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Discuss BP with Kathy -- Spoilers Welcome

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

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  1. aleja

    aleja Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 23, 1999
    Um, Kathy, if by any chance the shoe you are waiting for happens to be what the NJO critics will say, you really don?t have to worry in my case. :)

    As one of the more vocal critics of the NJO, I've debated over weighing in, but hopefully ya'll won't mind if I share a few thoughts. I DEVOURED this book. Real life was kind to me yesterday and conspired to give me several long breaks at work where it was perfectly permissible to read.

    This is the book I've been waiting for. The characterizations were excellent. For the first time I felt like Jacen's dilemma wasn't a transparent plot device, and really felt for him. I thought Leia was spot on, and as someone who can obsess over whether the hairdresser took 1/4 inch too much off the length I really sympathized with her decision. :) She showed a grit and determination that really hasn't been seen since the films. Finally Luke showed a spark of humanity and some red blood under his vaunted Jedi Master cool (although, for all my criticism of Vector Prime, RAS did a good job with the human side of Luke as well IMHO). Words cannot describe how well I thought Mara was written. I really didn't know how I wanted Luke and Mara's relationship to be portrayed -- I just knew what I didn't like :) -- until I read this book and Eureka! it's the perfect depiction of how these two would be together. It...makes perfect sense. I also very much appreciated having Mara back to her ol? fighting self, and loved her scenes with Anakin and Jaina.

    The plot was well-paced, moving swiftly yet surely. The action sequences were exciting. I thought it was nicely laid out how all the characters convened on Duro -- Han and Jacen acknowledge that for all they know, Leia could be on Duro while Leia purposefully makes herself hard to find; and Luke & Mara know perfectly well the others are on the planet and indeed, it?s part of their decision to go. I would have liked to have known more about the whys and wherefores of the missing apprentice's fate but at least this subplot was wrapped up on page and not dropped into the ether :) I always have a hard time picturing space battles but the X-Wing moves were choreographed quite clearly for me. I almost wish this were the last book ? yeah, I know, too many cliffhangers ? but it left me with such a glow that I hate to have it possibly dissipated by subsequent books. However, I do like very much the Vong ultimatum re: the Jedi, and feel that it is an incredibly interesting situation to be explored in the future. Finally, the overall plot picks up -- IMHO.

    Question: Kathy, when you said "I was not asked to show Mara 'cured,'" does that mean you were or were not given a directive to show Mara either cured or not cured? The use of negatives sometimes confuses me! :)
  2. Eclectikaki

    Eclectikaki Jedi Youngling

    Oct 31, 2000
    This is not the first snow that Utah has yielded for the season, but it is certainly the first in the little corner of Utah Valley that Brigham Young University inhabits. (Well, I could be wrong about that; it's just the first snow that the south-west end of the campus has gotten) I am a violist, the best kind of musician because we are those who gave up any chance for melodies or pieces actually written for our instrument so that we could pursue the deeper meaning of true music. (In other words, violinists stink!) I am, however, about to embark on the adventure of learning the cello because every violin teacher I've ever had has told me that my hands are all wrong for the violin and that I should be a cellist instead. We'll see.

    Now I feel guilty that I haven't said anything Star Wars-related in this post, so I'll just put in what Yoda said that refers to my lovely dorm room.


    and what Han Solo said about my campus.

    "There isn't enough life on this ice cube to fill a space cruiser."

    And end with the greatest advice about life that SW can yield:

    "Keep your distance, though,...but don't LOOK like you're trying to keep your distance. I don't know; fly casual."

  3. Art_Core

    Art_Core Jedi Knight star 5

    Jul 18, 2000
    Just got the book, Kathy. At Chapter 9 now, but I am hooked on it. It just seems to be getting better and better.
  4. JadesHand

    JadesHand Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jul 1, 2000
    hmmmmm...Chapter 9! Great chapter, Art. Lovely!

  5. Jedi Merkurian

    Jedi Merkurian New Films Rumor Naysayer star 7 Staff Member Manager

    May 25, 2000
    Just wanted to poke my head in here again before I go home -I'm @ work right now :-0 I've been out defending the good name of the EU, and I pointed out that the Flanneled One, through LFL, keeps close tabs on what happens in AGFFA. Contrary to what some EU bashers say.

