Twenty (Rhetorical) Questions I Have about Star Wars Episode VIII

(not in order)

1. Why’d they dig up Hugh Hefner to play the bad guy, Scary? (Scarry? Snape? Sinistar?)

Justin Edison's humor blog on Star Wars VIII with chief bad guy Snoke being compared to Hugh Hefner.

2. Is Luke Skywalker really going to drink that?

3. Why’d they put Leia in that scene where Gamora gets blown out the window? (Wait, which movie is this?)

4. How does gravity work in space, to make those super-high-tech bombs fall onto a target?

5. Why does Hugh Hefner have a Cuisinart going in his paper-walled throne room?

6. What happened to all the other ‘kids’ Luke Skywalker trained before the Kylo Ren debacle?

7. Why was Ben Solo (pre-Kylo Ren) listening to orders from Mar-a-Lago, or wherever?

8. Why did they replace the ghost of Yoda with the ghost of Yoda’s pale, cranky, crazy uncle?

9. What was supposed to be down that beach hole before the producers replaced it with a Jack-n-Jill bathroom mirror (or the Mirror of Not Quite Erised, or the Mirror of New Year’s Regrets, or…)?

Justin Edison's humor blog on Star Wars VIII with Rey above a wicked beach hole.

10. Why’d they center the whole movie on a senior citizens scooter marathon? (Move aside, Jason Bourne!)

11. Why didn’t Kylo Ren, after the huge fight with Rey, get to the bridge (of the wrecked ship) and scream, “Yeah, this bitch is mine now!”

12. Where did Luke Skywalker Houdini himself to this time?

13. Who let a teenager write the opening sequence? (“Still holding for General Hux.”)

14. How do Rose and Finn survive playing bumper cars at 60 m.p.h.?

15. Did Rey ever apologize to the Hyatt Rock Island housekeepers for, you know, knocking over their cart of toiletries?

16. How did Amazon Prime deliver the Empire’s, er, First Order’s gorilla walkers (and Kylo Ren’s shuttle) since they couldn’t have been brought down from a dying battle cruiser?

17. General Hux? Really?

18. First Order TIE Fighters only have the range of a Nissan Leaf on half-battery?

19. Why were the sacred Jedi texts located there, in a tree, on a rainy ocean island?

20. What is the limit for lifting lines of dialogue straight from previous movies?

Escape the Holidays with Humor

Because this time of year gets a few people down…

And because I’m already all Xmas’ed out by Dec. 23rd…

And because I love humor–especially inappropriate stuff…

Here’s a short list of some of my favorite, ever-inspiring comedic moments:

(Yes, I wish I’d come up with these gems.)


Tropic Thunder is possible the funniest movie of all time. This film-within-a-film action romp through the Vietnamese jungle is over-the-top ridiculous from start to finish, and gives us too many hysterical moments to count. The one I’d love to have (but, for many reasons) can’t have on a T-shirt: “Never go full retard.” This was courtesy of Robert Downey Jr. in blackface. After watching the movie, you’ll also never think about ‘gravy’ or ‘arms’ the same way.

Justin Edison's blog on humor includes Robert Downey Jr. in blackface in Tropic Thunder.

In the film Up, the villainous Charles Muntz character watches young hero Russell being dragged across the dirigible’s cockpit window. Muntz’s twitch-eyed glare-stare perfectly captures his madness–and the absurdity–at work in one of Pixar’s best films. It’s also the best counterpoint to the film’s most quotable line, “Squirrel!”

Who could ever get the absurd logic employed by Milo Minderbinder–to contract with the Germans to bomb his own air base–in Catch-22?

“The Simpsons” episode known as The Fat Episode. In his continued pursuit of laziness, Homer Simpson gains enough weight to qualify as the world’s first at-home nuclear safety inspector. Among other favorites, this comedic bit features a telephone operator’s recorded message: “The fingers you have used to dial are too fat…”

Finally, this 8-minute segment from Jeff Dunham’s Controlled Chaos is one of the funniest routines I’ve ever seen. Yes, it’s offensive. Yes, it pokes fun at stereotypes. Yes, it is definitely worth watching!


Happy Holidays!


How the GOP Has Made Villainy Easier

Without warning, my friend Prubius launched into a lecture on the Mitasterites. “Well,” he started, “the short version is that they have so completely carved up their own planet and their own species. That caste system they have is one example. By the socioeconomic view, forty-three percent of Mitasterites now fall into the three strata below the slave line, and another thirty-one percent are stuck in the so-called Mighty Mid group. These people never eat tuna steak or travel off-planet. Our own soldiers live like princes by comparison. The caste system keeps people where they are. Everything serves industry, there.”

