Episode 0: Luke Skywaker And The Return Of The Rainbow Gaysaber


*puts down coffee cup, startled by your presence*

Oh! Hello. I didn’t see you there.

What’s that? You have an email for me? An email about the Star Wars novel I wrote, Star Wars: Aftermath, which is both a defacto sequel to both Return of the Jedi and the TV show Perfect Strangers? Sure, sure, I’ll take a look — I get emails every week from adoring fans such as yourself, so here, hand it over, I’ll take a look and —

Oh.

It’s one of those emails.

I get these, too, every week.

But! I shall persevere, and though I believe I’m not supposed to, ahem, respond to negative reviews, it’s hard not to considering how many people want to deliver them straight to my inbox. And besides, I need blog content for this week anyway, so here we are.

I will take your email, Unnamed Individual, and go through it bit by bit.

Let’s see where we go, shall we?

Long before I could make memories, I was a Star Wars fan.

Me, too. I had a lightsaber in the womb. That is how I carved my way free from my mother’s belly, as if she were a Wampa cave and I was an imprisoned young Jedi.

These films were a major part of my upbringing, and it plays a major role in my life now as I go forth aspiring to be a filmmaker. And I’ve loved Episode 7, Rebels, The Clone Wars and many of Disney’s Star Wars media. Now, I know that Star Wars, is just a movie, but has this amazing power to bring people of diverse cultures and backgrounds together and share in the joy of fantasy. So when I read your book (Star Wars: Aftermath), I felt almost offended as well as disappointed.

Well, that’s not good. I too like that it brings together people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, and I would hate to have violated that in some fundamental way. Disappointed, sure, I can handle that. But offended? Oh my. ZOUNDS. ZOINKS. JINKIES! I apologize in advance, and now let us get to the heart of this offense, shall we? Because I’m very sure that the offense is purely based in the way I wrote the book, not in anything untoward or political, right? Right. Let’s go through it.

I thought that the writing style was jarring and choppy; the diction in no way suited to the tone of the book and syntax and grammar created something really off beat. It was bizarre and rough on the eyes –especially when the droid would talk AND IT WOULD BE IN ALL CAPS. It’s incredibly jarring.

SORRY SOMETIMES I VERY MUCH LIKE TO WRITE IN ALL CAPS. ESPECIALLY WHEN WRITING IN THE VOICE OF A LOVABLE-IF-DERANGED BODYGUARD VIOLENCE-PERFORMING DROID. I AM SORRY IF IT IS ROUGH ON THE EYES. NEXT TIME I WILL ENDEAVOR TO WRITE LIKE A SILKEN SHEET RATHER THAN A SCOURING SINK SCRUBBY.

As for the writing style being jarring and choppy — well, I covered that recently. Stylistically it’s one of the things I tend to like, and I’m very sorry you don’t dig it.

I thought the plot was incredibly weak (as well as predictable) and I found the characters to be thinner than the paper that you wrote them on.

Point of trivia: I did not write the story or the characters on paper, but rather, on my fancy COMPUTER MACHINE. It is not made of paper, but instead comprises electrons and steel and the ghosts of old, dead, forgotten novels.

I found it absurd that three of the five characters that served as heroes all had some origin story connected to the battle of endor, and I found it even more ridiculous (and unnecessary) that the bounty hunter had Princess Leia in her scopes and then chose not to take the shot just for the hell of it (which by the way felt like it was lifted straight out of the Force Unleashed Two comic book –because the same exact thing happened in it)

All of the characters being connected is a conscious choice, because in some ways, that’s how Star Wars works and has always worked — a small group of characters come together, bound by common purpose or shared event, and they change the galaxy. In the novel Lost Stars, the two characters are present for most of the major events in the recent Star Wars universe. In the films, Yoda was pretty much everywhere.

He’s under the carpet right now.

Watching.

Waiting.

As for Jas Emari, the bounty hunter, not taking her shot — that isn’t a plot hole or a Hamilton reference. It’s on purpose. It’s necessary because it is a breach in the character’s protocol. Storytelling is an act of violating the status quo, and Emari’s status quo as a bounty hunter is have a target, take the shot. That circuit gets interrupted with Leia. And why?

