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

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

  1. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    Yeah, being serious, Eccleston's Doc avoided violence quite often, it certainly wasn't his first resort.
     
  2. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Well I did run head long into the middle of a Dalek fleet along with Captain Flirts-A-Lot to save Rose.
     
  3. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

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    Jul 19, 1999
    Yeah, but you didn't go and do this, did you:

     
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  4. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 7

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    Dec 16, 2012
    Sorry forgot about him, I have not seen the episodes with him so he is a bit in the back of my memory bank.
     
  5. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

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    Sep 2, 2012
    Nope. I did not.
    His conversation with the Daleks was on of my favorite moments with him. I could feel it from him.
    Rory's best scene though.
     
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  6. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 7

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    Dec 16, 2012
  7. Sniper_Wolf

    Sniper_Wolf Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 26, 2002
    I must be one the few readers who find arguments over genre expectations tiresome. At times I imagine a constant reader holding a nice check list drawn on a yellow pad with the must haves and must nots arranged into boxes. Lists of "apt" dialogue, appearances of prerequisite characters, appropriation of narrative arcs, and so forth. Adjacent to this diagram is the master list of very minor minutia of every minor character and technology I have mentioned in previous posts. I wonder if the crossover of readership from fantasy literature is a possibility for this puritanical drive by certain elements of the EU fandom. Rereading Donaldson and Brooks, knowing the Tolkien estate has not sued the U.S. science fiction/fantasy publishing into oblivion, I am still shocked by how much fidelity is demanded by the readership. You are the ones giving the academy more ammunition.

    If the general consensus is the Prequel Era is devoid of merit, and that Karen Traviss is differentiating from this meritless status quo, then why is the alleged paradigm shift a transgression instead of a course correction?

    I concur that if Traviss introduced a character to serve as the foil for Clan Skiarta then a lot of the criticisms would have been alleviated. This said, suggesting that by reading her novels the anti-Jedi propositions are gospel is akin to saying I hate women because I recently reread Women by Bukowski or American Psycho by Ellis. The reader does not have to advocate a position in a novel to enjoy the text. I am wondering if a segment of the fan base who does not enjoy KT's work, which is their own opinion that does not change my reaction to the novels, is promulgating cheap sensationalism instead of crafting their own literary criticism. Discussion of literature is what allows the art to continue on. Remember, the loud, vocal proselytization of the alleged offenses of Traviss and Denning have not stem the tide. "WE HATE KAREN TRAVISS!" Revelation is, if I remember correctly, one of the few or the first EU novel to read #1 on The New York Times, goes on to top tie-in work, is the lead author of the concluding chapter of a video game trilogy grossing over a billion dollars in combined revenue. "DENNING RAPED OUR CHILDREN!" Continues to release an EU volume approximately once a year, writes the final adventure of the Legends continuity. I would be amused if most of this howling contributed to free marketing.

    I imagine KT portraying Mara as an actual person upset most of the readers preferring the Timothy Zahn Real Dolls.com interoperation. There are certain issues relating to the editors insistence on artificially extending Legacy of the Force, yet I enjoy seeing Mara draw on her training as an emperor's hand in Sacrifice. I like how children can make the smartest, best train operative act stupid. (For full disclosure, because I am sure someone will ask, I am fourteen years older than my youngest sibling, no one in between, which has made me closer to a second father or a weird uncle than sibling). A few quick editorial changes could have improved the coherence of the situation. Give Mara a few sidekicks when she attacked Jacen for additional support, additional dark side points for Jacen, and a few checks for the lets irritate the fans rubric I am sure a lot of you guys are dreaming up. The core rationale behind Mara's action is still sound enough.

    Eh, I'm tired, and I'm sure I've provided enough text to annoy people. I'll move onto to strengths and weaknesses of Traviss' text in a few days.
     
  8. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

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    Sep 2, 2012
    Revelation was the first book since TPM to debut at #1 on the NYT Bestseller list.
    Mara for the second half of Sacrifice was terrible.
     
