Lit A stupid trend in Star Wars books...

Discussion in 'Literature' started by zchmrkenhoff, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. zchmrkenhoff Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2015
    I've been consuming a large number of Star Wars books, and the process is, if nothing else, giving me great skills at quickly separating the crap from the gold. Far too many Star Wars books are crap, and I'm not sure who deserves the blame. A typical Star Wars book will have some hero on the front cover, like Luke or Vader, and it will be called something sensational, yet the bulk of the book is about some inconsequential plot featuring throwaway minor characters with brief cameos by the character we really want to read about.

    I mean, why feature these minor characters so prominently? It's like many authors are hesitant to deal with the characters we actually want to read. It's a slog when an author introduces tons of forgettable, bland minor characters who don't command my attention. This is a flaw in both the NEU and the EU.
  2. TheMoldyCrow Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2015
    star 3
    Cause that's how you make money!
  3. Darth Invictus Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2016
    star 4
    If your only interested in movie characters than the EU is not for you.
  4. zchmrkenhoff Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2015
    They'd make more money if they wrote better stories. If you keep releasing these kinds of diversionary books with sensational titles and covers yet bland content, word is going to get around!

    >implying
    If there are going to be new characters, they need to be well-written. Bane is well written. Lost Stars has excellent characters. Kyp Duron and Admiral Daala are amazing characters. This isn't about "only caring about movie characters." I want to read well-written books, and I feel that it is a trope to lead readers to believe they are going to pick up a book focusing on a certain character and instead be given some diversionary tale about bland characters in a plot that doesn't inspire.
  5. Valryk Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 2016
    star 2
    It's kind of expected in a 40+years universe to be a lot of throwaway books. You have some examples? For me I'd say the most uninteresting books, the likes you've mentioned, have been from the new canon. Heir to the Jedi, Ahsoka (nothing happens) etc. I don't call them bad outright but they've yet to WOW me.
  6. Taalcon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 1998
    star 4

    What is it you want from this thread? Your complaint is a little overly general and vague, and doesn't really invite critique, engagement, or analysis. Are you looking for recommendations of titles you'd likely enjoy? Suggestions of things to avoid? Hoping The Powers That Be will read your frustration and change their approach based on this?
    Last edited by Taalcon, Mar 16, 2017
  7. TheMoldyCrow Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2015
    star 3

    Not really. Star Wars books are still quite profitable, even when the actual content inside is lackluster.
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  8. zchmrkenhoff Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2015
    Is Ahsoka really bad? I was looking forward to that one. Is it at least about Ahsoka the whole time?

    The latter, in vain!



    Before even starting to read these books myself there's quite a reputation about them on the Internet that tons of them are poorly written. That's quite a ward to potential buyers.
  9. Jedi_Jade-Skywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 3
    I totally agree @zchmrkenhoff. We used to get well written books set in the Star Wars universe. Now it seems like they're just spewing out random stories. Some of my favorite EU books feature non-movie characters (i.e. X-Wing series and I, Jedi). Thrawn, Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, Corran Horn, Pellaeon, the Dathomiri witches & Nightsisters, Isolder...and so many more. At first I thought I was over inflating them, since I was pretty young when I read them. But I re-read some and they really are so much better than what we're getting now. Personally, I think the people at LucasBooks/DelRey/etc are to blame. I'm really not sure what changes happened when they went from Bantam to DelRey, but its definitely noticeable and not good.

    Personally, I noticed a decline in quality when Del Rey took over and came out with the NJO. Lots of spelling/grammar errors that shouldn't have made it past the editors. Somehow they did. And its even worse now, IMO. The only book I liked so far was Lost Stars. Ahsoka was ok, but it could've (and should've) been so much better. My favorite is the novelization of TFA. I haven't bothered with the Aftermath trilogy, since the excerpts I read were too painful to get through.

