Western Reaches #10

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This episode hosts Megan and Saf talked about science made fun in books, indie games like Kentucky Route Zero and Able Black. Our big topic is how video games and Pokemon GO can help with mental health, with special guest Dr Jennifer Hazel from CheckPoint. Covered on this week’s episodes are;
 
Books:
 
  • The Martian – Andy Weir
  • The Fold – Peter Clines
  • Jupiter Pirates: Rise of Earth – Jason Fry
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions – Randall Munroe
Games:
 
  • Kentucky Route Zero
  • Halo 2 Anniversary
  • Able Black
  • Behold the Kickmen

You can find Megan on Twitter with the handle @blogfullofwords and you can find Saf with @Wanderlustin. Be sure to subscribe to Western Reaches on iTunes/Google Play and subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio Mega Feed for more great shows, discussion, and commentary.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon!

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Review: Stranger Things, season one

The following review endeavors to be as spoiler-free as possible. Obviously, however, there is some discussion of plot and character elements. If you’ve already decided to watch the show and want to go in as fresh as possible, maybe save this review until after the fact.

Netflix, by this point, has well-established itself in the original programming department. From flagship programs like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, to more esoteric shows like Sense8 or Hemlock Grove, Netflix’s shows run the gamut in both genre and quality. Its latest effort, Stranger Things, which premiered Friday, July 15th, was announced out of the blue a month ago, promising a nostalgia-driven science-fiction/horror drama set in the eighties. The trailer evoked the adventure and innocence of ‘80s adventure films like E.T. or The Goonies, as well as the harder edge of classic horror fare like The Thing or The Evil Dead. The show stars Winona Ryder and Matthew Modine — stars emblematic of the eighties — alongside an ensemble of relative unknowns, in a story of a small town besieged by mysterious disappearances, bizarre occurrences, and shady government operatives. It is created, produced, and many of its episodes written and directed by Matt & Ross Duffer, The Duffer Brothers. Two more relative unknowns, the brothers are probably best known for working on the Fox series Wayward Pines.

The trailer generated a lot of excitement, not only due to the fact that Netflix had stealthily made this show without hardly anyone hearing about it, but for the promise of its intoxicating blend of sci-fi, horror, and ‘80s paranoia. Does the eight-episode series live up to that promise, or is it just another empty vessel for self-indulgent nostalgia?

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Review: Darth Vader #23

Do you know what I love about this Darth Vader book? Kieron Gillen never fails to surprise me. He doesn’t surprise me with how Vader always survives no matter what anyone throws at him. Obviously that’s a given. No, how Gillen surprises me is with what he throws at Vader and that’s truly the joy of this book. (Okay, it’s the second biggest joy of the book. Obviously Aphra and the Murder Bots are the biggest joy.) What’s that saying? It’s not about the destination but rather the journey? It’s perhaps the most apt way I can think of to describe this current Darth Vader arc. We as readers know that Cylo’s attempts to stop Vader are going to fail no matter how many arrogant idiots he throws at him but the payoff… oh man the payoff.

If the ending of this issue doesn’t get people talking, I don’t know what will.

One of the things I’ll definitely miss about this book is when Gillen figuratively steps back and lets Larroca have at it for an entire page or, even better, a full spread. I could stare at the ships and beautifully colored space background pages for ages. Bonus points if the aforementioned page also includes Vader because daaaaaaang.

Aphra Watch 2016: Got to breath easy for one (1) issue

Do you really need to ask if this book gets a strong recommendation from me?

Darth Vader #23: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Star Wars #21

The main Star Wars book never shines more than when Jason Aaron just goes for it and that’s exactly what he does here with the kick off of the much awaited stormtrooper arc.  Making his return is Sergeant Kreel from Luke’s misadventure on Nar Shaddaa except now he’s in command of Scar Squad, a group of very deadly Special Commando Advanced Recon stormtroopers.  (Bless comic books and their acronyms.)

