Lit One Sentence or Less -- REBELS (SEASON 1)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    What, you've never done shoddy work and realized it?

    I'd hope all authors have the ability to recognize their good work from their bad. Obviously there'd be plenty of exceptions, but one can hope.
    Last edited by CT-867-5309, Oct 28, 2013
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  2. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    I think he's referring to Havac, not Allston, knowing the book is terrible.
    I thought Outcast was forgettable and boring. And I try to view Fate of the Jedi in the context of "one story" and both Outcast and Omen were largely unnecessary. If I try to view it as a standalone, it's terrible because it's not a complete novel. The Empire Strikes Back is the middle chapter of a trilogy but it still follows narrative structure. It has separate plot threads that comes together at the end of the story for the climax. The Fate of the Jedi novels don't.
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  3. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    Well, you have a point. I have looked back on things I've written before and facepalmed at them. However, it was amateur work written as a child so there's no real professional pride in it. Still, I would presume you're right; one would eventually look back and realize, "that's not my best work."

    Oh, okay.

    I don't know, I enjoyed Outcast for at least being fun and not written in the same depressing style as much of late-LOTF and late-FOTJ. True that it's not a complete story by itself, but reading it, it seems as if they once had a completely different story direction, and by Abyss Denning had taken the reigns and changed things up, completely (despite the fact that Abyss is probably Denning's best book in the series). If that's the case, then I would say that it's not that the first two books were standalones, but part of a changed story from a power-crazed maniac.
  4. JediMara77 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    Long live Whango Mittphool.
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  5. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    Yes.
  6. Nobody145 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2007
    star 5
    Honestly, I thought Outcast was one of the saddest Star Wars books I've read- its not quite as outright "this battle will determine the fate of the galaxy" dark situation, but seeing Mirax have to shoot her own son (stun blast, but still) is really depressing for me. And that's not even going into the galactic joke that is Chief of State Daala.

    I don't like Betrayal that much either, but at least LotF didn't have Chief of State Daala until the end. FotJ has her as Chief of State for over half the series, which is already nine books too long (though her replacements aren't much better).
  7. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    Hell, I think they might realize it as they're writing it, before they hand it in or before it's released.

    "This isn't any good, but it's a job and I'm getting paid for it".

    Deadlines probably play a part in it, too.
    Last edited by CT-867-5309, Oct 28, 2013
  8. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    Sometimes, I will look back on a paragraph I wrote and say, "wow, that was awful." But I think for the most part, I'm usually satisfied with what I'm writing in the moment that I'm writing it. And to be fair, I believe Allston does the best he can to make work what he has to work with. It's usually not his fault. He just works better either in standalones or with a series he's writing most of by himself, or with one other author (the X-Wing series; every one of his books in that was a fantastic success).
  9. The Compeer Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 12, 2013
    star 2
    In which the GFFA's political and judicial systems are made a complete sham in order to service a contrived story concept - oh, and Luke's thrown off of Coruscant, too.
  10. Loopy777 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 8, 2013
    star 1
    Every important plot point in this book is summarized by the cover: Luke is badly photoshopped, and becomes an outcast.
  11. CaptainPeabody Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2008
    star 3
    "The Jedi are crazy!" said the one-eyed genocidal pirate queen warlord war criminal.
  12. Ordo N-11 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2013
    star 3

    And Sparky!
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  13. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    I enjoyed Outcast. Unlike LOTF, the premise of the series wasn't terrible, aside from the fact that Denning had saddled it with Daala as COS. But returning to Fyor Rodan's question of the Jedi's relationship with the government, and the appearance to outsiders of a sense of superiority and entitlement and above-the-law status was a great and serious idea, and Allston treated it with actual seriousness, the only author to do so. Luke's decision to establish the Jedi as not above the law, to take on punishment and trust that the Jedi Order could fend for itself without him was a good step for the franchise and one that Outcast handled exactly the way it should be handled, completely subverting the Denningesque post-NJO equation. Having Luke and Ben start the series by retracing Jacen's steps to try to understand him, bringing them into contact with new groups and new ways of thinking, was a perfect premise, respectful of Jacen's legacy, not GALAXY IN CRISIS stuff, not LUKE SAVES THE DAY. It was a series of adventures that used Luke and Ben well, and Outcast started it off well with Luke and Ben helping heal a cancer in the Baran Do community.

    The idea of the Jedi attacked by this Lovecraftian horror driving them mad when they can least afford it was a solid concept. It gave the Jedi a solid challenge, complicated the political question, and introduced something cool and new. This also tied in the Kessel plot, which wasn't irrelevant at all, but was the first foreshadowing of Abeloth and the Celestials, a way to subtly introduce the concept of the villain and a little of the backstory behind her escape while engaging in a lighthearted, loving reunion of fan favorites in a low-stakes adventure about exploration and contact with the new and unexpected, which climaxed not in battle but in Han's conquest of fear and acceptance of unity with the strange beauty of nature. It's not Outcast's fault that the rest of the series failed to follow through on the seeds it planted or its serious and meaningful tone (and remember, Outcast was before we got the Lost Tribe added).

