Lit Cynically Reliving the X-Wing Series

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Cynical_Ben, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    [IMG]

    Greetings, all! Welcome to a brand new review/walkthrough/relive/nostalgia thread by the same annoying poster who brought you the NJO retrospective. This time, we'll be going back much, much further into the golden era of the Bantam EU, when Michael Stackpole, followed by Aaron Allston, gave us one of the first and what remains one of the best looks at the Star Wars universe apart from the circles of the Big Three. I wanted to re-live this series, having not read some of these books in a decade, and I figured, thanks to fresh copies being a generous gift on Christmas, there's not a much better time than now to get started.

    Cynically Reliving the X-Wing Series! (Apologies for the crappy webcam picture)

    [IMG]

    Now, just as before, this initial post will cover some ground rules. Since this series is less, let's say, divisive than the NJO, I don't anticipate much in the way of threatening to derail or trolling. Still, I do want to have a civil and provoking discussion here instead of just baiting/flaming/trolling/etc, so let's all try to play nice.

    Also, once again, this thread is open to any and all spoilers, for this series or any other that might touch on it. These books have been around for a long time and most everyone's at least got the gist of them by now, but on the chance you haven't, if you don't want to be spoiled, no problem. Just don't read the thread until you've read the books for yourself.

    Unlike the NJO thread, I'll not be assigning scores or anything like that to these books. I will just be covering all of their points, anything that sticks out to me, any characters or scenes I enjoyed or disliked, and so on. I'll be trying my best to relive this series with an open mind, and it has been many years since I last read these books, so I'll probably be surprised at something along the way.

    Also, even though it's not in the above picture, I will be reading and covering Mercy Kill, the distant sequel to this series. That book is one I have not read before, and that review will be much more in line with my NJO reviews, with a recommendation stamp at the end and breakdown both of the book itself and how well it works within the series.

    I will not be covering the X-Wing comic series, at least not unless I get ahold of the entire comic run on the cheap. I'll be honest, I've never been a huge fan of most comics for a variety of reasons, number one being I'm a much larger fan of the written word; and having never read the comics before, I feel like they would be better suited to review by someone who is more familiar to them. If someone who does have the comics would like to review them for me, or somehow make it so I can review them, feel free to PM me.

    So the first review, Rogue Squadron, will be going out sometime next week, Monday most likely. In the meantime, though, I have a couple of resources for those who want to brush up on what we're getting in to. See, a lot of the mechanics of the series were inspired by both real-life dogfighting and air-to-ground tactics, but a lot was also borrowed from a video game out a couple of years before, Star Wars: X-Wing. Stackpole used that game as a basis not only for the mechanical operations of fighters in his books, but also pulled an entire mission for use as a training simulation. That video game inspiration would eventually come full-circle as the books and comic series would inspire now-defunct development house Factor 5 to develop a fighter-based game of their own for the N64, titled Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.

    The first resource I have is a video, courtesy of YouTube user Joseph Quinlisk, that covers the mission in X-Wing brought up in the opening chapter of the first book: The Redemption scenario, known in-game simply as Protect Medical Frigate, mission 4 of the first tour of duty.



    Second is a little something of my own. A couple of years back I tried to put together an informative video walkthrough of my own for Rogue Squadron on the N64, a game I grew up on and love to this day. It's still a fun game that's basically a much-simplified version of X-Wing with a new focus on air-to-ground combat. There are some audio issues in the early videos, but overall I'm still pretty proud of it, especially since I managed to get a gold medal on every level. This link should take you to the playlist. The first video, covering Ambush at Mos Eisley, is below. Note: my old YouTube name was Hawk3y389, and I refer to myself as such in the commentary. Old shame.

  2. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Nothing more nostalgic than John Williams' score converted to midi.
  3. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Ah. The X-Wing series. Awesomeness.
    Let's go!
  4. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    Lock S-foils in attack position.
    Force Smuggler likes this.
  5. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5



    Man I must have raided Taloraan 100 times, of course using the salvages TIE Interceptor. :D
  6. AnakinColodin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2009
    star 2
    This series and the Tales of the Jedi Comics were my intro into the Eu when I was twelve. I also loved those games and wish they would make something similar for today's consoles.
    DigitalMessiah likes this.
  7. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5

