Lit A Cynical Walk Through the NJO

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

  1. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Catching up on today's posts...

    The Leia and Mara conversation: I wanted to feel bad for Mara, she was in a situation that deserved sympathy, but Leia's musing over how strong and brave she was, depleted my stores. Yeah, she's in a bad spot, we get it, move on. I don't know what it is about the way Mara is written either, but even the NJO authors that I love--Luceno and Keyes--have managed to write her in such a way that makes me want her to just go away already. And I think she could have written in such a way that I would have perceived her the way her fans seem to perceive her, as a tough, formidable woman. The potential was there, but it was overshadowed by all the other characters using various adjectives to rave on her awesomeness. And her scenes with Luke made me want a fluoride rinse.

    The Anakin and Jacen duel: loved it. They had been arguing over how "being a Jedi" should look and feel for a few chapters, and they finally dueled it out and came to a truce. And as @Cynical_Ben said, they both had a point.

    Plus I think Han was really, really over his kids' squabbling.

    And the Vong...honor in death. Honor in pain. That's what makes them such a scary enemy. It is really hard to become a formidable foe to an enemy who is not afraid of death, and in fact welcomes it .

    Danni and Meko being captured and tortured was creepy.

    Lando--I agree that he's underused, but I sorta like that after he was done fighting the Empire, he went back to being a businessman. (Granted I haven't read any of the New Republic-era books except for the Thrawn trilogy, so maybe I missed something.) And I loved the Lando's Folly scenes; I loved their communication using the Force (was it called a battle meld here?) and I loved Jaina proving herself worthy of the Rogue Squadron.

    I liked Yomin Carr killing the scientists, it was further proof of his utter lack of scruples and his willingness to go pretty damn far for his divine cause.

    I don't know whether Kyp was out of character in this book or not as I had never read anything with him in it prior to VP. I remember thinking he was pretty interesting here, a sort of foil for Luke; by the Dark Tide duology I thought he was an ass.

    I'm with you on wishing Meko had made it. :(
  2. Darth Droid Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2013
    star 1
    I don't think Kyp was acting out of character in NJO. The whole "Kyp out of character, he was redeemed, what the hell?" thing is to me just another way people who loved Bantam but couldn't stand NJO try to put it down.
  3. AlyxDinas Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4
    I'd second that notion with the caveat that I think Kyp could have been used better. But I don't know if he was out of character. There are more egregious cases of character derailment in the NJO than that, to say nothing of the series that follow.
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  4. aleja2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2005
    star 2

    Not to derail, but I think you're using the word "plan" in a different context than Del Rey uses it, from what I gather from interviews with various authors.

    It seems to me that Del Rey comes up with a format based on their publishing slot needs: "We need a three book series," "We need a nine book series," etc. Del Rey has only one real responsibility, and that's not to make fans happy or to even ensure continuity and the continued health of the Star Wars franchise (after all, it's not their intellectual property. It's Lucasfilm's. Del Rey merely gets to print the books and make a few cents off each one). And that responsibility is a healthy balance sheet, with the books costing less to produce than the money they bring in from sales. Nothing more, nothing less.

    So Del Rey comes up with the structure, but leaves it up to the authors to pitch ideas and fill in the details of the series.

    And the only thing SBS, SN, LotF, and FotJ have in common is Troy Denning.

    So if there is a collapse...

    And now, back to VP.
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  5. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    Thanks for staying on target, guys. This book is a lot, lot better than I remember it being on my last readthrough. I burned through chapters 14-19 in the last couple of hours, and I wanted to get some more thoughts out before I finished the book off. I'll just be blurbing most of it, no need to go chapter by chapter; the book's pace kicks up considerably and the chapters are much longer, but they linger on each scene or sequence more and more to make sure we get the whole story. I can summarize the main events, and my thoughts.

