Lit A Cynical Walk Through the NJO

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

  1. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    my bold
    I don't understand what you mean. Can you clarify? Bitte
  2. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    I have not read Onslaught so I really should not say anything but it feels that this could have been an excellent time for Leia to support Han and help him through his sorrow since she has live through her whole family, except for Winter, and planet being destroyed

    Technical research division?
    Last edited by Gamiel, Aug 24, 2013
  3. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Internal Jedi schism, NR schisms and lack of unity, NR turning on the Jedi, Peace Brigade - more things just got piled on top each other. I just saw 100 Jedi being outnumbered 1m-1 as being more than adequate really.
  4. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    On this I fully agree
  5. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
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    The Jedi schism was the most important conflict in the series, both in microcosm between Jacen and Anakin, and in macrocosm between Luke and Kyp and their respective groups. The Yuuzhan Vong War was the backdrop that provided the context for the greater conflict that is the New Jedi Order as a whole doing a soul search as two factions compete over what should be the guiding set of principles for the order. It's like how the best Batman stories aren't about the villain, but about Batman with the conflict with the villain providing the backdrop and context through which the exploration of Batman can take place. The issues with the New Republic and Galactic Alliance also provide context to this because the prequel Jedi order was defined by its relationship with and as a part of the Old Republic, and an exploration of the New Jedi Order also includes its relationship to the New Republic.

    The problem the series had, and which has become a bigger problem since, is when authors would introduce subplots and ideas into their novels which weren't part of the Grand Plan, like Allston's Insiders, Keyes' Great River, Luceno's Ryn network, etc., which would lead the reader to expect them to play a larger role in the series for their inclusion, only for them to receive token mention in other novels.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Aug 24, 2013
  6. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

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    Jun 3, 2013
    star 5
    Especially the Insiders. I so wanted to see where that was going, but when the GA was formed it fizzled out (I guess there wasn't a need for them anymore, though).
  7. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    Feb 17, 2004
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    After giving further thought to it, I changed my mind about a desire to see the series with Ur-Sith rather than Yuuzhan Vong. The main rationale behind that would be a desire to see a story in which the Jedi heal the Sith and they recombine into a unified whole, but I've realized for two reasons that the New Jedi Order is a superior series for including the Yuuzhan Vong:

    1) Return of the Jedi has really said all that needs to be said about healing the Sith. The Sith were two men, and Luke healed one through redemption whom selflessly betrayed the other. That should have been it for the Sith, unfortunately.

    2) The Yuuzhan Vong better fits the theme to the series that is eponymously identified by the final novel. Whereas the Jedi and Sith conflict has been identified between the two sides of the Force, the Yuuzhan Vong War is identified as being beyond that, in all things. The Universe itself is expressed dialectically and this sees repetition throughout the series. The series would be overwhelmed by a light/dark dichotomy if the Sith were villains, and the absence in the Force that the Yuuzhan Vong present better expresses this dialectical nature to both the Universe and the Unifying Force.
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  8. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

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    Aug 12, 2013
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    This is brought up in the book; Leia debates staying on Coruscant to be with Han, but he tells her she's needed elsewhere, Angamar and Dantooine, etc. Which is true, but the tragedy of the scene is that it's also Han pushing his wife away through a convienent excuse. It makes me think of Jacen's (I think) thoughts in Vector Prime, about how little time Leia and Luke had for actually living because they had devoted their lives to public pursuits. Leia's place was at Han's side, the the necessities of war drew her away. She could not bring herself to serve the needs of one and leave the fate of the Rim in the hands of others.

    She's a pilot, not necessarily tech-smart. Anakin, I can see doing that, but not Jaina. There's no better place for her than in the most well-renowned and skilled fighter squadron in the New Republic.

    I recommend them very, very highly, especially if you enjoyed Onslaught. The entire series is great, both the books by Stackpole and the ones by Allston, and the whole series has some of what I consider the great moments of the EU as a whole. I'd also recommend I, Jedi, Corran Horn's journey to become a Jedi told in the first person, if you enjoy reading about Corran. Start with the X-wing books, though, they come first chronologically.
  9. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    Thanks for the info.

