A&A The Official Matthew Woodring Stover Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Literature' started by The Gatherer, Feb 21, 2002.

  1. Valin__Kenobi Author: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Praji

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    Amazon has informed me that my preorder for God of War is set to arrive June 4. w00p!

    Any chance of the first two Caine books going back into print when His Father's Fist comes out? (Or for that matter, Barra & Co.?) At one point wasn't there a mention of a POD-type run?
  2. MajinKaze Jedi Knight

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    Mar 1, 2005
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    So, I just finally started reading Heroes Die a few weeks ago (it was a present for my birthday in March, but I really wanted to finish The Dark Tower first). So far, I'm really enjoying it. I love the perspective changes when Caine/Hari switches from Earth to Overworld. That first-person point-of-view really helps me get into the story more (not that I wasn't expecting to be able to get into the story anyways).

    I'll try to give more commentary as I get further into the book.
  3. PadmeA_Panties Jedi Youngling

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    Oct 25, 2003
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    Matt: What are your thoughts on Avatar? Especially its use of essentially a similar gimmick/theme/idea to your 'Akitri'?
  4. Skuldren Jedi Grand Master

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    Mar 14, 2007
    A few months ago I reread Traitor because it had been a long time since I read it and I forgot how awesome it was. After reading it, I realized that I should try reading your other books. So, being the prolific reader that I am, I went and bought Heroes Die, Blade of Tsyshale (which was very hard to get and thus pricey but worth it), Caine Black Knife, and Heart of Bronze. I started off with Heroes Die, and it took me a little while to get used to the world you took me to while reading it, but I came to love it. After that, I read all the others, back to back, for one heck of an overdose, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact I'm getting a copy of Heart Bronze to give to my dad for Father's Day. I just wanted to take the time to let you know how much I enjoyed your books, visiting the worlds you've created, and taking a break from reality to enjoy some excellent tales. Thanks!
  5. Ulicus Lit'ari

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    Late, but I'll echo Hav's recommendation. Iron Dawn/Jericho Moon are awesome. Quite a bit different to AoC but, as a fan of both Greek and Biblical myth, I was extremely satisfied. If Matt ever saw fit to revisit those characters -- or even just that continuity -- I'd be there in a heartbeat.

    Sort-of-Spoiler-but-not-really: Additionally, they come complete with erect zombiedong. The staple of any true Stover novel... and further indication that he'd be the perfect choice for a Darth Andeddu book. [face_devil]
  6. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

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    Dec 17, 2000
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    One of the CT forum discussions led to talking about the opening to the RotS novel, and the celebrity of Anakin and Obi-Wan.

    After re-reading it I thought I'd drop in to say again how awesome that section is.

    Two is enough.
    Two is enough because the adults are wrong, and their younglings are right.
    Though this is the end of the age of heroes, it has saved its best for last.


    You even use the ridiculous bane-of-my-existence word "youngling". A LOT. And it's STILL great. I believe that this is what's known as spinning [fecal expletive] into gold.
  7. Ulicus Lit'ari

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    QFT.

    I forced a friend of mine, who was very reluctant, to read the RotS novelisation.

    "But it's the book of a not-very good movie!" he cried.

    So I said, "Okay, whatever. Just read the prologue. Just the prologue -- and then I'll take it off your hands."

    So he did. And he wouldn't give it back.

    True story.

    That opening is simply Magic.
  8. Chiarcmorn Jedi Knight

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    Sep 22, 2009
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    Agreed.

    Although I'm not going to lie, reading the book first made the movie less than satisfactory.

    I kept thinking "when are they going to show this?" Or "wow, that was way better in the book".
  9. MWStover - Traitor - Shatterpoint - ROTS - LSatSoM

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    Hey, thanks, everybody. My justly-legendary authorial vanity is gratified by your endorsements.

    Avatar was interesting in those terms; in fact, while it was being made, I was in the midst of working a concept into Caine Black Knife that was very close to identical to the film's premise. Sometimes it seems like an idea is out floating around in the air somewhere . . .

    For example: the night I went to see The Empire Strikes Back, I was thirty thousand words into what was supposed to be my first novel, in which I lost faith because the Big Plot Twist was that the villain is the hero's father.