    First: I completely and utterly forgot that Miko actually got captured and broken by the Vong. That just makes him even more tragic. He tries so much to mirror Kyp's bravado, but he doesn't have the strength or the power of will to withstand what the Vong put him through. I feel so bad for him; he's an utterly pathetic character, a mauve shirt who's existence is solely for the purpose of showing Danni just how horrible and ruthless that the Vong are. He's deemed unworthy after having done nothing.

    Poor Miko.

    Second: Luke and Mara's scenes together. @anakinfansince1983 brought this up, but their scenes together are actually pretty bad. She's right, half of the time it's Luke thinking about how great Mara is or how awesome it is that she's there or how worried he is about her feeling sick. I understand, they're married, and I imagine that married couples are pretty fond of each other most of the time. Luke and Mara are established to have a telepathic bond, I understand him thinking things to try and support her. But here's the thing: they've been married for years at this point, so these thoughts shouldn't be necessary. And then she goes and thoroughly whips him after he questions whether she's capable of helping herself, when she's clearly not, something she never did when Leia asked her the same question. Really. It's like reading a romance novel at times, or a hurt/comfort fic.

    However, that being said, the first time we do get to legitimately see Mara in action, as she investigates the ExGal station and then confronts Yomin fullname Carr, I'm reminded of why I like her so much in the first place. Mara's a woman of action, both in and out of universe, and her experience shows through here. She gathers evidence they might need later, even though it makes her physically ill to even be near any of the beetles or other things on the planet, and then battles and kills Yomin fullname Carr, despite being completely unfamiliar with any of his weapons or tactics and being unable to sense him in the Force. And I don’t think she’s overpowered for being able to do so. As soon as he's dead, she collapses. It took everything she had to win. It's the fact that she won that helps prove that, as admiring as everyone's been of her through the whole book to this point, for this, an act she gets no praise for, she deserves it.

    Third: Sernpidal. My best guess for the mayor is that it’s Nick Rostu, but I wonder what they were originally going for. He’s an ensemble darkhorse right out of the gate, playing it cool and being totally okay with dying for the greater good of the planet. Even though he really did nothing. I wonder who Salvadore, Stackpole and the others had in mind when they wrote this. Maybe Boba Fett, though I doubt it; seems an inglorious death for anyone of real note.

    And then we get to Chewie’s death. Let me be clear here: someone was going to die in this story. It fits with the serial escalation of the book. Like Kyp’s squadron, and Miko’s entire purpose in life, it’s there to prove how dangerous the Vong are, and that no one is safe. Of course we all know that’s a lie, but that's the idea being the action the writers took. It's like when the comics kill of someone like Johnny Storm, or J. Jonah Jameson. It's not the main character who dies, but the side character everyone knows and loves. The impact is tremendous. All of a sudden, characters we thought we knew are thrown wildly out of whack and the story visibly changes tone. Han becomes vindictive, bitter and angry. Anakin tears himself apart, for good reason. Everyone’s sent reeling from the impact, just like the readers were when it happened.

    The money quote is “You left him,” but I was more affected by Han's latter muttering, “Dammit, Chewie, how am I going to get that thing in tow without you?” He’s taken the Wookiee for granted for so long, he’s almost lost without him. And being forced to rely on Anakin, the same person he blames for Chewie’s death, only makes it worse. I had tears in my eyes as I read that chapter, seeing Han tear himself and his son apart.

    Now, as for for the out-of-universe impact of the event, I really am mixed. I wasn’t big into the EU when VP hit shelves, but I had friends who were. And they told me about Chewie’s death. I’ll admit, I was angry at first; I thought it was a stupid decision to kill such a beloved and well-known character. I'd grown up on the original trilogy, and I'd always loved the big Wookiee. Our first family dog was named after him, in fact. However, I also rebelled against Crix Madine biting it in Darksaber, that’s just the kneejerk reaction to someone from the movies being killed in any other media than the one we know them best in.

