Adam Besenyodi will be sharing the table and selling Deus ex Comica: The Rebirth of a Comic Book Fan. He may even have some copies of Exo-1 and the Rock Solid Steelbots on hand. (And if he won’t, I’m sure he’ll let me know soon enough.)
I believe I speak for
all both of us at booth A12 when I say it would be excellent for you to come by and nerd out for a few minutes.
In no particular order, a few thoughts on Disney buying Lucasfilm, mostly composed in my head on the way home from work:
- I started out thinking, “I’m OK with this.” This has since evolved into, “YES, I’m really, really freaking OK with this.”
- I remain amused that this sentence – “Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.” – is at the end of the sixth paragraph. Best. Buried Lede. EVER.
- Disney’s overseen mostly amazing work in its ownership of the Pixar, Marvel, and Muppets properties, which makes me think the Star Wars universe will be in good hands.
- Incredibly smart move on George Lucas’ part: If Disney messes up the Star Wars franchise, he has washed his hands of it. If Disney can pull an Avengers-esque success with Episode VII, then Lucas is the guy who turned over control of his empire in order to save it, and he regains Favor Among Nerds.
- No idea where Episode VII will take the story. Original Jedi leads are out of the question. The droids? Han & Leia’s kids? A direct sequel recast with new actors in the leads? (Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy? I like it a lot, but I don’t think it will ever be positioned as big-screen canon.)
- Star Wars Celebrations with actual movie build-up involved again? Sweet. I wonder if Disney ownership improves Orlando’s chances of landing future conventions.
- Star Wars movies scripted and directed by someone other than George Lucas? History proves this is not an ungood idea. (Please see: The Empire Strikes Back.)
- Yes, like every other dang geek on the planet, I thought, “JOSS! JOSSSSSS!”
- I took my daughter to opening night of Episode III, thinking it would be the last chance for us to see an original Star Wars big screen premiere. She was eight years old. When I told her about Disney buying LFL and announcing Episode VII in 2015, and that it meant we’d be able to do another opening night Star Wars, her reaction was, “That rocks so hardcore.” I have to love that.
Big surprise: I really like talking with people – especially first-generation fans – about their Star Wars memories, and about growing up loving the saga and then sharing it with a new generation of kids.
So in planning my GeekDad coverage of Star Wars Celebration VI back in August, I thought it would be fun to set up a series of short interviews with some notable geeks and Star Wars personalities, asking them about their favorite memories and toys and things like that.
Eight great people took some time during the four-day convention to hang out and answer the same five questions, and I had a blast conducting the interviews. (MAJOR thanks again to everyone who participated!) The series ran in August and September at GeekDad, and I thought it would be fun to round up all the links here, too.
- Gronk creator and Lucasfilm-licensed artist Katie Cook was the first person I asked what were later named the “Five Force-Full Questions.” Her interview is here, and it includes her “deep dark Star Wars secret.”
- I was psyched to meet everyone I interviewed, but I’ll confess that when Fanboys and Ready Player One writer Ernie Cline accepted the invitation, I had a bit of a nerdsquee moment. I’ve identified very strongly with his writing, since he grew up not far from my home in Ohio, and at around the same time. We actually spent about a half hour talking about tons of other geek stuff before we even got to his Five Force-Full Question answers, and then, generous and patient guy that he is, Ernie was kind enough to repeat his answers over the phone a couple days later due to a digital recording error on my part.
- Marc Thompson is a voice actor and a narrator of several Star Wars audio books, and he was actually attending Celebration with his kids, so he gets bonus geeky dad points for that. His interview is here.
- Kristen Rutherford is a fellow contributor to the GeekDad/GeekMom universe, head writer and creative producer of The Nerdist on BBC America, and host of Geek & Sundry‘s #parent hangouts. Also, she was kind enough to laugh off my goofspazzing response to a text about a bowling shirt – a message which was not, in fact, meant for me. So she’s cool that way. Plus she remembers exactly which card she’s missing from her Empire Strikes Back red-border set.
