Sunday, December 17, 2017

Gilda and the Prince is Now Published!

Last year, I was asked to write a story for an erotic horror anthology. It took me a while but I finally wrote a little story and sent it in. It was accepted and was due to be published around Halloween 2017.  Then the publisher closed and my story was orphaned, as seems to happen to me a lot in recent years. 

After a few months of not knowing what to do with my little science fiction horror erotic story, I decided to let Scarlett Publishing turn it into a little e-book. It will also be a little print book.

This is a short story, not a novel.

This is about a lonely woman who is a huge fan of a certain science fiction saga and as luck would have it, modern science might be able to help her merge her world of loneliness with her space opera geekery.

This story is about what happens!

I hope you all like it!

It's a great "stocking stuffer" for your fantasy-minded friends!

Gilda and The Prince   is available on several platforms.

Gilda and the Prince print version

The Last Jedi SPOILERS and My Own Review

My FIRST The Last Jedi Review!













Don't read any further if you've not seen The Last Jedi yet!
There are lots of spoilers in my comments. LOTS.

If you don't want the movie spoiled, don't read any further!!!!!!


December 16, 2017

Okay, it’s been a couple of days. I’ve had some deep thoughts. I’ve allowed myself to look at dozens of reviews by critics and fans alike.

It seems people are as deeply conflicted about this movie as Kylo Ren is conflicted about his emotions.

I am conflicted.

First of all, I liked it a lot. I may even grow to love it as I grew to love The Force Awakens after multiple viewings, despite its obvious flaws. I was very entertained with The Last Jedi. I had fun. I laughed, cried, cheered, and all of that and so did the rest of the audience at 6 pm on Thursday December 14 at the very first public screening in Toronto.

Yes, there are some things I did not like.


What's Next?
And weirdly, I have no excitement or expectation for the next installment of the saga. There was no cliff-hanger as all the other movies had with the obvious example that we may or may not know who Rey is and a couple of things like that. George Lucas himself said way back in the seventies when I used to hang on every interview that I could find that he had based Star Wars off the old westerns, the cliff-hangers, with the very obvious good guys and bad guys, and lots of action. All the movies left you wanting more. Sure, they blew up the Death Star back in 1977 but the movie ended with Darth Vader hurtling through space while the heroes were being recognized (well, except for Chewbacca). Was Vader going to live or die? Would he be back for more villainry? We didn’t know. (And there's a homage to that scene with Kylo Ren spinning around in his ship.)

In The Last Jedi ending, there’s no real sense of urgency or wonderment about what’s going to happen next and with whom? There are no questions we are waiting to hear the answers about. Rey and the gang ran away from Kylo Ren who was still having a bad day as this is still the same day for some reason, or at least, going into the next day. I believe it’s supposed to be about 18 hours later and the whole nearly three-hour movie takes place over about ten or so hours.So we know Kylo will follow them and likely get crushed by the rocks when then come down. Or perhaps he'll force-hold them up himself. But it's more of the same and perhaps less urgent for the audience. Hopefully, he'll turn around, go back to the ship, and do something else. 

Since I’ve only seen it once, I’m writing this review with that impression. I’m sure after I see it again, some things will become more clear to me, and others will be less clear.

Star Wars Fan Leaves His Own Mark
I will say, it’s obvious that Rian Johnson loves Star Wars. It’s also obvious that he’s chomping at the bit to create new ideas, new characters, and new sagas.

I’m not sure that he respected the icons that those of us who were teenagers lining up for Star Wars in 1977 really wanted to see and deal with.

I’m just going to mention a few impressions and they will likely be out of order.

Luke and the Lightsaber
I’ve spent two years crying and wondering what happened to Luke. I’ve spent two years wondering what his first words would be, and how he’d train Rey, and how much like Yoda and Obi Wan had he become? Was he still brash and impatient and whiney or was he a mature, wise old guy who’s all screwed up because his nephew is a psychopath like his dad.

We see Luke, Rey gives him the saber, and he throws it away.

I laughed. It was startling. It was funny and very unexpected. However, upon reflection, it was more like a Saturday Night Live gag (think Undercover Boss with Kylo Ren) than the Next Chapter of Star Wars. And so the wacky high jinks began.

