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Discuss BP with Kathy -- Spoilers Welcome

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Shmi52, Oct 31, 2000.

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  1. Dev Sibwarra

    Dev Sibwarra Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 4, 1999
    Yes- lots of discussion resulted from that in the week preceding BP's release.
  2. Shmi52

    Shmi52 Author of New Jedi Order: Balance Point star 3 VIP

    Nov 20, 1999
    Thejedikiller -- I loved the mental image of you smiling as if a close friend had just announced a pregnancy. Thanks for the smile.
    --I felt that my plate was plenty full with the established character of Mara. Within my deadline, I didn't dare to spread my self too thin by bringing in any more (except as cameos).
    --Yes, I think that's Tsavong Lah on the JE cover.
    --How many fan suggestions? A bunch. Instead of keeping a list, I just pushed away from the monitor and scribbled furiously whenever I spotted one that would flow well in the story.
    --Willing? I'll pray about that if it happens.
    --I don't know how personally involved Mr. Lucas is with the NJO. But his licensing people are intensely involved, even as we hang out here. Read the top of page 14!

    Halcyon -- Thank you for reading the whole thread first. At this point, that's asking a lot . . . but I hope it was interesting. And thank you sincerely for sharing your thoughts about Jacen. He's in the middle of great changes in his life, like you -- like anyone on the threshold of independent adulthood. I'm glad the portrayal rang true for you.

    Um -- I'll bet you weren't around the JC much last week, were you? There was quite a flurry. They even went so far as to name Bambino "The Face." :D

  3. jedi_angel

    jedi_angel Jedi Youngling

    Aug 8, 2000
    my second post ever. Kathy, i havent read the book yet and it'll proably be months before i find a copy here in puerto rico. i really just wanted to say i think its so awesome that an author would take the time in this way to chat with readers and discuuss her book. thanks so much.
    and would someone please post a summary or let me know ehere a good one is? i dont care about spoilers i'll enjoy the book regaurdless...
  4. Chewbacca of Kashyyyk

    Chewbacca of Kashyyyk Jedi Youngling star 3

    Nov 17, 1999

    Have you spoken to the Lucas folks about making Vor beanie buddies? :)
  5. Mad Jedi Master

    Mad Jedi Master Jedi Youngling star 3

    Mar 10, 2000
    Kathy, I just finished BP 2 minutes ago, and I'll just give you my first impressions while their fresh. After that, I'll actually read all 278 other replies to formulate specific questions- if my questions weren't answered already. Here goes:

    Wow. What a killer ending. It makes Ruin sound like "Fluffy Bunny goes to Town". Awesome!

    I guess that means that we know what the Knightfall Trlilogy (and Jedi Blood) would have been about.

    Tsavong was the most interesting Vong since Shedao Shai. And you did a fantastic job with Nom Anor. I love the fact that he is an atheist of sorts. I have even less respect for him now than I did before. The Vong may be fanatical, but at least they have a code, and they serve what they believe to be the way. Nom Anor is self-serving, and I will be very pleased when he gets his comeuppance.

    Jacen. Wow again. You picked a good focal point for the book, and it was nice to see him come out of his crisis. You're the only author who has handled him well so far, imho (I love Stackpole, Salvatore, and Luceno, but Jacen was just a tough one to pin down. Maybe they softened him up for you though...)

    The baby! And it's a he, so the Skywalker name will continue! My only worry is that the disease will complicate things for Mara...

    Well, you cleaned up Han and Leia's domestic dispute there, though I think it could have gone through another book. But, you did give us plenty to writhe in agony about over the next few months, so throwing us that bone is at least a small comfort.

    Poor Duros. Poor, poor Duros.

    I guess if you make a deal with the devil, you get burned.

    So those are the first things that came to mind. Expect an indepth interrogation soon!

