Discussion in 'Mid West Regional Discussion' started by Lord_Zannah, Jan 5, 2013.
Me! but Mrs jedimika will be working. Jammies and Evie say they're good to go. Will Appo be there?
I hope so. It would be good to talk about the clone wars with our favorite clone trooper.
Indeed he will be there. See you all tomorrow night! WOOT!
Guys.. I'm so sorry. We arent going to make it. Something has happend that has me very, very upset again and I've got to bring it all to a complete head. I've been continuously upset about things for some time now and it just goes on and on and I feel like I'll lose my mind if I don't end it. I'm sorry... Zannah isn't in the mood to play tonight. She's going to war. Love to all here.
Sorry you couldn't make it. Small group but great discussion. Thanks for putting in all the research for this one Jammies...it really adds depth to the discussion.
Edit: Just spotted this in the news section
Thanks Mika, I will look into that. I did like the comment someone wrote something like "wish they would have done this before they only had two books coming out until 2015." There seems to be a pretty good chance that the last book of the current post-return of the Jedi EU continuity may be our book for August. Both Golden's Sword of the Jedi trilogy and Kemps's two books featuring (presumable) Jaden Koor seem to have been shelved, in favor of the OT stand alone books "Rebel and Empire" with one book each for the big three.
I hope that is not true: but I think it is. That would be a good discussion (group therapy session) for Book Club August.
I would really like to hear from anyone who has read the book, but couldn't come. I'd like to know Appo's thoughts in particular-- but Zannah as well (hey, writing down your thoughts about a work of fiction can be really therapeutic when Darth real life gets you down: works for me anyway). 11? Vox? Twisty? (If anyone, including Twisty, knows how he is doing drop me a PM).
Mika and I both enjoyed the text. I loved it, and I just adore Matthew Stover's writing. I feel that he is the most "literary" of all the Star Wars writers-- meaning he uses first person, metaphor, symbolism, and tone and setting to great affect. A sample of the writing:
"She sprang at him, screaming without words; he couldn't know if she'd heard him. He couldn't know if language still had meaning for her.Then she was on him. His whole world turned to green fire"
We talked about the Force skill called "Shatterpoint." Unique (apparently) to Mace, he can use the force to see where and how to destroy, or shatter, a thing or a person. The Shatterpoint skill was visually referenced in both Clone Wars cartoons.
Mace finds the Shatterpoint on an AT-TE to save a clone: http://www.nolettershome.info/images/CGI121-shatterpoint.jpg
Mika explained the Shatterpoint thus: "If I had it, I would know exactly what to say to Jammies that would hurt his feelings so much to turn him into a puddle of tears." I added that, per the Revenge of the Sith novelization, Mace never trusted Anikan from day one because he couldn't find Anikan's Shatterpoint. Mace could find everyone's but this little boy's. In the novel Shatterpoint, in the end, Mace muses that Anikan, the Chosen One, is the Shatterpoint to the Clone Wars. However, going back to the events of Sith, Mace never could see Anikan's personal Shatterpoint. That is, until it was too late. Until Ani chops off his hand and joins the Darkside. Then, Stover tells us, Mace sees that Anikan doesn't have a shatter point because he IS the Shaterpoint for the war, the force, and the entire Galaxy. And..... then he is force lit out a kilometer high window to his death.
Shaterpoint is heavily based on Conrad's Heart of Darkness. And, while I did re-read Conrad and I did post that I didn't gain any incite into Shaterpoint from it--- I really did. There are a ton of parallels. I mentioned those, and will mention them here. I tried to stay on topic, but I could have talked about post-collonial imperialism in literature (and it's analog in the Star Wars Universe) for hours.
