Solo – A Star War Story

So last night me and a friend went to see the new Star Wars Anthology film from Director Ron Howard and with main cast actors Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover and Paul Bettany. This new Science Fiction (or Fantasy if you lean that way) film is the latest in Disney’s plethora of Star Wars films they are churning out since buying Lucasfilm. Like Rogue One (R1)this one was given a 12A rating although seemed less gritty than R1.

Warning, potential spoilers ahead…… This film is based on the young life of Han Solo and how he became the rebel we know and love, how he met some of the iconic figures of the original trilogy, Including the blossoming bromance between Han and Chewy. You also get to see an amazing looking newer Millennium Falcon and how Han comes to love the infamous ship.

Alden Ehrenreich does a brilliant job of portraying the cheeky, lovable rogue Han Solo. showing his origins as a slum rat and how he planned to get out with his love Qi’ra, of course nothing goes to plan and he vows to go back for her. A few years later he’s been kicked out of the imperial fleet for now following orders and is well on his way to becoming the Han we know. He hooks up with another thief (Harrelson) who works for a notorious crime boss Dryden (Bettany) and adventure ensures. Crossing paths with Lando (Glover) and showing how that relationships started. When he comes across Qi’ra again she isn’t the downtrodden anymore and is the right hand of Dryden and although there is still something between them she is still not free.

Obviously the main part of the movie was to show the intro of Han and Chewy and how they came to get the Falcon, it is a predictable Star Wars film but for me that didn’t pose a problem. It was a great adventure in an established universe with characters we already know and love.  It is always going to be compared with R1 and to be fair the former is a better film but I think that is more due to the gritty/dark story that particular film told. Solo holds its own as a brilliant origin story to one of the most famous Star Wars characters.

I also thought it was good that they showed the most famous boast of the Falcon, the Kessel run which was made in in 12 Parsecs. This was always a bug bear for me as when it’s said in the film you assume they are talking about speed and at the same time you know Parsecs is a distance measurement, so it never made sense. Maybe it was explained elsewhere in comics or animated series but I have’t seen them. So it was nice in this film to see how this came about. It makes more sense to me now.

Ron Howard did a great job with this film and I would definitely recommend seeing it. I saw it last night (Thursday) and will be back on Sunday to watch it with some other friends, this time in 4DX for the forst time, so I will see how that goes 🙂

 

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Job interview and goals

I am again at an impasse. I am at a point in my professional life where its time for a new challenge so I have started looking for another job. As part of this I attended an interview yesterday fro a team leader position of a Finance Systems team. This highlighted that some of my tech skills need updating, so again i am deciding where I should spend my time. Writing, Relearning SQL and Web and I also need to fit in fitness in there as my health will soon deteriorate if I don’t lose weight and get the hernia operation I need.

Today is a day off, taking the wife to an appointment, will have to plan what I can do later. Depending on how long her appointment takes we may pop to somewhere close for a walk if the weather is ok.

Mount Grace Priory is down the road and is really nice and picturesque, probably suggest going along to there as while she is walking round the grounds I can sit on one of the tables and do some writing notes for Shattered Worlds.

Anyway, time to crack on…

 

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sigh….

I have done it again, nearly a month without posting and although part of that was due to my internet suddenly deciding that despite working for the last few years it would block me from accessing my hosted webspace where this blog is located. So I couldn’t access any of the sites. they were still available for you lot but not for me, so that is where most of the months went. but still I really wish I could do something about this lack of motivation. If you were to ask my my dreams, writing would be one of them but I seem to lack the will to drop other things and focus on doing something positive for myself.

I wish I could give myself a kick up the butt and get going.

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Non Starter

Well this Camp Nano started the same as the other time I tried it, in that I didn’t do anything and although I knew I had to plan for it I haven’t done enough and now its upon me I am not ready and I don’t want to rush it.

I’m also trying to get my time planning sorted and fitting in this around everything else seems to be a losing game from the start! Frustrating.

So I am not going to be doing it this time. Instead I am going to spend the rest of the day (around F1 and Moto GP ) to finish planning my time so I can start getting my goals mapped out.

Quick one, will update more later.

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Time planning vs Hobbies

I am a jack of all trades and master of none. For a long time now I have started and not finish many things, I have taken many things on as hobbies and done little with all of them, basically a convoluted form of procrastination. Below is what I have been doing with my time for almost the last decade…..

  • Family / Life
  • Writing
  • Web building / Tech / Comuters
  • Gaming – World of Warcraft
  • Films – (Not a hobby as such but I go to the cinema allot)
  • Motorbikes
  • Gym ( this needs to be done)

So as you can see I have allot taking up my time and as I have tried to do so much at once I have managed to not do any of them particularly well. Talking with a friend recently and he asked what my dream was and if the things I do get me closer to that dream. The idea being if it doesn’t get me closer to the dream I should drop it.

My dream is to write, I know that almost all writers will say this and I also know that most of them will never achieve their dream, nevertheless thais is my dream. To produce prose that people cannot wait to read, series that people bug me to write more in etc. to be able to make enough from writing that I can do that full time. (hopefully in my Fantasy & SF bookshop) so I need to take a good look at my life to see what I am going to drop and how I am going to structure my time. How will I reach this goal, and what are the milestones along the way.

