80s Fantasy Movie Review: “Clash of the Titans”

Cheesefest or Epic?

This poster: Cheesefest or Epic? The jury’s out in my opinion.

I have embarked on a quest to watch a number of 80s Fantasy flicks and share my findings with you, dear readers. Next up is “Clash of the Titans” (1981). This is another one I’d never seen before, so how does it hold up as a first viewing after 34 years?

“Clash of the Titans” surprised me by not being terrible. I’ll admit it, I underestimated it. I was dubious. Some early 80s movie about Greek mythology with a suitably strange cover? When the film started with a rather poorly overlaid shot of a bird that jiggled awkwardly around the screen as the credits rolled, my trepidation increased.

But then the story got rolling. Zeus is portrayed as a manipulative and frankly creepy patriarch deity (oh right, basically what he was believed to be in real life!) with a penchant for sleeping around and playing favorites. The struggle between the will and manipulation of the gods and the lives of the mortals and demigods that are thrown into the mix is a pretty interesting substory throughout the movie. It’s never explored as deeply as it perhaps could have been, but this isn’t a movie about philosophy now, is it? The theme was portrayed well enough simply by following the plot. I liked it.

The plot continues to be interesting throughout, as we follow Perseus through a pretty epic quest to claim a kingdom and break a curse upon his betrothed. The story never really seems to lag, which is a major plus, but it also draws you in as a viewer to keep watching. Bubo, the clockwork owl, is a pretty neat character as well.

Did I mention Maggie Smith was in this? And it’s over 30 years ago! I barely recognized her. Scratch that, I didn’t recognize her, but my wife did and we were delighted to see her. But she’s not the only one who did a good job acting; frankly, for a movie that could easily have gone way over the deep end into being a cheesy laughing stock, the acting across the board was pretty solid. I never felt the urge to laugh at the actors, even when some of the lines could have seemed absurd (though Poseidon’s “underwater” scenes are pretty silly). Good job, cast!

There were a few downsides to the movie. Characters sometimes seemed to have little-to-no motivation for various actions, many of the special effects don’t hold up very well at all, random nudity is distracting and unnecessary, and some moments of the plot are just a bit too convenient. Also, although it’s called “Clash of the Titans,” the “clash” is really just using Medusa’s head to defeat the Kraken. I kind of wish there had been some epic titan vs. titan battle of huge beasties, but alas.

Overall, “Clash of the Titans” was a pretty epic plot that was entertaining to watch.

The Good

+Interesting story
+Cool interweaving of Greek myth into the plot
+A clockwork owl, Bubo
+Shows how the Greek Pantheon was messed up 
+Well-acted despite some pretty silly moments

The Bad

-Special Effects don’t hold up well
-Random and unnecessary nudity
-Insufficient motivation for some of the main characters
-Multiple literal and figurative deus ex machina moments
-Left me wanting titan vs. titan battle

The Verdict

My Score: B+ “Although some aspects don’t hold up after almost 35 years, it is a pretty epic adventure with some fun story moments.”

Conclusion

“Clash of the Titans” was surprisingly good. Not any kind of all-time great, but a decent plot with some surprising reflective moments and decent acting sold it well. I’d watch it again.

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Time to Watch some 80s Fantasy Flicks– I describe my quest to watch a bunch of 80s fantasy movies. This post also features links to all the reviews done so far.

A Ranking of 1980s Fantasy that would please Crom Himself– The original list of movies that made me embark on this quest.

SDG.

Star Trek: TNG Season 5: “Unification Part I” and “Part II”

Data wants in on that action.

Data wants in on that action.

I’m going through “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and reviewing every episode, complete with commentary and a grade from A-F. I’ve also included a score and comment from my wife, who has never seen the show before. There are SPOILERS for each episode below.

“Unification Part I”

Plot

Ambassador Spock has gone to Romulus and the security risks are huge. Picard and Data are dispatched to investigate and recover Spock while the Enterprise is sent to track down some missing ships and suspicious activity surrounding them. Picard and Data have to co-opt a Klingon starship to get to Romulus, and they encounter a good deal of resistance. Meanwhile, Riker and crew discover there is something untoward happening with the disappearing ships. After Picard and Data arrive on Romulus, they are captured, only to discover they have found Spock! Oh, and Sarek dies.

