Depending on how old you are the word VHS will invoke different feelings and emotions. For some younger readers you may not have a clue about the meaning of the word, or who knows you may be an avid collector. For me in my late 30s, the term VHS brings fond memories of a great time in my life, a time I am still trying to keep with me even now.
Claudia Gray’s new young adult novel Star Wars: Lost Stars continues the Journey to Star Wars The Force Awakens that novels have been taking in the lead up to the film. And it’s a really, really engrossing story spanning about 20 years. The novel picks up 8 years after Revenge of the Sith and tells the tale of two children, Thane Kyrell and Cienna Ree from the planet Jelucan, who will go on to take place in many of the key events from the original trilogy of films.
*The following will contain some spoilers*
We’re going to take a look at one of the earlier novels in the new official Star Wars canon, Star Wars: Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp. The story takes place about 14 years prior to the beginning of the original story, and is mostly focused on Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader and their relationship as master and apprentice respectively. The majority of the novel takes place on the twi’lek home world of Ryloth.
*The following will contain some spoilers*
It was a dark time for Star Wars fans around 1990 due to the absence of any really compelling new content. Then Timothy Zahn released Heir to the Empire in 1991 which kicked off the outstanding Thrawn trilogy. Zahn gave us an incredible post-Return of the Jedi era story while introducing new characters that would be highly influential throughout subsequent novels in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Characters such as Mara Jade and Gilad Palleon.
It’s crazy how successful the line of films based on the world’s most popular superhero team has been. We’ve entered an age where a ton of Marvel Comics’ properties are getting ready for another wave of big efforts on the big screen. It may seem a bit daunting to get into the universe centering on The Avengers, which is why author Peter A. David put together a book that will make team history easier to comprehend.
Today I’m going to give you a brief run-down of an ever-so-popular story that has a lot to do with the color grey.
No, we’re not going to talk about those guys, unfortunately. The grey I’m referring to is Fifty Shades of Grey. You may have heard of it. It’s the best-selling book and series that sexually deprived and cranially vacant women are going bat-shit crazy for. The book’s also going to be turned into a movie and is supposedly out-selling Harry Potter (all I can say to that is this is a sad, sad world we live in). It’s livened up marriages and spiced up the bedroom all across the world, and because most women instead of men read it no one dares to call it what it really is.
Let me be clear: I have never read Fifty Shades of Grey, nor do I plan to in the near future. Or maybe my lifetime. However, because of my intuitive nature I know exactly what it’s about without having to read it, and I’m here to tell you everything.
We start with a girl. And yes, she’s a girl, not a woman. Her name’s Anastasia Steele. She’s really naive, to the point where you aren’t sure she could actually exist in this world without someone having murdered her already because she thought they really were going to give her a ride home. She’s also incredibly non-sexual; apparently, as readers we are to believe she’s never done anything in that realm at all, with anyone (including herself). It’s possible she is an extreme version of a Vulcan.
Then Anastasia meets the dashing billionaire Christian Grey. He’s described as being “tormented,” most likely due to the fact that he is having an out-of-body experience and can see what his life would be like outside of this book (i.e. better). He’s probably also tormented because his first name is Christian and there’s no way he can live up to its meaning. How hard his life must be, and yet somehow millions of women have fallen for this guy. In fact, in England, experts are betting that there will be a baby boom this year because women got so worked up over Mr. Fictional Grey that they went home to their Mr. Real-Life Dudes and got it on.
Moving on. So after some happenstance meetings and overall non-existent character development and dialogue, these two end up having sex. And since Anastasia was so non-sexual from the start, she loses her virginity to Mr. Grey, who seems to think it’s perfectly acceptable to “f*** hard” and then turn around and say, “Sorry, but I gotta get some paperwork done now.”
This is why Anastasia always remains a girl; throughout the book she never thinks for herself, which means she’s not a woman. I don’t care that she had sex; she’s still a little, annoying, daft girl who doesn’t seem to have a care or idea that the man she says “Oh, my!” about a lot is really just treating her like a piece of meat. She can’t think for herself; she just constantly wants to be around, near, on, under Christian. She has no idea what Christian’s “playroom” is, and obviously would not understand the literal definition of the word innuendo if she saw it. We’re supposed to believe this girl is a literature student? She must be studying children’s books. This is what her lack of a brain is telling women:
Christian is a whole other issue. So long, feminism. Adieu, years and years of trying to build respect between the sexes. Christian Grey is here to screw with your goals by screwing Anastasia. A man like him would be called a scoundrel, an asshole, and a dick in real life, but on the printed page he’s a godsend to all of womankind because he has, well, a dick. Mr. Tormented seems like one of those guys who you may want to climb under the sheets with, but if you’re a sane human being you laugh at yourself hysterically and say, “He just wants to get into my pants!”
But, you know, apparently all the kinky sex Anastasia and Christian have is “hot” or something. It made the New York Times bestseller list, which somehow makes the writing and its content legitimate. What this implies then, ladies and gentlemen, is that people should start having BDSM parties in the streets to make the New York Times headlines to justify their sexual cravings. Oh, wait. That gets you arrested.
Overall, the book is about sex, and not much else. It’s titillating, raw, and passionate. Anastasia and Christian have lots of it while their characters and the story plummet into literary demise. You can see Ellen DeGeneres read an excerpt here to get a good summary of the majority of the book. Or, if you’re like me and prefer something more realistic, you can view this incredible 50 shades of grey poster (my kitchen remodeling suddenly looks so much more attractive now).
The Darth Plagueis novel was very unlike many other Star Wars literature I’ve read. It was light on action and heavy on political machinations by the Sith as they tipped the force inexorably in their favor. I was under the impression that Plagueis died well before Palpatine started his foray into politics but alas I was very wrong. I also assumed that the book would start with Plagueis training Palpatine from the start and again I was proven wrong. The book not only chronicles the apprenticeship of Sidious to Plagueis but also touches on the relationship between Plagueis and his own master Darth Tenebrous. There are a few other Darths mentioned throughout, but learning further about the Sith succession line is only a small portion of what makes up a fantastic book by Star Wars veteran James Luceno.