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

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

  1. LexiLupin

    LexiLupin Jedi Knight star 4

    Mar 27, 2011
    There was one tiny little detail in Revelation regarding Jaina that really bothered me when I read it and still bothers me today- and I was actually surprised that YK omitted it from his (awesome) review of the book and Jaina's character inconsistencies.

    It's such a small detail. It's silly- stupid even- that it bothers me; but it does:

    Pg 116: She took a very large-denomination credit chip from her flight suit's breast pocket and held it between neatly manicured fingertips.

    Neatly manicured fingertips?!?

    The girl who just finished hunting down Alema Rar has neatly manicured fingertips? Am I the only one who finds it ridiculous to think that Jaina- aunt dead, brother a Sith, hunting dark Jedi, nearly saw Jag die in the process- cares one bit about personal grooming beyond basic hygiene? She's off sparring with Zekk and Jag and freaking them out with her singular focus on preparing herself to confront Jacen... and then takes a break to file her nails?

  2. Likewater

    Likewater Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 31, 2009
    It dose, fit weith traviss personal view of the Jedi.

    That the Jedi are some elite ruling class of comicbook superheros.
  3. Darth_Zandalor

    Darth_Zandalor Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 2, 2009
    Well in the next book, she got a concussion that somehow made her act like a drunk and try to ask two men to go to bed with her.
  4. LexiLupin

    LexiLupin Jedi Knight star 4

    Mar 27, 2011
    [face_laugh] Touché, Darth... touché. [face_laugh]
  5. Darth_Zandalor

    Darth_Zandalor Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 2, 2009
    But anyways, I definitely do see valid points in criticism of Revalation. It had a lot of problems, particularly in pacing and characterization. I'm not going to deny that.


    The Battle of Fondor is so utterly ludicrous and over the top that I can't help but enjoy it. Daala's attack comes from so far left field that even the characters in the story are saying "just what the hell happened?"
  6. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon

    Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Knight star 6

    Dec 17, 2000
    I actually agree with a lot of her points. I was always bothered by the way Kyp Durron got off the hook after Carida, for example.

    I don't want to pretend those weren't bad things. But one option available in a massive continuity like this (less so on things straight from Lucas, perhaps) is to either retcon or ignore the things we consider to have been poorly-written or out-of-character.

    It's funny that Traviss brings up knowing the difference between a story and real life. Because there's a big difference between saying, "This character is supposed to be a good guy - if he's written otherwise, that's a mistake," and saying, "This real person is supposed to be a good guy - they can do no wrong".

    Luke Skywalker is not a real person. If a certain story features him being tyrannical or an ineffectual leader, that doesn't mean he automatically must be a despotic wimp when you write him. Odds are, your readers are desperate for the opposite, for you to write him as the decisive hero he was before that other writer screwed him up.

    And if you don't want to write like that, if you want to fit it all together and draw from every previous portrayal in developing your own, that's fine. But you can't say, "Luke sucks because he made some big mistakes (mostly in some of the worst-written and out-of-character EU)" and then turn around and build a shrine of nobility to a culture of brutal slavers and warmongering tyrants.

    Granted, some of these problems are unfixable - Lucas set the "Jedi are cool with clone slaves" thing in stone with AotC. On the other hand, in RotS he shows that the clones are programmed to obey genocidal orders, which clearly makes them other-than-human. I don't know why Traviss has a problem accepting that there can be rules of existence in a fantasy world that function differently than those in reality.

    And of course those who disagree with her are guilty of Nazi-think. Always the sign of a first-rate argument, there, comparing your opponents to Nazis.

    I guess what ultimately bugs me about Traviss is her apparent inability to see how easily her arguments flip around to support the complete opposite position.

    But I'll let the woman herself have the last word (insertions mine):
    [blockquote]If it's just fun for you, and you don't feel mortally wounded when someone suggests that the Jedi (clones) might not actually be completely perfect, fine. You pass the harmless test.