Commentary

This is a pretty solid set up for a two-part episode. The stakes feel pretty high as it is understandable that if Spock is capture, all kinds of important information might be extracted from him. Many of the scenes are high-impact as well, such as the pretty cool scene with the junkyard dog and Troi. Look! The episode can use irony to combat the objectification of women!

The initial scenes with Sarek and Picard trying to discern Spock’s intent reveal some real depth of character for both Sarek and Spock that wasn’t there before, and that alone makes this episode worthwhile. But there is much more, such as the interesting concept of political movement in Romulus towards reform, the need to compromise, and some really neat political intrigue.

I have to wonder, though, what’s going on with the Klingons. I suspect we’ll see some interesting flare-ups happen with them again, because they really seem anti-Starfleet all of a sudden.

Overall, Part I is a fun watch with some really great moments. Can’t wait to watch the next part!

Grade: A- “A great beginning that has me excited for the conclusion.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “An intriguing beginning, I look forward to seeing what happens next!”

“Unification Part II”

Plot

Spock is working to try to reform Romulus from within, but it seems that elements in the hierarchy are moving at a too-convenient pace. Meanwhile, Riker and crew work to trace the path the missing Vulcan ships took. As Spock and gang are captured and seemingly forced to watch while the Romulans destroy the Vulcans, Riker’s suspicious nature saves the day. Picard and Data manage a great escape while Spock stays behind to try to work further towards reform.

Commentary

The range of sets and scenes in the episode was really impressive. I particularly enjoyed the alien bar with the four-handed piano player. It had just enough flare and fun to keep me smiling the whole time without ever seeming to overdo it. Romulus’ various sets were pretty awesome, too, and watching the Enterprise range all over the place was pretty neat. The production values across the board were great.

The plot is exciting, too. As betrayals are unveiled and the stakes are continually raised, it never feels like it is overly forced. The Romulans just seem cunning enough that they just might try to pull something like this off, and Spock and gang aren’t overly gullible about what’s happening. It was a great way to balance the buildup to betrayal with necessary skepticism of the good guys.

Seeing Spock talk about his father has the emotional impact it should and Picard giving him his father’s love is a touching scene. Spock’s decision to stay behind seems to exactly fit his character as well.

This is a two-part episode I’m genuinely shocked I didn’t remember. Maybe I only managed to watch it once before or something, but this thing has impact. Weirdly, I discovered from reading some comments online that it apparently doesn’t sit well with many hardcore Trekkies because they feel it was a desperate movie tie-in. But neither I nor my wife felt that way about what is, really, a great episode. Are some things too convenient? Sure, but that’s just par for the course in TNG.

Grade: A “A few flaws don’t mar what is otherwise a pretty awesome episode.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “The follow-through on the first episode’s beginning was very good, but it lacked a little something awesome.”

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: TNG– For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!

SDG.

Thoughts on the Final Fantasy VII Remake

Used under fair use.

Used under fair use.

Let’s just get this out of the way. An FFVII full-on HD remake is coming, and this is probably one of the greatest pieces of gaming news ever. People will hate on it, but that’s just going to happen. Final Fantasy VII has rightly earned its place as the holy grail of JRPGs. Part of this is certainly its place in time as a game that reinvigorated the genre, but the game is just awesome.

I will have SPOILERS in the following.

Nostalgia ‘R’ Us?

Many naysayers have stepped up both before there was a remake in the works and now that it has been announced to basically say that one of the things that makes FFVII so near and dear to us is the enormous nostalgia that factors into our assessment of the game. Look online and you’ll find all kind of pictures featuring screenshots from the game saying things like “This scene wouldn’t be as funny/epic/etc. in HD.” Part of the argument is that the blocky graphics and the games sometimes self-referential humor about them is what made us love it so much.

Thus, people will say: Imagine your favorite scene in FFVII. Now think about that scene in HD. Still sound like a good idea?

My answer: Okay, I imagined my favorite scenes from FFVII in HD. It was awesome.

Yep. There is far more to FFVII than some good shots of humor from blocky graphics or some nostalgia from a game I enjoyed so long ago. It had genuinely innovative gameplay, a great plot, and–at the time–superb graphics. Do you seriously think that any of these factors can’t be carried over into a remake?

Stop trying to rain on the parade, folks. Let people be excited.

Redone Story?