    Great work. Vector Prime sold me on the first year of NJO (I was gonna go cold turkey on EU material), and Balance Point has sold me on Year 2. Keyes, Denning, and the rest have a high standard to live up to. May the Force be with them!

  6. Mad Jedi Master

    Mad Jedi Master Jedi Youngling star 3

    Mar 10, 2000
    Ok, just read the entire thread. Whew!

    I should add to my previous post- I don't really like the GI Jane look on Leia and Jaina. But I think it'll be cool on Jacen.

    Some clarification on next year's NJO please- We will only get 3 books total? 2 Keyes novels and 1 Hardcover? While I'm thrilled that I'll get a Palpy plays Politics novel, and my wallet is singing thanks and praise, I am stunned! Doesn't Del Rey/LFL Want my money? Oh, well, If they are more interested in quality than quantity, that bodes well for the series.

    TAB- Since this has come up, it's interesting- the First book chronologically after Jedi to the last book so far (and for a while chronologically in Star Wars history). So you're sort of the EU bookend now, except for....

    A prequel novel! IF Lucasfilm just said, Do whatever you want, with any character, and we'll worry about whether it contradicts 2 and 3 later... who would you do? Young Qui-Gon? Anakin and Obi-Wan?

    I'd love to see you write a Queen Amidala novel.

    Is Shelly Shapiro listening?


    No real Balance Point questions. You really took the stuffing out of the GFFA in this one. I think you owe us one. Write a Queen Amidala book with a happy ending soon!

    I'm going to start Babylon 5: Out of the Darkness now. It's the third in a trilogy (also overseen by the good folks at Del Rey, I believe), and when we left off, things were rather...dark. So I'm hoping that I'll get my happy (or relatively so, you never know with B5...) ending soon.

    Kathy, your ending has me in exquisite psychological pain! You must have taken lessons from the Vong! How could you!

    Of course, its this kinda cliffhanger that keeps me reading! So congratulations to you, and some wise decisions on the part of your editors! You all get Mad Jedi Master's Gold Star!

    Care to try for a platinum?

    PS- Please consider writing a Tinian/Daye story for the Gamer. I've paid up front for a two year subscription. That would be the highlight of my month.

    I'm going to sleep tomorrow- Texas Local Government! Woo hoo (slight sarcasm).

    Good night, gentles!
  7. A Smuggler's Spin

    A Smuggler's Spin Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jun 7, 2000

    I thought of a question that you should be able to answer without actually having your implant go off [face_clown]

    Why did you/planning staff decided to injure Jaina's eyes? Were any other injuries considered? Losing a limb, maybe her voice? Perhaps even a prolonged coma?

    Was it your choice?And being the rather nitpicky man I am, why have her eyes heal so quickly? And why not pick an injury that would hamper her Jedi abilities more than her fighter pilot abilities.

    At least i think you can answer those.

    And Jedi Ben, your check is on the way! thanks for the continued kindness
  8. AlphaWolf

    AlphaWolf Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 27, 2000

    I really liked Legacy of Light. I must admit however that having an EU novel referred to as LOL on this board would be quite confusing to say the least ;)

    Cheers to DL for the link.

  9. General Cargin

    General Cargin Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 15, 1999
    I've just finished BP, and, I'm not quite speechless. I loved Tsavong Lah's speech at the end. I'd say this gives the Jedi the excuse they need to go on the offensive, so to speak against the NR politicians.

    Is it safe to say that the proverbial is to hit the fan in the next few books? At least this gives some idea of what Knightfall was to have been about.

    One question for now regarding Keyes' duology. Is his (chronologically) first book to explore to an extent how Knightfall would have progressed? Or are the Sgt Schultz impersonations being kicked into overdrive?;)
  10. Jades Fire

    Jades Fire Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 8, 1998
    Just a quick message to say, I finished Balance Point last night. I LOVED it. Wow. This was a great SW novel. On my list, right up there with Zahn, and the best of Stackpole and Allston. Good job!!