If only the novel explained it…

HEY WAIT

“You think, yes, I’ll kill this spunky rebel princess-warrior like the Empire wants, but then you watch the rebels turn the tide and you realize the winning side isn’t the winning side anymore and if you wanna survive, you’d damn well better change your skin or just plain disappear.”

She doesn’t take the shot because she sees the tide turning. She is on the wrong side of history — and, practically speaking, she doesn’t know if the Empire will be around to pay for the bounty.

Further, it’s suggestive that Jas as a character is deeper than the bounties she takes.

Certainly more strategic. And possibly a better person than she admits.

As for The Force Unleashed Two comic book? Never read it, sorry.

In addition to the characters being thin, they all kind of felt like less interesting off brand versions of other characters already in existence. Norra Wexley (which isn’t even a Star Warsian name), was basically Hera, but worse, Temmin was like Ezra, but unlikable, and Mr. Bones (another ill name) was horrible incarnation of HK-47 but with a hint of Jar Jar Binks.

I admit: I bought my Star Wars characters at an Aldi store. Instead of Trix, it’s COLORFUL FRUCTOSE ORBS. Instead of Triscuits, it’s ASBESTOS ROOF SHINGLE SALTCOOKIES. I just took other characters, filed off the serial numbers, and re-used them. I was hoping nobody noticed? BUT YOU GOT ME. *insert shrug emoji*

Also, what, exactly, is a Star Wars-ian name? And why does Norra Wexley not have one? Not everybody is named like, FLORGIM FINFAM or ZOOP MAGOO or something. Sometimes they have names like Colonel Kaplan or oh, I dunno, Luke Skywalker.

To make matters worse, I felt like your grasp on the world you were exploring was tenuous; you would use a lot of analogies that only serviced the fans and when it came down to establishing the narrative’s universe, you just kind of tried to force in the aesthetics rather than letting them grow out of the story naturally.

Here’s the problem sometimes with writing metaphors or analogies in the Star Wars universe: you can choose one of three ways to go with it.

First, you can use a very Earthy metaphor: “He was like a HAMSTER caught in a JOCKSTRAP.”

Second, you can use something purely Star Wars-ian in nature: “He was like a GRAKKUS caught in a LASER SPINDLE.” Or, for the variant on this, you can choose something familiar in the Star Wars universe: “He was like a BANTHA on a SPEEDER BIKE.”

Or, third, you can try to jostle the metaphor around so that it serves both — it’s Earthy enough to be understood, but Star Wars in feeling. So, it’s like, “He was like a SANDEATER FALCON caught in a PROTEIN RECYCLER,” which tells you, okay, that bird is not an Earth bird but with ‘falcon’ we at least know that it is a bird, and protein recycler is not a known thing but it’s close enough we can figure out what it is.

Trick is, certain fans get mad at each approach differently. If something is too Earthy, they buck because this is Star Wars and nothing is ever Earthy (except for milk and hot chocolate and falcons and X-Wings and A-Wings and Y-Wings and tea and brandy and Cognac and — well). I mentioned a hamster in the book and people are mad because I “canonized” hamsters, which sounds like I put hamsters up for Catholic sainthood.

If you do something too Star Warsy, people don’t like it because really, what the hell are you even talking about? What is a Grakkus? What is a Laser Spindle? If I say “Bantha,” but the character isn’t from Tatooine, someone will complain, “In a galaxy of thousands of systems, how does Zoop Magoo even know what a Bantha is?”

If you do the mix, you do the best you can contextualizing the metaphor for both fans of the world and average readers and so that the metaphor can be understood.

But, it’s a tricky balance. I tried! Sometimes, I failed. Sorry!

A case of point would be the colloquialisms such as “space diaper” or “space bus” –words nobody in this universe would utter because like here on earth, diapers and buses are the norm in day to day life –there wouldn’t be need to be more specific. In the case of the space bus, shuttle would probably be the more apt term and in the case of the space diaper…well I don’t know…when I read those words I almost threw the book at the wall…

I’m glad you didn’t actually throw the book against the wall. It is a large book and you might have hurt your wall and I don’t want VIOLENCE AGAINST WALLS OR BOOKS on my conscience.

As for “space bus” — that phrase does not exist in the book.

As for “space diapers” — goddamn right that phrase exists in the book.

If I could include that phrase in all my books, I would. Maybe I can…

Anyway.