    *sigh*






  10. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

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    The movie screws with me the other way around. Anytime there's a dialogue-heavy scene, try as I might I just can't force those stilted readings out of my mind's ear...
  11. PadmeA_Panties Jedi Youngling

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    Have you ever read Karen's Wess'har series?
  12. MWStover - Traitor - Shatterpoint - ROTS - LSatSoM

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    Haven't had the pleasure.
  13. saltmanz Jedi Grand Master

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    Jan 29, 2009
    Traviss' Wess'har books are fantastic. If nothing else, I'm thankful to SW for introducing me to Matthew Stover and Karen Traviss.

    Now if only they could both write more original fiction...!
  14. PadmeA_Panties Jedi Youngling

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    Oct 25, 2003
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    What is a typical day for Mr. Stover?
  15. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    Hopefully, Mister Stover won't mind me piping in to say some comments after I've reread his SOM book. I had some unfortunate things to say the first time I read it and I deeply regret.

    Basically, re-reading the book I've come to appreciate what I really enjoy most about MWS's writing. That he critically analyzes Star Wars popcorn matinee morality and comes up with some very interesting conclusions.

    My favorite Star Wars stories are undoubtedly; I, Jedi and Shatterpoint which are two of the most moral stories from the Star Wars Saga. Simultaneously, they're also two of the most complex stories in the Expanded Universe. I, Jedi deals with Corran Horn's struggles against the daily temptations of the Dark Side of the Force involving everything from causal murder to adultery. Michael Stackpole's universe is miles removed from the miasma of evil that the Clone Wars exists in (at least at this time) but the two stories are very similar. Things were, honestly, a lot simpler then.

    Contrasting it is, Mathew Stover's Shatterpoint, which is a story dealing strongly with the realities of war contrasted against the morality fo an individual who is a devoted man of peace. Bluntly, I do not accept that ethics cease to exist in a complex situation. Simultaneously, I do not confuse myopia and ignorance of the expected outcomes to be something which creates moral relativism.

    In Shatterpoint, the Dark Side is something that must clearly be fought not in sides of Separatist vs. Republic but civilization versus barbarism. In the question of moral relativism, Mathew Stover comes up (or more precisely MACE WINDU as written by Mathew Stover) comes up as firmly on the side of ethics. Artificial, not natural, ethics that the Jedi instill in their students as developed over the centuries rather than millennium. Mace Windu makes a lot of hard choices in the work and he is a stronger hero for it.

    I enjoyed Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor very much because I enjoyed the expansion on Stover's examination of the question of Good vs. Evil. A question we usually don;t get much examination on beyond "The ugly toy is the bad toy and the good toy is the pretty one." Part of what Stover deconstructs is the theatricality that clings to Luke Skywalker as the Farmboy Arthurian figure who went on to slay the Evil Wizard. In-universe, they examine how something so perfectly mythological can exist in RL (or the SW version of RL) and its effects on the public mindset. It's not always a good thing as Nazis came to be treated as stock villains and WW2 is continually replayed and regurgitated theater-wise because of its storytelling value.

    Luke Skywalker, of course, is the one embarrassed by the whole thing. There was nothing easy about his choices nor were they particularly things that he's automatically proud of. The Black Fleet Crisis talks about Luke being painfully aware of how many people were on the Death Star. I like to think that Luke is aware that there were janitors on the station, cooks, and plenty of people who were undoubtedly horrified by the destruction of Alderaan. Given it was the secret weapon of the Empire, I have no problem thinking 98.9% of the people on-board were New World Order fanatics who either shrugged it off or didn't care but that 1.1% is still going to keep Luke Skywalker up at night.

    I think what I enjoy about the Shadows of Mindor most was the fact that Luke Skywalker was shown to be a character possessing all manner of emotions and beliefs, but also ascribes to him wisdom. Wisdom in the context of being a person who carefully examines a situation, attempts to weigh in both sides, and makes a decision that he hopes is ethical but is one he'll have to ive with the consequences of. I think it makes him all the more effective of a character that he's not necessarily an average Joe anymore but is also one that can be admired. He's not Indiana Jones or Han Solo, who are closer to everymen caught up in events beyond his control. Luke is educ
  16. MWStover - Traitor - Shatterpoint - ROTS - LSatSoM

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    C19 --

    Wow. Thanks. That you were open to a new experience on re-reading a book -- especially one that didn't strike you well the first time -- is a testament to your character. To come here and tell me about it is . . . well, thanks. That's all.