The first to go is Tech/Web building, my knowledge is above basic at the moment and that is fine for now, writing is more important. The rest I need to structure, I don’t want to stop doing some of the things I enjoy as they are how I unwind, but I need to reduce the time they take and put that time into achieving my goal. So, how to do this?

Gaming – This will have to be reduced to set times or evenings, I will have to have a word with my friends to see when is the best times but I need to make this something that is easy to drop in and out of. This may mean stopping playing WoW for a while and using gaming time for games like Fortnight or COD, something I can pop onto for an hour and have fun and then come off without having to feel like I need to achieve something.

Films – I love going to the cinema but I think I need to try and have a word with my friend and confine this to one night a week unless there is an unlimited screening that I really want to see. I have brought this up before and we did settle on a night but I need to confirm this.

Motorbikes – Let’s face it, this is not going to go anywhere, but by the same token this doesn’t take up lots of my time. Sundays are likely going to be biking days. Tuesday evenings for Pitstop maybe. Again just need to be clear on what I am doing.

So what is left is writing, this as a goal needs breaking down into chunks that can be completed and then moved on. Some ideas for this would be the how-to books I have, picking one to work through at a time and doing it regularly. There is a you tube series for Brendan Sanderson that I was working through and things like this need to be featured as they progress the skills and experience. Actual writing needs to be in there too, either novel work or a good idea may be to try my hand at short story writing for a while to see if this is something that can help me build experience.

Like moat of my plans I spend too much time planning, more procrastination. We are drawing ever closer to Nano and I need to do some basic planning for the short story idea. Nothing too involved but. vague idea of what I am going to do for the story. Stephen king says don’t plan, just write, so I am going to try and do this, once I have a basic idea of where I want to go.

Posted in Blog, Books, Camp Nanowrimo, Cinema, Films, Games, Life, Nano, NaNoWriMo, Tech, World of Warcraft, Writing | Leave a comment

Camp NaNo Plan

I have never really bothered with Camp NaNo, which is weird as you get the community/motivation of NaNo but you get to set your own goals, so even if you think 50k in November is too much you can do this one and choose the word count you want to achieve. I have half heartedly started it a couple of times but not really started if that makes sense. I would like to give it a bash this time, so with this in mind I have been thinking about what I could write about. I didn’t want to pick up one of my other projects as I wanted my first real try to be something new.

I decided to combine the fun that is Nano with something I have been meaning to do for ages. Kill two birds with one stone. So my plan for Nano is to do 12 short stories, I have got the themes from the competition extra for writing magazine and aim to do these.

When Nano is over I can then fine tune each of them and then hopefully I can submit them. It’s a good plan but as with most things I try I will have to see how I get on with it. This is where I could do with the time planning being in place. Specific time each day for writing to make sure I hit my goals. Maybe I need to get that ironed out this week.

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Goals

Hello again my old friend, I am here again talking about my life, a small rambling post where i note my lack of progress and the place I would like to be at. The end of this post will be a sweeping statement about change and the road I need to be travelling on. blah blah blah……

All the above is true but this time I sense something more, some hand of fate involved that will bring me out of my decade long slumber… blah blah blah….

All sarcastic comments aside I have been talking to a friend about life the universe and everything… his advice wasn’t 42… (congratulations if you got the reference, you’re officially cool ) this friend has been reading allot of self help books and planning/motivation books. While talking with him I brought up that I am a jack of all hobby’s but master of none, the typical procrastinator, I try a little of everything and as such get nothing done. He told me that I should pick my one goal, the thing I want the most and then everything I am doing from then on needs to move me closer to my goal. If it isn’t something that is getting me closer to the dream then I need to seriously thing about whether I want to be  wasting my time with it. I will need some leisure time but I also need to have structured time for advancing my dream.

Obviously writing is the thing I would like to do the most, it’s the dream. Walking into Waterstones in my town and seeing my book on the shelf. Having a fan message me to thank me or ask when the next instalment is coming out, this is what I would love. So over the next couple of weeks I am going to be doing some serious planning of my writing career and the best way to achieve the “goal”

It’s also Camp Nano in April so I need to have something planned for this, although I have a good idea of what to do for this. A way of getting me to complete nano and at the same time have something that I can use to further my career. There will be a post on this soon.

 

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Death of the physical book…. or not….

The e-reader is a convenient way to read books without having to carry around heavy physical books. The battery life normally lasts a couple of weeks and as it is purely for reading it is not loaded down with rubbish like tablets.

The e-reader has been around for a long time, the first commercial one was released around 1998 following the development of electronic paper but at that time it was not widely adopted. The e-reader “movement” really took off when Amazon released the Kindle in 2007, over the years there were several design changes in each generation, the earlier ones having keyboards and being quite large. In 2011 the 4th generation was released in the familiar smaller package using an on-screen keyboard. This was the one that persuaded me that the time had come to move into the e-reader market.

