lazypadawan: (Default)
A couple of days ago, Reuters mentioned in an article about the Mayan temple that doubled as the Rebel base on Yavin IV in ANH that Eppy VII was about Luke setting up the Jedi Order there...naturally people thought this lowly Reuters staffer knows something the rest of us don't. Folks, Michael Arndt isn't going to take his script to a bar and leave it there like a drunken Apple employee for a Reuters reporter on his way to Guatemala to discover. I knew right away the guy who wrote the article was referring to Kevin J. Anderson's books from the '90s and he probably got that from scouring Wookieepedia or something. Nothing to see here, move along.

Then came more chatter about Marvel getting the comics license when the current one with Dark Horse expires, this time from a Disney blog. Sadly this is probably true. It would be really surprising if Disney were to allow Lucasfilm to license its own comics to a rival when Disney owns one of the biggest comics publishers in the world. Disney likes to keep it in the family. Even though not every Star Wars comic from the past 20 years was a winner, Dark Horse has been a great home for the GFFA. It went from being a small indie to the third largest comics publisher (behind D.C. and Marvel) just as the Star Wars renaissance was happening in the '90s. While the old school Marvel Star Wars comics had their hokey charm, I liked that Dark Horse's stable took the mythology a little more seriously. I thought they had a better handle on what Star Wars is and at the same time, were willing to take chances and expand the universe even beyond what has been in the books. At least back in the late '70s, Stan Lee was still in charge. Frankly I am not a fan of current Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada and I worry about what that guy will do to Star Wars titles. Not to mention that in my humble opinion, most of the guys who work for the big two are the usual fanboy hacks, while Dark Horse finds really good, interesting artists.

Update: Yesterday, Dark Horse's Randy Stradley posted on DH's forum in response to the rumors, "Don't believe everything you read on the internet."
lazypadawan: (Default)
In all of this time, I’d never heard of “Alien Exodus” until I saw a link on Twitter to a short article about it (which in turn has a link to a Wookieepedia entry.)

To sum it up, it was an expanded universe attempt in the 1990s to explain the origins of people in the SW Universe: Earthlings in the 25th century decide they had enough of the Big Blue Marble and its oppression so they travel BACK in time to several millennia ago in another galaxy, the SW galaxy. There, they are promptly turned into slaves again. D’oh! The even weirder part of this summary is that the proposed tale was going to tie in the whole Lucasverse.

The author of this proposed book, which never got the full ok and therefore was never published, posted what he’d written on his own web site:
lazypadawan: (Default)
Oh, those rascally expanded universe reading fans! They’ve gotten into a tussle again!

It all started when a gal posted that the books need to “star” more female characters that we’ll actually like. It’s a point that’s been made a zillion times over at Fangirl Blog though it’s not the only site to promote that opinion. Along comes “Chris” over at the popular EU Cantina who posts last Friday why he (I’m assuming it’s a “he” anyway) doesn’t think it’s necessary. The problem is he does so in a rather ham-fisted, illogical way even if he does have a few—and I mean few--valid points. If the line “Star Wars is...(apparently) aimed at young boys” doesn’t make your forehead meet your keyboard, then the line about books on Leia or Padmé would be “snoozers” will (though he'd reconsider if they were action books):

Look, bro...there have been plenty of snoozer books that weren’t about those characters. That’s why I hardly read the books anymore. And you can’t tell me that a book about the oddball political relationship between Palpatine and Padme wouldn’t be amazing if done with the same amount of skill as “Darth Plagueis.” You can’t tell me a book about Leia getting involved with the Alliance wouldn’t be great if done right. I have lamented many a time that Del Rey/Lucas Books have strangely left the prominent heroines of Star Wars on a shelf and not taken advantage of their potential. It didn’t help when they recently pulled the plug on the Nomi Sunrider book.

The response to Chris’s piece was enormous. Fangirl Blog, Club Jade, and others filed responses which is all fine and good. Never tell a gal she has no right to complain (same goes for “you’re being hysterical”). But I concur with Chris that what should matter first and foremost is the quality of the book. It didn’t bother me there were no prominent female characters in “Darth Plagueis.” So what? It was the best Star Wars novel in 20 years. Fangirl Blog seemed to blithely dismiss Chris’s arguments with “well, those characters do exist but since I don’t like them I’ll speak for all women and say women don’t like them.” Unless you’ve polled every woman interested in the subject, it’s a rather sweeping statement to make without anything to back it up.

