Star Wars – From a Certain Point of View by 40 various authors

In celebration of Star Wars’ 40th anniversary, Del Rey is going to shine the spotlight on those unsung weirdos, heroes, and villains with a unique, new anthology. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, coming October 2017, will bring together more than 40 authors for 40 stories. Each will be told from the perspective of background characters of A New Hope — from X-wing pilots who helped Luke destroy the Death Star to the stormtroopers who never quite could find the droids they were looking for.

This was a New York Comic Con 2017 special edition cover

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Experience Star Wars: A New Hope from a whole new point of view.

On May 25, 1977, the world was introduced to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and a galaxy full of possibilities. In honor of the 40th anniversary, more than 40 contributors lend their vision to this retelling of Star Wars. Each of the 40 short stories reimagines a moment from the original film, but through the eyes of a supporting character. From a Certain Point of View features contributions by best-selling authors, trendsetting artists, and treasured voices from the literary history of Star Wars:

Gary Whitta bridges the gap from Rogue One to A New Hope through the eyes of Captain Antilles.
Aunt Beru finds her voice in an intimate character study by Meg Cabot.
Nnedi Okorofor brings dignity and depth to a most unlikely character: the monster in the trash compactor.
Pablo Hidalgo provides a chilling glimpse inside the mind of Grand Moff Tarkin.
Pierce Brown chronicles Biggs Darklighter’s final flight during the Rebellion’s harrowing attack on the Death Star.
Wil Wheaton spins a poignant tale of the rebels left behind on Yavin.
Plus 34 more hilarious, heartbreaking, and astonishing tales from Ben Acker, Renée Ahdieh, Tom Angleberger, Ben Blacker, Jeffrey Brown, Rae Carson, Adam Christopher, Zoraida Córdova, Delilah S. Dawson, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Paul Dini, Ian Doescher, Ashley Eckstein, Matt Fraction, Alexander Freed, Jason Fry, Kieron Gillen, Christie Golden, Claudia Gray, E. K. Johnston, Paul S. Kemp, Mur Lafferty, Ken Liu, Griffin McElroy, John Jackson Miller, Daniel José Older, Mallory Ortberg, Beth Revis, Madeleine Roux, Greg Rucka, Gary D. Schmidt, Cavan Scott, Charles Soule, Sabaa Tahir, Elizabeth Wein, Glen Weldon, Chuck Wendig

Narrated by a full cast, including:

Jonathan Davis
Ashley Eckstein
Janina Gavankar
Jon Hamm
Neil Patrick Harris
January LaVoy
Saskia Maarleveld
Carol Monda
Daniel José Older
Marc Thompson
All participating authors have generously forgone any compensation for their stories. Instead, their proceeds will be donated to First Book – a leading nonprofit that provides new books, learning materials, and other essentials to educators and organizations serving children in need. To further celebrate the launch of this book and both companies’ longstanding relationships with First Book, Penguin Random House has donated $100,000 to First Book, and Disney/Lucasfilm has donated 100,000 children’s books – valued at $1 million – to support First Book and their mission of providing equal access to quality education. Over the past 16 years, Disney and Penguin Random House combined have donated more than 88 million books to First Book.

I bought the NYCC edition and read most of it, but mostly I listened to the audiobook. Sometimes I followed along as I listened.

I’m trying to decide how to write up this review. I loved the stories, so this is not a negative review. It’s just I feel like I have to talk about all 40 stories.

Overall, I enjoyed every one of the stories. Mostly the stories are told in chronological order of the movie, though some jump back and forth to set up a character or setting. You can feel the authors’ different personalities and styles. You can also tell the authors didn’t communicate because events in the stories of the same setting (e.g. the Cantina) contradict one another. However, this is just for fun. A chance to see A New Hope from other characters’ eyes and it’s a beautiful way for fans to relive that feeling of experiencing ANH for the very first time again.

5 out of 5 Galaxies.

Now for my thoughts for each story. All 40 of them.

“A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away.”

Continue reading

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Rappacini’s Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Part fairy tale, part Gothic horror story, “Rappaccini’s Daughter” is an inspired tale of creation and control. Giovanni Guasconti, a student at the University of Padua, is enchanted to discover a nearby garden of the most exquisite beauty. In it abides a young woman, perhaps the most beautiful Giovanni has ever seen; yet as he looks out from an upstairs window, he soon learns that the garden–and the matchless Beatrice–are not the work of Mother Nature but rather the result of a monstrous abomination of creativity.

Excerpt:

“Does this garden belong to the house?” asked Giovanni. “Heaven forbid, signor, unless it were fruitful of better pot herbs than any that grow there now,” answered old Lisabetta. “No; that garden is cultivated by the own hands of Signor Giacomo Rappaccini, the famous doctor, who, I warrant him, has been heard of as far as Naples.” (Rappaccini’s Daughter)

“Rappaccini’s Daughter” is the story of Beatrice, the daughter of Giacomo Rappaccini, who is in turn a medical researcher in medieval Padua and grows a garden of poisonous plants.

American novelist and short story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne’s (1804–1864) writing centers on New England, many works featuring moral allegories with a Puritan inspiration. Hawthorne has also written a few poems which many people are not aware of. His works are considered to be part of the Romantic movement and, more specifically, Dark romanticism. His themes often centre on the inherent evil and sin of humanity, and his works often have moral messages and deep psychological complexity.

My sister suggested this short story to me. She’s a huge Fleetwood Mac fan. I love Fleetwood Mac too, I feel they’re one of the greatest bands ever.

My sister is a die hard fan. She has the demos of their songs and knows the inspiration for them. She read a book about the making of Rumors written by one of its producers. She knows her stuff.

So Rappacini’s Daughter is the inspiration for this song:
Running Through The Garden on the album Say You Will.

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I like it. Sister says the album version is better than the demo, which is “SO 80’s”. I have to ask her to play the demo for me. I love 80’s music.

Review of the story:

I only read Hawthorne’s A Scarlett Letter in high school. I don’t remember much, but I know I liked it.

Rappacini’s Daughter is so poetically sad. The prose is beautiful and I highlighted many passages.

“But there is an influence in the light of morning that tends to rectify whatever errors of fancy, or even of judgement, we may have incurred during the sun’s decline, or among the shadows of night, or in the less wholesome glow of moonshine.”

“Give me thy breath, my sister, for I am faint with common air.”

“Giovanni knew not what to dread; still less did he know what to hope; yet hope and dread kept a continual warfare in his breast, alternately vanquishing one another and starting up afresh to renew the contest.” 

I felt the most for Beatrice. She had a good soul and was so lonely because she was poisoned from birth. She could have had a happy ending but was punished for her father’s sin.

How sad is this: “… though my body be nourished with poison, my spirit is God’s creature, and craves love as its daily food.”

Giovanni is quick to anger at the end. He could have had a happy ending with Beatrice if Baglioni had not meddled. Baglioni is a manipulator and a triumphant bragger.

Being a short story, 27 pages long, there is not much character or plot development. It’s very straight forward.

However, I love the concept and prose. It’s a classic and timeless gothic story.

5 out 5 poisonous gardens.