Lit Literature member interviews

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Point Given, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    6. What places have you traveled to? Which one is your favorite?

    7. What are your favorite books, in and out of the EU?
  2. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    6. What places have you traveled to? Which one is your favorite?

    I haven't been outside the country, but I have been all over inside the US, mostly to the standard vacation sites and big cities. New York, Washington, Boston, Disneyworld, the Grand Canyon and the area, Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Mount Rushmore and the Badlands, and all over the Midwest. I'd have to say that the best experience of all of them was going to Vegas for my friend's birthday. It was just a couple of us going out and goofing around, but having the casinos and the ability to drink on the street (this is a highly underrated feature) made it way more fun. I've also had great times palling around in Chicago with friends. I really liked the vibe in Boston, and the vacation areas of DC are absolutely fantastic. The museums, the history -- and it's lovely at the right time of year. California is a gorgeous state. I loved both LA and San Francisco. It's a fantastic, beautiful climate.

    I would really love to travel outside the US eventually. Italy and the UK are at the top of my list.

    7. What are your favorite books, in and out of the EU?

    My favorite EU books are the entire output of Matthew Stover (Traitor is the best book in the EU, Mindor maybe the best "Star Wars book"); the X-wing series (especially Allston's); TTT and HOT; the NJO in general (still the best thing Star Wars ever did) and specifically Conquest, Star by Star, Enemy Lines, Traitor, Destiny's Way, and The Unifying Force; I, Jedi; Cloak of Deception; Labyrinth of Evil; Dark Rendezvous; Rogue Planet; Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter; Knight Errant; The Black Fleet Crisis; the Han Solo Trilogy; and last but pretty much first, THE HAN SOLO ADVENTURES. For comics, I love Star Wars Tales, Ostrander's run on Republic, Empire and Rebellion at their best, Knights of the Old Republic, Legacy, X-wing: Rogue Squadron, the Goodwin/Williamson newspaper strips, I kind of love the old Marvel run just out of nostalgia, Agent of the Empire, and JEDI VS. SITH.

    Outside the EU, I'm madly in love with the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. The Silmarillion is probably my favorite single work of fiction. Other fantasy I love includes A Song of Ice and Fire, Matt Stover's Caine and Barra novels, the Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie's novels, and, yes, Harry Potter, which I was into before it was cool, so take that.

    I love Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. Classic hard-boiled fiction is glorious fun. I'm also a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories. I really like Hemingway and Fitzgerald, whom I've just gotten into. Growing up, I read a lot of classic adventure stories like The Three Musketeers, Robinson Crusoe, Howard Pyle's Adventures of Robin Hood, and Jules Verne's books.

    I'm also very interested in political theory, and I've started reading more of that. I love Machiavelli, and The Federalist Papers, and I'm looking to get into more on that front. I've also been on a nonfiction kick for the past couple years now that I'm not getting my history from classes, and I've been reading biographies and histories on all kinds of subjects. My favorites so far have been Ron Chernow's biographies of Washington and Hamilton and Edmund Morris's three-volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt.

    I currently have about a two-foot stack of books to read, but I'm always taking recommendations.
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  3. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    I appreciated his execution, too.
  4. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

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    As an avid traveler I can never understand how people don't go on at least one trip outside their home country. I first left the US when I was freaking two, and first left North America when I was twelve.

    :D
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  5. DarkEagle Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2009
    star 4
    You mention that, among others, one of the big failings of the PT is Anakin's story and motivations are handled quickly without really taking the time to flesh him into a deeper character. Do you feel this is somewhat mitigated by the Clone Wars cartoons (both the Gendy series and TCW, ignoring the continuity problems of the latter) as they offer the audience more time to connect with Anakin and make his fall feel more gradual?
  6. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    8. Which presidents do you most admire? Why?

    9. One of your most well known achievements was We Hav To Take A Trip With Jacen Solo, which was your look back at the life and times of Jacen over the course of the EU. What made you interested in chronicling him? What are your most favorite and least favorite portrayals of Jacen? Do you think you'll ever do something similar for another character?
  7. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Same. I tend to travel at least once a year -- and though I hate packing and complain every time, I couldn't imagine not doing that. There's so much of the world to see and experience.
  8. JackG Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2011
    star 4
    Yeah, I don't understand it either. I know friends that hadn't left their state until they were 18. As for myself, I have as many countries under my belt as years, and I intend on keeping it that way in the future.
  9. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    I'd love to travel more outside the US, but my family tended to travel inside the US (I opted out on their one foreign destination, Mexico), and I don't have the money yet to do much traveling myself.

    No. The films have to stand on their own; the fact that the storytelling was awful can't be mitigated by trying to go back and undo the damage after the fact with a TV series to recast Anakin in a better light or explain what the films didn't bother to explain. AOTC is still a characterization disaster, and ROTS is still a fundamentally unconvincing fall, and the movies can't simply get a pass on screwing up such fundamental stuff just by trying to throw another source into the mix. In terms of the EU, it softens the blow a little, but in terms of judging the films, it doesn't go back and make them better.
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  10. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2003
    star 6
    Aha, a fan who's not basing their fandom on the movies or TV series. Your kind is few and far between these days.
  11. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
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    I was under the impression that Harry Potter was cool the moment it came out :p At least that's how I remember it. Of course, I was young. I mean, my mom used to read it to me, and she didn't buy books ever. Still, I'm sure it took a whole different magnitude of cool when it was made into a films series.

