My Favorite Things: Female Jedi, Top-Notch Literary Sci-Fi, and “The Inner Light”

They might not be raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but that doesn’t mean that we love them any less. Welcome back to My Favorite Things, a weekly column where we gab about the greatest in geek.

Can’t chose between Star Wars and Star Trek? Well, neither can we! This week we highlight a couple of our favorites from both juggernauts of geekdom. Add in a tense new novel that’s made for book group discussions, and we have three picks that are perfect for sci-fi fans. Read on for more!


 

Shara’s Favorite Thing is… The Last Jedi Teaser Trailer!

Anyone who knows me should not be surprised that I’m chomping at the bit to see Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Not only will I be seeing the movie on opening day, but I’ll be taking a vacation day for the express purposes of doing so (but no midnight showings for me: I’m getting old!). So it should be no wonder that my favorite thing is the teaser trailer unveiled at Star Wars Celebration back in April. Sure, it may follow the same beats as the original trailer for The Force Awakens, but who cares? Because what’s so thrilling isn’t just coming back to see where the saga continues, or to hear Luke Skywalker say, “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” No, what’s thrilling is watching Rey, a woman, train as a freaking Jedi. It’s so awesome to see those tantalizing glimpses that I can’t help but watch the trailer over and over. Yes, I got to see Rey “awaken” to the Force in The Force Awakens, but knowing I’ll get to watch her train, under Luke Skywalker no less, is fulfilling a childhood dream I never knew I had. Yeah, some people mistakenly call Rey a Mary Sue, but if she is, she’s the Mary Sue of every girl who ever watched Star Wars and didn’t want to be Luke but still wanted to be a Jedi. Like me.

 

Tez’s Favorite Thing is… Hold Back the Stars!

I’ve never been interested in book clubs, where everyone reads the same thing at the same time like assigned homework. But in the case of Katie Khan’s Hold Back the Stars, I definitely would recommend it to book groups. Having read it, I want to discuss spoilery things and ask questions!

This literary sci-fi tells the tale of Carys and Max, the supposed utopia they’re from, and why they’re stranded in space with only ninety minutes left of oxygen and no help in sight. The space scenes are fraught and fascinating as the duo does what they can to avoid drowning in their own tears. (Yes, that’s a thing that could happen inside their helmets.) Communication — or lack thereof — is challenging enough on its own, but also they battle to create propellant and avoid asteroids. Hopefully film rights will be snapped up, because the ever-present danger and uncommon setting would make for a spectacular cinematic experience. This novel likely involved a heck of a lot of research, and Katie Khan’s work pays off big-time.

Though I wouldn’t recommend anyone removes their glove in space. Creative license there, I’m guessing.

But Carys and Max’s time on Earth doesn’t grip like the space scenes. It’s a relationship drama with a whole gamut of obstacles to overcome, and refreshing that they argue like couples in real life. Ultimately I didn’t cheer for their relationship, but that’s not unusual for me as a reader.

Already out in the UK and Australia, Hold Back the Stars hits US and Canadian shelves on May 23rd. Please read it and get back to me ASAP, because I need to discuss! (Ask me for trigger warnings if required.)

 

Merrin’s Favorite Thing is… Star Trek: The Next Generation!

Everything old is new again, especially with the help of Amazon Prime Video. Yes, I’m here to talk about Star Trek: The Next Generation. Its original run dates were 1987-1994, a time frame during which I was not allowed to watch TV on weeknights and caught episodes completely out of order during syndicated reruns. It only occurred to me in the latter half of 2016 that every iteration of Star Trek is available streaming on Amazon, and so I started with the Original Series, which I’d only seen maybe 5 episodes of in their entirety. I’d like to have more focus for this post though, so we’re sticking with The Next Generation, which I just finished this week.

Coming back to this series from the lofty cinematic heights of 2017, it’s hard not to laugh a little at the special effects, the makeup choices, and Deanna’s terrible season one poodle hair. But it’s also interesting to see the ways that Star Trek as a franchise influenced the science fiction stories that came after it. There are some highs (almost all of season 7) and some lows (“Code of Honor,” anyone?) but watching it all back to back, you really get to see how the show evolved over the seasons.

My most honorable mention goes to “The Inner Light,” a late season five episode where Picard lives out an entire lifetime in the space of 25 minutes under the influence of an alien race that simply wanted to be remembered. If that one doesn’t make you bawl real and copious amounts of tears, I’m sorry to tell you, you might be a robot.


Any thoughts, or questions about the selections above? Then let us know in the comments below.

4 Comments

  • J.L. Gribble May 8, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Oh man, I can’t wait for Merrin to get to Deep Space Nine!!! (My favorite of the shows.)

    Reply
    • Merrin May 8, 2017 at 10:24 am

      I just started it last week!!! I think I’m most excited about this one, because I’ve literally seen three episodes and they made no sense out of order.

      Reply
      • davidbrawley May 13, 2017 at 10:32 am

        DS9, when Star Trek discovers the joys of story arcs that span more than an episode or 2… So good… so so good…

        Reply
  • [REVIEW] Hold Back the Stars – Katie Khan | Tez Says September 15, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    […] NOTE: I first published this on Speculative Chic. […]

    Reply

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