  9. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Chosen One star 10

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    Sep 2, 2012
    I don't think it's necessary to put down Zahn's writing style in order to praise Traviss's.

    What is a "Real Dolls.com interpretation" anyway?
     
  10. themetresgained

    themetresgained Jedi Master star 4

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    Feb 23, 2013
    Something akin to a Mary Sue where, rather than a self-insertion, it's who the author has feeelings about.
     
  11. Gorefiend

    Gorefiend Chosen One star 5

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    Oct 23, 2004

    Which given the quality of those two works is nothing to brag about, though the TPM novel at least tried to make sense.
     
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  12. Force Smuggler

    Force Smuggler Force Ghost star 7

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    Sep 2, 2012
    Interesting fact though.
     
  13. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Chosen One star 10

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    Sep 2, 2012
    I liked the TPM novel - for the extra scenes.
     
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  14. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 29, 2005
    I think even the TESB comparison is strained. What most people are ignoring when they complain that the NJO was "nineteen books of TESB," as if it was all the grim and gloom of the middle chapter and no ANH and ROTJ, is that the situation isn't comparable. The OT started in media res, with the heroes in bad shape, and they won a victory, lost a battle, and then won the war. The PT then went back and took the heroes from good to bad to explain how they got in the position of scrappy rebels fighting a galaxy under the thumb of monolithic evil. And that's what the first half of the NJO is. SBS isn't TESB; it's ROTS. As the NJO opens, the heroes are in a great position. They won the Galactic Civil War, the galaxy is at peace. If a genuinely significant threat is going to crop up, it has to be built, it has to grow. It has to knock the good guys down first. So the first half of the NJO was the PT, knocking the good guys down, so the second half could build them back up again.

    This extended arc, and the length of the series in general, actually kind of obviated the need for a TESB moment because we weren't started halfway through and didn't need a "this is serious" moment in the middle of the recovery to maintain the gravity of the situation. Structurally the most similar moment would be the loss of the HoloNet and general sense that the heroes' gains could be knocked back in TFP/the start of TUF.

    But basically, VP was the TPM of this saga. The golden age is clouded by an emerging evil, a hero falls, but the good guys win a big victory and hope that's the end of it because they don't know what they're into. DT would then be AOTC; the heroes are pushed into war as they try to fight off the emergent evil. The rest of the series up to SBS is the Clone Wars. The heroes are fighting and they win victories here and there but overall they're getting ground down. SBS is ROTS; the darkest moment, as the heroes seem completely defeated, major heroes die, and all hope seems lost. I guess DJ is the Dark Times, when heroes fight on even though things look pretty nasty, with EL as a particularly hopeful Dark Times story where the good guys kick some ass and get away even if they're not winning a big victory. Traitor's kind of an out-of-order TESB where the hero is trained and struggles with Force philosophy in the midst of dark-seeming times, I guess. DW is ANH, with the heroes coming off their back foot to win a huge, glorious victory that gives them hope they can lick this thing, the next few books are the Galactic Civil War where the heroes just keep plugging away fighting and win a few small victories, and TUF is ROTJ with the big finale where they finally beat the bad guys. It's a structure that reflects the entire saga, not just the one trilogy, because it has to create its threat before it can throw its heroes against it. It doesn't have the luxury of starting in media res with Luke, Han, and Leia the scrappy underdogs.
     
  15. JediKnight75

    JediKnight75 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 15, 2011
    That's a great comparison. The only thing I'd add is that there is a definate ESB moment. At the end of TFP the Vong shut down the holonet and the tide turns again; things aren't that good when TUF begins also. I think it counts as an ESB for the NJO, just a shorter version.
     
