Feast your eyes on this brand new hot of the internet teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Feast your eyes on this brand new hot of the internet teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Some more flash-fiction courtesy of Elegy for a Dead World. Later on tonight, there will also be a podcast:
To my loyal subjects: After much reflection on the way the war is going for us and our enemies, I have decided to resort to the unthinkable:
At 2500h today, I have ordered our military forces to stand down and begin an orderly withdrawal behind our pre-war bordes, and for my government to convey to our enemies that from this point forward, we will not fight anymore.
To ensure the safety of our people, of our country and to stabilize the region, we declared war on our neighbours and their ideologies. It was furthest from our minds that we should become the very thing we hate most: Tyrants, dictators and murderers.
But what was intended to be a short, victorious war has become a quagmire of blood. Despite our honorable forces‘ best efforts, our country’s faith in the cause, and our enemies supposed inferiority.
Ten million people have died on our world alone. Despite this sacrifice, nothing has changed and this universe has become a darker place for it.
Here, the enemy has has stood strong but suffered greatly. There, a thousand of our finest children lie dead, with them, the children of our enemies.
Additionally, our enemies have created better weapons and defences than we have thought possible, which has taken even more of our children from us.
In honor of those who have fallen protecting our world, we will erect a monument containing the essences of ther souls. This will serve as a reminder of their sacrifices, channel our resolve into brighter channels and will allow us to achieve a greater good.
All eyes are now on us. When you, my loyal subjects, take the steps towards peace, others will follow your lead and mindless war will be followed by golden peace. The peace this world and its neighbours deserve.
We are the ones paving the way for peace, for a brighter future for the entire sector of the galaxy. In a thousand years, our blood and sweat will be forgotten, but the peace we started shall remain and shine like a beacon in the cold void of space.
Let our entire world continue with one voice, ever certain that, though we have suffered greatly and have brought great suffering, our people are still united as one and still have hope and dreams for a better future for us. But this future can only be created if we not only think of our planet and our civilization, but realize that this peace must include our neighbours. It must include them in a way they choose, not one we force upon them.
Today, we are eclipsed by other worlds, but one day soon, our star will shine brighter than ever. It’s light being strengthened by the peace, that emaneted from one of the worlds which are its children.
This is my final decree. I have started this war and tonight, my soul essences will join with the ones already infused in the foundation of the monument. I shall face their judgement. The government has been instructed to choose a new Emperor, may his reign be one of greater wisdom and peace than mine was.
The good news on Star Wars in the real world does not cease. After one of the Mars rovers clearly spotted the Mos Eisley Cantina Band, it now also seems like a planet like Tatooine might actually exist.
Tatooine famously orbits a binary star (see header image) and it was thought that binary stars could not have planets because the gravity of the binary star would prevent planets in the habitable zone from forming. But now it seems that our telescopes have actually spotted evidence which hints at the existance of rocky planets around binary stars in their habitable zone.
Yes, Tatooine might be out there, but so far, things are not as great as they sound. but the gentleman here can explain this much better than I can:
Header image © Lukasfilm / Disney, fair use
Sir John Vincent Hurt (CBE), who will be remembered by so many fondly and with great respect, has passed on aged 77. He was one of the greatest actors of his generation, as his BAFTA awards and nominations clearly show, and his work spanned six decades.
To the readers of this blog, he will most likely be known for his performaces in at least one of the following films or TV series:
And it is to the War Doctor, that this tribute is dedicated:
Header imgage (c) BBC, fair use
Carrie Fisher, who will forever be remembered for personifying Princess Leia Organa has passed on at the age of 60 after suffering a heart attack. She will be missed by millions of devoted fans and leaves a gap in one of the most vibrant fandoms in the world which will very likely be impossible to fill.
Rest in the Force, Carrie. You will be forever in our minds and our hearts.
Image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney, fair use.
I have to thank my friend Stefan over at Phantanews for bringing this one to my attention.
Yes, the time of release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story draws ever nearer and to keep our interest kindled (as if this was neccessary in the first place) another TV spot has just been released and is already at 381,524 views as of the time of me writing this post, so join the horde and feast your eyes:
This one is hot off the press or rather hot off the web. Released two hours ago, please enjoy Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer #2 (Official):
And the glory does not end there, yesterday a new movie poster was also released, so please feast your eyes some more:
I can hardly wait for December to swing around… May the Force be with us all until then and beyond!
Poster © Lucasfilm Ldt. fair use
Oh this is great. Another example how different aspects of pop culture, especially international pop culture can influence each other to create something beautiful.
In this case, someone sat down and created an Origami pattern for an X-Wing starfighter, thus bringing the wonderful tradition and now world-wide cultural phenomenon Origami (which is younger than you might think, first documented occurence is in 1680) to the already vast and globally cultural significant Star Wars Universe.
It is not the easiest pattern, but here is a step-by-step intructional video:
Now go, fold a few, make several squadrons and then arrange them around a modded IKEA Death Star Lamp!
