The Cure for a Star Wars Hangover

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(This blog was originally posted on the Curiosity Quills Press website and reposted here.)

I love Star Wars! After years of building anticipation, months staring at my tickets, and hours of trying to distract myself before the show began, I finally saw The Force Awakens. It’s hard to describe how I feel after a Star Wars movie.

The Return of the Jedi came out when I was young and impressionable. My awesome parents sacrificed to take me on the second day. I remember coming out of the theater after a matinee at dusk. The sunset, the street lights, the first stars– what had been common before was fantastic now. I saw the world through new eyes.

When the Phantom Menace came out, I made sure to go the first day. When I left the theater, I couldn’t really talk. We went to lunch and the dam broke and we analyzed it for hours. Again, an experience I’ll never forget, because it changed me.

Everybody experiences things differently, but this franchise has been the biggest impact of any fiction in my life. I already loved the new Star Treks directed by J. J. Abrams. I already bought into the Avengers series and Pirates of the Caribbean by Disney. So I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. Will it change me as much as the others? Time will tell. What isn’t different is the intense hangover Star Wars always puts me in.

I have this malaise where my mind just spins and spins around the images and ideas. It’s great! Yet, sooner or later, I know I have to come down off this high. The hours of “real” life wear down the affection and the mundane tasks chip away at the emotions. Eventually, it will leave me slightly depressed and wanting to go back to see the movie again.

The best way to cope with such a hangover is a good book.

Watching another movie after Star Wars is just wrong. Books are a different media. They get deeper into the characters’ minds, and are a slow burn compared to the explosion of a movie. They take longer in a quiet place so it’s a good way to sooth hyper emotions without dropping to the low.

What book could serve as a good net for something like Star Wars, though? Star Wars books aren’t right. That’s like entering the uncanny valley. It needs to be something epic. Star Wars is not just sci-fi. It has fantasy, action-adventure, drama, and a touch of romance. Characters fight impossible enemies against incredible odds; destiny, mystery, and a touch of mysticism.

It’s a rare book that has both the right atmosphere and pace to catch a falling Star Wars fan. I can recommend one, though. You should try The Actuator: Fractured Earth. It has a compelling world, not too like Star Wars, yet deep and complex. There is plenty of action and plenty mind-bending. Here’s a quick overview:

A machine is built to physically transform the world into a utopia, but a saboteur instead uses it to break the world into patches of every kind of genre fiction. People on one side of the road see aliens invading. So they run across the street to escape only to find a full fantasy dragon rampaging. People all over the world are confused and dying in real-life horrors featuring pirates, vampires, orcs, and just about every other creature imaginable. Only a handful of people even know about the Actuator. This group, called Machine Monks, have to put the world back before it falls into complete chaos.

Written by one forever altered by Star Wars, it may have the salve to cool the burn. So give it a shot. What do you have to lose besides that nagging ennui that follows everybody around after an amazing movie like a personal storm cloud?

The Actuator 1- Fractured Earth

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