Lit NJO and 9/11

Discussion in 'Literature' started by StarWarsFan91, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. StarWarsFan91 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2008
    star 4
    Did the 9/11 attacks and what happened after, affect the NJO or people's perception of it?

    Could it be said, that when the whole radical Islamist terrorists came into the spotlight of news, this in some way affected the NJO. After all, parallels could be made. The New Republic was caught of guard by a suprise attack from a new foe, after years of peace. Just like how America had been in peace for several years, and suddenly attacked by a new foe which began a war (Afghanistan conflict), a foe that was quite different from their previous enemies, using tactics that were not common. The Vong and Radical Islamist terrorists share similarities, both do not mind killing civilians to gain their goals, and will sacrifice civilians in the name of their God(s). Both see people that are not apart of their group/religion as lesser creatures. Both twisted religion to suit their evil purposes.

    Maybe this similarity between the real world and NJO is what turned some people off from it (then again this could be false, after all, the NJO began in 99, and i do know some star wars fans were already turned off by Vector Prime). After all i do know some like to read star wars book for escapism, and may not like it when it seems the real world is entering the GFFA.

    I have heard that Star by Star could be compared to the 9/11 attacks, the book was released around a little more then a month after them, and even had the fall of coruscant, which i heard (since i have not read this book myself) reminded people of 9/11.

    What do you think?
    Last edited by StarWarsFan91, Sep 9, 2012
  2. Esg Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
  3. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    It took major nerve on the part of DR to not change SBS' Battle of Coruscant given what went down in it. It's impossible not to see a similarity between the fiction and the real-world event, especially for those us reading NJO as it came out.
    TheRedBlade and RC-1991 like this.
  4. StarWarsFan91 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2008
    star 4
    I'm glad they didn't change it. Though i'm sure if the entire NJO started after 2001, we probably would not have gotten a radical religious extremists as an enemy. Vector Prime sure would have been a different book and this "what if" NJO would have probably been less dark then the one we got.
    Last edited by StarWarsFan91, Sep 9, 2012
  5. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Oh, I'm not sure NJO would have necessarily been any less dark you might have likely had far more aggressive action by the NR, use of Alpha Red perhaps. Probably a far harsher initial response by the NR too to the Vong attacks at the start as well.
    Last edited by Jedi Ben, Sep 9, 2012
  6. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    I could have done without reading the fall of Coruscant on the NJ side of the Hudson staring at lower Manhattan, all things considered. But I'm not a fan of changing print (or other art) because people may be uncomfortable.
  7. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Star By Star was released on October 31, 2001. The work was totally complete some time before that, significant edits would have ruined the entire print line, thrown the release schedule for the remainder of the series into abject chaos, and caused Del Rey huge financial setbacks (it is entirely possible part or all of the first print run was already done on September 11, 2001). That's not a case of nerve, it bowing to business realities.

    Except...the Yuuzhan Vong are blatantly ripped from Meso-American cultural influences, not Islamic or Middle Eastern influences. This is so obvious that it is actually hugely detrimental to the series. Drawing any connection between the Yuuzhan Vong and Islam is a considerable stretch.


    Certainly the precise events of Star by Star might have reminded some readers of the events of 9/11, in a broad way any 'fall of civilization' sort of event would do so, but its hardly the most likely or even most obvious comparison. There's plenty of fiction that specifically involves crashing airplanes into things to damage the US government - ever read Tom Clancy's Debt of Honor?
  8. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    Yep. Last halfway decent book the man wrote.
  9. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2006
    star 5
    Rainbow Six was pretty good, mainly because he didn't involve his own personal politics at all into it.
  10. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    All I remember from Rainbow Six was something about crazy ecoterrorists and global warming. Though it's been several years since I touched the books, admittedly. I was referring more to Executive Orders and The Bear and the Dragon. EO was just boring, and TBatD was painful to read, what with all the racial slurs. Though at least its plot moved along.
  11. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    Er, it's not that much of a stretch in the "people who worship other gods who wish to destroy the infidels' way of life" with, you know, terror, torture and civilian deaths.

    Whatever the basis of the original intent, you can't fault people for looking at it in such a way...
  12. MercenaryAce Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2005
    star 5
    Personally I thought of them as very Hindu at first, especially with the caste system, but now that you mention it the Mesoamerican angle makes a lot more sense.

    Of course, how many people know anything about Meso-American religion except for the heart cutting out thing?

    People associate with things they are familiar with, which is why nearly every villain ever has been compared to Nazis by someone, why so many stories are considering critiques of the Bush administration even though they only have very broad parallels, and why the Navi are considered space Native Americans when their dress and accents are more African than anything.
    Dark Lady Mara likes this.
  13. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    I think you're under-estimating the seismic shift in the US perception after the attacks here. For all that the timing was entirely coincidental, it wouldn't have been surprising for someone in DR to ask: Should we still put this out? Because getting a host of very serious and negative publicity due to a perception that they were profiting from the horror would be very bad in business terms too!

