Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Meet the Author… Martin Tracey

I met Martin at The Darker Side of Fiction book signing in Peterborough. He had his stand next to ours and it was fun chatting with him during those few quiet moments. He’s a lovely man from the beautiful city of Birmingham who writes thrilling novels!

Martin Tracey

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Biography

Martin Tracey is an author who likes to push the boundaries of reality. Even when injecting elements of the supernatural, the terror that grips you is very real. The events that feature in his work could – just could- really happen! He has a passion for The Beatles & Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. Both music and football/soccer often find their way into his stories. Martin lives in Birmingham, UK and is married with 2 daughters.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

Martin_Tracey_OldGoldAnthems

I used to play piano and play in a few bands. One highlight was when a duo I played in supported Roland Gift and The Fine Young Cannibals. It became a natural progression for me to augment my creative writing by scribing novels. I still love music, especially The Beatles, but don’t play so much these days. I’m an avid supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers and one of my songs Raging Bull appears on an official Wolves CD: Old Gold Anthems – the Songs of Wolves. The CD is still available on Amazon (click here to check it out).

Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

Well it’s certainly not the genres I write in and it may surprise a few people. It was Noddy Goes To Toyland by Enid Blyton, and pretty soon I was reading the entire series of Noddy books. I loved Enid Blyton’s stories as a kid. Even now I can remember how I was able to get lost into a magical world as I read in bed. Her writing certainly fed my imagination. Even at that early age I was able to sense the special friendship that Noddy and Big Ears shared. One of my better traits is that I like to help people and the way Big Ears helped Noddy settle into Toyland most likely sowed a subconscious seed of some kind. I know it sounds a bit daft but I believe a lot of what we project as adults stems from childhood experiences.

Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

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Reading Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons made me realise for the first time how fact can be weaved into a piece of fiction with dramatic effect. People who read my books will spot the influence.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Being a Wolves supporter a wolf of course! Two of my tattoos are wolf depictions and I have a wolf as my author logo.

If you could travel through time to visit a special time period or famous person, what or who would it be and why?

I’d love to have met John Lennon. His music was pioneering and the raw intelligence of the man fascinates me – just listen to some of his interviews on You Tube. So many of his off the cuff remarks have transpired to become evergreen inspirational quotes. I think the fact that he was willing to put his credibility on the line in the name of peace also has to be admired. Like all great leaders he saw the cause being bigger than himself. Sadly, the manner in which he left us is too tragic beyond words.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Martin_Tracey_Club27

My most recent book is Club 27. It’s the second in the Judd Stone series and it explores the theories (some conspiracy, some not) behind the club’s famous members who all remarkably died at the tender age of 27: Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and many more. The protagonist, Judd Stone, finds himself catapulted into trying to prevent the club from claiming its next victim. Why read it? There are twists and turns within a unique page turning story.

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

That’s like choosing your favourite child! I love them all equally, but I certainly have fun and a lot more writing mileage to go with Judd Stone.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

In Club 27 there are a couple of characters but to prevent the ‘spoilers’ it would have to be Kaleb who is the parasitic boyfriend of Rock and Pop sensation Phoenix. He is a nasty piece of work and Judd has countless problems with him.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Martin_Tracey_ThingsTheyllNeverSee

I already have two books lined up for Judd – I just need to write them! Lunar will be based around the legacy of the Lunar Society – a gathering of prominent figures who met in Birmingham between 1765 and 1813. The society included the most innovative and visionary industrialists, philosophers and intellectuals of the day…but Judd discovers an age-old murder which casts a shadow of their brilliance. The other book has no title yet but it will have a comedy theme involving tribute artists.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

Mind Guerrilla was meant to be a substantial standalone novel in the vein of Stephen King’s The Stand(size not content –Mind Guerrilla is a hefty tome) but Judd Stone proved such a popular character in reviews and other feedback I’ve received that a series was destined to be born!

Where can we find you online?

