Books

Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

I tried reading Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath after it was added to the library’s collection some years ago. It didn’t work out too well. It was an awkward time in my life. The few books I read before Disney rebooted the Expanded Universe (now known as the Legends series) were still fresh in my mind. I wanted a universe where Sith zombies existed. Chuck Wendig’s book just didn’t cut it. Aftermath

Now that I have a few Disney-verse Star Wars novels under my belt, I felt ready to give Wendig’s novel another chance. And while it’s not my favorite of my collection, it’s definitely worth the read.

The second Death Star facility has been destroyed. Rumors of Emperor Palpatine’s and his enforcer’s, Darth Vader, death have spread across the galaxy, reaching as far as the outer rim planets. In an effort to recover from their crumbling empire, several Imperials are conducting a meeting on the planet of Akiva. When New Republic hero Wedge Antilles uncovers their meeting, he sends a message to the New Republic before getting captured. But it’s too late, on the planet’s surface, Norra Wexley has intercepted the message and bands together with her son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and an Imperial defector to save Wedge Antilles and take down these last remnants of the Empire.

That summary doesn’t do any justice to the storytelling prowess Chuck Wendig possesses. The story has its gripping moments that left me on the edge of my seat, but it also contain a few pitfalls that made me wish Wendig had focused on one of the other stories presented in his “interlude” chapters—namely the Han Solo & Chewbacca story. But it held my attention even as the interludes broke it—I’m guessing that was planned by the author as a pacing mechanism? Perhaps the repetition of imagery leads to bigger things in the second and third books of the Aftermath trilogy.

I loved how Wendig uses a diverse cast of characters, helping break the homo-normative and all-white cast that the sci-fi genre tends to keep. Not to mention, I loved Mister Bones, the revamped, reprogrammed B1 Battle Droid that acts as Temmin’s  bodyguard and best friend.

This tale is definitely something to consider before re-watching The Force Awakens for the umpteenth time. You won’t be disappointed.

I’m currently racing through a monster of a book before AMC releases the series. Hopefully I’ll get through it after all the hiccups I’ve had with the pacing. After that’s over with, I’ll get back to updating the few readers here about what I’m doing with my life.

In the meantime, know that I’m brainstorming two writing project—I’ve mentioned one already. And until next time, keep on huntin’.

Stream of Consciousness

Unfinished

It’s as if he can no longer tell when he’s depressed. The moods just begin to bleed into each other, you know? One moment, he’s elated. The next, a mess. The scrolls through the messages on the screen. Thumbs up the joke. Likes the meme. He writes in a journal. Thoughts and words that hold on to his attention. Thoughts like prayers whispered underneath his breath as he turns the page for the day. There were moments when he did pray. He didn’t know he prayed to, but he hoped to hell there was someone listening when he knew there wasn’t. He practiced this smile since the sixth grade. Practice the subtle shrug when asked, “Is there something wrong?” or the more common, “You ok?”

It’s not a date unless both parties agree. And she’s silent on the matter. We’re sitting at IHOP. She’s having the strawberry and banana pancakes. I have the strawberry cheesecake stuffed pancakes. She eats her eggs with ketchup; I did the same growing up. We speak Star Wars. We speak Star Trek. We talk about work. I talk about Shaun. When it comes, I pick up the check. When I say it’s together, she gives a small “Oh.” And I wonder if she understood the intentions of my asking her out to have IHOP together. And I wonder if she has any clue how much nerve I had to work up to ask her out. Later, we’re sitting in my living room watching Kingsman because we watched the sequel about a week or so ago. And the whole movie, I’m busy taking in her profile. Noting the way she plays with her hair often. Braiding and unbraiding and twirling.

He picks up a journal at the bookstore. He has a collection of blank books waiting for his scrawl. In March, he sees a doctor. Asks him about a prescription. When he takes the pills, he doesn’t feel anything. They don’t make him happy, but he isn’t sad either. He’s lethargic the first week until his body grows accustom to the chemicals. He’s less angry. Less worrisome. Less depressed. And for a moment, he thinks they’re working. Until the worry sets in that he doesn’t care. He knows he should care, but can’t muster it up. He thinks about his past relationships and wonder if he was ever happy in any of them.

And I wonder what crosses her mind as we sit in my bedroom. We’re watching The Phantom Menace, the weaker of the three movies that make up the weaker of the three trilogies. We give the film commentary, though I realizes that the movie’s pace/run time ratio puts Attack of the Clones to shame. When the film is over, she surveys my movie collection. From the better titles to the worst—Showgirls. And again, I’m distracted by the way she plays with her blonde hair. And while I still don’t like the film, Episode I now holds some sentimental value.

 

Personal

Life in Sections

It’s not always chariots and wild horses.

Some times it’s muted speech. A text message while sitting across the same table. A simple gesture. The edges of a mouth curling.

A conversation about the flaws of The Phantom Menace while watching the movie.

I started thinking about suicide last week. Not my suicide, of course. But Mitchell Heisman’s suicide. Namely his 1,900 page suicide note.

I heard about Heisman years ago. I downloaded his book, but never read it. Even now, I’m hesitant to read it.

It did get me thinking again. Years ago, after the split, I started toying with the idea of writing a resignation letter. Not resigning from a job, but from relationships. From socializing. From romantic aspirations.

The “letter” never amounted to anything other than a few lines on the page. Something entitled “To Whom It May Concern.”

It’s something I’d like to revisit, minus the subject matter.

“Soooo obvious! Lol. It’s cute.”

“Shut your face.”

“There’s no hiding it! Why try???”

“I’m sure there’s logic behind it.”

“I see those little eyes. And smiles. But I know.”

In another conversation, with another person, I’m asked, “Are you still interested?” And I shrug. Because as sure as I am about how I feel about her, there’s this doubt that feeding through.

It’s the Voice reminding me of my failures. Helping me recall my worthlessness. Creeping up in the darkness to spoil and rot the most beautiful things at the core.

Thing is here.

What surprises me the most.

Is that I haven’t written this much in years.