    But once you're past the age of puberty and you start arguing passionately with me that the Jedi (clones) were right to accept a slave army of cloned human beings and use them in war (exterminate an entire religious sect, including children), and clones (Jedi) aren't proper humans like us, and it was too bad the clones (Jedi) died, and the Jedi (clones) had no choice - well, sweetheart, I want to run a mile from you. Not the Jedi (clones), who - just to remind you - are a figment of various writers' imaginations, just like the clones (Jedi). You. If I see that you really mean it, and you're making excuses in your own mind for the Jedi (clones) just following orders on that delicate point, then you scare the living crap out of me. For real.
  7. LexiLupin

    LexiLupin Jedi Knight star 4

    Mar 27, 2011
    Along the same lines... what about the fact that a Mandalorian (and we know they can do no wrong) was the one who agreed to be the clone template? Accepted money for it, condoned it... did Jango not understand the implications of clone ARMY?

    That just bothers me, reading her rant. *shrug* In general, I try to not pay attention to the prequel era- the movies usually just make me want to gouge my eyeballs out.
    Heero_Yuy likes this.
  8. Darth_Zandalor

    Darth_Zandalor Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 2, 2009
    Well, in Order 66 Vau comes up with an [link=]Insane theory[/link] as to why Jango agreed in the first place. Some sort of master revenge scheme for Galidraan, where an army of him could do what he alone could not.
  9. Riven_JTAC

    Riven_JTAC Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 28, 2011
    I've read all the RC novels and IC. I thought Hard Contact was quite excellent. Triple Zero was a little shaky. From there, things just went downhill in a hurry.

    I am hardly a Jedi lover. I do think Jedi are the icons of the SW universe, but I do think a lot of fans and writers try to turn them into gods. But what Traviss did was beyond belief. She did whatever she could to make them seem like cruel, heartless beings only bent on gaining more power... basically, everything we're taught to believe that the Jedi are not. It's very simple: in the SW universe, Jedi are good and Sith are evil. You can go from one side to the other, as we see with Anakin to Vader and back to Anakin. But the basic premises of the Jedi Order are peace keeping and a respect for life. Traviss writes them as anything but. It was clear that the vast majority of her characters were just mouthpieces for her own distorted view of the Jedi. What really irked me was how she turned various characters into her mouthpieces when it made NO sense in the SW universe. I can see the Mandalorians not liking the Jedi; they've had their differences in the past. But she writes at least three Jedi characters who fall in lock-step behind the Mandalorian characters in their hatred of the Jedi Order. It makes NO sense for characters like Bardan Jusik, who is not a bad person and was raised as a Jedi, to buy into, hook, line, and sinker, the idea that the Jedi are evil baby-snatchers. He KNOWS better. It's his obligation to say, "Now, wait just a damn minute, Kal Skirata. I know that you have problems with the Jedi, but what you just said is absolutely false." Instead, Jusik completely blanks on what he knows to be true and just latches onto every Mandalorian like a sycophant.

    The irrationality of her characters drives me insane.

    Hard Contact was simply excellent. She showed some minor distaste for the Jedi, but it wasn't that noticeable. She wrote a pretty decent military-themed story, and that's exactly what I expected when I picked up the book. Unfortunately, she couldn't quite keep that up for the rest of the series. There were very few redeeming qualities of the rest of the RC series and IC. Contrary to what a lot of others think, I think that she actually was NOT a very good military writer. Hard Contact was her best depiction of a military operation, I think. Somehow, she got a lot worse after that.

    I would not actively read anything else she's written. I finished the RC novels and IC because I like to finish what I started, but it was hard to finish. Honestly, I wish she could've finished IC2 because I don't like when a storyline is artificially left hanging without any hope of it being finished. I honestly want to see what kind of craziness she'd write to wrap up a storyline that started out very good (a small commando team and a woefully inexperienced Jedi against a grizzled mercenary... great story, honestly) but took a swan dive into a deep, dark abyss of irrationality.

