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Let me ask you a question: Are there some stories that do not need to be told? Do we need to know Wolverine’s backstory? Did we need to see Khan again? Was there any valid reason for turning The Hobbit into a trilogy of movies?

Do we need to know exactly how the Rebel Alliance acquired the plans to the Death Star?

As a male 30-something, I can answer most of those questions relatively definitively; No, perhaps not, most certainly not. But the fourth question… Honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure.

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Original entry into Mos Eisley, 1977

It is nearly 4am as I write this, and I have just arrived home after watching the midnight screening of ‘Rogue One’ (I am not saying ‘A Star Wars Story’, it’s stupid) on opening night here in Australia. Given my lifelong history with the ‘Star Wars’ franchise, I must admit to some trepidation now that I have seen the movie. I grew up with the original trilogy — the original original trilogy, before George Lucas got his grubby mitts on them again — and though I was never as enamoured as those maybe born earlier enough to have seen them as they were released, I loved them nonetheless. I was overwhelmingly disappointed with the prequels, and eventually found my solace in the novels and The Clone Wars animated-series. …

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Joseph Stalin, Image Credit: Unknown painting

What we can learn from Russia’s history might stave off nationalistic mistakes in the future

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

This famous quote from George Santayana has seen many forms throughout the years, but the fundamental truth is the same: If we don’t look back at history and learn from the mistakes made therein, we are doomed to repeat those same mistakes ourselves. Humanity has repeatedly found itself repeating history’s mistakes and, given events over the recent few years, it would seem we are once again on the verge of falling victim to this dictum.

The rise of nationalism and populism has spread around the world over the last decade, appearing at first to be a malignant minority, before eventually transforming into, or revealing itself as, a rising tide of anger and hatred. We need not only look at the recent election of Donald Trump as US President, Britain’s exit from the European Union, Australia’s recent elections, and the rise of Marine Le Pen, leader of the French political party National Front. You can also add China, Turkey, and of course, Russia, to the list of countries swinging to nationalistic policies and thinking. …

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friendship./Paulo Otávio

I can probably count on a mutated hand the number of true friends I had up until the age of about 27: I experienced the same fleeting glimpse of friendship in my mid-20s as I did in my early teens. I finished high school with four people who I knew would have stuck by me, and another two more over the next seven years. …

The Star Wars universe has for nearly 40-years been held up as one of the paramount classics of science fiction, beloved by several generations of viewers and the focus of intense argument over the idea of the necessity for ‘prequels’. Those who grew up with the ‘original’ Star Wars movies will invariably dismiss the newer ones as garbage, while those younger fans who saw the prequels at the cinema will argue that all six are timeless classics and exciting movies.

There is, however, another type of Star Wars fan — who might agree or disagree with each of the above views — that doesn’t necessarily hang the whole franchise on whether George Lucas knows how to write (at all). …

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fULL DUST -JACKET COVER FROM MISSION GAMMA SERIES

Why Hollywood Should Leave Star Trek Series for the Novels

For the better part of my life I have been a Star Trek fan. Ever since my father introduced me to the series by way of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ and ‘Star Trek: Deep Space 9’, I’ve been in love with the sci-fi adventure, taking it in no matter what format it’s presented — TV, movie, or written.

Ever since ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ was booted from our TV screens, I’ve been wondering what would happen — how the franchise would choose to continue. J.J. …

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It strikes me as incongruous that during times of inner-party tensions, the common word of mouth is that Australian politics is an embarrassment. Following the latest bout of Labor Party hysterics, my Facebook feed was flooded with friends bemoaning the “embarrassment” that was Australian politics, and it seems that many ‘people of the street’ feel similarly, commenting that this inter-party destabilisation is proof that we need a change in government.

However, in his post-victory speech, Kevin Rudd was not wrong when he described Tony Abbott as being “a man steeped in the power of negative politics,” and I can’t help but wonder if maybe we have ignored the real embarrassment in Australian politics in favour of the more publically appealing battle between personalities, shrugging off Tony Abbott’s juvenile negativity as simply “part of the game.” …

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Caliban’s War Facebook Cover

Faced with a ‘bad guy’, do we squirm or accept the reality?

One of the fundamental issues with writing coherent fiction is the need to fashion characters which are at once believable and attractive and engaging to read. Spend any time in the real world, however, and you will quickly understand why this is a problem: not everyone is engaging, interesting, or exciting.

To put it (absurdly) simply, many characters are relegated into two very black and white categories; good and bad. Both suffer from the need for engagement, and both suffer from the over-simplification of character traits causing stereotypical archetypes. …

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i don’t know these two/tommie milacci via Flickr

How to survive their happiest day in one piece

An empty cup sat next to me, my two snuggies wrapped tightly around my waist in contradiction to their entire mandate, and several books with bookmarks denoting various measures of success sat tempting my numb mind to read. Instead, I took up my iPad and navigated my way to the front page of Medium, where I found ‘Introversion Is Not a Personality Fail’ by ‘Cat’ – and it got me to wondering.

You see, I sat ensconced in snuggies at the end of a wedding day which had done a fairly decent job of damaging my finely wrought sense of self. …

In my work as a writer and editor of environmental science, research, and clean technology news, I read a lot of material concerning the science of global warming, the perceptions regarding global warming, and bloody-minded opposition to the sheer concept of global warming. As I was slowly editing my way through the latest batch of articles to publish, I came across this story;

US congressman cites biblical flood to dispute human link to climate change

I promptly sunk my head into my hands and wished to smack it repeatedly against my desk. …

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What an evocative title this collection has – Book’s That Made Me Who I Am – and one that surely will see numerous posts from individuals recounting ways in which different books affected them in different ways. There is a conceit, however, in the title that I dislike; a finality; an ‘end’ to a book’s influence on you.

You see, the really good books never stop making you who you are. They continually reinvent you as you reread them.

For me, as an aspiring author, books are making me each and every week. They inspire my creative mind, depress me with their seeming-heights of literary genius, and allow me places to hide from a world of 24-hour nearly-7 days a week environmental journalism that leaves you despondent; questioning humanity’s collective sanity and intelligence. …

About

Joshua S Hill

I work as a writer for CleanTechnica.com, a reviewer at Fantasy Book Review, and … you know, other stuff.

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