Feel darkly greeted to another round of discussion in the 181st Imperial Discussion Group, this month discussing the terms for Imperial surrender (among other stuff)! After having spent the last month with extensive festivities regarding the Group's fifth anniversary and a look at a specter of the past, we will now talk about Specter Of The Past by Timothy Zahn. Wizard! I want to try starting off with some general discussion points, not having us rush off in all directions right away and lose track of what's an interesting path of thought. So here's three basic approaches to what we find in the book: - Information. Our discussion of The Thrawn Trilogy made me realize (and I hope you will agree on that) that in Zahn's plot, you could always find one theme popping up again: the power of information. Who knows what when? What is a secret, and what power does the secret have? Karrde spent more time brokering information in those books than smuggling, reforming from a smuggling ring boss/criminal to a kind of logistics guy to an information broker figure. How do we see these themes popping up again in The Hand Of Thrawn? Is this a speciality of Zahn's, or do we find this in a lot of books (beyond the obvious mystery angle which naturally has the hero searching for information)? - Thrawn. Now, it's obvious that Zahn was (and still is) a very important EU player. Back then, he was a living legend. And Out Of Universe, it's obvious that elements like Thrawn from those old books carry a bigger importance to us readers than, say, Kueller or that guy who did that one thing in one of those books. But In Universe, Thrawn is meant to be the biggest thing, too. His name gives chills and gets connected with the biggest campaign against the New Republic - was he really the worst, the most dangerous? He's also the choice for the miraculous, King Arthur-like Imperial saviour that Disra creates. Why not Vader or Palpatine, especially since Palpatine already came back once? What makes Thrawn the perfect rallying point for the last enemies of that alienloving government? - Caamas. What do you think about the creation and inclusion of this huge past event? Having it set up in I, Jedi in a stunningly well prepared bit of writing synergy by Stackpole and Zahn, how does it work as the emotionally charged potential breaking point for the New Republic we never really heard about before? In hindsight, do you think the entire concept of "the Republic's peaceful backbone" should have been included more in EU beyond Elegos' return in Dark Tide and the Coruscant Nights connection? Finally - isn't it much more fun to read about Palpatine's scheming and general disrespect for the rest of the galaxy now that we have Ian McDiarmid's prequel performance to correlate it with? More discussion points as we move along the calendar. Next month, to no-one's surprise, we will continue with Vision Of The Future. Now go have fun.