-from Endgame (Woman at War 1)


When I was crafting the backstory for Endgame–as the narrative takes place within the context of a war–I knew I needed texture and credibility for the ‘bad guys.’ The Mitasterites couldn’t just be cardboard cutouts to shoot at and run from. Even though they don’t much chance to show personality in Endgame (other than ruthless behavior, such as offering up 1,500 boys as sniper-fodder for propaganda) they still needed to be real enough to me.

These days, it’s very easy to look around and find a model for bad behavior: The GOP. Most everything they have done or opposed (under President Obama) has signaled a cold indifference to individual’s lives (those beneath a certain tax bracket, at least).

[I’m not so typically one-sided, to be honest. The GOP and conservatives used to represent ideals and views that made for healthy debate. Not anymore.]

The party may be on a regrettable road to fascism (yes, look at the latest tax-code revision, if you doubt it) and the leadership harbors a worrisome far-right view. (Bigotry, xenophobia and pandering to extremist views, to name a few.) They’ve made it easy. My fictional Mitasterites are just much farther down that road: Disregard for the majority of individuals–and the environment–in favor of a military-industrial complex which ultimately pursues wealth through aggression. For really, in the modern world, what is war? Nations may squabble over borders and ideological views. In a universe where a party has its own planet, border disputes and threat don’t really wash. So the government has to crank up the propaganda machine and conjure another set of excuses to conceal the truth: Somebody wants to make a lot of money. Human (or Mitasterite) cost is immaterial.

While this draws a lot of parallels from the vast armies of WWII (the buildup, the extreme nationalism, the inevitability) it also allows for plenty of internal fighting. Naturally, not everyone just gets in line with evil intentions. So heroine June Vereeth’s surprise new boss in Destruction is an admiral who has defected from the Mitasterite ranks. Tohk-Mahsda, a middle-aged woman, is utterly furious with her home-world and the government which has taken over. She’s not alone, of course.

It isn’t difficult to imagine her anger, her feelings of betrayal. How would a government–or political party–choose to sell the lie that they want more than serfdom for three-quarters of the population? When the desires of wealthy oligarchs outweigh the needs of the overwhelming majority, and institutions of scientific fact and free press and environmental stewardship are trampled and disregarded?

If the Mitasterites (or those WWII armies) are at the far-right end of the spectrum, what’s uphill and sliding down toward them?

Justin Edison's Destruction, second in the Woman at War series, will be out in 2018.

Endgame cover by Greg Simanson Designs. Cover shows characters, rockets and a woman's eye against a green-ice background and twin suns, orange lettering. "The war begins" is added at the top.

Blackout: a Pioneering Term from Destruction

Writing my first sequel (ever) for Endgame has given me a few challenges.

One of those–natural for a sci-fi series about war–is penning my first space battle since I was, well, a teenager. What would it really be like? Since everything in the book is seen from heroine June Vereeth’s perspective, the moments were a combination of what she hears (communications) and the too-fast objects moving across various display screens. (She’s on a space station, not in the battle. Bonus: The worries and concern from watching something you have no control over.)

Since I grew up watching Star Trek: TNG, one of the questions that bugged me was how did the Enterprise crew see what was happening at some far-off outpost or near a cosmic rift. Bridge stalwart Lt. Warf says “On screen,” and, bam, there it is! Piece of Cardassian cake: You’re watching something from a two million kilometers away. No mention of satellites or camera-bearing probes. (The tech in that show was always frustratingly fool-proof, too.) If only.

So, how would we see such events in space? Especially when we’re nowhere close to them?

Introducing the term blackout, playing a minor role in Destruction. A blackout is an SUV-sized pod which would detach from a larger ship, like a battle cruiser, ahead of an event. The craft would move to a spot two miles away (things move pretty fast in combat) and sit stationary, offering tactical and radar assistance. If there are multiple vessels engaged in battle, the third-party view would give the good guys something of an advantage. For one, ships couldn’t hide behind others (a concept which sounds far-fetched but actually makes perfect sense in scenarios, such as in Ender’s Game).

Justin Edison's Destruction teaser featuring red lights on a black background with 'blackout' lettering in yellow.

I’m not pioneering the term ‘blackout’ of course. But, of the dozen or so definitions that appear (the term first being used in 1913) none refers as slang for a ship. That’s exactly what it would be. With space, of course, being quite dark, it would make sense for techs to use dark metal, or just paint the thing black. Then, while the pod was in use, it would make even more sense for all the lights to be turned off. Otherwise, a Mitasterite fighter makes a quick loop out and eliminates this tactical nuisance.

It might be fun to write a comedy piece, too: A mismatched couple (Felix and Oscar, or Elliott and Todd from Scrubs) arguing in the ‘dashboard’ light while all hell is breaking loose twenty seconds’ flight away.

I honestly try not to take myself too seriously, so there’s potential.

Endgame cover by Greg Simanson Designs. Cover shows characters, rockets and a woman's eye against a green-ice background and twin suns, orange lettering. "The war begins" is added at the top.

Endgame is available now!