What bugged was the criticism saying this is about “equality.” Am I seriously supposed to believe that I’m a lesser person in society because there aren’t enough Star Wars books starring female characters? This is supposed to keep me up at night? What annoys me about their not using Star Wars heroines in their book is that they’re leaving characters I’d rather read about on the shelf so they can publish novels about no-name Hutts. Maybe the real issue is that the publishing arm of the Star Wars license is making two assumptions about its readership: 1) most people who read Star Wars novels are male and 2) males are not interested in reading about women unless it’s “Leia’s Magical Bikini” or “Padmé’s Handmaiden Tickle Party,” topics that are too R-rated to touch. (I’ll also repeat my lamentation that they haven’t looked at the MASSIVE young women’s market.) Everybody though makes assumptions about their intended market. Sometimes they are accurate, sometimes they’re not. But it doesn’t have to do with “equality.”

Bugging me even more is the argument the books need “diversity.” I know “diversity” is one of those buzzwords that has been beaten into our heads for the past 30-40 years, but I don’t think every single possible group needs to be represented to validate either the books or the readers. Do we really want bean counters to ensure every Star Wars novel has an adequate number of homosexual Jawas with one kidney or transgendered Wookiees in wheelchairs? Where does it end?

But what bugged me the most were the people, mostly commenters, demanding EU Cantina dump Chris. I read his piece in its entirety. The column's arguments might be boneheaded, but he does have a right to be wrong. Attacking the guy with Kafkatrapping phrases like “white male privilege” or demanding his head because he just doesn’t agree with you is typical of what passes for discussion on the internet. One commenter even called the guy a "racist." THERE WAS NOTHING RACIST IN WHAT HE WROTE!! I do worry greatly the younger generation has no respect for the concept of free speech. They seem to think that if it bothers/offends them, it needs to be silenced (trolling notwithstanding). It's frightening, and a whole lot worse than a guy's silly column or the lack of chick power in a publishing line.
lazypadawan: (luke rescue)
Well, I have my own reasons, chief among them "it will just make people complain more" but a guy on my FB feed has an interesting idea on why:

Reproduced Here For Those W/O Facebook )

What do I think? I'm not a pacifist or anything but I think he's got a point. The Jedi go downhill when they cash in their values, going from being "peacekeepers" to generals. It does come up occasionally on Clone Wars. Luke in ROTJ doesn't win by force or with special powers but by adopting the real values of the Jedi, tossing aside the lightsaber in an oh-so-symbolic move. Vader/Anakin does the rest.

And the author is right...nobody wants to read about galactic contemplation. That's why there's threat after threat, war after war, yadda after yadda in the post-ROTJ expanded universe.
lazypadawan: (madaotcani)
If today's unwelcome news about Clone Wars wasn't enough, broke the news that the Nomi Sunrider novel by Alex Irvine has been cancelled after several delays.

This was the only book besides "Darth Plagueis" I'd been interested in reading. That was another book that had originally been cancelled, only to be revived and it turned out to be the best expanded universe to come out in years.

Lucas Books and Del Rey have blown it. Maybe some of you don't recall the "Tales of the Jedi" comics from the '90s and don't care, but I loved reading about Nomi. She was a great character. Written years before the prequels and taking place during ancient times, she had been traveling with her Jedi husband and young daughter when he's killed. It's up to the widowed mom to become a Jedi herself and ultimately, she becomes one of the legends of the Order. Here was an opportunity to find out if fans would be interested in a woman starring in a novel and had Irvine's book been well-received, that could have opened the door to books featuring better-known yet neglected heroines like Leia, Padmé, or Ahsoka. Guess that's not happening.
lazypadawan: (Default)
What a year it’s been for Darth Maul. He’s been partying down like it’s 1999 all over again, with his mug plastered on Star Wars goodies, TPM back in theaters, and his triumphant return to the GFFA on Clone Wars this spring. There’s a new short story about him in the re-issued TPM novelization and there’s this book aimed at pre-teens. Ryder Windham has written similar books about other characters like Luke, Obi-Wan, and Vader/Anakin. (Please tell me why they never write about female characters?)

Most of the book looks back at Darth Maul’s life, combining elements introduced recently with Jude Watson’s Darth Maul book from 2000. In a way, it’s a companion to “Darth Plagueis,” filling in details on what exactly Sidious was doing with Maul, what was Maul told, and whether he was a Sith. As with Watson’s earlier book, one can’t help but feel a little sorry for young Maulsy. The kid was abused physically and psychologically from the get-go. He was like a pit bull mistreated and beaten as he was trained at the same time to be a killer.

