So, we come to the last Once Upon a Con series post. The newest book – Bookish and the Beast is out now. You have no more excuses not to pick up these geeky contemporary retellings.
Today I am focusing on the thing that connects them all.
…and because I’m a geek here’s everything we know so far…
This post contains spoilers … you have been warned.
Starfield is a fictional cult science fiction TV show that spawned its own convention – ExcelsiCon, and is now getting a movie reboot (Starfield and sequel Starfield: Resonance and ?third film).
Each ‘Part’ in the each of books is proceeded by a snippet from Starfield.
In Geekerella – main character Elle’s father founded ExcelsiCon years ago and the story revolves around a cosplay competition with tickets to the Cosplay Ball and a meet and greet with the reboot’s star as the prize.
In Princess and the Fangirl – fangirl Imogen takes the place of Starfield star Jessica at her convention appearances which she tries to find out who is leaking the sequel’s script.
In Bookish and the Beast – a love story starts at the masked ExcelsiCon ball but the main story takes place elsewhere. In a library .. that has a complete Starfield collection.
Starfield Characters (and actors – current/original series)
Federation Prince Carmindor – Darien Freeman/David Singh
Black hair, chocolate eyes, brown skin, Blue uniform with brass buttons, shoulder pads with tassels, tails, and the Federation starwing insignia on the lapel, polished black leather boots, and gold crown of stars. Genetically enhanced with bones made of titanium. Heir to the throne of stars (?).
Princess Amara Avonrose – Jessica Stone/Natalia Ford/Ellen North (pilot)
Red hair in an Anorian braid, green eyes, (Galaxy Dress – glitter and dark purple dress – rich plum, soft and silky -yards and yards of it, like it could be made from the midnight sky and Starshine glass heels and gloves)
Starbright General Ambrose Sond – Vance Reigns/the late Arthur Boise
Long White-blond hair braided down one shoulder, pointed yet human cheekbones, gloved hands, golden eyebrows and sky blue eyes. Zealot of the Path of the Sun. Molten golden trousers. Lights embedded in his cape blink and sparkle, neon-yellow piping underneath his Noxian uniform (despite not being Noxian)
The Nox King – Robert Thomas Eddington/ ?
Black cape, giant ears, insignia of religion on shoulder. Amara’s father
Euci (Eucinedes) – Calvin Rolfe/Carl Thompson
Shark teeth. Carmindor’s wisecracking best friend/sidekick/navigator of the Prospero
CLE-o – not mentioned in reboot/Kiki Sanchez
A small robot
Zorine – casting not mentioned
Six armed, green skinned lesbian Llotivan with red eyes. Amara’s childhood best friend.
Noxian General casting not mentioned
Obscura – not mentioned in reboot
Vexel Day – not mentioned in reboot
Ingarians – race of aliens mentioned in script
Voltures – race of aliens mentioned in script
Prospero – Carmindor’s starship
Skystalker – Ambrose’s ship
The Noxian Empire
Plylantha – Princess Amara’s home planet – purple and blue and green “a pearl of a World”
Metron – the South Side is meant to be good
Arteysa Galaxy and its frozen tundra
Galactic Six and its moons
Andromeda Earth – homewarld of the Federation
The Black Nebula – world sucking abyss
Look to the Stars. Aim. Ignite (said by Carmindor)
The universe/horizon is wide. And I have a kingdom to rule. (Said by Amara)
Look to the stars and chase your destiny.
I hear the observation deck is nice this time of year. Only on the south side of Metron.
Starflame – used in place of a swear
Noxballs – I think you can guess when you’d use this one
Sol – god.
The Promise-sworn – the Federation salute (pointer and pinky fingers out, middle two together, thumb down) – You and I are made of stars
ah’blen/ah’blena – m/f/ term of endearment – my heart/my other half
Earthenders – what people from the stars call anyone who prefers a planet (staying in one place forever, stuck in their narrow ways)
Stargunners – Starfield fans
Wabba Wabba (Not sure what this is but it is referred to in the context of coral ‘Wabba Wabba flakes”and Do you wanna Wabba Wabba with me!)
The Brinx Devastation – presumably part of the Starless Wars
The Federation – galactic government
Joke: How do you get a one armed Nox out of a tree? You wave at it!!!
Supreme Intergalactic Empress/Highness
Solar Flux Capacitor
Path of the Sun – cult believes in harnessing the Black Nebula to become a god.
