Lit A question on Karen Traviss and her work(s)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Pyrotek, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. Pyrotek Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2010
    So I get the feeling that Karen Traviss's contributions to continuity are generally disliked in the community here, and I wanted some clarification on that.

    It is her plots/characters that are disliked, right, not her writing? And following up on that - what exactly is disliked about her contributions?

    I know that her Legacy of the Force tangents about Fett were disliked, but I never really thought it was any worse than the rest of the series.

    ---

    Basically, what's the deal with Karen Traviss?

    Reopened after a cleanout. Stay away from the personal, people.
  2. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I've read her first book, "Hard Contact", and thought it was great. Great look at the clones, and satisfying adventure story.

    My impression is that the main point of criticism is her own criticism of Jedi and alleged glorification of clones and Mandalorians. I certainly didn't see that in Hard Contact, but that one is, I believe, pretty universally liked. I haven't seen many comments, if any, that say she is a bad writer.
  3. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, it's her plots and characters. The first two books are great; the last two descend into a bathetic farce of irrelevancy.
    Lady_Misty likes this.
  4. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    Actually, she's one of the most original and sharp SW prose writers the EU has ever had. I've loved most of her books. Not all. A couple have been real disasters. Revelations and the 501st strike me as her weakest stuff. She also had her own interests in the EU. Mandos. She wanted them to be as vaunted and as powerful as the Jedi. She often wrote them this way. Problem is this: A Jedi knight should be able to kick the poodoo out of the average Mando.

    Also...

    She hated Jedi. I mean she really hated them. She hated the idea of them. These unchecked superheros who are fantastic, loved and often unquestioned cause they were demigods. I think her writing questioned Jedi motives more than almost any EU author.

    Another thing. She could be very reactionary to fans. I don't think she liked SW fans at all. She could snub us with the best of them but she often had a point. Sometimes she just came of as not giving a toss about us. Still though, her work was good and it was a loss when she split.
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  5. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    The 'reactionary to fans' bit came from being brutally trolled and flamed in this forum.
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  6. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    The very, very last thing I want to do is to devolve this thread into a "Mando vs Jedi" thing, but I was always under the impression that the average Mandalorian is more than a match for the average Jedi, it's just when Mando's beat Jedi Master's or someone like Jaina to a pulp that makes people mad. Revan beating Mandalore the Ultimate is chalked up to as quite an accomplishment, after all (though Ulic didn't have much trouble with one of his predecessors).

    I'm actually very curious to see some of the flame wars between fans and Karen Traviss, but I think most of them were deleted (and if not, I don't really want to dig through the thread :))
  7. Rawne Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2008
    star 2
    Haven't got a problem with her writing, I love military fiction/sci-fi and she's really good at it. But after the second book (Triple Zero?) the RepCom books seemed to turn into her personal manifesto against the Jedi, they seemed to be unable to do anything heroic (except for Etain and the other dude of course) and in every case were nothing more than baby killing slavemasters. It was really disapponting because the 'Clones aren't droids' plotline can be done very well if approached correctly. She loved Mandalorians way too much as well, I get that Mando's are popular (I'm a huge Mando fan too) but I was just put off by how much she used them and the Cuy Var Dal as paragons of all that is good and mighty, I prefer my Mandalorians to be silen, gruff, amoral and vicious.


    I just got the feeling that she kinda resented the setting she was writing in.
  8. Lightsnake Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2005
    star 3
  9. SergeantDante Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 17, 2008
    star 1
  10. Kaje Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2005
    star 4
    For reference, here's YodaKenobi's review of Revelations.

    http://boards.theforce.net/literature/b10003/28128642/p3
  11. CloneUncleOwen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2009
    star 4
    Karen Traviss also opened a can-of-worms with her '3,000,000 Clones' estimate. Many fans tore
    her up over this, and the moderators probably had their hands full keeping the posts civil.

    ed/ I think the whole episode was a shame. Nobody comes out ahead in these situations.

  12. CaptainPeabody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2008
    star 2
    She didn't get along very well with the fanbase. That's putting it mildly.

    Basically, she made unpopular decisions and championed unpopular viewpoints, like the idea that there were only 3 million clones max in the Clone Wars, the idea that Jedi are basically immoral Nazi-master-racers who had O66 coming, the idea that the Mandalorians are really cool and better than the Jedi, etc, etc. When criticized harshly by the fans, she responded by calling the people who criticized her Nazis and comparing them to the Taliban.

    Things...kind of went downhill from there.

    Beyond that, I've only read two of her books, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I tend to think that, given her own statements, she's really better off not writing for Star Wars. She obviously has big problems with the setting that make her rather angry and impassioned, and obviously the fans have big problems with her problems; so that's a relationship that's never really going to work out, I think. Ita vita est.
  13. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    I'd be wary for broad brush characterizations. Why settle for second or third person accounts.

