I’m seeing Guardians of the Galaxy today. I’m excited, heres why!
Those that know me, also know that I am a huge fan of Science Fiction. Ever since I first saw Star Wars all those years ago I have loved this genre, be it books, comics, television, or movies, I will devour it. Be warned, this is going to be long, but hopefully good!
Part 1 – A Long Time Ago, On a VCR Not as Far Away
Star Wars? Thats not Guardians of the Galaxy!
I promise it will make sense, just hang with me.
I don’t actually remember the first time I watched the Star Wars Trilogy. It’s not because I don’t have a massive connection to the series, it’s because I watched it so many times when I was young that all the viewings just blend together.
See, we used to live in Sacramento, and my grandparents live in Ripon California, which is only an hour away. We would visit them all the time, and one of the things we did often, was go to the local video store and rent movies.
I’m not sure if thats where I first watched Star Wars, but it is where I remember watching it a lot. The reason is that there wasn’t a Blockbuster, or Hollywood video in that town (you remember those right?). And the little video store had a limited selection, but, they had The Trilogy on VHS. So, most of the time my little brother Taylor and I would just rent that if there wasn’t anything else interesting.
We would watch through The Trilogy as many times as possible before we went home. This was where I fell in love with Star Wars and was the beginning of my love for Science Fiction.
I loved the space battles, and sometimes we would fast forward to the assault on the death star in A New Hope, or the epic lightsaber battle in The Empire Strikes Back and yes, I love the speeder scene in Return. Watching Star Wars was a wonder filled experience.
Part 2 – Books, Books and more Books.
Guardians of the Galaxy time?
Not yet, stick with me!
Lets fast forward a little bit, I’m 9 years old. My bed time is 8pm, and my mother, is attempting to instill in me the love of reading that she has. I have been devouring books at school and as a little reward I was allowed to stay up until 8:30!
If I was reading. So I began my lifelong habit of reading before bed. I started out with a lot of Frank Peretti novels. Specifically, “The Oath” and “This Present Darkness.” I loved the monster fantasy of those books.
I would be so caught up in the adventure that even after my dad had come and prayed for me and put me to bed, I would wait until he left, then turn on a little light I had in my room and read until my eyes became heavy. If I read a portion of the page and didn’t know what I had just read, then it was time to go to bed.
I still do this today, and if I don’t read before bed, it have a hard time falling asleep.
Part 3 – I Reject Your Required Reading and Insert My Own
Hey myke? You gonna talk about Guardians of the Galaxy yet?
Ok time for another time jump to High School! So as you know, most of the required reading in schools is rather dull, for some reason some of the great Science Fiction is absent from most english programs, at least it was from mine.
Most of you that know me, know that I am fairly gifted, I am an auditory learner and I learn quickly and have a high recall. This made school very easy for me, I could get B’s with little to no effort, so I didn’t try, much to the chagrin of my mother.
One of the biggest challenges for me is that I hate the repetition in school, generally, I understand the concept the first time it is presented and I don’t need the information constantly repeated. Once I picked up a concept, if we were still stuck on it and not moving forward, I would get bored.
When I get bored, especially in class, I get into trouble.
So I had to find things to keep my attention that wouldn’t disturb the class, or get me in trouble with the teacher.
Some teachers, like Mrs. Waymire, one of the history teachers were content to let me make massive chains out of Starburst wrappers, as long as I was engaged in the discussions. This made Mrs. Waymire one of my favorite teachers, even though she was one of the more strict faculty.
In my junior and senior bible classes, I would take sharpies and create multi colored checkerboards by filling in the squares on a piece of graph paper.
In my senior English class, I read. Not the required reading, but novels. In class, while the teacher was teaching.
I also used my entire study hall everyday to read.
What did I read? Well in my sophomore year I discovered the science fiction section of our schools library.
If watching Star Wars at my grandparents house planted the seed of Nerddom in me, this was when I sprouted.
See, I had no idea that there was an expanded universe of Star Wars novels. Our library had about five of a series that takes place almost immediately after Return of the Jedi. The series was X-Wing: Rogue Squadron. It followed the adventures of Luke Skywalker’s friend Wedge Antilles as he revived the Rogue Squadron of X-Wing pilots and tried to make them more of a strike force, recruiting pilots with additional skills.
I devoured the series. Unfortunately, that was all the library had regarding Star Wars. I was hooked on Science Fiction and wanted more, so with some trepidation I picked up Foundation by Isaac Asimov, then I went back and finished the entire series, devouring book after book.
This would be where my fascination was tempered and matured. See what Asimov and Clarke had in common is that they didn’t just write Fiction, they also had published works in the world of physics and their deep understanding of the universe and how the world works was infused into their fiction. I loved that. I love when science meets fantasy and you can peel back the cover of a story and see how the engine works.
It’s why I loved the show Fringe.
Part 4 – I AM NERD and NERD IS ME
Guardians of the Galaxy time?
Not yet! but it’s coming in Part 5, I promise!
Warp speed a few years to the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college. At some point before the end of the year, I received a free download of one of the newest Star Wars novels. Star Wars: Legacy of the Force, Betrayal. Which took place like 40 years after Return of the Jedi.
I started reading it. I loved it, and the next book had just come out so I headed to my local library and checked it out. Then I started checking out more from the expanded universe.
I got into the habit of going to the library usually two times a week, checking out three or four books and reading through them in a week.
At the time, I had lost connection with most of my High School friends and was working full time. I didn’t have much else to do, so I read.
I think I might have read at least fifty or sixty books that summer, granted some of them were audio books that I listened to on my way to work.
This period of my life is where I flowered into a full on Nerd.
Part 5 – Guardians of the Galaxy is Star Wars
Thanks for sticking with me this far!
Why am I so stoked about Guardians of the Galaxy? Well, it’s because, from what I can see, it’s a movie that is in a Sci-Fi sub -genre that the world has been lacking lately.
These great movies have definitely helped sate my appetite for Science Fiction, however they are part of a trend to take some of the adventure out of Sci-Fi. For the most part, these are dark, thoughtful movies, that while science based, take themselves seriously.
We have lots of this type of Science Fiction, but you know what we don’t have? There hasn’t been a “new” Empire, or Return in years.
My favorite Sci-Fi sub-genre are adventure movies, I want aliens, starship, laser blasts, witty dialogue, awesome heroes doing awesome things. I want more Assaults on the Death Star, more AT-AT/Snowspeeder battles. I want neon green laser blasts and Ion cannons.
I wan’t more movies like Star Wars.
When I scroll through the Science Fiction section of Netflix, that’s what I’m looking for, sadly I have a hard time finding that. So I usually end up watching a cooking show with my wife.
When I first saw the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, I began to get excited, this looks like it’s Marvel’s version of a Star Wars movie.
I want it to be good so bad. Like SO SO Bad.
Please nail it Marvel.
I’m going tonight. I’ll let you know what I think afterwards.