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Lit A question on Karen Traviss and her work(s)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Pyrotek, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. Esg

    Esg Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    What kind of writer doesn't read [face_sigh]
     
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  2. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    That's my favorite thing ever. She's the truest Jedi ever because unlike the others, who fought in a war to stop the Sith and protect the galaxy from conquest, she ****ed off to do whatever she pleased with her tiny circle of friends and died in the most ineffective way possible to protect a man who was trying to kill an innocent child.

    I also missed the part where the Jedi used their Force powers to awe rubes at the county fair instead of putting their lives on the line to serve the people.
     
  3. blackmyron

    blackmyron Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Etain certainly qualified as the goofiest Jedi death.
     
  4. beccatoria

    beccatoria Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Actually while I think that's a fair question, I judge the notion far less harshly outside the context of a shared universe. I'm not a professional writer and likely never will be, but I love writing, I don't suck at it - I have first-class undergrad and postgrad degrees pertaining to creative writing, and...I'm not a big reader. I do read, I like reading, but I'm choosy, I'm slow, sometimes I prefer to consume my storytelling in other media, such as film, tv, comics, audiobooks (love them audiobooks). The two are related, and you're right, being a prolific reader is likely to make you a better writer, but it's not a prerequisite and it's not the only method. And when Traviss is writing her own universe, it's really not an issue as long as her work is good.

    But when she's writing in a shared universe, I don't expect her to read everything, or even a lot of stuff, but I do think that if you're going to be actively adding to something, you ought to try reading it, even if you don't enjoy it immensely. I do understand that she got character write-ups, etc. and built up profiles and that's fine to do, but I do think it's a little disrespectful not to attempt to even experience the totality of SOME of the stories in the universe you're joining. If I were her, I wouldn't have copped to it... ;)
     
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  5. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 6, 2007
    This from Karen's Wiki page:

    "Traviss has since parted from Del Rey for creative differences, however it is rumored that Del Rey terminated her contract due to her poor writing and frequent complaints from the Star Wars community over the liberties she took with the genre."
     
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  6. RC-1991

    RC-1991 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 2, 2009
    That's news to me, actually. Where did the rumors originate, if the article says?
     
  7. instantdeath

    instantdeath Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 22, 2010
    A lot of authors do that I suppose, though it's not really a philosophy I agree with. Similar to being a musician without listening to music, really (which there are certainly a small amount who do that, but they're comparatively more rare than writers who choose not to read other works).

    That article should certainly have "poor writing" removed. And the rest of it, assuming wikipedia did not originate that rumor.

    Some subscribe to the idea that, if you're a writer, everything you will read you will either seek to imitate (if you like it) or criticize (if not).

    I know some writers are in the middle. They read a lot, but nothing at all besides non-fiction while they're in the middle of writing a book. Others say one of the best ways to improve your own writing is to read everything you can get your hands on... go figure.

    Interestingly enough, James Luceno has said that he's also one of those authors who doesn't read that much these days besides non-fiction... except he reads every Star Wars book.
     
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  8. Tim Battershell

    Tim Battershell Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2012
    IIRC what I read on her Webpage, she claimed that her departure from SW EU was part of the neo-Mando thing. Pity, because I actually liked reading about Clan Skirata! Sorry!
     
  9. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    "Look, those soldiers are trying to kill children in the course of a political purge! And those kids are trying to defend themselves? How outrageous! I'd better throw myself into the path of an energy blade that cuts straight through things and keeps going, rather than block it, so that I can save this poor, innocent soldier from that terrified child's attempt at self-defense! Soldiers just following orders to murder children are far more sympathetic than children just like I was a few years ago who are suddenly and horrifyingly thrown into the position of being murdered and hunted by the soldiers of the government they call their own and for which they were willing to fight, with no warning and no possible explanation other than the supposed acts of leaders they've never met somehow tainting them with a collective guilt in which they're dubbed monstrous enemies of the state simply for abilities they were born with and never asked for, but have tried to develop so that they could be used for the benefit of the galaxy!"