It exists in the book because:

a) It’s funny. I still laugh at it, and I laugh even harder knowing it bugs people. Plus, the humor factor has context for me. In the book, it’s older Dengar saying it to a younger bounty hunter in a scene that is a deliberate riff on the climax of one of my favorite movies, Grosse Pointe Blank, where Grosser (Dan Ackroyd) tries to recruit Martin Blank (John Cusack) into his mercenary assassin’s guild. In this mode, Dengar is Grosser, trying to convince his younger counterpart to join in a bounty hunter union, basically. Further, my version of Dengar is the Clone Wars cartoon version — which is to say, voiced by Simon Pegg. So, Simon Pegg saying “space diapers” is, for me, just the best. That version of him — listen to it here — is ego-fed and cocky. And “space diapers” is fundamentally funnier than just “diapers.” IT JUST IS.

b) Space diapers are actually a thing, anyway. Astronauts use them.

People get very mad about that phrase, “space diapers” — so much so that you start to wonder if these critics are all reading from the same playbook. Either that, or “space diapers” is your safeword and it bucks you out of the storytelling? Spaaaace diaaaapers.

Moving on.

According to Wookieepedia you wrote your 360 page  book in under 45 days, so it perplexes me that you have the energy to defend this novel when you clearly spent very little time developing it. Dr. Seuss wrote his 50 page epic Cat in The Hat over the course of a year, and personally I think that may have made a better Star Wars book. You can’t rush a piece of art if you want it to turn out.

I did not spend 45 days in total on the book. I spent months workshopping it with the publisher and Story Group. I wrote the first draft in 45 days, and then there was a second draft, and a copy edit. (And no, that copy edit did not catch everything, which is a shame, but a woeful reality of publishing where perfection is just not possible.)

I tend to spend around 30-60 days writing most of my novels. Again: first drafts. I think Life Debt took me about 90 days on the first draft, but that’s because I had hellacious pneumonia smack dab in the middle of it and that halted forward progress.

Writing quickly is not that weird.

Nor is writing slowly. Every author writes at a different speed because writing is not digging holes. I worked in freelance game writing for over a decade and learned to write quickly and cleanly to hit deadlines. It serves me well now as a speed skill that I practiced over many years.

And no, Cat in the Hat is not a better Star Wars story, and now you’re just being silly.

The good news here is, I appreciate you engaging with the book on a critical level without bringing up any of that homophobic stuff, because —

Oh, no.

Oh, oh, no.

*takes off glasses*

*sighs loudly*

Goddamnit.

I know how this might sound, but I also had a problem with the homosexuality in the book. Not because I have a problem with gay people or anything –in matter of fact I do have a friend that is lesbian and I think she is a delight, but I am appalled by the pandering and pedaling of your own political agenda into something so pure as Star Wars. Star Wars is supposed to be above the politics, but in this novel you made it about that when you needlessly added homosexuals just for the hell of it. Temmin’s aunts served no purpose, the two fathers served no purpose. The only one that did was Sinjir and even his orientation made no sense in context. Considering that it felt like a romance was set up in the beginning of the book between him and Jas, your decision diminished the payoff. And even worse than that, the scene where he reveals this was just horribly executed. It was by far some of the most clunky dialogue I had ever read or seen (maybe even worse than Anakin in Attack of the Clones). The offense comes in at this point: you crammed your politics into a franchise that is universal that is supposed to be above the politics –a subject that would so obviously divide us –and to make it worse when we tell you that your book is no good, you call it a weaponized nostalgia from the Evil Empire comprised of hateful bigots. But the truth is, we do not dislike your book because of the politics as you believe it is, but it is because this book was sloppy and poorly written.

And, there it is.

The kicker, the corker, the game ball, the goal unit.

So, let’s unpack this a little.

You don’t have a problem with gay people in your life — because you have one lesbian pal, and boy howdy is she a delight — but you do have a problem with gay people in your fiction. Sorry, “crammed” in your Star Wars fiction. The inclusion of homosexual characters in the book offended you. An inclusion that, according to you, is forced in and overly political and agenda-driven and yet, paradoxically, done “needlessly” and “just for the hell of it.” (Newsflash: agendas are never just for the hell of it, sport.)