    I'd be open to the idea of doing a SW antihero . . . those who have sampled my Acts of Caine will understand why. However, LFL is not currently beating down my door to shovel in piles of cash. Maybe someday.

    PA_P --

    My average day is relatively sedate. I get up, take a bunch of pills, walk the dog, try to manage a little actual exercise, then eat a late breakfast and get to work in my office. I take a lunch break around 3, then go back to work until 6:30 or 7:00, when I take my dog to the park. Then late dinner and an hour or so of reading or TV. And that's it.

  17. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

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    That's next on my book list to check out, actually.

    As a general rule, I tend to wonder how exactly Anti-Heroes would go over in Star Wars. Sometimes, I don't think they'd go over very well but we've seen a number of more morally ambiguous characters succeed dramatically (Quinlan Vos) while others fail spectacularly (poor Cade Skywalker). YMMV of course. So, I'd be very interesting in what sort of Anti-Hero character type you'd be interested in creating for Star Wars.

    I'm still reading through your thread, Mister Stover, but may I ask who you thought was your toughest writing challenge when using other people's characters?
  18. MWStover - Traitor - Shatterpoint - ROTS - LSatSoM

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    Well . . .

    Since the only characters I've actually created who have outlived their debut are Nick, Kar and Geptun (and technically Ch'Gang Hool, but he was just a walk-on), there's a fair list. I'm assuming your main interest is in SW . . . but even if you mean just in general, the answer is the same.

    Toughest character to write is Luke. Always was Luke, always will be Luke.

    There are so many differing takes on his character in the EU that it's impossible to avoid violating some people's image of him. More than any other character in SW. More than any other character in franchise fiction, for that matter. Everybody has their own personal Luke. If mine lines up roughly with theirs, they'll (probably) like my take. If it doesn't . . . well, you know how that goes.

    It's analogous to what Harold Bloom calls "anxiety of representation," which is what writers sometimes suffer from when writing about God, if they actually believe in God. Or writing about gods they actually believe to exist, whatever. It's an equal-opportunity problem. Gotta be careful what you say about the guy with the thunderbolts . . .

    So it's not just worry about having my reputation shredded by rabid fanfolk; it's also pressure from whether or not I'm doing justice to a guy who is arguably the most important fictional character of the 20th Century.

    So:

    Luke.


  19. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Jul 22, 2010
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    I imagine Luke could be kinda hard to write, since there have been so many interpretations in his character. Even in the movies, he's a pretty different character in A New Hope than he is in Return of the Jedi, so I can see it being a challenge deciding just what he should act like.

    I haven't read the NJO yet, but I really love Shatterpoint.
  20. Worm5 Jedi Knight

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    Dec 21, 2004
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    Hey . . . uh . . .

    Okay, well, first of all, I guess, I suppose I should just ask you: When I write these occasional posts, I'm never sure of how to address you; Mr. Stover strikes me as too "professional," for lack of a better word, and "Matt/Matthew" seems rather presumptuously familiar. So, how do you prefer to be addressed?

    That aside, I was re-reading Blade of Tyshalle today, and I noticed/wondered something - what exactly are 'trolls'? In BoT, in chapter . . . ah, ****, fourteen, I think it was - you describe the difficulties in holding subhuman prisoners such as stonebenders, treetoppers, ogres, and trolls, as compared to the 'less problematic' races of human, ogrilloi, and primal.

    I know the races of Home have multiple names, but I was wondering if you might be able to explain to me the difference between trolls and ogrilloi? As far as I was aware, the major races of Home were Humans/Ferals, Elves/Priamls, Treetoppers/Sprites, Stonebenders/Dwarves . . . and ogrilloi/trolls, or so I thought. I was of the impression the 'troll' was the pejorative of 'ogrilloi,' but chapter 14 of BoT seems to indicate otherwise. Am I mistaken, or did I miss something?

    EDIT - Oh, and I almost forgot; I wanted to ask you - What story is Jonathan Fist/Fisk from? I tried to look it up by 'Jonathan Fist/Fisk,' and couldn't find anything. Admittedly, my Google-fu isn't anything to write home about, but as long as you're still poking in here every once in a while, I thought I might just ask you directly. After all, y'know, people these days just don't read anymore.
  21. MWStover - Traitor - Shatterpoint - ROTS - LSatSoM

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    Anybody who likes my books can call me Matthew or Matt (my mother and one of my siblings call me Matthew; my wife and my other siblings call me Matt). People who don't like my books should address me as Please Don't Hurt Me.