    Things like Clancy's story you invoke were, pre-09/11, fantastic stories of horrendous events by evil adversaries that could not possibly really happen. Then they did. And, all of a sudden, those stories no longer looked the same.
    colojedi7 likes this.
  14. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    I see no similarity between the Vong and people of the Islamic faith.
    jackg1 likes this.
  15. jedimaster203 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 1999
    star 4
    I think you're looking at that wrong. The key to SWF91's statement is not Islamic, it is extremist. It is easy to draw parallels in any extremist rhetoric. Religious extremists are all much the same in how they operate, and their Dogma isn't as important as their attitude. You could substitue "islamic terrorists" with "white supremacists" or "Christian Radicals" or "Militant Vegans" and get pretty much the same thing :D

    I was a sophmore in high school when 9/11 happened, and have spent much of my life making the world much more miserable for terrorists (I joined the army when I was 17). 9/11 affected my life in that it gave me a reason to join the military, and it set my operational tempo since then. However, it didn't affect how I look at star wars. I would have had the exact same reaction to SbS with or without 9/11 hanging over my head.
    Robimus likes this.
  16. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Yeah, I didn't exactly have the same experience as you (given location) but yeahhhh it was pretty much like that. Very uncomfortable, very depressing, and a lot of my friends at school were driven to tears by SbS for reasons having absolutely nothing to do with Jimmy.

    I had a lot of trouble handling it myself. I remember finishing it up during cross country finals freshman year, and though that was the best race of my career til that point, it was a prettty depressing thing to finish it. We buried one of our friends in sand to make me feel better, but.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Sep 11, 2012
  17. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    But that's an extremely general association. Religious extremists sock it to the good guys is all sorts of fiction. Yes, you could read that into Star by Star based on your personal emotional state at the time, but you could probably do so into a tremendous number of other things as well. It's important not to conflate feeling the resonance of a massive event that took place in your personal lives and American society as a whole with everything you happened to be doing at the time, such as reading Star Wars novels, versus what is actually in Star by Star.

    I didn't read Star by Star until years after 9/11, and none of its events ever stirred any memory connections there.
    Robimus likes this.
  18. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    And that may well be the key difference between you and dp4m, Jello and I on this.
  19. Whuffa Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 30, 2001
    star 1
    I think the main thing that makes this sort of connection a bit of a stretch is the fact that 9/11 was an unexpected, sudden terrorist attack and the events in SbS were the cullumination of a devestating war that had been going on for years and which at that point was a surprise to noone. I can see how people might've projected their own feelings at the time onto the book, but in reality they were two very different scenarios.
  20. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Seriously? You're saying the Vong's tactics at the Battle of Coruscant wasn't a major step up in horror and terror even by their standards? Coruscant's fall was likely expected yes, but not the methods employed to achieve it.
  21. Whuffa Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 30, 2001
    star 1
    I'm saying theres a difference between a devestating attack that comes during peaceful times and is executed by terrorists in disguise as civilians and an atrack that comes at wartime and is executed by an army. A huge difference.
  22. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    At C3, either Shelly or Sue (forget which) outright told us that the Vong were inspired by the Muslim other, and that's where things like "infidel" came from. Moreover, the "scarhead" pejorative is rather obviously inspired by the "towelhead" pejorative. Just because a thing is inspired by something doesn't mean that they're morally equivalent or somesuch: the Empire is inspired by both Nazis and the British Empire, yet I wouldn't say the two are equivalent.
  23. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Saying that the connection is a "stretch" is hugely offensive and insulting to people who outright said they were strongly discomfitted by the book at the time.
  24. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2000
    star 4
    Actually, there's another angle in it. I read SBS in 2003, when Radiohead were putting out their Hail To The Thief record. The piece "The Gloaming" astonishingly matches with Jacen's pivotal thought that the galaxy is turning to the dark side. Not everyone is a fan of the "war on terror", the acts of aggression that took place and some aspects that it had for society, and you can see it in Luceno's work as well as in Traviss' Blair allegories and even Lucas' basic ideas about governments doing certain things. So the way I see it, NJO showed a situation in which things could have gotten really ugly (see all the "what if the Vong had had to face the Empire?" threads over the years) but which ended with key villains removed and a species redeemed instead of condemned and eradicated wholesale. And with a Jedi understanding that you need to be a proactive "gardener" who removes destructive factors but also to love all of creation and destroy as little as possible of it.

    I'm pretty sure that it's part of why some people couldn't relate to Jacen and his arc. The thing is, NJO aimed for the same message as the original movies (and christianity, along with a few other religions, i think) did: redemption is possible, forgiveness is possible, and you should know when not to fight. But in the timeframe when the books came out, the world (and the USA, which are the main market / the main reaction on SW books) were having a hard time understanding or wanting messages of peace with all the hate and fear around. On R.E.M. records, okay, but not in a franchise that, for all its pacifist angles, is firmly grounded in that part of society that is more interested in military stuff and its details, and therefore more... open to stories about open military conflict instead of pacifist poppycock. I mean, the movies get the balance right - a lot of action, a clear idea of justified war, but also a moral compass on when you should step away from conflict and when you fall into the trap of a guy who's out for unlimited power.

    I wonder if NJO would have toned down on the "let's settle our differences peacefully" angle if DR had known about the political climate of the coming years. Then again, while LOTF messed up Jacen's character, it still kept one of NJO's messages intact: the means do not justify the ends (only that this time around, Jacen gave us the lesson acting from the other side). Next to Traviss' Blair rhetoric it has homeland security issues. But I think it changes from author to author anyway. And eleven years after the war on terror rhetoric started, I think a lot of it has moved into the back of the car and is just riding along without being on everybody's mind so much. I guess Economy is a far more potent enemy these days - and maybe, just maybe the Trade Federation et al will (like in Darth Plagueis) more often act as a stand in for huge comapnies and banks, for global players taking the world apart while everyone is busy looking in another direction.
    Last edited by Grey1, Sep 11, 2012
  25. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    Yep. Any terrorist group is going to resemble the Vong in one way or another. All extremists seem to fit a certain MO.
    Robimus likes this.