These characters serve no purpose? Temmin’s aunts raised him. The two fathers that died are missed because they were fathers. They were parents. Sinjir is gay because he’s gay. It’s not for the hell of it, but it’s also not because his homosexuality is a plot point. Listen, I’m not some kind of culture hero, and nor is this book some kind of paean to homosexuality. But it includes them as people, as real people, as married people or as people who can love one another and not be marked by stereotypes. That’s their purpose. To be real, complex, compelling characters. It’s the same purpose of the straight characters. Or the asexual droids. They are there to be characters — realized, interesting, and with their own agendas and agency. I did the literal bare minimum here in including these characters and even still, I get weekly fucking emails from people who just can’t hack it. The very thought of there being a man inside Star Wars wanting to kiss — whether sweetly or sloppily — another man is so utterly sphincter-clenching that I’m surprised you folks don’t just implode into your own asshole like a star collapsing into its own center.

And you know the one earmark with all these comments?

The comments always come part and parcel with The Defense.

The Defense of, “I’m not homophobic. Your book just sucks.”

And yet, the most substantive, thought-out portion of Random Guy’s email critique is, drum roll please, a harangue against the inclusion of homosexual characters. A minor portion of the novel gets the major part of your attention.

That, dear emailer, is homophobia.

That is bigotry.

That is hatred.

You worry about how it sounds?

You should! Because it sounds super-homophobic!

You can pretend it’s not. If that helps you sleep better at night, far be it for me to disturb your restful, hate-fueled slumber. But you can object and gesticulate all you like: if the thought of characters being gay upsets you, then that is textbook homophobia. And you can hate the book for all kinds of reasons, and I get that. Not everybody is going to like every book, and maybe I was a controversial choice to write Star Wars because of my style. But what shouldn’t ever be controversial is the act of including gay characters. The moment you poison your critique with that bigotry, everything else you said is now out the window. Because I see one thing: “I am a homophobe, and I’m going to mention these other criticisms in order to try to quaintly pave over my raging prejudice. I’m going to tell you I don’t like sentence fragments, but what I really want to tell you is that I hate that you have two women who are married and who love each other because ew gross yucky face. I mean, also sentence fragments, but really, two dudes kissing.”

No, I don’t believe that everyone who didn’t like this book didn’t like it because of its “politics” — and, by the way, Star Wars has always been political, and science-fiction is profoundly political as a genre — but I do believe that the moment you mention it, you’ve proven that you’re the one with the agenda here. You’re the one with the toxic, nauseating politics that would exclude other people because they make you uncomfortable. (Sidenote, at Amazon, the troll mobs continue on. Someone wrote an admittedly luke-warm five-star review recently, and that review has 18 comments from the self-identified trolls — trolls who mob every positive review and use words like SJW and “cry-bully” and other phrases often earmarked by bigots while simultaneously calling me out for claiming that they are, in fact, bigoted idiots.)

And of course, that brings us to Luke Skywalker and his Rainbow Gaysaber.

Mark Hamill came out recently and said that Skywalker could be gay or bisexual.

Something something ruining Star Wars.

Something something ruining Ghostbusters.

Something something Idris Elba ruining James Bond or the Gunslinger.

It’s all the same shit.

It’s all people from the status quo bleachers mad because their team doesn’t have the ball anymore — never mind the fact we’ve been hogging the ball for too damn long now.

See, earlier I said that storytelling is an act of breaking the status quo. This is part of that, too. White gender-normative dudes have had the run on not just protagonists, but villains, supporting characters, everything. We’re like wallpaper. We’re roaches in the walls. We’re everywhere. But the power of story is the power of breaking the status quo — even when that status quo is about the stories themselves. It’s time to break the status quo. The Force Awakens succeeds because it’s a great story, yes, and also because the protagonists up on the screen are not a bunch of white boy Luke Skywalker clones running around, being white and kissing their sisters. There is great power in breaking the rules, in shattering toxic norms, in doing what other people aren’t: representing all kinds of people inside fiction. Time to pass the ball. Time to let other people see themselves inside stories, and just as importantly, it’s time for you to get comfortable with that — because everyone else has had to be comfortable with it for far too long, now.