The fact that Square Enix execs have mentioned redoing parts of the story hardly surprises me. Think about the amount of text in FFVII compared to the amount of dialogue in games like Mass Effect. It’s paltry. There’s going to be a significant amount of added dialogue in the game, if you ask me. Moreover, the fact that large portions of background was left untouched or unexplained means that Square Enix can take this opportunity to expand on these details and give us, well, more of what we love.

Honestly, in my opinion it makes absolute sense that they would do this. Would it be awesome to have a remake that just updated the graphics and left the game untouched? Sure. But I think it will be even more awesome to have a remake that not only updates the graphics but also fills in important plot points and gives us more dialogue. All of this, of course, is with the caveat that they stay true to the main plot of the original. This means that major points and characters should all be there. Things like Aeris/Aerith (I don’t care which is default) getting killed by Sephiroth just as you think you saved her… those things should remain largely untouched.

Updating the Game Systems?

Ah! But what about the game systems? Will they change things like the battle system, mini-games, and the like? I think that absolutely they will. Here are my brief thoughts.

First, I hope they leave the Materia system largely alone. It was pretty awesome being able to customize your characters based on the Materia they used, to level up the Materia, and so on. This system could be slightly modified but overall it was great.

Second, the battle system could be updated. Was it fun? Yes. Does it remain fun? Absolutely. Could it stand for an overhaul? Yep. I don’t know what they might do here, but I could see this being really done differently.

Third, mini-games. There are a lot in FFVII, and I hope to see them continue to appear. I wouldn’t mind some more being added too, like the cool card game from later games. I guarantee they will change these a lot and probably make it so you don’t have to complete any to beat the game.

Give me a PS4 that’s FFVII Themed

The heading pretty much says it. I want an epic-looking PS4 that is themed after FFVII. Make it happen, folks.

What do YOU think?

So what are your thoughts on the upcoming remake? Please don’t use this as your forum to just attack anyone who’s excited about it, but I am curious to know what you would like to see or not see in this remake.

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

I enjoyed the thoughts from the editor over at RPGamer on the remake as well. I think it’s worth reading if you’d like to take the time.

SDG.

80s Fantasy Movie Review: “The Black Cauldron”

80s movies have awesome posters

80s movies have awesome posters

I embarked on a quest to watch through Tor’s list of 80s Fantasy. I have only seen an embarassingly small number of the movies on that list, and have decided to rectify that! Here, I review “The Black Cauldron,” yet another one I haven’t seen before! But I did read the whole series of books! There will be SPOILERS in what follows.

They really don’t animate movies like they used to. Seriously, “The Black Cauldron” is stunningly beautiful. There is so much detail in each scene that it is easy to catch yourself just looking at the scenery rather than paying attention to the film. But that would be sad, because the story is pretty solid too.

There’s something inherently awesome about having an assistant pig-keeper as the hero of a story, but the other characters, from a silly bard to a sarcastic princess, are each fun in their own way. It’s the kind of film that makes you want to peel back the layers to examine it further because it’s truly compelling. I enjoyed the fact that it seemed like no one character in the movie could have accomplished everything on his or her own–they each needed the others to succeed on the quest.

The story is actually pretty dark, though, when you think about it. Much of the imagery used to convey the story is also super creepy, especially the Horned King! The notion that the Black Cauldron requires death in order to be appeased makes your skin crawl too.

The main problem with the movie is that there is never any real sense of the consequences of the activity of the heroes and villains. We never see anyone besides the main cast as “good guys” so we don’t know who it is the Horned King might be trying to conquer. Nor do we know why he wants to conquer so badly.

Overall though, the movie is charming, beautiful, and foreboding. It’s got a solid plot and good characters. Another winner! These 80 fantasy flicks are sweet!

The Good

+Visually impressive
+Captivating story
+Initially compelling

The Bad

-No sense of a broader world
-Seems pretty creepy for kiddos
-Characters never get fleshed out much

The Verdict

My Score: A- “Dark but uplifting, ‘The Black Cauldron’ was a blast to watch.”

Guest Verdict (Wife, Beth): A  “All the childhood nostalgia!!”

Conclusion

“The Black Cauldron” is a beautifully animated and well-written story of heroism from unexpected places. I’m glad I took the time to watch it.

