Lit A Cynical Walk Through the NJO

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Cynical_Ben, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    Please do. I'm enjoying it immensely thus far, being through book 6 and heading into seven tomorrow. Thus far, there really hasn't been a book that was painful to read or poorly crafted. The closest was Vector Prime, actually, it's supposedly the introductory chapter to the series, but it's also the weakest book here thus far. Still worth reading, though.
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  2. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    And we aren't even at the peak yet!
  3. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    See, I'm inclined just to write the whole thing off as a mess! Because work X is placed at chronological point Y, but was written years after works A-T, of course it isn't going to mesh together.

    I will admit it's fun watching you try to reconcile it all and bounce off many in the process! :)
  4. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I thought this was supposed to be a cynical walk through the NJO? Don't make me report false advertising!
  5. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    It is cynical! It's just... with the bad taste in my mouth from LotF, NJO's problems (here-and-there characterization, iffy plotting at times, bad prose with a lot of telling-not-showing, etc, read the thread :p ) seem downright benign by comparison. It's like someone watching Birdemic before they watch The Birds for the first time. Is the latter perfect? No. But compared to the former, it's a masterpiece.

    Honestly, I'm enjoying this series far, far more than I thought I would, that's why this thread hasn't been as Cynical as it perhaps should. But that could be an endorsement in and of itself; I'm hard to please when it comes to my literature.
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  6. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Oh, do try to keep up dear fellow! Been there, done that already.
  7. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    Why would I want to keep up? I've been relatively unspoiled for the NJO all these years; there's no way I'm going to ruin that just a few months (give or take) before I can start it myself.
  8. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Then you can't just waltz in here and complain, there's rules y'know?
  9. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    What my British counterpart said. :p You've got to work through the GoDV series first, right ID?
  10. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    It was closer to a joke than a complaint [face_talk_hand]

    After all, I'm not sure why I would want cynicism for the sake of cynicism; I can get that anytime I'd like in any TCW related thread. Although that does give me an idea of doing a LOTF/FOTJ thread when I get to it...
    Last edited by instantdeath, Sep 17, 2013
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  11. FTeik Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2000
    star 5
    Concerning the lore Luke discovers regarding the old Jedi - and which he should have incinerated at first sight - I wouldn't be surprised, if a lot of the material has been tempered with by Palpatine and his agents.

    Since the Emperor can never be certain, that he sucessfully destroyed all the traces of the Jedi, he drops enough material here and there, that seems genuine on the surface, but doesn't fit with the other stuff in the long run. As a consequence the foundations of any new potential Jedi-order are weakened and any kind of serious crisis will lead to paralysis, if not division within the ranks of the Jedi. As a side-effect, they will also piss away a lot of good-will by the common people the Jedi are supposed to serve and protect.

    Luke should have taken, what he knew at the end of ROTJ and set up the Jedi in a way he thought would be good and right. He had really good instincts at that time. Instead he is looking for guidance from the past, because he is afraid he might screw-up and because it is easier this way and if things go wrong, it isn't his responsibility alone. Thirty years down the line we have the disaster, that is LOTF/FOTJ.
    Really, his confrontation with C'Baoth in DFR and TLC should have been a wake-up-call, his encounter with the reborn Emperor a warning. The first highlights Luke's insecurity, the second Luke's arrogance.
  12. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    A cynical walkthrough of the post-NJO would be entertaining, but it would also be an easy target. Most of it would just be too obvious or too hammered-in at this point. Doing a cynical walkthrough of the NJO or, in your case, the GoDV series, is a more interesting idea because the series' haven't been dissected quite as much recently (bar Traitor, of course). And there really isn't another lengthy series that can be gone through to the same degree. We could get someone to put together a cynical walkthrough of KJA's books, that might work.
  13. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    I don't feel like we've dissected Traitor enough.
  14. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    Because we haven't actually discussed it yet. 8-}
  15. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    KJA would be an insanely easy, but fun target. I'm currently reading the JAT books and am having to fight the urge to bash my head into something every few pages. The Daala sections in particular are a peculiar mix of funny and rage inducing.
  16. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    I tried re-reading Darksaber and hit a wall almost immediately. "This had, after all, been his own crazy suggestion. He just hadn't expected Luke Skywalker would be so eager to agree, and now Han was stuck. The mission was vital to the New Republic, and he had to follow through." Yes, pretending to be sand people and riding with them to Ben's hut on Tatooine (rather than using any other means of conveyance to get there) under the premise that maybe his deadbeat ghost will talk to you there as opposed to anywhere else in the galaxy in order to ask it how Callista can use the Force again is vital to the New Republic. In fact I don't know how it survived because Callista never did figure it out.
  17. Darth_Erebus Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2013
    I always assumed the vital mission was investigating Jabba's base, Luke's mission to was just a side-mission. Maybe it was Luke primary mission but it wasn't Hans, and therefore not the NR's
  18. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    You know, I read Darksaber very, very early in my EU journey, early enough that I didn't think it was that bad upon first reading. I think that was because I was creeped out by the descriptions of Lemsik's many deaths and the sequence with the Wampas on Hoth playing like a horror film. I was a sensitive kid, and if something creeped me out I tended to get it out of the way as quickly as I could.

