Darth Pedant

The Pedant formerly known as Pony.


Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View

Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View - Paul Kemp

A short story anthology celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope, featuring 40 stories about the events of the film told from different perspectives. Overall I really liked it, even though I’m a raging pedant and there were some inconsistencies between stories. It’s all true from a certain point of view, after all.


  1. RAYMUS by Gary Whitta: An okay story about the Tantive IV’s flight to Tatooine.
  2. THE BUCKET by Christie Golden: A kind of boring, pointless story about one of the Stormtroopers who apprehends Leia having a tiny pang of conscience.
  3. THE SITH OF DATAWORK by Ken Liu: An amusing story about an Imperial paper pusher using bureaucratic kung fu to help the guy who didn’t fire on the escape pod avoid summary execution for incompetence.
  4. STORIES IN THE SAND by Griffin McElroy: A freaking delightful story about Jot, one of the Jawas on the sandcrawler that picks up C-3PO and R2-D2. In my head-canon, he makes it to a spaceport before the Stormtroopers torch the sandcrawler, joins the crew of a freighter or something, and has a sweet life of adventures like he dreamed of.
  5. REIRIN by Sabaa Tahir: An okay story about an apparently Force-sensitive teenage sand people girl (I think?) tasked by some shady character with stealing a kyber crystal from Jot’s sandcrawler. In my head-canon, she keeps the crystal and she and Jot make it off Tatooine on the same ship and have adventures together.
  6. THE RED ONE by Rae Carson: A freaking delightful story about the real hero of the Rebel Alliance, R5-D4, the little red droid with the “bad motivator.” Spoiler: He survives the Stormtroopers and rolls off into the desert to have adventures. YAY.
  7. RITES by John Jackson Miller: A kind of boring story about the sand people who ambush Luke on his way to Obi-Wan’s hut. I did like the nod to the sand people village Anakin Skywalker slaughtered. Nice touch.
  8. MASTER AND APPRENTICE by Claudia Gray: A meh story about Force Ghost Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan having a chat, and the first Star Wars offering by Gray that I didn’t like. Sadness.
  9. BERU WHITSUN LARS by Meg Cabot: Ghost Beru muses on her place in Luke’s life after her violent and fiery death. Sadly, it’s pretty meh. Beru deserves better.
  10. THE LUCKLESS RODIAN by Renée Ahdieh: An okay story about the Han-Greedo cantina confrontation from Greedo’s perspective.
  11. NOT FOR NOTHING by Mur Lafferty: A hilarious story about the cantina band presented as a chapter from the memoir of a band member.
  12. WE DON’T SERVE YOUR KIND HERE by Chuck Wendig: The events in the cantina from the bartender’s perspective. It was dull and I still freaking hate Wendig’s writing style.
  13. THE KLOO HORN CANTINA CAPER by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction: Mildly amusing tale of cantina patron shenanigans that went on WAY TOO LONG and written in a style that was only cute for the first few pages.
  14. ADDED MUSCLE by Paul Dini: That horrible added Jabba-in-the-docking-bay scene from Boba Fett’s point of view. Meh.
  15. YOU OWE ME A RIDE by Zoraida Córdova: An okay story about two bounty hunter (?) sisters who think about stealing Han’s ship but miss their chance. The writing was good, but I don’t remember these characters in the background and it just felt a little random. I’ll have to look for them on my next rewatch.
  16. THE SECRETS OF LONG SNOOT by Delilah S. Dawson: The events in the cantina from the perspective of Long Snoot, who is apparently a super spy who resents being duped by the empire. I like Dawson’s writing, but the story is just okay.
  17. BORN IN THE STORM by Daniel José Older: The best account of all the Mos Eisley antics from the perspective of a Stormtrooper who has HAD IT with pretty much everything and just wants to ride off into the double sunset on a noble dewback. I freaking loved it.
  18. LAINA by Wil Wheaton: I saw Wil Wheaton and expected humor, so it’s on me and my unfounded expectations for not liking this account of a Rebel dad on Yavin 4 sending his baby girl to safety on . . . Alderaan. Shut up, Westley.
  19. FULLY OPERATIONAL by Beth Revis: That command staff meeting on the Death Star from General Tagge’s point of view. Calling it meh because it’s completely unmemorable. Revis has yet to wow me.
