Western Reaches #17

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This episode we discuss a handful of books and a lot of games, including Dishonoured and what Saf played at PAX Aus, with our main topic also focusing on a game: Mass Effect Andromeda.
 
Games: 
  • Dishonored/Dishonored 2
  • Abi
  • The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti
  • The Beginner’s Guide
VR Games: 
  • Kept
  • A Township Tale
  • The American Dream
  • Earthlight
  • Genesis
  • Symphony of the Machine
Books: 
  • Good Morning, Midnight – Lily Brooks-Dalton
  • Dark Orbit – Carolyn Ives Gilman
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe – Kij Johnson
  • The Offworld Colelction – Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson
  • Catalyst – James Luceno
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!

ThrawnCast 2.1: How Mara Got Her Force Back

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This week on the ThrawnCast, we start Dark Force Rising with chapters 1-4!

The ThrawnCast is a part of the Tosche Station Radio network. Be sure to subscribe to the ThrawnCast on iTunes or Google Play. You can also subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio Mega Feed in iTunes or  Google Play for more great shows from our podcast network. 

This podcast was brought to you by Her Universe and your support on Patreon.

Review: Catalyst

catalystIf you were amongst those who were disappointed that the first Aftermath book wasn’t a more direct prequel to The Force Awakens, Catalyst will most definitely scratch that itch for you for Rogue One. Set during the Clone Wars and the early years of the Empire, Catalyst dives into the long history between Orson Krennic and Galen Erso. I obviously haven’t seen Rogue One and only know what the trailers have told us but after reading Catalyst, I can’t help but feel that this book is a must read for any Star Wars fan who really wants to enhance their first viewing of the film next month. That’s just one of the reasons why I absolutely recommend picking up Catalyst by James Luceno today at your earliest convenience. Or right now. Now would be good too.

If you’re a Luceno fan, you’ll definitely enjoy this book. The writing style is less dense than Tarkin and will appeal to more people but you’ll probably still learn a new vocabulary word or two. Luceno does a wonderful job of weaving the tale of the slow burn manipulation of Galen Erso across the years without ever leaving the readers lost and wondering exactly when we are. (An impressive feat unto itself.) Primarily, Catalyst is told from the point of view of Lyra Erso, Orson Krennic, and a smuggler named Has Obitt but very rarely from Galen’s. It may seem an odd choice but it works oh so well especially since it can so often be a struggle to get Galen out of his own thoughts and scientific musings.

Although Catalyst is very much a character showcase, it also serves to show a different side of a story than what we already know along with expanding the galaxy a little. What was the last time we got the scientist’s point of view during a war? Catalyst may lack the grand battles that so many assume are synonymous with Star Wars but more than makes up for it with its characters. It’s a big galaxy so it’s nice to see its other facets.

While the book establishes Krennic as being someone you definitely don’t want to cross, the real standout here is Lyra Erso who is also the hero we need and deserve. While some may be disappointed that she’s not a scientist like her husband, she is most definitely her own person and a complex character. We spend a lot of time in Lyra’s head and it is absolutely to the book’s benefit. While yes, the book revolves around Galen and Krennic’s slow manipulation of him, Lyra has agency and keeps trying to do what’s best for their family. She doesn’t just sit there and fret about Galen or just let things happen. She plays an active role in trying to get to the bottom of just what Krennic’s ultimate plan for Galen is. Lyra is exactly the sort of capable female character we need to see more of in Star Wars because she shows us that strength isn’t found in combat alone.

Catalyst will definitely raise your excitement for Rogue One to critical levels. Luceno has done such a wonderful job of weaving together bits and hints of Rogue One into this prequel while also telling a complete story that can stand on its own merits. This is definitely one that Star Wars fans should pick up soon.

Thank you to Del Rey for providing an early copy of the book for review purposes.

Knights of the Old Replay: Commencement and Flashpoint

And so the KOTOR project actually begins! Interestingly enough, we start with that I remember least. Despite making it my goal to get all of these comic omnibuses as Dark Horse released them, I haven’t actually cracked them open yet so it’s been a very long time since I’ve read these comics. Essentially, I remember the first arc and that’s uhhh mostly it. (Look, it’s hard keeping so much Star Wars in your brain when you read almost everything regardless of era.)

Point is… this is going to be fun!

Commencement
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Brian Ching and Travel Foreman, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler

When you make a list of the Jedi that you don’t want to be, the first name on the list should probably be Anakin Skywalker. The second name on the list should be Zayne Carrick. There are a lot of different ways that you could subtitle this first comic arc. Zayne Carrick: Not Great At This Jedi Thing. Zayne Carrick: Having A Really Bad Day. Zayne Carrick: Doesn’t Deserve This Crap. Zayne Carrick: Proud Member Of The You-Try-So-Hard Club. Somehow, they’re all accurate. That poor boy.

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ThrawnCast 1.8: We’ll Think of Something

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This week on the ThrawnCast, we dive into Heir to the Empire chapters 29-32 and recap the book. We’ll dive into Dark Force Rising next time!

The ThrawnCast is a part of the Tosche Station Radio network. Be sure to subscribe to the ThrawnCast on iTunes or Google Play. You can also subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio Mega Feed in iTunes or  Google Play for more great shows from our podcast network. 

