Skip to main content

Buy the Print Edition of Radical Second Things!

Review: Before the Awakening

It has been a long time since I wrote a review for my website. This website brings in only a trickle of income so it's generally my lower priority. However, I finally finished reading "Before the Awakening" - one of the Star Wars books that acts as a prequel to the Force Awakens film.

I had grievances with Force Awakens. Generally, it felt as if there were no new ideas and the recycling of ideas not only came from the original trilogy which JJ Abrams sought to emulate but also from the prequels, which both critics and fans so intensely loathed, and from JJ himself. Kylo Ren, without his helmet, looked, behaved and fought just like Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith.

However there were differences and reading Greg Rucka's Before the Awakening illustrated what those differences were. We see stories featuring FN-2187, Rey and Poe, which show each character in experiences that shape their outlook and behavior in Force Awakens.

I found the story featuring Rey the most illuminating. Rey is a very, very different character than Luke Skywalker, despite outward similarities. She's female for one - and while there were a few moments of flirtation between her and Finn in Force Awakens, JJ Abrams accomplished something by not sexualizing Rey at all. She has an amazing outfit that barely shows any skin and most of all, she is portrayed as tough and resilient in a very hostile environment.

Whereas Luke Skywalker was a farmboy raised by his uncle in an environment that seemed like that of the rural United States or Australia, Rey seems like an orphan in an environment like Syria or Iraq - complete with bombed out ships.

In the story about her, she discovers the Millenium Falcon. Rucka does a good job of describing the ship enough for readers to know what it is without really spelling it out. In the process of trying to sell it, it gets stolen, something which she predicts from the thieves and the scavengers she makes friends with to  help her get the ship going. She predicts that they will do this from the beginning:

She should trust them. She wanted to trust them.

But Rey couldn't. They would betray her. Try to trick her. Try to  steal the prize, cut her out of the sale. As much as she wanted to believe otherwise, she was certain that Devi and Strunk would turn on her, and soon.

Poe is a more interesting character. Finn, Rey and Poe act as a strange remix of the characters of the original trilogy - Rey has the scavenger vibe of Han and the desert orphan character of Luke, Finn has the hopeless optimism of Luke married with a background as a stormtrooper, something alluded to about Han's past in much of the Star Wars canon (we see Finn taking on stormtroopers while in their uniform in Force Awakens much as we saw Han in the original Star Wars). Poe, interestingly, takes on the X-Wing expert persona of Luke Skywalker with the connection and knowledge of the previous trilogy's events that Princess Leia had.

Rucka's portrayal of Poe shows him talking several times with his father, who fought in the original trilogy's events, while also eventually meeting with General Leia Organa herself, discussing the rise of the First Order. Through Poe, we get a clarity of the plot we see in Force Awakens and how it came out of the hopeful events in Return of the Jedi. One of the most powerful exchanges, also, is when Poe talks to his father about fighting in the events of the original trilogy. His father admits that, while he was afraid during the war, he is most afraid now that is was "all for nothing."

There's still a host of books coming out to fill the gaps between the original trilogy and The Force Awakens. An entire generation of books actually were written to fill in this time gap but JJ Abrams has paved his own way with his own characters, meaning the expanded universe will have to adjust accordingly. I enjoyed Before the Awakening and I look forward to reading Bloodlines.


Popular posts from this blog

"Life is Much More Than Bratwurst:" A Chat With Rummelsnuff

A note - Blogging isn't free. Right now I provide gifts to my writers as a way of thanking people for writing. I would like to be able to afford to give them some sort of renumeration, even if it is small, for making this blog what it is. I'm in talks with a friend who may be able to help connect this blog, which has been in existence for one year now, with more religious communities dedicated to interfaith dialogue. Your donation will do a lot toward making that happen.

Rummelsnuff is awesome. If you don't know, he is Roger Baptist - a bodybuilding German singer who has toured abundantly in support of his music - an unusual composite of German industrial, drinking songs and electronica. Roger was nice enough to do an interview with me and took the time to answer in English, not his first language. Thanks so much, Roger!

First off, you have quite the physique? Can you tell us about your diet, your regimen, etc.?

Maybe I am lucky to like exactly the stuff, which is good for mu…

No More Rev

So I was working as a transcribor for Rev for the last four months. I stayed on despite a few very bad ratings. Over the last few weeks, my ratings were on point, regularly getting 5/5 and bringing home 3 figures each week.

I got great ratings this week and then abruptly, tonight, I got this message sent to me: 

Unfortunately, we can no longer keep your transcription specific account open. This is due to your accuracy and quality being below our acceptable average. Your transcription account is being deactivated today. If you have any other account type with us, that will remain open. This decision is final.
You will be compensated for all completed work. Here are your performance metrics for August 6 to October 5.
So, given that message, I would assume that it's time to school my self-esteem, right? I'm obviously not fit for this line of work. Well not quite. Look at the metrics they sent me:
MetricYouRevver TargetRevver+ TargetAccuracy4.34.24.6Formatting4.74.24.6% On-time submiss…

Stars Of Courage: Saiph Savage

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”— Nelson Mandela

Higher education is not easy. Many struggle even to complete an undergraduate degree. To complete that, a higher education degree and to then dedicate one's life to making that more accessible to others is a monumental task. In the case of Norma Saiph Savage, she did just that. After completing an undergraduate degree at Mexico City's extremely competitive UNAM, she pursued and obtained her doctorate from University of California - Santa Barbara.

She has obtained a great deal of discernments, including becoming a Kathy Richards Faculty Fellow in Engineering.

Stars of Courage isn't about people who only obtain self-driven material success, however. Saiph's most qualifying actions have been in her advocacy for women seeking similar success. She has been involved greatly in Mexico City's Hackaton program, a social networking event for women hoping to enter the tech field, a…

RST on Facebook

About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

© 2017 Radical Second Things