    The most cogent overview of ogrillo nature is found in Michaelson & Khapur's invaluable reference work, Tales of the First Folk, reprinted here by permission.



    The ogrillo clans that range the steppes have a complex relationship with primal culture; both the records of House Mithondionne and their own oral histories agree that ogrilloi have served the First Folk for at least a thousand years, and the two peoples maintain a traditional bond of duty and mutual service that would be difficult to overstate.

    Many among the primal nobility still maintain large numbers of ogrilloi in their personal households, and have done so for so many generations that the Bound, as they call themselves, have actually diverged into discernible breeds, shaped by centuries of selective breeding to suit the individual tastes of their primal stewards. Even the Unbound, the feral ogrilloi of the central plains and mountains, show a seemingly instinctive deference to any of the First Folk.

    According to the records of House Mithondionne, ogrilloi are a product of selective breeding of their larger undomesticated cousins, the daygreat and the nightgreat?creatures we would call ogres and trolls. This practice was initiated by the late father of the current Mithondion, known to the primals as Panchasell Luckless, a legendary mage and warrior. It is considered established history that Panchasell began the breeding of ogrilloi at the same time the dillin (q.v.) were sealed against the inhabitants of the Quiet Land (q.v.)?that is, more than two hundred years before ogrilloi first appear in organized warfare (cf. Section Four: "The Feral Rebellion").

    The ogrilloi themselves describe their origin metaphorically: that when humans first trod the flesh of T?nalldion, the world convulsed in horror; this seizure opened the world?s flanks to release her chosen warriors, fully grown and fully armed, brought forth to stand against the human race wherever it befouls the land.

    It is worthwhile to observe that if the records of House Mithondionne are to be believed, ogrilloi were bred specifically to defend the First Folk against the human incursion that eventually became the Feral Rebellion (ibid.). Given that the First Folk regard themselves
  22. Worm5 Jedi Knight

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    Dec 21, 2004
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    Gotcha. Thanks for the clarification Matt. Tales of the First Folk is so hard to find these days. And I think I figured out the Jonathan Fist reference . . . I'll keep my thoughts to myself, though, since I know they wouldn't draw any comment anyway.

    Oh, on a completely unrelated note - I just started learning escrima from Tony Somera, who apparently is/was the 'heir apparent' to Leo Giron . . . of course, the names don't mean a whole lot to me right now (though I'm starting to learn), and I don't know if they mean anything to you either. But he seems like a pretty cool guy regardless. And even though I've only been to one class so far, I already love what I've seen and done so far. Anyway, no real point, I just know you're something of a martial artist, and escrima always makes me think of Caine. Oh, speaking of, the place I'm learning escrima is a 'Carlos Gracie affiliate academy' that just opened here in Stockton, and they also offer muay thai, and Gracie jiu jitsu. Kali/escrima, muay thai, and jiu jitsu are the three arts I've always had the most interest in (and I can probably thank you for that, too). So I'm pretty excited =)
  23. MWStover - Traitor - Shatterpoint - ROTS - LSatSoM

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    Gracie jujitsu is primarily a sport application; I trained at a Gracie studio for about a month, prior to an injury that has me currently sidelined. In my experience, we spent a great deal of time learning to pass the guard and reverse the mount, as these are generally worth the most points in a match. Unfortunately, most of the techniques that are actually useful in combat are reserved for brown and black belts -- for example, it's really damn easy to break somebody's guard by grabbing his foot and applying an ankle-crank . . . except it's illegal. You're also not allowed to use face and neck cranks, only chokes and strangles. No wrist or ankle locks, knee cranks, goose necks, none of the dangerous stuff.

    This makes GBJJ a safer sport . . . but it's not actual fighting.

    The Filipino/Indonesian weapon arts, on the other hand, from a competent instructor, are real fighting--and can be used with virtually any striking weapon, or open hand. And they look really damn cool.

