Lit The 181st Imperial Discussion Group: I, Jedi! Again! (5th Anniversary Special)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Grey1, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    No doubt. Stackpole likely thinks that Corran could take down Luke, Palpatine and Mace Windu all at once.

    And I like Stackpole, but only when he isn't writing his favorite uber guy.
  2. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I'm really looking forward to reading I, Jedi, though also dreading it because I plan to reread the JAT beforehand. Something tells me I'll find them much, much less tolerable now then I did when I first read them.

    For my part, I didn't find Corran particularly annoying in the X-Wing series.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Apr 5, 2013
  3. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    I thought it was obvious. You narrowed the possibilities down to either Corran beats up Luke, or Luke beats the hell out of Corran. The third option is really an endless variety of encounters in which neither happens.

    I just finished the fight between Luke and Corran this morning.

    I'm really enjoying this discussion, because I can see the validity in so many of the comments.

    My thoughts on the fight, which I just read this morning and had a good laugh over:

    Early in the fight Luke simply isn't in it, he's not even paying attention. Corran describes him as "disinterested", so Corran dumps him on his ass. Fair enough, Luke wasn't into it.

    Now Luke should be more awake and he's presented as such. He's got his guard up now.

    Corran moves in again and Luke parries him easily and laughs like a jackass, and Corran kicks him in the gut. Oh Luke, you're so overconfident!

    Corran charges again and Luke smacks him with the Force, bloodying Corran's nose. I thought this made it clear that Luke could have crushed Corran if he really wanted to.

    Not so fast!

    Luke moves in "wordlessly", with "a feral grin" and "moving with a fluidity (Corran) had not seen in him before". He slashes at Corran, expecting him to catch it in his outer ring of defense, only Corran parries it much closer and moves in to shoulder butt Luke in the chin, "clicking his teeth sharply together". Then Corran punches Luke in the ribs and dumps him on his ass again. It seems like Corran just legitimately defeated Luke (or rather got the upper hand temporarily) when Luke was certainly trying.

    That's the end of the fight, they talk it out from there.

    I certainly see the idea that Luke is letting Corran win, in fact it appears that Luke is punishing himself for his failures here by letting Corran beat up on him a little. If Luke really wanted to win, I'm sure he could have dominated Corran.

    But at the same time, I definitely see Rogue 1.5's rather amusing take here as well. It does come off as pretty damn fan fictional. First, the beating Luke takes is almost Karen Travissish, though it doesn't last nearly as long. Luke is getting beat by classic "dirty fighting", which is often used by a writer's favorite practical, hard working hero. He don't need no stinking Force, he can just punch and kick Luke in the guts and bash his shoulder into Luke's chin. The gut blow and the teeth rattle is a classic way of taking a character down a peg.

    But why is Luke taking this beating? You can explain it away by having Luke feel like taking a beating, but it's still a choice by the writer, a choice to have his pet character rack up a win against the most powerful being in the galaxy. The third option I mentioned would be for Luke to simply defend himself as we all know he can. Let's get real here, Corran is not anywhere near Luke's level at this point, if ever. Corran's been training for like a month and hasn't really dueled anyone, while Luke has gone toe to toe with the biggest baddies in the galaxy. It's absurd to even compare them at this point.

    I also noticed a little dark emphasis on Luke, with no such emphasis on Corran. I'm not really making a judgment, just an observation.

    We have Luke laughing maniacally like an overconfident Palpatine just because he easily parried Corran's blow. Then he gets kicked in the gut, his "eyes hardened" and he smacks Corran in the nose with the Force, the only time the Force is used aggressively in this duel.

    All of Luke's lightsaber strikes are described in fatal fashion, while Corran's lightsaber strikes are not. Corran's are described as simple slashes, without any reference to what would happen if they land. Luke has a wordless intensity right before he puts on the "feral grin" ( a suspicious choice of words) and launches a blow that would have "bisected (Corran) from right shoulder to left hip" and a slash that "should have trimmed (Corran's) hair at roughly the level of (his) earlobes". The former description is the exact description often attributed to Vader. The latter attempted beheading is right before Corran dumps Luke on his ass again, before whirling away, effectively putting a non-lethal end to the fight in a very Luke-ish way.

    I think Havac perfectly describes Corran's appearance of perfection, especially the part about being aware of his flaws but not being able to fix them so easily. But I can see the annoyance factor in that, sometimes it comes off as Corran being flawed only because he allows it, it's like something out of Chuck Norris' facts. A lot of Corran's "oh I was wrong and they were right" seems like patronizing backpedaling that Corran has no intention of actually honoring, which I suppose plays right back into Corran's difficulties actually fixing the flaws after he recognizes them, which is why he still has the same flaws in I, Jedi that he had in X-Wing: Rogue Squadron.


    I'm not sure I agree about Corran's dissatisfaction with Luke's methods being necessary to advancing the plot toward the pirates (it certainly wasn't necessary in ESB), but I haven't gotten to that part and I'd like to read it again before I commit to anything.
    Last edited by CT-867-5309, Apr 5, 2013
  4. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Thanks CT, that made for an interesting read.
  5. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    I just read Horn vs Kun and again I walked away laughing at Havac's and Rogue's comments, because they both have truth to them.

    Havac is really spot on, Corran takes a vicious curb stomp beating, including breaking just about every bone in his body and being reduced to a sobbing baby.

    But I can definitely see Rogue's view of Corran weakening Kun. Corran theorizes that Kun weakens after every display of power, and he plots out sound reasoning as to why and Kun even seems to maintain a pattern that coincides with this. I didn't see anything to suggest that Corran was wrong about this. So from a certain POV that I don't really find anything wrong with, Kun handed Corran a beating, but also weakened himself in the process. You can speculate that Corran went to Kun for this very purpose, to weaken Kun, and succeeded, even if it didn't go the way he planned it.