    I used to buy pretty much every single EU book that came out. Now, I'm not buying any. I'm still debating if I even want to get Thrawn or not. Even Timothy Zahn's writing isn't recognizable as what it was (in Choices of One). The only book I'm definitely getting is the novelization of TLJ (and Ep 9). Other than that, I'm done. I've wasted so much money on fairly awful books, and I'm tired of it. I've been reading another sci fi series for a very long time, and they just came out with a new one (same author and publisher). I enjoyed it just as much as I did when I was a kid.

    I liked Ahsoka well enough when I read it, but then it started bothering me. I'm just glad I was able to get it for free. Otherwise I'd be really unhappy.
    Last edited by Jedi_Jade-Skywalker, Mar 16, 2017
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  10. Valryk Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 2016
    star 2
    She's mostly like a secondary character passing by. Most of it centers around some farmer kids you never hear from again after this book.
    Last edited by Valryk, Mar 16, 2017
  11. Taalcon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 1998
    star 4

    I wouldn't consider that accurate at all. Ahsoka is the viewpoint character in basically more than 90% of the book, apart from some (very interesting and insightful) Interludes.
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  12. jamminjedi23 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 19, 2015
    star 4
    I think people need to remember that for the most part tie in fiction is not the place to go to get consistent top notch storytelling. Basically all tie in fiction is when you come down to it is just a method to make the movies...tv shows....whatever media the tie in material is based around....appear deeper.

    People probably shouldn't go into tie in fiction novels with super high expectations. Just go into it expecting that it will expand on the universe that brought you to the tie in fiction to begin with. If you try to go into a tie in fiction novel with expectations that this single book will give me a great storytelling experience likely more times than not you will come away dissapointed. Tie in fiction often needs all the other tie in fiction to give you a great storytelling experience. One book often won't do that.
  13. Maythe14thBeWithYou Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2014
    star 3
    @jamminjedi23- I agree, I like the whole tapestry. I get the point where we see supporting characters in Tarkin (as an example) that I can't remember but in that case it's not about them, it was about the title character and Vader so as to reproduce Canon background material. I am enjoying the new character pieces we're getting, for instance in Aftermath and Catalyst. While the former has Han, Leia, Chewie, etc. the main characters are new and interesting IMO.
  14. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1999
    star 6
    Because you liked Lost Stars I'll be nice and just say that your argument seems to be "make the books better", which doesn't amount to much in terms of takeaways for any VIP that wanders in here. "Make the covers less misleading" is maybe more fair but that wouldn't make the books, by your estimation, any better. A more constructive way to have that conversation might be something like "what goes into a cover? Where's the line between strong marketing and authenticity?" etc. Then there's actual data for us to discuss and compare our opinions on.
    Last edited by CooperTFN, Mar 16, 2017
  15. zchmrkenhoff Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2015
    This would be true if not for the fact that, on the other hand, there are SO MANY GREAT Star Wars books that my expectations are at their level. The Star Wars books that are great are truly spectacular reads and I'd count them among my favorite books to be honest. I'm just pointing out a consistent theme I notice among the books that I do consider bad.

    Yeah but that doesn't seem very realistic either because you're basically telling the publishers to make less money by not slapping sensational titles and cover art onto what is ultimately a humdrum story! I'm really concerned with the quality of the writing. You could have a sensationally misleading title and cover art but if the actual story therein is compelling too then I wouldn't be too upset. My problem is that the books that are bad always seem bad for a similar reason: too many bland new characters in a plot that is ultimately inconsequential.
  16. robotical712 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2017
    star 2
    The biggest change in the new EU is everything is now in a supporting role for the movies. This means the big galaxy changing events will be defined in the movies with the novels fleshing them out. Second, the EU is now made up of 'snapshots' of a much larger story and not the self-contained story arcs of Legends. I personally really like the new approach, but it has meant the early stories were severely constrained in what they could mention. This issue has been improving as new stories have an ever larger base of lore to draw on. However, if you prefer the self-contained, galaxy shaking story arcs of Legends, then you'll probably have a tough time getting into the new EU.
  17. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1999
    star 6
    Some examples being? Maybe this could be more productive if we had a better sense of what stories you've liked--you cite Kyp and Daala, f.e., but they're in a crapload of stories. What specifically, and what else?
    Last edited by CooperTFN, Mar 16, 2017
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  18. Darth Invictus Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2016
    star 4
    Legends even in the Denning era was self contained and didn't exist as a supplement to the movies.