    That was, perhaps, the single most insane thing she wrote. When I got to the end of that section, I said, to no one in particular, "Are you ****ing kidding me?"
    Lady_Misty likes this.
  10. DarthBoba

    DarthBoba Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 29, 2000
    That was pretty heavily implied in the Open Seasons comic. Old news by the time O66 came out.
  11. Genghis12

    Genghis12 Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 18, 1999
    Got off the hook after Carida? What exactly did Kyp do that put him on any hook to begin with? On its face value, Champions of the Force describes Carida as a "military planet." In the GFFA, especially Imperial worlds, and one that houses one of the primary academies, entire planets are military resources. Carida was an Imperial resource no different from moon-sized weapons platforms and planet-encompassing stardocks. If any are to take up arms and act in armed rebellion against the Empire, then Carida is on its face value is a legitimate target militarily, in the same way that the Pentagon or a military base may be. In Carida's case, it is just a very, very large one. The Rebellion already showed that it is willing to engage in targetted assassination of heads of state, with its plan to wipe out the Emperor on the second Death Star.

    In Kyp's case, specifically. Identifying himself as the pilot of the Sun Crusher -- allowing for absolutely no confusion as to intent and capabilities -- he offered Carida the chance to surrender. He did this immediately as the first order of business, specifically so that the planet's defense forces wouldn't, in his words: "do anything stupid." That surrender was met with disdain. Kyp proceeded to then again expain that his terms were non-negotiable, and in vivid detail the consequences of not surrendering. Next, after parlay, Kyp allowed the planet an hour to provide the information -- that they did, in fact, have. Rather than doing what was asked, the leadership wasted time by ignoring the demand and instead continued to plot the kidnapping of the child of the New Republic Head of State. About this time, it was confirmed to Furgan that Kyp was indeed telling the truth about the Sun Crusher and its power. Rather than take the immediate threat seriously, Furgan then plotted to take control of the weapon so he could commit further atrocities. A parallel plan to stall and lie to Kyp was put into effect -- it was admitted that the story generating the most of Kyp's hatred, was a complete and utter fabrication. Rather than work to fulfill Kyp's very reasonable terms, ending the existential threat to the planet Carida, the Imperials instead prepared an ill-conceived assault team and fed him a story that tried his already short patience, by lying that his brother died.

    The Imperials chose poorly. And Kyp made good on his -- very real -- threat. Let's be clear, had they taken the hour to confirm the truth of Zeth Durron -- whatever the facts as they were might have been known to them -- rather than creating a bantha poodoo story, Carida likely would not be a cinder. That they also attacked him while doing that is on them.

    Furgan shows his incompetence further, by comically continuing to second guess what was going to occur after the resonance torpedo was shot, even after it was explained to him in full detail by Kyp, and confirmed by his own staff while there was still a chance to surrender.

    As Kyp explains in non-gloating terms, Carida has brought its demise upon itself. And that is very, very much the actual case.

    To be clear, there was one, and but only one choice for Carida. Surrender, unconditionally, give Kyp the truth about his brother, and don't kriff around.

    Kyp also advised Carida of its ability to evacuate. That was also ignored (surprise). Instead of ordering an evacuation of the planet, Furgen next ordered the child-kidnapping plan to be put into effect, then fled to join it, leaving the planet to its fate.

    And if one is interested in justice rather irrational and misplaced retribution against a scapegoated figurehead, then Kyp paid penance for the part he played in its destruction.

    Most of your ire should be targeted at Furgan first, and then to every single one down the chain of command who helped stall and mislead Kyp, and mount an attack. The rest should be focus
  12. Likewater

    Likewater Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 31, 2009
    What? Kyp wiped out an entire planet, a species home world.

    That is inexusable, Cardia was entire planet.

    not a base, not a city, not a nation, a planet.

    Reference pale blue dot, for a species that was their pale bule dot. And Kyp wiped it and the accopanying solar system because they wouldnt give him his big brother.

