I hope the other bloggers on the Cupcakes and Machetes blog challenge have been getting along slightly better with their March reading plans than mine.
Being Women’s History Month, many of the blog followers are exploring female authors, including cartoon or graphic novels.
I had thought that I would get back into Bronte reading mode and started off reading the first few chapters of Charlotte Brontes novel Shirley (1849), which has interesting potential gaming scenario material. Inspired by recent 1830s and 1840s Chartist riots but set during the late Napoleonic Wars episodes of Luddite machine breaking, there is an interesting attack and defence of a textile mill.
Alongside this, I had lined up in my bedside table for reading another Bronte book from their edited juvenilia High Life in Verdopolis, A Story from the GlassTown Saga edited by Christine Alexander. Unpublished for over a hundred and fifty years since being written in 1834, this edition also has quite Gothic or Romantic illustrations of the main male and female characters by Charlotte herself.
What I ended up reading by accident instead, having found the Bronte books hard to get into, were the first two Star Wars film paperback novelisations that I had not read since childhood and the 1978 Battlestar Galactica novelisation, all well thumbed paperbacks.
Arguably, despite the male authors, there is one attractively feisty female role model in Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back in the form of no-nonsense Princess Leia.
Watching the Star Wars prequel stand-alone film Rogue One and sequels film Star Wars VII The Force Awakens and VIII The Last Jedi, I was pleased to see that in Disney’s version of the Star Wars franchise, outer space is now (alien races excepted) more multiracial and equal opportunities in its humanoids than it was in the 1970s Sci-fi days. More main female characters (Jyn Urso and Rey), more female fighter pilots of a mature age, more multiracial female role models, all this will hopefully attract a wider age range and demographic to these films, the sci-fi genre and potentially sci-fi and fantasy gaming.
After reading the Service Ration Distribution (Hobby) blog I found a fabulous free / cheap little app to turn photos into graphic novel / comic frames called Clip2Comic on AppStore https://servicerationdistributionhobby.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/kursk-action-comic.html which allowed me to do this to photos. Bliss!
It is a long time since as a child I saw bits and bobs of Battlestar Galactica on TV in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I completely missed the recent 2005 remake. The 1978 book and background scenario was surprisingly complex, including the metal clad robotic Cylon Warriors (Battlestar’s version of Star Wars storm troopers?). The Cylon villains regard the irrational, emotional nature of the human characters, along with the human imperialist or colonial expansion to other planets searching for resources, as a pest or threat to the peace of the rest of the galaxy. Interesting idea. I look forward to finishing this battered old paperback.
Being an American TV serial or movie like Star Trek, there are more black and female figures in the 1978 Battlestar Galactica than in Star Wars. The female characters in the book do get to pilot shuttles and analyse data but do seem more ‘eye candy’ than feisty. They often need rescuing. At least they get to do more than scream a lot at aliens like many of Doctor Who’s 1970s female companions. Some viewers may disagree.
These paperback novels (including the Star Wars Special Young Readers Edition that I think we bought cheaper through the school paperback book club) had not only the story and fairly accurate dialogue from the movie but x “pages of fabulous colour” pictures from the film. A bit of colour in the otherwise brown and orange 1970s colour palette.
In the late 1970s, before DVDs, videos, downloads and websites made film photos and footage easily available, this added feature of real colour movie photographs was really exciting. Alongside film still colour picture trading cards, I would have drawn these scenes many many times and used them to learn to draw the characters and spaceships.
These Cylon Warriors reminded me of some of the figures of the short lived 54mm / 1:32 Airfix Space Warriors.
The Airfix Space Warriors were only around in shop space in 1981 for a short while. I had one box. I missed these when reissued briefly in silver plastic 6 figure bags in 1995. Since then I have picked them up in ones and twos whenever seen and affordable.
Several more of the Airfix 1981 characters look as if they have a Flash Gordon (1980) Star Wars (1977) Battlestar Galactica (1978) Buck Rogers influence to this cloaked Starbuck / Apollo like space pilot figure.