    A good primer is her own website FAQ:
    FAQ - Is it True You Hate Jedi?

    Warning: There is profanity from this Star Wars author.
    http://www.karentraviss.com/page10/files/Is_it_true_you_hate_Jedi_.html

    My own gripe -- admittedly esoteric in all of this when stacked up against the much larger 3,000,000 poodoo-storm, or fans-as-nazis meme -- is her handling of the Mandalorian backstory, and Fenn Shysha's character in particular. There was stuff retconned for no good reason, and in all cases it certainly only muddled the waters even further. But, of course, I've always been a fan of the Marvel stuff.

    Regarding the whole Clone Wars continuity disaster and its impact on her unwritten/unpublished future projects, I don't think Traviss should've quit over it. Lucas' Clone Wars cartoon hasn't respected anything, so it's not like her Clone Wars stories were special in that regard? The gripe was a lot of things would be contradicted and core story elements wouldn't make sense? Welcome to the post-Clone Wars Cartoon EU, Ms. Traviss.
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  14. Pyrotek Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2010
    Hm, didn't realize - haven't been around in terms of community long enough, I guess - that it had to do with the fanbase at all.

    I quite enjoyed her Republic Commando series, but looking back, I suppose the reason I was able to ignore her strangeness in terms of Jedi/the Clone Wars/Order 66 was because I stopped thinking continuity-wise by the second book.


    In terms of Mando. vs Jedi... I do wish that she hadn't gone so far, it would have been nice to see her contribute to the during-Saga history of Mandalore.



    Also, one more question: She stopped writing due to conflicts with the Clone Wars TV series, right? Or were those rumors/misunderstandings?
  15. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    No, that was the reason why she quit.
  16. Lightsnake Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2005
    star 3
  17. blackmyron Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2005
    star 5
    In all fairness, she also had a group of strong fans that were big on Mandos. She was a polarizing author, but take the "town hall democracy" nature of fandom with a grain of salt - I'm guessing the majority of fans could care less one way or another.

    Her official statement certainly made that her main reason for leaving - she had two books already assigned to her at the time, so she was giving up work. (Not that she's the first one to come to disagree with LFL over Star Wars - one author hasn't done anything after a public diatribe against the survival of the Ewoks after the end of ROTJ, and another apparently decided not to pursue a SW book contract after seeing Vader fight the Energizer Bunny in a commercial... [face_laugh])
  18. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    Lightsnake, beware the wholesale cut and paste. There's at least one word of hers there that you should edit out. At least. In the paragraph "I start to back away..."
  19. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9

    Who was this? Can't say I really mind-Star Wars has never been about teh science ever. They'd all be killed in Star Trek, I'm sure.
  20. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    Come to think of it, why didn't the Empire raze Endor?:p
  21. marmkid Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2001
    star 4
  22. blackmyron Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2005
    star 5
    That would be physicist Dr. Curtis Saxton, who wrote or contributed to a number of the SW reference books, especially ones with a technical bent. Like Traviss, he had his own very specific views on the Star Wars universe, and he absolutely refused to compromise on the "Endor Holocaust" issue, sending out a missive that stated he would pull out of any work that dared suggest it didn't happen.

    I think the lesson from these two authors is that some authors are better in writing in the "sandbox", so to speak - to take authors on the other side, both Stover and Zahn have had direct editorial interference from Lucas himself but in their cases just rolled with the punches and adjusted accordingly.
    Jedi Merkurian likes this.
  23. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    Having recently reread the Rep Com books I can safely say it's not the writing. Karen Traviss is great at tight third person narrative, really getting into the heads of her characters. Sure, they all think how awesome they are compared to Mandalorians, but you really know everything you can about these characters. And when they weren't sitting around being an episode of some low-rate soap opera they took part in great battle and espionage scenes.
  24. darthcaedus1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2007
    star 5
    [image=http://troll.me/images/futurama-fry/ohhh-noo-its-this-thread-again.jpg]
  25. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    What a sad life that must be. Not because I disagreed with Saxton's opinions on the matter. But for one very simple epiphany: He's the only person to ever have been 0\/\/n3d by the Glove of Darth Vader.

    Silly Saxton, there was NO Endor holocaust. Not because it would cast a dark shadow over the heroic ending of Return of the Jedi. Not because Lucas would never let the Ewoks die in such a miserable fate. Not because Star Wars isn't hard science fiction. No, because of an even greater power than that.

    The power of Paul and Hollace Davids and the 2nd Death Star's wormhole. That sucked the Glove of Darth Vader to Calamari, millions of miles away.

    Silly Saxton. Zzzztini! Epic fail. Vrrrrrrrr BEEEEEEEEEEEEP! Glove of Darth Vader - 1, Saxton - 0.

    He should have held a mofference prior to releasing that diatribe.
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