But just when you think you’re going soft on the fellow, there’s a breaking point in the book where there’s no turning back. When Maul reaches 7 or 8 years old, he is taken from his hideaway on Mustafar and brought to a military academy to hone his skills. There he befriends—sort of—a female cadet. After several years, Maul has an encounter with Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters. They attempt to bring him “home.” Sidious figures out that a Mandalorian instructor at the academy snitched and to ensure nobody else ever discovers Maul’s true identity (and thereby protecting Sidious as well), Sidious orders Maul to kill everyone at the school. It’s very similar to what happens to Anakin in ROTS, only Maul shows zero remorse even when he is faced with killing his friends.

The last part of the book is basically “TPM According To Darth Maul,” and it throws in a long side adventure with him battling some pirates. It seems kind of pointless until the incident causes an injury that explains why Maul couldn’t defeat Qui-Gon the first time.

“The Wrath of DM” is quite violent and very entertaining to read. If you enjoyed “Darth Plagueis,” you’ll enjoy reading this too even though it’s not quite as epic in scale.

Okay, now if you don’t want to be spoiled for the upcoming Clone Wars episodes do NOT read any further.

Spoilers ahead! You’ve been warned! Turn back now! )
lazypadawan: (Default)
As you might figure, SWPAS is keeping me busy so I haven't been posting as much here. So here's what's been happening since this past weekend.

My Queen tee shirt and Naboo earrings from Her Universe arrived pretty quick. I ordered everything on Friday and got them on Tuesday. Of course it helps the warehouse is in the same region where I live. Really nice products as always. I joked on Twitter last night whether I should wear them to jury duty today and it got retweeted by Her Universe, heh heh.

I didn't wear them today--too cold--but the Jedi mind tricks worked and I wasn't called up to any of the courtrooms. We were booted out by 2:30 p.m.. Waiting offered the opportunity though to read almost all of "Star Wars: The Wrath Of Darth Maul," a new "young adult" book by Ryder Windham. It's kind of a companion to "Darth Plagueis," just from Darth Maul's perspective. But if you don't want to be spoiled as to how Maul re-appears in Clone Wars, don't read it yet because it gives it away right at the top of the story. (More on that when I post a full review of the book.)


Dec. 20th, 2011 07:33 pm
lazypadawan: (Default)
I entered Del Rey's FB giveaway of advance review copies of "Darth Plagueis" yesterday and yours truly won! Go, me! I don't know if I'll get it before the street date of 1/10, but what the hey, it's FREE.
lazypadawan: (badfanfiction)
BOOK EDITOR 1: What can we do to take Star Wars to the next level? I mean, we've published craploads of novels with every dysfunction imaginable. How can we remain on the cutting edge?

BOOK EDITOR 2: Hey, take a look at this:

BOOK EDITOR 1: Whoa! Who is this Tara Gillesbie? Where has this great talent been hiding all of these years?

BOOK EDITOR 2: I don't know but it's clear she can handle licensed property. Nobody has seen such a fresh and original take on the Harry Potter universe and I think with vampires being hot right now, her work is so of-the-moment.

BOOK EDITOR 1: Definitely!

BOOK EDITOR 2: And if you want edge, this girl delivers! Her Potter novel is full of "sex, torture, rape, time travel, guns, goth concerts, ludicrous and confusing nicknames, dramatic entrances, tears of blood, wrist-cutting, homo-/bisexuality, fishnets and clothing descriptions worthy of American Psycho," according to T.V. Tropes.

BOOK EDITOR 1: No freakin' WAY! (Eyes bug out with excitement.)

BOOK EDITOR 2: There's Satanism too.

BOOK EDITOR 1: Be STILL my heart! (Stars fanning herself with a manuscript.)

BOOK EDITOR 2: The characters all do "pot, coke, and crack."

BOOK EDITOR 1: Get me her agent, stat! We need to get her started today!

BOOK EDITOR 2: I'm not sure if she has an agent, but I'll find her one!

BOOK EDITOR 1: And let's give her a $100 grand advance. This is gonna be gold! I can feel it!
lazypadawan: (headdesk)
Grab a bottle of something strong and sit down. Swig from the bottle. Now read this on the latest "Fate of the Jedi" book "Ascension," which I am not reading. Ben is Luke and Mara's teenage son.

