Daily Archives: June 27, 2015

Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #002 – Who Shot First? (Case Closed)

By: Jake Hatcher, Official Bookshelf Battle Private Eye

Pop Culture Mystery Question – In Stars Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, who shot first in the cantina scene?  Was it Han Solo or Greedo the Bounty Hunter?

I was back in business.  Hot off closing my first case under the employ of Bookshelf Q. Battler, a nerd with an unquenchable thirst for entertainment.  His mind was lousy with questions about movies and TV and it was up to yours truly to sort them all out.

This time the nerd wanted to know all about a laser blaster battle between a rogue space pilot and a seedy green hoodlum.

An alien was dead and a human walked away like nothing happened.  This one was about to get messy.

Delilah K. Donnelly, BQB's Attorney

Delilah K. Donnelly, BQB’s Attorney

Part 1 – The case hit a little too close to home, reminding me of a similar encounter with mob underboss Tips Malone.  My partner Mickey Finn was about as helpful as a wet blanket on a cold day in that scenario.

Part 2 – Delilah K. Donnelly.  I thought of her as the apple of my eye but she no doubt looked at me like I was the stale cottage cheese sitting in the back of her frigidaire.  She came to see me with a pair of action figures to use in recreating the crime scene.

Part 3 – A limo pulled up to Tsang’s China Palace, the eatery above which my office is located.  Some rich fella drove off into the night with the gal that made my heart jitterbug.

Part 4 – I seek out the help of Agnes Abernathy, aka Agnes the Librarian, the only broad in this topsy turvy modern world with the patience to help me figure out how to operate confounding beep boop machines.

Part 5 – I recreated the crime scene to no avail:

Greedo pulls a piece on Han.

Greedo pulls a piece on Han.

Part 6 – I consulted various expert opinions.

Fire up your beep boop machines, 3.5 readers.  This tale’s a lot like Princess Leia.  You’ll want to gussy it up with a metal bikini and tie it to yourself with a chain.

Copyright (c) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All rights reserved.

Blonde woman image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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Hatcher’s Next Case

“I really should be getting ten bucks a case.”

A teenage boy.  A crazy haired mad scientist.

And a car that travels through time when it’s driven at 88 miles per hour.

The three Back to the Future films entertained and delighted audiences but they never answered this burning question:

How the hell did those two know each other in the first place?

Next time on Pop Culture Mysteries, a feature on the Bookshelf Battle Blog (bookshelfbattle.com)

Got a Pop Culture Mystery?  Drop a dime.  Tweet to @bookshelfbattle #popculturemysteries or just leave it in the comments on this site.

A few solid citizens have already come to the aid of our noble detective.  Rest assured, he’s working diligently to answer your questions (when he’s sober).

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #002 – Who Shot First? (Part 6 – Conclusion)


Part 1        Part 4

Part 2        Part 5

Part 3


Like a snow cone in my underpants, this case was growing colder and more uncomfortable by the minute.

Hatcher ponders the possibilities.

I consider myself an expert marksman.  You don’t have to take my word for it.  Just ask any of the thousand plus Nazis I introduced to the undertaker.  Those fellas won’t be goose stepping anywhere anytime soon.

Yet, after watching the infamous Han vs. Greedo scene, I was plum out of luck and more mixed up than a cat in a blender.  (FYI Attorney Donnelly reminds readers to keep their cats out of their blenders.)

It was time to turn to the stack of research Agnes found for me.  I had the old gal print it out because I hate staring at those beep boop machine screens.  They’re creepy and like a trip to a discount gynecologist, they leave me feeling strained in more ways than one.

OBSERVATION # 1 – The Scene Has Changed Over the Years 

When I was a boy in Bayonne, a movie came out once and that was it.  Now, they’re re-released every so often.  The motion picture people change it around a little bit, maybe draw a mustache on a fella or put a hat on a guy or something and bammo, they feel justified to over charge John Q. Public to take in a flick they’ve already dished the dough out to watch the first go around.

