Tosche Station Book Club #2: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Welcome back to the Tosche Station Book Club! This month, host Nanci and guest Katie break down Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.

Tune in next month for a review of Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray!

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon!  If you like what you hear, keep an eye out for our forthcoming dedicated iTunes feed or subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio Megafeed for all of our great Star Wars and geek culture content. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Western Reaches #4

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Murphy’s Law can’t keep Saf and Megan down! This week on Western Reaches, the hosts talk the Play by Play festival, books, and take a look back at the history of Mass Effect and its impact on the gaming landscape.

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 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!

Review: Star Wars #18

The mystery deepens! Star Wars #18 by Jason Aaron and Leinil Yu continues the Original Trilogy adventure. Well, maybe it’s an adventure of Han and Luke. It’s a fight for their lives for Leia, Sana, and Aphra. Let’s hear it for the laaaaaaaadies!

I love that this comic essentially smashes the Bechdel Test on every other page. As mentioned in prior reviews, Leia and Sana have long since moved past the whole Han Solo thing and their relationship is now based entirely their own interactions. Aphra is a fun wrench in the mix although after a certain exchange, I’m now fairly sure that this is not the first time that Aphra and Sana have interacted in the past and that is a story I’m dying to know. Perhaps my favorite part of this trio is how Leia is (as usual) the voice of reason who just wants them to get out of this alive so can we leave the in-fighting for later and just do as she says, please and thank you?

Han and Luke have definitely had the B-story this arc (which is fine by me) but it hasn’t been without its charm. Aaron has shown that he has a very strong grasp on how to write fresh-off-the-farm Luke Skywalker who is believable without feeling like an easy stereotype. The older/younger brother relationship between him and Han is the actual best.

The big mystery however comes from the prison’s attacker. I won’t spoil it for any readers who have yet to pick up the issue but who is he and how in space does he know that??? I’ll be intrigued to see how many answers Aaron and Yu give us before the story’s end… if they give us any.

The Rebel Jail story arc concludes next month and after an issue like this? I can’t wait to see how it goes!

Review: Obi-Wan and Anakin #4

Four issues in and the mystery on Carnelion IV just keeps getting deeper. Out today is Obi-Wan and Anakin #4 by Charles Soule and Marco Checchetto and this book just keeps getting (yep, you guessed it) better and better.

Look. It’s not that I’m not solidly enjoying all the pages of Obi-Wan and Anakin because I am. The situation on Carnelion IV is fascinating and something I want to know more about. Checchetto and Mossa are doing some absolutely beautiful work on those pages. But the Palpatine stuff… hot damn, that’s what makes this book shine. You know those giant omnibuses that have 30+ issues of a comic? Yeah, I would happily spend a day curled up with a book or two of those reading a Soule written comic just about Palpatine, Anakin, and Obi-Wan in the years between the Battle of Naboo and Order 66.  The manipulation is so beautifully done. Pages like this make me see why people find Palpatine to be such an intriguing character. Plus? This may be the first time that someone has, within the story itself, acknowledged how little agency Anakin Skywalker has ever had when it comes to making decisions about his life. (Spoiler alert: he hasn’t gotten to decide anything.) It’s something that has been discussed between fans but it is especially painful to hear Anakin himself actually talk about it.

One of the coolest things about the limited series that Marvel has been doing is how distinct they all feel. It’s been their chance to experiment more especially when it comes to genre. There’s something about this arc that just feels more… science-fiction-y than some of the others. (It’s because of the mechs which are AWESOME.)  Also worth mentioning about this issue is the beautiful work that Checchetto did on the cover. That would look gorgeous as a print or poster.

Obi-Wan and Anakin continues to be a fantastic book and the only thing that makes me reluctant to pick up the next issue next month is that it means this will be coming to an end.

Lieve Oma: an Ode to Grandmothers

Almost everyone has someone they can point to that has helped positively shape them into the person they are today. A sibling, a parent, a close friend; for Florian Veltman, game developer, that person is his grandmother, someone who means so much to him that he made a game as an ode to her.

Short and endlessly sweet, Lieve Oma is a character-driven game that is, at its core, a loveletter to Florian’s grandmother. This is a game you play less for the gameplay, and more for the characters and the feeling. From the Lieve Oma description:

Lieve Oma is a top-down 3D game where you go for a stroll with your grandmother through a forest. You can pick mushrooms when you find them, but the real reason you’re here is to have a discussion with your grandmother about the issues you encounter, coping with going to a new school, among other things.