Email: martinpaperbackwriter@yahoo.co.uk

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Things They’ll Never See Book trailer

Club 27 Book trailer

Amazon Author page UK

Amazon Author page US

Thanks so much for telling us about your musical prowess and your compelling mystery novels. I’m so glad we met at the signing! And kudos to Ares Jun, your cover artists. The covers look amazing!



 

Meet the Author… S.S. Bazinet

Sandy Bazinet writes about vampires. That was enough for me to ask her for an interview! It appears that, like my own stories, her vampire stories are about being human and about relationships. Stuff to make you think. I also love her book covers. Let’s find out how she got into writing about vampires.

S.S. Bazinet

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Biography

Sandy Bazinet grew up in Kansas, spent many years in the Baltimore, Maryland area and currently lives in New Mexico. After raising a family, she found out that she loved computers and worked in website design. Since 2008, she’s been passionate about writing. Her books include The Vampire Reclamation Project series, the Sentenced to Heaven series, as well as the YA thriller, My Brother’s Keeper, and a dystopian novel, Dying Takes It Out of You.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love walks in the desert, working jigsaw puzzles, and graphic design! Graphic design is particularly nice when I’ve been writing all day and need to switch to a different way of expressing the artistic part of myself.

What is your favorite childhood book, and why?

A favorite was and still is Mr. Snitzel’s Cookies, by Jane Flory. It has a wonderful message. Do what you love and you’ll succeed!

Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

SS_Bazinet_DyingIt wasn’t the first story I read, but I read Wuthering Heights when I was about twelve years old. I think the intense, emotional states of the characters impressed me the most. I still feel that strong character development is a must in the books that I write.

If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell my younger self to stop worrying about getting everything perfect, to relax and have more fun with life and writing.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Energizes!

Have you thought about joining with another author to write a book?

Actually, my two grown daughters and I used to have a writer’s meeting once a week via a conference call. After a while, we decided to co-author three stories. Each week, one of us would write a section of a story and then pass the story on to the next person. It was great fun and also challenging since we each had a knack for leaving our section on a cliffhanger. We enjoyed the process, however, the stories got so complicated that we never completed them.

What gives you inspiration for your books? How did you come up with the idea for The Vampire Reclamation Project series?

Actually, I had writer’s block for many years. I took writing very seriously, and I think my mind’s ideas about how to write got in the way of my creative side. In frustration, I finally threw up my hands and decided not to worry about what I wrote. I decided to just write for the fun of it.

With that thought in mind, I sat down with a pad and pencil. I didn’t have a clue about what to write or what my story should be about. And I’m so grateful that I was in that open, receptive state. A story began to flow in on its own, a story about a wonderful angel named Michael and a desperate vampire named Arel. After that, I had to start writing at the computer because I couldn’t keep up with pad and pencil.

SS_Bazinet_MyBrotersKeeperDo you try to be original in your storytelling or to deliver to readers what they want?

Nope, since I gave inspiration permission to lead the way, I have never tried to steer the stories I write. I’m always as surprised as any reader as the story reveals itself. Maybe that’s why writing is so enjoyable for me.

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

In my series, The Vampire Reclamation Project, each book is complete in itself, but the characters change and grow as the series progresses. In that way, they build on each other.  In my other books, the stories are always able to stand on their own too.

How do you select the names of your characters? Are your characters based on real people?

None of my characters are based on real people. A couple of times, it took a little longer for a name to come in, but most of the time, I begin to write about a character and a name pops in on its own.

What was your hardest scene to write?

The worst scene I had to write was one in which one of my main characters remembers a past life when he was burned at the stake. I don’t like violence or writing about violence so that was very hard to write. Thankfully, the brutality was kept to a minimum.

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

Sorry, but that’s like asking me to name a favorite child. I love them all.

When you develop characters, do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?

I start out with a blank slate. I don’t know who or what will populate a story. My characters are in charge and definitely develop as the story progresses. For instance, in the vampire series, the main character, Arel, is suffering from low self-esteem when the story begins. He’d had a very abusive childhood that left him nearly crippled with fear. However, as he’s helped by his angelic mentor, Michael, and some humans who “adopt” him, he comes out of his shell.