    At the very least, Corran served as the bait for the trap, because Kun got knowledge of the trap by probing Corran's mind. There's no doubt this was intentional, because Corran gives Kun the "you lost, it's over" speech right before Kun reaches into Corran's mind to find the thought Corran had "nestled there", as in waiting there for Kun to find. After Kun leaves, Mara asks what he was talking about, and Corran says "Bait. Kun's heading into a trap. A big trap". Mara asks "any chance he can get out of it?" This is where I started laughing. Corran responds, despite being viciously beaten and not even being able to move, "Shouldn't be able to. It really is over for him." Cuz Corran weakened him, AMIRITE? LOL. Or is he really that confident that the others he's been blowing off can handle Kun at full strength? He doesn't even know what they're planning to do, he specifically avoided hearing their plan so Kun couldn't get it from his mind. Mara calls him an idiot for trying to take on Kun alone, and Corran calls himself a "big idiot, thank you". Is he agreeing that it was stupid? Perhaps. But then he holds out his broken arm for Mara to set and says "Do what must be done - which is what I was out here doing myself". LOL! Corran was doing what must done, he was taking a beating to weaken Kun so the others could defeat him! Or maybe he was referring to the bombs he was setting. I think it's probably both and Stackpole was having a big laugh.
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  6. Dr. Steve Brule Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    star 4
    She was in a couple of Stackpole's X-wing comics. I think those were her only other appearances. I liked Tavira, and I guess she comes across competently, but I don't really see her as being developed more than any of the recurring Bantam warlords.

    See, I read this as coming from an OOU perspective of Stackpole trying to use IU reasoning to justify why he ignored KJA's earlier relationship for Wedge in favor of his own romantic interest, even though that is a huge logical fallacy. It's another area where he's using I, Jedi (for right or wrong) to show how something KJA came up with wasn't good, albeit in I think a much more subjective way. Pointing out the flaws in Luke's reasoning over Kyp or Exar Kun is one thing, but basically inventing in-universe personality flaws to justify dumping a character's relationship for an OOU reason is different.
  7. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    star 4
    I remember back from when I first read the book that it wasn't as great as I had expected it to be. That cool guy from those cool X-Wing novels going Kyle Katarn? Great! (Actually, the first time I saw the book in stores, my first thought upon the summary was 'gee, that sounds like they should have made a Kyle Katarn novel instead'.) But I never found it great, and still struggling a bit through the re-read, I'm wondering if I'd even choose words like 'good' or 'nice', or if I'd just go with 'interesting ideas'.

    I can see frustration and anger with how this novel deals with established works by another author. If The Clone Wars had done something like this, maybe retcon Ahsoka into the events of the holy cow Obsession, this forum would be aflame. Looking back with the knowledge I have now, it gets a bit worse since I can see the big picture Stackpole and Zahn prepared between this and Hand Of Thrawn. The dismissive stance towards KJA's work - Luke's decisions first, Wedge's love life a close second - are superimposed on existing continuity along with neutral stuff like Caamas and Car'das, and somehow they got away with it at the very end of the Bantam era.

    I see where the stance that Havac et al are having is coming from. Unreliable narrator and all. But the way I see it, either Stackpole isn't all that good at writing an unreliable narrator, or the concept doesn't work in a fictional universe like SW that's so dependant on continuity. I wouldn't want to support the second claim, since you can easily point towards the Darth Maul Episode 1 Journal to see a POV that's both not the party line and not jarring at the same time. Corran is jarring. The problem with praised unreliable narrator writers that end up creating conflict (Traviss was already mentioned above), in my opinion, is that they cross the line and don't keep their critical views fictional enough. And maybe that leads back to the second reason I gave above, and SW continuity doesn't work well with unreliable narrators because it needs to know what's up. And it needs to stay true to that.

    Corran's POV isn't simply that of a military guy, or a cop guy, or an arrogant guy saying that he disagrees with choices and the evaluation of events. It's the POV of someone who A) uncovers something new about what happened - Luke's weaknesses - and therefore gains interpretation authority over older sources, and B) goes all Cubert Farnsworth on EU. Meaning that he's too down to earth. "Realistic" hard sci-fi works well in some aspects of the SW universe, the X-Wing novels are for example less fairy tale-like and that's a great thing. I know that this is also very popular. But you should accept that this is a niche, and that a lot of SW is mythical fairy stuff with a lot of magic in it. To pinpoint my idea about this a bit better, remember how Corran has to implement order and physical education in the Jedi training. Why? Why would Stackpole assume that that wasn't on Luke's curriculum anyway? "I was a rebel freedom fighter and military leader and hotshot pilot earlier and longer than Corran, but I'm surprised when he suggests training basics"? It's fine to have Corran as a valued asset to the new Jedi generation, just like Tionne adds her storytelling ability to the foundation of the order; but Luke needing "military assistance" and being surprised by dirty fights when Vader once threw an entire landfill at him in the most unfair way possible, that doesn't add up. Is it to give Corran a more important role in this, or is it that KJA's Praxeum concept as it is presented onscreen has to be invalidated? "Too much esoteric stuff, being a good ol' soldier is much better"? And again, it could work if we stayed in Corran's mind more and understood better that it's meant to be a down-to-earth view by someone who hasn't fully grasped the makings of the SW galaxy, who will be surprised by what the universe looks like when he opens up to the Force. But we don't. The changes made to give Corran's critical approach a point of entry simply damage everything.

    Short side rant, what would have been so bad about Lando and Mara really having hooked up at one point? And even worse, why do Mara and Corran - who of course need to talk about the fact that they could never be a couple, because that's what you do with colleagues of the opposite sex all the time - have to put Lando down, and have scoundrel-stand-in Booster participate at the same time?