    Havac, have you ever considered taking a look at the Malazan series? I know I plug that series far too much for something I haven't even finished (for all I know it could completely fizzle out near the end), but give your tastes in fantasy and your love of history and, I would assume at least, philosophy, it seems like something you'd really enjoy. Of course, it's also incredibly time consuming (one of those reads in which you have to pay attention).

    For what it's worth, I plan to read the Sherlock Holmes stories before trying the TV series.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Jul 26, 2013
  12. Lugija Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2009
    star 4
    I read the first ones before I knew they were cool. Does that count?
    Jeremy Brett or Benedict Cumberbatch? Both are valid options, as is Grand Moff Tarkin: The Private Detective, from a horror film company (see if you can tell)
    Last edited by Lugija, Jul 26, 2013
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  13. Havac Former Moderator

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    I was into the Potter books before they blew up and became a huge thing -- I was the one pushing them on everybody else, who had no idea what they were.

    I've considered Malazan, but I haven't been ready to jump into another huge fantasy series just yet. I'm sure I'll get around to them eventually.
  14. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    :p
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  15. Havac Former Moderator

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    I know. :(

    But I don't want to be a bandwagoner, dammit! I WAS READING BOOKS BEFORE IT WAS COOL.
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  16. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Give it, oh, say 6-10 years and Malazan'll be complete.
  17. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    Damn, you're old.
  18. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

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    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1999
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    I hate you.
  19. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    Well, maybe if you got to know me...

    Nah, you'd still hate me.
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  20. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    He doesn't like you.

    [IMG]

    I don't like you either!

    [face_devil]
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  21. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
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  22. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
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    Eh, the main series is complete. Granted, the spinoff stuff is neat- Esslemont improves as he goes along, and of course Forge of Darkness is classic Erikson- but it isn't like ASOIAF where we currently lack half of the story. Erikson really writes at an ungodly pace, considering the quality of his books and how thick they are.
  23. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    When I said complete, I meant COMPLETE! :) As in, the Darkness trilogy done, the Toblaikai trilogy done and Assail done, but yeah, I figure, even if he allows himself 2 years per book, it'll be done within a decade.
  24. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    8. Which presidents do you most admire? Why?

    Well, the two greatest US presidents of all time are George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Washington's leadership was crucial in the Revolutionary War, and as the first president, he had to set all the precedents. He did an amazing job, standing firmly on principle and resisting temptation. He was not one of the great intellectuals of the Revolution -- not a writer or a theorist -- but he was one of the great leaders, he believed in the ideals of the Revolution, and he incarnated them better than anyone else. He set the example that the presidency would be humble and republican, and, crucially, exited the office after two terms. It's incredible how responsible and conscientious he was with his power, and how his legend-in-his-own-time stature helped shape that responsibility into important guidelines going forward. He was also, though not one of the great theorists, extremely good on the policy questions of the day. His experience leading the Continental Army gave him an understanding of how the government was working in practice, and made him prioritize a federal government that was strong enough to govern the country, rather than the decentralized muddle of the Articles of Confederation. He struck exactly the right balance between government strong enough to survive and respect for freedom and republicanism. He also relied heavily on Alexander Hamilton, who was the greatest policy thinker of the day, throughout his administration, much to the country's benefit. It's stunning how Washington managed to get everything right in such a delicate scenario. Informed that after winning the Revolutionary War, Washington would not seize power but would, like the legendary Roman hero Cincinnatus, return to his farm, King George III said, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world." He was right.

    Abraham Lincoln is the other world-historically great president. Faced with the Civil War, Lincoln did an incredible job of articulating American principles and applying them to the country. He provided steady, principled leadership that guided the United States through its greatest crisis and the most critical moment since its founding, entrenched principles of freedom, equality, justice, and opportunity, and established a peace based on reconciliation without the compromise of principles. Had he lived to oversee Reconstruction, it would have turned out a far better process than it did. It's incredible how well he navigated the crisis.