    Impressive work, Kathy!
  6. A Smuggler's Spin

    A Smuggler's Spin Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jun 7, 2000
    Well Kathy since your waiting, and I know what it is like to wait, I shall be a trendsetter, and drop the shoe.

    First off this was the most well written star wars book I have had the pleasure of reading. It was concise, to the point, had details, characters who acted and sounded like thier characters, and flowed nicely. I enjoyed it, as much as I can enjoy the NJO.

    So for that other shoe. Arrgh, this is Star Wars now? Even with the above stated, and it was well written, with the only thing making me stop was the somewhat forced pro-life sentiment scattered throughout, I just couldn't get into the book. It did not wow me.

    I mentioned before I believed you(KT) would have have a task of utmost importance. You had to follow 5 lackluster books, and vault fans and critics alike into the rest of the series, if you failed, the NJO would fail. I believe you accomplished that, I have yet to see anyone say they disliked the book, or weren't looking forward to more. You succeeded in keeping alive the light, even pushing some of the darkness back.

    This isn't the Star Wars I want though, and BP re-enforced that fact to the nth degree. Everything has been predicatable, will continue to be that way. Jacen found hsi balance, which I don't think he needed. Mara is having a kid, Han/Leia are back together. The only seeminly thing that has changed is Jaina's bloodthirsty additude.

    It's hard to pinpoint exactly what I do not like, and I find myself trying to find something to rip in BP. Everything was well developed, portrayed nicely, even reaching to greatness. Still it is obvious this "new" direction is hardly anything new. Same old, same old. With the extra mess that the Vong bring.

    It shall be interesting how things develope, maybe even diverting, i'm certain with the newely expanded prequel era, and the addition of WoTC and the Gamer mag, we will have many new stories to explore. Just to me at least, in not so much Star Wars, as just another sci-fi story, with the basics of what once made a glaxay great.
  7. Padawan_Di-Lee

    Padawan_Di-Lee Jedi Padawan star 4

    Oct 15, 2000

    I just finished Balance Point and wanted to say thank you for several hours of pleasurable escape into the SW universe. Thank you and all of your fellow authors for contributing your magnificent talents to the continuation of my favorite movies.

    I loved your characterization of L&M's relationship, and thank you so much for convincing Del Rey to give them a child. I completely support your choice for the child's gender. Here's praying the child is born healthy!

    My favorite line in the book:

    Jania - "You're keeping that up with the Force?"
    Mara - "No. Just my radiant personality."

    Good ol' Mara. I'm still chuckling!

    When the time comes for Luke to "become one with the Force" (heart aching painfully at having to consider that eventuality), I hope you're the author tapped for the job. Not that I wish such a sorrowful task on you, I just don't think any one else could give it justice.

    Thanks again!
  8. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Jul 19, 1999
    Let's see we've got myself and Aleja in the pro-BP camp so who does that leave of the NJO Critics?

    Er, that'd be Bror Jace, GAW, Dewlanna Solo and probably a good few others I'm unable to recall.

    Wonder how many of those who have been critical of NJO will like BP?

    "Difficult to say, ever in motion is the future."

    Best wishes
  9. aleja

    aleja Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 23, 1999
    Um, after reading Jedi Ben's post let me temper mine by saying that I still do not like the Vong, I still have major reservations about the NJO as a whole, and I will never be fond of the direction given at its beginning.

    While I am sure this was a team effort, I'm more and more convinced that whoever is handling the ball at the moment is truly the key player.

    So please still put me in the critics camp. :) I continue to be incredibly skeptical of the whole thing.

    As for the pro-life sentiment -- I have to admit, I didn't see it some overt political statement. I actually saw Mara as having a choice, and she made the right one for her. But then, points of view are interesting, aren't they?

    And the one thing I forgot to say in my earlier post -- Thank you, Kathy, for returning a spiritual, personal side to the Force and to the Jedi. That's been one of my biggest complaints. And I am very much intrigued by Gnosos -- especially considering what his name signifies in Greek :)
  10. JadesHand

    JadesHand Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jul 1, 2000
    I agree with you, aleja, on one thing. I didn't get the idea that pro-life sentiments were being bashed onto my head. I also felt that Mara thought the situation through, and even though she may have made a hormonal :) choice, it was a choice.

    I mean, if she had chosen the other way and Luke disagreed, and they had this long and involved philosophical discussion about it, then I may have felt I was being bashed on the head with it, but it didn't happen that way at all.
  11. A Smuggler's Spin

    A Smuggler's Spin Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jun 7, 2000
    I know this is Kathy's topic but Aleja great post!