    I seriously doubt the Imperials treated the native non-human cardians all special and gave them great colony rights.

    Planets may in the worlds of StarWars the equivilent value of a city(as a concept), but a planet is not a city.
  13. Darth_Zandalor

    Darth_Zandalor Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 2, 2009
    Well, I never read Open Seasons, hence my assumption.
  14. BobaKareu

    BobaKareu Jedi Knight star 3

    Feb 24, 2005
    For what it's worth, I really liked her books. Overall, I thought they were great reads. I realize mileage may vary with everything, but I enjoyed them. I liked some (Hard Contact) more than others (Triple Zero), but I enjoyed them all. My memory isn't perfect, but I seem to recall the board here fawning over her after Hard Contact came out. And who wouldn't have? It was a great book. It wasn't until Triple Zero came out that some had real problems with the viewpoints being pushed in the books, and that was about when fans seem to fragment on the issue of whether or not they enjoyed her work - which was later inflamed more with some of Traviss's own comments regarding those that seemed to hate her work with a vehement passion. An adequate comparison would be how fans view Christie Golden, although Omen was nowhere near as well-received as Hard Contact. But after the release of Allies (as with Traviss's second book, Triple Zero), the hate levied on both authors was much more noticeable.

    It's a touchy issue. Maybe it's the journalist inside me that can commiserate with her, but I've always honestly believed her when she would say that the viewpoints in her books (particularly, the anti-Jedi, pro-Mandalorian kind) were typically the result of biased characters. It didn't always ring true in her work, and I think there's no harm in (as a fan of Traviss's) thinking that she probably did harbor a pro-Mando viewpoint as she continued to write her books. I hesitate to say her views were anti-Jedi, though. It's always easy to find fault with the popular kids when you're not popular, and the Jedi are clearly way more popular than the Mandos will ever be. But (in my opinion) she raised some thought-provoking commentary regarding certain practices of the prequel Jedi, and it was something that some fans wanted to read, and that others just didn't. Not that the Mandos were a bastion of perfect characters, though. Some may have looked up to Kal Skirata, but I thought it was clear from the narrative that the guy was a real thug that had no business corralling all the Mando wannabes into a family unit.

    If you're a fan that misses Traviss's work, I strongly suggest checking out her Gears of War books. They're flippin' fantastic, and it's refreshing to see her really portray war without the "Star Wars" filter that kept her from getting into gory and controversial topics that might normally arise from books that deal with warfare. She wrote the story for Gears of War 3 too, and I absolutely adored the story found in that game. Really emotional stuff, due in large part to her writing.
  15. Likewater

    Likewater Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 31, 2009
    There is nothing wrong with promoting a Character or viewpoint, but when one preaches it through characters, and having every character accept it as gospel even when they have no reason to, or have every reason too have the opposite view point, it really makes a case of "author on board".

    I personally really like newer comic book characters.

    New Mutants, Generation X, New X-men, Young Avengers, ect...

    I think thoes characters are in every way equal, to the O5 x-men, the "All new all diffrent", the avengers.

    But be that as it may, I could not have Jubilee rant against Cyclops or Captain America and just have Spider-man, or Storm just take that ranting questioning their generation of heros (or the previous) tactics, and not say a word in defense or even question her own tactics.

    This is the source of "characters are simpy the mouthpeice for her opinions" argument.

  16. Genghis12

    Genghis12 Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 18, 1999
    The scale of a Star Wars is greater than a World War; scaled up accordingly. Carida by definition was a military world -- as in the Empire used the entire planet for military purposes.

    Not quite right. Kyp demanded surrender; and information about his big brother. In very reasonable terms. The reaction was very unreasonable.

    That's not Kyp's fault. That's the monstrosity that is the Empire.