Per Pablo Hildago and an interview with Stover I read: When some other book deal when sour-- Stover pitched to Del Rey "Apocalypse Now In Space." He wanted to tell a true war story, but he wanted to avoid the racial underpinnings by placing the story in the Star Wars Universe. Apocalypse Now, of course, is the Copala film, that tells the story of Heart of Darkness but changes the setting from the Congo to the Vietnam war. Fun fact: Lucas had the idea to film Heart of Darkness as a Vietnam war story first, but gave it to his film school pal as he wanted to "do my Flash Gordan movie first." Thank goodness he did too, as that "Flash Gordan" movie became, of course, Star Wars. (Lucas would get his chance to make that Vietnam movie in More American Graffiti which if you have not seen it-- don't).
Heart of Darkness is the story of a white Belgian contractor (Marlow) for an Ivory trade company looking for a lost employee (Kurtz). Kurtz is believed to have "gone native" and created an empire of his own with the "pigmies" of the Congo. As Marlow and his band of pilgrims go further into the dark jungle-- the darker and more dangerous the journey gets. The natives attack, Marlow feels he is going crazy, and when they do fine Kurtz-- he has indeed set up his own empire, with severed heads surrounding the village.
Apocalypse Now, again a film based on Conrad's novel, is the story of a white Green Beret (Marlow) looking for a lost general (Kurtz-- also white) who has set up his own empire in Cambodia in the middle of the Vietnam war. This empire threatens the goal of American Higimoney-- and the film does make a point of showing capitalist goods (brand names) in the war zone. As Marlow and the swiftboat crew he is assigned to travel further and further up the delta-- the darker and more dangerous the journey gets. The horror of war is shown visually, as well as in the lunacy of the supporting charictors. Marlow finds Kurtz, who has indeed set up his own empire, with severed heads surrounding the river leading to the "throne room," and Marlow knows he must kill the man.In Shatterpoint: Mace is Marlow, looking for the lost Kurtz (Depa).
Both non-star wars works feature a wackadoo and an agent hired to find/eliminate him. Both have the same name. Both are working for corporate interests. Both have a young chaictor ( I can never spell that word) whose death symbolizes the death of the innocent. Both paint a negative picture of the native peoples of the story. Conrad especially is viewed in a negative light, as a modern reading of Heart of Darkness presents a lot of racism and racist language. And, not just the language-- Conrad's notion that the jungle is dark and evil, and thus the natives of the jungle (who are also dark) must also be evil-- and for their own good be "tamed and enlightened" by European powers (who, even in Conrad's own novel, are exploiting the land for capitalistic pursuits-- like the irory trade) is very much in disfavor in academic circles.
So, given that contextual baggage--- Stover gives us Shatterpoint. If he was trying to avoid the issues of imperialism and race by setting the story in Star Wars: I feel he failed. The "Summertime War" in the novel is after all a race war between the dark skinned natives and the corporate militia who are on Haruun Kal for the tree bark trade. Unlike the other two texts--- this one is told from the point of view of a dark skined Korunnai (Mace Windu) while the antagonists are the corporatist who have sided with the Confederacy. In one of many gut wrenching chapters-- a young boy whom Mace has saved the chapter before, sees the color of Mace's skin and the battle between he and the prospectors that Mace had been trying to avoid ensues.
So, this book can serve as a great jumping point to discus race (or species) in and out of the Star Wars universe, as well as corporate interests in war.
It also is a great introduction to two cool characters that whose stories will go on past this book.
Nick Rostu, as Mace's wise cracking force sensitive native guide, will go on in the post-order 66 Corscant Nights books, and even later still in the time line. Kar Vastor is imprisoned on Corscant at the end of the novel-- well, an evil force user doesn't stay locked up forever in Palpatine's Empire now does he?
Speaking of Palpy: I loved this exchange at the end of the book:
"It's war," I (Mace) said. "Not just that war, but war itself. When every choice you make means death. When saving these innocents means that those innocents must die. I'm not sure that any Jedi can survive such choices for long."