    Whoever has the ball is the key player, and some just handle the ball better than others. Some might say certain players rise above thier situation.

    And i don't think KT was overtly trying to impose pro-life sentiments onto us(the readers). It was just obvious enough that it made me stop and think, hmm thats very interesting. Interupted the flow of the book for me, which otherwise flowed very nicely.
  12. Shmi52

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

    Nov 20, 1999
    aleja -- I'm . . . floored. Thanks for posting. I hope you read my first post -- this really wasn't a solo effort. But I do thank you. Very astute, your comment on vague negatives. I should've known you'd catch me. ;) Okay: I was asked to show Mara in remission but not cured.

    Eclictikaki -- Long live violas, the humble middle-voice heroes (and perennial blame-takers) of the symphony orchestra. I'm one of those melody-hogging fluties, doubling on piccolo when auditory torture is required.

    Art_Core, Jades Hand -- rather a favorite chapter of mine, too.

    Jedi Merkurian -- Yes, the presence is felt!

    A Smuggler's Spin -- Thanks. Whew. Glad the wait's over! I'd love it if NJO's story arc could enthrall the entire spectrum of SW fandom, but I am a realist. I'm relieved (and honored) that despite your misgivings, you found things to compliment. Thanks and MTFBWY.

    It will be interesting, all right! And I do stick to my contention that the rest of the NJO will be a wild, exciting, great ride.

    Padawan_Di-Lee -- I so appreciate your extending thanks to the other authors, too. Tx for the favorite line . . . and about that last bit . . . dear heaven, I hope no one is EVER asked to write it. But you honor me with the suggestion. I'm not sure I could do it. I'd probably be raining tears on the keyboard.

    Jedi Ben -- No fair -- I feel like you've lined up the firing squad! C'n I at least have a blindfold? (squints between fingers)

    Seriously, each part of the NJO is meant to be a single puzzle piece, and the series should eventually fall together into a single over-arching literary work with subparts. I am thankful to have been asked to write a book with such bright moments. That made my job much, much easier. Kudos again to Bob, Mike, and Jim!

  13. WormieSaber

    WormieSaber Jedi Master star 5

    Oct 22, 2000
    Hello Kathy!

    I'm going to start reading BP this weekend, because I work long hours. But this is one book I definetly I'm going to finish by Monday. I'm so excited about it!

    First, I want to say I absolutely loved TAB. That is by far my most cherished and favorite SW EU novel. As a matter of fact, I haven't even read any of the NJO books (just half of "Vector Prime"). I'm up to DarkSaber (I'm trying to read them in order of the timeline) but when I heard you were writing one of the NJO series (and that Luke and Mara were finally pregnant), it sparked major interest. So I'll be reading ahead.

    I do have a couple questions. One, I was wondering why you were not signed to do more SW novels after TAB. Was it because you were to busy, or because they had already signed several authors after you? Because you are my favoirite SW author (along with Zahn), I wished there had been more.

    My other question is in regards to research. How much research is necessary for a SW writer to continue on with a series like NJO? What was it like in your case?

    Well, it was a pleasure posting to you and I can't wait to dig into BP. And I hope to see many more SW novels graced by your imagination!

  14. A Smuggler's Spin

    A Smuggler's Spin Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jun 7, 2000
    Kathy i say this with the utmost respect and with as much truth as i can gather around me. BP was the best written Star Wars book ever. It suprassed Zahn's and MAS best. Be as humble as you wish, I would be if it was me, but this book is the best because of you, not because of those before you, or those who helped edit it. Things were approved, revised,and othwerwise shaken up, but your the one who told the story, no one else.

    TaB was my first book, not just Star Wars, my first book. The first book I read for enjoyment. It drew me into a world that has now taken all of my free time. I read constantly, and while Star Wars is my pashion, TaB made me realize reading was good for more than just reading before tests.

    I doubt we agree on many things, our views are most likely very different, I still thank you for introducing me into the world of lit for pleasure, and thank you for being man enough(i know, but i think it fits considering how i'm using it) to come forward and talk to those you support your product. SO few today care to take responsability for thier products, thier actions, it is very refreshing.

    And no worries about menot liking the NJO direction, if everyone liked something then something would be terribly wrong. In no small part to you Kathy I have other places to turn for reading.

