Lit The 181st Imperial Discussion Group: Champions of the Force!

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Grey1, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    And yet those who don't do this would never realize just how crazy Daala is(or was), who Kyp Durron really was before NJO(I think knowledge of his history does tie into his characterization in the NJO, even though he was a late addition). In skipping all of Bantam the reader is also being robbed of the establishment of the Imperial Remnant(a fairly important amount of information for both NJO and beyond) stuff like Centerpoint Station and even Luke & Mara's romance and the beginnings of their relationship.

    I don't think reading the Wook page for Daala equals really understanding the things she did in Bantam, which leads to her FOTJ characterization seeming far more normal without the background material.

    You could certainly get by without it, but then I'd say that you might as well just read internet breakdowns of all the stories. No point to ever pick up a Star Wars novel, Bantam, Del Rey, whatever.
  2. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2000
    star 4
    What would you say is essential reading for the establishment of the Remnant? I'd think Hand of Thrawn would be sufficient for that. I'll agree that you need some angle to grasp the concept of the "good" or at least "collaborating" Empire. When I read Mercy Kill, and they travel into Imperial territory, I was actually surprised to be reminded at one point that they can travel between the areas without problem - the whole infiltration plot had actually set my head back to old X-Wing times, when Imperials were simply enemies.

    Regarding other things... DigitalMessiah's point isn't coming out of nowhere, and when someone made the joke some time ago that it would actually help not having read anything before DN/LOTF so you wouldn't notice the discrepancies in characters and decisions, I laughed at first, but then wasn't sure if that isn't the truth on some level.Is Daala ever played as "oh, she was crazy and incompetent all along, what were we thinking" in FOTJ? I know there's some slight reference in MF, and that she eventually turns out to be a villain, but I've never heard the series openly acknowledge that it was the most stupid move ever to give her the galactic government as a present. So while a new reader might simply think that a military commander turned politician is eventually revealed to have opinions not compatible with a democracy (or the existence of the Jedi, which is another topic entirely), which might even work as a plot, they do not spend eleven books crying "DAALA! WHY! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY STAR WARS? THE HUMANITY!!!"

    On the other hand, while I would gladly recommend the NJO series to new readers, I always feel that you don't really get the impact of the Vong destroying large parts of Bantam EU if you don't know its background. Also, while every SW era, especially the movies, have new characters pop up out of the woodwork without any background and we still have to immediately accept their importance, I feel like some EU characters don't make "enough" sense when the books use them. Diversity issues aside, Luke's Jedi order probably sounds pretty boring unless you imagine Kyp Durron as a Zabrak or Corran Horn as a Selonian as long as they are not implicitly described - if you don't know that all these characters have backgrounds that makes them popping up again interesting. Probably the same with the Empire's background mentioned above.

    Oh, and another thing - what's most important to understand Legacy? The NJO probably, or would you need Bantam for that?
  3. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    I'd say Hand of Thrawn is the most important as well, but the other books still add detail. How the heck did Pellaeon get in charge for instance or why is he friends with Daala are questions that get filled in along the way in Bantam.


    To help understand where the Fel Empire came from I think Bantam would still be of importance(combined somewhat with Dark Horse), though less so than in the overall view.
  4. Dr. Steve Brule Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    star 4
    Really, Darksaber and HOT are the two sides of the coin. Darksaber has Daala unite the warlords into a single new Empire, and at the end promote Pellaeon to admiral and give him command. HOT (which even acknowledges the events of Darksaber) then has the Empire moved into the Outer Rim, headquartered on Bastion with the Moff Council, and the peace treaty with the Republic. Those are really the main details that fill out the Imperial Remnant. I guess maybe Dark Empire/Crimson Empire would also be essential reading, if you need to be filled in on how the Empire got into the splintered state it was in Darksaber.

    As far as I know, nope, but then again that's not surprising given it's the same main author who set her up in Invincible who oversaw all of FOTJ and directly wrote a third of it, so it's not like he or his partners are going to basically point out that he did a terrible, idiotic thing.