We all know I love comedy. And Star Wars has always had corny comedic moments but they are usually from Laurel and Hardy or rather, C3P0 and R2D2 and their new pal, BB8. The droids are the comedic touchstones or at least used to be.

However, the movie opens with Poe crank calling Hux and again, it’s like an SNL skit, not a real SW movie. Yes, I laughed, but setting Hux up as a doofus doesn’t make the bad guys seem really bad.

Milk Does a Body Good
My number one complaint: I HATED how they had Luke milk a creature in her breasts for his drink. Yes, I get that they were riffing on the blue milk from the first movie, but YIKES. That scene was horrible and I'm an erotic horror writer! I bet once Mark Hamill saw what they CGId in there for him, he was horrified too. That was NOT Star Wars. Not for Luke’s character. Maybe a minor character or a droid collecting the milk but not our Luke.

It also reminded me of the milk bar scene in Clockwork Orange, when Alex gets milk from a boob. Although, I guess it foreshadows Luke's dark side.

What's Your Age Again?
I didn’t mind Luke being a crusty old man even though age wise, he and Leia are supposed to be younger than I am right now but they feel like my grandparents in this movie. They are very old for late forties, early fifties. 

And how old is Kylo Ren in THIS movie? He aged backwards. They make him look like a teenager now. In The Force Awakens, I thought he acted about 18/19 but I figured he was late twenties since Adam Driver is now in his thirties. I didn’t think he and Rey could be twins because they looked about ten years apart in age in The Force Awakens. In The Last Jedi, Rey is almost older looking than Ben though it’s just the next day and it felt like they were setting them up to be twins like Luke and Leia. 

But of course, Rian won’t let us have that joy or obvious plot point. He had Kylo Ren tell her that she’s a nobody. I hope that Kylo is lying and I don’t doubt when Abrams comes back for 9, he’ll make Rey be who he had in mind all along, whoever that is. It still felt like that she is Leia and Han’s daughter in this movie though Ben Ren says no.

The Money Shot
I am torn about the shirtless Adam Driver scene. Of course, I loved it since Kylo Ren is my favourite character but it didn’t feel Star Wars, it felt exploitive even though I'm the target audience for that lovely exploiting. Also, when Rey was disgusted by his hotness, that threw out any Reylo romance some of us were wondering about in the back of our minds, but of course, she might be protesting too much, it's hard to say since Daisy isn't the strongest of actors. There is still something between them and that will be played out in 9. 

I don’t think any Star Wars character has been shirtless like that, I don't think, ever. Or maybe I didn't pay attention. The only main character I can think of that comes close is Leia running around in that bikini for a whole movie. But in the seventies/eighties, all movie women ran around in bikinis, so it wasn’t like it was a strange idea. But Kylo in his muscular hotness, whoa! 

Was hoping the doctor would come in and check on that lower hip wound...

I loved the mind stuff between Kylo and Rey. Love it so much. It was totally Star Wars and what I was hoping for.

I was confused about the Snoke stuff. I guess Rian hated the character and killed him off. We never got to see what training Kylo was supposed to get or even what Snoke wanted at all? So bizarre to toss away a villain like that. Not good story-telling in my book! Unless THAT Snoke was a hologram as well and he'll be back in 9!

We never saw Maize tell us about Luke’s saber or anything else that we thought we’d see. She just appears in a bubble for a minute. Maybe she’ll tell us stuff in 9 but we won’t care by then because everyone is dead.

Oh, My Darling Luke...
I’m torn about Luke’s storyline. I think that drama should have been saved for 9. Much of what was in 8 seemed like it should have been dragged out for 9 instead of dismissed or ignored. I hope Luke comes back as a Force Ghost at least. Who knows? Maybe he’s not dead at all? Maybe JJ Abrams will figure out how to make him Not Dead. Maybe that was the plan all along, that we think he dies  and spreads the Force out into the Universe, or maybe he's not dead at all and comes back stronger. 

I agree with many fans that this is not how Luke should have died. This is not how Luke should have evolved. But it’s Rian’s movie and he gets to do what he wants regardless of us emotional old people who loved Luke since we first saw him run out of his hut on Tatooine in 1977 and our expectations.

Like seriously, it was weird.