    Everybody else is a step down, at least, from those two. Theodore Roosevelt is a guy you have to admire. An insanely badass renaissance man, he was awesome at everything. He wrote definitive academic texts; read at an insane rate; explored uncharted Amazonian rivers; won the Medal of Honor; took a bullet to the chest and still delivered a speech; caught thieves who had stolen his boat in the middle of the Dakota winter by hand-building a new boat, chasing them down the river, and marching the captives through the wilderness to town; won the Nobel Peace Prize; was an accomplished big-game hunter who once knifed a cougar to death; became the president of the United States of America (duh); and as an anti-corruption reformer in the New York state legislature, once brandished a chair leg in committee to put a stop to the machine politicians' thug tactics. He was a man of great character and energy who lived a ridiculously over-the-top life, and fought corruption so hard that the machine politicians stuffed him into the vice presidency where he couldn't do any damage, and then stumbled into the presidency. There, he moved through important reforms, stood for important principles (he flipped the bird to racists by being the first president to have a black man over for dinner at the White House), and led the United States into its position as a leading global power with intelligent foreign policy. He was, in fact, so widely admired in Europe, and of such immense international stature, that some historians believe that, had he still been president, he could have prevented the outbreak of World War I. As an ex-president, he saw World War I coming and, once it broke out, clamored for military preparedness, insisting that the US would not be able to avoid the war and had to be ready to intervene. He was treaty as a war-happy nut . . . until the US couldn't avoid the war anymore, and everyone realized that they should have listened to Teddy all along.

    I'm also a big fan of Ronald Reagan. An incredible communicator who articulated his values and principles forcefully and convincingly (and with a great sense of humor), he stood up against communism and bloated government at exactly the right time. His administration wasn't perfect, but he was an incredible spokesman for freedom around the world.

    Other favorite presidents include the terribly underrated surprise reformer Chester A. Arthur, fellow reformer Grover Cleveland, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower and Ulysses Grant (more for their achievements beforehand than for their presidencies, though not entirely), and James Madison in his pre-Jeffersonian days as a great political theorist.

    9. One of your most well known achievements was We Hav To Take A Trip With Jacen Solo, which was your look back at the life and times of Jacen over the course of the EU. What made you interested in chronicling him? What are your most favorite and least favorite portrayals of Jacen? Do you think you'll ever do something similar for another character?

    Well, Trip of course started the thread, and did a great job, but didn't keep going. I was, at the time, writing up Jacen's article on Wookieepedia, so I was going through the material anyway, and I asked Trip if I could take over the thread because I enjoyed it and thought it would be fun to continue it. I had become a big fan of Jacen's portrayal in the NJO and was really disappointed by his post-NJO storylines, so I wanted to sort of go through everything again and do my own tribute to the character, who had been so mangled.

    Obviously my favorite portrayal of Jacen is in Traitor, which is pretty much perfect. I love it. I really like him in the NJO in general, which gave him a great storyline as he matured from a realistic, self-reflective Jedi kid interested in philosophy but caught in indecision and a sort of adolescent uncertainty about his future and the world around him into a great Jedi leader who moved beyond navel-gazing into certainty about his convictions and a refined understanding of the Force that helped lead the Jedi to a humane victory. I'm not convinced that Force Heretic did the best job of capturing that change, so it's probably my least-favorite portrayal of him during the NJO (though he's kind of dopey in Agents of Chaos, but at least he's supposed to be kind of dopey at that point). I also enjoy him as a kid in Bantam, being this troublemaker going on adventures. The YJK, though, I don't really care for as far as his presentation goes -- as WHTTATWJS demonstrated, he's hilariously useless throughout the series and doesn't really come out looking good, even aside from the goofy jokester persona, which I don't mind. Obviously, the post-NJO depiction of him is the worst thing ever, especially LOTF starting with Tempest, which just turned him into an unrecognizable cartoon-villainous idiot who lost any sympathetic qualities and descended from tragic protagonist to crappy antagonist. Dark Nest, Betrayal, and Bloodlines, though horrible and wrongheaded manglings of the character found in the NJO, presented a character who, if a bad Jacen, is at least kind of interesting, in DN as a mysterious, powerful figure walking the line of good and evil, in Betrayal and Bloodlines as a tragic hero falling prey to philosophical sophistry and moral detachment. Invincible, though a wretchedly awful book, gets a few points for at least making Jacen a credible antagonist again, far too late to do any good, but it loses them all again, plus more, for completely and finally squandering the character in every sense possible.

    As for trying it again with another character, probably not. It would be really fun, but I was blessed with exceptionally good material to work with for Jacen, as far as the comedy goes, and doing something with anther character in the same era would probably entail just going over a lot of the same points again. Another era might work, but I'm not sure the same quality of material is there; what made it work so well was the extent to which Jacen was bungled or appeared in stupid stories, and while the NJO was great, it filled that void for a while by having Jacen act kind of dumb. I could maybe do something with an X-wing character by playing on Stackpole's tics, but the other main obstacle is that it's extremely time-consuming to read all that material and then type up the posts, and I don't necessarily have the same sort of free time anymore.
  25. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2003
    star 6
    Ahhhhh that's how you had time to go through all those books again. You're one of those Wookieepedia folk. I was wondering at the time what on earth would possess someone to reread all those stories and then write up summaries that, when combined, could rival the page length of some of the novels themselves.

    I think one of the reasons Jacen was a golden opportunity was that his story has a distinct rise and fall. And I would argue it coincides with the rise and fall of the post-ROTJ EU as well, but I don't want to start any fights so I'll leave it at that. I imagine it would be difficult to find another character to follow in the EU whose story is anything similar.