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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 24, 2002

They're no Jedis

Say "Bye Bye Bye" to *NSYNC. At least where "Attack of the Clones" is concerned. Asked in the May issue of Maxim whether rumors about the boy band's cameo in "Episode II" were true, director George Lucas' verdict was swift: "How about: They aren't even in the film," he replied, laughing. Producer Rick McCallum had asked the band to play Jedi Knights alongside hundreds of extras after *NSYNCer Joey Fatone told a Lucasfilm worker that they were "Star Wars" junkies. Though Lucasfilm promised the band's appearance would merit just a "split-second" of screen time and contain no dialogue, "Star Wars" fans flooded Internet bulletin boards with words of protest. This small, but positive, development keeps our Lightsaber Meter at a solid "8."

— Derek Paiva, Advertiser Staff Writer

Galactic exploration

Going where no software program has gone before, Deep Space Explorer, winner of a Spring 2002 Parents' Choice Gold Award, transports users into a virtual world of galaxies. Designed by University of Hawai'i astronomer Brent Tully, the program models the wonders of the universe in all their three-dimensional glory. With stunning graphic images, thanks to data from universities and observatories around the world, the program explains how the universe works and shows the formation of our solar system and the wonders within it.

Narrated by actor Chase Masterson (Leeta on "Star Trek: Deep Space 9"), with occasional commentary by Tully, the program's spaceship mode takes you on a journey hundreds of millions of light years from Earth. "Our solar system is so tiny," Tully said. "When you 'fly' between the galaxies you'll view the universe on a whole different scale." For all ages, Deep Space Explorer is $49.95, on the Web at space.com.

— Chris Oliver, Advertiser staff writer

POW's tale recounted

It has often been said that being a prisoner of war is a bifurcated form of hell for those who survive to be released: There is the prison time itself and there is the coming home to find things changed forever. Special Forces officer Jim Thompson was held for nine years by Viet Cong forces, and came home to an America, and a family, that wasn't ready for him.

In "Glory Denied," (Plume, $45 hardback, $15 paper) Tom Philpott, whose column, "Military Update," appears on The Advertiser's weekly military page, tells the story of this country's longest-held prisoner of war in a narrative history format that many have found riveting. The foreword is by Sen. John McCain, also once a POW. The New York Times called the book "a major contribution to the Vietnam War literature."

— Wanda A. Adams, Advertiser book editor