    Let’s look at it completely objectively. Chewie was a steady character, one of the biggest constants the Sky-Solo clan had, someone who wouldn’t grow up, wouldn’t break under pressure, would always be there when he was needed, and who probably wouldn’t have a character arc because we’d need a Greek chorus there to explain it every step of the way. He makes the most logical sense to kill out of all of the main characters, because he gives Han and Leia a new dynamic, changes the outlook of the conflict to a more personal one, sobers up the teenagers to the realities of war whether they need the lesson or not, and kicks the readers out of their comfort zone. We’re being assured from the first book in the series that we’ve never read a Star Wars book like this one before. In this one, beings that you care about die.

    Did this series really need a message like that? Did killing Chewie improve the overall story? I’ve heard over and over again people say they hope that Episode VII will wipe out the post-RotJ EU, if only so that Chewie can come back to life. But, honestly, does he need to? As the EU had been using him until then, he was a stagnant character, and if he’s back in the new movies in exactly the same role with nothing having changed from the other movies, will that story be improved for his survival? I think speculation is pointless, because we have no idea at this point and only time will tell.

    I will say this, though. If I recall correctly, the original plan was for Luke to die in the NJO’s inaugural chapter, not Chewie. That would have been a huge mistake. I’m not against Luke dying, I just think killing him off here would have made the book feel even more like a cheap shock value grab for attention. And, unlike Chewie’s death, I don’t see how Luke’s death would have improved the story at all. Luke needs to be there, at least for now, because he’s the only one who can sort the Jedi out. Mara’s too ill, and Leia’s too detached from them as a group, she’s spent the past sixteen years as a politician. And I certainly wouldn’t trust anyone else with the job from the current crop of Masters.

    I think killing Chewie was the correct choice, but I’m not sure if it was the best choice. I’m not a great scholar, I can’t see how the story would have been affected if he had lived. I do know that it would have made Han less interesting, though.

    The battle around Lando's fortress will be covered in the next post as I go into my final thoughts on the novel. Almost to the end of the beginning, folks.
    More later.
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  6. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Chewie's death made me cry for about four chapters, the three surrounding it and the last chapter of the book.

    But I think Salvatore did the right thing. I believe character shields ruin a story far more than character deaths. That said, you're right about Luke; I understand that Lucas ordered the EU authors to character-shield him as well as Han and Leia, and I don't think that was a good idea, but I also think Luke dying in the first chapter of this book would have been rather pointless. The rest of the book would have been about their dealing with Luke's death, and the series name would have to change; there's no real "new Jedi Order" without Luke.
  7. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    I don't think the idea of Luke dying went very far so it is difficult to comment on the idea, not knowing how it would have affected the series.

    All I can say is if the EU were going to inevitably do it, I have no doubt it would have been handled better in the NJO than it would be if it were done now.

    I also think Cynical Ben was referring to the book as the first chapter of the series, and Luke wouldn't literally die in the first chapter.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Aug 21, 2013
  8. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    So, the last few chapters of Vector Prime are all talking about the three-round final battle, and the wrap-up of that final battle. Thus, like the last post, I’ll just summarize my thoughts on events without going into a lot of detail. The battle of Dubrillion, followed by the first and second battle of Helska 4, are small-scale compared with battles that would come later, but still pack a punch because they show how effective the Yuuzhan Vong are against the established powers that be, namely, an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer.

    The Force joining the Solo kids go through in the battle’s first round, it’s interesting. Mostly because it shows both Jacen and Anakin that their positions on the Force philosophy are deficient. And their close teamwork makes sense with how they’ve all been comforting Anakin after Chewbacca’s death, they’re already emotionally close, it just takes the Force and a moment of willing participation and boom, instant hivemind. And, it forms a good parallel with the yammosk, and how the Solo kids understand them better than most of the others.

    It’s interesting that the Chekov’s gun of Lando’s shield projectors doesn’t come into play. With the dovin basals stripping shields away right and left, you’d think that having an external shielding source would make for an important plot point. It doesn’t, though. Belt-Runner I is attacked and damaged, and the shields are never brought up again. They only serve as a reason for Han to let the kids into the battle despite his emotional trauma.

