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22nd-Apr-2014 07:08 pm - Star Wars fans shocked to learn that their novels aren't canon, either
So there is nerd outrage over the (completely predictable and reasonable) comment made to the Hollywood Reporter by Simon Kinberg, one of the screenwriters of the upcoming Episode 7 of the Star Wars film saga, which boil down to, "We won't be paying attention to the SW novels and comics when we write our screenplay." Which means that, yes, SW novels and comics are not canon and never were, claims by the fanbase and Lucas to the contrary.

Here's my response (originally posted on as a comment to Emily Asher-Perrin's article on this revelation):

Canon arguments/discussions always make me want to beat someone until they bleed. I really do not understand why people get arsed over what's real in a fictional construct.

Yes, the novels and comics and cartoons aren't canon. So what? You know what else isn't canon? The Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Christopher Nolan Batman movies. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Arrow. All totally, thoroughly, and in all ways not canon. Not even a little bit.

There are three different versions of Sherlock Holmes currently being produced, none of which are canonical, yet all of which are immensely popular and fun to watch and enjoyable and nifty.

Episode 7 does nothing to the EU one way or another. The books and comics and cartoons are still there, still good stories, still there to be enjoyed. Honestly, the whole "the novels are canon toooooo!!!!" argument was pretty much shitcanned with the prequel movies, and never held up to scrutiny, especially if you look at, say, the history of the Fett family.

SW fans could take a lesson from Star Trek. Two of the most highly regarded Trek novels are Imzadi and Federation. The former novel was heavily contradicted by a TNG episode ("Second Chances"); the latter was totally nuked by the movie First Contact. Yet the two novels continue to be well regarded -- and so does that episode and that movie, even though they contradict each other.

If you think that contradictory versions of stories in the same universe ruins one of the contradictory ones, then you don't understand how storytelling works.
22nd-Apr-2014 02:22 pm - Design Your Own Dragon: final week!

Just a reminder that the Design Your Own Dragon contest will be ending in a little more than a week, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 30th. This is your chance not only to win an ARC of Voyage of the Basilisk (once we have some on hand), but to have your very own creation included in the Memoirs of Lady Trent. I may choose up to three winners, depending partly on how many entries I get — so in a sense, the more of you that enter, the better your chances are!

(Okay, really I’m just selfish. I’ve enjoyed the heck out of reading the entries thus far, and am eager to see what else people come up with.)

E-mail your submissions to dragons.of.trent {at} You’ve got about one week left!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

This entry was also posted at Comment here or there.
22nd-Apr-2014 03:10 pm - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Broken Link"
The fourth season comes to a close, and it's a major turning point for Odo -- and, apparently, for the Klingon Empire as well. The DS9 Rewatch clicks on a "Broken Link."

An excerpt:
And so instead the Odo story just meanders forward. It doesn’t even have the usual tension of a medical drama, since Bashir’s entire treatment strategy consists of staring at the screen and going, “Hoo boy, yeah, that molecular structure sure is destabilizing a lot!” We get lots of fun banter among the crew (like O’Brien bitching about Kira and Keiko going quiet on him as soon as he enters their now-shared quarters) but, again, it comes across as filler.

Watching Odo adjust to being a solid will make for a good ongoing subplot in the fifth season, and the bombshell at the end is magnificent—Gowron’s been a recurring character on two shows for six years now, so Odo’s last line hits very hard—but all of that is setup for future stories. This particular episode is about fifteen minutes’ worth of interesting story stretched out into an hour.
22nd-Apr-2014 12:28 pm - a Klingon Art of War signing at Pandemonium in Cambridge!
In addition to TrekTrax this weekend and signings at Singularity & Co. and the Enigma Bookstore here in NYC in May, I'm also doing a signing at one of my favorite genre bookstores, Pandemonium Books and Games, located on Pleasant Street in Central Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Thursday 15 May 2014 at 7pm, with plenty of copies of The Klingon Art of War to scribble on.

I've been going to Pandemonium since it was a dinky little walk-up just off Harvard Square in the 1980s, and I did several signings there when it was in the Garage Mall in Harvard Square in the 1990s, but I have yet to actually set foot in the new (not so new anymore, honestly) Central Square store. Really looking forward to it, and to seeing folks there!

Notre Dame Tympanum
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This is another one I dropped a filter on, in this case because doing so made the sculptural details more distinct. It’s one of the tympana over the entrances to Notre Dame, and reminds me oddly of the temples we visited India, which is the only other place I’ve ever seen that density and intricacy of carving over a large surface. (Though if this had been an Indian temple instead of a French cathedral, the whole building would have been carved like that.)

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

This entry was also posted at Comment here or there.
21st-Apr-2014 10:21 pm - We have a new kitty
Brought the female very pregnant barn cat in tonight. I think she may be in early labour. You'd think being a human midwife and birthing dozens of alpacas would leave me prepared for this. You'd be wrong. Her resp rate is 112 and she looks like this, then she perks up and cuddles and demands affection.

Going to be an interesting night I think.
21st-Apr-2014 02:41 pm - two Klingon Art of War signings in NYC in May!
I will be doing two bookstore appearances in New York City in May to celebrate the publication of my new Star Trek book The Klingon Art of War.

The first will be a launch party for the book at Singularity & Co. in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn on Friday 9 May 2014 at 7pm. I'll be doing a reading from the book and there will be general festivizing and fun at this nifty bookstore.

If you can't make that, then maybe you can come to "Star Trek Night..." at Enigma Bookstore in Astoria, Queens on Saturday 17 May 2014 at 7pm, where I will be joined by fellow tie-in toilers David Mack (New York Times best-selling author of dozens of Trek books) and Aaron Rosenberg (award-winning author of dozens of books from Trek to movie novelizations to his original SF/fantasy). The three of us will do readings and a Q&A.

Hope to see folks there!
21st-Apr-2014 10:00 am - post roundup

Things I’ve been saying in different places ’round the interwebz . . . .

“Seeing the Invisible” — this month’s post at SFNovelists is a review of Invisible, the ebook collection Jim Hines put together of guest posts and additional essays on the topic of representation. Proceeds from sales go to charity.

“The Gospel of Combat” — an excerpt from Writing Fight Scenes, which will be familiar to long-time readers of this blog. You can comment there for a chance to get a free copy of the ebook, though!

Interview at My Bookish Ways — in which I talk about a variety of things.

“The Dreaded Label ‘Mary Sue’” — guest post at Far Beyond Reality, talking about female characters who don’t apologize for their awesomeness.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

This entry was also posted at Comment here or there.

Tulips at Filoli
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This work by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

My mother came to town for a visit recently. Before her arrival, I sent an e-mail to her and my brother (and my husband and my sister-in-law) suggesting that perhaps we might visit Filoli . . . and sheepishly admitting I might have a photographic motive for being interested. Much to my amusement, my mother responded that she had been thinking the exact same thing! (My father: not the only photographer/pusher in the family.) Unlike my sole previous visit, this time I was there early enough in spring to catch the tulips before their glory days had ended.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

This entry was also posted at Comment here or there.
I've been on a Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel kick lately for some reason, and I dug this gem up on the Tube of You: It's Simon in 2012 performing two songs from his seminal Graceland album in Hyde Park in London to an enraptured audience. I was pleased to see that one of the guitarists on stage with him was Ray Phiri, the arranger of Graceland, and a superb ax man.

Almost three decades later, still one of the best albums ever.....

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