At this time the Kindle was hailed as the slayer of the traditional print book and there were all kinds of stats that were showing that the book would be dead in x number of years. now I don’t put stock in claims like this as they rarely end up coming true and ringing in my ears were the claims that the CD would spell the end of the record, and they were still in the shops and showing a bit of a resurgence. The Blu ray would spell the end of the DVD and still films are produced on both formats. So I took no notice and continued to read on. Since having the first kindle I had to buy one of the paper light ones, (I sat on my normal one) this was a good step up as the issue I had with the old one was reading in the dark. The paper light was amazing. So it was safe to say I was a fan of this new form of reading.

But… I love reading physical books, nothing is the same as having a real book in your hands and turning the pages and since getting the kindle I have continued to buy books on both formats. In 2017 the Publisher Association put a post up that showed that e-readers were on a decline (this may just be as people already have the devices) the e-books did show an increase and the traditional print books were on the increase also, bigger than their digital versions. The physical sales were the highest increase since 2012.

Now for me, I only tend to buy books for the Kindle when they are on offer and I can get them for a couple of pounds. Physical books however I have continued to buy. My spending split between Amazon Marketplace, prime purchases and local bookshops. Even though I am trying to save money I still buy from local shops when I could purchase online cheaper, this is because it would be a travesty if traditional books shops closed and we were only left with online. I have lost count of the amount of times I have purchased books because of browsing in these shops, browsing online just isn’t the same and doesn’t have the atmosphere of a real shop. In the last couple of years the amount of physical books I have bought has risen dramatically, my “to read” list is now massive, I wonder how I will get through them. But I love reading so I soldier on.

So I guess what I am saying is the book is here to stay for a long long time. E-books will always have a place but the traditional book is much more satisfying.

G

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-reader

http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinion/a-history-of-the-amazon-kindle-2946395

https://www.publishers.org.uk/media-centre/news-releases/2017/uk-publishing-has-record-year-up-7-to-48bn/

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

From a budding novelist I would say it would be a dream for a book that I wrote to still being read long after i pass, this is the case for many of the classics and today one of them is having a birthday of sorts, so while your celebrating the new year raise a glass to Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein. The ripping tale of the monster was published 200 years ago today in 1818.

In 1818 the novel was published anonymously and then in 1823 was republished under her own name. The idea for the novel came from Mary and Percy Shelley were in Switzerland visiting Lord Byron and Jane Clairemont, it was a competition to see who could write the best horror story.

The novel takes the name of Victor Frankenstein who created the monster and it is one of the common misconceptions that the monsters name is Frankenstein. In fact in the book the creature is not actually given a name, it is referred to as Creature, Monster, Fiend, Wretch, Demon, Vile Insect or Being.

Mary Shelley was travelling through Europe in 1814 near Frankenstein castle where it was rumoured that experiments had taken place centuries ago by Conrad Dippel in the early 18th century, she had also visited the Geneva region where the story takes place.

Its not surprising at the time of publishing the novel that Mary decided to publish anonymously given her young age, it was only after gaining some notice that she then republished under her own name. It just goes to show when you meet with fellow creatives and set challenges and have some fun something truly amazing can be born from it that will endure for more than two centuries.

I can only hope that someday soon I start working on the novel that will gain me that level of fame, I can dream.

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Vatta’s War – SF Series I have just finished

Book 5, Victory Conditions, Elizabeth Moon

Warning Spoilers ahead… you have been warned!

Vatta’s War is a military SF series that is comprised of 5 books. This one being the last.

I will be the first to admit that I am easy to please when it comes to films or books. Its not often I have to stop watching/reading something. This book was definitely not one of these times. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the books in this series and this last volume pulls together the threads that have been woven throughout the series quite well. Its generally what you would expect from a military SF series. I liked the character development and the way the plot grew throughout. The way the battles were told was really good and managed to get the ideas across without the need fo endless techno babble.

I will say that I did find some of the last parts of the book seemed to be glossed over when she was tying up loose ends. Casually mentioning that Toby’s parents had been found, and that he and Zori were going to live with them and go to school. This was a bit like telling for the sake of tying up that sub plot. It was also frustrating that she didn’t explain much of why Lew Parmina and Gammis Turek did what they did, some kind of motivation other than power would have been good. I think had she done some chapters from the antagonists point of view she could have expanded on this without losing anything else.

I have seen some people mocking Rafe and Ky’s love story but despite the distances and the time apart I didn’t find it hard to believe that they could declare their love for each other when they were not in contact, it was a result of the feelings growing and the feeling of missing each other that brought this on and I thought it was handled well. I have also seen people mocking Ky’s grasp of tactics at such a young age. Again, I don’t understand this as the books made it quite clear she was an honour student who was near the end of her time at the academy and would have finished top of her class. So, given she had all of the training and was close to leaving it isn’t really surprising that she was so good at tactics (also in this universe the implants assist with all aspects of this).

All in all the writing was really good and the structure and storytelling were really good. I powered through this series and will re-read them again at some point so if your looking for a good SF series I would recommend this one.

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