Ever since I took a course focused on African literature at university, I have been in love with it, African literature, that is.
The best books I ever read are (appologies to H.P. Lovecraft at this point) The River Between by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and The Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe (on which I wrote an essay at the end of the course).
So when my lovely wife informed me a woman of African descent (Igbo, no less), Nnedi Okorafor, had won the Nebula and Hugo Awards for her novella Binti, I obviously had to get a copy.
I did not regret it, not at all.
Actually, I was a slight bit disappointed at the beginning, but this is because I had hoped the protagonist would be Igbo (Chinua Achebe is Igbo and The Arrow of God focusses on the clash between British and Igbo culture, in case you wondered why it was a factor for me that Nnedi Okorafor is of Igbo descent), alas, she is not.
This is where the disappointments ended. The protagonist, Binti, is a Himba girl. I had never heard of the Himba before, which is embarassing, since I considered myself fairly knowledgable about Namibia. I read up on them, so I already learned something new via the novella.
The story takes place at a not specified point in the future but I got the sense that it is a long way in the future.
For one thing, ther is the cultural change. Now, the Himba are a pastoral people, practicing subsistance farming (mostly) by the time Binti is set in, they live in clans, each specializing in creating high-tech artifacts. Binti (the main character) is a prodigy in mathematics with a knack for patterns and fractals.
Also, there is another ethnic group in Namibia that does not exist there now (it is made clear in the novella the Himba still live in their ancestral homeland). This other people are the Khoush, they wear turbans and veils and are described as pale and are unfamiliar with the ways of the Himba which leads to some of them insulting or condescenting towards Binti in various ways because they do not know the ways of the Himba and are also condescending towards the „savage girl“.
Later in the novella we learn that most technology used in space travel, most prominently the space ships, are organic and grown from genetically engineered shrimp.
Binti is the first member of her people to ever leave Earth and go to Oomza University, a planet dedicated to learning where only 5% of the students are human, and takes with her a jar of otjize, which is culturally significant in several ways for the Himba, look it up, and also significant for the plot later. If I go to much into detail here, I would spoil the story.
Again we get the sense that this is very far in the future since it seems no big deal that only 5% of students are human. Coming to think of it, 5% is actually pretty significant, given that especially at the end of the novella, we meet several sentioent races and I guess there are far more than a dozen present at the university.
During the trip to Oomza Universirty, Binti again has some unpleasant encounters with cultural insensitivities but also almost falls in love. Almost, because just before this can fully flower, everybody on board except her and the pilot gets murdered by a Meduse boarding party.
The meduse are another starfaring race, human-sized jellyfish-like creatures, to be exact. They come to avenge an insult and it becomes clear that it is up to Binti to prevent an interstellar conflict. Binti is able to communicate with the Meduse (which the Meduse think is an abomination) because of an old technological artifact that once was found in the Namib desert and another hint on how far in the future this is and how long mankind has traveled the stars by the time the novella takes place.
In the end, the crisis is resolved, and Binti is involved in a triple way: Her ability to communicate, a strange power the otjize has on the Meduse and via another, and rather brutal and final violation of Binti as a peron and regarding her identity as Himba. Again, saying too much would spoil the story.
There are two main themes in this novel, I think:
One is pretty imperialistic: Might makes right and if you have the firepower, you can get away with things (Humans did a grave injustice to the Meduse and got away with it, the Meduse get away with slaughtering the passengers and crew of the space ship) and you can violate a percieved inferior in any case and get away with it.
The other message is far more positive: There is no need for fighting if everybody is willing to talk.
Binti is a fascinating read that offers a gimpse into a wonderfully different future that also takes the evolution of cultures into account. It is also very dark in a way that is not immediately apparent but Binti, the eponymous protagonist gets violated all the way through the novel and the violaters literally come in all shapes and sizes. She also loses part of herself, literally but she also manages do adopt part of her culture to an alien environment. Binti is also a surprisingly multi-faceted and multi-layered piece of literature, far more so than you would expect from a short novella.
10 out of 10 starship-sized shrimps, and I cannot wait to getmy hands on the upcoming sequel.
If you are interested in taking a peek yourself, you can of course get it on Amazon.
It is now 80 years and two days since Benjamin, the last extant thylacene, a.k.a. Tasmanian Tiger, passed on, and with him another species went into the long night of extinction caused by homo sapiens. In case you were not aware of it, we are currently right in the middle of another great extinction event and we are the cause of it. Yes, this is the Holocene Extinction Event, it is still ongoing and we as a species are the cause and it is entirely our responsibility.
The thylacene is only one of the species we either hunted into extinction or wiped out by destroying the habitat.
Here is a rather depressing report:
Yet, there is hope. For one thing, there are several projects in the works, one focused on the thylacene, aiming to ressurect extinct species by cloning from tissue samples and other methods. It is still a bit early to say where this all leads but at least something is being done and scientific progress might yet lead to a re-enriched biosphere of earth.
I for one would love to see the thylacene making a comeback. Let us hope, the projects will end in success.