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Time to Watch some 80s Fantasy Flicks– I describe my quest to watch a bunch of 80s fantasy movies. This post also features links to all the reviews done so far.

A Ranking of 1980s Fantasy that would please Crom Himself– The original list of movies that made me embark on this quest.

SDG.

Microview: “Daystar” by Kathy Tyers

daystar-tyersDaystar concludes the Firebird series (see my review of the Trilogy here). There will be SPOILERS in this microview.

For better or for worse, Daystar can fairly accurately be called a science fiction retelling of the biblical Gospels.

For better: as someone who is, I think, fairly familiar with the Gospels, this re-telling brought forward aspects of the Gospels themselves which are often overlooked. Moreover, the science fiction perspective is never compromised for the sake of trying to make a point. Instead, Daystar fits perfectly well into the universe Tyers has built up in the previous books and feels like an epic culmination of all that has come before.

For worse: the fact that the story does emulate in many ways the story of Jesus means that some readers may be turned off by it.

One other minor problem with the book is that the action at times is not sustained. I am not saying I need action 100% of the time, but there are large swathes of just conversations in this book that may have been better broken up with some more action.

The best part of the book is that, as I noted before, the source material and science fiction aspects are never compromised simply for the sake of trying to make something fit. The narrative is powerful and stands on its own, rather than relying on background knowledge to fill it in. That said, the background knowledge is helpful and leads to some interesting comparisons of parallels. These comparisons and other worldview issues are brought up throughout the book as questions of human nature, freedom and determinism, materialism, and more are all brought up and considered. These different questions are considered from different philosophical backgrounds as well, with the view of the Collegium being a mind-working combination of Platonism, Gnosticism, and materialism.

But again, these themes never are forced upon the readers. They always feel like a natural outworking of the narrative itself. And that narrative is extremely solid. The world Tyers has built feels genuine and massive, yet she ably focuses in on one facet of it and how one cog can turn the entire machine.

Set in context of the whole series, Daystar simply is phenomenal. All told, Kathy Tyers has really given readers a treat. I can’t help but think what an achievement this is as a conclusion to a series. It is an excellent work.

The Good

+Awesome re-exploration of the concept of Messiah
+Good action
+Broad but interesting cast of characters
+World feels genuinely massive and with ancient roots
+Great re-envisioning of parables
+Intriguing worldview questions

The Bad

-Fairly explicit emulation of Christian story will turn off some readers
-Not enough action at some points

The Verdict

Grade: A

A constantly intriguing look at an alternate universe Messiah, Daystar wraps up the Firebird series remarkably well. I think it will go down in my memory as one of my favorite books. See my other site for a look at many of the worldview themes in the book.

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Enter [Science] Fictional Messiah- “Wind and Shadow” and “Daystar” by Kathy Tyers– I reflect on a number of worldview issues that Tyers brings up in the concluding parts of the Firebird saga.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Microview– Read more microviews to discover more materials to experience! (Scroll down for more)

Source

Kathy Tyers, Daystar (Colorado Springs, CO: Marcher Lord Press [Now Enclave], 2012).

SDG.

Star Trek: TNG Season 5 “Disaster” and “The Game”

Most exciting [take that word as innuendo-laden] game ever!

Most exciting [take that word as innuendo-laden] game ever!

I’m going through “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and reviewing every episode, complete with commentary and a grade from A-F. I’ve also included a score and comment from my wife, who has never seen the show before. There are SPOILERS for each episode below.

“Disaster”

Plot

A quantum thingy (that’s the technical term) disrupts the Enterprise’s power, stranding crew members across the ship and leading to not a few injuries and deaths. Picard is stuck with some children in a turbolift; Worf is in Ten Forward coordinating the treatment of injured crew members on the deck; Geordi and Dr. Crusher are stuck in a storage bay with a plasma fire raging; Troi is the senior officer on the bridge and in charge, though Ensign Ro is skeptical of her command ability; Data and Riker seek to gain access to Engineering and possibly take control of the ship from there; and I think I caught all the main plots. All of these race to the finish as the ship nears cataclysmic explosion, from which a decision by Troi ultimately saves them all.

Commentary

“Disaster” is an episode that is ultimately far more than the sum of its parts. And, as you can see from my plot summary, there’s a whole lot going on. It’s quite a bit like “Data’s Day” in that it presents different views across the ship, but here instead of being the “mundane” of a standard day, it is the presentation of what the crew does all over the ship when a disaster strikes.

