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Lit From a literary, non-fan perspective... which EU stories are the "best" written?

Discussion in 'Expanded Universe' started by Ghost, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. Jedi Ben Jedi Grand Master

    Whereabouts are you based? As for me, most DVDs are in the same price or cheaper than paperback books - say £5-6! Blu-Rays can often be got for under £10 too by waiting for the price to depreciate sufficiently.
  2. Lugija Jedi Master

    Finland. No way I could get filmed performances on DVD outside web stores, and that would raise the cost. Most likely if I started to look up Shakespeare's plays I'd just (finally) buy the first season of A Game of Thrones.
  3. manisphere Jedi Master

    First I'd say if there isn't a real want or need to pick up a Star Wars book, don't bother. And no, I wouldn't assign any Star Wars in a lit class. Seriously, it's Star Wars. A kid can get the book and read it on their own time.

    That said, there are brilliantly written Star Wars books. Books that give a tremendous sense of wonder or mysticism against that Flash Gordonish backdrop the movies had. Stover is a great writer in general. Is he the best Star Wars writer in my opinion? I don't know. This is Star Wars. I don't necessarily think that the most writerly or "literate" books have to make the best book. It helps of course.

    Books that stick out as terribly good pulp, which Star Wars is, are of course Traitor and the ROTS novelization but in addition to those two are books like Destiny's Way, Edge of Victory I: Conquest, The Unifying Force, I, Jedi. Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter and Heir to the Empire. These books aren't Steinbeck or Capote but they're great examples of this kind of novel at its best. These are excellent books that fit the genre perfectly. They're not anything that should be in the schools though. Kids have a much lower chance of naturally finding and reading Crime and Punishment on their own. There are no action figures of Raskolnikov.
  4. GoodValors Jedi Master

    I always used to think that would be the case... then I was asked to read The Ghost Road, which is part three in Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy.

    Certainly, it wasn't as dependent on prior reading as something in the middle of NJO, but a lot of the characters' flashbacks were completely lost on me.
    Hah, story of my life.

    I honestly don't think I read a novel recreationally outside school until I was... like 11? That was Vision of the Future. Until then, I'd just sat around twiddling my thumbs for 40 minutes each week during the weekly library sessions. (Then we had Lord of the Flies for GCSE... oh what fun. Oh well, I still managed an A in English despite never actually reading the book fully. :p)

    And now I have a double first in English Lit and Lang... go figure. It frustrates me, though, how many books I've since blasted through in record speed to "make up" for the lost years when I hated reading after all the mind numbingly boring books we read in primary school. Bringing me to...
    I remember reading something about this when we did Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? for my degree (the original Blade Runner story btw, for those unfamiliar).

    There was some stuff about how the teachers who taught our generation were inevitably led by what theirs had thought was interesting, and that sci-fi was rarely on the table simply because it had never been a popular enough genre for there to be any scholars to analyse it, until things like Star Wars came along and changed that in the 70s. The man/woman/android whose paper I'm remembering thought that now sci-fi is no longer something people want to pretend they don't read, they expected sci-fi like Dick, Asimov, etc, would appear in reading lists more often.
  5. Jedi Ben Jedi Grand Master

    Ah, that could be a bit more difficult - though quite a few sellers do worldwide the prices change depending on location!

    Zorr, double first !? That's quite the achievement!
  6. Sable_Hart Jedi Master

    RE: Stover & "purple prose", while he is arguably my favorite SW author, I do agree that he tends to overindulge flowery prose and unnecessarily grandiose thoughts. Luceno, my other favorite, was guilty of this too in Darth Plagueis. I can relate to this in my own writing, which comes across like the need to cram a series of complex thoughts and significance into every single moment that spans the story. Sometimes a fight scene should just be a fight scene; it doesn't need to be about the eternal clash of stars or whatnot.
  7. HEDGESMFG Jedi Master

    No one for Darth Plagueis?

    Granted, it's not exactly a hero's tale, nor is it fully self contained, but even if for one with limited EU knowledge, I found it to be a fabulously well crafted insight into the minds of the darkest of "men".

    As others have said, there is no proper suggestion for this as none of the novels could be considered truly self contained without need for the films.
  8. THE_EVIL_CLIFFIE Jedi Master

    I agree with everyone who said the ROTS novelisation. I actually read that before seeing the film, and it's far more powerful. One of the few peices of SW lit that I'd rate alongside original properties (not bashing Expanded Universes here, but working in someone else's playbox tends to have a couple of weird effects that just downgrade things a little).

