About The Man in Black (Bill Silvia)

Blogger, occasional reviewer, and author working on my first novel.

Rogue One: Then Versus Now

As with any Star Wars subject, one of the most important things I had to do while watching Rogue One was to separate what I know from what is now true; separate the Legends continuity from that of the Reboot. While The Force Awakens stripped away a lot of content that always would have been at risk were George Lucas to produce an Episode VII – everything from Mara Jade to Vestara Khai – Rogue One is set in an era that is even more entrenched in our collective memories. Lando Calrissian and Han Solo’s backstories were well set into place before the first stories of the Solo twins as preteens were written, and with them was a host of information about the galaxy at the time, most notably the Death Star.


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Pokémon Sun and Moon Wishes: Alolan Form Interlude

Since I’ve started posting my Top 10 Wishes for Pokémon Sun and Moon (several entries of which require extensive rewriting due to news released since I originally wrote them), a new group of Pokémon including 8 announced members has sprung to the forefront of the discussion. Almost overnight, the discussion changed from prospective Megas (though I do have more that I want to talk about – one of those things that requires extensive rewriting) to prospective Alolan Forms. So how’s about I give my spin on this topic?

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Pokémon Sun and Moon: Top 10 Wishes (Part 2)

If you’ve missed the introduction to this series of posts, click here to bring yourself up to date.

#9: Mega Flygon

This one is almost a foregone conclusion. Word circulating the internet is that the only reason Mega Flygon did not make it into Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire is that the design team could not agree on something in time, and the past year has been spent with the internet clamoring for this Mega. However, I do have some disagreement with the internet on how to go about this.

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GoFundMe campaign

I’ve recently started a GoFundMe account titled “Man in Black Conquers Spain”. The purpose for this is to raise funds for a trip I will be taking in 2017 to Spain for the purpose of improving my language skills and broadening my horizons.

If you wish, you can give a free donation, but I imagine for many of you reading the point of this will be the commissions. There are several tiers each for commissions and Tuckerizations in a wide variety of genres. So please, take a look! Even if you decide this isn’t for you (not everybody has the extra cash), I will greatly appreciate if you share this campaign with your friends and get the word out.

For easy access, this account has been added to the blog menu under the label “Commissions”.

Pokémon Sun and Moon: Top 10 Wishes (Part 1)

While my computer and I deal with what seems like a neverending barrage of technical barriers and the world is abuzz with Con season news, I am trying to get back into blogging on a regular basis. I know there are people waiting for content from me, so I’d like to sincerely thank you all as I do my best to get what I’ve already written somewhere you can read it.

I won’t say the hype has died down, but Pokémon Sun and Moon news has reached enough of an equilibrium with weekly news that I can talk about my own desires for the franchise created without me in mind.

For the record, “me” means an American who dedicates a few hours a week to the game, is still struggling to complete my first National Pokédex, and know enough about breeding to be very happy with the single 4 IV Masuda Method shiny that I’ve got without any expectation of ever having a perfect IV or full shiny tam. New generations and people who use the word “metagame” are the ones who have a serious impact.

While I talk about Pokémon Sun and Moon here on Insomniatic, I’ll be making posts about Pokémon Go over at Fantasy & SciFi Lovin’. I’m sure there are plenty of fans of this game as well, so please check my articles over there out and comment!

Still, I have the right to my opinion, and some of the things I’d like to see may even resonate with other fans. Some of them may even be possible.

For those who aren’t complete nerds, Pokémon Sun and Moon are the first two games to be released in the twenty year old franchise’s seventh generation. They are set in a fictional version of Hawaii (the Alola Region), feature an as-yet unknown mechanic that is probably an expansion of Generation VI’s Mega Evolution, and will feature, among other things, a free-for-all mode named “Battle Royals”. The games were announced this Spring and will see release in November.

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What Am I Up To?

I got the idea for this post from Seanan McGuire. Initially I felt I simply didn’t have enough going on to do “update” posts. I’ll say it’s still true that I don’t have enough going on to do them every month…but I’ve got a lot to say, and I’ve got subscribers that I’d like to keep up to date.

To start with:

I’m not sure if I’ve ever officially announced this, but it seems that keeping oneself accountable to one’s audience is conducive to the deadline writing process. So, henceforth, full disclosure.

For some time now, I’ve been writing and intending to publish a sort of “Reader’s Guide” to the Star Wars Universe – what is now known as the Legends Universe. This was intended to be a collection of my reviews, split into books by era. The reason I canceled this is because…it was going to be a collection of my reviews. Over time, I’ve reflected on this. I added segments to the draft, tried to add something that other collections of reviews didn’t have…but rather than making it more interesting, they made it less interesting. Perhaps worse than this, they made it less interesting to write, which aided in grinding progress to a halt while I reflected on this.

It is still my dream to write something about the Legends Universe. What it is…I don’t know, nor what form it will take. It is of note that as The Old Republic is the only portion of the Legends Universe still active, the first volume – focusing on the years from before the dawn of the Republic to the time of Darth Bane – would have been the only one to become outdated after publication.

To continue full disclosure, I have two ideas of what I might write, but both have their drawbacks. The first is character studies. This is something I have always been interested in, which might be related to my Psychology Major. Had I continued producing detailed video reviews, the majority of them were intended to become “Case Studies”: videos focusing on a single character, with the review of the source material viewed through that framework. This, of course, is a struggle with the Sith Wars era. Dawn of the Jedi, Tales of the Jedi, Lost Tribe of the Sith, Knights of the Old Republic…there is perhaps one character between the three who has enough story to write about, and certainly not as a start to the story.

The second idea, well, somebody else has that blog. But it’s not about Star Wars. Philip Sandifer’s “TARDIS Eruditorum” blog (and book) series does what I originally wanted to do with my reviews, except better. What that is, is to look at each material in greater depth: to focus less on how good and bad it is, but on how it got that way, and on what circumstances surrounding its creation and reception were. I may yet have some unique ways to implement this, but the idea needs to cook for a while.

For the time being, then, this project is ended. Given enough uninterrupted time, I will return to episodic reviews of Legends material. After that, I will likely return to this project in a new way. Until then, I am focusing on smaller blog posts, academia, and fiction.

Moving on from Star Wars

I’m back to working on Not Enough to be a Ranger (NETBAR), though I’m more and more convinced that the title is going to change sometime between now and the completion of the second draft. Because I’m a full-time undergrad with a full-time job, I’ve set myself a 1/1/17 goal for the first draft. As of right now, I’m at 26,300 words into the first draft. For public consumption, the word count really means very little at this point – every chapter that I’ve written is going to be re-written at least twice before I even show this manuscript to a publisher, so it’s not really a reliable measure of my progress when it comes to buying the book.

What it is a very valid measure of is momentum. Right now, it’s still a ball rolling uphill. A solid chunk of that wordcount is reworked from the partial draft that I had as of 2015, which means I’m still gaining momentum. For those that want to cheer me on, that number is for you.

This has been a lot for one update (I had originally intended to write separate posts about each of these topics but decided not to make you wait) so I’ll wrap this up for now. I’ll fill you in on what else is going on with me soon.