Nerd in the City Book Club is on Goodreads

Before Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out in theaters, I attempted to make my way through the old canon of Expanded Universe materials. But since I only started in January of last year, I didn’t get very far. There is just so much to get through and I am a slow reader. I like to take my time with books and really live in them for a little while.

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So…my mission failed.

But I will not be discouraged by my lack of accomplishment. Instead I will embark on a new endeavor and I want you to come along for the ride. Over on Goodreads, I’ve started a Nerd in the City book club. 1 book a month…totally doable. And we are starting with The Phantom Menace novelization, which is the first canon book according to the Disney Reading Group.

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I know…it’s not original canon. And I know that some of you are still stinging from the pain of the disbanding of it. My very own cousin, Wesley, refuses to read any of the new stuff in solidarity with George Lucas’ vision for the Star Wars Universe.

But, reader…the past is the past. It’s time to move forward. The old canon isn’t going anywhere and if you happen to have about 15 years on your hands in the future, then you should definitely dive right in. I intend to finish that mission one day, when I’m old and gray and have nothing but time.

As for right now, I want to prepare myself for Star Wars: Episode VIII which will be released in December of 2017. If my calculations are correct and barring any unforeseen book releases, if we start reading The Phantom Menace in February, we should be reading The Force Awakens novelization by November 2017 which is complete perfection. What a great way to immerse in the SWU while we suffer the pain of waiting for the next movie. (Pain may be a bit strong.)

Anyways…the invitation is open. The virtual cookies have been baked and my virtual living room is very comfortable. So I hope you bring a friend!

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The Redemption of Kylo Ren

The question on everyone’s mind lately… “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?” or as my guest blogger Michael Burgett queried yesterday: “Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?” If that question is not on your mind, then you just haven’t seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens enough! Go watch it again and then we can talk!

Reader, you know me by now. I’ve shared many an embarrassing story with you. I’ve told you about my dates and about my family and about my hopes and my dreams. I believe that you truly know me, in all my pie-in-the-sky optimism. So, of course, my answer to both the aforementioned questions would be yes. Yes, Kylo is redeemable and yes, he will be redeemed. In fact, I’d go further and say it is merely a matter of time till he is redeemed. And it is one scene in particular that gives me this hope for the son of Han Solo to find his way back to the Light.

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Han is leaving the Rebel base to go destroy Starkiller and confront his son who has turned so far from the path that Han, Leia and Luke had wanted for him. Leia and Han share a tender moment of goodbye, not knowing that it would be their last moment together. Leia says to Han “there is Light in him.” And as we know, this is a strong theme in the Star Wars universe. The presence of Light is more than just a touch of the good side…it is hope. Padme felt the Light in Anakin. Luke felt the Light in Darth Vader. That pull to the Light is a powerful feeling.

Often it is the Dark side that is given all the strength of power. And in the past we have witnessed the pull from the Light to the Dark in Anakin’s journey. Kylo’s journey, for us, starts out in the Dark with that sliver of Light still shining inside him. Light that he is desperate to eradicate and turn from.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. All that Light talk happened before Kylo kills his own father, our beloved Han Solo. Tell me something…does one deplorable act completely erase your humanity? Some might say yes, but I say no. (It’s a different story when it comes to the Emperor. Ask me about it sometime!) Kylo is still Leia’s son. And in the end if when Kylo comes back to the Light side, he will have to fully feel his actions on Starkiller base. The Dark side allows you to cloud your true feelings and boil them down into pure anger. But as any person who has experienced anger knows, there’s usually something else going on underneath it. And Supreme Commander Snoke knows this. He is pulling Kylo’s strings the way Emperor Palpatine pulled Anakin’s. The Dark side is manipulation and lies.

Now, I really like the point that Michael in his article yesterday. If this were just a villain, like Darth Vader was back in 1977, then we wouldn’t be having this argument. We don’t argue whether Hannibal Lecter will be redeemed or if Lord Voldemort will come back to the side of good wizardry in the end. But in 1983, when Return of the Jedi was released, George Lucas taught us that even a bad guy as bad as Darth Vader himself could find redemption and bring balance to the Force. Let’s not forget that lesson just because Kylo Ren has no prophecy to bring about his redemption.

We, the viewer, had no idea what history lay underneath Vader’s mask till the prequels came out in 1999. With Kylo, we know a little of his history, but none of his motivation. Why did he turn? What drew him to the Darkness? What lies about Darth Vader’s legacy has he been told? And if he finds out the truth about The Chosen One, will that make a difference?

