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

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

  1. Genghis12

    Genghis12 Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 18, 1999
    I never understood why the number becamse such the huge problem either. I mean, clearly, fandom has gotten over much larger existential threats to canon such as the proper length of a Super Star Destroyer (and what they even are for that matter), the class name for the second ship seen opening A New Hope, and other really, really important things.

    It's not like none of us have heard, "That's the way Lucas(film) wants it" before.

    Stover did catch flak; but it blew over without major problems. Especially with the CLone Wars cartoon experience, I think we've been programmed to accept a short and sweet "I was told to do this, so that's the way it is." Okay, we hate it, but that's the way it is and move on. And I think to a large degree, because she didn't leave it there, but actually tried to justify the reponse too.

    I can respect that. Very clearly, she's proved that if she doesn't believe or agree with the imposition, she's willing to walk on the project. As opposed to, say, someone writing the company line because the gig beats flipping burgers. I don't know that there's been anyone who has done that, but with Traviss, we know where she stands.

    It's an interesting issue. The continuity-fiend in me wants to believe that there's a good story involved in whatever that explanation on the company line will be. But, at some point I also have to accept the legitimacy in Traviss' comparison on her dropped projects: Say it's WWII, and you were writing a story about the Allied soldiers dropped in the middle of Germany sent to kill Hitler; but then remove Germany as an enemy; it never formed the Axix, World War II didn't happen. And now write that story, ignoring all of the background absurdity. Yeah, a little bit of me wants to say, well, what's the problem, give us something good. But, then all the rest says she's right, and that would just end up being a stupid thing to do.

    I think the 3,000,000 figure was nowhere near that level of plot-destroying detail. Is it 3,000,000 or 30,000,000 or 300,000,000.

    I agree with those who say it doesn't matter. And in hindsight, I don't think there's anything done in the Clone Wars Cartoon that was insurmountable to a finishing of her clones' stories.
     
  2. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 6, 2007
    If thats how it looks to you, yes.

    In the long term I think the Jedi not doing everything the Republic tells them to do would have actually saved lives and protected more people than the actions they did take.

    There is nothing certain about any hypothetical reset. The only thing we know for certain is that the Jedi Order failed the first go around and I feel that they went against some of their core beliefs in doing so.

    My understanding is that she actually offered to finish writing them out of canon and LFL declined, so if thats true your statement is completely correct.

    My issue with what TCW has done with the Mandoarian continuity is a simple one. We don't know what is yet to come, we don't know if Mandalore in Mandore or if Mandaore in Kalevala or if Mandalore is Concordia, just to give a few examples.

    Your advocating that it would have been easy for an author to finish the stories, but how can one even begin to write such stories not knowing what the ground rules are, or what the ground rules will be in the future?

    One idea that Filoni has floated on the behind the scenes features is that Jango Fett is not even Mandalorian anymore. If info like that came across Karen's desk, that she wasn't allowed to write about Jango as a Mando, how exactly would she procede? The entire premise of her novels is based upon Jango hiring other Mandalorians to help train the clones. We then follow those Mandalorians thorugh a series of novels, and across a generation, including tons of stuff about Boba and Arla.

    How would one set about retconning that?

    At a guess I'd say that Karen was told that Jango and Boba were not Mandalorians anymore and that she had to work that into her books if she wanted to continue on. She declined, case closed.

    Del Rey could have still finished IC, but after flip flopping back and forth on the issue they also decided it wouldn't be something that they want to touch right now either. I beleive that a large part of their decision is based upon so much being up in the air right now continuity wise. Once its all settled I bet we will see more Mandalorian stories set in this timeframe, but I just don't see how one can expect a professional author to wait around for years to get things settled.

     
  3. Ryugan

    Ryugan Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    May 6, 2010
    They could probably hand-wave that away by saying that the GAR is an umbrella term to encompass all Republic military forces in the Clone Wars, with the conscripted forces presumably not serving on the frontlines, but in more of the role of occupation troops in reconquered worlds or local defense forces of Republic-allied planets.
     