- Kristen invited me to one of the Nerdist crew’s Star Wars Transmission tapings and introduced me to several other neat geek types, including Chris Hardwick, who, it turns out, also has an affinity for the second wave of Kenner’s original Star Wars figures (the grouping which brought the action figure total to that magic number of 21). Read which one was his favorite here.
Finally, I did a trio of interviews with three actors from Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
- Matt Lanter, who plays Anakin Skywalker,
- And Dee Bradley Baker, another fellow first-generation fan and geeky dad who – seriously – was so into Star Wars as a kid that he landed a gig dressing up as a jawa at his local movie theater.
Man, was that a fun trip.
Honestly, I was just bombarded with So Much Awesome at Star Wars Celebration VI that the thought of trying to write it up in detail here is just overwhelming. And it’s more than just the usual post-Celebration melancholy, since I was lucky to spend some time with a few truly generous and funny and talented and fun people, and I miss them all.
For now, I’m just going to post bits and pieces, starting with coverage that I did for GeekDad, and that my friend Jim (we realized over the weekend we’ve known each other for something like 17 years) did for the Orlando Business Journal.
- Star Wars Celebration VI – a GeekDad photo gallery
- Sounds and Sights at Celebration VI – a second GeekDad photo gallery
- Jim’s feature on Ashley Eckstein – Ahsoka Tano on The Clone Wars
- Jim’s photo gallery for the Business Journal
- Jim’s right-on-the-money Business Journal blog post on the after-convention blues.
I finally rode the new Star Tours and LOVED IT. In just four rides, I saw both opening sequences, all three holograms, visited all the planets but Naboo, AND got to be the spy.
Kevin Smith’s Star Wars-centric “An Evening With…” was effing incredible – it was off-color and hilarious and nostalgic and heartwrenching and inspiring. (Two nights later, Jim and I spent awhile hanging out with the two fantastic sign language interpreters who almost stole the show. They worked many of the bigger Celebration presentations over the weekend, and they took the gig in large part because they’re both hardcore Star Wars fans.)
On Friday the 24th, I sat in on a taping of the Nerdist crew’s Star Wars Transmission – which was a poodoo-ton of fun.
Finally (at least for now), below are all my Star Wars Celebration VI Tweets (from most recent to earliest), cut and pasted from Snapbird, with links to the photos I shot with my phone camera.
I’m off to cover Star Wars Celebration VI – keep an eye on GeekDad – , but look: As promised, from now through Sunday, Aug. 26, the expanded Kindle edition of Collect All 21! has a pretty attractive price tag:
Along with a few other fans, I’ll be heading to Orlando this week for Star Wars Celebration VI. And since I do enjoy sharing a wee bit of nostalgia for the saga, I’m running an Amazon promotion starting on Wednesday, Aug. 22 – the day before the convention opens – through Sunday, Aug. 26, when everyone packs up their big Corellian ships for the jump home.
Over those five days, the expanded electronic edition of Collect All 21! Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek will be available for Kindle readers and apps for zero dollars. ($0.00).
As in, “Hey – Over here! Free book!“
As in, “You mean if I have an Amazon Kindle or even just the reader installed on my phone or tablet or other we-live-in-the-future-and-it-sort-of-rocks device, I can read one of The 10 Greatest Non-Fiction Star Wars Books for NOTHING?”
But not quite yet: You need to wait until Aug. 22-26, when the Amazon promotion is running. (And no, this doesn’t include the original paperback The First 30 Years edition of Collect All 21! Although if you enjoy the electronic edition, I highly recommend picking up a physical copy: It’s a bit shorter, but the sweet Kirk Demarais‘ cover really pulls a room together.)
During the promotion, I’ll take some time out from my Celebration nerding to share reminders and some nice things people have said about the book.
A fun week lies ahead!