    For a weapon that can wipe out an entire solar system at a time, the relative scale -- and at least worth to the Empire -- might actually be less.
  17. Beskyram

    Beskyram Jedi Youngling

    May 25, 2011
    In all honesty, my main gripe with Traviss's work didn't even have anything to do with her opinions, but rather with the way in which she framed them and who she had expressing them. I would have very much liked to have seen a Jedi independently decide (without Mandalorian "guidance") that the idea of a sentient clone army was wholly unethical and a gross violation of the respect for all life that Jedi are supposed to have. Hearing it from a bunch of mercenaries was a bit too much hypocrisy for me to stomach, and it made it seem less like a moral issue and more like "we're looking after our family".

    I very, very much enjoyed some Traviss's RC books, but once it got to LotF, things went downhill. I'd rather have seen her just do a Boba Fett trilogy set in the same time period or one near it, since that seemed to be what she wanted to do anyways.

    When I hear the gripes about Traviss making Mandalorians ridiculously over-skilled to the point where they can take on Jedi on their own, I have some mixed feelings. On one hand, yes, Traviss does pump them up a bit, and she also makes the Jedi seem weak. But honestly, they don't seem a whole lot weaker than any other time Jedi actually manage to come off the worse in combat against a non Force-user, which really does happen pretty often, despite their many powers.
  18. Gorefiend

    Gorefiend Chosen One star 5

    Oct 23, 2004
    More then a few actually did express such thoughts. Obi-Wan, Mace and Fisto among them (Shatterpoint, Cestus Deception) and there is a whole group of Jedi in one of the first Story Arcs of the Republic comics that refuse to fight in the war.
  19. kataja

    kataja Jedi Master star 4

    May 4, 2007
    Likewater - Traviss did not do anything that Denning or Allston did not do as well, But because of her position in writng, and her fetish for mandalorians who had little to do with the over all story, it seemed like she was the most blatant. So in the end she got the lions share of the dissatified commentary...
    Agreed. Then again, I guess the two others gets some credit just for hanging on around here. [face_plain]

    LexiLupin - It's such a small detail. It's silly- stupid even- that it bothers me; but it does:

    Pg 116: She took a very large-denomination credit chip from her flight suit's breast pocket and held it between neatly manicured fingertips.

    Neatly manicured fingertips?!?

    The girl who just finished hunting down Alema Rar has neatly manicured fingertips? Am I the only one who finds it ridiculous to think that Jaina- aunt dead, brother a Sith, hunting dark Jedi, nearly saw Jag die in the process- cares one bit about personal grooming beyond basic hygiene? She's off sparring with Zekk and Jag and freaking them out with her singular focus on preparing herself to confront Jacen... and then takes a break to file her nails
    That a perfect example of what bothered me too. Straight in line, Mara "grabbed jacket, not one of her usual fashionable ones but something gray and functional" in Bloodlines p. 47 It's a detail, but it's just so plain wrong. Just in the book befire, Allston has pointed out that Luke and Mara have few things in their home - which is much more in character.

    And in Sacrifice, I think, Mara comforts Ben that Luke won't yell at him this time, or something like that. Now, I can imagine Luke yell at Mara - but not at Ben, particularly not at this part of timeline when their relationship is so stretched already. It's deatils, I know, - but it reveals taht she doesn't see the same characters that I do - and that makes me distance myself from her writing much more than I do from a lesser writer where I can see his/her love for the characters. My own reaction is prettty interesting, though - if this was a 'normal' novel', then I'd probably think KT was great, beause she wants something different with her characters - but since this is SW that I read for completely different reasons than I pick up say Dostojevski, it just puts a damper on my reading-experience...

    As for Jaina's sex life - I honestly think it's much more lkely that you would desperatly want wild sex after a rough experience than that you sit down and manicure your nails. Sex touches soemthing vital about life and death - something manicured nails hardly do...

    This thread is throwing new light on some of Traviss' solutions, though. After reading what she's been saying about Jedi, and hwo she's been writing them, it suddenly makes sense why she would think Lumiya would outsmart Luke to kill her down. It would even seem like a lesson he could need... I don't agree with it at all, that was another thing I didn't like about Sacrifice, but it's straight in line with the rest of her writing... Pity...