Gotta Keep Killing in the Family
Luke was facing off against his own nephew. He couldn’t kill him when he was a child or so the convoluted storyline went which may or may not have been lies by Snoke or Luke or Ben so why does he do it now when Kylo Ren is an adult and even stronger? And why wouldn’t Luke go and try to talk to Ben instead of trying to kill him? Why didn’t Luke at least go see his sister and comfort her over the death of Han?

I have soooo many questions about that motivation of Hologram Luke VS Kylo and the Bad Guys. Yes, I heard Luke say he couldn’t go by himself in person and do it, yet somehow he could do it as a distant hologram? I don’t get it at all. There was no indication that Yoda and Obi Wan and perhaps even Anakin were mists in his cells who helped him battle.

Maybe I’ll figure it out better when I see it again.

Porgs and Others
 I thought I’d hate the porgs but I didn’t. They were used wisely.

Captain Phasma was wasted. I had looked forward to seeing her climb out of the trash pit and perhaps facing off against Finn but nope.

I teared up every time Carrie Fisher was onscreen. I didn’t really like the superman bit but I’m sure it will grow on me.

I really liked the mother/son connection stuff.

I was pleased to see Billie Lourd in there quite a bit. I wonder if they’ll expand her in 9?

I could have totally done without the Finn and Rose subplot. There were too many stories. I like Finn and Rose but man, it was too much when we want to see what’s going down with Luke/Rey/Kylo.

3D Rocks
I saw it in 3D with AVX sound and it was fantastic! But I love 3D so can’t speak for people who don’t love it. I thought it was well done. Certainly this was an amazing spectacle with tons of action and creatures, planets and ships. Very cool!

I was thoroughly entertained although, like I said, a few moments of boredom or “man this is taking too long.” I went to the bathroom near what I thought was the end, around the time they got to the sandy place. Dorian filled me in after the movie and I hadn’t missed any plot.

There was a spot where I thought for sure they were going to end it, and I was going to scream and cry like when Rey held the lightsaber out to Luke in TFA, but then it kept going. I was happy it kept going but then was on edge because I knew it wouldn’t be long before it was over. But like I said, no real cliff-hanger.

Mark Hamill Had Great Acting
I thought Mark Hamill was amazing with some of the best acting of his career though I will admit I laughed at one spot inappropriately because his acting was so over the top in one tiny shot and that with the 3D it was like he was the Joker having a meltdown. I’m sure on my TV and not in 3D, it won’t look so manic though he certainly portrayed going mad with excellence!

So, I was conflicted when I watched the ending. I need to see it again because I was so overwhelmed with emotion and spectacle and 3D and see how I feel. I wanted Luke to hang around longer. I wanted him to train Rey, see Leia, give Kylo shit and so on instead of just hanging out on the mountain and dying. 

Or was he dead all along? 

Instead of giving us a side plot that wasn’t necessary with Finn and Rose, Rian could have spent more time with us watching Luke unravel after he tried to kill his nephew. 

So Many Questions
When did Ben leave the Academy? What did Ben do? Did he get up right away after he saw Luke standing over him and burn the place down? Did Ben come into Carrie-like rage powers and things blew up around him? When did he become Kylo Ren? When did he get his helmet? Will we see the metamorphosis flashback in 9? Maybe we’ll never know. This is, after-all the second part of a three-part story so there will still be unanswered questions and more mysteries.

Adam Driver was amazing. I was worried he’d overact or be too sucky or something, but he was spot on as the spoiled son with anger issues of Leia and Han.

Mark Hamill and Adam Driver play my favourite characters in the saga so it might be bias but I think they did the best jobs in the whole movie. They were really immersed. I never felt like they were just sitting around the Craft table moments earlier before stepping into their scenes, though they could have been, I don’t know.

I totally get why Driver isolated himself from the rest of the cast during filming. It's still the same day/next day/day after so Kylo is still angry and humiliated and now he's without a teacher and only partly trained  (whatever THAT means!) so he can't be joking around the Craft table with Hamill who had tried to kill him and then who will try to kill him again in an uncle nephew standoff. Kylo has to keep his rage intact and it totally shows on the screen. So good job, Adam Driver for staying isolated, it paid off.

If the story had gone how I had hoped, which was Rey spending weeks training with Luke and Kylo spending weeks training with Snoke, then that would be different. But this was all intensive, still the same day story stuff.