Palpatine looked from Yoda to me, his face a mask of compassionate concern. "Who would have thought that fighting a war could have such a terrible effect on a Jedi? Even when we win," he murmured. "Who would ever have thought such a thing?"
Yes Palpatine-- who indeed. ?
heh, yeah I loved that quote too
So: that big post was to spark a conversation by folks who wanted to talk about the book. So, um, fire away!
Don't think I have the book....how odd. Will see about getting it. Once got it should take me about four hours to read...ill post what I think.
Good point. You don't see a lot of overt racism in Star Wars. Certainly some "species-ism" with the non-human races being 2nd class citizens under the Empire. Maybe some pre-judging/stereotypes with certain races...all jawas are shifty scavengers...all Wookies are uncontrollable...all female twi'leks are good dancers. When you have so many alien races around there's plenty of hate to go around without even looking at skin color. But in Shatterpoint it certainly plays a large part in the story.
Appo said he wants to comment on Shatterpoint but it's Summer and there's always so much work to do around their acreage by the time they finish in the evening he and Zannah are too tired to hop on the computer. I know yard work sucks up several hours each week I'd rather be doing other things.
Ew, yard work. I'm glad my yard is just gravel.
That's the neat thing about the boards-- they are like a 24/7 conversation, and I'm just stirring the pot
Just a bump, we're only a little over a week away from our next book club...Monday August 5, Crucible by Troy Denning. I'd better get started!!
I apologize everyone.. I've had some horrendous distractions going on in my life lately, but I'm secure in the knowledge that when things happen that pull me away for a while, you guys will understand.
We'll be at the book club meeting with bells on and nothing is going to keep us away this time.
See you all then.
Here is a question I couldn't wait to ask you about Crucible..........
This is, to date, the LAST ( or rather, latest) book in the timeline-- but I know you have yet to read every book between the Thrawn Trilogy and this one (which is like, 60 books maybe?). Were you two able to keep up, or did you feel like you needed to read Wookiepidia to catch up on some of the events written about over a decade ago?
Just wondering how accessible this particular book was...........
Correction: make that 67 books between The Last Command and Crucible ( 7 of which were discussed at previous Book Clubs) not counting the young adult books but counting the two NJO e-books.
But there are also the events on the Dark Horse comic book series, also cannon, about 140 years down the line....
Absolutely! The Legacy comics are fantastic, and the newer ones look pretty good too.
My above posts (s) intentionally left out the comics.
But, since you brought it up my Lupine friend: Legacy comics are great and take place the furthest out from the time line at, what? 125 years? Maybe longer?
Some other good post ROTJ comics: X-Wing, Invasion (an NJO comic), Union, Chewbacca, and Leviathan was decent, not great, but decent.
Someone else can post on the Marvel comics' take on the GFFA after Endor.
The Legacy series happens around 140 years ABY, and record the deeds and adventures of one Cade Skywalker, who wants no part of his famous ancestors issues. What I really like is their take on the Sith.
Well, for me the cool thing about this club is the awesome information that you get just hanging out with everybody. But to answer you questions Jammies, for me anyway, Zannah and I talk between ourselves (don't confuse that with too ourselves) and can usually either figure it out or go to the boards/BCM and get more educated. We're almost done and will be rip rearing too go monday night.