These Space Warrior figures also contain the only fighting female 54mm figure made by Airfix, the Star Princess with space blaster. They are not often found second hand compared to the other figures. Maybe jealous sisters nicked them all?
I hope to get these figures painted and into action for the summer, added to pound store plastic ‘space warrior’ conversions, especially for future galactic garden games.
What would Charlotte Bronte and sisters have made of these fighting Star Princesses as their fantasy heroines?
Next week on Tuesday 20th March 2018 the Donald Featherstone Centenary. A change of reading matter maybe for that one!
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN 17 March 2018.
13 thoughts on “MARCH Reading Minor Galactic Epic Fail”
Great SciFi figures – the “Cylon” is new to me. They’ll be good for your Garden Wars.
They are good figures, worth watching out for and sadly only issued for a short time.
I had a box of those Airfix Space Warriors, female figure included. Reckon I’ve almost certainly still got them somewhere too – probably in my parent’s loft!
Figures well worth digging out and painting up.
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LOVE this! (Even I haven’t been doing as well as I had hoped reading female authors, so no worries!)
Nice! I love that Princess Leia! 🙂
That Clip2Comic thing is really neat, too.
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OMG, I am desperate to find The History of the Young Men and the Brontes’ other juvenilia. I read Return of the Twelves, by Pauline Clarke, in childhood and it was what started me on the road to collecting toy soldiers and gaming. It is still my favorite children’s novel. I found a reprint volume that contained everything they’d written in my college library, but have not seen it since, electronic or not. I’ve found facsimiles of the original writings but they’re practically illegible.
So it’s awesome to see someone else who’s familiar with it.
Awesome blog, and very similar to my own philosophies of gaming. I’m planning to run a Charge! campaign for my local club next month, though I have to borrow the (Revolutionary War) figures so it probably won’t be a repeat of Sittangbad.
Oxford Classics paperbacks do a Tales of Angria, Glasstown and Gondal cheap reprint as many of the ‘academic’ texts are very expensive. Penguin Classics do a Tales of Angria too! I don’t know the Return of the Twelves book will have to find this – I have just ordered a copy of this book.
It was published as The Twelve and the Genii in the UK, and won the Carnegie Award in 1962. I prefer the realistic illustrations (in the Dell paperback) – those by Bernarda Bryson are childish. It’s surprisingly deep; basically a small boy, Branwell’s age, discovers the Young Men in his attic several miles away from the Haworth Parsonage Museum where they should be, and they come to life. His imagination drives what they do as they set out to return home. (Genius can mean a guide or protector, but it also means a highly creative person – the Genii and their modern counterparts are both). Stumps is lost, he dreams about how the tiny soldier would go about getting back to the attic (or does he?) and when he wakes he finds that Stumps really has done just what he imagined. There are deliberate parallels to the original, in particular a local parson with a son and three daughters, and many references to Jane Eyre and to religion – a bike light shining on the path is compared to the fire that guided the Israelites in the desert, for example.
I’m going on and on, sorry. But suffice to say it is one of the best paeans to the value of imagination I have ever read, and it still guides my attitude towards toy soldiers.
Thank you for the suggestions, I’ll certainly look those books up!
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Thanks Jennifer for this – good enough to persuade me to order a 2nd hand copy. I have a feeling that I might end up collecting or photographing illustrated copies … like I have for the Steadfast Tin Soldier and RLS’ Child’s Garden of Verses. A slight change from reading the Battlestar Galactica novelisation …
Good luck! The Dell Classics paperback is OOP but turns up on ebay pretty frequently – it’s under the title The Return of the Twelves.
Browsing Amazon, I just discovered a more recent, similar novel: The Glass Town Game, by Catherynne Valente, in which the Bronte children find themselves in Angria, akin to The Witch in the Wardrobe. My nearby library has it, will look for it this weekend.
Thanks for the other tip off for Catherynne M. Valente – added to my reading list! I think she may have written some Steampunk stuff / connnections, the name seems vaguely familiar? There is a fair amount of online Science fan fiction around the Gondal saga.
This is so cool – thanks for sharing!
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