I was disappointed that there were no Knights of Ren. I wanted to know what had happened, who Ben left with and why and how they formed the Knights of Ren. I guess we’ll discover that in 9 since it’s only the next day. I’m sure when Kylo gets to make some kind of pompous speech to Rey, he’ll tell her about the Knights and we’ll discover if they are part of the First Order or what?

Science and Stuff
I’m not really nerdy enough to care about all the bad science and massive plot holes and logistics of space stuff. However, even I raised my eyebrow at a couple of things.

I’m going to wrap this up for now. I could go on forever about what I loved and what I’m conflicted about in The Last Jedi.

Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, it’s a great movie but merely one person’s vision of how the saga continues. If I hadn’t been looking forward to some answers, I would have enjoyed it more. If I hadn’t been losing my mind about what happened with Luke for decades, I wouldn’t have that sense of disappointment I have right now. I bet they edit that breast milk scene and it will never be seen again. I guess they have to smack us in the head that Luke is still a whiny baby. Jeeze, then everyone wonders why Kylo Ren is a whiny baby. Look at his uncle and grandfather.

Why did Snoke demand Kylo Ren get the map to Skywalker in TFA? What business did they have that they didn’t do? Or did he just want to kill him? Why? It seems like Luke is just sitting around doing nothing for the past couple of years or however long it was since Ben ran away. I’ll have to look up these timelines. Maybe Snoke's kid was at the academy and was killed and now Snoke wants revenge on Luke. I'm not convinced that Snoke is dead.
 The more I think about it, the more I’m sure that Kylo Ren is lying to Rey about her parentage. He’s just trying to put her down like when he sneered, “You…A Scavenger…” in TFA. That was my first thought when he said it in the movie as well. He's lying. Why should he tell her the truth?

I know that Rian is trying to change our vision of what The Force is and tells us, in true Disney fashion, that anyone can use it, but in the end, I think Abrams will take the story back to Rey being a Skywalker and Jedis being trained how to master The Force in a proactive manner.

That’s tonight’s musings. I’m sure I’ll change my mind in an hour.               

May the Force Be With You! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Getting Excited for The Last Jedi

No spoilers for The Last Jedi as I know NOTHING!
Spoilers for The Force Awakens, of course!

So it's been a couple of years. I've watched The Force Awakens a couple of times and some scenes, namely Kylo Ren scenes, many times. 

My favourite scenes are:

Kylo Torturing Rey
Kylo reading Rey's mind and she ends up reading his. 

There is so much in that scene that could lead to so many directions in the plot.

First, there is a sexual tension. They each think the other is hot. Kylo doesn't want to hurt her or he'd be angrier.

They might be brother and sister, or cousins, or something else somehow related which follows the Luke and Leia twins’ plot line. And we all can agree that The Force Awkens is pretty much A New Hope so I’m sure originally they were very much related.  I’m sure that has changed over the past two years as fan theories about “Reylo” abound.

We see The Darkside in Rey as she spits out Kylo's most secret pain. 

Although some people scoff at the use of lighting, I love how lighting is used throughout the whole movie, especially when Kylo Ren kills Han Solo.

I've written before how delighted I was when Kylo Ren removed his mask and wasn't a robot or demon. He was a very nice-looking man. In soft focus, Adam Driver looks like a Disney Prince.  And Kylo Ren has my favourite kind of hair: dark, long, and wavy. I'm sure Rey was delighted as well. 

Rey and Kyo Ren in the Woods
Rey in the woods after she has The Vision and Kylo Ren appears like a velociraptor from Jurassic World. I'd just seen Jurassic World the previous summer so dinosaurs in the forest were on my mind. I love how he holds his lightsaber against her. It's rather erotic yet scary at the same time. It reinforces that Kylo Ren is a psychopath if we haven't figured it out yet. I love how he scoops her up and carries her back to his Bat Plane like a Universal Pictures Monster.

I love his arrogance when he calls off the hunt for BB8. He thinks that he has all the answers, but he screwed up badly. He didn’t realize that he’d actually like her when he mind probes her later on. Poor Kylo is having a bad day and it’s barely begun.

Rey's Vision
The first time I saw this scene, I immediately thought of Hellraiser movies when the walls split open to reveal the Cenobites. I still think of it every time. I love when Luke’s hand touches R2D2. The first time I saw that, I thought we’d see Luke very soon. Boy, was I wrong! I still say that’s the Millennium Falcon flying away from Jakku. Other people say it was a trash ship or another ship. I still say it’s the MF! So Rey may be Ben’s sister or Luke’s daughter and Leia hid her so that Ben wouldn’t find her since he was turning to Snope and the Dark Side.