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The character designs are very cute and simple, and the child is especially cute when running.

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A note from the editor

About eight months ago, I published a post detailing rather abhorrent behavior by individuals nominally aligned with the Bring Back Legends/Give Us Legends movement. In the time since, members of that movement have decided the way to prove that harassment at Dragon Con 2015 didn’t happen was to engage in further harassment. Over that time I’ve received a near constant stream of abuse, harassment, and more recently, threats. While others may be able to shrug that off, I’m not one of those people. I’ve been open with my struggle with depression and anxiety. The never-ending abuse in the form of Tweets, emails, YouTube videos containing vulgarities and slurs that no one should be forced to endure has forced me to prioritize my health and well being. The vast majority of this abuse I have not shared anywhere.

Effective Sunday, April 17th, I’ll be stepping away from TSR and the blog. I’ve set a minimum one-month hiatus for myself, but my health is the first concern and if that window needs to be extended or be permanent, it will be. Here’s what this means to you.

  • Nanci will be assuming sole editor duties over the blog
  • TSR will either go into hiatus after this weekend or another host will step in to do the show with Nanci
  • Western Reaches, Of Dice and Droids, and the Tosche Station Book Club will continue

We’ll see where we are in a month. I know stepping away is handing these serial abusers and harassers a victory, but at a certain point you have to take care of your own well being.

Fandom should be a place full of shared passion and joy. What myself and numerous others have been exposed to lately has been anything but. Remember, fandom is what you make it. Don’t allow it to become toxic, insular, and full of hate.

-Brian

Review: Darth Vader #19

It’s ever so nice when you read the last issue of an arc, flip the book closed, smile to yourself, and say “That was everything I hoped for.” That’s exactly what I did when I finished Darth Vader #19 by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca. When Gillen first introduced Queen Trios (then Princess Trios) in the Darth Vader Annual, this was exactly the sort of story I was hoping we would see. (What can I say: I’m a sucker for the Star Wars royals.)  Marvel has absolutely delivered.

Some spoilers after the jump. Continue reading

Review: C-3P0

It’s real! After months of delays, the one-shot C-3P0 comic book that was supposed to be a part of the Journey to The Force Awakens has finally hit comic stores shelves. So was this one-shot by James Robinson and Tony Harris worth the wait?

Consider me… whelmed.

I am not a fan of Tony Harris as a person (google it) but I have to say his art is definitely the highlight of this story. The credits indicate that he did the line art, inking, and colors and it definitely works really well together. It’s actually the best thing about this book. There’s a page at the start that’s mostly of Threepio that just really really works.

The story itself feels… superfluous. We already knew from reference books that Threepio wears the red arm to honor the sacrifice of another droid. That’s… basically the story. Right there. If you’re a fan of Threepio, you’ll like this story because it’s a heck of a lot of him talking like his usual self. The one bit that did stand out was when another droid gets a little more philosophical about what exactly being a droid is. There’s a super neat bit in which we find out that despite being memory wiped, traces and glimpses of those memories still survive. It’s something that I never considered before but find endlessly fascinating.

So is it worth the wait and your money? If you’re a completionist or a Threepio fan, sure. If you’re not… well, it’s not a bad issue. It’s most unfortunate that this issue didn’t come out when originally planned.

Jake Lloyd, Mental Illness, and Laying Off on the Bullying

Jake Lloyd, the actor behind Episode I’s Anakin Skywalker, was recently moved to a psychiatric facility after spending ten months in jail following a high-speed chase with police in South Carolina in June 2015.  While the information has been out there for a while, the fact that Lloyd suffers from schizophrenia is once again in the news, perhaps in a higher profile way than it had before.

There are about a hundred things we could talk about with this.  Psychiatric facilities versus jail, support for mental illness, lessening the stigma of mental illness.

Because let me tell you guys something.  As someone who suffers from a mental illness herself?  It sucks.

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Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray

Finally, after an interminable wait of three and a half months (anyone remember when films took a year or longer to come to video? No? Just me?), we have the home video release, on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD, of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Is it the home video release we’ve all been hoping for, or a bare-bones offering designed to tide us over until a sequel trilogy boxed set is released with the real goods? A little from column A, a little from column B, it turns out. Read on to see what I mean.

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