  4. blackmyron

    blackmyron Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Considering that Del Rey and Dark Horse has virtually dropped the Clone Wars entirely (with the exception of the occasional one-shot), despite the conventional wisdom that you deluge your audience with tie-ins (which was unfortunately true around TPM) leads me to think you're right, Charles. And who can blame them? They can't even keep up continuity with the SW products that are coming out at the same time.
     
  5. TheLateAdmiralPiett

    TheLateAdmiralPiett Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Registered:
    Oct 1, 2004
    There's one thing that has always irked me with Traviss from day one, before I even knew how people felt about her on here. In her mind, the only thing that matters in the Star Wars universe are the Mandos, and every other aspect of the Star Wars universe is below them in every way, and she is going to make this very clear for the readers with numerous repetitions about how great the Mandos are, how bad the Jedi are, and how stupid everyone else in between is.

    It's one thing to like an aspect of the Star Wars universe. But to take that aspect so seriously that you start to put down other aspects in the fiction through your own writing is pathetic.
     
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  6. ATimson

    ATimson Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 19, 2003
    While I think you're right about the LFL position, there's one problem with blaming Del Rey and Dark Horse for dropping the tie-ins: their audience is not the TV show's audience. The TV show is aimed at kids, and the Del Rey TCW novels (I don't know about the Dark Horse comics) decidedly weren't. They may have had the same characters, but they failed as tie-ins.

    Scholastic is still putting out TCW tie-ins, because the target audience is their audience. And if the sales were there, I suspect Dark Horse would have continued with their line. But when other product was selling better, and is less work (no continuity minefield), why keep the TCW comics going?
     
  7. blackmyron

    blackmyron Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 29, 2005
    I'm not blaming Del Rey or DHC for what happened, though - it was a wise decision on their part.

     
  8. ATimson

    ATimson Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 19, 2003
    That was poorly phrased on my part, my apologies. :)
     
  9. Genghis12

    Genghis12 Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 18, 1999
    Q: Why Have You Stopped Writing Star Wars
    http://web.archive.org/web/20100107182043/http://www.karentraviss.com/html/Movingon.htm

    The meat of it:
    "Anyway, let me get to the point of this blog. I've been receiving mail from Star Wars fans who have bought the new visual guide to the second season of the Clone Wars TV cartoon, and have been perplexed by detail in it. They've noticed changes in canon. They're mailing me to ask what's going on because it appears to affect areas that my novels deal with. I admit I didn't know there was a guide coming out this early, let alone what would be revealed in it. But now that it has, and you're asking me what's happened, it would be naive to stall you when you have the book in front in you, and pretty rude to ignore you. .. All I can say is that I was given enough of the detail in January to realise that changes in continuity were such that I wouldn't be able to carry on as originally planned with the storylines you were expecting to see continued in my books. It would have required a lot more than routine retcon.
    The only solution I could think of that could accommodate the changes was a complete reboot, and I seriously considered doing that. But starting over, when I had so many other books on my plate? The knock-on effect on my other work was a problem, because most of my income doesn't come from Star Wars. And then there was the risk of alienating readers. Pulling the rug from under them after so many books - that wouldn't go down well, and "I was only following orders" doesn't appease anybody these days.
    The canon is beyond my control, because that's the very nature of tie-in work. But that still left me with some personal choices I had to make. I could try to make the massive retcons. Or I could switch to different SW books that weren't affected by these changes. Or I could decide to call it a day - I had a great run, but I had an increasing amount of non-SW work to get on with that was more important to my business.
    In the end, the only rational decision I could take was to make Imperial Commando #2 my last book for Star Wars. I'm sorry I had to do that, and it wasn't a decision I took lightly or even quickly, so bear with me while1
     
  10. TheRedBlade

    TheRedBlade Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 17, 2007

    I mentioned this many moons ago in another thread, but AotC does kinda support this. When Obi-Wan walks into the Fett's room, Jango tells Boba to close the closet (where is extremely identifiable armor is) in Huttese. Not in Mandalorian, a language that the average Jedi would have no idea how to speak, but in Huttese, the GFFA's equivalent to Spanish. Couple this with the fact that Boba had no particularly strong ties to Mando culture later in life, and it looks like Jango never bothered to tell him much about the Mandalorian way.