    Best scene ever.
     
  10. beccatoria

    beccatoria Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2006
    News to me. Also news to me, her official FAQ says that nonpayment from the publisher was an issue -

    http://www.karentraviss.com/page10/files/Why_have_you_stopped_writing_St.html

    Though the rest of it talks about the fact the cartoon's Mando retcons would have meant that she had to rewrite her drafts of upcoming books from scratch and she just didn't have time.

    I doubt we'll ever know the full story.
     
  11. Riven_JTAC

    Riven_JTAC Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2011
    I'm pretty sure the point is that a guy who just summarily executed a man should probably get off his soap box about corruption, especially when he himself is arguably rather corrupt.
     
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  12. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Yeah, there are lots of supposed reasons flying around. "Nonpayment from the publisher" sounds serious, but for all we know, and given the other statements made in conjunction with it there, it's likeliest that it's just another aspect of the canon problem. She may have wanted to be paid (something, at least) for the books she was contracted for (and may have declined other work on the basis of), and which were now going to be canceled because of continuity issues, and DR said, "Haha, no, they're canceled because you're pulling out rather than working around the issues. You're the one backing out." Or they may have mutually agreed that the books didn't work, and DR felt that because the decision was mutual, they shouldn't have to pay. Or DR may have been grabbing at some technicality to try to stiff her on up-front, canceled-or-not payments that they really ought to have paid. It's likeliest that "nonpayment" was about upcoming books, not books she'd written and somehow not been paid for, but even within that context we don't know who was more at fault in the dispute.
     
  13. instantdeath

    instantdeath Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Is that... really how it went down? :eek:

    Now I want to read the rest of RC more than ever.
     
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  14. RC-1991

    RC-1991 Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 2, 2009
    Do you really, though?
     
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  15. instantdeath

    instantdeath Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Jul 22, 2010
    Haven't I established elsewhere that I'm a masochist?

    Bad entertainment is almost as good as good entertainment. Of course, I have a feeling some of the later RC novels will be "bad bad" and not "so bad it's hilarious". Still, if I was able to laugh at the Sword of Truth, I'm sure I could laugh at the shenanigans of Ms. Traviss
     
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  16. RC-1991

    RC-1991 Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 2, 2009
    Her writing will tear you apart, Lisa.

    Really, though, stuff like Birdemic, My Immortal, the Room, Videodrome, and the Glove of Darth Vader is hilarious in it's ineptitude. Traviss can be entertaining, if you don't mind lots and lots of soapboxes, double standards, and strawmen. Havac seriously wasn't exaggerating in his post.
     
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  17. instantdeath

    instantdeath Jedi Grand Master star 5

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    Jul 22, 2010
    Sounds enough like Terry Goodkind to me to be funny :p
     
  18. DarthBoba

    DarthBoba Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2000
    Eh. I like to think I have a pretty high tolerance for bad writing-I did make it halfway through FOTJ, to the scene with the SECRET SITH FLEET THAT JUST APPEARED ACROSS THE GALAXY!!!111ONE!!, before announcing loudly "***** seriously? I'm done with this series" before quitting. But O66 is a book I cannot bring myself to read even the first chapter of fully. The opening paragraphs are like some bizarre version of Star Wars where continuity doesn't exist at all and only the bizarre pronunciations of Traviss' OCs are factual in any way. I love me some absurdity, but O66 is beyond that.
     
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  19. Zeta1127

    Zeta1127 Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Now I understand why Order 66 is strongly disliked, you can't stand a Jedi resigning from the Jedi Order to join the Mandalorians and calling the GAR a slave army. I overlook that because there are some serious ethical questions to be had when an army of sentient beings is grown to be nothing more from the very beginning and the GAR being a slave army is just an opinion.
     