    But was not tech Jaina's thing in the Young Jedi Knight books? All right, she did fly but so did Lowbacca and Zekk and if I remember right they actually flew more than she did.
  10. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
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    Jaina was outclassed by Anakin as early as Ambush at Corellia where they were using eight year old Anakin to repair broken droids and deactivate millennia old technology.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Aug 24, 2013
  11. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

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    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    Yeah, but this series makes it clear that Jaina's the pilot. She might have better-than-average tech knowledge, but both Vector Prime and this book make it clear that she's a fantastic pilot, good enough that some of the best pilots in the galaxy, namely Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, are in awe of what she can do. Maybe all of the RPG levels she took since the end of the YJK series have been toward her piloting character tree?
  12. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    Feb 17, 2004
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    I don't understand why characters need to be defined by what they did in their very early teens. I'm not at all like I was at that age.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Aug 24, 2013
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  13. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
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    Well, the YJK books presented it as many of the kids had a special Force talent: Zekk - finding stuff; Jacen - animals; Anakin - puzzle; and Jaina had tech.
  14. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Anakin's Force talent was technology in the Corellian trilogy -- only he could operate Centerpoint Station and the planetary repulsorlifts. This is reflected in the NJO series in the controversial scene in which Jacen gets scapegoated for Anakin's omission of action.
  15. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    I know, right? It's something that not a lot of people (or authors) get. Star Wars, chronologically, is a very, very long series. People like Luke, Han, Wedge, even Obi-Wan have their entire life quantified within the canon. Yet it seems that the idea of that time actually having an effect is hit or miss. You have Original Trilogy epxys in TOR, then the tech de-volves to the point where Darth Bane's era has more in common with the Lord of the Rings than anything else, and after RotJ, they just keep building X-wings instead of trying, I don't know, something new. I know, retcons, E-wings, Karpyshyn, etc etc. But, I still have a problem with it.

    I'm going to go ahead and break my own rules of this thread and get something off my chest.

    Here's the beef I've got: there's no actual consistent time progression in Star Wars, not outside of the movies, because unless there's a series going on, each author can write pretty much wherever they want along the timeline. This means that the characters whose lives are within that timeline don't progress except in fits and starts, whenever an author throws a book into a gap between other stories. It's one of those scattershot, make it up as you go along things. Unless you have an entire character arc plotted out over years of IU time, a character like Jaina will have different ideas, interested, feelings and thoughts spring up at random because there is no set progression. There's no endgame in mind, and that hurts characters like her, where her life is portrayed over dozens of books and the end isn't defined.

    Having an end for a character in mind, even if it's just a point in life to work toward, isn't a sure thing, I'll admit. If it isn't thought through, it gives us both the Prequel movies (which basically exist solely to progress to the events we see in ANH, rather than tell their own story) and the entire Legacy of the Force series (which exists to turn Jacen evil and mime the Prequels, both of which are bad ideas to begin with). On the other hand, it's also given us Darth Plagueis (which tells us the story of Palpatine's rise to power), Shadows of Mindor (which is a battle we know from other sources that the good guys will win) and Kenobi. It depends on the author whether or not they manage to craft a story that properly leads to the end that's already a fixed point.

    However, there's nothing that's frustrated me more than the forgetful anthology style of Del Ray's current novel strategy from a continuity standpoint. Especially since the only author they seem to trust to move the timeline forward, Troy Denning, has no idea where he's going or what to do when he gets there. He just writes what he sees as cool stories and only progresses the characters if he has to (like the Disney mandate to add an epilogue to Crucible about the Big Three possibly retiring). Bantam didn't have a fixed continuity, but they did have progression; each author under them had their own stable of characters to progress and grow. Bantam gave us some great character stories, like Corran Horn, pretty much the entire cast of Allston's Wraith Squadron books, Jacen, Jaina and the cast of the YJK books, even Mara Jade, Luke, Han and Leia grew and progressed their characters as the EU matured and time marched away from the events of the films.

