 words, so I don’t feel too guilty about this. The volume that was Part Two is/was even more massive, reaching 155,000 words. So that’s going to be split up into thirds. I’ll release them a month or so apart, so that hopefully Amazon will give me a bump for each one.

And so on.

Ideally this way will satisfy my artistic self (refusing to release the novels a few chapters at a time and providing an entire novel (50,000 words or more is considered novel-length, and sometimes as low as 20,000) to readers while at the same time allowing Amazon to promote my new releases. I hope I don’t annoy too many readers out there who have already read the original versions of Part One and Part Two, and if so I  apologize sincerely. This was not my intention or design but only a response to Amazon making it very hard out there for indie writers. Know that you can still purchase the paperback versions of both full-length original versions, so if you want a copy for your bookshelves or to give as a gift they are available (or in the case of Part Two if you simply want to read it, as it will now be divided into three parts, the first of which will be released toward the end of February). Of course eventually I’ll provide omnibus versions that will contain the ebooks in their original (and preferred) forms.

I hope Amazon changes things up soon, as this is a lousy way of treating their writers. Perhaps they think that readers want a serial, monthly experience, where they follow a few chapters of a story over a long period of time. I don’t know. Is it? It’s not the way I prefer to read (and it’s not what I’m going to provide my readers; again, even the shorter versions of my books are novel-length manuscripts). More likely it’s simply that Amazon has determined they can make more money this way. The only good thing I can say about this is that I can keep Part One at a permanent discount now and not feel that I’m shooting myself in the foot by doing so. I love The Atomic Sea and want new readers to discover it. So go, put all this unpleasantness behind you (I’m trying, too) and dive into an adventure like no other.