    Another side rant, what would have been so bad about Wedge hooking up with Qwi? Stackpole really comes across as if he thinks he owns the character and can hook him up with his own creation if he prefers. And again, it's okay if Corran is so narrowminded that he dislikes Qwi for building weapons of mass destruction, but it is, again, direct Cubert critique of KJA's idea (how couldn't she see that she was inventing weapons? preposterous!). If you thought KJA's idea was bad and "unrealistic", just follow our lead. Zahn will cap it off in HoT and make it the definitive version.


    But yeah, the other problem I have with the novel is that it's too long. The structure doesn't work for me, and I don't really like it when a SW novel isn't showing one fast series of events, but a larger amount of time that is lampshaded as taking really long. We're not in realistic CIA operation theory here, we're in a Hollywood blockbuster. Act as if it is one. I think the novel would have benefitted from being either a duology, or from cutting stuff down. You don't get the entire Kun/Daala/Kyp story anyway, so just hint at it. Have the Praxeum over with in three chapters. I think it would have been better if it had been written like the training levels in the Jedi Knight games, Outcast and Academy. Just enough to see that the character goes through some training and learns about himself, but not this half-baked solving-a-crime-along-the-way-now-back-to-the-real-plot-thank-you-very-much.
  8. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    Thing is Stackpole only writes it from one characters POV and has various characters in the book and in the past that clearly disagree with that character. Traviss went somewhere else there with various characters going into hive mind mode more than once...


    Not really, we just get his view on the events, his conclusions are just that, his conclusions on what is happening. Someone else would see it differently.

    As Corran mentions in I, Jedi he expects it to be more like his Police training which had a lot of physical exercises. Luke counters is saying that he feels that force training should be exhausting enough but lets his students physically train if they want to. Then they agree on defensive training methods taught by Corran. It’s actually pretty consistent with KJA here were Luke comes up with training lessons pretty much on the fly, because he doesn’t really know what he is meant to do.

    Thing is, Vader uses the force for it, Corran goes out of his way to not use the force here. Especially since he can’t use the force for such tricks.


    Not all force users see the force the same way, which is a thing that has been established a long time and not all have the same approach to it. Corran is clearly more in the physical and feels more connected to it that way, than others will. Luke is more on a mystic level here, something which he is also in the KJA novels, which actually is deeply odd because his training by Yoda is deeply physical and I can understand why Zahn takes it down a step in the Hand of Thrawn novels, because the Luke we see is moving ever more into using the Force for everything (which he really does in the Novels after the founding of the Academy).

    No, but it isn’t necessary to have happened either.

    Corran clearly has an attraction for here, since he also has an ego several times the size of a Death Star, he of course needs to let Mara know. [face_whistling]

    Ah that's just a bit of banter.

    No kids. Plus Allston actually gave a pretty good explanation of the break up in Starfighters of Adumar.

    It's so much worse with the 20 odd love interests Luke has had that I can forgive it.

    Corran again is being a jerk here, as he doesn’t even know her.


    Actually I have to agree here, as the Jedi Academy part is rather boring to read at times (which might just be me because I can’t stand Force philosophy) and could easily have been cut down to expand the other parts.
    Last edited by Gorefiend, Apr 7, 2013
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  9. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    Corran's conclusions are backed by Corran's observations (Luke showing weakness when Corran critizices the academy, Luke showing dark tendencies when letting loose in the fight - which prepares the Zahn interpretation) which are presented in a way that we regularly wouldn't doubt. In SW, a very visual fiction, we do not doubt "what we see". That's why I think that this whole POV narrator thing doesn't work all that well here.

    The fact that Vader used the Force and Corran just hits and kicks doesn't matter, it's dirty fighting, and Luke never really learned that much lightsaber style anyway. And yes, if you insist I can spell out that I think that in the eleven years since ANH and on top of that in his career as a guy called "Wormie" by the cool kids in town, he would have picked up on the fact that fighters might hit and kick.

    Lando and Mara wasn't necessary... but it was there. Wedge not having kids in the future... well, stuff like that happens, and I'm not sure if it's for the best that SW EU turned into one huge family where all Stackpole/Zahn characters married into the huge movie character melting pot. Sans Lando. The thing is, Stackpole could have written a great book in which he went into detail explaining why Mara only seemed to sleep in Lando's quarters, and in which Wedge mentally accepted the fact that he'd never have kids of his own but that's okay because he's not have them together with Qwi, and in which he finally adopted three Selonian kids that were just as awesomesauce as Nat Skywalker's adopted kids that carried his name, and who would pine at hot uncle Corran when they were grown up in LOTF. But no, he's backpedaling on these issues. Eh, I wanted to have him have kids with the character I invented. And Tim set up Mara as Luke's biggest love ever, she can't have slept with one of Luke's friends half a decade earlier.


    You know, in the end I'm not sure if I would excuse bad stuff in a book just because others do much worse. Yes, Jedi Academy is boring, and there should have been a committee discussing ideas before KJA put them into canon. But Stackpole does stuff like that, as well. Tavira? Child prostitute governor concubine (I'm exaggerating) turning Moff because her husband dies (!) turning tactical genius and man-eating leader of a band of pirates? Youngest Moff ever and female to boot and sexy as hell, that's typical fan fiction stuff. I'm not saying that I, Jedi is absolutely terrible, but it obviously isn't high art and it isn't even the best SW can offer. It's the next installment in a series that readers loved (X-Wing) and it's an experiment in having a first person narrator in a SW novel. But I can't find it particularly engaging.