  20. DarthBoba

    DarthBoba Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2000
    No, I actually agree that the GAR is slaves. Because they are. :p What I disagree with is the teen angst garbage that pervaded the last two books. You can handle that topic in a mature and non-stupid way (which most of the EU did quite nicely) or you can make it all "how awful this is because Etain is pregnant with Darman's baby and ALL JEDI ARE SO AWFUL!!" Which is exactly what Traviss did. The AOTC novel and Republic Commando video game are the best examples of the horrible situation the clones are in and make RC look like the lurid garbage it is.
     
  21. Zeta1127

    Zeta1127 Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Then I guess I just have terrible taste, because all I see is a story about a group of clones, two of their training officers, one whom they look to as a father figure, and two outspoken Jedi getting out of a terrible, terrible war.
     
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  22. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

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    Sep 29, 2005
    Well, it went down like that, except without all that ability to consider the actual situation or awareness of anything outside of the self-obsessed tunnel-vision viewpoint of the repulsively self-righteous main characters.
     
  23. Sniper_Wolf

    Sniper_Wolf Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 26, 2002
    Haven't read the RC novels in quite a while save skipping to Etain's death in Order 66, which seemed bizarre out of context and sounds possibly even more in context.

    Reread her LOTF novels earlier this year. Bloodlines and Revelations are excellent media tie-in novels. Outside of a few continuity errors which could have been fixed with a simple swipe of the editor's pen- the Betrayal/Bloodlines Corellian leadership issue just needed thirty seconds at the word processor-, and some voicing issues, the novels are great reads. Jaina, the Solo pushed to the background by the dead younger brother and Stockholm Syndrome twin, being in awe of the Mandalorians? Please guys, look at the context of the situation. Viewing Legacy of the Force as a completed text puts most of the "issues" in their proper place.

    Sacrifice is weaker the preceding and following novel since KT uses a ten dollar situation when a one cent solution is suffice. Mara doing her odd take down of Jacen? For once, a few red shirts for Jacen to whack makes the situation easier. Same for Jacen's and Niathal's coup. Just make the situation what it is, the military seizing power instead of a loophole in The Galactic Alliance Plot Point Act, verse fifty-nine, line seventy five. Again, most of the "damning issues" just needed a quick editorial fix.
     
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  24. Doc_Bough

    Doc_Bough Jedi Padawan

    Registered:
    Sep 6, 2012
    For me it wasn't so much the Jedi hate as much as her trying to turn the entire Mandalorian thing into her pet project. I don't mind the abundance of Mandalorians in the Old Republic era, because I think their original mythos was pretty clear that they were great warriors during the Old Republic. In fact, had she wrote in the Old Republic era I may have been fine with it. But it was the fact that she took this group, that was almost universally loved by fans, and made it entirely in her image. And I didn't agree with her image and I suspect a whole lot of other fans didn't as well. With a lot of things in Star Wars, and literature in general, leaving some mystery is good. The Mandalorians were mysterious, and the KOTOR games do a good job of keeping them pretty mysterious while giving them a big role. Even the Clone Wars right now is doing a decent job of that. We only see the story at hand, even though we see the major players on the planet. There's still a LOT about Lucas's vision of Mandalore that we don't know. Karen Traviss couldn't do anything like that, she had to go about fleshing out their culture and trying to develop their language.

    Trying to look at it objectively, I think when there's someone as universally loved as Boba Fett, we fans feel that we sort of own that character, or the mysteries and things associated with it like his affiliation with the Mandalorians. When Traviss came she made it all too clear that the Mandalorians were hers. She should have done what other EU authors have done and just made up her own group/planet (a la Lost Tribe) where she could do what she wanted and not crush toes.

    But for me, it comes down to this: when I was a kid, I loved Boba Fett. The character of Boba Fett of the EU now is not the Boba Fett I knew from before, and Karen Traviss has a lot to do with that.
     
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  25. Doc_Bough

    Doc_Bough Jedi Padawan

    Registered:
    Sep 6, 2012
    And yes, I am incredibly biased, and yes, I am much happier when the EU pleases me. But I am a consumer and I have the right to like what I like. :D
     
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