    Lando and Tendra thank you profusely. Yes!

    Leia and Han thank you profusely.

    And most importantly, Luke and Mara thank you even more profusely than the others. YES! YES! YES!

    I am so glad to see Luke and Mara acting like an overjoyously (<--ok i probably made that word up) married couple. I liked how Luke referred to the baby as a she, and Mara a he. Not that I know anything about that, but I imagine expecting parents tease each other like that all the time.

    I enjoyed the little references. Daye and Tinian. Malinza. Monor II where Mara was infected was in "Only Droids Serve the Maker" if I recall correctly, along with a Sunesi.

    I've got more to say, but I will read through the thread first before asking specific questions.
  11. Mad Jedi Master

    Mad Jedi Master Jedi Youngling star 3

    Mar 10, 2000
    I'm awake again! A few hours before I have to take my TexGov Test, so a few more impressions and a more rested (and hopefully more coherent) mind.

    On Senator Shesh: Was it in the gameplan from the beginning to have a collaborator on the Senate, or was that JL's idea? She's definitely an interesting character, and I love the references comparing her to Palpy. It will be interesting to see her development over the course of the series. How will she manipulate the Vong? I doubt she merely intends to appease them, and people like her always seem to find ways to turn things to their advantage.

    What kind of things did LFL specify for Balance Point? Was there anything that didn't make the cut that won't spoil future tales? I love how your references to your other books and short stories were very subtle. I love Luceno's books, but I feel sorry for the people who's first EU novel ever was Vector Prime, and they're suddenly bombarded with all this stuff they missed. I think your way is the best way: EU references as easter eggs in the story that don't distract from the main tale. It's also fun to go back and realize "Oh, now I remember where I heard that name!"

    Piles of praise to you! If you're ever in the Dallas area for a signing, let me know! I'll make Panaka Cakes and Darth Malts (I Just got the new Star Wars cookbook).
  12. Red-Seven

    Red-Seven Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 21, 1999
    Whew! This is a very long thread, especially since I hadn't read anything other than the first post since Tuesday. I hate being spoiled, and am busy enough to not be able to read the book in one here I am. Finished it last night, and I wanted to jump into the discussion now, since I'm heading to Holland on business tonight. I'll reread the book and have some more detailed comments next time, so watch out KT!!

    For now, here goes:

    The only thing better than getting shocked or floored by how good a book or movie turns out is when you have high expectations, and come away satisfied. The bar was really high (for me, at least) on this one, and you cleared it with style to spare. :D

    Mastadge brought up WAY back in the thread the concept of non-Williams NJO soundtrack. You mentioned some good stuff, but I've found that Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" is uncannily suited for this purpose. It's dissonant enough, sounds williams-esque at times...just a thought.

    Has Itrakh started a betting pool on the Jade Shadow yet? It won't last the year, with ANOTHER jedi entering the picture! Midichlorians!

    The most contentious issue for me over the NJO has been Jacen and his role in the philosphical schism in the jedi order. I've loved the complexity that Stack and RAS brought to his character, and enjoyed the complexity his character brought to the debate. The confrontation/BP scene was written wonderfully, and I'm sure I'll have more to say on that in a few weeks. Two things...I can't say I'm 100% satisfied with the philosophical arguements you had him making during the course of this book...I agree with most of his (your) points, but I probably would've approached it differently. Also, I really really hope that his situation is not 'resolved', and I'm sure it's not. There is still a ton of potential with that character issue.

    Like about 50 others have said, the characterization in this book was a delight. Wonderful to have a lot in-depth with Mara, especially POV passages. Stack has done well in the past with his characters and in general, Luceno had some flashes of brilliance, and RAS did a great job kicking off the 'solo kids'; BP takes the cake as far as the CORE characters are concerned in the NJO series.

    My only other immediate complaint was that it was too short! Only 320+ pages! ;-)
    Is there anything that you cut from the book that could've been expanded? Anything they cut that's noteworthy?

