Why did I wait so long to read this? This is pure awesomesauce! It’s a Cinderella retelling (obviously) that involves a fan convention (also obviously.) But it’s more than that. The story revolves around the fictional tv show Starfield, a Star Trek-like show, but Star Trek exists here, so not really? Maybe it’s closer to the show that Galaxy Quest is about, but it’s really something all its own. (Ashley Poston does not shy away from using real show and actor names. Thanks for that!) Ella is a Starfield fan, and she has more reason to be than most. Her parents were also fans, to the point that her dad created ExcelsiCon, a convention to outgeek other conventions. (It’s basically a ComicCon.) But this is a Cinderella tale, with all of the Cinderella notes, so dad is no longer in the picture.
Darien is the young heart-throb who has been cast in the lead of the new Starfield reboot movie. (He is a Chris Pine taking the part of Kirk, to the dismay of William Shatner fans.) I’m also pretty sure he’s at least partially Indian, as was the original character, so hooray for not whitewashing! (I love you, Benedict Cumberbatch, but Khan, really?) He’s also secretly really dorky, and is a huge Starfield fan. So no pressure taking on the role of a lifetime, right? But things are not as glamorous for Darien as they may appear to his fans.
He starts texting Ella, trying to get out of an element of the convention. She can’t really help him on that front, but the two strike up a conversation that becomes deep and meaningful. They fall in love over text, without disclosing their real identities. But it’s still a Cinderella story, and falling in love was the easy part.
Our ‘fairy godmother’ is Sage, Ella’s green-haired co-worker from The Magic Pumpkin, a vegan food truck. She is awesome. As usual in Cinderella retellings, we have one step-sister who is not really awful, just influenced by the bitchy one. And a dog, don’t forget the dog!
Ashley Poston really captures the essence of what fandom is. It’s all here – cosplay, fanfiction, message boards, and conventions. It’s a community, and for the most part it’s a beautiful place to be. You have the fanatic fans who take things too seriously and the ‘posers’ who just like an actor involved in the project. But you can also see the other side of deliberately using new hot actors to draw in an audience that wouldn’t otherwise give the fandom a first look, let alone a second. Reboot projects are for the old fans, but also for the new ones. Thousands of people probably went to see the new Star Trek movies purely for the eye candy. And some of those people went back to the original material and have become true fans. And even if they didn’t and only like the new movies, they are still fans! Would Star Wars still be as popular with the younger generation if they hadn’t made the prequels? Maybe not, partially because manufacturers would not have come out with new lines of toys for old material. And if something doesn’t get new fans, it dies with the old ones.
Oh, and Ashley Poston might be able to see in the future, because something happens with the leading lady of the movie, Jess, that happened in real life just as I was reading it. It’s almost exactly the same, and for what appear to be the same reasons. (See: Constance Wu scandal.) Weird.
And there’s a sequel!
This fulfills the CBR11 Bingo square of “I Love This” I went to BookCon in June and I just got back from 4 days of the New York Comic Con!