    It's not an adventure of a pretty cool guy getting his wife back, it's a guy writing down his autobiography about the time of his quarter- to midlife crisis in a somewhat bland way. And when X said something, I suddenly realized I had to turn my life around 180 degrees. And when Y said you have to do that, everything in my life suddenly made sense. And four weeks later, I realized something entirely different. That might be realistic, and it might even be realistic that in another scenario a person doesn't change although he always talks about it - everyone in real life has been there - but it's not presented in a good way. Corran's doing stuff. The deeper meaning doesn't shine through. Stackpole doesn't really work out his plan for having Corran mature. He's just writing through the stations of realizing stuff about his talents, his father, his family, his place in the universe. And then he's writing a pretty standard plot about infiltrating a pirate group that doesn't hold many relevations for Corran Horn's Journeying Years.
  10. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    Corran's conclusions are backed by Corran's observations (Luke showing weakness when Corran critizices the academy, Luke showing dark tendencies when letting loose in the fight - which prepares the Zahn interpretation) which are presented in a way that we regularly wouldn't doubt. In SW, a very visual fiction, we do not doubt "what we see". That's why I think that this whole POV narrator thing doesn't work all that well here.

    The fact that Vader used the Force and Corran just hits and kicks doesn't matter, it's dirty fighting, and Luke never really learned that much lightsaber style anyway. And yes, if you insist I can spell out that I think that in the eleven years since ANH and on top of that in his career as a guy called "Wormie" by the cool kids in town, he would have picked up on the fact that fighters might hit and kick.

    Lando and Mara wasn't necessary... but it was there. Wedge not having kids in the future... well, stuff like that happens, and I'm not sure if it's for the best that SW EU turned into one huge family where all Stackpole/Zahn characters married into the huge movie character melting pot. Sans Lando. The thing is, Stackpole could have written a great book in which he went into detail explaining why Mara only seemed to sleep in Lando's quarters, and in which Wedge mentally accepted the fact that he'd never have kids of his own but that's okay because he's not have them together with Qwi, and in which he finally adopted three Selonian kids that were just as awesomesauce as Nat Skywalker's adopted kids that carried his name, and who would pine at hot uncle Corran when they were grown up in LOTF. But no, he's backpedaling on these issues. Eh, I wanted to have him have kids with the character I invented. And Tim set up Mara as Luke's biggest love ever, she can't have slept with one of Luke's friends half a decade earlier.


    You know, in the end I'm not sure if I would excuse bad stuff in a book just because others do much worse. Yes, Jedi Academy is boring, and there should have been a committee discussing ideas before KJA put them into canon. But Stackpole does stuff like that, as well. Tavira? Child prostitute governor concubine (I'm exaggerating) turning Moff because her husband dies (!) turning tactical genius and man-eating leader of a band of pirates? Youngest Moff ever and female to boot and sexy as hell, that's typical fan fiction stuff. I'm not saying that I, Jedi is absolutely terrible, but it obviously isn't high art and it isn't even the best SW can offer. It's the next installment in a series that readers loved (X-Wing) and it's an experiment in having a first person narrator in a SW novel. But I can't find it particularly engaging.

    It's not an adventure of a pretty cool guy getting his wife back, it's a guy writing down his autobiography about the time of his quarter- to midlife crisis in a somewhat bland way. And when X said something, I suddenly realized I had to turn my life around 180 degrees. And when Y said you have to do that, everything in my life suddenly made sense. And four weeks later, I realized something entirely different. That might be realistic, and it might even be realistic that in another scenario a person doesn't change although he always talks about it - everyone in real life has been there - but it's not presented in a good way. Corran's doing stuff. The deeper meaning doesn't shine through. Stackpole doesn't really work out his plan for having Corran mature. He's just writing through the stations of realizing stuff about his talents, his father, his family, his place in the universe. And then he's writing a pretty standard plot about infiltrating a pirate group that doesn't hold many relevations for Corran Horn's Journeying Years.
  11. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    Luke permanently seems distracted since coming to Yavin, something that also comes across it that way in the JAT and might actually be Exar Kuns influence, so who knows if it was not actually intentional.

    Thing is, it was shoot down long before I, Jedi or the Hand of Thrawn with the Correlia Trilogy when Lando goes wife hunting. Though yes I would not have minded them at least hooking up for a while, but it is really never made explicate that they did connect power converters in the JAT, so Zahn and Stackpole just went with it being for cover.

    Which always struck me as odd, as Lando seems to get ever more sidelined, but then that might be do to LOTJ/FOTJ only being about Jedi, Sith, Jedi, Sith and Force Monsters. [face_plain] Also people splitting up happens, so Wedge/Qwi just did not last.

    Gavin already went there, so no need to do it again with Wedge. And he could have done so @ Mara/Lando but since its a Corran POV book why would either tell him.

    As much as I like the idea of awkward scenes between Luke and Lando, I can’t blame anyone for making SW less soap operatic.

    I usually don’t, but Lukes love life has become so ridicules, strange relationships are one of the things I will let pass in SW. Otherwise I would have a lot of reasons more to hate Traviss.

    I wouldn’t even call it boring; the ideas tend to be awesome, writing not so much.

    Actually nep your not, that is exactly what she was.

    She properly poisoned him, which he was apparently strong enough to survive (Grand Moffs in general must be tough SOBes) but was paralyzed, until he went to therapy and was getting better, until he supposedly shoot himself.

    She spent a lot of time with Zsinj, Teradoc and various pirates during which she properly learned a few tricks, plus all her attacks are hit and run, so not that much tactical genius.

    Yep, man eating is very consistent here actually :p she killed a Moff who was in love with her, corrupted a Rebel Leader (and prince of his home world) and then got him to die, slept her way to the top of a pirate gang and killed their leader, and then gets a Warlord to give her a Star Destroyer. She seems to have a certain skill set appreciated by powerful man. [face_whistling]

    Self appointed ;)

    Per Corrans POV, as she looks at lot like Mirax and Erisi, it fits.