    After the incredibly misguided HIGH STAKES MISERY of LOTF, it was refreshing to have a relatively low-stakes story about addressing philosophical and political questions and achieving understanding and having to defeat an enemy that was threatening the Jedi but was new and strange and didn't offer the sort of cosmic stakes of another Sith invasion -- just a sort of Serious Waru. And in the form of a novel that was thematically focused on the idea of healing and enlightenment (healing Jacen's damage and understanding him, healing the Jedi/GA rift and understanding the Jedi's place in things, healing the ill Jedi, healing the Baran Do from the distortion of an unwise sect, healing Kessel, Han's moment of peaceful communion) -- it was such a breath of fresh air and such a good setup for the series FOTJ could have been. One about the Jedi Council coming together to make peace with the government and establish a new status quo after searching philosophical self-inquiry, the government coming together to reject Daala's anti-Jediism, Luke and Ben learning and understanding Jacen and redeeming or making peace with his legacy, the Jedi defeating a new threat without Luke and without a galactic crisis. Outcast was exactly what FOTJ should have been and wasn't because of Denning. It makes a pretty conclusive case that in Allston's hands, the post-NJO series would be infinitely better.
    Last edited by Havac, Oct 28, 2013
  14. Jeff_Ferguson Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2006
    star 4
    Outcast wasn't just bad, it was uncomfortably bad. Uncomfortable largely because Allston can do so much better --- his LOTF entries were solid novels within a series with a terrible premise. It was also uncomfortable because Allston tried to write Daala as sympathetic and as having any sort of moral high ground over the Jedi. Seriously, her discussion with Luke was from Luke's POV and had him thinking as much. It made me put down the book in frustration and go do something else.

    Luke and Ben with the Baran Do was a pretty big misfire. The first novel of a series is supposed to both set up and get the reader excited for the rest of the series --- Outcast did exactly neither. Luke and Ben went on this epic quest to find out what happened to Jacen, and then found out absolutely nothing about Jacen. There was no payoff from their trip to the Baran Do, and it had no bearing on the rest of the series at all, save for maybe starting to bring Luke and Ben closer together. Seriously --- Outcast is nothing but Allston killing time. He had to do so because they rushed the series into production way too early in the planning stages. None of the villains were developed yet; Jaina, Han, and Leia had no set role; they obviously hadn't decided just what Luke and Ben were going to discover about Jacen --- Outcast is a prologue that somehow got stretched into a full-length novel.

    The claim that the Kessel subplot isn't irrelevant is a weak one. Foreshadowing Abeloth can be done without dedicating one third of a book to a subplot with no villains, no real sense of danger at all, and a climax where everything goes smoothly save for "OMG, a spider!" The Kessel subplot was a total snoozefest that packed so much pointless baggage onto a single scene of Abeloth foreshadowing. And why did Allston do it? Because he was contractually obligated to kill time until the planning team figured out just what the hell they were doing. Hav, I honestly do believe that your love of Allston's previous works is prompting you to try your hardest to apologize for this stinker of a novel. "Low-stakes adventure" is another way of saying "pointless snoozefest where nothing of consequence or of interest happens." "Climaxed in Han's acceptance of fear" is another way of saying "There was no actual climax." "Thematically focused on the idea of healing" is another way of saying "Allston couldn't set up the series' plot yet because they hadn't yet figured out what that plot was."

    Outcast isn't what FOTJ should have been. If it had been, Luke & Ben would have visited and healed nine Force sects before saying "Whoops, we forgot to ask about Jacen." Outcast had some good ideas that Allston handled horribly. Betrayal got me excited about the rest of LOTF, but the big pile of nothing that happened in Outcast just left me bored and irritated.
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  15. DigitalMessiah Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    The Baran Do was part of an RPG questline. Luke needed the lightning rod technique to successfully talk to or meet the Aing-Ti or something, I don't really remember. But it was important! And he needed to meet the Aing-Ti to handle the Codex to sense the disturbance in the Maw!

    I think you could make a list of the subplots of the Fate of the Jedi novels, and per novel a majority of them could be excised because they do nothing to move the plot forward and their absence wouldn't affect the "story" at all. See: Dathomir. The first trilogy of novels could easily have been rolled into one novel with all the unnecessary fat trimmed out of them.
  16. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    I see what you're saying, but I genuinely did like Outcast when I read it. I mean, I had the same issue with Daala not being murdered on the first page and replace with Fyor Rodan, but is it really a complaint that Allston made the best of what he was given by taking the philosophical issues seriously despite the person he was stuck with as their mouthpiece? Should he have turned it into the unjustified-Jedi-revolt comedy hour of the series' last third? Should we have had the "Jedi give the middle finger to the real philosophical questions being raised just because of the person raising them" of every other book, so the Jedi can come off as unbearably self-righteous and the galactic president come off as cartoonishly evil? That's just not an issue you can pin on Outcast. It's Denning's fault and Invincible's fault. Outcast was a contestant on Iron Chef, and the featured ingredient of the week was turd. There's no winning that scenario.