Star Wars, to quote the guy who emailed me, does bring people from diverse cultures and backgrounds together. And everybody of those cultures and backgrounds deserve to be seen on the screen and on the page and in comic book panels. This isn’t a joke. This isn’t glib. This is their lives. Not everybody is you. And as I said before, if you can imagine a Star Wars where Luke Skywalker hates gay people, I got bad news for you, hoss: you watched a different Star Wars than I did. You fell to the Dark Side. You joined the Empire. And I hope one day that Big Gay Luke Skywalker shows up at your battlestation door and he shines his rainbow gaysaber at you and you can do nothing but melt beneath its warm rays of inclusiveness and kindness and you come to realize that love is good and gay people exist and dang, were you a huge asshole.

But, if you’re not on board with that, here is a picture of heterosexual love to make you feel better about your choices. Please click and enjoy warm, comfortable familiarity.

Oh, and thanks for the email, Random Guy. Glad you liked Aftermath, and Life Debt will be out this summer. WITH EXTRA SPACE DIAPERS ALL FOR YOU.

Bye! Off to ruin more Star Wars.

*sings Perfect Strangers theme song*

*bounds away on a grunting gay tauntaun*


124 responses to “Episode 0: Luke Skywaker And The Return Of The Rainbow Gaysaber”

  1. Also, I’m not sure what Star Wars universe That Guy has experienced, but Star Wars is ENTIRELY about politics. Empire taking over? Political. Rebellion against it? Political. …seriously, some people.

    • This too. I mean, if there’s ever proof of a bigot just trying to cover their shit it’s the “I JUST DON’T WANT IT TO BE POLITICAL!”

      Because (1) armed rebellion against an (2) oppressive (3) imperial (4) government, which was established in the wake of a (5) trade dispute that couldn’t be resolved by the (6) senate of the Old Republic is totally in no way shape or form about politics. Nope, no politics here.

      *headdesk unto head injury*

  2. Gayness aside, I do love that the potential relationship between Jas and Sinjir was derailed for two reasons: One, Jas is terrible at flirting. Two, It seems like lots of books shoehorn in a romance and its nice to see something different. For my money, that scene with Jas and Sinjir is the best in the book.

  3. I love the circularity of this e-mail. “I love how Star Wars brings together people of diverse cultures and backgrounds… Except for, you know, *those* people…” Sheesh. And yeah, Star Wars is deeply political.

  4. … and now I want to read about Florgim Finfam and Zoop Magoo and the Scouring Sink Scrubby.

    And I always knew Yoda liked to watch. Cloud your mind so see him you do not, he will.

  5. I simply never get my head around the logic that putting in something perfectly normal -that happens to be outside of that person’s personal worldview- is POLITICISING something that should be ABOVE POLITICS.

    Newsflash, email dude, if you think a story that entirely lacks diversity is somehow NOT political, and that including other people in the party is somehow ruining the party….you’re on the wrong side of just about everything.

  6. Yay, Chuck!!! Oh, I know, probably too many exclamation points for Random Guy. Tough. My choice. Sheesh, Random Guy needs to pull up his SPACE DIAPERS and join the 21st century!

    And, seriously, should someone who doesn’t know where to place a comma (second excerpt from RG’s letter) be critiquing someone else’s chosen style of writing?

  7. Now I want a rainbow lightsaber, and a ringtone of Simon Pegg saying space diapers. I couldn’t think of an instance that adding Idris Elba could make anything worse (I think he would be great in both those roles). I also think that Doctor Who does it best. Let’s just regenerate all characters to any gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Missy is so much fun.

  8. I liked AFTERMATH, I like your writing style (it’s similar to mine) and I like your blog posts when you unpack (to use your word) homophobia at its core. Keep on writing, Chuck and making the status quo nervous…as they should be. Great post!

  9. In a post where you lambaste folks for their complete refusal to have a legit discussion about homosexual inclusion in pop culture, you turn around and lump that arbitrarily with the larger discussion of racism in pop culture. Pointing an -ism at anyone with a gripe.

    Granted, there are people whose entire argument against Ghostbusters is “Girls? Eeeeewwww!” But the chief complaint was that three white women are scientists, and the one black woman is a transit cop. This parallels the first film, but then they retconned it with their own ad by making Winston a scientist suddenly. This opened a discussion about race. Personally, I like the decision because truthfully, she can be whatever the hell she wants, and that was Leslie Jones’ response. My concerns about Ghostbusters are that the special effects look straight up lifted from the Christina Ricci version of Casper and the jokes fell flat. But again, I hope it’s great. Because I want every movie to be great.