The LightSaber Battle
I love this fight scene between Kylo Ren and Rey. I love the music swelling as she pulls out the lightsaber from the snowbank even though it’s so hokey and corny and unsurprising. I thought for SURE Luke would walk out from the woods and do battle with Kylo Ren. Nope.

I love when Kylo and Rey have the blue saber up and red down in the snow as they come to a standstill. It’s scary and sexy.

I love when he says, “You need a teacher.” The whole scene has erotic undertones upon frequent viewing.

I love her face when she’s turning to the Dark Side. On first viewing, I thought she was channeling the Light Side of the Force but now I believe she’s channeling the Dark Side. So possibly a Skywalker.

It’s great when she’s circling Kylo Ren who is dying in the snow from his blaster wound in the abdomen and everything else, and she could totally take him out. Her look is pure evil. She hates him but she also is attracted to him, curious and doesn’t want to kill him just yet. Does she feel the pull of a brother? A cousin? A romantic attraction? Does she want to torture him, slice him up piece by piece? He could really be Darth Vader with no legs and arms.

But Chewbacca flies up in the MF. Is Han Solo on board? Did Chewy save him? Was the HS death a set-up between Han and Kylo to fool Snope and somehow get Kylo trained to the Light Side? Is Kylo The Last Jedi and Rey the new Darth Vader? Will the Knights of Ren join the Rebellion?

The End Scene
This scene traumatized me. It sounds like it traumatized Mark Hamill as well when he read the script for the first time. I had waited nearly forty years to find out what happened to Luke and the movie ended just as we saw him for the first time. FFS! It was so frustrating!

The Last Jedi Thoughts

I’ve spent the past two years going back and forth about various theories about where I think the story will go. The thing is, whatever they present as The Last Jedi, may or may not be even close to what was pitched years before. The writers may have noticed fans expectations and theories and tweaked plots/characters to avoid any Jar Jar situations.

So when it comes to Kylo Ren, who knows what happened with his story arc over the years? At first, he wasn’t well received and now, he’s likely the most popular new personality in the franchise.

I go back to the idea that I am torn in half about if he goes dark or light. However, to go light, he has to get a ton of forgiveness as he’s murdered tons of people. It’s not plausible he could be The Last Jedi. Hopefully he’ll get dark and evil and twisted. I’ve seen many fan theories and artwork over the year. Some maybe true, some may not. However, like any soap opera, comic book villain, he has to lose his handsome looks. The face scar is the beginning. He’ll likely lose a hand to be in step with the rest of the family. And some legs will likely go, if not this movie, the next one.

I like the idea of a romance between Rey and Kylo. That would be so cool. I wish there could be a parallel universe where that happens for a few weeks and then one of them has to die. However, for the Last Jedi, I’m sure they continue to battle. Maybe Rey will lose a hand.

Han Solo may come back. He may not have died. Kylo Ren Ben might have Force Healed him as he fell. You never know. And Chewbacca was in on it which is why he only wounded Kylo instead of  killing him. Doubtful but you never know.

Will Kylo Ren and General Leia have a light saber battle? What will Leia do about Han’s death? Or is he dead? Will there be a funeral? Flashbacks? Are there any flashbacks with Han and Luke discussing Ben or Rey or anything else? Is Rey Han Solo’s daughter with Laura Dern?

I imagine Luke trains Rey and they go back to see Leia. There is a Plan to take down the First Order. Leia and Rey have to confront Kylo at some point. Kylo continues his training with Snope. He is conflicted but eventually grows darker with rage at himself and the galaxy. He has to face off against Luke but I don’t know if they will drag that out to the third movie.

Will Billy Lourd be used more in the second movie? Will she become more prominent in the third movie as they have to replace Leia’s iconic role with another similar type person unless that’s Laura Dern?

Is Finn born to the Force?

I’m not too invested in the other stories as you can tell.

Well, I’d better get back to work. I have a million theories and they change by the minute. I’ve tried to avoid the TV spots but I’ve seen bits and pieces by accident. Hopefully there are no real spoilers in the teasers.

I'll know all in just over a week.