Each plot thread is actually really interesting, and the sense of tension throughout the episode is real, despite the fact that viewers generally know the main characters are pretty much invincible. You know that Geordi and Dr. Crusher aren’t going to both die, but the tension remains there because it’s well written; moreover, several guest characters (like the kids with Picard) mean that there are stakes so far as saving the lives of these side characters. It’s well done and it’s entertaining.

Worf’s dialogue as he delivers a baby is also superb. “Congratulations, you’re dilated to 10 centimeters. You may now deliver the baby!” Genius line. He has a number of good ones in this episode.

If there’s anything that makes this episode falter, it is just that some of the problems and resolutions seem to simple and too easily wrapped up. Overall though, this is a really fun episode that I’m more than happy to watch again (and again).

Grade: A- “Worf delivers a baby. ‘nough said.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: B+ “Overall it was a good idea and had good stories but a bit too complicated to do due diligence to all of the plot lines.”

“The Game”

Plot

Riker is introduced to an addictive game while on vacation and brings it back. As it spreads through the ship, Wesley–stopping by the Enterprise for a visit–and Robin Lefler are the only ones who think something might be up and act to try to stop it. Ultimately, even they are captured and forced into the game, but Wesley managed to get Data revived just in time to save the ship.

Commentary

“The Game” isn’t terrible, it’s just silly. It’s really hard to believe that everyone on board the ship would be sucked into a game, particularly with such personalities as Worf, Picard, and Troi on board. Moreover, it’s hard to believe that the game could so radically alter people’s entire belief system and loyalty in such a short time. It seems like it takes but a few seconds and you’re done for.

Also, if the game is so effective, why even bother to use the crew of the Enterprise at all? Just give the game to some of the most powerful people in the galaxy and you win. “Game” over. Okay, maybe that’s not so easy; but why not just make huge amounts of it and send it all over the place, then? Not everyone will have a Data to save the day. Subjugate a few planets and live like royalty for the rest of your lives. Anyway…

To be fair, though, the episode does a good job building a real sense of foreboding as what seems innocent at first becomes more and more ominous. The solution with Wesley being captured only to discover that he was just acting as a diversion for the off-camera action of Data is a smart way to tie the episode up. I liked the episode despite really not wanting to. That’s gotta say something, right?

Grade: C+ “‘The Game’ is a really silly episode that does enough to avoid being terrible as well.”

Wife’s Grade and Comment: A- “‘The Game’ had a good plot with a good balance of suspense and storytelling.”

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

Star Trek: TNG– For more episode reviews, follow this site and also click this link to read more (scroll down as needed)! Drop me a comment to let me know what you thought!

SDG.

MantiCon 2015: After-Action Report (David Weber, Timothy Zahn, Eric Flint, + More!)

Dreams do come true. Here I am with my new Treecat (name pending) and David Weber!

Dreams do come true. Here I am with my new Treecat (name pending) and David Weber!

I spent Memorial Day Weekend having the absolute time of my life at a science fiction convention, MantiCon 2015. It was the inaugural MantiCon, a convention based on the universes of author David Weber. Weber, Timothy Zahn, Eric Flint, Joelle Presby, and other authors were in attendance. It was the most fun I’ve had in some time!

Overview

When I first arrived, the events hadn’t started yet, so I scoped out the rooms and the fan tables (AKA places with everything I wanted to buy). After I bought some sweet stuff (a lanyard, a Grayson Space Navy patch, and a War Officer’s pin), I went to the “Meet the Authors” session, then the Opening ceremony. After that, it was a string of sessions, meeting authors, and chatting science fiction with other excited people. Here, I’ll go over a few sessions and some cool stuff.

Sessions

Women in Science Fiction

I went to the panel on women in science fiction and the discussion was broad, but deep. We discussed things like whether the concept of a “strong female lead” is actually helpful in forwarding equality of the sexes, the notion of a “strong” character in general, the notion of women as “background” rather than characters in science fiction, favorite women in science fiction, and more. It was a fast-moving panel and it was clear that all the panelists had different perspectives that were each valued and mutually overlapping without being contradicting each other. Panels like this need to keep happening until we get to the point that we don’t need them any more.