    Additionally, I was also jarred by the Idris Elba casting as Roland. Not because he’s not one of the best actors working. But because a huge part of the series and a major character arc involves Detta/Odetta Walker not trusting Roland and actively plotting against him because he’s an older white man. It’s a major plot point and a driving force for her character. That’s not saying “Wait? A black sheriff!?” That’s like making Ron Weasley an only child.

    That’s not even the same as casting a black actress as Hermione, because her race isn’t a driving factor in the story. Her frizzy hair and muggle nature are. Which actually makes it even deeper for the character. It’s not the same as making Dumbledore or Luke Skywalker gay. Because their sexuality doesn’t drive the story. It’s inclusive. And that’s important. And that’s what critics of your “gay agenda” don’t seem to understand.

    But don’t lump people with logical questions with people who are angry because they see everything as an agenda. The Roland/Detta thing is a legit double-take. They could make Detta white and make her distrust Roland because he’s black. Which would be fascinating and shocking. Or they could make her Asian or Latino or Native American because race doesn’t just mean casting more black actors. Or they could make her a rape victim who doesn’t trust men, period. There are plenty of avenues. And I seriously hope they translate to the screen and we get the best damn Dark Tower movie possible. Plus, I think we all can agree the world needs an incredible CGI Oy.

  10. I know how this might sound, but I also had a problem with the heterosexuality in all the Star Wars books. Not because I have a problem with straight people or anything –in matter of fact almost all of my friends are straight and I think they’re delightful, but I am appalled by the pandering and pedaling of every straight author’s political agenda into something so pure as Star Wars. Star Wars is supposed to be above the politics, but in these novels the authors made it about that when they needlessly added heterosexuals just for the hell of it. Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru served no purpose. Luke’s mother and father served no purpose. The only one that did was Luke and even his orientation made no sense in context. Considering that it felt like a romance was set up in the beginning of the series between him and Leia, Lucas’s decision diminished the payoff. And even worse than that, the scene where he reveals this was just horribly executed. It was by far some of the most clunky dialogue I had ever read or seen (maybe even worse than Anakin in Attack of the Clones). The offense comes in at this point: straight authors cram their politics into a franchise that is universal that is supposed to be above the politics – a subject that would so obviously divide us – and to make it worse when we tell them that their books are no good, and they call it a homosexual political agenda from a niche group comprised of social justice warriors.

  11. I’ll never understand how some people can accept a pit in the desert that eats people for a thousand years but not LGBTQ+

  12. It infuriates me that people I love agonize over coming out, fearing the judgment of people like that guy. It crushes me that they actually worry (not always without reason) that their families might not love them because of who they love. Society is finally moving in the right direction, but we still have so far to go to make things right. Thank you for always standing up for what’s right, Chuck. I like you for your humor (you seriously crack my shit up, man), but it’s posts like this that really bring on the feels. /respect

  13. Yeah, Chuck, wow. Shame on you for not writing the book somebody wanted. Dang. Callous, man. As a member of the psychic author’s network and a man whose entire life goal has been to please Star Wars fans you totally fell off your game there a little.

    And I will eat a goddamn slug if every writer reading this who knows better to engage with reviewers or critical readers on any level on any field NO MATTER WHAT isn’t having an orgasm right now.

    Still, readers. We love them, right? I mean, we really, really love them, even when they don’t love us.

  14. Bless you Chuck, for fighting the good fight. No matter what people say, we have to keep including people who are a normal part of our world in our stories…. Thank you for standing up for what’s right and being FUCKING FUNNY about it!

  15. Super grateful for you, Wendig.
    And I know some people may have issue with you bringing this up again, but it’s an important reminder that homophobes very much exist. When I got married I thought homophobia for my wife and I would end, but it didn’t. It actually got worse. My sister and I and other members of my family have completely cut me off and no longer speak to me. Posts like this and the comments on it give me so much hope.
    Huge thank you, Chuck Wendig. Thank you for defending your book and thank you for including gay characters.

  16. Okay, two points here:

    1) I stand by the rule of Don’t Respond to Negative Reviews, but that’s when it applies to reader/fan spaces like Goodreads or Tumblr or just general discussion and review sites. The whole point is that once a book is out, it’s out, there’s no going back and doing major rewrites to make it better. Hence, you review the finished product to other readers. It’s not for the writer because the book is out of their hands now. So what the hell is the POINT of emailing the author?? If they want to read criticism, they can read reviews themselves. But engaging them with a negative review seems both pointless and slightly mean-spirited (depending on the tone.)