I crossed paths online with Cleveland artist/WRUW dj/first-generation Star Wars fan Bridget Daryl Ginley back when I still worked in the Warehouse District, and last week I finally got the chance to meet her in person when I visited to Studio 404 so I could pick up this piece for my desk at work that would make a Jawa utinni with envy. (You know what? That’s a long and bizarre sentence, and I’m leaving it that way.)
For awhile now, I’ve liked Bridget’s skull sketches and found art assemblies and pop culture references – and even her handwritten alternative music (kids, ask your parents) playlists from WRUW. All sorts of weird and cool stuff. When she started building these shiny-domed tributes, I knew I’d wind up with one of my own.
She’s got several other variations on the theme in the studio, and materials to build a gaggle more -
- so there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a near-sighted scrap pile to call your own, if this is your kind of thing. (She’s also doing a lot of steampunk work these days, since it blends pretty well with what she’s been doing for years, and if you’re a Doctor Who fan, she might even be persuaded to tackle a Dalek for you, if you ask nicely.)
Bridget’s trying to move a lot of art from Studio 404 (classic space – amazing views of Cleveland’s skyline) now, so the time’s right, and she’s pretty cool, and this was totally the droid I -
- nope. Not gonna say it.
Also, if you like that throwback music I mentioned earlier, check out her Erie Effusion radio show. Do not request Blue Monday.
I got a lot of encouraging feedback in July of 2011 when I expanded Collect All 21! for a digital edition. Unfortunately, while the folks at my digital publishing company were great to work with and did a bang-up job converting the book and pushing it through various channels, they had to make the difficult decision to close their virtual doors earlier this year, ending the availability of the Expanded Edition.
After thinking things over for a bit and pestering some very patient and understanding friends for advice, I decided to go ahead and tweak a couple small glitches and make the Expanded Edition available again myself through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.
Opening that first Darth Vader figure and putting him in a Landspeeder. Imagining a snowy elementary school playground as the wastes of Hoth. Seeing Return of the Jedi on opening night.
Moments like these – and a galaxy more – make up more than three decades of “Memoirs of a Star Wars Geek.” Author and first-generation saga fan John Booth takes the reader from a childhood packed with Star Wars guys (never “action figures”) and Christmas wishes both fulfilled and unrealized, through the years when the trilogy lay dormant to the mainstream public’s eye, and into an age of seeing George Lucas’ universe as an adult while exploring it again as a parent.
Collect All 21! revisits the late 1970s and early ’80s, in all their bad-haircuts-and-Atari glory, then moves beyond those decades and nostalgia to explore the evolution of the Star Wars saga and its fandom.
This expanded electronic edition also includes interviews with Star Wars cast and crew members reflecting on the saga’s impact from both first-generation-fan standpoints and a career spent bringing the universe to life on-screen.
Named by Topless Robot as one of The Ten Greatest Non-Fiction Star Wars Books, Collect All 21! is a love letter from a self-aware geek written under the sometimes harsh light of hindsight, softened with understanding. It captures the innocence and wonder and infinite possibilities of what it meant to an eight-year-old to Collect All 21!
“Like a nostalgic walk through your childhood and growing up geek.”
- WIRED magazine’s GeekDad
“The feeling of childhood magic that pours from its pages will have you reflecting on how much of an impact the Wars have had on you.”
- Topless Robot
“I never thought I’d actually get that Time-Travel Belt, but reading this book is almost better.”
- George Krstic, writer, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Motorcity, and Megas XLR
I’ve also decided to keep the Kindle edition at it’s three-dollar price – which means, yes: More book than the print edition, for less money.
Additionally, it’s available through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, so if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow it for FREE.
And hey – Star Wars Celebration VI is coming up fast, so why not start getting psyched up now?
I’ll be going to Star Wars Celebration VI, and I have no doubt it will be a tremendously fun time.
You should go.
Specifically, you should go to GeekDad, where we’re giving away two four-day passes to this August’s Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. Deadline to enter is next Tuesday, July 3, 2012.