  20. AN INCIDENT REPORT by Mallory Ortberg: It’s Admiral Motti’s written complaint re: the staff meeting Force-choking incident. The best part was Motti insisting that thinking the Force is woo woo rubbish doesn’t make him a bigot. Otherwise it was pretty dull.
  21. CHANGE OF HEART by Elizabeth Wein: Another “Stormtrooper has a change of heart after encountering Leia” story from a Death Star trooper this time. What makes it even worse than the first one is the second-person-past-tense writing. What a choice. Ugh.
  22. ECLIPSE by Madeleine Roux: A heartbreaking account of the destruction of Alderaan from Queen Breha’s point of view. I freaking loved it, ugh, it destroyed me.
  23. VERGE OF GREATNESS by Pablo Hidalgo: Tarkin’s view of the events on Scariff and the destruction of Alderaan, with a quick paragraph from Krennic’s POV on Scariff. It wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t memorable.
  24. FAR TOO REMOTE by Jeffery Brown: A funny cartoon panel depicting the Imperials looking for the Rebel base on Dantooine.
  25. THE TRIGGER by Kieron Gillen: Doctor Aphra gets caught trying to strip the abandoned Dantooine base for salvage, then has to avoid execution by a baby-faced Stormtrooper. My first experience with the character, and I liked it.
  26. OF MSE-6 AND MEN by Glen Weldon: The true story behind what that mouse droid was doing in the corridors of the Death Star. Apparently it was ferrying messages between a lowly yet gorgeous Stormtrooper and an unnamed official with Alpha One security clearance. I really enjoyed it, but I have mixed feelings about implying Tarkin was gay. Ye olde “gay-code the villain” trope is not my favorite.
  27. BUMP by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker: That Stormtrooper who got Force persuaded by Obi-Wan in Mos Eisley (these are not the droids you’re looking for) gets back on the Death Star and realizes he has made a Terrible Mistake. I liked it.
  28. END OF WATCH by Adam Christopher: An okay story about a tired administrator who is only too happy to hand over the headaches in Docking Bay 327 and Detention Block AA-23 at the end of her shift.
  29. THE BAPTIST by Nnedi Okorafor: A surprising story about the Thing in the trash compactor that nearly drowned Luke. She was Force sensitive! And she had a Purpose! And I freaking love her!
  30. TIME OF DEATH by Cavan Scott: Obi-Wan sees visions of the past during? after? his confrontation with Vader. I liked this one despite my confusion.
  31. THERE IS ANOTHER by Gary D. Schmidt: Yoda bides his time on Dagobah and dreams of training Leia as a Jedi, not that angry, impulsive Luke. It’s too late to train him. Too much like his father, he is.
  32. PALPATINE by Ian Doescher: Doescher doing what Doescher does, i.e. a speech by the Emperor, Shakespeare style. It was okay, but Doescher is better and funnier and clever . . . er when he’s working from someone else’s script.
  33. SPARKS by Paul S. Kemp: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of Dex, one of the Rebel pilots who blows up. (Spoilers.) It was okay, but not terribly memorable.
  34. DUTY ROSTER by Jason Fry: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of a pilot who didn’t get to fly due to a shortage of functioning fighters. Slightly more memorable than Sparks.
  35. DESERT SON by Pierce Brown: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of Biggs. I already have trouble separating this one in my mind from Sparks. Biggs knew Luke from before and lasted longer than Dex. That’s about it.
  36. GROUNDED by Greg Rucka: The Battle of Yavin 4 from the perspective of the Rebels’ chief mechanic. Slightly heartbreaking look at the ones left behind, WAY more effective than Duty Roster.
  37. CONTINGENCY PLAN by Alexander Freed: Not my favorite thing by Freed. It’s basically Mon Mothma agonizing over everything while trying to make sure the Rebellion still has a future if she dies.
  38. THE ANGLE by Charles Soule: Lando Calrissian finds out Han Solo took his beloved Falcon into battle against the Death Star. I freaking loved it. Soule really caught the essence of Lando.
  39. BY WHATEVER SUN by E.K. Johnston and Ashley Eckstein: A character from Johnston’s Ahsoka novel reflects on her time in the Rebellion during the medal ceremony. I really liked it, and it was nice to see a familiar character from novel canon.
  40. WHILLS by Tom Angleberger: A freaking hilarious account of the Whills bickering over the text crawl for Episode IV. I loved it, especially the Star Wars Holiday Special reference.