Starfield Theme Song “Ignite the Stars”
Look to the Stars! Look to the stars and see! Find out where you belong! And fight for it, fight for it, fight for love in s Starfield. A star field, a star field of light.
And we reach the stars, the stars, forever in the stars, the stars
Reach into the stars with me, fly with me, forever …
“If I can’t Love her” – Ending song
Starfield Books/Novelisations ‘extended Universe Saga’
The Starless Throne by Sophie Jenkins (To atone for the crimsoned of the Twelfth Order, Ambrose Sond escapes his lifelong imprisonment in the Mines of Mourning and is sent careening into plot that may destroy not only the Federation but everything he once loathed – until he finds a reason to protect it. Amara wears a golden dress on page 347).
12 The Cassius Sun
37 Starfield, A Shot in the Dark by Almira Ender
73 The Noxian Guilt Series
The Star Brigade
In the Night Abyss
The Broken Throne
To Nox and Goodnight
The Last Carmindor (final book before reboot)
Starfield: Resonance companion novel
Book titles mentioned but ? Starfield ones
Black Spire Bloodline
Heir to the Empire
Starfield Original TV episode titles
Elle suggests watching them in Chronological order rather than screening order – Ep 3, then 1, then 12, then 22 (Amara hates Carmindor, the Federation and the Interglactic Peace Treaty. She wants to make her father proud – then you see her redemption arc).
Ep 5 (The one where the general’s sawed off horns looked like boobs on his head according to Sage)
Ep 10 (The one with Carmindor in the shower)
Ep 13 “The Queen of Nothing” (The one where Carmindor and Amara first meet, and Amara has a braid in her hair)
Ep 14 “Better Space Than Never”
Ep 26 (The one where Carmindor was mind warped by a Nox)
Ep 16 (The one where the Nox king doesn’t wear a cape)
Ep 33 “A Nox to Remember” (The one with Amara’s coronation, a ball and kissing)
Ep 34 (The one where the Nox invaded District Elevan and Carmindor and Amara joined forces)
Ep 41 “Worse Than Death”
Ep 43 “From Amara with Love”/ “The Last Turn of Time” (depending on which book you read)
Ep 53 (The only episode in which Carmindor smiled)
Ep 54 ‘Black Nebula” (The episode Stargunners say didn’t happen)
Unnamed Ep (The one where Euci becomes possessed by the Balu’atho, an ancient Noxian blade, and goes bonkers)
Three Ep arc where Amara can’t be conscripted to the Path of the Sun because of her part Noxian lineage. Saves Carmindor from its depths and traps Sond is a cryogenic chamber.
If you loved the Once Upon a Con series here’s what to read next:
Unconventional and Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt – the UK’s version of Once Upon a Con with its own fictionalised franchise – Piecekeepers.
Fangirl and its spin off Carry On/Carry On Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell. Fangirl even gets a mention in Bookish and the Beast.
The Fandom and The Fandom Rising by Anna Day – in this series the characters even get transported to their fictional fandom’s world “The Gallows Dance”.
I have everything crossed for more spin off series based on the author’s own ‘in-story’ fictional worlds.
In the meantime…
Look to the Stars.
The following post contains spoilers for the first book in the series – The Fandom.
It’s a year since Violet, Alice and Katie escaped from the dystopian world of The Gallows Dance – Nate’s been stuck in a coma ever since. Violet re-enters The Gallows Dance, determined to bring her brother home. After an argument that threatens to destroy their friendship, Alice stays behind. But when a rogue fanfic writer emerges online – posting dark new chapters set in the world her friends are trapped in – Alice is the only one with the power to save the story…
Anna Day was shortlisted for the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction competition in 2015 with her novel The Gallows Dance. Combining Anna’s novel with The Big Idea runner-up Angela McCann’s idea resulted in The Fandom, a new novel inspired by the world from Anna’s original story. By day, Anna works as a clinical psychologist and lives in Newcastle with her family.
What I Thought
I was lucky enough to pick up an ARC of The Fandom at YALC and loved it so much I requested to be on the blog tour – you can find my original post here.
So I was very honoured to be contacted by Anna and sent a copy of the second book in the Fandom Duology for review.
Seriously if you’ve ever wished you could enter the world of books you love you will adore this series. It’s fun, romantic and full of friendship and sibling love too.