    My question about the origin of the jedi proclamation at the end was already answered, although that was an interesting (if not coincidental) point someone else mentioned about palpy-vader / luke - jedi parallels.

    Since you're not a big fan of politics, any chance you can tell us if any of next year's books will have more of a political focus?

    I'll be back in a week or so with book-in-hand, hopefully with more questions. I dog-ear the bottoms of pages i find significant/funny/important/noteworthy...and I have a whole slew of 'em in Beep!

  13. Night4554

    Night4554 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 9, 2000
    I must say the only thing I was left wondering about after the book (besides the basic what happens next) was Lowie and Waroo's assuption of Chewie's life debt which I was curious about. Other than that slight omission, I consider Balace Point one of the Best Star wars Novels to Date and the only one I have read in less than 2 days because I couldn't put it down.
  14. Jades Fire

    Jades Fire Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 8, 1998
    Back after reading. A few questions, observations, feelings, and opinions. I really enjoyed the way you linked your stories, the characters, and stories of others from the NJO and BDD (Hallis anyone?). To me, this is what makes reading Star Wars so enjoyable -- the interconnectedness of it all, the attention to detail -- character descriptions like Luke, Han nd Leia going a little grey, showing their age, the long hair of the boys who during a war wouldn't bother with something so minor as a haircut. This is exactly the book I've been dying to read.

    1) In addition to Malinza, I was glad to see Daye Azur-Jamin and Tinian mentioned. Would you like to continue their story in the SW Gamer magazine from WotC? Or more importantly, do you have an idea of how the story would continue since they are obviously married with a child? I would enjoy reading more about them since I don't think their story was ever finished off. You've got point A and point C, now all we need is point B.

    2) Re: Tinian. Did you decide that Chenlembec and Tinian parted ways, and decided to put Tinian and Lowbacca together? Or did you have Chen in the story, but had Lowie substituted? I think that is a nice combination, Tinian, Daye and Lowie. Tinian continues to have a Wookie friend, this one a Jedi, to go with her Jedi husband on missions when needed. :) But, I suppose any continued partnership would interfere with the Life Debt promise that Lowie and Waroo made in to Han in Hero's Trial. You should suggest using Tinian and Daye's weapons manufacturing knowledge for later in the NJO? Future developments, huh?

    3) Nice tie ins to your SWAJ story "Only Droids Serve the Maker" by having a Sunesi priest help Jacen, and Monor II, the planet where Mara contracted her disease. Kinda like the tie in that Mike Stackpole made with Garqi and Corran between his AJ story "Missed Chance" and Ruin.

    4) How much input did you have on the religious aspect of the Yuzzhan Vong? Will you be disappointed if they decide later in the series that the Vong Jihad is merely a ruse, with the religious leaders using fake signs and portents as an excuse to conquer?

    5) I love reading the works of a character author like yourself. The characters are what make the story after all. Your characters were all true to form. I have to say, that next to Tim Zahn, your interpretation of Mara is the best. You've taken her beyond what Zahn wrote in a natural progression. She's still got the Mara of old mixed in with the new Mara: Still the hard-nosed woman, who still likes teasing her now-husband and ribbing him about his personality traits, but in a loving manner and knowing when it's not appropriate do to so -- when to hold her sharp tongue.

    No one writes Luke quite like you. You can tell by reading that you really love the character, and have poured out your soul into making Luke the Jedi Master and hero we all love. That's not to say others have all messed up Luke. RAS wrote aspects of Luke that I liked. MAS has done a good portrayal of late. Zahn's always done a great job. You've got the whole package though.

    I liked the idea behind the Luke-portion of Mara's mind. It takes the Force bond that Tim set up to the next level, I think. After 7 years of marriage, when that Force bond would continue to strengthen, I imagine that a permanence would be created. Much like what happens to regular humans on earth. Our loved ones occupy a special place in our hearts and minds.