Oops: The Consequences, Part One

The first wave of books from my expensive, impulsive shopping spree has trickled in. Almost everything that wasn't a pre-order has arrived, except for one book that's still processing according to my order status. The last time that happened, the vendor ended up canceling the order and refunding me, so we'll see what happens there. In the meantime, I threw in an extra book that followed me home on my last errands run.


Um, Oops?

Once upon a time, falling down a Goodreads drama rabbit hole led me to YA/Kidlit Twitter where I discovered some new-to-me Black authors. Listening to those authors speak about racism in all facets of publishing is what made me start seriously examining my privilege and unpacking my internal racial biases. I've been thinking about that a lot these last two weeks. I still have A TON of work to do, but I'm a better person than I was because of Black authors speaking out, and one thing I can do is buy books.


So last night when I was adding more books by Black authors to my wish list, I decided to go a step further and buy some. And after I started adding titles to my shopping cart, I decided to keep going.


I spent $300 USD on books by Black authors last night.



I ordered 18 books before I ran out of money. RIP my 2020 clothes budget. Oh well. No one outside the house but the postie sees my ratty sweats anyway.


Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen (Six Tudor Queens #3)

Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen - Alison Weir

Not much is known about King Henry’s third wife, so Weir had to rely on her imagination more than in previous books, and I found her imagination somewhat lacking. She portrays Jane as a pious anti church reform woman who once believed she’d been Called to a spiritual life, but gave up on her dream of being a nun in favor of a posting in Queen Katherine’s household at Court. The nun thing is an invention of Weir’s and doesn’t really add much to the story other than to unnecessarily reinforce Jane’s piousness. This piousness is referenced again and again, but rather than portray Jane as a straight-laced goody-two-shoes, Weir tried to make her more complex. Which is how we get a Jane that loves Queen Katherine and hates Anne Boleyn for having an affair with the King (among other reasons), and later justifies her own affair with the King by telling herself that his marriage to Anne wasn’t legitimate and therefor it’s not adultery. (It’s still fornication, but pious Jane doesn’t bat an eye at that. It’s true love, so God will totes understand.) She feels somewhat responsible for Anne’s ultimate fate and is haunted by her specter (literally—she starts seeing an Anne-shaped shadow in her bedchamber at night), but not even a mild ghost infestation can spice up the blandest of Henry’s wives. Basically, boring queen = boring book. Without a truly interesting character to distract me, I was painfully aware that Weir’s prose isn’t much more than a checklist of historical events as she thinks her version of Jane would have perceived them.

I'm Currently Not Plague-ridden! :D

My results are in. My swabs tested negative for COVID19. My husband can go back to work and I can try once again to discuss asthma treatments with my doctor. Huzzah!


A Privileged Whinge About Life in the Time of COVID19

I've been having trouble with asthma. When I was younger, I was on preventative inhalers, but I stopped about fifteen years ago and haven't needed more than the occasional puff of Ventolin since then. But over the past several months my asthma has been getting progressively worse, the last two weeks especially. I've been walking around the house feeling like I've got a too-tight ace bandage around my chest preventing me from taking a full breath, and a constant pathetic-sounding asthma cough to go with it.


So I got an appointment with my GP so I could talk to her about setting up an asthma action plan and getting back on preventative inhalers. My appointment was this morning. I washed my hands, strapped on a mask, and set off.


And that's when the fun started.


Because I presented with my pathetic-sounding asthma cough, the GP refused to examine me. She said she couldn't evaluate me at the clinic and I'd have to go to Emergency at the local hospital where they've got a COVID19 testing center set up. So off I went, having a mini freak-out in the car on the way. (Don't worry, I wasn't driving so I was free to stare blankly at my phone screen while all my cognitive functions froze up for a few minutes.)


At Emergency the triage nurse checked my oxygen saturation levels (they were fine), listened to my breathing (no lung crackling), and quizzed me on my symptoms (no fevers). She said I was asymptomatic for COVID, but just to be safe they would go ahead and swab me anyway and then send in a doctor to address the asthma problem. So I sat in the waiting room trying to read (and not think about what kind of germs my fellow waitees and I were passing around) while I waited for a spot to open up in the testing center. The book I took with me is a fictionalized account of the life of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's third wife. I was, coincidentally, at the part where Jane is sent home from Court after an epidemic of sweating sickness breaks out in the capitol. Haaaaaaaaaah. . . . .


