Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Feb 4, 2008.
took the survey but i have to admit that i haven't read most of the books it asked about.
I forwarded the thing to a Star Wars collecting forum a week ago.
Now I'm interested in the results.
Personally, I must say that the EU is drifing more & more away from the original Star Wars concept, that is my personal feeling. And so I've voted.
Ok - found this thread! What were the results? Thanks!
Quick update - I've got the data all compiled and arranged and such now, and there's a lot of interesting details coming through; some I predicted, some I didn't, and some I hadn't even planned on looking for. I'm having some unfortunate computer problems at the moment (as in, it's broken), so it's hard to say when I'll have a chance to sit down at a keyboard for the few hours it'll probably take to write the report, but it's definitely looking like a worthy endeavor. Here are some random interesting bits from the data, just as a hint of the type of stuff I'm looking at:
Highest Familiarity - 94.2% - the death of Chewbacca
Average Score for Traitor - 7.38
Average Score for Jacen's Potentium Training - 6.64
Lowest Average Score - 4.02 - introduction of Jaxxon
Another Quick Update?: my computer is back in business, and I'm finally getting into the thick of this thing - I'm about two-thirds though, and I'll hopefully have it up by this time tomorrow.
...not quite, I guess. Anyway, [link=http://blogs.starwars.com/coopertfn/3]it's done at last[/link]. Feel free to pick apart my argument here or in a blog comment.
Hmm. I'd possibly chalk that up to the geek predisposition to think "That's not the way it should happen." So while you can enjoy what you're given (and rate the book high) there's a greater feeling of "That was a bad decision to go that way," in relation to plot-points, which makes it easier to rate them lower.
I can see what you mean - how exactly would you define a "geek disposition", though? Do you think any other franchise, say Trek, would yield similar data? I literally don't read any other "geek"-type books (aside from comics, I guess), so I don't have any basis for comparison.
To those of you who do read other franchises heavily - how would you say your relationship to that material compares to SW?
Hmm. I mean more of the heavy investment in the saga, the sense of ownership. The same thing that has people complaining that the prequels were all wrong, because they had a mental image of what they should be and it didn't live up to that. It's a general thing, but, for example, while I love love love the Thrawn Trilogy and the whole EUverse that has built upon it . . . I think Zahn made a horrible, horrible mistake in having Han having resigned his general's commission and regressing him back to his TESB "Guy flying the Falcon around" status, and the EU has just compounded that. I think that, in terms of direction, of what the EU should be, a mistake has been made -- heck, a fundamental mistake -- but I'm still capable of enjoying the material tremendously despite the direction it's taken.
Some people would say it was a mistake for Han to even have survived RotJ.
I do; not just franchises, though. I think you could also see something similar in SF literature fandom (Dune and David Weber's Honor Harrington books are the ones that come to mind).
Interesting results Coop. I couldn't help thinking about LotF: Revelation while reading your blog post. While I didn't really agree with the fact that book had the Mandalorians running the show and the Jedi doing virtually nothing excpet moving the entire book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Get out of my head.
Coop did you really get 1500 answers???
I thought you had, like, 30 replies.
But I guess I saw the outcome coming. Basically, your conclusions can be found in any old 'what do you think the next series should be about' thread; everybody wants something else.
Only other franchises I follow are European comics titles, and the big difference of course is the volume. For instance: Spirou, a franchise that has existed for almost 70 years, is equalled in volume by Star Wars every five years. On the one hand, that guarantees that the market won't be saturated. On the other hand, if they hire a crap artist, you'll have to wait ten years before quality returns.
Very Interesting. I find it interesting that a lot of people haven't even read the Thrawn Trilogy, and add me to one of the folks that thought the return of Thrawn meant the Duology. Interesting but not surprising. I bet everyone on these boards has had a lot of "They should have done this" type moments, or "Wow, I hope they do this in the next book...."
I've been largely ambivalent to the Mandos, myself - they're fairly entertaining, but Traviss' personal desire to write about them is palpable throughout, especially the last fifty pages. But I gave the book a ten out of ten, because I enjoyed the crap out of it. It's something that happens with Stover, too, actually - I don't personally love every single thing he does in his books (the "This is..." segments in RotS being a prime example), but he writes the absolute hell out of them, so I can't complain.
TFN, ladies and gentlemen. And keep in mind that's the amount who read the post, followed the link, read my instructions, and filled out the whole thing. There were probably five times that many who at least looked at Ewok's news item.
I'm thinking more about how you feel about it, though - after however many years you've devoted to Spirou, do you find yourself having preconceived ideas about where the plots "should" be going? Do you enjoy the worse books (the ones with crap artists, for example) in spite of yourself?
Yes, I very much have a notion of what storylines fit with the Spirou character, or the Blueberry character, or Asterix, or any other long-running franchise. Yet, authors have thought other qualities were important. In the last Spirou (#49) he finally becomes involved with a girl he met in 1952... An imaginary crowd on an imaginary Spirou board is screaming bloody murder.
But, as to your question of if I like the silly stuff - I think that's got a lot to do with how one is introduced to a franchise.