In each book, Arel becomes more himself, and we learn just how strong and gifted he truly is. However, in the last book, Tainted Blood, his attempts at finding the perfect partner were hard for me to watch and write. I felt like the protective mom who’s observing their adult child flounder. However, I never have to worry. My stories have a way of working out in the end. Thank goodness!

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I read my book reviews, but I try not to assign much weight to a negative one. Everyone has their perspective, and I respect that. What really helps is that I love writing, and I’ll write no matter what someone else thinks about my books.

What writing/publishing wisdom would you bestow upon new writers?

Don’t try to rush anything. Take your time and make sure that your book is the best it can be before you publish it. Make sure it’s well edited. Also, find a good designer for your cover! A cover is the first thing a person sees when they look at your book.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

One reader said that my story helped them to reexamine their own life. They found comfort in the characters finding ways to give themselves a break and live happier lives. Another reader said my story gave them the courage to carry on in very adverse circumstances.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment as a writer?

In a world that is often stressful, I love the idea of providing people with stories that they can enjoy. If in some small way, I can contribute something positive and inspiring to others, I feel doubly blessed.

Thank you, Sandy, for sharing your answers with us. I can so relate with the non-planning way of writing. It is so much more exciting to wake up and not know what is going to happen next. And what great comments by your readers! It is a huge boost when you learn that you have had such a positive influence on someone 😀 .

Where can we find you online?

Email: ssbazinet@gmail.com

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon Author page

The Vampire Reclamation Project series has five books now. Check them out!



 

What to Watch? Orphan Black

The other day, I read a post of someone on Facebook, mentioning how engrossed they were in Orphan Black. As I was loosing interest in Salem, I was looking for something else. I checked out Orphan Black and finished season 1 this weekend. We just got into season 2.

Orphan Black

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Cast

The main character, Sarah Manning, played by Tatiana Maslany, actually plays twelve characters! And they’re all different, not only in looks but also in voice and how they carry themselves, not to mention sexuality. Maslany does an awfully good job pulling it off.

Her fellow actors are Dylan Bruce as Paul Dierden, an ex-military mercenary, who is a monitor and boyfriend. Jordan Gavaris plays Felix (“Fe”) Dawkins, Sarah’s gay foster brother and confidant. Whether he is gay in real life or not, he does a great job as the comic relief in the series. Kevin Hanchard is Detective Arthur “Art” Bell, Beth’s police partner. Michael Mando plays Victor “Vic” Schmidt, Sarah’s abusive, drug-dealing ex-boyfriend. I felt so sorry for him (but not because he’s a drug dealer 😀 ). Maria Doyle Kennedy is Siobhan Sadler, Sarah and Felix’s Irish foster mother. They call her ‘Mrs. S.’

Évelyne Brochu is Dr. Delphine Cormier, Cosima’s monitor (I actually visualized this name as being ‘Kozimaa’), Ari Millen is Mark Rollins, a Prolethean, and Kristian Bruun as Donnie Hendrix, Alison’s husband and monitor.

Plot

I’m not going to give away too much as I don’t want to spoil the fun for you. It starts with Sarah Manning witnessing a woman, Beth Childs, who looks very much like her, throw herself in front of a train. Being in a bit of a pickle after stealing her boyfriend’s cocaine stash, she grabs the dead woman’s bag and takes her identity, not realizing the woman was a police detective. Sarah has a seven-year-old daughter, taken care of by her foster mother Shioban, that she wants to start a new life with, but Sarah has no idea what danger she has gotten herself and her daughter into.

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What I like about Orphan Black

As mentioned before, I love the way that Tatiana Maslany plays all these different characters. She has different hairdo’s, different ways of speech, different mannerisms. It must have been so hard for her! I’m sure it’ll put her on the map of great actresses. This, of course, couldn’t have been pulled off without the great eye of the director, John Fawcett, who was bold enough to put three of the same characters interacting with each other in the same scene.