    Of course not, but it is still among the better ones.
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  12. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    I don't think it's that high a figure, plus: Across how many years?
  13. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    I just finished it this morning. I still enjoyed it this time through, but much less than I did before.

    I noticed when reading through the acknowledgements that Stackpole wrote this in a "manic month", it may have been better if he had more time. Or not, just speculating.

    I, ME - The 1st person narrative. I think it's a good idea and I'd like to see it again, but Stackpole is hit and miss. For the most part, he did a good job keeping Corran separate from the events of JAT, he's always somewhere else when major events go down. At least he gave us that much. Unfortunately spending an entire novel inside the head of a man whose arrogance and self-righteousness knows no bounds can get pretty tough to bear and Stackpole doesn't mitigate this at all. I kept waiting for Wedge to show up and smack him and I don't even like Wedge.

    I, AVATAR - 1st person was the obvious choice, especially when he decided to insert him into JAT, but Stackpole went way too heavy handed with it. I thought it worked well after JAT, though.

    I, JAT - Ugh. The first time through I didn't think Stackpole went too far, but this time it was just too much. It just seems like Corran (and Stackpole) is just there to tear everything to pieces and nothing more. It just came off as pure bashing. I know he tries to back off it later, but it was too little too late. It made me feel kinda sick, especially since I didn't even agree with much of it. Considering the second half of the plot, the entire JAT plot comes off as completely unnecessary and just mean spirited. Corran didn't need to be there during the events of JAT at all. There are several other ways Corran could have gotten Jedi instruction. The entire JAT section should have been removed from the book and the Jedi training should have been redone separate from JAT.

    The pirate plot is standard X-Wing stuff and is very good. I should repeat that because I liked it that much, the pirate plot was very good and I really enjoyed it. This really just should have been a standard X-Wing book with a bit of Jedi training at the beginning, not 200 pages worth. Yeah, that's right, Corran doesn't get to Yavin 4 until page 85 and leaves on page 296. Cut that in half at least, and maybe dump a few more pages into the back end. The end, the rescue of Mirax, the Jensaarai resolution and Tavira's defeat was kinda rushed.

    I'm curious to know if anyone has read I, Jedi without reading JAT. It seems like they'd be missing a lot, like they wouldn't really know what's going on. It's been a while since I read JAT, and though much of it came back to me, I still felt like I was missing vital details. It just felt incomplete. It seems like reading I, Jedi without reading JAT first would make Corran's criticisms even worse.

    I , Down to Earth - It's an interesting take. I think it worked fine from what I read into it. Corran sees the Force the way I probably would, he's not a spiritual type, it's new to him and he doesn't really see the Force as a religious experience and that is at the root of his failures, which redeems the book a bit underneath all of Corran's arrogance.

    I, Lampshade - I hated it. His take on Luke's final moments with his father was just way off and it felt like he was forcing his own feelings on Luke to push his agenda, which I found false anyway. False reasoning for a false conclusion. Yeah, unreliable narrator, but not really because Luke just eats it up. Later Corran is talking about Yoda and Kenobi as if he had any idea what the **** he was talking about. How the hell would he even know any of that stuff? The answer is because Corran has an expert opinion on EVERYTHING. It just felt way out of line. Corran and Luke aren't even friends, they just met like a month ago, and Corran is tearing apart Luke's past. It definitely came across as Stackpole jumping into the book to give us his take on the OT for some reason, even though it wasn't particularly relevant. It was like reading some fan picking apart the OT here on the JCF. Somehow he manages to establish a false characterization of Luke, back off on that, and then use that false characterization as a reason for Corran to give Luke his "I know the dark side" browbeating, even to the point of thumping his chest several times. Literal chest thumping. For some reason Luke doesn't tell him that it's different now because he can feel the Force when he couldn't before.

    I'm tired of writers beating up on Luke and having Luke nod his head like a dummy.

    I can definitely understand Corran's feelings on Kyp, but he goes about it in typical annoying Corran fashion. He gives Luke a speech about the function of punishment, as if Luke is new to the concept. This was right before his expert take on Yoda and Kenobi. He apparently can't be on the same planet with Kyp, but he can pal around with Mara the former Imperial assassin.

    At least Corran wasn't "there" for the major events of JAT, so the actual events don't really get re-written, Stackpole just blasts them through Corran. I'd rather he didn't, since it was entirely unnecessary, it made his own character unbearable and I'm probably the only one who doesn't have a huge problem with how the praxeum was handled, for the most part. I thought Luke went about it the right way, the way Luke would, he just let things get out of control.

    I, Midlife - The decision to have kids was resolved quite quickly and in hindsight was probably one of the better parts of the book, especially with how the dilemma was used to kick off Mirax's disappearance. His father's last message was really obligatory at this point.


    Follow ups:

    This is a pre-prequel book and I noticed some bits that reminded me of the prequels. Corran makes dealing with the Invids a condition for making a decision on having kids. In response to that, Mirax tries to find the Invids, or at least that's Corran's conclusion. Corran has his vision and comes to the conclusion that he is responsible for Mirax's disappearance. It's not at all exact, but it still reminded me of the visions from the PT, and definitely Luke's vision in ESB, which is referenced. I did like the way Luke responded to Corran's vision, he responds the way I wish Yoda responded to Anakin, with grounded compassion. I also got a laugh out of Corran thinking his detachment from Tionne was possibly stunting his connection to the Force.