Here’s what on site on the Interwhatever had on the topic:

“To say “Han shot first” is to refer, often with distaste, to George Lucas’s changes to the original trilogy. Often cited by film purists, this phrase more specifically refers to the changes made to A New Hope Special Edition, in the scene involving the characters Han Solo and Greedo in the cantina. In the original version, after Greedo says “I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time” (talking about killing Han), Han replies “Yes, I bet you have” and shoots Greedo under the table while Greedo was pointing a blaster at him (the phrase “Han Shot First” is thus misleading, since only Han shoots in the original version). In the special edition, Greedo shoots at Han and misses, without explanation, from point blank range, and then Han shoots him. Later, it was altered again to have Han and Greedo shooting at almost the same time (though Greedo still shoots first), with Greedo still missing from point blank range. With such a short time between each shot, it could be assumed that Han was already planning to shoot Greedo, rather than reacting to Greedo’s shot.”

“Han Shot First” – Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki

Funny, if that’s the case, maybe my brain was tricked because I swore I saw/heard two shots in the 1977 version but then again, maybe that’s what I was expecting since the “Who shot first?” debate was emblazoned in my brain like a rancher’s brand in a steer’s rump roast.

OBSERVATION #2Han Shooting First is Important for Han’s Character Development

Any good guy can take a shot at a palooka who knows it’s coming but it takes a real ice cold so and so to wack a guy without fair warning.

That’s just not sportsmanlike.

But Han Solo isn’t your typical white hat.  He’s an anti-hero.  He’s a man who starts out as being in it for himself but later grows a conscience and devotes himself to the rebel cause.

Thus, for fans of this rogue ne’er-do-well, the idea that Han got a shot off before Greedo knew what hit him is appealing.  Watering it down to make it look like Han gave the green guy a fighting chance is not.

OBSERVATION #3 – Lucas and Ford

George Lucas is the creator of this whole shebang, so you’d think his word would carry some weight.

Personally, I never trust a man who wears that much plaid.

As stated in one news story:

Lucas has insisted that the change was to clear up his original intent — which wasn’t to have Solo appear to be a “cold-blooded killer.” He told The Hollywood Reporter that the original version was not as cut and dried as fans remember. “I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first,” he said.

Reddit Asked Harrison Ford Who Shot First, The Washington Post, April 14, 2014

One might think the fans would go with what the man who made the films they love but then again, it’s been made clear to me through multiple sources that the character known as “Jar Jar Binks” caused Lucas’ credit with sci-fi buffs to take a swan dive into the deep end of the pool.

Further, that same article reports that when asked who shot first, Harrison Ford, the actor who played Solo, responded, “I don’t care.”

Not surprising.  Agnes is a movie buff herself and she tells me Ford is a bit rough around the edges.  Happens to all of us when we get older.

CONCLUSION:  It doesn’t matter.

I hate to leave a case open-ended but this one is up for interpretation.  If you want Han to be a stone cold killer who puts himself over basic rules of fairness, then you’re happy to think he plugged a hole in an alien, catching said alien unawares. You want Han to have shot first (and also to have been the only shooter).

If you want Han to be a respectable type, you’d prefer that he got a shot in after Greedo missed, or that he shot second.

Personally, I don’t like it when history is revised.  We figure out who we are only by taking a good long look at where we came from, so if Solo’s the type of guy who’d sucker blast an unsuspecting alien, then so be it.  No use sugar coating it.

Mr. Lucas did his fans a disservice with his edits, in this gumshoe’s opinion.

But let’s face it.  My opinion plus five cents will get you a steaming cup of joe.

Races use words like “first” and “second.”

A gun battle is not your typical race.

Sure it’s a race to see who can squeeze off a precise, lethal shot first but first or second doesn’t really matter a whole hill of beans.

In this sleuth’s book, the dead guy left on the table lost and the guy who walked away won.

That’s all there is to it.


Star Wars

Originally released as “Star Wars” in 1977, later referred to as Episode IV: A New Hope once the prequels arrived.


Copyright (c) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

Do you have a Pop Culture Mystery?  Put Hatcher on the case.  Drop it in the comments on this site or tweet it to @bookshelfbattle #popculturemysteries.

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Same Sex Marriage Ruling – Impact on Books/Entertainment

Bookshelf Q. Battler here.

As my 3.5 readers are aware, I avoid getting political on this blog.  I feel my goal is to entertain and I don’t want to alienate anyone because honestly, I’m kind of shooting for a “everyone love me no matter who you are and please buy my book if I ever write one” kind of a vibe.

If you want actual analysis of world events and important issues of the day, you should talk to someone whose best friend isn’t an alien.

ALIEN JONES:  “Best” friends might be pushing it a bit.