As I’m always looking for things that take me out of a scene, I’m happy to mention that the only thing that bothered me was the hairdo of Rachel Duncan. That said, it was a hard one to pull off; a high-back bob-line. With all the other wigs, there never is a moment that you think they’re fake.

All the actors play their parts excellently and the story is extremely intriguing, nothing like you’ve seen before. That said, I’m not sure if they can keep this up for five seasons. I guess I’ll be looking for something else again after season 2, but in the meantime I’ll soak up every second!

What I didn’t like about Orphan Black

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Summary

If you haven’t yet, watch it. Just watch it. It’s funny, it’s scientific, it’s got drama, romance, and action, murder and mayhem. All the good stuff.

Meet the Author… Craig Wainwright

I met Craig Wainwright on Twitter (where I meet most of the authors I interview). He was talking about a big reveal and ramped the suspension up enough to peak my interest. I was dying to find out what he was talking about! His first book, The Lost Titan, launched yesterday, and Craig’s going to reveal his big secret in this interview, so quickly continue reading…

Craig Wainwright

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Biography

I’m normally a reserved, middle of the road, kind of  guy, whose always been geeky about Sci-Fi. When I got married, I warned Diane, my long suffering wife, that there would be three people in our relationship: me, her and the Doctor (big Doctor Who fan you see). Nowadays, the Doctor and Diane often pop out and leave me busily tapping away on the keyboard, only to return before I miss them – it’s a time travelling thing, I’ve been told…

Who is the most famous author you have ever met?

Terrance Dicks, Dr Who editor (from 1968 to 1974)
Terrance Dicks, Dr Who editor (from 1968 to 1974)

Terrance Dicks, by a long way. To date he is still the longest serving Doctor Who script editor there’s been (1969 – 1974), wrote some cracking stories for the TV series and then topped that by writing the lion’s share of the Doctor Who range of Target books. What a guy.

Of course, being a cheeky Doctor Who fan when I was younger, I thought it would be fun to invite him round to my house when meeting him at a signing. To my amazement he agreed. At the time I was a member of the local Doctor Who group and so I quickly organised a sponsored “Stay Awake” event for the visit. Terrance got the proceedings going, with an auction and stayed for a couple of hours afterwards to chat with us.

Then I asked the typical fan question: ‘What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a book?’ His answer was the obvious one, but it stuck in my mind because he’s such a lovely bloke. ‘Just write it,’ he said. Succinct, concise and to the point. The answer hit home.

We raised £600 for Cancer Research that day, and am proud of the fact.

What made you want to become a writer?

An urge to tell stories about characters which have lived with me since I was 10. I’ve needed to do this for a number of years and have had various failed attempts since 1989 to get the job done. The thought of dying before I’d managed to let everyone know about these wonderful characters and the situations they find themselves in, mortified me. Morbid I know, but it’s true, and since I’m not getting any younger, I knew I had to do it sooner rather than later to have any chance of getting book 5 written.

What do you love most about the writing process?

via GIPHY

That moment when a character says something and you think that they have suddenly just come alive during that moment. It’s a magical time. Then, as the book takes its course, these people go on their journey. You see them grow and, by the end of the book, after all the twists and turns in the plot, they come out different people – as anyone would. With my style of writing, with the plot driving things forward and not the characters, this development does add an extra dynamic which can enhance the story.

On the flip side, I hate writing the first draft. I find the whole process painful and really hard work. But after that hurt, building on the original draft, the process suddenly becomes enjoyable because it then becomes a time of discovery. This happened with Book 1, were several things happened in the first five chapters and by the tenth I thought, ‘There have to be some consequences here’, and so the court scene was born. One of my beta readers loved that scene, as I do, because the hero shows he’s not just a physically powerful individual, but also a clever one as well. A fact which will become more important as the series progresses.

What genre do you consider your book(s) to be? Have you considered writing in another genre?