From the ever-thoughtful Fangirl Blog:

Mourning Sith love interest Vestara Khai, fresh off cleaving her father Gavar in two a few pages earlier, sits down to write a letter to her “Papa.” The letter-writing ties back to the previous book in the series, where she’d used the same exercise to express her innermost emotions to a fictional father, the one she wished she’d had. Over the course of five novels, Ben has waffled between trusting and not trusting Vestara. Having just been in trust mode a scene earlier, Ben abruptly overrides the lock on Vestara’s bedroom and bursts in on the grieving girl and demands to know what she’s doing. She, naturally, would prefer not to tell him. Ben tries to muscle his way into her chair to read her computer, and grips her wrists when she tries to stop him. Protecting herself, Vestara Force-shoves him away. Enraged, Ben retaliates with a Force-slap across her cheek. Struggling ensues, Ben gets the jump on Vestara, and she ends up swathed in bedsheets and defenseless. Now the dominant person in the room, Ben maintains her bondage while he reads her private letters. When he does and realizes what they really are, he feels horrible about reading them. Not more than a page after striking his love interest across the face, Ben spoons with Vestara, at which point she asks if she can become a Jedi. Ben then kisses her. In subsequent scenes, Ben and Vestara make basically no effort to hide their feelings for each other from Luke Skywalker or the other Jedi. This scene, in other words, creates their “official” relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend and her first steps on the apparent path toward redemption. No mention of Ben’s violent act is made, and no negative consequences of his abuse of Vestara are shown for either character. Everything internal to the book suggests that what Ben did to Vestara is perfectly okay.

Oh. My. God. For real??!! This is like BAD and truly offensive fan fiction.

The rest of the very long, spoiler-filled post is here if you want to read it:

That's what we get now: valueless stories with teenage DV and it's by a guy we're supposed to root for. What garbage.
lazypadawan: (twisted by the Dark Side)
Or at least I hope so! James Luceno's "Darth Plageuis," arriving just in time for Kwanzaa this December, chronicles what I'm sure will be the touching tale of Darth Sidious/Palpatine and his old Master, Darth Plageuis. I'd love to know how Palpie managed to kill that guy in his sleep. He's got a big ol' head:

Don't let me down, Luceno!
lazypadawan: (Default)
On Twitter re one of the recent post-ROTJ books:

Ewww gross, more Daala/Bwua'tu. I never needed to read about how her rubbing his fur always gets him going. Anyone got brain bleach?

I assume this other character is a Bothan. Has Daala ever had sex with any normal being at any time in her life? Good gravy.
lazypadawan: (Force ghost) posted today that artist Kazuhiko Sano, who did the style-B ROTJ poster and the poster of its 1985 re-release among others, died last week. No age was given. Sano's poster was supposed to be the one for the film's release--that's why it's got all of the characters on it--while the one with the hands holding up a lightsaber was supposed to be the teaser but for whatever reason, Sano's poster was delayed and the teaser became the release poster. Sano's art was used in ads a few weeks into its release and I think it might have been put up in some theaters as well.

Aaaand, as Sue Rostoni herself noted in a Tweet back in January or something, she will step down from her position as Star Wars book editor at Lucasfilm in July. If you want the job, Lucasfilm Recruiting has been on Twitter trolling for a replacement. Really! Sadly, I don't have a zillion years' experience at some big NYC publisher editing books.
lazypadawan: (luke rescue)
Be sure to keep some aspirin and alcohol handy to navigate the controversy du jour concerning the expanded universe, or more specifically the post-ROTJ books. You can read about it from a level-headed person here explaining the whole brouhaha with a blog post suggesting Luke bite the dust and the Forcecast referring to the blogger as a "kook" as well as a debate on the issue on show:

Here's what I think:

1. I agree the books rarely got Luke right and the post-ROTJ continuity has rather implausibly put our older heroes through the paces of a 35-year-old. Perhaps this has sapped the opportunity to develop a new generation of SW universe heroes because everyone knows/believes readers are mostly interested in the movie heroes. But I also think tossing Luke down the stairs isn't necessarily the answer, and it would further inflame and tear up the book-reading fan base. I recall how fans reacted to Chewbacca's demise-by-moon more than a decade ago, with the author receiving death threats. A number of my friends stopped reading the books at that point. Would anyone want that shiz on a bigger scale? What's wrong with letting the characters gently fade into the background and leaving their trips to Valhalla to mystery and fan fiction?