    That's one reason why I'm not into the NuEU is because it exists to buffer the new movies.
  19. zchmrkenhoff Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2015
    Alright sure. These are my favorite SW books at this time. By favorite, I simply mean that I read the book and enjoyed it overall and thought it was strongly written.
    • Lost Stars
    • Bloodlines
    • Dark Disciple
    • Bane trilogy
    • Jedi Academy trilogy (except Doole!) + Darksaber (except Callista!)
    • Thrawn trilogy
    • Vector Prime
    • Edge of Victory I (haven't read 2 yet)
    • Truce at Bakura
    • Courtship of Princess Leia
    • Shatterpoint
    What I DON'T like;
    • X-wing books. I feel like I'm totally alone here, but I simply don't like Stackpole's writing. He has too many characters and plot threads and gets bogged down in such boring descriptions of battles that are better suited to another medium.
    • Dark Tide. Another Stackpole book I didn't really care for.
    • Twilight Company. Guilty of what I describe in the OP.
    • Shadows of the Empire. Drags on and on without capturing my interest.
    • Hand of Thrawn. Feels like a forced novel to bring back Thrawn's legacy and it just felt meandering and second-rate.
    • Post-Hard Contact RC novels. Skirata and the inclusion of the RC squad from the game extremely lost my interest compared to Hard Contact.
    • Shadows of Mindor. After Shatterpoint I had high hopes for Stover but this book just felt so off.
    • Balance Point. Same thing for Tyers. I thought Truce was great but this book continued the drawn out uneventful NJO era without holding my interest at all.
    • Agents of Chaos. Just another pedestrian NJO book that failed to live up to Vector Prime's awesome potential.
    • Labyrinth of Evil. This captured the feeling of the prequel era but I quickly found that there was nothing consequential that was happening.
    It's a pretty even list to be honest. I like about just as many Star Wars books that I dislike.
  20. jamminjedi23 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 19, 2015
    star 4

    The main upside to NEU approach is that it is building a much more solid foundation than Legends ever had. No reading them might not give you the thrills of wanting to know what was coming next that some of the Legends books did but on the other hand the chances of the fan base turning on it like they did largely with Legends the last five to ten years is much slimmer.
  21. Jid123Sheeve Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 2016
    star 4
    In a perfect world you should have good story that "Expands" the Universe ...ha....ha.....haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa but yes.

    However since sadly that doesn't happen I'll take either one or the other.

    Example Aftermath Trilogy Story Wise.......Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhh......But Expanding the Universe Wise....Pretty good by the time Empires End gets around.

    Lost Stars/Lords of the Sith good story....Doesn't really expand he universe that much in the grand scheme of things.

    This is why I always enjoyed prequel era books. They had the movies to ground them. And anything Pre Phantom Menace too was always enjoyable because it had to build up to something.
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  22. jamminjedi23 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 19, 2015
    star 4
    Yeah the novels for the next five to ten years or so will largely be filling in the gap between ROTJ and TFA. Plus give us backstories on standalone movie characters. Whatever trilogy of movies comes after the ST the books, comics, tv shows will be quick to follow filling in that time period.

    The NEU will always have a stable foundation to tell stories upon. It is something that legends needed the last ten years or so of its existence.
  23. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 7
    What are some examples of books where it was advertised the main character would be a movie character, but it turned out to be someone else?
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  24. zchmrkenhoff Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2015
    Lords of the Sith
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  25. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6

    And more importantly...


    This. What books, exactly, advertise movie characters on the cover and then are almost completely about new characters? Can't think of any off the top of my head. Have new characters heavily featured? Sure. But I can't think of any where there are main characters on the cover and then they're not in that book very much. That was the main problem I had with the OP; you implied this is a regularly-occurring problem but I can't say I remember it happening often. Lackluster covers? Sure. Misleading ones? I'm less sure about that.