    I like Stackpole's take on Corran's military approach to Jedi training, simply because it's a total failure. Yeah, it was stupid to have Luke completely unfamiliar with basic combat training, but Luke ain't wrong. Luke is focused on the Force, Corran isn't. Plain and simple. It's the root of Corran's struggles at the Academy. Take telekinesis, for example. I know Corran's family is established as always having been weak at TK, but there's another side to it. Corran's lack of TK came off as a result of his secular approach. He's just too logical, the ability to move things with his mind just isn't something Corran can truly believe and that is why he fails. It reminds me of Neo from the Matrix failing the jump program. Qui-Gon would tell Corran to feel, don't think.

    Speaking of unreliable 1st person narrators, I caught something that made me chuckle. At the end of Chapter 16, Corran is denying that he is bothered by Kyp's rapid progress, even explaining that he's been second best before and that he can accept that. Kam praises his maturity. Only, the very next chapter starts with Corran in awe of Kyp's abilities and came off as Corran basically saying "how am I supposed to beat this guy?"

    Of course, because Corran is so awesome, Mara shows up and they start flirting immediately and they become best friends. Tionne wants her some fighter-jock. Of course Tavira is driven into a sexual frenzy by him. You might as well add Timmser and even Caet to the list, Corran did. Corran, you're such a ladies' man. Oh, and he cooks too! What a catch.

    On page 229, Corran has a thought so ridiculous even he recognizes it as "pure arrogance and stupidity".

    When Corran leaves, he lists a bunch of reasons that didn't make any sense even at the time. He says things aren't working (aka Luke's training sucks), even though his Jedi skills have progressed significantly by this point. When he first got there he couldn't even feel the Force outside of himself. He says it's no challenge, even though he can't make a pebble wobble with TK. It's his military training style that is holding him back. He's really leaving to go save Mirax, the way Luke left to save his friends, why couldn't Stackpole just say that, instead of having Corran trash Luke on his way out? It wasn't necessary to advance to the pirate plot, only his desire to save Mirax was needed for that.

    I thought Tavira was a great villain. At the very least, she came off as competent simply because she wasn't a total caricature that got assassinated by Daala, like some other clowns. She got started by having an affair with a Moff, killing the Moff's wife, marrying the Moff and then killing the Moff and taking over his assets. That at least shows signs of plotting. She comes off as smart because she doesn't bite off more than she can chew, she keeps her head down, she stays away from the big boys. She's not trying to take down the entire New Republic with the Invidious, she's not trying to take on the other warlords and declare herself ruler of the Empire, she's just engaging in piracy for profit and pleasure. She managed to move in on Susevfi, take out the Moff to put an end to his oppression, declares the New Republic the new oppressive enemy and blackmails the Jensaarai into serving her, allowing her to use the Jensaarai's foresight to basically make her unassailable. She subjugated a group of Force users, that's impressive. Also, she's hawt and totally seduces Corran, assaulting his honor and succeeding to an extent. I hated the mind trick at the end, it made her look weak minded, which she wasn't. Not to mention how ridiculous it was to have Corran mind trick her from the surface of Susevfi way out into space. Good job Stackpole, you had Corran mind trick a strong minded person from a ridiculously vast distance, next time you can just have Corran mind trick the villain from the other side of the galaxy in the first dozen pages and stop the plot before it even starts. I'm surprised Stackpole didn't have Corran mind trick the Vong despite their being "empty in the Force" or whatever.

    On page 340 Corran basically says "I don't need no stinking Jedi training". Yeah, I know he changes his mind, but it didn't make it any less disgusting. I'm Corran Horn, I'm too good to be a Jedi, all I need is my CorSec training and my mad piloting skillz. UGH. Despite the fact that he was using the Force a ton at that point and even more later. If he was going to have Corran come to this conclusion, even if it was only a temporary one, I would rather he didn't trash JAT and everything in it first.

    The turning point seems to be when he constructs his lightsaber, he has a bit of a spiritual awakening.

    Luke comes off as incredibly condescending toward the Jensaarai at the end, and not really right about them in any way.

    Speaking of the Jensaarai, they were just sorta there. They were just kinda thrown in, weren't really used and given half ass development at the end. Probably could have done without them and put the focus more on Tavira and her forces.

    Despite the decidedly non-fairy tale mindset of the entire book that Grey1 mentioned, Mirax is Sleeping Beauty and Corran awakens her at the end with a kiss. It was kinda jarring and doesn't mesh well with the style of the story at all.
    Last edited by CT-867-5309, Apr 7, 2013
  14. JediMara77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    Interesting discussion.

    I wanted to add a comment regarding Stackpole and KJA. I've seen the two of them together on panels at Dragon*Con several times now. They've also contributed to many of the same anthologies. They may disagree with their different interpretations of the Star Wars universe, but as far as I can tell, there is absolutely no animosity between the two individuals.
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  15. kataja Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2007
    star 4
    Very good and interesting discussions here! I'm not use I can add anything new, but at least I can give my five cents.

    - I, Me - First person narratives are tricky - but when they work out, they offer a brilliant opportunity to do new things. I was very optimistic about this book as I'd read Stackpole/Corran in NJO and liked the result. Also, I knew Corran was a cocky sort of character and thought him in the role of the unreliable narrator offered a great opportunity. I must admit I wasn't happy with the book, though. Corran comes off far, far too full of himself, and not much in the first chapters offered any break from him, so I stopped reading not one fourth into the novel. Over a couple of years I tried to return to it, and finally managed to work myself through it last autumn, I think. It's hard to pinpoint why it doesn't work out at all for me. Partly, it must be, that I simply don't find Corran interesting or charming enough to follow. I found Stackpole's prose too long-winded already in his X-Wing books, aprticularly when Corran was involved - and in I, Jedi where Corran constantly rethinks his concept of the world but never his own magnitude in it, I just grow tired.