    I did revisit the book more recently, though. Like you, DM, I simply could not get through the whole thing. I forgot just how turgid KJA's prose is, it's like he's writing YA fiction all the time. This isn't a kid's book, KJA, you can be a little more inventive with your words.
  19. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Yeah, finding out what the Hutts were up to digging around the husk that was Jabba's palace is really important. I kept reading. Just the first chapter is a gold mine. Luke says "squished."

    I think the whole first two chapters or so exist solely so KJA can reuse material he wrote for The Illustrated Guide to the Star Wars Universe, specifically the sand people. It's completely superfluous to the plot.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Sep 17, 2013
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  20. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I had a similar experience with KJA. The JAT was one of my first forays into the Expanded Universe, and I was excited enough that I could overlook the many many many flaws. It truly did feel like I was stepping into a new world, and one thing I will give KJA is that he throws tons of new concepts and characters at you. It was fun to the universe grow.

    Coming back later, while there are still elements I enjoy, I find that I have a difficult time noticing anything but jut how amateurish the prose and dialogue are. Of course, I'm willing to forgive bad prose, and maybe even bad dialogue (though this one is a harder sell) if the author at least has a compelling story or interesting characters. KJA fails spectacularly on the first account, and has mixed results on the second (I feel he introduces many interesting characters, but in many ways, the only reason they're interesting is because other authors were able to make them that way).
    Last edited by instantdeath, Sep 17, 2013
  21. FTeik Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2000
    star 5
    Funny thing, I have less problems reading Darksaber, than the JAT.
  22. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    He has interesting ideas, but he develops them in a juvenile manner. I think the praxeum, just the etymology of the name is pretty clever, but he never actually does anything with it, or he's limited by his conception of what a Jedi is.

    Ironically, I've lately gotten the feeling that KJA, by having his fingers in so many pies, injected an optimistic tone into the Expanded Universe which is sorely missing. I don't know if it's the influence of his ideas being pervasive through the Bantam and NJO, i.e. he pretty much created the NJO, or if his books just stand out among the early Bantam novels because they aren't as dark as Black Fleet or The New Rebellion and really work to balance or even overwhelm the darkness in those stories.

    I think Luke's Jedi, as KJA developed them, were a lot more interesting and hopeful than the way that they are in stories now. There's a core optimism to them. I think the direction that the stories have taken have sapped that optimism out of them, and their increasing similarity to the prequel Jedi works against them because the prequel Jedi failed, so to see them becoming more and more like the prequel Jedi seems to be more of a regression rather than a progression.

    Edit: After more thought -

    Luke's Jedi as developed in the Jedi Academy trilogy, Leviathan, Darksaber, even the Jedi Academy game and the young adult Young Jedi Knights and Junior Jedi Knights and the general undercurrent of Dark Empire 2 had a sense of optimism to them. The early NJO concept of exiled Sith invading described them as seeing the light go out in the galaxy with the Jedi purge, and they chose to invade when it started to come back on. That's precisely what Luke is doing with the New Jedi Order, the light is coming back on.

    The Yuuzhan Vong War was a crucible for his nascent Jedi to go through and come out stronger for it. It gave them their identity -- they weren't going to be defined by the Jedi from 4,000 years ago, or the Jedi of the thousand year peace, they were going to be defined through their own conflict which was the Yuuzhan Vong War, and that gave them a wider perspective on the Force than the Jedi have had in millennia, perhaps ever.

    Unfortunate retcons aside, the problem tonally with the subsequent stories is that having Luke's nephew and heir apparent become Darth Caedus almost completely saps the optimism that had been building. Luke's Jedi are now no different than the prequel Jedi, or any other Jedi. Sure, they had their growing pains, but they grew from those experiences. There was no growth for the Jedi with Caedus.

    I think Star Wars Legacy does as much damage to harm the optimism that Luke's Jedi represented as well. Reading something like Leviathan, there's a sense that Luke's Jedi are going to be awesome, the future is bright, good great things are coming. Well, no, they're going to become a fascimile of the earlier failed Jedi Order, two separate Sith groups are going to rise to prominence under their watch, and they're going to get purged by the Sith. Again.

    [IMG]
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Sep 17, 2013
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  23. Solent Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2001
    star 2
    I just didn´t get why the Emperor kept him around. He screwed up about everything he got involved into.

    I´ve almost forgotten JAT and DS, and after that stayed away of YJK, reading years ago the Jacen Solo biography thread proved it was a wise decission.
  24. FTeik Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2000
    star 5
    The smart thing for Palpatine to do would have been to have the original Lemelisk cloned several times and then have them work on differet projects. If one of them screws up, execute and be done with him. That many deaths and body-hopping MUST have damaged his mind.
  25. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 5
    I knew there was a reason I liked KJA's books. I really thought there was something good about KJA's depiction of the Jedi Order–everyone was good, getting along, doing the right thing; Kyp was going home to visit Dorsk's family, Luke and Callista were out on a quest to save her Force ability, Jacen fighting off animals at three years old, etc. Good things actually happen when KJA writes. As opposed to Denning; when he writes, everything gets shot to haran.
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