The Last Titan, by Craig Wainwright
The Last Titan, by Craig Wainwright

That’s an interesting question because this series is multi genre: Book 1, The Last Titan, is Sci-Fi with a strong super hero facet to it, bringing in the fantastical element. Because I plan to the nth degree, I know Book 2, The Last Titan: Titan’s Quest, will leave Sci-Fi behind and become purely Fantasy, with large dollops of horror towards the end. Book 3 leans more towards Horror with Fantasy elements embedded within it. I see this as being a very dark book and only hope I can pull it off as Horror isn’t my genre of choice. Strangely, and having just said that, these books cry out for the darker writing to add to the growing menace. Book 4 will return to straight Fantasy again. That’s just series 1. Series 2 will be different again in structure and feel, but that’s a long way off…

Does your book have a lesson? Moral?

These books are about ten races of people who need one another to survive, for them racial tension never existed until one man brought with him intolerance and hate. With his coming terrible acts of violence followed. When such a scenario enters a society which seems utopian, we would often find a very fertile breeding ground for the evil to grow.

The motto, I suppose. is that we need to spot this type of person when they get into power and deal with them quickly. We don’t want another Hitler and we definitely don’t want another world war.

What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?

That’s easy. This was for Book 2, which I’m writing now, and it’s the melting point of Quartz. It starts melting at around 600c, if you’re interested.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

The overall process of research for the book has been mainly passive, since I’m quite well read when it comes to the history and literature of Ancient Greece. I spent a few nights researching the Chernobyl accident and got an understanding of how it happened and how the reactor was designed. It turned out in the end most of that research wasn’t used in the book. I also did quite a bit of research on Mauy Thai, since the hero is a an expert in the martial art. I checked out a few websites and bought a couple of VHS (yes VHS) tapes and sat down and watched them, taking a few notes.

Regarding much lighter research I spent a bit of time finding the right stars which might have Hellas orbiting them. They ended up being in Ursa Major and they’re a true binary system called Gliese 412. These stars are red dwarfs and one is much smaller than the other. However, every now and again this smaller star becomes much brighter than its neighbour, which fits beatifully with one of the background Mythos I’ve already written. I won’t say any more because I plan to bring the Mythos out as anthologies eventually. Maybe even bringing the first one out before The Last Titan 2.

What did you edit out of this book?

via GIPHY

Loads of stuff. The bulk of it centred around a narrator and two children who would ask him questions about the action in the preceding chapters. These guys discussed pertinent points which I felt needed further explanation but couldn’t fitted in the story any other way. This allowed me to bring in several background stories (one of which tied in with the end of the book beautifully). When I later looked at these sections, I had to admit they had become somewhat redundant as I grasped the mechanics of writing a novel and the need to save space added further reasons to chop these sections anyway.

Interestingly, there was also an alternative chapter 8 which introduced the character of Jimmy (a tramp) and it described Omicron (the female villain) conducting horrific experiments on his two friends. This was made redundant when Jimmy informs a character later on what he saw, and rather than taking fifteen pages to get this across it took three paragraphs to explain it instead. The chapter also had a very different version of Jimmy; he was a more crotchety character. I prefer the character he’s evolved into because he’s a much more approachable, comical character – to the betterment of the whole series I think. 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I like to leave little markers which might hint at what’s be coming: a little comment here, somebody saying something there. That sort of thing.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I think some writers maybe tend to accept their lot and don’t try to push for the best they deserve. My advice is to be ambitious and adventurous in your plans, be cheeky and ask the questions to get what you want when it comes to publishing and publicity. You don’t get unless you ask in this world, unfortunately.

From the above you can tell that I’m very ambitious, maybe more than my talent deserves, but I’ve known what I want from the start and I’ve pushed to get it. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, then other times it does and I’ve ended up doing business with some wonderful people who wanted me to succeed because they saw my drive and determination. Chris Grant (the voice over artist for the ad) put in an email to me: “So, go get’em Giant Killer.” A comment which sums up what I’m trying to achieve with this first book – break through and get established quickly. I dearly want these characters to be remembered and loved even. If I fail, well, at least I tried. If I succeed, then book 8 would most definitely be on the cards

The only other thing I can say is love your subject matter and let it draw you in. Some writers are mechanical in their execution of prose. Get involved with it. I’ve had a love affair with my characters since I was a kid and they’re so clear in my head now, they’ve become like old friends. If you are detached from the work, it’ll reflect in it and your characters will end up being distant at best and uninteresting at worst. Get into their heads, understand them, and the characters will write themselves.