Bah.  Thanks a lot Esteemed Brainy One.  (By the way, AJ has a backlog lately.  If you’ve asked him a question, he will eventually get to it, though it might take a week or two.)

Still, the Supreme Court ruling is such a landmark event that it seems odd not to mention it and since this is a blog about writing and books (but also yetis and nerds), I thought this might be a good discussion question:

What’s the impact on the entertainment world?

If same-sex marriage is allowed in all 50 states, will we see more same-sex couples in books?

If so, will they be presented by authors in a “HEY EVERYONE!  LOOK AT ME!  I’M A DIVERSE AUTHOR!  THERE’S A SAME-SEX COUPLE IN MY BOOK!” type of manner?

Personally, I think if the world’s walking down an equality path, the better approach might be to present these characters just as anyone else.

I’ll point to John Scalzi’s Lock-In as an example.  In that book, there’s a same-sex (male) couple who play a pivotal point in the plot.  There’s no discussion of it or attempts to overtly point it out.  They’re just worked into the mix like every other character.

Perhaps this is a dumb discussion.  Gay characters have appeared in books, TV shows, movies etc for awhile.

But, will this change that?  For example, will we see a Hollywood summer blockbuster where the lead character is gay?  Could you ever envision say, a San Andreas style action movie where the lead is a gay dude trying to fight his way through a disaster and bring his husband to safety?

Maybe I have no idea what I’m saying.  Hell, maybe I’m just trying to bring more clicks to this blog by discussing a prominent issue on everyone’s mind.

(By the way, click a few buttons while you’re on this site, will you?  My stats are lower than the ratings of a network television show.)

Whatever your thoughts on the issue, keep it to the impact on entertainment and try to be courteous and respectful to everyone.

After all, this isn’t one of those cable shows where all the talking head pundits shout over each other.

This is a nerd blog, where all nerds of all kinds with all different points of view are welcome.

(But seriously nerds, please buy my book if I ever write one.)

And click a few buttons so the Mighty Potentate doesn’t fire Alien Jones (out of a cannon or otherwise).

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BQB and the Meaning of Life – Part 21 – Too Trusting




“She’s not my…uhh….”

“Yes!” Vicky said. “Can you take us there?”

Kip Happly, US Air Force. Retired?  Dishonorably discharged?  You say tomato, I say to-mah-to...

Kip Happly, US Air Force. Retired? Dishonorably discharged? You say tomato, I say to-mah-to…

“I sure can, Ma’am,” the man said as he grabbed Vicky’s hand and smooched it. “Kip Happly’s the name.  Flying dangerous missions is my game. Why, in my day, I dropped more bombs on the world than network television!”

“You were in the air force?” Vicky asked.

“Yes indeed,” Happly said. “United States Air Force.  Ten years before, well, there was an incident involving a Stealth Bomber being flown in an unstealthy manner but hell, we don’t need to get into that.”

“You’ve got a plane?”  Vicky asked.

“Of course,”  Happly replied.  “A fine craft.  You’ll be sitting pretty in the lap of luxury! For three hundred US dollars I’ll get you where you’re going.”

“That’s a great deal!” Vicky said.

It occurred to me that Vicky was serious and I started to worry.

“Whaddya say, pal?” Happly said as he lightly punched my shoulder.

“Sorry,” I said. “I don’t have that much cash on me.”

“Fear not, traveler!” Happly said. “Kip Happly Enterprises, a Limited Liability Company, fully registered in Sri Lanka for tax purposes, takes all major credit cards.”

“Thank God!” Vicky said.

I shook my head. I took a moment to think about it. Doubting a better way would present itself, I forked over my plastic.

“I’ll run this and be back in a jiff!” Happly said as he walked away.

“Vicky,” I said. “I don’t want to be rude but…”


“You’re a little too trusting…”

“I am?”

“You are,” I said. “You don’t know me and you told me your whole life story. You don’t know this weird pilot guy and you’re signing us up to get on his plane…”

“We’re trying to get to a country with a travel ban on it due to a raging civil war!” Vicky said. “A wacko is our only hope for getting there!”

It was the first disagreement we had in our brand new friendship.

Was Vicky right for trusting Kip Happly of Kip Happly Enterprises, a Limited Liability Company Registered in Sri Lanka?

Find out next time on Bookshelf Q. Battler and the Meaning of Life!

Copyright (C) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Pilot image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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