  16. DigitalMessiah

    DigitalMessiah Chosen One star 6

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    Feb 17, 2004
    I didn't necessarily mean in terms of narrative structure as you're comparing in terms of rising action in Vector Prime through Rebirth, climax in Star by Star through Traitor, and falling action in Destiny's Way through The Unifying Force, but just in a sense of the overall solemnity of the work. You might say that Revenge of the Sith and The Empire Strikes Back are much more solemn than Star Wars or Return of the Jedi or The Phantom Menace, without as much levity. Neither The Empire Strikes Back nor the NJO really have moments like the garbage masher scene in Star Wars which is a serious situation that resolves itself in a lighthearted manner, or Han trying to hotwire the backdoor to the shield generator on Endor and closing another layer of doors accidentally, or the bigger fish scene in the Naboo core, or Anakin's efforts at romance. Even ROTS does with the super battle droids and Artoo on The Invisible Hand, but I think the prequels were more slapstick than nuanced character moments, e.g. Threepio on the Death Star or Han on Endor in the aforementioned scenes, which is evident in Jar Jar.

    I mean, I could be slightly off-base here, as I haven't read the series in about three years apart from Traitor, Destiny's Way, and The Unifying Force, so those types of scenes could appear earlier on especially in the Stackpole and Luceno duologies, but I think there was a deliberate effort made to eschew them in order to demonstrate the gravity of the invasion for the reader immediately. It's very much more similar IMO to a prequel trilogy that jumps into Revenge of the Sith immediately rather than the prequel trilogy which we got, because the first act of the NJO is a lot more intense than the first act of the saga (I and II). I'm sure there are scenes like that though, like in Rebirth when the Yuuzhan Vong are declaring themselves for single combat against Corran and Anakin and Nom Anor just wants them to take them out since they have a numbers advantage, and a similar scenario with Ganner in Traitor. I think the series is actually more lighthearted as it progresses because such an effort was made to impress upon the reader that these bad guys mean business and no one is safe.

    I really think in terms of narrative structure comparisons the NJO is structured like The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi: the first eleven books are like The Empire Strikes Back, starting off with a sense of major defeat, following with the heroes pretty desperate followed by another major sense of defeat, and then afterward the series becomes more lighthearted following Dark Journey with the Enemy Lines duology and the scenes with Ganner in Traitor, among others, and this sense of dread is lifted as the invincibility of the enemy has been replaced by a sense of parity at worst as we're told that they've exhausted their reserves and now they're on the defensive, and the heroes have new resolve to take back what has been lost and new leads on how to resolve the mystical subplot and the mystery of the Yuuzhan Vong which frames it.

    It's really its own story that doesn't fit comparisons, but while Vector Prime is similar to TPM I suppose it's really the outlier for the early part of the series. This is why you say there's a reverse order between TESB and ANH -- because besides Vector Prime, the stories are more grim than not early on, and there really isn't a break in that until Traitor or Destiny's Way. Or, I suppose, Enemy Lines. But I wouldn't really compare Traitor to TESB since the larger picture is that is two defeats sandwiching the Falcon being caught in a cat and mouse game while Luke trains.
     
  17. Null Arc 11 0rdo

    Null Arc 11 0rdo Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Jun 25, 2014
    You have to remember that the Galactic civil war didn't end with ROTJ, the Empire continued to fight under various leaders like thrawn until 19 ABY.

    I'd equate ROTJ more to the battle at Ebaq 9 in DW, a trap set by Ackbar that was the YV's most crushing defeat in the war. It was a turning point like the battle of Endor in the Galactic Civil War which was also a devastating military victory. It was after this that the New Republic reformed into the Galactic Alliance just like the Rebel Alliance was reformed in the New Republic following the battle of Endor. Both The NR and GA gained or regained footing which led them to an eventual victory.

    What follows DW would follow the arc in series like the Thrawn trilogy, where the GA is fighting more from a position of equal strength rather then constantly being outnumbered and outgunned.
     
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  18. Kev Snowmane

    Kev Snowmane Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 1, 2013
    I'm still plowing through the backthread, so forgive me if this has been brought up already:

    I got some Clone Wars novels from a friend, two of them being from Traviss, and two being from Karen Miller. I already knew Travis had a rocky reputation with many fans but only knew the bare outlines of the details. Keeping her rep in mind, I'm about halfway through the novelization of The Clone Wars, and I can see the point of those who say she has a tendency to soapbox quite a bit.