2. Even so, said blog author shouldn't be referred to as a "kook." The Forcecast guy who tried to suggest that this person is out to get Mark Hamill is way out of line, even if he was kidding.

3. Why didn't the Forcecast promote Prequel Appreciation Day? I'm too small potatoes? Feh!
lazypadawan: (Default)
Has it really been 20 years since we’ve been introduced to the likes of Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, and that blue guy? Already??

That’s right, it was two whole decades ago this week that Timothy Zahn’s “Heir To The Empire” arrived in bookstores. It seems like everybody who was around in May 1991 and cared about Star Wars remembers the magical moment. For me, the first time I’d even heard about the book was in April 1991. I just so happened to have found a small blurb deep within the Sunday pages of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch—I was attending the University of Missouri-Columbia at the time—while sitting around on the lawn trying to ignore the bad hippie band playing during the annual Earth Day fest. It mentioned that some book taking place five years after ROTJ with all of our favorite Star Wars characters, at least the ones who survived Episode VI, was going to come out in June, no doubt to whip up the masses in anticipation of new movies off in the vague and hazy future.

“No way!” I thought. Now, I’d already known about Marvel’s plans to publish a new Star Wars comic called “Dark Empire” that had yet to see the light of day (more on that when we get to DE’s 20th anniversary this December). Was this a new project? Was this in place of the erstwhile comic? Just to re-emphasize this wasn’t a hallucination, one of my friends pointed the same blurb out to me the next day. Whoa! I couldn’t wait for June!

After walking through my graduation ceremony a few weeks later, I had to remain in Columbia, MO until early July to pick up one last credit before my official graduation in August. I had sublet a room in a pretty nice apartment complex and on one hot, muggy Saturday in May, I drove to the mall to see if I could get a cable connection for the t.v. in my room. I went by the Radio Shack and didn’t find what I was looking for. Then something, perhaps the Force, told me to go to Waldenbooks and see if HTTE was out. I wasn’t expecting the book for another month, but this gut feeling was so strong, I went with it. I strolled into Waldenbooks and there by the entry was a big pile of HTTEs!

The first thing I did was grab a copy off the pile and started reading it right there. OMG, Leia was preggers! With twins! Han seemed to be vaguely unemployed while Luke agonized over re-starting the Jedi Order from scratch. And there were a bunch of other people I’d never heard of who figure into the story, particularly a smarty pants Grand Admiral and a redhead out to whack Luke for ending her long career with the Emperor. After a few minutes, I came out of it to pay for the book, went to one other store, then headed back to the car. I finished reading the first chapter in the car, and left when I figured I was going to die of heat exhaustion if I continued to sit there reading with the a/c off.

For a lot of fans hiding underground in the post ROTJ-years, HTTE is what brought them back to SW. In fact, when I bought the book, I was convinced that I was the only person in America buying it. For years, I thought I was literally the last hardcore SW fan left on Earth. I thought I was single-handedly keeping West End Games in business with my occasional sourcebook purchase. But I was heartened that at least this Timothy Zahn guy and Bantam-Spectra cared too, and that now made three of us. Imagine my surprise when I saw that several months later, it was one of the top-selling books of the year.

Of course I loved the book. Not everything was done the way I would have done it (particularly anything involving Han/Leia) but after a loooong drought of everything Star Wars, even water right from your car’s coolant would have been like a cold bottle of Smart Water down your gullet on a summer day. “Heir” isn’t my all-time fave now but it’s still better than some of the novels that have come after it. It was still a hopeful book with a lot of possibility. I dutifully picked up its sequels in 1992 and in 1993.

HTTE not only threw gasoline on the embers that had been Star Wars (“Dark Empire” and other factors helped as well), it also turned Star Wars into a licensed publishing juggernaut. In 1991, Star Trek was the #1 licensed publishing program. Bantam Spectra had tried to convince Lucasfilm for years that there was definitely a market for Star Wars in the same area; previously there had only been a handful of books in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. By 1999, Star Wars ruled the roost and it has ever since. There’s a lot that can be said good and bad about the untamable beast that the expanded universe has become. But at least for me, HTTE was the starting point for my wanting to get into Star Wars in a way I couldn’t before and that included contacting other fans and writing fan fiction. Within a year, I was ordering fanzines and writing stories. In two years, I was co-publishing my own zine. I was actively collecting. Soon I had a coterie of fan friends locally and around the world. The revival was underway.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Here's a second essay based on the expanded universe one, but taking on the broader issue of fans taking themselves and fandom too seriously:

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