    2) Fuck this guy. Fuck this guy and whoever shares this mentality that gay people, or people of ANY marginalized or underrepresented group need to have a **reason** for the way they are. In fiction or otherwise. It’s so damn asinine and a complete double standard. Not to mention this jerkload actually used the “I have a gay friend!” line. Piss off -.-

  17. Chuck, I know you like spreading your heterosexual agenda, but why couldn’t you just have a few more gay characters? This conservitive bias towards heterofiction in my space wars has gone on long enough. What happened to Star Wars? What happened to the 70’s? What did you do Chuck? Aftermath is just not gay enough for me or for star wars.

    Try harder next time.

  18. These posts (and the ones about the funny things your kid does) are the reason I read your blog. Glad there are authors like you out there, willing to write about real people (or, well, no, the people in Star Wars aren’t REAL, and I know that, I swear, but Han could visit me anytime. ;)) and stand up to the bullies out there trying to silence your voice.

  19. In a storyverse with such a strong thematic thread about facing your fears, you’d think these letter writers who claim to love Star Wars would take a moment for self-reflection before spewing their ugly chunks.

  20. “people are mad because I ‘canonized’ hamsters, which sounds like I put hamsters up for Catholic sainthood”

    Wait. You didn’t?!? *scrambles to erase hamsters from syllabus of course on Catholic saints* #professorproblems

  21. Yes. I agree. you can write a book in less than three months and it can be good. Some of the best selling work I’ve done as a ghostwriter was written at a clip of 10,000 words a week. Could the words be better? We all can be better, but overall, having a book finished and published is worth more than a magnum opus rewritten a hundred times and never seeing the light of day.

    I believe your stylistic choices are driven by the “whole language” movement that replaced phonics at the time you were going to school. Children were encouraged to write whether or not they knew what a noun or verb was, and well, I remember with horror some of the results of my own children’s work that got A’s on them. Writing styles go in and out of fashion. It may be your writing is jarring, but if it sells….It doesn’t make it better or worse, just different.

    And while I defend anyone’s right to love whoever (personally I don’t care) and defend anyone’s right to defend that right, sometimes you just don’t feed the idiots. Just my opinion, of course. We are not going to please everyone. None of us get 100% 5 star reviews. If we did, we’d suspect they were rigged.

  22. You said it–Rando fell to the dark side. I’m always so happy to read your angry anti-women/homophobic posts. You’re fab.

  23. “Considering that it felt like a romance was set up in the beginning of the book between him and Jas, your decision diminished the payoff.”

    This right here is SUPER important. Maybe this is because I lean more towards having female friends (myself being male), but it’s so weird to me that these two were thrown together in some readers’ minds. Like, the ONLY reasons for this “ship,” for lack of a better word, is that they’re roughly the same age, of the opposite sex, and … sassy? Able to work together? It just feels so arbitrary. It’s like someone saw that they were the only two main characters in their age bracket who weren’t emotionally invested in someone else, and thought, “yeah, they’re meant to be.”

    We do this because this is what nigh-exclusive hetero-normativity in story telling teaches us. Time and time again I go to the movies, or I watch a tv show, or I read a book, or I play a game and I find myself being like, “Why? Why can’t those two characters just be friends? Why am I now watching Oliver struggle to balance his vigilante persona and his very sudden love for Felicity?”

  24. His e-mail is an ode to irony. “Look at how well-written and well-considered my points are. Pay no attention to the points themselves — these aren’t the points you’re looking for.”

    An old aphorism about turds and polish springs to mind.

  25. Now THAT was Epic. And I don’t use that word often in the teenagery sense because, well, my teenager would roll his eyes at me that much harder.

  26. I should like to put you and your Catholic hamsters up for sainthood please. Gay sainthood.

    God you’re good.

  27. You know, Mr. Wendig, I actually was not familiar with you before this post and thus didn’t intend to buy your books.

    After this post, I intend to buy at the very least Aftermath, because I too have been a Star Wars fan since before I could form memories, and I am a queer person, and it feels SO GODDAMN GOOD to see someone defending my inclusion in the world I love so, so much.

    Thank you, sir.

