Happy February everyone. With the slightest of delays, I give you this month's discussion. The Phantom Menace returns to the big screen in glorious 3D, and its novelization by Terry Brooks returns to our reading schedules. Wizard! Has it been more than eleven years already? I couldn't find any TFN staff reviews for this. Correct me if I'm wrong, please. As we won't be able to discuss newly added three dimensional thrills or digital changes made to the original theatrical version (and most likely already included in the BluRay version), how about this? - That Prequel Movie: Obviously, TPM is a movie, and this is "only" its novelization. But how do you see this? Is it equal to the movie, does it surpass the movie for you, whether in part or in total? TPM notoriously got and still gets lots of abuse, but is the book better or worse? Does Brooks elevate parts above "wooden dialogue and bad acting"? - More than meets the eye: How about the parts that were specifically added to the novel, and about those that were left out of the movie but were lifted from the script? - Always two there are: If I'm not mistaken (and I'm too lazy to doublecheck), this is the first time we hear of Darth Bane and his legacy. How much does EU owe this novel for including that bit? I actually never checked whether that came directly from Lucas' input or to which degree Brooks shaped this part of Sith background. Especially seeing how it created the question how Yoda could have known about secret Sith philosophy, a question that hasn't yet been answered inside the pages of the fiction books (but in the background material). - Travel with us, see the galaxy: I always wondered if some people enjoyed the movie less than I did because they weren't fans of the EU. Because for me, seeing lots of additional stuff onscreen really expanded the universe, and that's what I had enjoyed for years before that. Cool places, cool designs, cool (if simple, but hey, it's SW) characters. Does anybody feel the same? Hasn't it been great seeing stuff like Coruscant in glorious detail? In that regard, how well does the novel mesh with existing EU? Do the places and characters read like something out of your average Bantam book? - Sword of what? Terry Brooks is a rather well-known Fantasy author. If anyone would like to comment on whether or not he adds something to SW EU, and whether or not his style can really shine in this novelization, please do. - What's this? Thinking about this novel, I had the strangest of ideas. How does Jar Jar translate to the page? Is he the same as in the movie, is he worse, is he more enjoyable for those who really really hate Jar Jar? Based on this novelization, do you think Jar Jar would work as a main character in a novel (and yeah, we all know that's not gonna happen)? Seeing how Chewie got some good and some bad plots before being ignored in Zahn's last Bantam novels and finally proving his worth just in time for his death in Vector Prime, where could an expanded universe and open minds take this computer generated avatar of slapstick antics? In addition, please feel free to add any other thoughts, including details on whether you read the novel before watching the movie and which variant cover you chose (Ewan McGregor all the way!). As detailled in the HQ thread, I'm in the aftermath of a move right now and would only be able to monitor and join the discussion by leeching internet off my friends or being more sneaky than usual at work. Basically, I'll probably not log in again until Feb 10th, but who knows. Sorry for the inconvenience. Next month, by popular vote and/or suggestion, we'll discuss three Young Jedi Knights books: Shards of Alderaan, Diversity Alliance, and Delusions of Grandeur (the first three books of the second arc).