All will be revealed in due time, reader. We may have to wait a few more months than we want to with Episode VIII being pushed from May 2017 to December 2017. But think of how happy your Star Wars friends will be to have another onslaught of delicious merchandise to acquire that Christmas. It’ll be so easy to shop! So in the end, the wait is worth it. And we can continue our speculation up until the very day when the truth is shared with us.

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In the meantime, I invite you to come join my Nerd in the City book club on Goodreads. So much delicious Star Wars Expanded Universe reading material to dive into and dissect!! Do not miss out!

NITC Book Club: Star Wars Edition

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There are only 7 months to go till Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will be hitting theaters and changing our world as we know it. Which mean I only have 7 months for my Star Wars Book Club Challenge. Tall order, but I am determined to get through as many of them as I physically can.

Don’t forget to join me… if you feel up to the challenge! This week I’d reading the second book in Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, Dark Force Rising.

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Tension is rising as Princess Leia attempts to confront a tribe of Noghri who have been made slaves by the Empire to track and kill her.

Dark Jedi, Joruus C’boath is on a mission to bring Leia, her force sensitive, unborn twins and Luke to him to teach the dark side of the Force.

And Han and Lando embark on a mission of their own to find out who has been double crossing the New Republic and trying to overthrow Admiral Ackbar and Mon Monthma’s leadership.

NITC Book Club: Star Wars Edition

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I am embarking on a rather large undertaking. For those super fans out there, you know what I mean when I say Expanded Universe. And you also know that the entire library of books that you previously believed to be canon has been relegated to Star Wars Legends. Meaning, they no longer exist in the regular Star Wars Universe. To some most, this is a big, fat disappointment because that’s all we’ve known. Mara Jade, Jaina and Jacen, Ben, little Anakin, Grand Admiral Thrawn, the death of Chewie. These are all stories that we are aware of and believe to be apart of a grander universe that we know and love.

But fans, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I like to believe that the novels are some sort of alternate universe. Like they could still all be true somehow. Making them Legends doesn’t diminish the excellent quality of writing and story telling. It just allows for a whole new onslaught of tales to delve into.

So here’s my mission. Between now and December I am going to plow through as much of the Expanded Universe: Legends as I can, starting with Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy and hopefully making it all the way to the end which would be Crucible by Troy Denning. That’s 69 books in all. I’ve definitely got my work cut out for me. (Especially since I’m not the fastest reader.)

After December, I will be devouring every single new canon book, comic, etc as it becomes available. I invite you to join me with the hashtag #NITCBookClubSW Let me know what you’re reading, if you like it and how you feel about Legends vs new canon. We’re all in this together, Star Wars nerds.

Heir to the Empire

by Timothy Zahn

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I read this book years and years ago. And I don’t know how this happened, but I forgot how amazing it is. Timothy Zahn was already an amazing sci-fi writer before he was unleashed on the Star Wars Universe. And he is made all the better by writing for these beloved characters in a galaxy far, far away!

All the characters that we love are back in this action packed story set in the time of the New Republic. Obviously Vader is the biggest and bestest of the bad, but if there is someone who is a decent predecessor to his pre-redemption evil intentions, it would be Grand Admiral Thrawn. The last of the Grand Admirals. Who takes it upon himself to rebuild the Empire and fight the New Republic that has been trying to rebuild since the Return of the Jedi.

Leia Organa Solo is pregnant with twins and still managing to go on diplomatic missions to expand the reach of the New Republic. Luke is being tracked by a mysterious woman who is hell bent on seeking revenge. Lando is back. Han is back. Chewie is back!! It’s everything you love about Star Wars. And Zahn’s voice fits in so perfectly with my predetermined ideas of the SWU.

A seriously great addition to the Star Wars Universe and an excellent place to start if you are thinking of joining my Nerd in the City Book Club Challenge. 69 books between now and December. Join me and together we can…. read a lot of books!

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 May the Force be with you… always!

Nerd in the City Book Club

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers

By Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven and Sara Pichelli

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By now, if you haven’t see Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy in theaters, then you either live under a rock or hate happiness. No matter what the case may be, you should go see this movie. And if you are interested in delving deeper into the world of the Guardians, pick up the Cosmic Avengers series.

It’s an excellent graphic novel that gives good back story on our new favorite band of misfits. It explains about Peter Quill’s father (which may or may not relate to the future story line in GOTG 2) and there’s also an appearance by a certain arc reactor hearted Avenger, Iron Man himself.

If you like action, unlikely heroes and colorful pictures than this graphic novel is the perfect post summer, early fall read for you!!

Get it here.