Hope to see y'all then
See you there:
My plan tonight is to be early, and to leave round 8. Sorry, just a busy night for me. So, I will post my thoughts now, and we can talk more later:
My thoughts on Crucible
At first glance:
As a standalone fun frolic for the big three (plus Lando) this is an ok read. I picked the book up and finished it in less than three days. Each chapter brings a new obstacle for our heroes to face—making for a compelling adventure story; however at the expense of character development (no time to process what just happened cuz now we gotta fight robot lizards!). Also apparent is the annoying theme that only Jedi can solve problems—relegating Han and Lando to the sidelines as most of the whoop butt is reserved for Luke and Leia. In fact, if this is a “big three” novel, they get separated fairly early in the book—making this more of a “big two” novel. This is disappointing to me, as Denning has proved that he can write Han and Leia very well, in both Recovery and Tatooine Ghost. Another disappointment was Denning’s use of gruesome, grizzly torture. Denning has never shied from showing the gory aspects of the Galaxy Far Far Away—and that is fine. But I feel that in this book, he must of felt he had to “up the ante” (and that is a pun) to make the reader feel that Han’s life was in danger--- but I really think he crossed a line in the book (losing eyes, graphic torture, etc). I think Han getting beat up was handled better in The Black Fleet Crisis, because it was used as a significant plot point. In Crucible, it just felt—dirty. I like Denning as he is not afraid to add new tech to the Star Wars universe, and he does so again here. Too often, authors use the same ships from the films—but that gets old quick, especially this far out in the time line. Stealth X aside, Denning does a good job of updating the tech. Here we get jedi stelth ships (with unlimted torpedoes apratnly), ScragHulls, MiLil Bombers, Mando Bas’ilick Fighters, the huge Ormni, the Mortis Monolith, all really cool. The Robot Lizards, Nargons, were also interesting. Plus, it was also neat to catch up on chairtors like Mirta Gev, Vestara, Jag, Tahiri; and the new chairtors, the Qreph brothers were interesting too. I love when pieces of continuity all fit together—and Troy’s chose your own adventure game Scoulrel’s Luck published in the 80s by West End Games is referenced here. I admit this was not my favorite Star Wars book, but it was a fun read. I liked the opening chapters, and I loved chapter 11 which featured Lando and Ben battling Mando starfighters. Like a chinses buffet when you are starving: I found this book palatable, easy to consume, but in the end unsatisfying. As a stand alone, it is an “OK” work.
How I Really Feel:
But, this is not really a stand alone is it? This book has been billed as “the last grand adventure.” With the Disney acquisition, this is more likely than not the last book of this timeline. We have not heard a peep from LucasPublishing or Del Ray about any of the other projected books that were to follow this one (and feature other characters then the big 3). And, I feel, with good reason. It is completely unrealistic to assume the new films will follow the current Post-ROTJ storyline religiously. Perhaps names and events will be kept intact, perhaps slight references will be made, but it will be a new story and it very well could be a new timeline. We don’t know. A book which was billed as a passing of the torch book, truly is one. This is the coda of this era in star wars.
And we have had such codas before. Tim Zahn wrapped up the Bantam era with his Visions of the Past/Specter of the Future duology. The New Jedi Order books were wrapped up with the Unifying Force. This book, Crucible, attempted to wrap up the post-NJO universe. I feel that it failed. Hard. Maybe that was my fault. Maybe I wanted more out of this book and out of Denning, then it and he could provide. The plot is ridiculous at best and Denning once more reverts to information dumping in lue of storytelling, and his objectification of women take a brand new low in this book (sex bots in star wars?) Established characters are written in such a way that often strains credulity and the Big Three are put through the torture porn wringer so often that I’m honestly shocked they make it through the book alive. When you build the big three up to be so powerful, you are forced to just beat them up over and over again as you attempt to create dramatic tension. It also felt like there was very little reason for Ben or Tahiri to be in this book much less working together after the events of LOTF. Ben is on a mission with the woman that molested him*, and that is just glossed over? Really?
If Del Ray wanted a “passing of the torch” book that already happened! It was the before mentioned, and universally beloved, Unifying Force! It had a wonderful ending that wrapped up a lot (but not all) lose ends—presented the new generation of heroes, honored the slain like Chewie and young Anikan Solo (Han placed Anikan’s lightsaber on Chewie’s grave so that another worthy hero could use it to fight off what new threat would come) and then it ended in a large celebratory feast. Published in 2003, the book took place 29 years after the battle of yavin.