    I do like the fact that Lando’s base of operations has more guns than a Star Destroyer. He doesn’t want anyone taking his operation from him this time, he’s had too many of his schemes ruined by the Empire or other enemies in the past. He’s got more guns than people to run them.

    Their analysis of the Yuuzhan Vong technology raises some interesting points. Threepeo has no trouble interpreting their language, because it’s similar to one of an obscure tribe that fell out of use three hundred years previous. It’s good to see Threepeo being used for his actual primary function and not just as a wailing little girl. I also like Luke’s willingness to try the Vong technology for himself. Tactical considerations aside, he still is the curious farmboy at heart.

    The Rejuvenator’s overconfident Captain deserved to die. I’m sorry, that’s a horrible thing to say, but it’s true. I don’t care what planet you’re from, you don’t utterly ignore the tactical considerations and cautions of Leia Organa Solo, Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, Mara Jade Skywalker and LUKE FREAKIN’ SKYWALKER and deserve to live. I mean, I understand the purpose of the task force: to provide red shirts for the upcoming battle and prove that, even with the great new Ranger-class gunships, they’re no match for the Yuuzhan Vong. The enemy is just too alien, too coordinated. All of their overwhelming firepower is no match to a more numerous enemy who still fight as one. But, still. You don’t have to act like Ricky Bobby to make it meaningful when you lose.

    Jacen and Jaina taking over the mission to Helska’s surface makes sense, they’re the best Jedi duo there and Mara’s in no condition to fly in a combat zone, as the later battle proves. I did groan a bit inside when Jacen’s reaction to seeing Danni was basically holy crap it’s a girl! And she’s hot! Also, once again, poor Miko. At least he took some of them with him when he died.

    The solution of using shieldships to reflect the yammosk’s energy back at it was inspired. A call-back, a plausible plan, and an inventive idea that makes sense with the context of what they know about the alien technology all in one. They throw a lot of physics talk around, and I’m not smart enough to know if they’re using real terms and science or making it all up. But it just goes to show that, in the end, Nom Anor was right: the heroes won through luck more than anything. The fact that Lando had the ships at his disposal was providential enough.

    I love how the book leaves things open at the end by showing that, no, winning the battle didn’t solve everything. It didn’t close Han’s emotional scars or ease his pain. Mara’s still sick. And the Vong are still out there.

    The inner monologue Han has in the last chapter can be viewed as Salvatore painting the fourth wall, talking about how he used to see a bubble of protection around his family and friends. And on one level, it does work that way, but it’s also the genuine thoughts someone in his position might have. I speak from personal experience that, it’s easy to build a bubble around your family and friends and think that bad things happen to other people, not to you. And how traumatizing it can be for that bubble to shatter. Han has a history of blunting traumatizing emotions, I remember that much from Crispin’s Han Solo books, and the fact that he had such a hard time with Chewie’s death is in-character. Which makes it that much more painful to read.

    So, final thoughts. Vector Prime was a lot better than I remember it being. The early parts of the book suffer from being exposition-heavy, and there are a couple of characters who I think could have been written better, but the philosophical discussions, the frantic action scenes and the alienness of the Yuuzhan Vong in their proper introduction as a species all lend this book a sense of depth and weight that is hard to come by. I do think that this being the first book in the overall series hurt it, because this isn’t a fast read or an easy read. It introduces, but it challenges the reader’s perceptions and preconceptions to do so. And because it doesn’t open very well, I can see how off-putting it might be to some people. Still, though, a solid Must Read for EU fans, being an inaugural chapter in what’s shaping up to be an incredibly dramatic and involved series. It’s hard to understand this era of the EU without starting at Vector Prime.

