Lit Is Troy Denning's Abyss any good?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Team Padme, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. Darth_Zandalor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2009
    star 4
    I'm a fan of splatterhouse films, but not splatterhouse Star Wars. That's something that has always bothered me with Denning. He just flaunts the violence so freaking much. It's not bad enough that you killed a Jedi, but no, you have to mutilate her remains and leave her decapitated corpse in the public for people to find. You can't just have Anakin die saving his friend, he has to be impaled on dozens of spikes. You can't just tear your brother's arm off, you have to then throw him into a box of used syringes before unceremoniously dumping his corpse into an incinerator like some depraved Terminator 2 reference.

    There's a point where you've gone too far. Denning doesn't have that point.
    Zeta1127 likes this.
  2. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    I don't believe Denning is cynical, it is the opposite I believe. Denning has so romantacized the O3 and Star Wars all challenges are essentially straw, Same with Karen Traviss and her Mandalorians, she romanticized them so much they don't try to out think and out manuver the jedi, or even prepare for them. Jedi just job to the mandaloians because for her they are the pinical.

    I mean look at the 1st book in LOTF how Sal-solo prepares for Jedi. sonics to disrupt concentration, quick escapes, hold out blasters (though he should have used a Slug thrower)

    In Mando's vs Jedi thats how I see a Mando winning, Preperation, equipment, training, forethought. Not the Mando author jobber field
  3. Darth_Zandalor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2009
    star 4
    If he's a romanticist he's got a very strange way of showing it. "I love the O3 so much that I continually brutalize them and make up new force powers on the spot to show how awesome they are!"
  4. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    Thats not how Anakin died, and violence in star wars has always been pretty graphic, no arterial bleedout or disembowlments, but decapitations, dismemberment is nothing new. Might I add a scene from A New hope?

    [IMG] that was pretty grizzly.
    Summer Dreamer likes this.
  5. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    you say Brutalize them, I say over use them. And yeah on that second spot.
  6. Reveen Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2012
    star 3
    I don't think he makes things greyer so much as darker. The situations the heroes find themselves in are more morally icky and violent. But there isn't alot of introspection on whether being involved in such violence is noble or just. According to their POV everything is hunky dory and there's rarely consideration of non-violent solutions.

    Like, when Denning writes Luke as a cold, detached jackal I think he actually intends it to be badass and Batmanish on his part, and when the Jedi commit to what basically amounts to a political purge of Sith in Apocalypse no one questions whether it's right to incite terror in the populace with public assassinations/shoot down non-Sith pilots under false pretenses/double-tap already downed opponents, they just do it without a second thought, and there's little said about the possibility that the Jedi's attack plan led to the Sith slaughtering civilians and destroying infrastructure.

    He kinda writes the characters as if they had completely internalized the morality of the franchise while dialing up the brutality of their actions. It almost reminds me of the Authority sometimes, a work where morality seems grey because of the violent and vindictive actions of the heroes, but it still operates on strict white hat, black hat morality. Except the white hats are allowed to do mortal kombat fatalities while making mean spirited quips.
    Last edited by Landostrip, Feb 2, 2013
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  7. Darth_Zandalor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2009
    star 4
    There's a difference between some charred corpses in the distance and having a brawl in a medical incinerator with blood flying everywhere. Or getting mutilated and leaving the remains in public. Or turning a lightsaber battle into a bone crunching fistfight where two people constantly slam each other into the Embrace of Pain. He makes such unpleasant scenes and then revels in them. Like someone who enjoys Warhammer 40K's ultraviolence without a hint of irony.

    Violence is never a good thing in the real world, but in fiction, especially in high soaring space opera like Star Wars, it can be intense and exciting. I never get that with Denning, he just makes his work so mean spirited that there is no way to enjoy it.
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  8. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    Yeah, Star Wars has roots in the Wuxha genere, Denning was not the first writer to depict brutal hand to hand scenes. And his books are not the most brutal hand to hand scene s in the EU either. The scene In Iron Fist, By Aron Allston when the Hand to Hand specialist of the Wraith's bloodely proves herself to Zinj, and most of Traitor's fights scenes to my knowlegde top out the most brutal fight scenes in star wars.

    Voot Sabring has crushed other characters heads with desks, and characters have been shot up very badly. The Wraith squadron books have had some brutality in them and almost all of them pre date Del Rey.
  9. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    You have said it better then I have.

    The character behave as if they have an Omniciant Morality license and nothing they do is wrong.
  10. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6

    You see, just because the characters don't realize their mistakes doesn't mean the author doesn't realize their mistakes. The author just hasn't proven them wrong in the text, and the narrator of his books doesn't flat-out say how wrong they are either... I think Denning is merely trying to start a conversation and discussion about these topics, and not be a preachy author. It's more subtle, instead of bashing us over the head with "the moral of today's story is ..."
    Last edited by Summer Dreamer, Feb 2, 2013
  11. DarthApprentice Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2011
    star 1
    Honestly, Abyss is one of my favorite books, period. I've posted this in a couple other threads, but this was the first book I reread, literally, 8 times before moving on to something else. Maybe its just me, but I really like the content of this novel.
  12. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    I would agree with you except no character ever tries to make a counterpoint to the protagonists views, even antagonist characters don't clearly try to argue their points. If Denning is trying to be subtle, I fear he is coming off as the opposite, often in opposed to the questions he is trying to raise.

    I should also say this is how I personaly as a reader precive Denning's works, according to such a theory.
  13. Reveen Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2012
    star 3
    If Denning's trying to use moral dissonance to invoke discussion, that's fine. But it's been two series now and not much discussion has happened in universe. If the other authors haven't taken off on his plot points, then it might be time to stop being subtle.
  14. Sniper_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2002
    star 4
    Come now, no reason to grow white hairs over paper, glue, and ink. Even I take time out when it comes to literature. Enjoy some of Sniper_Wolf's best. My favorite EU conversations have taken place under these circumstances.

    [IMG]

    Adjacently, your sound and fury is an interesting post, but the relevance to the titular query is questionable. I am refering to volume three of the Fate of the Jedi nonology not the series as an entirety. Imbue the virtiol into controlled does instead of carpet bombing.
  15. JackG Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2011
    star 4
    Are you sculling goon? This something I didn't think I'd see in Lit. JCC maybe, not Lit though.
    Last edited by JackG, Feb 17, 2013
  16. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    As a Denning fan, I found Abyss to be his best entry in the FOTJ series and probably better than any of his LOTF entries, except for Inferno.

    I'm a big fan of DNT, though, so I don't think I'd rank it above them. SBS would tower over all, though.
  17. MistrX Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2006
    star 4
    If I remember right, I really liked the Luke/Ben story in Abyss. That's where I thought things started picking up in their plot and things took a turn for the intriguing. I thought the Lost Tribe section was fairly strong, too. I don't remember being all that enthusiastic about the happenings on Coruscant, though. I think I enjoyed the rest enough to override my dislike of that story, though, so I would recommend continuing as soon as you can.