    I liked that you dropped in Anakin's tinkering with his R7 droid to soop it up -- only the best for Anakin -- reminding us of his uncanny ability with machines. Also, reminding people of Jacen's empathy, the connection he has with living things, and easily reading people. I no longer feel that borrowing a friend's YJK and JJK books for a quick brush up before NJO was not in vain.

    More later...

    Jades Fire,
    Still doesn't care for the Vong. Still thinks they are 2 dimensional at best.

    PS: Kathy, you have cats? If you get a chance to look at a 2001 Cat Fancy day calendar, July 13 (a Friday :-( ) fea
  15. Shmi52

    Shmi52 Author of New Jedi Order: Balance Point star 3 VIP

    Nov 20, 1999
    jedi_angel -- There's a BP summary on my website. Click on my name anywhere it appears in red, which will give you my member profile. From there it's one click to the website.

    CoK -- Vor beanie buddies? What an idea! Better yet, Vuvrians. With those little plastic eyes that wiggle when you shake them.

    MadJediMaster -- I'm glad you liked Jacen. I didn't pick him, but he became a fascinating "assignment." And you're right: Bob, Mike, and Jim had to hold off on Jacen's big moment, since it was assigned to me.

    Yes, 3 NJO books next year, AFAIK.

    A Smuggler's Spin -- Excellent question, and this one is fair game. I needed to land Jaina in Han's refugee camp, and it seemed that a logical course of action (one that would require a battle scene!) would be to put her temporarily out of action. So I called up my medical expert extraordinaire, Dr. Demento himself, a.k.a. Dr. Robert Flaherty (see BEEP's acknowledgements page). Bob suggested the opaque-cornea idea and how to bring it about. He's the greatest. Every author needs to know a sf-loving MD who enjoys brainstorming! The reason her eyes healed so quickly was because we picked an injury that would only disable a Jedi for the course of one book. As simple as that.

    I must also credit Bob for proofing the scenes after Leia's injury, so that I could take her right up to death's door without walking her through, and provide just enough medical assistance that her complete recovery cannot be taken for granted.

    AlphaWolf -- LOL!

    General Cargin -- Yes, I think that's safe to say. I suspect that's a good guess regarding Keyes' duology. Other than that . . . as Sgt. S would say, "I know noth -- think."

    Jades Fire -- and I thank YOU profusely! See below.

    MJM again -- Darth Malts? I'll be right over!

    AFAIK, Sen. Shesh was always in the game plan.

    I think I've explained what was specified in my assignment. As for what was cut from mine, the biggie will be in HC3 so I can say no more!

    Red-Seven -- I've been very nervous about that high bar. Thanks for the kind (and poetic) words.

    Stravinsky? Yes, good idea. His "Firebird" has a similar flavor, though the finale is entirely too triumphant for BP.

    As you infer, Jacen still has plenty of decisions to make.

    Too short? Bless you. By the time my outline finally was approved, I didn't have enough time to write a long book! I wanted to do a good job, and I needed to stick close to my 3 main characters.

    Night4554 -- Glad you liked it! You're right, the Wooks didn't get much of a role. Maybe another author will pick up that loose end.

    Jades Fire again --
    1) :D I knew Tinian and Daye would find each other again. I just never got around to figuring out how, or writing the story.
    2) I think Chen & Tinian have parted ways. Probably in that missing Part-B reunion story.
    3) Tx!
    4) The religious aspect of the YV is being revealed step by step. In my series bible is much more info than I worked into BP. I added very little to what's already known. It all gives me the willies anyway.
    5) Thank you, and thanks again to Tim.

    I do love the Skywalker fellow, and I guess it shows. (Hey -- now will Han have to start calling him "Skywalker Senior" instead of "Junior"??) I agree that the other authors have added great material to his vita.