    This, of course, completely contradicts a lot of very good EU, but LFL could theoretically claim that this was their vision all along, and that others just got carried away with it and turned Jango into Lord High Mandalore.
     
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  11. Genghis12

    Genghis12 Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Nov 18, 1999
    True, but the other side is that the Mandalorian language wasn't even invented yet when Obi-Wan walked into the room.
     
  12. ATimson

    ATimson Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 19, 2003
    I would say it doesn't contradict (recent) EU at all. We know Jango didn't teach Boba much about the Mandalorian way (see: Legacy of the Force). And if Jango was Mandalore in name, he was as absentee as Boba ended up being.

    My impression was that when Jango recruited fellow Mandalorians for the Cuy'val Dar, it wasn't because he felt a cultural tie, but because he knew they had the skill set the clones would need.
     
  13. godisawesome

    godisawesome Mod/Guy-Who-Types-Too-Much of New Films star 4 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Dec 14, 2010
    I've been working on the theory that Boba and Jango are Mandalorian, just not a particular type of Mandalorian.

    The way I see it, there's at least three different types of Mandalorians:

    The Clans-The canonical version of the Mandalorians as done by Traviss. Favor Mando'a as a language, the Canons of Honor as a code, and are an extremely nomadic and warlike people. Kind of like Irish Travellers, but nastier. Wear more uncoordinated armor and have a highly decentralized command system,with emphasis on Clan as a family. Think of Concordia as Manda'yaim.

    The Exiles-True Mandolorians, Death Watch, and later the Mandalorian Protectors. Generally identify with the planet Mandalore as a homeworld, but seek there fortunes as mercenaries, bounty hunters, raiders, and occaisional do-gooders. Don't speak the traditional Mando'a but a different dialect, and prefer Huttese or Basic as their main language. Codes of Honor vary wildly. Basically Swiss Pikeman. Wear standardized, teched-up armor with a centralized command system.

    The Civilians-New Mandalorians and Boba's civilian population as Mandalore. Actually live on Mandalore in cube cities. As of the Clone Wars, pacifists, but will militarize like the Exiles to help form the original Protectors. Lose home planet after Clone Wars, maybe migrate to Concordia or other planets (maybe Concord Dawn, a planet with its own Protectors.)

    I figure the three groups split around the time Mandalore was bombed, and end up slowly reforming around the Yuuzahn Vong invasion. Boba, Jango, and the True Mandalorians are Exiles, so aren't counted by the Civilians, and are a little too stiff and organized for the Clans. And for all we know, Fenn Shysa's iteration of the Protectors may still be the nice guys on another planet for those of us who want to see less war-mongering and more altruistic Mandalorians.
     
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  14. Gorefiend

    Gorefiend Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Which is why the Kamino also got pirates, bounty hunters, assassins etc. from across the galaxy to train clone troopers, clone specialists and clone pilots. People always seem to forget that Mandos are just one of many warrior cultures with a tradition in merc work. They truly are little different in what supposedly makes them unique, from, as an example, the warriors of Gamorr.

    Strong family ties ? check
    old traditions - check
    Organized in clans ? check
    unique language ? check
    reputation as brutes and killers ? check
    customized weapons ? check
    few battle/ battle glory as a certain purpose in live ? check
    widely know as mercs ? check
     
  15. godisawesome

    godisawesome Mod/Guy-Who-Types-Too-Much of New Films star 4 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Yeah, and we know that Commander Bacara, who was plenty dangerous and his mentor was the Journeyman Protector Cort Davin. That just makes me wish we knew more about the Protectors, because they don't seem to be rank and file Mandalorians, if they're Mandalorians at all. Their ranks include Jaster Mereel, the Fett family, Boba's treacherous mentor Lenovar, and Cort Davin. That's three Mandalores and an idiot crazy enough to pick a fight with Boba's family. They enforce law on a planet where cheating at Sabaac is punishable by death, but violently avenging the violation of your wife may get you exiled instead. I want to know more about these guys!
     