The lump in my throat has snuck up on me several times since I heard about Ray Bradbury’s death this week.
Thinking about how his name first meant something to me when I was a little kid and I watched (but didn’t understand) the TV adaptation of The Martian Chronicles, but it was 1979, and I ate up anything science fiction because I was still drowning in the wake of Star Wars. Thinking about being older, then, and recognizing his name when I found Fahrenheit 451 at a library’s used book sale. It scarred me in the best ways possible, and I wanted more.
Thinking about being at Bowling Green State University in 1990 and 1991, which is when I really started scarfing down Bradbury stories by the handful, sitting in the stacks on the first floor of the library. This is where I met those bratty kids from “The Veldt” and the time-traveling hunters in “A Sound of Thunder” and the inventor of “The Toynbee Convector.” (It was also in this period when I read a review of Bradbury’s collections that featured a description of “The October Game” as the most chilling story that Ray had ever written. It would take me a long time to track down a copy, but I still remember finding it in the Upper Sandusky library on a visit to my grandmother’s, and feeling icy water down my back when I read the story alone in a quiet den.)
Thinking of “The Lake,” one of my favorite Bradbury stories ever.
Thinking over and over again of a train and a bridge and a poem and a story and, finally, the time Ray Bradbury sent me a letter.
In December of 1990, my friend Tobi took me to Five Mile Bridge, west of Bryan, Ohio, to watch a train thunder past. Years later, I wrote the following in Crossing Decembers – and though my novel is fiction, this part is pretty close to reality as I remember it:
I wrote about the [train] in that green spiral notebook, but that was a two a.m., hurry-God-please-don’t-let-me-forget-a-nanosecond rush of howl and sigh and adrenaline.
The next night, I fell asleep trying to recreate the train, the bridge, and her eyes in my mind.
After I soaked it into my blood for a week or so, one night while my roommate was out, I shut off the lights and sat down at my desk by the window, where a bright pink-orange glow came in from the floodlight on the outside of the building.
Tree branches clicked in the wind, and over an hour or two, I wrote a poem I called “For Kallie: A Night at Five Mile Bridge.”
The next morning, on my way to the cafeteria, I stopped by her room. I was pretty sure she’d be at class already, so I slid the poem in an envelope with her name on it under the door.
Late that afternoon, I was alone in my room again and there was a quick, soft knock at the door.
When I opened it, Kallie was standing there, shaking, and her eyes were wet.
Before I could even say hello, her arms were around my neck, her sweet hair like spring, her body quaking, and in one of her hands was single sheet of paper, folded in thirds, with my poem typed on it.
Jump forward a few years to late summer, 1995. I have just sold my first piece of fiction, “Heading Home,” to Florida magazine for $100. Having practically memorized large chunks of Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing, I found myself thinking about the part where Ray wrote that the greatest reward a writer gets is when someone “rushes up to you, his face bursting with honesty, his eyes afire” at how your work connected with him. And I thought about Tobi, and then, since it was well past midnight, I wrote Ray what I’m certain was a rambling, barely coherent letter about these thoughts bouncing around in my head.
I mailed it the next day and forgot all about it.
Two weeks later, his response landed in my mailbox, and I remember that my hands just started shaking when I saw the return address. Inside was a one-page typewritten letter, with a few errors and one ballpoint spelling correction.
At the top of the page were these images:
And below, a short note, reading in part:
These celebratory cats are Bradbury cats and they are celebrating John Booth and his first story sale and the night his girl friend flung her arms around him and wept because of the beauty of his poem!
Much luck in the coming years from Win-Win, Ditzi, Dingo and Jack, the Bradbury cats, and from
(Oh, how I love this part – )
Over the years, I’ve opened that envelope time and again, always carefully unfolding the letter and imagining that maybe the tiniest remnants of typewriter dust from Bradbury’s fingernails are still settled in the weave of the paper, quietly crackling with static electricity and magic.