My name was called, and a nurse led me (at proper social distance) to the testing center and deposited me in an exam room where I resumed waiting and read the oh-so-cheery account of poor Jane losing two siblings to the sweating sickness. A different nurse in full PPE came in, quizzed me on my symptoms, took my temperature (normal), and strapped a blood pressure cuff to my arm. She agreed that my symptoms sounded like plain ordinary asthma, then she fired up the blood pressure machine, got out the testing kit, and proceeded to tell me that everyone in my household would have to self-isolate with me until the test results came back in three to five days - including my essential employee husband who just got promoted into a new position at work.


"That's going to skyrocket now," I said, pointing to the blood pressure machine. It did. She had to take it again after I'd had a minute to calm down.


Then came the swabs. As a kid I was prone to strep throat and sinus infections, so I'm no stranger to throat and nasal swabs, and they're about as fun as I remembered. (It's hard to believe something can go that far up your nose, but it can and it will.) After that, I waited for the doctor while reading about the sweating sickness death toll in 1528 London and questioning my bookish life choices.


The doctor, a very nice woman whose face I never saw (come to think of it, she never saw mine, either), quizzed me on my symptoms, listened to my breathing, and very regretfully told me there was nothing she could do about the asthma because it didn't sound like an infection and ER docs aren't authorized to prescribe preventative inhalers. I would have to see my GP for an asthma action plan. Full circle! Wheeeee!


So now I'm home with my husband (who I think is still trying to decide how he feels about his sudden holiday) and my father-in-law (who is thrilled he can fob off his bowling club duties this week) and a raging anxiety-induced headache, and I'm just praying my results come in quickly and are negative so my husband can go back to work and I can go back to the GP and get my stupid asthma treated. (If I test positive, that could potentially shut down hubby's whole workplace, as he's my most likely source of infection. Ugh.)


So I've had an interesting day that went south pretty quickly, but I'm also counting my blessings. I'm not terribly ill (knock on wood), I haven't been more than mildly inconvenienced, my husband's boss is being very understanding, and I live in a country with universal healthcare and a half-decent coronavirus response. I won't pay a cent out of pocket for that whole ER visit. That still amazes me after growing up in the American health care system where my last ER visit cost over $1,000 and consisted of a brief examination and a can of Sprite from the vending machine.


If you made it this far, thanks for reading my privileged whinge. I just needed to write it all down to help me process everything. I feel a little better now. Here's a cute bunny eating a flower petal.


Jane Doe

Jane Doe: A Novel - Victoria Helen Stone

Every time I get a book without realizing it’s written in present tense, I make a disgusted noise and tell myself I’m going to read samples from now on. But then it happens again, so basically I’m a lying liar who lies. To myself. On a monthly basis.


This time, though, I’m not even mildly irritated. This book was one hell of a reading slump remedy. It took me weeks to get through my previous book. I bought this on impulse and burned through it in two days, something I haven’t been able to do since pandemic anxiety sent my ability to focus on an extended holiday.


Freaking yay for sociopaths out for revenge! Jane is a fascinating character. She’s not the stereotypical Hollywood sociopath. She didn’t spend her childhood carving up the neighborhood pets before moving on to larger prey. She isn’t a master tactician whose every plan goes off without a hitch. And thank goodness, or this book wouldn’t have been nearly as engrossing. She’s impulsive, she makes mistakes, and that’s half the fun for her. And for me, too.

Spinning Silver

Spinning Silver - Naomi Novik

I finished a whole book! Woo! Take that, pandemic anxiety brain! But I don’t feel capable of properly reviewing it, so I’ll just say a thing or two and then do a victory lap of my little dining table or something.


Thing one: I’m not a huge fan of the multiple points of view. Nearly every single POV change derailed my concentration to the point that it was sometimes several paragraphs before I figured out whose POV I was reading. I can at least partially blame this on the whole pandemic brain phenomenon (Focus? LOL! What’s that?), but some of the POVs felt so similar that they really threw me. I had an especially hard time telling Miryem and Irina apart at first. (Irina’s first POV section threw me SO HARD.)


Thing two: The book in general was about a three-star read until the last 120 pages or so when all the threads finally came together. Once they did, HOLY WOW. Some parts of those last 120 pages were so good that I read them over and over again, and NOT because I was having trouble focusing. If Naomi Novik wants to keep writing fairy tale inspired awesomeness, I will happily keep throwing money at her.

Happy Easter!