    That's what's missing most of all from the current EU. Character growth and progression, young characters becoming old and maturing, with new characters being introduced while they're still young. The only characters we've gotten like that in the last, oh, dozen or so books on the timeline are Ben Skywalker (who's just Luke and Mara mixed, hardly his own person at all) and Allana (who's just a precocious kid at this point). Vestara and Mirta Gev, both young characters with the potential for a lot of growth, have basically dead-ended by becoming bounty hunters or mercenaries or whatever it is this week. That's not growth, that's the author not having any idea how to write a character whose arc isn't already plotted out. And don't get me started on Jaina and Jag's will-they-or-won't-they bull. Instead of real progression, or stories that build off of side-characters like the cancelled Zekk novel, we've gotten Big Three story after Big Three story, all of LotF and FotJ included.

    It's simple. Del Ray doesn't want a living, breathing EU, they want money. And at some point after the end of the NJO, they decided that the best way to get that money came from keeping everything as close to the same as possible, the same as the rest of the EU, the same as the movies. The setting might be progressing, but the characters aren't. Unless someone dies.

    What I've read so far of the NJO (two books, big whoop) already seems unafraid to let the characters grow and be affected by what's happening to them and around them. I like that. The problem comes with the fact that, I know how this story ends. Not in The Unifying Force, the real ending, the post-NJO. The ending that exists solely to sell more books, not as a logical story progression.

    I apologize for the wall of text. It's late, I had a bad day at work, and I needed to vent somewhere. I'll post about Ruin sometime on Monday.
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  16. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    Well, it was only the impression I got from YJK (and they had taken the Jacen - animals, Jaina - tech thing from Crystal star, to my understanding) and since it was my impression it was their "special talents" I just assumed they would continue in on that path
    Last edited by Gamiel, Aug 24, 2013
  17. HWK-290 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2013
    star 2
    Anakin Solo always leaned his sister's way as far as similar talents went. Jacen was the odd-one-out.
  18. AusStig Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2010
    star 3

    Could the reaction to NJO have turned them off?

    What changed between then as LoTF? Did someone in the company leave? What?
  19. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    This would be the New Republic that nearly killed itself 6 years earlier in the Caamas crisis, which the Jedi played a major role in damping down the flames of? That's why I find the division infuriating - they learnt nothing and now their idiot and quite avoidable screw-ups are going to kill trillions.

    Which is the same problem I have with the Jedi schism - if I take NJO seriously, if I believe that the Vong are invading on numerous, multiple fronts killing millions at a time across hundreds of worlds, then the question has to be asked: How many must die for the Jedi to do this? Or do we just dismiss the off-screen deaths as immaterial? That does tend to be the traditional option, but I had thought NJO was about breaking with such traditions!

    Plus, I wouldn't be inclined to relegate the Vong to being a mere backdrop for the Jedi division either, as it's the Vong that have caused the division to arise, the Vong who have framed it and it's in response to the Vong's actions. As are the questions: Are the Vong to be fought? If so, how? To what degree and extent? How far do Jedi values apply to an alien enemy that likely rejects them anyway? But I don't see consideration of action to be incompatible with acting, the Jedi have to fight the Vong with extreme care anyway as they're outnumbered 1m-1.

    Certainly the tendency to dismiss off-screen deaths can lead to the notion that the lead characters can't come through unscathed as untold unknown trillions dying isn't deemed sufficient cost. Come to think of it, this might well account for Denning's enthusiasm for injury-inflicting!
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  20. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    Thing is, as you mentioned they can't fight the Vong on their own, or at least not effectively, they have to get the Republic to fight the war, which is what they do try and try to help as many people as they can until the Republic is really willing to fully commit, which is also what Luke tries to do, with sending out Jedi on mission to find out more about the Vong and help Worlds that are under attack. Kyp just wants to fight them directly instead.
  21. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    That part was aimed at Fey'Lya and co Gorefiend.
  22. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    Ah... okay in that case

  23. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    I honestly don't know. I didn't follow things that closely during the NJO era, that was my Redwall period in terms of literature. It seems like, as far different as the NJO is from the rest off the EU and the movies, everything that came later is back to being more of the same. But I don't know where along the line the decision to do that came, or even if it's a conscious decision at all.
  24. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    There is a change in authors - the only ones who worked on both NJO and LOTF were Allston and Denning, so the authors that didn't stay were Luceno, Keyes, Tyers, Stover, Stackpole - that's a significant hit whatever way you look at it!
  25. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    Keyes sticking around would have been all kinds of awesome.