    It might take me until tomorrow, but my next (long) post will be discussing Michael Stackpole’s penultimate entry into the Star Wars universe: Dark Tide I: Dark Onslaught! Considering that he helped Salvatore out with Vector Prime, I have a good feeling about this.
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  9. Ulicus Lit'ari

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2005
    star 6
    The only way Luke dying during the NJO would have been appropriate would have been if they'd set the series a generation later, with Jacen, Jaina and Anakin already being established heroes and leaders of the Jedi Order with it being their teenage children and/or apprentices coming to the fore.

    (Essentially making him the Aang to the NJO's Legend of Korra)

    Bonus points if they were all described as having massive collars, too.
    Last edited by Ulicus, Aug 21, 2013
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  10. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    The massive collars should be for flashbacks only.
  11. aleja2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2005
    star 2
    According to Randy Stradley of Dark Horse - who was present for the big planning meeting - Luke and the droids weren't on the table. Han, Leia and Lando, however, were. It was Stradley's idea - not Salvatore's - to off Chewbacca.

    Also, the invasion idea was originally Dark Horse's, and Nom Anor (albeit presented much differently) was in the comics (I think Crimson Empire) long before Del Rey got the book license. But the books sell gazillion more than the comics, and so the idea went to Del Rey.

    Also note that Dark Horse wasn't enamored of the NJO's direction at the time....

    I think it's hard to remember, now that we've been bombarded with random gruesome violence and meaningless deaths and stories that should change the characters' lives forever but don't, just what a tonal departure the NJO was, especially for those who felt Star Wars should use the OT films as the baseline model. Looking back, the NJO seems almost...innocent. Also, we know now what happens. We had no idea where the books were going at the time, and if they would continue to get darker and pile deaths on, or if they would finally let the good guys win.

    But I do think there's a very good reason why the books' sales have dropped precipitously from the Bantam days. And why, in the Kindle editions, all three books in the TTT still manage to outsell every other EU book except for the most recently published novels. Even the Kindle version of Vision of the Future - a book that requires a lot of EU knowledge - is outselling the Kindle version of Vector Prime, which was supposedly a new "jumping on" place. In fact, Jedi Search is outselling Vector Prime right now.

    And now, back to VP.

    (I'd give my thoughts on how poorly Salvatore wrote Chewie's death - I'm all for killing off characters, BUT MAKE IT COUNT and MAKE IT SERVE THE STORY. Instead, the story was built around trying to serve the death, and as is usual with backward things, it was contrived, ridiculous, and lacked any real emotional resonance. Or my thoughts on his horrible handling of Mara (and most of the other female characters, including Danni Sue), and how that scene on ExGal with Mara and Luke was pure OOC comedy. But I'm still exhausted from 1999).
    Last edited by aleja2, Aug 21, 2013
  12. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Where do you get kindle sales info, and is it cumulative? I don't have Bantam sales numbers at all. I suspect that a book's marketability is directly tied to how connected it is to the films. I expected an inevitable reboot prior to Disney simply because I figured they'd eventually collapse under their own weight and reduce their market down to nothing.

    TBH, it had always bothered me that we know nothing about Dark Horse's original plan. Their aliens had some weapon to go against a lightsaber too. I want to know what these things are.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Aug 21, 2013
  13. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    He appeared in Crimson Empire II, at least. But that was not very long before- late 1998 to early 1999, and Vector Prime came out in late 1999.
  14. aleja2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2005
    star 2
    I've been tracking book rankings (I have access to a system that lets you track ISBNs and their Amazon rankings, plus B&N but nobody buys from B&N [face_laugh] , from day to day). While not sales data (and no one really knows how Amazon's algorithms work, and as soon as someone figures it out, Amazon changes it again), it does give an indication of which titles are selling on a daily basis. So no, not cumulative. But still interesting, IMO. TTT has been in the top six of SW Kindle books sold for some time, topped only by Crucible and the Shakespeare SW book, with Kenobi popping up recently.

    Amazon used to have a "Star Wars" category for Kindle, but something funky is going on right now with the code and a lot of books that should be in the category aren't. I'm wondering if Del Rey is changing its metadata. Or it could be Amazon.