    My IGCSE exam texts were The Great Gatsby, a bunch of poems and Death of a Salesman. I had the same problem with both the texts: I just couldn't find anything likeable in any of the characters. Coursework text was Julius Caesar, which was much better, especially when my friend and I turned the subtext between Cassius and Brutus up to eleven, much to my teacher's anger.
  9. Heat Jedi Knight

    I thought Plagueis was OK despite being heavy on politics and being in the prequel era.

    I could see a few guys enjoying the EU books but pretty much all HS girls wouldn't be caught dead reading anything SW.

    I see that no one responded to my 'what if your teacher made you read a Trek book' post. Apparently you guys couldn't even bring yourselves to consider it. :) I've never read a Trek book though.
  10. Jedi Ben Jedi Grand Master

    You obviously missed my post Heat! ;)
  11. ESg Jedi Grand Master

    I'd read the ones by PAD
  12. Jedi Ben Jedi Grand Master

    KRAD's stuff is very good - especially anything with Klingons.
  13. Charlie Jedi Grand Master

    Maybe not a comic book. But a graphic novel? Sure. My college professor had us read a nonfiction comic.
  14. Charlie Jedi Grand Master


    [IMG]
  15. Ghost Jedi Grand Master

    Well, assume the person has basic knowledge of the movies (just not a HUGE fan), is open to the EU and going into without knowing hardly anything about it (but willing to learn, as long as he/she doesn't need to read mediocre books in order to understand the better-written ones).

    And I do think Plagueis would make the list for the top 10.
  16. desh Jedi Youngling

    I've always felt that the Zahn books are probably the best written books in the EU, especially Heir to the Empire. HTTE, also has the added bonus of needing the least amount of Star Wars knowledge to understand the story.
  17. Grand Admiral Jello Community and Expanded Universe mod-type person

    Nobody's mentioned the literary masterpiece of Dr. Davids?
  18. imiller Jedi Master

    Bwahahahaha. Best introduction to Star Wars coloring books ever!

    Oh, there were words? About Y-Wings that hold something like a squadron of soldiers? And Han's skyhouse? And...

    Yeah, those were some great coloring books...
  19. ESg Jedi Grand Master

    Shatterpoint was rather easy for me to comprehend when I was younger and even easier now though. It didn't seem overly complex to me in 2003 and isn't now
  20. Cathy Jedi Master

    His writing isn't hard to understand (although I sometimes get lost during action scenes or characters' thought processes in his Caine books), it's just unnecessarily flowery at times. Which I love, because it's really fun to read, but he could write a whole chapter about someone flipping a light switch.

    "Mace stood in the open doorway, the flickering overheads in the corridor beyond backlighting his naked skull, casting his silhouette like a dark angel poised at the mouth of hell, eclipsing the light as he eclipsed so many sentient beings' lives.

    Mace felt his pupils dilate, widening into black holes, devouring every last photon of light like a ravenous Corellian sand panther. He took it all in, making it a part of himself, soaking himself in light until it oozed from his pores, until each hammerblow of his heart pumped it like a pulsar and his veins were flooded with it while his ebonite black hole-eyes reeled it in like a tractor beam and held it inside him like the gravity well of an Immobilizer 418 Interdictor cruiser, completing the circuit. And Mace--

    Mace Windu glowed like a Kashyyyk Life Day tree.

    And still it was just.

    Not.

    Enough.

    The blackness loomed before him like a Kivan wraith, like some vast intangible beast spun of shadows, inexorable as the black-rimmed wheel wells between stars. It reeked of all the sweatstains and odors of a thousand nightmares. Mace's skin crawled across his bones, the skin on his bald skull contracting as if his head were a J't'p'tan clustergrape smashed between the fists of a Wookiee.

    This, Mace thought, could be a problem.

    An amethyst bar of plasma burst like a sunrise from Mace's fist, a supernova bloom to hold back all the darkness of the universe. Mace took in a deep lungful of the fetid air. Dead air.

    Evil air.

    But with each breath, he felt the Force flood into him, as if a dam had burst, washing away the darkness that clung to him like the strands of a purella's web. He became the Force, and the Force became him, like a star, except not really. Mace cast his mind into the dark like a net into a sea of wanderkelp--

    And there it was.

    He felt it in his mind which had expanded to fill the universe, which had become the universe.

    Which had made the universe a part of it.

    He felt it, as plainly as he felt the bantha-hide blazer covering the open-necked eggshell Corellian pirate shirt that clung to his upper body like a bad case of overdue holovids.

    All he had to do was assert a subtle pressure with his mind, nothing more than a slight nudge--

    On the opposite wall, the switch flipped up like an excited Zeltron. Light flooded the universe like a sunburst, and Mace could finally walk around the room without bumping into the furniture."
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