Wishing a happy socially distant Easter holiday to all who observe it. ♥


The Everlasting Rose (The Belles #2)

The Everlasting Rose (The Belles #2) - Dhonielle Clayton

I’m seriously brain-fogged right now and stringing thoughts together is hard, so here’s a slightly rambly and likely unhelpful and possibly slightly spoilery review (wow, sorry, I seem to be addicted to adverbs):


This was the most boring, beautifully described revolution I’ve ever read. I guess I’m mostly satisfied with the ending, so I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my time, but I’m weirdly wishing I had the kindle version so I could see just how many times Camille describes herself breaking out into a sweat. It seemed like A LOT. Also, WTF is this romance with Rémy? Is he her rebound guy? Or does she literally fall for every guy who shows a romantic interest in her (all two of them so far)? After Auguste ripped her heart out, maybe a week goes by before she starts fantasizing about kissing Rémy. I’ll give her a pass because she is SPECTACULARLY sheltered and probably far younger than her alleged 16 years (considering how fast baby Belles grow), which makes my eyebrows go up for entirely different reasons, but what does Rémy see in her? Did he get off on her treating him like dirt for the entire first book? Is that it?


Anyway, it was okay. The ending left the possibility for another sequel, but if it ever eventuates I’ll probably skip it so I can keep my headcanon that Tyra Banks’s Modelland is set in this book universe’s future when the whole concept of the Belles has been warped and perverted into the Intoxibellas. It’s the little things that give me joy.


Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece - Stephen Fry

I was highly entertained and I may have accidentally learned a few things, though I wouldn’t let a student use it as a reference. I suspect it’s a different experience in audio format, but for a print book it might be a case of too much of a good thing. I found my interest flagging in the last 100 pages.

When Your American Cousin [bleep]s Up

After hearing about Ronan Farrow cutting ties with Hachette over them publishing his sister's abuser's memoir, and seeing the subsequent employee walkout at various Hachette imprints, I just noticed this on Hachette Australia's Facebook page:



I wonder how many angry tweets, DMs, and emails it took for them to go full Mariah Carey on this.



SLAY - Brittney Morris

Nobody really needs a sleepy 40-something white woman’s vague and poorly expressed opinion of a YA book written by a Black woman for Black teens, but if that’s something you’re actually interested in, here you go:


I really enjoyed it! I had a huge suspension-of-disbelief problem with the existence if the titular VR game (I think the book is being mismarketed as contemporary when it should be listed as sci-fi), but the real-life issues the book deals with are absolutely contemporary, and it gave me a whole lot to think about. I wish I could articulate my thoughts, but it’s like 1:30 AM and my brain is mush so all I’ve got is: book good, me have feelings.


I will say that parts of this book made me full-body cringe because I was a lot like the main character Kiera’s white friends Harper and Wyatt at that age, saying and thinking racist stuff that I thought couldn’t possibly be racist because I, myself, could not possibly be a racist. “We’re all the same on the inside! I don’t see color! I have a [insert minority here] friend!” Ugh. This book made me uncomfortable, but in a good personal growth kind of way. If only extra-white teen me could have read it! It could have saved my POC friends heaps of unintentional aggravation.

Booklikes Active Poster

Reblogged from Abandoned by Booklikes:

I thought this would be a good way for us to comment and then share the post to see who is still here to make sure we are all following each other. I only bring this up because I see some people posting and I appear to be the only one following their reviews.


I have gotten some comments from bots though which is another reason why I wanted us all to take this Friday to comment and share this post so we can all find each other. 


Feel free to drop your name in the comments and share! 

Reading progress update: I've read 219 out of 323 pages.

SLAY - Brittney Morris

Ah, they rent six servers, not just one. That makes me feel a little better. But how do these two jobless students pay for server rent x6? (Yes, I’m still pedantically stuck on little details. My brain won’t quit it. Help.)

Reading progress update: I've read 172 out of 323 pages.

SLAY - Brittney Morris

Okay, so Kiera is saying that she’s built the game over three years (starting when she was 14) using textures and character models crowdsourced (for free) from artists and coders in the player base. I guess it’s possible, but given the in-game descriptions, it’s still got to be in the future. Or an alternate Earth where VR socks are a thing. So far the most believable thing I’ve read about the gameplay is characters and their in-game pets glitching out and falling through the map. Why isn’t this marketed as sci-fi? Why make the Ready Player One connection in your ad copy and not follow through in your genre categories?