  16. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Yes, I'm very familiar with Karen's written reasons for leaving. I do suspect though that some stuff got left out.

    Canonically speaking which planet is Mandalore? The answer is that we don't know. Mandalore in the Atlas is listed as Terrestrial with Kalevala being the Toxix Waste dump. Concordia matches the best of the all but its just a moon. Or is Mandalore as presented in the EU up until TCW a completely different planet? Or maybe part of the toxic planet that we can't see?

    The EU established that Keldabe is is the largest city/spaceport on the world of Mandalore without having any buildings except Mandal Motors being taller than a couple of floors high, yet clealy Sundari(I think thats the name) is a huge metropolis with sky lanes, skyscrapers and the like.

    Sure we can imagine solutions to these problems that could work, that is if Season 4 or 5 of TCW doesn't throw in anymore curve balls. I think it is a big assumption to make though.

    Eventually we will see it get sorted out but that only leaves us with fan theories.
     
  17. QuangoFett

    QuangoFett Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Your theory resembles mine.

    I'd go even further and say that there are two completely separate Death Watches. The first is the one in Open Seasons, formed by the bloodthirsty Tor Vizsla who opposes Jaster Mereel's efforts to civilise the "Exiles". However, this Death Watch probably has nothing to do with the "Civilians", who had their own civil war in Satine Kryze's lifetime. Notice how the Duchess and Obi-Wan (who was present for this earlier civil war) know nothing about an organisation named Death Watch in the TCW episodes and don't suspect that the guy named Vizsla is behind all of this...

    Pre Vizsla is very much one of the Civilians (as the Duchess' interactions with him suggest), though he might be related to Tor Vizsla. His Death Watch is a splinter group of the Civilians and wears armour that is standardised to an degree beyond even the Exiles. The Open Seasons DW's influence on the TCW DW seems to extend only as far as the leader's family name and the symbol. This DW is a political faction.

    I agree with Robimus that there's too much ambiguity about what planet actually is Mandalore and that TCW has a habit of making things needlessly difficult. However, I err on the side of imagining as many "Mandalores" as is necessary. Concordia is too close to TCW-Mandalore to allow any Clan-focused stories to feasibly escape the influence of the Civilian Mandalorians. For the sake of plausibility, it seems to be best for Traviss' RC/IC series to be set in a totally separate star system from TCW's Mandalore.

    If LFL had clearly established a solution like this, then Traviss might have been able to continue with Imperial Commando.
     
  18. darthheat

    darthheat Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2011
    I thought it was quite refreshing to see the jedi from another pointt of view and not just the do gooders of the galaxy, and that they could personally and as an order have some major flaws. i believe the way she showed the jedis interaction with the clone army as a whole and on a individual basis was well written and needed to be brought to light. "for an order that cherished life they were completly alright with using a slave army since it was comprised of clones with no rights.

    Now im not saying she is my favorite writer but it was kinda nice to see the jedi depicted as something other than saints some of us would like to believe they were.
     