    Everything you see in the hand-to-hand fight in the Paris apartment in the first Bourne movie (Identity), you can learn in the practice of kali. Sitting in the theater, the fabulous Robyn and I were whispering back and forth like teenagers. "I know that one -- wait, and that one I got from the last Balicki seminar . . .!"

    My martial arts philosophy: Have fun. Don't get killed. Ignore everything else.
  24. Worm5 Jedi Knight

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    Dec 21, 2004
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    I know what you mean - that's a lot of what attracted me to escrima in the first place; that it doesn't seem to be as 'sport' oriented as other arts. I just got back from my second class, and I was reprimanded several times for having my hand/stick at the wrong angle, and reminded that we were practicing with sticks, but training for blades.

    I want to learn some jiu jitsu and muay thai too, because I figured it might help make me a bit more, I don't know, well rounded, I suppose, to have some background in grappling and striking focused arts, respectively. Do you have any other suggestions?
  25. MWStover - Traitor - Shatterpoint - ROTS - LSatSoM

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    If your teacher knows his stuff, you'll learn grappling elements in escrima/kali -- and they're really cool.

    For all-around major thump it's hard to beat sambo. It's a Russian martial art with origins in the 1920's Red Army, heavily influenced by jujitsu and external kung fu/karate, but (like all military arts) it continues to be updated. Every time the Russians find a technique they like, they incorporate it, from muay thai and English boxing to Italian swordplay. The only problem with sambo is that it's hard to find a teacher without enlisting in the Russian military.

    Krav maga is the Israeli military art, and is pretty cool -- it's kind of a fad right now, so it's pretty easy to find a school. The issue I have with krav maga guys is when you spar with them, they're always saying stuff like, "In a real fight, that would have broken your arm/knocked you out/killed you," and generally making excuses for getting their butts whipped. A lot of this is due to the brutal effectiveness of the style, which seems (to me, anyway) to incorporate so much body destruction that they can't use most of the techniques in a friendly match. On the other hand, it's been about 8 years since I've sparred with a KM guy, and military arts often evolve quickly.

    If you want to stay in the Filipino arts, the most useful adjunct to escrima/kali is English boxing (that is, just the regular old Ali/Frazier/Foreman/Tyson heavyweight-championship stuff you see on TV), which is the most technically advanced and effective hand-striking martial art in existence.

    Yes, it is.

    In the Filipino arts, you'll eventually be learning panen tukan, which is (so I'm told) Tagalog for "dirty boxing." This is where you'll learn the trapping, joint locks and limb destruction and all the rest of the stuff that's illegal in English boxing; in English boxing, you'll learn how to hit someone so hard he falls down while making sure he can't do the same to you.

    Boxing's drawback is that it's tremendously esoteric, depending on subtleties of timing and balance that can be developed only by near constant practice . . . but it's amazing, and amazingly fun, and unlike most other martial arts, you can actually use it flat out against somebody in practice and sparring drill without doing them permanent damage. Still, it's not something you learn quickly. As Clint Eastwood's character says in Million Dollar Baby, "It takes four years to learn how to throw a real punch." And that's just the beginning. Which is why I don't recommend it for self-defense, but it's an awesome adjunct to a fighter's repertoire.

    Part of my brown belt test ten years ago was boxing two guys at the same time -- two guys who were also up for their brown belts -- then I had to grapple them too. They got the submission in the grappling (grappling two guys is incredibly hard, and it's not my specialty in the first place), but I whipped 'em them in the ring, and without hitting either guy in the face, because I didn't have to. Even wearing sixteen-ounce gloves, after the first thirty seconds they understood how much I could hurt them by going to their bodies . . . after which I was on the attack.

    Ahhh, those were the days . . .

    One more thing: Wherever you train, beware anyone who feels the need to explain to you why his art is superior to others for any reason -- because if his art really was superior, he wouldn't need to tell you about it. In bando, the Nepalese military art, they have a saying that translates as: "No nation has a monopoly on the sunlight. No school has a monopoly on the truth."

    I was chatting with a guy who does tae jitsu, and having a pretty good time until he started to talk about why his art is superior: "Because it's all about re-directing the attacker's energy. See, when a boxer throws a punch, he's off-balance, and I can . . ." which was where I interrupted him. "Have you ever fought a boxer? Has your teacher? Because if you think a boxer is off-balance when he strikes, you are in for a rude effing surprise, my friend."

    Here's