So… what’s your big reveal?

As mentioned earlier, I have a book trailer/ad. Apart from promoting the book via an interview and review in Starburst (a British Science Fiction Magazine), followed by the ad in SFX (a British Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine) and Starburst for three months and a small ad on Doctor Who Online, it is also going to be… on TV! The book trailer will be shown on Sky1 and Syfy from August the 23rd for two weeks!

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Wow! That is so awesome! I bet every writer is incredibly jealous now. I certainly am. You do dream big, and I applaud you for it! I wish you all the best with your launch, Craig, and hope your book sales sky-rocket!

Craig Wainwright’s book is available NOW on Amazon, and you can watch the trailer on his website. You can contact Craig through Twitter.


What To Watch? Solo

This weekend my son wanted to watch Deadpool with his mates. We were chartered to cart him and his buddies to and fro. As we live a forty-five-minute drive away from the cinema, it was no use going back home again. So, we decided to watch a movie ourselves. We wanted to see Deadpool as well but didn’t want to spoil the boys’ fun. There wasn’t a lot of movies that my husband and I both wanted to watch, so we settled on Solo.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

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Cast

It is very hard to find an actor who can pull of being the younger version of a famous actor, especially one that has to portray Han Solo, i.e. Harrison Ford. Alden Ehrenreich was a very good choice. Although he kept reminding me of a young Leonardo DiCaprio, he does look like the ‘old’ Han Solo when you take a better look. He sure seems to have his charm (or is it DiCaprio’s charm?).

I hadn’t seen any previews of the movie and was surprised to see Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett, the criminal/friend of Han, and Emilia Clarke (aka Daenerys Targaryen from GoT) as Han’s girlfriend Qi’ra. It took me a few minutes to actually recognize Harrelson, but it was his typical acting that gave it away.  I didn’t recognize Clarke with the bob hairdo either. Only when she changed her hairstyle did I see her smile (with the amazingly pretty teeth). Donald Glover did a good job portraying the young Lando, Phoebe Waller-Bridge was very funny as Lando’s droid companion, and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca.

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Plot

Qi’ra and Han live on a shipbuliding planet called Corellia and are made to steal to survive. When they get their hands on some coaxium, a powerful hyperspace fuel, they use it as their ticket to get off the planet and start a new life. Unfortunately, only Han makes it out and Qi’ra is captured.

Han enlists and becomes a pilot but is expelled for subordination and now fights in the infantry. For three years he tries to get back to Corellia to save his sweetheart Qi’ra, but things don’t go as planned.  He teams up with outlaw Beckett to steal a big score of coaxium. With the profit, he hopes to finally go back to Corellia.

What I liked about Solo

I liked seeing a new face as the main character, even though he did resemble other actors. I liked seeing Emilia Clarke making a career outside GoT. I’ve seen her in the fifth Terminator movie, Terminator Genisys, but thought that was just a one-off. Good for her to continue her career outside GoT! I liked seeing Woody Harrelson as I think he’s funny. Whatever role he has, he’s always Woody. And I like that.

What I didn’t like about Solo

I won’t lie. The movie was extremely predictable. Obviously, we already know Han ends up with Chewie as his best mate, that he hasn’t got a girlfriend, and that he flies the Millenium Falcon. I guess I expected more twists, more one-liners, more… something. I recently read that screenwriters did a bad job if you can speak the lines before the actors did. That’s what happened while I was watching this movie.

Summary

Even though the movie was incredibly predictable, it was still good entertainment, and as I grew up a Star Wars fan, I couldn’t pass this one up.

Solo

One Stop Fiction Online Book Club

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