    Ordo N-11 likes this.
  19. Senator_Cilghal

    Senator_Cilghal Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2003
    if the Gamorreans ever put aside their clan wars and unite under Gam'or the Porculent to go on a galaxy-wide crusade, I will laugh
     
  20. Gorefiend

    Gorefiend Chosen One star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Now there would be a war on fabulous scale. :) Front heavy Boar class Star Destroyers made for ramming enemy ships and quick Piglet starfighters to nipple enemy ships to death and of course all painted with enemy blood. Though them being Gamorrean they properly would need a female to unite them so... Princess Gamora the great Bloodsow ;)
     
  21. jasonfry

    jasonfry VIP star 4 VIP

    Registered:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Not to thread-jack, but the perceived ambiguity of Mandalore has always interested me. I dug into my emails and archives to vet my own recollection and in case it might interest some of you:

    Bottom line, there was never any intention in the ATLAS (or anywhere else, as far as I know) to play games with the true identity of Mandalore/Kalevala/Concordia.

    Here's what my notes/emails show happened.

    Working on the ATLAS, Dan did the original write-up of Mandalore, long before we'd heard of Duchess Satine, and he came up with the name Tal'tar for the fourth orbital position. Dan classified Tal'tar as a toxic desert -- again, long before we heard about a Mandalorian war with the Jedi or white sands and cube cities.

    Late in the development of the ATLAS, we learned about the new Clone Wars material. We worked closely with LFL to write a small add accounting for the revised Mandalorian history, Concordia became a moon of Mandalore, and we needed to add Kalevala to the Mandalore system. I have no email record of why Kalevala replaced Tal'tar rather than being added as a new planet. This makes me think it was probably to keep production changes to a minimum at Del Rey, or some other mundane reason. Anyway, when Kalevela replaced Tal'tar it inherited its classification as a toxic desert.

    I think fans wanting to preserve the old Mandalore to the greatest extent possible saw a perceived ambiguity in that, which over time became conventional wisdom. But the reality is simpler and honestly less interesting. For my part, I've always figured Mandalore is Mandalore, and worked accordingly.

    BTW, in Karen's long-ago blog statement, she confused the second CW Visual Guide with The Art of the Clone Wars. It was the latter book that first showed us the CW depiction of Mandalore; the second Visual Guide wasn't out yet. I remember at the time being very confused/panicked about that one.

    Anyway, hope that's interesting. Carry on!
     
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  22. eddie1969

    eddie1969 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 3, 2005
    BTW, in Karen's long-ago blog statement, she confused the second CW Visual Guide with The Art of the Clone Wars. It was the latter book that first showed us the CW depiction of Mandalore; the second Visual Guide wasn't out yet. I remember at the time being very confused/panicked about that one.

    Well, at least that is clarified... I never understood that (and I thumbed several times through the book!)
     
  23. Likewater

    Likewater Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 31, 2009
    I call bull on this John Jackson Miller had the Jedi Covenant in his Kotor series, Padwan murdering, crime framing, darkside artifact hording, Lying Jedi murderers, one of which got on the Jedi Council, and He dosen't get half the heat Traviss did.

    They arn't sith double agents, they are not "channeling UNLMITDED POWAH!" of the DAWK SIEEEEEED.

    and their behavior occilates between down right evil to seriously flawed.
     
  24. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 6, 2007
    I'm just not seeing how this makes it any less confusing though. The Atlas gives us Kalevala, the Toxic Desert, a planet with no moons. It also describes Mandalore as having jungles, seas & deserts with two moons.

    To me the descriptions from TCW are akin to Kalevala with moons. Also the Character Encyclopedia mentions Satine's homeworld as Kalevala.

    Now Prime Minister Almec "sees himself as a servant of Mandalore's people as the planet pursues a bright future". Which leads me to think the toxic dessert planet we see in TCW is suppost to be Mandalore.

    Thanks for coming in to try and clear some of this up, but I remain pretty confused. I must not be understanding some of what your saying. I think your saying that the Toxic Desert planet with the Cube cities is Mandalore? Correct?
     
  25. blackmyron

    blackmyron Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 29, 2005
    The impression I've always gotten was that originally Satine didn't have a connection with the Mandalorians, and neither did Kalevala - note that the CSWE has entries for them that mention nothing about Mandalore or Mandalorians... or that "Kalevala" isn't mentioned or explored in the CWAS apart from mentions in conjunction with Satine.