That's actually another area that would be interesting to research - what effect your introduction to the franchise has on your preferences and expectations. I never saw a Star Wars movie until the SEs when I was fifteen, and I think that's colored my feelings about a lot of stuff.
Harrison Ford amongst them but George Lucas was right here, at least with Luke/Leia kaput.
But yes, I guess I can see the General thing being the right decision because...
Even as a boy, all I could think was "Do they just hand out General commissions? Seriously, Luke is the only guy in the group IN the Rebellion and now he has to take orders from Han!?"
In the conclusion to his blog, The Nexus of Fandom and Logic, Mike asks "We're sick and tired of the Big Three having to get involved in big galactic wars, aren't we?". I believe that the results of Mike's survey can answer this question and I have posted the results of my findings on my own website ([link=http://www.swbooks.co.uk/articles/editorials/always-in-motion-is-the-future.htm]Star Wars Books[/link]).
I contacted Mike prior to posting the article online and I am grateful for his permission to use his data; his advice, opinions, suggestions and comments regarding my findings (that are based upon the findings of his own survey data). Mike's comments are included at the end of the article.
I'm not entirely sold on your conclusions, Zee Zee; Path of Destruction had been available in paperback for less than six months (in fact, I think less than a month) when the survey was taken, so I'd put it in the same category as Inferno. And Traitor shows that Big 3-less novels can be just as popular as those with the Big 3.
I also want to write off the Enemy Lines discrepancy; as someone who wants to see Big 3-less novels, I'll be damned if I could tell you what the books were about. One of them had the commando mission to Coruscant, but that's about it. Unfortunately, I can't come up with any objective reason to dispute its placing (unlike PoD).
I'd also like to see (which this survey obviously didn't cover) if there's any difference in "familiarity" between Anakin/Obi-Wan novels (or even Dark Rendezvous with Yoda), and ones like Shatterpoint and Republic Commando with minor/no movie characters. And also between Clone Wars novels and the standalones.
Path of Destruction had been available for over a year before the survey was taken (hardback was released in September 2006), yet another hardback, Sacrifice (released June 2007) that did feature the Big Three, scored significantly better (nearly ten points higher than PoD for book familiarity) even though it had been available for only eight months prior to the survey. Don't forget PoD's #11 position in the New York Times hardback bestsellers list, yet fans familiarity was only 62.9%.
Certainly Traitor did not feature any of the Big Three, but the article was to answer Mike's question in his conclusion: Aren't we sick of the Big Three? Based upon the correlation of the books highlighted within the lower part of the table - the only thing they had in common was that they did not feature the Big Three - I believe that the results of his survey could answer his own question. I acknowledge that the survey size was limited, but I believe my conclusion, based on the available data, is decisive: we really aren't that interested in books that don't feature the Big Three.
I'm sorry but you say you want to write of the Enemy Lines discrepancy because you want to see Big 3-less books - I thought that the reason for Enemy Lines low ranking was because at least one of the books didn't feature all of the Big-3 (only 1 of them) and this was a reason for its low position.
I couldn't agree more with the need for further surveys to really understand fans attitudes to the EU. As Mike himself says: "We like or dislike the stories based on how closely their chosen aspects of Star Wars reflect the ones most important to us, but even when we disagree vehemently with what's happening (and are prompted to go online and complain that it doesn't feel like Star Wars ), we enjoy it in spite of ourselves because it still is Star Wars - if it weren't we wouldn't keep buying it.". Mike's survey could be the first of many that could look at all these different aspects of fandom.
Sacrifice was also part of an ongoing series. Waiting to read PoD until it was in paperback wouldn't hurt anything; waiting to read Sacrifice would mean also putting off the next three novels in the LOTF series.
That said, it turns out I was wrong about when PoD hit paperback (26 June 2007); I thought it was simultaneous with the release of Rule of Two. So that totally throws all that out the window.
But Traitor seems to show that to be a specious conclusion; that is, not having the Big 3 doesn't guarantee that a book won't be well-remembered by fandom. I'd argue that the five low-rated books have more in common than their lack of the Big 3; four of the five (excepting Shatterpoint) don't have Jedi as their main characters (unlike Traitor). Four of the five (excepting EL) dispense with the familiar New Republic and Empire for unfamiliar settings (again unlike Traitor).
Basically, I was trying to say that as someone who likes "Big 3-less" books, which that duology was, I don't remember what happened; that it failed to be memorable to those who enjoy that "style" of book, much less those who don't, probably hurt it. And I think that that's a failing of those specific books, not that "style" in general. But that's an entirely subjective position, unlike mine on PoD (which was objective, just based on false data ).
And I say to thee - take my opinions, go forth...and make them grow!
Incidentally, one thing I wish I'd done differently in light of Zee's article is include a couple of the X-Wing books. They're about as classic as you can get in the non-big-three category, so it'd be really telling to see whether they had lower numbers as well.
One (of many) things I found interesting....
Anakin Solo's death has a higher approval rating than Mara Jade's death....albeit by a slight margin.
Reading these boards, Anakin's Death seems waaaaay less accepted.