The Fandom Rising picks up around a year after the first book. Nate is still in a coma and Violet, Alice and Katie are ignoring the elephant in the room – the fact that they went into the world of The Gallows Dance. Everyone has put it down to a freak incident and the girls seem to believe they just dropped into comas too. Almost.
Violet and Alice have published a sequel called The Gallows Song, a Utopia in which Nate is alive and well. But then a fan fiction writer calling himself Fanboy starts using the power of the Fandom to make things dark and dangerous again. Nate is at risk in more than one way and it’s time to hop back and save the day.
I really liked how the female friendships are explored in terms of their complexity – conflict and jealousy as well as being there for each other. Girls aren’t just sunshine and sleepovers, or mean girls. Alice is left behind in the real world as a result and the introduction of the character Danny who helps her is welcomed because she can’t do this alone.
The characters we met in the first book are still in The Gallows Dance world and Violet might regret what they’ve written just a little. Even Utopias have conflict when new characters are introduced.
Like the first this was well paced, full of tension and an excellent mystery. Who is Fanboy and can Alice stop him? The answer may surprise you. Will everyone make it back in one piece?
With timely commentary on the nature of art and who stories belong to I loved diving back into this portal fantasy.
I marginally preferred the first book mainly because of the romance but this was a very satisfying follow up. Not going to lie I now want more and the super exciting news is that the series is in development for TV with Fox 21 Studios and the producer of the Golden Compass. My wishes are that they keep it set in the U.K. 🤞🏻and if they film the opening at LFCC this year I’ll be available to be an extra 😉 – just saying. And maybe they extend the story because there are things I need to see that are hinted at in the very end of book two. I’d be happy with extending this to a trilogy too 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻.
Thank you to Anna and Chicken House who gifted me this copy for the purposes of an honest review.
Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con. They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega-movie, The Gallows Dance.
What they are not expecting is to be catapulted by a freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands…
How The Fandom Came to Be
Chicken House ran The Big Idea Competition and Angela McCann won with this concept. Anna Day was a finalist in the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition and has bought Angela’s idea to life.
What I Thought?
I received a proof copy of The Fandom at YALC (the Young Adult Literature Convention) in July 2017. YALC is part of LFCC (London Film and Comic Con) at the Kensington Olympia. The very Comic Convention Violet and her friends are attending in their The Gallows Dance Cosplay.
When I was younger my sister and two male friends of ours used to play this game where we’d ‘get sucked into different TV channels’ and act out a show from that channel. I was also a fan of the old cartoon Dungeons and Dragons… and who hasn’t wanted Hogwarts to be real? So the idea of getting drawn into your favourite work of fiction clearly holds some appeal to me.
Violet, her brother Nate, and her friends Alice (The Gallows Dance fan fiction writer) and Katie (who hasn’t even read Twilight!), find themselves walking into a photo shoot and ending up in a shoot out. The stakes for our foursome are high. From the prologue to the film outline given in the first chapter we know that despite the romance that draws the group into this Fandom the danger is going to be very real.
Violet is a normal girl, she faints – she’s only been on one date that didn’t end well and now she has to play the heroine, the love interest on whose head the fate of an entire society rests. It’s a good thing she has an expert knowledge of the story canon. Except knowing the words isn’t always enough, especially when it’s not clear who’s good and who’s bad, you start to fall for the wrong guy and it really looks like going home is an impossible dream. Violet is a really likeable character and all the way throughout you can see she wants to do the right thing.
One of the characters Baba asks her ‘If you were stuck here… What kind of an Imp would you become?’ Violet has to decide if she is in a romance or something more?
The Gallows Dance is a sci-fi dystopia where humans have been genetically modified as ‘Gems’ and normal imperfect humans are Imps. There’s a Romeo and Juliet type plot, brooding boys Thorn, Ash and Willow, rebels who want an uprising, and nods to The Wizard of Oz, Divergent and The Hunger Games.
As well as the romance the sibling relationship is portrayed well, and even though they are absent the calming presence of Violet’s parents is felt which is somewhat unusual for YA. Female friendships are explored in their complexity and limelight-stealing Alice and compound-swearing Katie remind us that we are dealing with a group of contemporary teenagers.
The story quite quickly goes off script and the group find themselves on a packed adventure with limited time to take the correct path. I found this a really fun read and an excellent homage to my favourite genre.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on the tour and do pick up a copy of The Fandom which is out this week.
Which fandom world would you definitely not want to venture into?