10 years later, and 16 Star Wars years later, we have yet to read a story about that next generation taking up the torch. Jania Solo-Fel is now in her late 30s and yet she still has yet to fulfill her hero’s journey! Golden’s trilogy Sword of the Jedi may never see the light of day: but regardless they have had a decade to tell her tale! Instead, we got dreck like Denning’s The Dark Nest Trilogy, and LOTF and FOTJ. Instead of the next generation being heroes, they become villains or they get slain, or both. Thus, the big three—by default—get placed back into the center of each new novel. And each new novel does its best to explain away the faults of the last—until we get to this one. Almost 25 books in this timeline came out in the past decade, and as I read this one while re-reading the NJO I can’t help but become increasingly frustrated by the lack of quality stories, lack of coherent chairtor development, and really—the lack of star wars in my star wars.
This is the last book (more likely than not) in a book series that I have been reading since the 6th grade, and it honestly is worse than the Crystal Star (plug for October). A series that I love, perhaps more than the films themselves. After reading Crucible, and doing some thinking, I am now ready for Episodes 6,7,8. I am ready for the films to obliterate the EU. I was scared that the films would do just that, but now I am ready for it. I hate feeling that way! I do. To quote Revenge of the Sith: “You have turned her against me!” You have done that yourself!”
I do not know whom to blame, be it Troy Denning, Shelly Seperio, Lucasbooks, some accountant, but the past ten years of post ROTJ EU has gotten so out of line with the films AND each other that it creatively is dead. Legacy was just an artificial re-hash of the prequel trilogy using chaictors set up by the NJO. The story arc that came after, Fate Of The Jedi, was just damage control—trying to make sense out of fan complaints regarding Jacen Solo’s fall to the darkside by retelling Homer’s the Odyssey while sprinkling some Clone Wars Mortis Arc at the end and call it a day. Then, as a coda for the last 10 years—and with the Disney buyout, most likely the past 20—we get this. Fans deserve better. I deserve better. And, more importantly to me, Han Luke and Leia deserve better. It is time to give Lucas’s yellow notebook, JJ, and Ms. Kennedy a crack at the post ROTJ universe; and it is time for me to put this book, and Legacy of the Force, and Fate of the Jedi, back on the shelf.
Invincible, page 144:
"You’re sure?" Tahiri asked. Her hand remained beneath the waistband of Ben’s shorts, but began to drift up toward his hip. “What is it that I want, Ben?"
Now Ben was really beginning to have trouble concentrating. “Uh, Tahiri?"
Her hand reached his hip bone, and her fingers began to drift over. "Yes?"
"You wouldn’t be trying to seduce me, would you?"
"Ben, that’s a terrible thing to say." Tahiri’s hand remained beneath the waistband of his shorts. “You’re only fourteen. Still a boy, really." She lifted her finger, raising the waistband. “Aren’t you?"
"I’m a Jedi Knight," Ben countered. He twisted his hip, trying to pull it out from beneath her hand—and failing. “And I don’t have any pressure sores up there."
"So you don’t." Tahiri used a fingertip to trace a circle on his flesh. “Okay, let’s say I am trying to seduce you. You have to admit it’s a lot nicer way than torture to, um, inquire about the coordinates of the Jedi base."
"Yeah, I’d have to agree to that."
"So?" Tahiri slid her hand down his hip. “What do you think? Could it work?"
Ben closed his eyes. He truly wanted to say yes—and not just for the obvious reasons. He was really, really tired of being tortured, and he knew as well as anyone that all those drugs Double-Ex kept pumping into him were not doing his brain any good. There was every chance that, sooner or later, the droid would miscalculate a dose, or push an ear probe in a little too deep, or fail to notice the pool of sweat he was lying in when it jacked up the electroshocker, and he would die.
And the possibility that he wouldn’t die—that he would remain rotting on his bunk until his body was one big pressure sore—was even worse. Faced with those choices, who wouldn’t resist, when he knew that this very well might be the only chance he was ever going to have to say yes?