If you enjoyed the Republic Commando books from Legends, you’ll almost definitely like this issue.  They may not be a bunch of Mandalorian raised clones but they are a fairly tight-knit band of extremely deadly men (and possibly women.)  The Rebels never stood a chance.  Aaron continues the work laid by other Star Wars creators and gives a more human face to the Empire.  Between this issue and books like Lost Stars, it’s not hard to understand why someone would be such a fervent believer in the Empire.  It’s stability, it’s an opportunity.  The Rebel Alliance is either a bunch of freedom fighters or a terrorist organization… all depending on your point of view.

Jorge Molina gets to have some fun on the art front and draw a bunch of different stormtrooper variations.  Visually, it’s a neat shorthand to show how elite Scar Squad is– not everyone gets to have their own unique kits.  The Molina/Milla team works very nicely for this book and fits right in with the other artists they’ve had on the different arcs so far.  And shout out to David Aja for the rad cover!  I’ve missed his work on Hawkeye so this is a nice little gem.

Been holding off on diving into the Star Wars comics?  Star Wars #21 is the perfect issue to jump in with!

Star Wars #21: Jason Aaron/Writer, Jorge Molina/Artist, Matt Milla/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

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Review: Aftermath: Life Debt (audiobook)

By now a great many of you have likely already purchased and read Life Debt, the second novel in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy. Some of you may be waiting, however — for payday, for a free moment … or for someone to help you decide between the print version and the audio version. Likewise, there may be some of you who, for whatever reason, aren’t able to (or prefer not to) read the print version, and may be waiting to hear if the audiobook is an acceptable presentation of Wendig’s prose. Hopefully this review will help those folks, as well as anyone else who might be considering the audio version, decide if it’s for them.

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Tosche Station Radio #150: The Aurek-Team

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This week on Tosche Station Radio, Bria joins us to preview Celebration Europe and review Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig! Spoilers ahead.

Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net and a part of Majestic Giraffe Productions. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store and Google Play. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of Tosche-Station.net. You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon!

Western Reaches #9

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This week on Western Reaches, Megan and Saf talk about Fantasy novels, Lego Force Awakens, Pokemon. Later in the show the hosts discuss franchise writing and narrative design with special guest Alexander Freed, author of Star Wars: Battlefront: Twilight Company.

You can find Megan on Twitter with the handle @blogfullofwords and you can find Saf with @Wanderlustin. Be sure to subscribe to Western Reaches on iTunes/Google Play and subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio Mega Feed for more great shows, discussion, and commentary.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon!

Why Thrawn Needs to be in Rebels

thrawnIf you ask people who the most well-known Legends character is, you’ll probably get one of a few common answers: Mara Jade, Revan, Starkiller, Jacen or Jaina Solo. Probably the most well-known antagonist (if not the best antagonist) from the Legends universe is Grand Admiral Thrawn, aka Mitth’raw’nuruodo, created by Timothy Zahn for the first post-Return of the Jedi novel Heir to the Empire. Thrawn did not survive his eponymous trilogy, but his legacy lived on in other novels and games. Perhaps it’s because he was one of the first breakout Legends characters, perhaps it’s because he wasn’t a Force user, perhaps it’s because of his similarities to Sherlock Holmes — whatever the reason, Thrawn struck a chord with many readers. Even though he’s now a “Legend,” the Thrawn trilogy is still considered some of the best in the Expanded Universe. And many people have asked to see him make the jump to the new canon.

Spoilers for Aftermath: Life Debt under the cut.

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Review: Aftermath: Life Debt

Life DebtLook. I enjoyed the first Aftermath book well enough and it held up favorably during a second reading but Life Debt blows it out of the water. Maybe it’s the broader scope of the story, maybe it’s the inclusion of more familiar characters, maybe it’s the story itself. I don’t know. Point is: Life Debt is one hell of a fun read. Continue reading