The Man in the Shiny Stove Mask


In honor of the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope’s release, I’ll interrupt my series on reviews. To celebrate this iconic movie, the Galaxy of Heroes game has been showering me with Luke Skywalker events. Luke in those white pajamas, no less. Luke of Tatooine. Luke staring at the sunset–Luke fighting Sand People–shards of Luke–promises of Luke’s gear, but what materializes is not what my Luke needs. Typical gaming stuff.

Much as I love Luke (pajamas and all), it’s his father Darth Vader who really left his mark on entertainment history. This character captured people so much that a whole new series about his early years was created. The Mustafar-like volcanic eruption that followed those prequels only fueled more interest in Star Wars. An animated series about the proto-Vader’s adventures and a Disney buyout of the whole franchise further expanded popularity. And it all goes back to that 1977 movie in which Darth Vader first appeared. When I watch his entrance in A New Hope I can’t help saying, “This is a moment in history.” Which of course distracts from the movie.

It’s funny Star Wars is now a massive trend that “everybody” has to get on board with, because it’s about the outsider. The rebel is central to that galaxy far, far away, and dear old Luke is certainly not participating in any trends. As he says, “If this galaxy has a center, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from.” The mainstream is always shown as oppressive, boring, and corrupt–first the Empire, then the dying Jedi Order, and most recently the First Order. In the OT, of course, Luke learns that even the scary figurehead of that boring, corrupt Empire is like him. An outsider. Anakin was always an outsider to the Jedi and Darth Vader never fully accepted the Sith or became a cog of the Empire, an outsider to both. He always keeps his own identity even when he’s at his worst and ends up destroying these institutions.

And that is why from the minute he walked on that screen all those years ago people have found him so compelling.


Everyone wants to get a good big 5* rather than other, lower ratings. But what’s really important about 5* reviews?

Amount. Period. Amount of reviews. Quantity is what matters here, not quality. You’ve read a couple of 5* reviews, you don’t need to read the others because they are repetitive. What matters to the item being reviewed–what’s critical–is that there are many, many such statements. Even if they’re no more than a line saying “great,” the reviews add up. If 80% of the reviews were 5* that tells you that, for example, a certain book has a definite audience. There are people interested.

There is a percentage of phony 5* reviews given for some reason or other. That’s why the reviews have to be so numerous to be effective.

Pulse Effex



Pulse: (Book 1 in the Pulse Effex series)

This book has a pretty interesting plot—what if a disaster (a solar pulse or enemy attack) wiped out our electronics? Life would be really different and harsher really fast. We don’t know how reliant we are on these things, but if they were taken away we would suddenly realize. The story is told in alternating first person of three teen girls who record their feelings right after the disaster. Sarah was really interesting, funny but also compelling. Andrea, the sour daughter of wealthy, unloving parents, was all right, but she did just seem a “fiction” character (though her situations were sometimes exciting), and Lexi was absolutely tedious. Curious to see how it ends, but I’m reading it for Sarah.

Want a breakdown of what reviews really mean? Next week begins a brief blog series on the different star ratings and how to use them.