    Also, as Grey1 is suggesting, unreliable narrators are problematic in a universe like SW, that's very dependant on continuity. I know Corran's not all reliable. Question is, how reliable is he? When IS HE reliable? And is there at all anything to be reliable about in a fictional universe? Let's take that famous Luke+Corran fight. Does Corran beat Luke? It could certainly seem like he does, if you follow the text. The argument against it, is, that no way Corran can beat Luke Skywalker. But who is Luke Skywalker? A guy who threw away his lightsaber before his worst enemy and only got saved by his dad. A guy who nearly went dark and had to be saved by his sister. A guy who got overpowered by a fourthousand year old Sith ghost and spent the final battle lying in coma, having to fight through his two/three year old nephew and assisted by his students. A guy who's long list of mistakes we are confronted with by Corran and not one year after (RL time) by Mara. Smart guy, him, Luke Skywalker. Maybe Corran actually did beat him? Besides, the aggression Luke seems to show in the fight (feral grin, dealing out bloodnoses with Force punches, etc.), fits well with what we learn in VOTF - he's constantly near to the Dark Side. Or is he? I for sure, don't know what to think. Or I do, actually, but not what I'm supposed to think! My conclusion is therefore that if first person's narrative is used, the irony should be much, much clearer. It's not because we're dealing with a fictional universe, though - I've seen 1st pers. narratives work fine in such ones before. I think it's because SW is a narrative universe already shattered by a plethora of different authors.


    - I, Avatar - This question is probably closely related to the former but as I see it, it fails for the same reasons: the ambiguity becomes far, far too great.


    - I, Jedi Academy and I, Lampshade: I'm not a fan of one author redoing an other authors works. On teh other hand, I'm not a fan of JAT either, and I definitely think that trilogy could have needed a helping hand. Problem is, that the effort I, Jedi makes , is driven by the novels own agenda. I don't think JAT is made to look better, and I definitely don't think Luke is either. The idea of more students being present that we see in JAT is good though. As for how JAT works as part of I, Jedi, I'd say it's ok.

    - I, Down to earth: This was good, I think. I can get very tired of Force speculations simply because every author has his/her take on how it works, but here we plainly got Corran's POV. That was good, and his take fit his character.

    - I, Midlife: This is the part of the book that works best, I think. At least he learns the truth about his heritage and stops being frantic about his father. Quite how he becomes ready to raise a family of his own, I don't get - then again Mirax is portrayed like he doesn't have much of a say.




    Other comments. I Jedi might work better for me, if VOTF wouldn't follow up one some of its ambiguities, like f.ex. Mara dismissing all of Luke's other students but Corran.

    The ideas that Luke would be green to rough-and-tumble as well as military approach seem very odd to me. The latter is probably taken from KJA's strange set up for the Academy, but Stackpole doesn't make it better by saying it out loud.

    I, womanizer. In general, I want more sex in Star Wars, I really do. Luke, Wedge, Mara, Lando - let them have their fun. But please, keep Corran Horn out of that! The X-.Wing books were full of his dance around Erisi Dlarit and Mirax, having such a hard time choosing between them. Plus Iella and an Otter. In I,Jedi, he makes Tavira loose her head - and suggest Mara might be interested in him too, at least physically. Give me a break!
    Last edited by kataja, Apr 7, 2013
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  16. kataja Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2007
    star 4
    Count me in!
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  17. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    I was pretty harsh on the book, so let me add some praise.

    Just another example of Stackpole writing THE best dogfights in Star Wars EU, bar none.
  18. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    A lot of what others have said, but one thing that does bug me is the ending. If it had been Corran deciding he preferred being a fighter pilot, rather than a Jedi and was happy that would have been pretty good. A nice bit of character development ie that he had found himself. Instead it's wrapped up in the "he can do the most good here" BS, which even superficially does not hold up, and just felt like Stackpole wanted Corran to be all noble and a hero, no matter what.
    It was like when Filoni said Lucas had the whole Ahsoka line, about not trusting herself rather than the Council inserted, it just made no sense with what went before.
  19. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    I finally finished my rereading of I, Jedi as part of my Bantam favorites rereading, I had been halfway through it for months, so I should be able to contribute much more to this discussion going forward.
  20. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Havac's post has made me rethink a few things. I think his points that Corran's arrogance is often there so he can be brought down a peg or two is occasionally correct. Those pulling up moments where Corran is more fallible in I, Jedi than I've painted him . . . well, good catches. My memory has edited the book in my mind somewhat to back up the impression I took away from it, I'm sure. Those are all good examples and I'll just say I hadn't remembered some of them and I stand corrected on my argument that Corran was never really in any serious danger in I, Jedi.

    As to Tavira, my mocking her as a non-interesting villain was in no way intended as any kind of backhanded defense of Daala. I think we're all agreed on Daala's massive incompetence/stupidity.

    I especially enjoyed reading CT's in depth breakdowns of the Luke/Corran fight and the Corran/Exar Kun aftermath. I think both of those summaries go to my points. Getting into a real blow by blow of the Luke/Corran fight really points out that, in fact, Corran does dominate the match in more ways and to a greater degree than I'd recalled. He does the most damage, delivers the most blows, surprises his opponent the most, holds the moral high ground and places the most restrictions on himself. He wins the fight in other words; and CT's lengthy summary helpfully points out that the reading that Luke lets him win is incorrect. He tries to take Corran down, tries hard and violently, particularly at the end, and Corran still dominates him. Also, Corran's pretentious comments after Kun smacks him around brings back some more details. For instance, why was it necessary for Corran to try to take Kun on himself? To give Kun the information about the others? Or . . . maybe Kun would have just figured that out since, you know, he was watching the others? Basically, the only reason for Corran to go is to weaken Kun before he faces the others, isn't it? Put another way, explain exactly to me why Corran couldn't have just joined the others? Stackpole could have put him there with the assumption that KJA just hadn't mentioned him, right? But he was always there in the group. Ah, but that would have required him to be part of the group. And Stackpole doesn't want Corran to help the others defeat Kun as part of a group. He wants Corran to go mano y mano with Kun. Yes, he gets his ass kicked, but he was still the only one who had the nerve to go and face Kun alone.