    But the rest of the book was ultimately fine. If the Kessel subplot didn't do it for you, fine, but for me, it was pure fun. It had that sense of exploration and wonder and newness as Han and Leia explored Kessel. It had the fan joy of everyone being able to get together for a little reunion that didn't rely on OH NO CRISIS WILL THE HEROES SURVIVE? melodrama. It chose to emphasize internal, emotional climax rather than TENSE ACTION. Obviously every book can't do that, but I don't see why it's unacceptable as a refreshing change of pace in one book. And yeah, it would be nice to get a little more in terms of events, but I'm not going to object that a book chose to be fun and underdo the plot dramaz rather than the opposite, not after LOTF. They had nine books and not enough plot to fill them out -- that's a FOTJ problem, not an Outcast problem. What Outcast did with the bad hand dealt to it -- slow-burn the series plot by introducing the elements slowly and not bringing out the series villain into the open right away, and focus on having fun episodic adventures -- is about as good as it could do. It's not Outcast's fault that the series took too long afterward to kick into gear because it kept repeating the same premise infinitely and never figured out how to do anything but kill time. The choices Allston made for Outcast weren't themselves bad, and the fact is that Outcast left me thinking, "There's genuine potential in how this could play out," based entirely on the way Allston chose to present the series. It's not Outcast's fault that Troy Denning was in the driver's seat and everybody squandered Outcast's potential afterward.

    I mean, after LOTF, everyone was saying, "Why not have some lower-key Bantamesque adventures?" And Outcast started off FOTJ with . . . a low-key Bantamesque adventure that introduced a series premise that made something of its position on the timeline and seemed like a good enough starting point for a series. The failures afterward don't reflect so badly on Outcast, to me, that it retroactively erases the fact that Allston wrote a decent book that had me interested in where this series could go.
  17. Jeff_Ferguson Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2006
    star 4
    There's a huge difference, though, between taking philosophical issues seriously and actually having a Luke POV scene where he thinks to himself that Daala has moral high ground over him. Paying lip service to her bull**** is fine, but his internal monologue should be self-respecting and logical enough to counter, if only in his head, her raging about what Kyp Durron did with And what were you doing at the same time, Admiral? Committing genocide? That's right, you were! Yes, Allston was dealt a crappy hand with Daala being in the Chief of State's office, but trying to write her as sympathetic and morally superior to Luke was the absolute wrong way to play that hand.

    The Kessel subplot was a change of pace but wasn't a refreshing one. "Tense action" isn't a bad thing that needs to be lampooned; it's an essential ingredient for a climax. Episodic adventures that don't have the fate of the galaxy at stake are fine, but the execution of this one was awful. There was never any sense of danger, everyone laid the mines no problem, and then we got a laughable "emotional climax." Was Han's fear of spiders from Jedi Search really something that needed resolution? It's an incredibly trivial trait from a long-ago novel that is the most randomly uninteresting point to suddenly bring back and make the focus of your book's climax. It's a weak attempt at writing a climax when really all that Allston wanted to do was bring back a bunch of X-Wing characters for a reunion. Low-key episodic adventures aren't inherently fun, and changes of pace aren't inherently refreshing. This book was neither fun nor refreshing; it was a dud.

    I agree that the series should have kicked into a gear a lot sooner, but I maintain that Outcast is the book where it should have happened. And thus, I do see it as Allston's fault. He wrote Betrayal --- he knows how to kick a series into gear --- and there are so many things he could have done in this book to make it relevant to the rest of the series. Make the Baran Do plot actually about Jacen, for one. Make it at least slightly interesting and something about which I feel I should care, for two. Outcast fails as both a novel and as the opening chapter of a larger saga --- nothing is interesting, nothing is relevant, and parts of it are head-deskingly frustrating. Nobody squandered this book's potential because there was nothing to squander.
  18. instantdeath Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    A lot of sentences going on, but I don't mind, considering there will likely be nothing but blissful agreement for the next installments of the series.
    Todd the Jedi likes this.
  19. Jeff_Ferguson Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2006
    star 4
    lololol I already have my Omen one planned.
  20. Cynical_Ben Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    I'm just mad at Havac for putting up one better than mine.
  21. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1999
    star 6
    Fixed.
  22. instantdeath Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    You gave up your right to say what this thread is or isn't the moment you passed it to me. It is what I say it is.

    ... which, coincidentally, is not a review thread.

    Since we've got a 9 book series to slog through, I'm going to speed up the pace a bit (picking up the pace for me equals going back to the normal speed [face_not_talking]). @Havac wins this round. Can he beat his old LOTF streak?

    [IMG]

    And yes, in case you were wondering, this thread is going to be really depressing for awhile.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Oct 29, 2013
  23. The Compeer Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 12, 2013
    star 2
    Like that ominous-looking cover art? I hope so, because nothing inside the book is anywhere near that interesting; seriously, how does a visit to giant reptilian space-time-continuum benders become this boring? How do you screw that up?!
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  24. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    Can we just do one sentence or less on the covers of FOTJ, instead of the actual contents?
    Random Comments likes this.
  25. Todd the Jedi Mod and Inquisitor of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 6
    Way ahead of you, CT. ;)