    I'll look for the Cat Fancy day calendar. That must be a real kick for you. My Rabbit might not win any beauty contests, but he's got a golden heart. It's little Molly who ought to be a cover girl.

    Thanks a kajillion --


  16. General Cargin

    General Cargin Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 15, 1999
    Okay, one more for the road - I interpreted Jaina's comments as being an intention to pass along to Colonel Darklighter a recommendation for Anakin to join Rogue Squadron. Did I interpret that correctly, and is the way being paved for Anakin to become "the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy"? Or is it being left up to Keyes, Denning et al?
  17. Thejedikiller

    Thejedikiller Jedi Youngling star 3

    Aug 26, 1999
    I have another question that came to me during work today. As our hero's are leaving Duros space, you tell us of the YV fleets converging on the planet. Just how big a fleet, combined, were all the YV ships. Was it as large as say the Imperial fleet in ROTJ, or more comparable to the Alliance fleet in Jedi?
  18. Shmi52

    Shmi52 Author of New Jedi Order: Balance Point star 3 VIP

    Nov 20, 1999
    General Cargin -- That's what Jaina has in mind, all right. We'll see what develops.

    Thejedikiller -- Big. Real big. Scary big. Numbers? Who stuck around to count?

    In other words, good question. I have no idea. :)

  19. anyueman

    anyueman Jedi Youngling star 1

    Aug 11, 2000
    GC, wasn't that "best star-pilot in the galaxy?" :) I get the feeling that we'll see a lot of Anakin soon, so maybe you're on the right track.
  20. Shmi52

    Shmi52 Author of New Jedi Order: Balance Point star 3 VIP

    Nov 20, 1999
    Could be, anyueman.

    And then again . . .

  21. JoJoPenelli

    JoJoPenelli Chosen One star 6

    Aug 14, 2000
    I have read all of this profuse praise for your characterization of Mara in BP, but I had one niggly little problem: Why does she keep calling Luke "Skywalker"? she only did that in Zahn's trilogy (which was appropriate considering her tenuous relationship with him), but in BP? after 7 years of marriage? it was a little hard to believe. Otherwise, I really can't complain about her characterization. even better than her creater's.
    Oh, and the next hardcover is set less then 7 monthes after BP, right ;)?
  22. Shmi52

    Shmi52 Author of New Jedi Order: Balance Point star 3 VIP

    Nov 20, 1999
    JoJoPenelli -- That's certainly a fair question. I see Mara calling him "Skywalker" in a long-past-sarcastic, old-affectionate-habit, shove-the-shoulder tone of voice. And if he is the only, unique, one-of-a-kind Skywalker at this point, why not call him that?

    I don't know when, exactly, the next HC will take place. But I'd enjoy that bit, too. :)

  23. anyueman

    anyueman Jedi Youngling star 1

    Aug 11, 2000
    I got the impression that she switched between "Luke" and "Skywalker." "Luke" is for Tender Moments, "Skywalker" is either for distance (moments of anger?) or teasing. That's the feeling I came away with.
  24. Cougar

    Cougar Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jul 22, 2000
    You can make sugestions regarding Muurgh and Katarn, though, can't you? I think it would be appropriate that they'd be in there, Muurgh being one of Han's best friends, and Katarn helping Mara in her Jedi training and all. But, if you can't say for certain, whatever. :) Even though I haven't read Vector Prime yet, after hanging arond Star Wars sites for a while, I have read that Chewbacca has died. It's seems that it would be cool having Muurgh showing up somewhere. I felt he really made the Crispin Han Solo Trilogy pretty cool.
  25. Cougar

    Cougar Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jul 22, 2000
    BTW, I noticed you said you hate politics and all that, and you probably won't vote. I don't know how much money you make, but, judging from the normal author's salary, it's probably not too much. No offense if I'm wrong. :) Anyway, you should probably vote Bush, just because you could probably save some extra bucks on taxes and everything. Chances are, Gore doesn't think you deserve tax credit. :D
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