    Does anyone remember (one of the?) last scene with Niathal wher she's wonders how Luke Skywalker can live with his conscience? Was that Revelation or Invincible? With this thread in mente I'd say it's a Traviss scene but...
  20. stung4ever

    stung4ever Jedi Grand Master star 3

    May 17, 2002
    What it comes down to is punishment vs redemption. As seen in the HOT, there are large portions of the NR that are big on punishment. And if the individual can't be found, the group should be.

    But OOU, Star Wars is about redemption. Anakin was redeemed. And, in the ROTJ infinity comics, no one blinked about White Vader helping to hunt down Palpatine. Luke was redeemed (although he was never fully gone). And, unquestionably, Kyp was redeemed.

    I think it was best put by Corran in I, Jedi. Killing him wouldn't do the galaxy any good. And, while it's not right that Kyp essentially got community service for genocide, it's the best solution in this case. Tahiri's facing the same situation, although her crimes weren't as severe.

    As for the slave clone army: Traviss's Mandos commonly go into situations where they know innocents could be killed, but they don't hesitate to do their jobs. Even the GAG and the CSF shot first and asked questions later, rather than hesitate and possibly lose their life. They allow a smaller evil to be done (killing of civillians) in order for the greater good (from their point of view) to be done. The Jedi were faced with the same decision. It was wrong for the Jedi to use the slave clone army. But, as far as they were concerned, the alternative was for Dooku to use his droid army to overrun the Republic and the Sith to take control of the galaxy.
    Lady_Misty likes this.
  21. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 6, 2007
    The last page of Open Seasons is pretty clear about this. I mean if you have read it I find it hard to believe that you think Vau's theory is at all far fetched. The only thing that might be farfetched is Vau's knowledge of the situation, but even then it seems like mud slinging.

    Dooku: "In time they(the clones) will be instrumental in the destruction of the Jedi."
    Jango: "That's what I'm counting on"

    So while you, or me, or the next guy, or gal, might not like it the idea it does have a complete canonical origin and is pretty far from an "insane" idea. Karen just expanded upon something that was already there.
  22. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
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  23. Senator_Cilghal

    Senator_Cilghal Jedi Master star 5

    Jul 19, 2003
    i must now know what "turduckening" means and its etymology. please enlighten me.

    I agree Hard Contact was an EXCELLENT book. It seemed so fresh. there's no doubt she has talent.

    I thought the moral issues were handle WELL in that book. It was only afterwards i started to feel she was beating a dead horse.

    the OTHER issue i have with karen is her rewriting mandalorian history, disregarding the FINE work Abel did in Insider. i have yet to hear justification for this. i've heard some whining about how existing continuity shouldn't limit creativity and story-telling, but have yet to hear a good reason why karen's re-work is more creative or in any way better than abel's original version, nor why an author who has the talent and creativity Hard Contact PROVES she is capable of couldn't be creative, tell a good story, and keep the continuity. i mean, its not like she's telling a story about Luke, where there's tons of continuity to fit with; the existing continuity on mandos when she wrote was so scarce, i can't see a justification to contradict it

    along came the new CW cartoon, and rewrote Mando history again, disregarding what Karen herself had written; while i do not think their doing so was any more justifiable than what she did, i find it hard to feel sorry for her, since she received the same treatment she had dealt to someone else
  24. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Jul 30, 2000
    [hl=black]No more Carida. Kyp would want it that way.[/hl]
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  25. Gorefiend

    Gorefiend Chosen One star 5

    Oct 23, 2004
    [hl=black]We're not doing this anymore.[/hl]

    i must now know what "turduckening" means and its etymology. please enlighten me.

    If you stick a chicken into a duck into a thanksgiving turkey ;) Basically if you fill something with something else which has already been stuffed with something. ^^