    Also, to the point about Wedge & Qwi, which someone brought up above . . . as they said, it isn't that Corran is criticizing Wedge as a friend. It's the Stackpole is using Corran to criticize Anderson. Like I said, the JAT sucked. No, Wedge & Qwi weren't a good couple; not much in the JAT worked from a character standpoint. But Stackpole just bulls in their and starts bludgeoning about with Corran willy nilly. Contrast to the graceful and respectful way that Allston ends the Wedge/Qwi relationship in Starfighters of Adumar. That's a good writer essentially retconning a poor decision by another author without being a dick about it. Stackpole on the other hand just has Corran parroting his own objections to the JAT. Yes, his objections kind of mirror mine, but that's no excuse to be obnoxious. Most of the readers are going to agree with you, Mike. You can afford to be subtle. Corran does everything but cite page numbers in his criticisms of the JAT. It isn't that I don't agree with those criticisms. It's just that I don't want to be sledgehammered into the ground with them; I ALREADY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE AND AGREE WITH THEM. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SPELL THEM OUT AT AGONIZING LENGTH. And it's just professionalism too. I mean, if I was KJA, I doubt I'd feel very good about the way in which Stackpole rewrites the JAT. I mean, if they're going to be rewritten, at least give me the respect of a colleague and be as subtle as you can, instead of repeatedly pointing out how stupid my decisions were. I can be rude; I'm a guy on the internet. Stackpole is one of the faces of the franchise; there's no call for him to spit in another face of the franchise. I may have said this before, but I finished I, Jedi feeling downright sorry for KJA. That's an emotion that, after reading JAT, I never expected to feel, frankly. Like when I cried at the end of Oliver Stone's Nixon or something. It's like when a guy in school is picking on a loser; the loser may actually be a real loser, but the guy picking on him isn't exactly a winner himself.
  21. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I haven't read I, Jedi yet, so I can't add anything of substance to the thread, but I do recall the rather infamous Luke vs Corran fight coming up in the SOS thread. One of the posters apparently asked Stackpole about it. Stackpole replied that if Luke hadn't been distracted, he "would have wiped the floor" with Corran. So, at least he doesn't feel that Corran is the superior fighter, even if I do find it somewhat difficult to believe that the guy who beat Palpatine can be beaten by a novice when distracted.

    Of course, with that in mind, you can now say that it took Corran's beatdown to snap Luke out of it. :p
    Last edited by instantdeath, Apr 11, 2013
  22. jSarek VIP

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2005
    star 4
    Of course Stackpole had to have Corran try and take on Kun himself. This is a book about Corran, and to have him standing around doing next to nothing while other characters acted at one of the climaxes of the story would have been incredibly unsatisfying for the reader. He can get away with Corran being passively in the background for some of KJA's scenes, but there was no way he could do that with the climax. Getting Corran away from the rest of the heroes made certain he could be an active part of his own story.

    I would have been greatly disappointed as a reader if Stackpole had had Corran present with the rest of the students, because either he would have had to be much more passive than a main character should be for an event of its import, or he would have had to contradict the JAT with Corran playing an active, central role in its events.

    It's not about getting Corran to go mano a mano with Kun. It's about putting Corran somewhere where he has the narrative breathing room to make Corran's story his own.
    Last edited by jSarek, Apr 11, 2013
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  23. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    I think the issue is more that because Stackpole posed as Corran and he is basically seen as Stackpole's alter-ego, people automatically think hang on a sec, did Stackpole just have himself beat up Luke Skywalker !

    My own issue was the BS reasoning at the end of the book more than anything but that's by the by.

    Also why would Luke not know how to punch and kick. In RTJ when duelling with Vader he kicks him down the stairs, besdies as a commander of his own fighter squadron (rogue group no less) he would probably have had the same training combat training as Corran, even more so since as the Leader he would be expected to be better at it than everyone else.
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  24. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    He would have had substantially more "narrative breathing room" if he wasn't just shoe-horning Corran into someone else's story. If Stackpole wanted to make Corran central to the story that was going on, there was a simple way to do that: create his own story. I'm sorry if it would have been unsatisfying for Corran to have just been acting in concert with the others at the climax of the Kun storyline; that would be one of the downsides of using someone else's story: you're essentially just sticking him into scenes that are already written. If Stackpole had some great aversion to doing that, it was stupid of him to write this book, wasn't it?

    And besides, the climax of the Kun story isn't anywhere near the climax of the book; Stackpole immediately follows this by taking Corran off on his own story, which gives him plenty of narrative space to play an active, central role in the events. Stackpole didn't have to give Corran a more active, central role in the defeat of Kun because otherwise Corran wouldn't have had anything to do. He could very easily have had Corran acting as part of the group in the Kun showdown and then taken off into Corran's own plot without disappointing anyone with how marginal Corran was to the action.
  25. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2000
    star 4
    First of all, I think we should all calm down. These are just entertainment books, no need to start calling the author stupid, even in rhetorical form (especially not in rhetorical form, that's bound to get out of hand).

    Other than that, I must say that I fall firmly on Rogue's side of this particular argument. There's lots of ways the Kun scenario could have turned out with Corran in another role that still benefited the story and kept him as the engaging focus of it all. He could have proven that he was a great team player, as you would expect from a squadron pilot. He could have proven that he was a bad team player, and therefore needed to leave the Praxeum since working in this Jedi team was too difficult/unrewarding for him.