    There have been at least 7-8 references to the "corruption" of the Republic and/or the Jedi so far, not to mention the overtone she's given her portrayal of Dooku and Ventress as being bringers of justice or even "freedom fighters" of a sort that just makes me go "?????". Her Anakin is less troubled young man and more thinly disguised (and barely under control) Jason Vorhees with a lightsaber.

    Still, I like Clone Wars, so I intend to carry on. I like what I've read of her Rex so far, especially his interactions with Ahsoka.

    A couple of misc points to respond to from the first 16 or so pages of thread, not directly about Traviss:

    The Saxonites, as several have pointed out, were/are obsessed with Big Numbers. They are so obsessed with them that when one of their own got to write the Incredible Cross Sections books, he jumped at the chance to "swing for the fences". This is where nonsense like starfighter weapons firing gigaton-strength bolts came from.

    This was done to bolster the "pro-Wars" side of the then-raging "Vs Debate" with Trek fans across several forums, using Lucasfilms (at that time) permissive "it's all canon" policy to rig the debate with large numbers that Trek fans, limited by Paramount's less-permissive "on-screen only" policy.

    I'll leave that issue where it lays, least I be accused of "turduckening" any further than I have.

    As for the issue of how big the Clone Army was, a lot depends on the time between "batches" of clones, and the size of the batches. The Kaiminoans had 200,000 ready to go in AOTC, with a million more "well on the way". If the 200,000 combat-ready clones represented one "batch" (implied by the script for AOTC), and we take "well on the way" to mean deployment-ready within 3 months (US Army Basic Training is 10 weeks, and they don't have flash-learning, etc to speed up the process), then the estimated number of clones entering the war per/year would be ~4.8 million clones. That makes 1.4 million active units at ~ the 6 month mark just about right (~1 "batch"/month).

    *Edit to add*

    I think Traviss was/is being a bit disingenuous to invoke "they're only fictional characters" as a defense of how she treats SW characters and/or her contradictory/OOC writing of them.

    Surely, as a writer/creator, she understands the concept of "Suspension ofDdisbelief". As an adjunct to that, I would have thought she understood the vital role that consistency/continuity/canon plays in allowing the reader/viewer to maintain SoD. This is especially true when writing for shared universes and/or over an extended series of releases.

    Yes, they are not "real" people. However, good writing must treat them as if they were. Not everyone subscribes to the Joe Quesada "action figure" school of editorial thought.
     
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  19. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Chosen One star 10

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    Sep 2, 2012
    The Clone Wars: No Prisoners is the other "Rex & Ahsoka" Traviss novel, if you're looking for more of the same.
     
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  20. Kev Snowmane

    Kev Snowmane Jedi Knight star 3

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    Jan 1, 2013
    ^tyvm for the recommend. Ironically, that's the other one I got from my friend! :D
     
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  21. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Chosen One star 10

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    Sep 2, 2012
    While she's a friend of Traviss, Karen Miller novels have their own schtick - Obi-Wan as extremely self-sacrificing, Palpatine as a complete monster underneath an extremely affable facade, Yoda as surprisingly ruthless, plenty of Ahsoka POV, and so forth. I like them, at least, though books 2 and 3 in the Miller series (Clone Wars Gambit) seem to have gotten a bad rep here.
     
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  22. Kev Snowmane

    Kev Snowmane Jedi Knight star 3

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    Jan 1, 2013
    I have "Wild Space" and "Stealth". I'll get to them after I read the Traviss ones.
     
  23. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Chosen One star 10

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    Sep 2, 2012
    It'll be nice to see your reviews of TCW and No Prisoners once you've finished those - and what you think of the themes Traviss dwells on.
     
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  24. Kev Snowmane

    Kev Snowmane Jedi Knight star 3

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    Jan 1, 2013
    ^Well, I think I gave you a good hint at least to my intitial reaction above... :)
     
  25. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Chosen One star 10

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    Sep 2, 2012
    Anakin doesn't change much - but we do get some interesting "Anakin & Padme" dynamic in the next book. No more Dooku & Ventress though.
     
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