    NJO for sure, or at least a passing knowledge of it. And maybe Republic to fill in some details, but definitely not as essential as NJO. But other than that I think it could be jumped into blindly, which I'm sure was part of its appeal to the public, at least at first.
  5. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2000
    star 4
    It almost sounds as if Dark/Crimson Empire and Darksaber nullify each other, don't they? ;) Seriously, though, if you come out of The Last Command, you don't have the feeling that there's a lot of warlords around that need to be united; and Pellaeon is in command of "the Empire" as the reader knows it, meaning whatever's left of Thrawn's forces. I think there's already a clear line that leads to the "friendly neighborhood" Empire, and while the Darksaber stuff is of course interesting, you wouldn't need to know how the Empire organized before going into peace talks. And in addition, since Daala "takes over" the Alliance later on, seeing her in full Imperial mode might rather be confusing than helpful?
  6. Dr. Steve Brule Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    star 4
    I don't think so. With the caveat that it's been a while since I've read the Thrawn books, I never remember thinking that Pellaeon was the leader of the entire Empire. Besides the fact that a single captain ruling the Empire for five years is nonsense, it always seemed to me (although I think early on this was overridden) that Zahn's implication was that Pellaeon's fleet that he held together for five years was Death Squadron from ROTJ, which might have been the Empire's pre-eminent fleet (hence why Thrawn chose it for his command) but was clearly not the only one. There were numerous other fleets besides Thrawn/Pellaeon's "core" fleet in TTT which never seemed like they would have followed Pellaeon prior to Thrawn, and while I don't remember any admirals showing up in the series, it is said pretty early on that there were 12 other Grand Admirals the Rebellion/Republic took care of since ROTJ, and I never thought that they would be following Pellaeon.

    As for it being confusing to have readers wonder why Daala would go from an Imperial to Alliance leader, well, if it helps them build up a healthy disgust of Denning and where he took the EU, then good.
  7. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    In The Essential Guide To Warfare, page 201- concerning Thrawn taking command.

    Though Thrawn was given nominal control over military forces by Ars Dangor's Ruling Council, the Pentastar Alignment's Kaine, and the Ciutric Hegemony's Prince-Admiral Krennel, in reality he was starved of assets: The Moffs lived in perpetual fear of not just the New Republic but also one another. Thrawn made little protest; his reorganization of the Empire's forces left the Moffs with adequate defenses and reinforced Orinda as the seat of Imperial power, while giving the Chiss Grand Admiral himself a decidedly modest complement.

    He took command of the fleet defeated at Endor, now reduced to just a dozen Imperial Star Destroyers, of which only six ships were judged fully loyal to Bastion (the Chimaera, Death's Head, Judicator, Inexorable, Nemesis, and Stormhawk), while the remainder formed a second force under the ambitious Captain Dorja of the Relentless. Thrawn accepted this state of affairs with equanimity, assuring Captain Pellaeon of the Chimaera that the opening stages of his campaign would require relatively few warships. If anything, he seemed to relish the challenge.

    Earlier (p185), it says that in the aftermath of RoTJ, when the fleet has retreated to Annaj, sector capital of the Moddell sector in which Endor is in:

    Admiral Blitzer Harrsk coldly informed Pellaeon that with the battle over, his command was nullified and belonged to Admiral Adye Prittick, the ranking Admiral. That was fine with Pellaeon; he didn't care who commanded Death Squadron so long as it returned to Endor.

    But Prittick couldn't make a decision. That touched off a quarrel among the flag officers; the council of war broke up acrimoniously when Harrsk declared he was taking the battlecruiser Ilthmar's Fist, the two remaining Tectors, and three Star Destroyers into the Deep Core until a clear chain of command was established. That prompted the two remaining captains from Elrood sector to return there for orders. Death Squadron was reduced to twelve Star Destroyers—a significant force, but one Prittick declared too small to guarantee victory. He ordered a withdrawal to Yag'Dhul, a missed opportunity that would torment Pellaeon.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Oct 30, 2013
  8. Dr. Steve Brule Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    star 4
    Yeah, I knew all of that, but those are all later developments not in TTT itself (although the imperial advisors being the ones to appoint Thrawn leader might have come from one of the Thrawn sourcebooks? It's definitely in the DESB)
  9. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    The implication that Pellaeon was a major figure in the post-RoTJ Fleet, is there in Heir to the Empire:

    p7:

    With the Executor's leadership gone, the battle had quickly turned into a confused rout, with several other Star Destroyers being lost before the order to withdraw had finally been given. Pellaeon himself, taking command when the Chimaera's former captain was killed, had done what he could to hold things together, but despite his best efforts, they had never regained the initiative against the Rebels. Instead, they had been steadily pushed back … until they were here.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Oct 30, 2013
  10. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2000
    star 4
    That is, of course, so, but the average reader who has to understand where the peaceful Imperial Remnant comes from will not know about source books, and about the fact that there are several fleets and Thrawn simply has one of those. It doesn't seem as if Captain Pellaeon led the Empire before Thrawn arrived and turned the tide, but it sure does seem as if he inherits Thrawn's little new Empire, and in the book where he's ready to reform the Empire into a peaceful state, he's grown into the position of "most sensible leader". Plus, we get details on further layers of the Empire with Disra - who doesn't simply order Pellaeon to stand down but has to resort to shadowy maneuvering, by the way. Introducing some Mofference so Daala can unite and/or dismember them is an interesting development for the Empire, but it's not really important for the creation of the peaceful friendly neighborhood Empire.
  11. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2000
    star 4
    Final words on this month, on this trilogy, on KJA, and on the Exar Kun extravaganza... I'm reading a real book right now, and a real book in the sense that it's a classic (Chandler's The Long Goodbye), and this makes me realize more than anything why I read (past tense) all these Star Wars novels and why I still read (present tense) some from time to time. Because it's fun to see these characters move through that universe. The books themselves do not really move me like a well-written novel does. But they are, somehow, interesting. And it's interesting to see this version of how Luke Skywalker matures and goes on to live in a world of wonder where Sith ghosts can survive in ironically chosen temples for thousands of years, where you can have a starfighter that can ram a star destroyer, and where a bunch of strays who are all misfits in their own ways easily live together and build lightsabers and have adventures, and only later on do we have to grow up and find out that one of them was on an ego trip.

    I actually won't mind if the sequel movies build another timeline, and I'm still unsure if I will dislike the movies for whatever reason, but I'm glad that for roughly twelve years plus a rough nine years in which things turned bad, stuff like these books simply shared the fun of making up what Luke Skywalker's galaxy would look like.
    JackG, fett 4, Gamiel and 2 others like this.
  12. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    Speaking from my own experience I can vouch for this. I first read the JA trilogy straight after reading TTT yet in the books there constant references to the reborn Emperor and I had no idea what KJA was talking about.
  13. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    In terms of book comparisons with "real books" I don't think Chandler or say Tolstoy are fair comparisons. Probably Flemming with the James Bond novels or David Gemmell with his books are probably more relevant in the adventure/character feel. In fact with the old OT characters, Legend with old man Druss would be very relevant or say Winter Warriors with retired ex-soldiers trying to protect a woman and her baby
  14. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2000
    star 4
    I think a lot of what to recommend people who move into the EU for the first time depends on whether the reader will want to have a spotless experience in which all pieces fit together, or if they are fine with such leaps. Reborn Emperor dragging Luke to the dark side? Peaceful Empire? Sounds like another one of those openning scrolls filling us in on what we missed last week. But I think it's only normal if one distinguishes between stuff that happened that could be explained but could also remain a mystery (Obi-Wan and Anakin talking about "that nest of gundarks" and "that business on Cato Neimodia" that doesn't count), and stuff that sounds like so much of a game changer that you'd want to fill the gaps. Reborn Emperor - that's pretty big; alien invasion, probably not so big. Han and Leia's son dying, now that changes something; oh, you meant the one that became a Sith first over the course of too many bad books - sounds like something that will sound cool in an opening scroll. Peaceful Empire, now that you have to explain.

    This seems like a good moment to once again tell how I read a short article about Dark Empire and thought "Star Wars comic books - nah, too expensive", then got Jedi Search and thought, "they reference that in here? should check it out after all...". Who knows if I'd ever started with the comics otherwise.

    I wasn't aiming to be fair. ;) Life's not fair, especially if you're just a Star Wars book.
    Last edited by Grey1, Oct 31, 2013
    Iron_lord likes this.
  15. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Now I tend to view Star Wars novels the same way I view any other multimedia spin-off. I think a lot of Star Wars novels aren't really all that different than a video game in a franchise that was mailed in with the understanding that the brand will sell the product in sufficient numbers regardless of quality. I don't think that the authors necessarily set out to do that, but the end result is a book that is only read because it's either Star Wars or because it has continuity and if you don't read it you might miss a reference in a different book! I think I wouldn't pick up a majority of the SW books if they weren't SW, and of the ones that I would have, I wouldn't re-read most of them -- I have re-read some SW books simply because of continuity.

    There's some Star Wars books that are simply books worth reading regardless of the fact that "STAR WARS" is on the cover or because it's relevant or otherwise gets a mention in some of the poor SW books, but not many...
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Oct 31, 2013
  16. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    Do anybody know how the audio adaption is in comparison of the books?
  17. Sniper_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2002
    star 4
    Save for abridgment the audio book is excellent. Clock this under the many times the weakest part of the adaption is the source novel itself.