    I used to have Bantam data back in the day, but it's long gone with the wind. The cover blurbs for TTT say that the three books sold a combined 15 million copies, however.

    And now, back to VP.
  15. Force Smuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 5
    Chewie's death hurt pretty bad the first time I read it and almost gave up on Star Wars entirely but the desire to see how the Big 3 and crew beat the Vong (and I knew they would) kept me going. It was a shakeup of the status quo so I had to see it to the end. It was a matter of principle. The blurb on the dustjacket talks of a new era beginning etc so the tone of the series turning darker makes sense to me. The ROTS/ESB feel of the series does get tiring at times but there are enough light-hearted moments to make it more enjoyable.
  16. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Chewbacca's death didn't phase me all that much. I suppose it could have been done better from an emotional perspective. Though there aren't many better ways to go than being Yo'gand's cored. The way that it set up both Anakin and Han's character arcs for the first third of the series was excellent though, so ultimately it was well executed.

    It's hard to think back to the series with a sense of newness and not knowing what will follow, but I think the series benefits immensely from the ending. I know that I had mixed feelings about it at the time, as there are certain elements that I disliked on first reading, enough to be vocal about it. Vector Prime always struck me as plodding, but it was a necessary evil for Del Rey, and I think it benefits from what followed in more ways than one.
  17. Force Smuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 5
    Chewie's death was the first death that hit me hard. Qui-Gon and whatever Disney characters in those movies that died were known but that's the one that really stuck. Han going crazy (or whatever you want to call it) had a major emotional impact on me. Chewie's death is one of the Top 5 deaths (if not Top Death) in the EU. I read the series out of order and not all at once the first time so I was able to escape the series with some optimism.
  18. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    In terms of narrative utility, Chewbacca probably had the best death in terms of story that it yielded. The best death scene, however, goes to Ganner Rhysode.
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  19. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    That's completely inaccurate and silly as a statement. I know you want to reduce everything to "character deaths" and caricatures of "DARKEST AND GRITTIEST EVER," but the NJO and the post-NJO are operating completely differently. The fact that both feature major character deaths no more unites them than, to talk about moves, quarterbacks in American football using the same plays unites them. It's possible to be a fan of someone who uses the moves masterfully and to boo someone who uses them poorly; there's nothing "funny" about that -- it's precisely logical. Indeed, this is the behavior of fans; it's why I, as a fan of American football, find Aaron Rodgers admirable and Mark Sanchez deplorable even though they're both football quarterbacks. One is good at what he does and the other isn't. That's not a hard distinction to grasp. Regardless of your stubborn, caricatured refusal to give it any credit at all, the NJO was a serious, artistically ambitious saga with something to say that was cohesively planned out and structured and followed the model of the films in its approach to philosophical and mythical content and epic saga storytelling that countenanced loss (rather than your preferred model of the first two generations of film spinoff material, which regurgitated fun, low-stakes, low-concept adventure reiterations of the status quo). It was marked by boldness, vision, courage, and quality storytelling The post-NJO is a shabbily-planned, low-concept, low-ambition rolling self-retcon marked by cowardice, confusion, poor planning, short-term thinking, and pathetic storytelling. It is not following in the footsteps of the NJO; it is confusedly, frightenedly retreating from the NJO while taking refuge in a mishmash creative miasma that happens to include character deaths. This does not serve as a logical point of comparison between the two except as a point of contrast.
  20. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    When an author (Troy Denning) can get away with completely misinterpreting another author's work (Traitor by Matthew Stover), because the first author doesn't agree with or understand the second author's work, then there is something seriously screwed up going on.
    Last edited by Zeta1127, Aug 22, 2013
  21. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I wasn't sure if Luke was going to make it out of that final battle, that was a nail-biter. And the last chapter made me cry almost as much as the one in which Chewie died.