Kinetic & Energy Weapons

This was one of several more technical sessions I went to and it was exciting. The speaker talked about some of the ways science fiction weapons are being adapted now, along with theoretical and mathematical data to talk about weapons in science fiction. It was  fun and more interesting than I thought it would be. Lots of thought goes into weapons development–even of the fictional variety!

Getting your Dream Job

I had the pleasure of going to a session that was basically about getting to be an author. It turned largely into a Q+A with me asking the questions because no one else was asking any. Several people told me after I was asking the questions they would have liked to but couldn’t think of them. I was pleased to help others–and myself–learn more about writing and becoming an author. Now to pound the keyboard to pulp cranking out some books!

Authors

Weber Q&As

David Weber outlined his publishing schedule, talked about his plans for where he wants to take various series, and took a number of questions. He was extremely gracious, and his answers were informative and interesting. One of the main themes of both of the Q&A sessions I went to was that his goal at this point in his life is to try to finish the series he has going right now. He said he wants to make sure his fans get to read the endings and get closure. Of course this means that he won’t be able to write the million other series he has just floating around in his head. He told us about one that sounded awesome but it was historical fiction and he felt he just won’t have time to get into it, unless he lives for 90+ years.

I was glad to hear that it sounds like he’ll be wrapping up the main Honor Harrington storyline within a couple books. He might even write more later about the Alignment and other issues, but again his goal is to try to tie as many loose ends as he can. It sounds like he’s going to really explore the universe a bunch more with the offshoot series once he’s done with the main Honor books.

Safehold! Safehold! I was pretty excited to hear him say that after the one coming up (Hell’s Foundations Quiver) and the one after that, we’ll have some kind of time jump ahead. Again, it sounds like we’re going to get this series wrapped up within 10 years or so, with books coming out all the time. To me, that’s an awesome thing. I can’t wait for more. I’m a huge fan of the Safehold series.

He also talked about many other series he’s working on and his plans for wrapping them up. It sounds like his fantasy series (starting with War God’s Own)–one I haven’t read yet–is wrapped up, but had some loose ends that he is going to write somewhere around four books to finish. His Multiverse series is going to start once more after a decade-long hiatus. Other series may see returns and completion as well. Weber was clearly dedicated to trying to wrap up as many stories he’s telling as he can. I think this is a very kind thing for an author to do, and Weber is a pretty awesome guy!

I had a chance at a few of the signings to ask questions, and one was to ask what his favorite hymn is. His Safehold series has had either hymn titles or lines of hymns as titles for all but the first book, and he’s a Methodist lay minister, so I was wondering what his favorite was. It was “Amazing Grace,” which was also my grandpa’s favorite hymn (my Grandpa was a Methodist minister)! I told him he should title the last book of the Safehold series Amazing Grace. It would be awesome if he did.

Timothy-ZahnTimothy Zahn Q&A

Zahn talked Star Wars and his thoughts about the upcoming movie, which was largely “I will go see it, but I’m not sure if it will be good.” He also talked about whether he might write Star Wars again (seems unlikely) and the possibility of whether they will wrap up the Expanded Universe–everyone hopes so.

After that, it was discussion of many of his series and what he’s going to do with them. He has some more Cobra books coming out, a few ideas for a Young Adult series, and many ideas for more in various universes he’s written. I am not as familiar with some of these, because I read pretty much everything by Zahn but I did so 15 or more years ago. Thus, it’s hard to remember anything. I’ve decided to go back through Zahn’s corpus though. It’s been too long since I read his stuff.

Swag

Got some pretty cool T-shirts at the vender tables, including both a Royal Manticoran Navy and Grayson Space Navy shirt. But the pride and joy of my MantiCon experience (apart from my loads of autographed books) was to get, at last, a Treecat! They had just 25 available and announced them at the opening ceremony, so I pretty much ran to the store they were going to be available and got one!

Conclusion

I can’t emphasize enough how much fun MantiCon 2015 was. It really solidified in me the notion that I want to be a science fiction author, but more than that, it was an absolutely awesome time. How often do you get the chance to hang out with hundreds of people with the same interests you have, talking about science fiction? Not often enough, I tell ya. Moreover, the authors were all extremely gracious and frankly amiable. It was a great lineup of guests and they were very kind. Here’s hoping MantiCon 2016 will happen, and be somewhere close to me!

SDG.