This podcast was brought to you by Her Universe and your support on Patreon.

Review: Poe Dameron #8

Poe Dameron #8 has a little bit of something for everyone. Sweaty Poe aggressively kicking a punching bag! Adorable BB-8 listening to his angsting and holding out a sweat rag once he’s done! Unexpected Agent Terex backstory! Adorable Oddy getting permission to fly Poe’s X-Wing! AND WHO IS THAT DROID WITH THE RED ARM???

Despite his not-so-restful shore leave time last issue, Poe Dameron is not doing great. He’s increasingly concerned that one of his pilots might be a spy for the First Order; something that’s particularly troubling given that he’s known some of them for a very long time. It’s worrying enough that he doesn’t feel comfortable tapping any of the four for a top-secret mission to rescues one of Threepio’s droid informants. Seeing Poe like this makes me want to just give him a hug (and then find the spy and shake them senseless.)

Just as Charles Soule promised us, we’re going back to Jakku in a flashback to the Battle of Jakku! We finally learn a little more about who Terex is (outside of being fabulous,) where he comes from, and why he’s with the First Order. It’s definitely giving the character more depth and I suspect we’ll only learn more as this arc progresses.

The only downside to this issue is that it’s woefully lacking in other Black Squadron pilots. I’m already missing those kids and hope we’re not going to go an entire story arc without them.

As always, Issue #8 is another solid entry of the Poe Dameron comic and the Agent Terex backstory alone is worth the price of admission.

Poe Dameron #8: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

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Rebels Review: 3.06 – “Imperial Supercommandos”

Fenn Rau returns, we learn a little more about what’s happened on Mandalore since the Empire took over, and Sabine finally gets a jetpack. “Imperial Supercommandos” serves not only as a sequel to season 2’s “The Protector of Concord Dawn,” but doles out a little more insight into Sabine’s backstory.

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Knights of the Old Replay: Bria Takes On KOTOR

darth revanA long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… a girl got a bad idea.  Or perhaps it was a good idea.  Honestly, it depends on your point of view.  Today is a grand tradition in Tosche Station history.  Back in 2012, this marked the start of the Waru Express and in 2013, it marked the start of the Hondo Caravan.  I took two years off but this feels like the right time to start another big project.  2016 just feels like the right time to embark on a reread and replay of the Knights of the Old Republic comics and games.  

How’s this going to work?  That’s an excellent question!  I’ll be covering the comics a few arcs at a time in a similar method to what I did with the Waru and the Hondo.  There will likely be squeeing and snark and also gifs.  Definitely gifs.  For the games, well… I’m still working on that part but there will probably be a post for every planet.  (Honestly, this part is up to you guys! I’m going to look into livestreaming my game play and maaaaaybe figuring out how to put together a short little highlights video for every post too.)

visas-marrThere is one twist for this particular project: cosplay.  I’ll be working on a Visas Marr costume for Celebration/Dragon Con next year and it seems appropriate that I include any updates about the costume’s progress as this retrospective moves along.  (It also has the side benefit of publicly shaming me if I don’t get any work done on it.)

Knights of the Old Republic is one of those games that I adore and will always adore until the end of time.  I’m genuinely excited to reread the comics because it’s been a few years and even more excited to play through the games again because R E V A N <3  This will also be the very first time that I’m playing through the second game with the cut content restored thanks to mods.  I look forward to having my heart broken.

If you’d like to follow my progress on Twitter, I’ll be using the hashtag #HKExcursion.  The full list is below although the order of the planets for the games is subject to change depending on what I decide on playing first.   Continue reading

We need to talk about Padmé Amidala

aotc-senate padmeWe need to talk about Padmé Amidala. More specifically, we have to talk about the raw deal that Padmé gets. No not the one that she got in Revenge of the Sith with her entire political plotline being cut from the film and her less than ideal death. No, I’m referring to the tendency of people (fandom and otherwise) to write Padmé off simply because she was either in the Prequels or doesn’t fit their model of a Strong Female Character because it’s really getting to be a problem.

Prequel dismissiveness aside, I’ve seen a pretty disturbing trend lately of writers leaving Padmé off their lists of prominent women within the Star Wars universe. Usually, that list includes Leia, Rey, Jyn, Ahsoka, and sometimes Sabine and Hera from Star Wars Rebels. It’s a list that doesn’t include Padmé despite her being strong enough to lead the battle to retake her planet, often going headfirst into danger when she’s trying to do the right thing, and having some of the strongest convictions of any Star Wars characters. She is also undoubtedly the prominent female character from three films.

When people talk about Padmé, they often do so dismissively whether it be because of the Prequels or because of her death or because of her fantastic fashion sense or because she’s not the flashy Hero of the story or because they simply don’t like her. That’s not okay. Say what you will about the Prequels but give Padmé the respect that she deserves and don’t omit her from a list of prominent Star Wars women just because you have an axe to grind. (And Padmé certainly can fight, by the way. She’s one of the best shots in the films but that shouldn’t matter.) Continue reading

Tosche Station Radio #158: Hindsight is 20/20

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This week on Tosche Station Radio, we look back at the four years since the Lucasfilm sale to Disney and feature a couple mini-interviews with Chuck Wendig and Tim Zahn from New York Comic Con!  

Links discussed on today’s episode:

Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net. 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!