  28. “It seems like they’re trying too hard to stick to the beats of the original movie. I mean, I don’t think any of these comics are actually funny, and I wanted to like the movie. It looks terrible.” – Male horror writer on the new Ghostbusters trailer. Just another example of burying the a$$holery under a high falutin’ critical comment.

    Thanks for the blog, and for saying it again.

  29. 4 reactions to this post:

    1. I want to read Star Wars: Aftermath
    2. Another homophobe complaint? Really?!?
    3. How does one get into freelance game writing?
    4. Suddenly have questions about gravity, piss, and space diapers.

  30. “Star Wars is supposed to be above the politics…..” and “The offense comes in at this point: you crammed your politics into a franchise that is universal that is supposed to be above the politics…”

    Whaaaaat? Maybe I’m misunderstanding here. I don’t know what “the politics” are. Just the politics of LGBT (and other parts of the acronym that I can’t remember ATM) rights? Or politics in a general sense? Because I’m pretty sure that Star Wars is not above general “politics”. In fact, pretty much the whole of TPM was about politics. The 5 minute inclusion of Darth Maul might have made some people think it was about lightsaber battles, or podracing or whatever, but it was just politics. And that was how Palpatine managed to take over the show. Through politics. Not because he had reached Dr Manhattan levels of godhood and could basically do anything. He couldn’t. But it was very political.

    If the complaint was about LGBT rights ‘politics’, then I take the same stance on this as I do on space diapers: WHO says that SW is supposed to be above “the politics”? Who says that “space diapers” can’t be a thing? Sure, maybe they haven’t been a thing in other books. But other books just got pretty much tossed out of the window. Disney laughs while 20 years of EU burns. Or 30 years. Whatever. I sometimes forget what decade we’re in. So maybe now space diapers are a thing (though shame on you, Chuck, for using such an Americanised word for space nappies. SHAME!)

    Next time you make a Pope out of a hamster, could you name him Boo, and make him a miniature giant space-hamster? Because that is totally a thing that Star Wars needs. Imagine the nerdgasms which would ensue from that.

    Just a note, I haven’t read this book yet. Don’t know if I will. I wasn’t planning on reading it, but these little insights make me want to read it, and then put it beside my Luceno and Anderson books and compare/contrast the different styles. Because as much as I love Anderson’s work on X Files, his SW books don’t really do that much for me, and I always find it interesting to compare how different writers handle the same world/theme/idea/fandom/insert appropriate name here. From what I’ve read so far (basically this blog and the last one about short sentences) this sounds like it will be more up my street than Jedi Academy.

    • I made my post above before I’d read the whole thing through. I realise I should have finished reading before expressing my confusion. Because I could have added this there.

      “The offense comes in at this point: you crammed your politics into a franchise that is universal that is supposed to be above the politics –a subject that would so obviously divide us –”

      *facepalm*

      For as long as the “subject” or “politics” of gay figures in literature (and indeed, real life) divide us, they should be talked about.

      I note that for a franchise so morally “above” “the politics”, it certainly didn’t have a problem with addressing slavery (see: original trilogy films, various books). In ROTJ we see Jabba with his Twi’Lek slave girl. Oh no, it normalises slavery! In TPM, Anakin and Shmi are slaves. And worse, Qui-Gon seems perfectly fine with the status quo! He didn’t come here to free slaves, after all. Oh no, the establishment encourages slavery through their very inaction! In Jedi Academy, pretty much everybody uses Wookies as slaves (but it’s okay, because they all get freed, in the end).

      I imagine that they weren’t gay slaves, though. That probably makes it kosher.

  31. The thing that always gets me is there wasn’t even any actual homosexual romance or anything in the book. Imagine if two men had actually KISSED! But Star Wars has never had ANY sexuality in it!

    Except Luke spent the first movie following his penis around, Han spent the second movie following HIS penis around, Jabba the Hutt has a horrific humanoid fetish, and Han and Leia have a kid, and Finn clearly crushed on Rey pretty hard. (And Poe and Finn… Well.) That’s not even going into the books.

    • Don’t forget Lando, Cloud City’s version of Larry Flynt. I always thought of Luke as the ultimate space redneck not as gay. Not that those things are mutually exclusive, but the sister kissing kinda makes me think hetro, now Chewy might be the ultimate bear.

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