    I definitely like that the book ended without the problem being solved; too many stories, including many in Star Wars (hello, TCW episodes) show the enemy being defeated too quickly and the heroes' lives handed back to them neatly packaged with a bow on top. The NJO recognizes that that's not how it works; the heroes don't always win the day, and even when they do, it's not without cost.

    I don't know that character deaths make for a "dark" story as much as a realistic one. Torture makes for a pretty dark story though.
  22. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    You get all that from a one-liner? You get points for creativity and invention but nothing else.

    First, you've heard the phrase laugh or cry? It's highly applicable to the late post-ROTJ EU, of those two, I'm going with laugh. You've clearly decided to opt for a 3rd option - rage!

    Second, that DR uses the same MO across projects, hardly a controversial idea, doesn't translate to a hit against NJO - save in your imagination - but rather against DR! Is it the whole story of how LOTF went wrong? No, but it's arguably part of it. Following the success of NJO would DR have expected that drawing the conclusions that people want more character deaths, big wars, revolution and a long-form story would be so wrong? I don't think so.

    Third, give NJO no credit? Come on, you know that's not true, it's nowhere near enough for you, but yes, I have given NJO some credit. Quite a bit over the last few years - or did you miss me encouraging A1983 as she was reading SBS? The simple fact is we are never going to agree on this - you think NJO was incredibly risky, I think it's own sense of conservatism neutered that. And there's no shortage of those kind of clashes, but it only seems to be a problem for you.

    Why do you even care that, on the whole (probably 60-40, perhaps up to a 75-25 split) I don't like NJO? It doesn't stop you loving it!

    And, if I really despised it to the absolute degree you want to claim, why on earth have I argued frequently for the careful use of the Vong post-TUF? Why do I love their use in Legacy? Why did I like Mercy Kill's flashback sequences to NJO as well?
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  23. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Should be able to make better contribution to the discussion as DT1 is one of the NJO books I really liked.
  24. AlyxDinas Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4
    I'm assuming this is the MO you're referring to. But I'd suggest there's a mistake being made Just because NJO had character deaths and LOTF has character deaths means very little, for instance. This is because the deaths in one series tend to serve a purpose. In the other? Not as much. So, the modus operandi of the post-NJO EU might revolve around large conflicts and death but there is a difference in the motive behind them. In how they are done and for what purpose. I'd suggest that difference makes a comparison faulty at best and disingenuous at worst. Compare, say...something as secibdary as Wurth Skidder's death to something like Isolder's and you have an eloquent example of how things are not the same. And how the MO of the post NJO EU is not at all comparable to that of the NJO.

    That, I'm going to be bold enough to assume, was Hav's point. That something like LOTF makes all the motions without any of the emotion.
  25. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    I'd rate your phrasing as being far more effective at conveying it than Hav's AD! Besides which that one-liner was really a light-hearted, very limited and very general quip at best too.

    If we're going to ask what went wrong with LOTF, my more considered answer would likely be:

    a) DR thinking that since NJO was a success, people wanted more stuff like that so use the same approach
    b) Applied that approach with the wrong concepts
    c) Different personnel - is anyone going to argue that the lack of Stackpole, Williams, Keyes and Luceno doesn't really change things for the worse?

    Then add in on top a less than united trio of authors, stir well and let boil over. Then stick with and repeat for FOTJ and why do that? Likely because sales were deemed good enough, thus continue.

    I don't really see the idea that DR is using 1 method across several projects is really such a big deal, to me it certainly doesn't slate NJO. DR yes, but not NJO. Marvel do the same thing, it's produced wonderful stuff like War of Kings and stinkers like Avx, so the notion that 1 approach can't lead to wildly different outputs isn't one I find credible, but it'll never be the total reason for why the outputs were the way they turned out. There'll always be other factors as well - like the foundation concepts. DT1 did a very good job of selling the NJO's ideas for instance.
    Last edited by Jedi Ben, Aug 22, 2013
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