    [IMG]
    Draconarius, tjace, Yoda_S and 3 others like this.
  8. son_of_skywalker03 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2003
    star 4
    Same for me, only it was Blockade on Chandrilla.
  9. KarrdeFan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Love this series. Still probably my favorite. I only read it two years ago but was what truly got me hooked on the EU. Up until then, I had only read the Thrawn Trilogy and then the Duology. This got me hooked to read more and to want to read books not based on the Big 3.
  10. AdmiralWesJanson Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 5
    I actually read Rogue Squadron first, then Thrawn Trilogy. In fact, I may read Rogue squadron before I had even seen the movies.
  11. CommanderDrenn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2013
    star 4
    I started reading the series a couple weeks ago, and I'm on the third book. It took me long enough to finally read these. So far, I'd say the first was better than the second.
  12. blackmyron Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2005
    star 5
    What about I, Jedi? I know it's not strictly in the series, but it's always seemed an 'unofficial' member of the set.
  13. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    Technically, the only real relation it has to the series is the fact that Corran is the protagonist. I want to try to keep the focus on the ensemble as much as possible, on the characters aside from Corran, and on the events and ideas brought up in this series specifically. I'd cover it if this were, say, the Jedi Academy Trilogy thread, but it's not.
  14. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 5
    So it's finally happening? Happy happy joy joy! :D
  15. Chewbacca89 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2012
    star 5
  16. Bullhead CIty Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2012
    star 2
    I'm still in the NJO!!! Let me catch up!!!
  17. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    Never understood the love for this series. 12 Xwings waste away Imperials by the thousand while Chuck Corran winks at Mirax who seems to only utter un-witty 1 liners while Wedge says atrocious exposition dialogue :confused:
    Last edited by fett 4, Jan 4, 2014
  18. AnakinColodin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2009
    star 2
    Fett_4, This was really one of the first stories in the novels that did not focus on the big 3. It had space battles, spies etc. That was why I loved it at least
    Revanfan1 and Force Smuggler like this.
  19. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    While I agree that it was a good idea not to focus on the big 3. The execution of that idea (which I put down to Stackpoles limitations) was god awful. I did try and re-read them myself not to long back and I had to give up. I mean how can anyone write this guff and what made him think it was a good way to end a book !

    "Again, I want these remarks to be brief. It was about a year and a half ago
    that I first met most of you. You were bright-eyed and enthusiastic, ready to
    launch into one grand adventure after another. I had seen that before with other
    pilots in Rogue Squadron. I remember the days before Yavin when we were all
    young, armored with the invincibility of youth and fired by the belief that the
    Emperor's evil Empire could not win. It didn't, but the cost was more horrible
    than any of us could have imagined. You've all seen the roll of those who died
    with Rogue Squadron. Had we known at the start of things how few of us would
    survive, I think many of us would not have answered the call to fight."

    Wedge caught his lower lip between his teeth for a second, then continued. "You
    all came to Rogue Squadron knowing how few of us had survived. Your decision to
    join us was an informed decision. Yes, the Emperor was dead, Darth Vader was
    gone, but the Empire's ability to grind up our warriors was not significantly
    diminished. On both sides of the battle the weak and incompetent had been
    killed, leaving only the most lethal of each force to stalk each other.

    "Nothing we've doneincluding the conquest of Coruscantwill be compared
    favorably with the destruction of the Death Stars and Palpatine's death, yet as
    I look back on what we've done, I feel a greater sense of accomplishment now
    than I ever have before. Yavin and Endor were battles we had to fight and had to
    win because if we did not our movement would be exterminated. We fought with the
    abandon of people who knew, either way, they were dead; and desperation, while
    not pretty, can often be very potent and deadly."
    He glanced down for a second, then looked back up.
    "Our missions have been no less critical in the destruction of the Empire than
    those that went before, but they were differ-ent. We took the war to the Empire.
    We made plans and successfully improvised when those plans fell apart. We did
    things that no onenot even the seemingly prescient Talon Karrdecould have.... (Sorry can't be bothered to copy and past anymore)



    However I did think Allston's efforts were a far better attempt on that idea, (which I enjoyed) and more fun space adventure stories, than Stackpoles man fantasy.
  20. AnakinColodin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2009
    star 2
    What do consider Stackpool's limitations as an author?

    I mean he came in as a well known Military Sci fi author. The series is just that. the above you quoted is just what I would expect a Commanding officer giving a speech to his troops would do to raise morale.
  21. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    That speech was not to raise morale but the end of the book (Bacta War) . He actually thought it was a good idea to end a book on that!

    Starwars is not military sci-fi but space opera, but that aside even if it was Sci-fi is meant to be real or realistic. (Many of the things that Asimov predicted for instance have actually come true) but the things he has his charachters or even in his space fights are no way realistic or even very belivable. For instance would the NR in order to capture Courscant really send a bunch of pilots and criminals, rather than Agents and Special Forces. And would they all bump into each other on whole planet that is just 1 big city !!
    Last edited by fett 4, Jan 4, 2014
  22. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    It's not really a briefing speech, so much as a speech at a dinner party for both Rogue Squadron and their friends and allies.

    The last part:

    "I would ask all of you to lift your glasses and join me in a toast. To Rogue Squadron - past, present, and future. Those who oppose freedom and liberty oppose us. Let that fact give them pause to think and encouragement to travel the path of peace."
    Abadacus and Revanfan1 like this.
  23. AnakinColodin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2009
    star 2
    The films are space opera, SW novels can be what ever the author wants them to be. Stackpole and Allston's work are military scifi leaning toward fighter pilots, Traviss was military scifi with a focus on Ground troops. some like Strover writes space opera. I do not see why ending the book(which I am rereading now)
    like that is a problem especially considering it is a speech given by a character to the other characters at a dinner party celebrating what they accomplished.

    Also sending Rogue Squadron in with the crimminals was explained. When he rebuilt the squadron in the first novel in the series Wedge stated he wanted a unit of pilots that also have commado skills, that could operate on the ground. Corran has undercover training, The shivastean pilot is a tracker, members of the squad have slicer skills. Wedge takes this even further with the wraiths who have are recruited for there other skills first rather than piloting ability.
  24. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Glad you started this. I'm interested in this series after finishing The Unifying Force and Kenobi.
  25. AnakinColodin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2009
    star 2
    Fett_4, We even have stories that are Sci Fi/Horror thanks to Red Harvest and Death Troopers.