    Keep on Truckin'!
  15. Jee-dai

    Jee-dai Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jun 8, 2000
    I absolutely loved this book and I do agree that it *saves* NJO from too much gloom and doom. :)

    There wasn't too many new Vong characters introduced and their POV didn't take over the book. I loved how the Warmaster refused to know the "coward's" name during the book but demanded to know at the end. I also loved that ultimatium as it places the Jedi in an even more uncomfortable position.

    I loved how Leia sympathized with Jacen's situation and how Luke listens to Jacen and gives solid advice without being so pushy. I loved how Jaina was irritated with her twin's indecision and wasn't afraid to spill it out. Gotta love sisters. :) I loved the self-doubt Jacen had about maybe preventing the destruction of the Hapan fleet and starting the path Corellia is going under Thracken-Solo.

    I was horrified with Jaina about Leia cutting off her hair, but really, I agree it was still in character for Leia to do so. I'm left wondering about Leia's decision to carry a lightsaber though. Was she carrying it all the time or just during the evacuation? During Vector Prime, she decided not to wear one, didn't she? I finally found out that her saber is red like Vader's (I was wondering about that for a while). :) Is it symbolic that she loses a red saber to the Vong? Will she construct another one or get another saber from Luke? I wonder what color...

    Of course, I loved anything and everything that deals with Mara and Luke. :) I was in disbelief that Mara was finally going to be pregnant. I must have re-read that section three times before it sunk in. :) I was grinning like an idiot and thinking that the Mara and Luke email list will be having a wild party once everybody reads BP. I'm glad it's a boy! I loved how she disguised herself and how Anakin was stunned and Luke kissed her palm. I wonder if Jacen will spend more time thinking over why she feels different now. I hope he doesn't speculate and spoil the secret.

    The plot was great, but the little details really made the book for me. There's a short explanation on what Corran's doing. There's a nod to Hallis, the slugnews-turned-NRI agent from Starfighters of Adumar. There's a reference to Lando's ability to manage bueracracy and how his abilities could be used. There's Mara's little jealousy/interest in Anakin's staff weapon. I liked how you mentioned that Luke kept up his piloting hours and that he could pretty much pilot anything except a Mon Cal cruiser. :) I loved Mara's new ship, the Jade Shadow. Hopefully it won't get smooshed anytime soon. I loved how only Jedi can open the hatch lock and that Mara didn't reveal that secret. :) I loved that Luke can still outshoot Anakin when cleaning off the Jade Shadow's hull. I loved R2's new paint. If the Falcon be made over, so can Artoo. :) Anakin's R7 isn't nearly as good as R2 and that's the way it should be in my opinion. :) I loved how Jaina is thinking of recruiting Anakin for Rogue Squadron. :)

  16. noitart

    noitart Jedi Youngling

    Nov 1, 2000
    Mrs. Tyers, May I say that it is a thrill to greet you, my most favorite SW author this side of Zahn. Your Truce at Bakura captured the essence of SW better than anyone else. Your prophecy concerning Luke eventually finding a wife sensitive to the Force came to pass. I hoped on that passage for years. Might I ask how you inserted that in there?

    ANd oh, yes. If not for Mara, Luke ought to have married Gaeriel. I really liked her. Your Ssi-Ruuk were excellent additions to the Galaxy, and just shows you need not be force-senstive to be a Jedi threat. Really, the Vong which came later were largely in the same vein as the Ssi-Ruuk, showing your ideas were visionary. You are the most underrated author in SW.
  17. 181st Fighter Wing

    181st Fighter Wing Jedi Youngling star 2

    Jan 8, 2000
    Hello Kathy

    I just finished reading it. Wonderfull job! I enjoyed it immensely. I'm especially glad you developed Tsavong Lah's character. We've been without a truely interesting Vong since the death of Shedao Shai (Nom Anor is just the stereotypical "bad guy with his own agenda", and pretty boring as well). I loved his ploy to get the "Infidels" to do his dirty
    work for him and eliminate the Jedi. I can see that the next year of paperbacks will be interesting indeed! Too bad Vong promises are only good until they get what they want;-) .

    One quick question: Does Jacen finaly have his head screwed on straight? I'm getting tired of the severe case of RCI (Rectal-Cranial Inversion) that he's had since the begining of NJO.

    Two very minor complaints, and the first one isn't even your fault.

    1. I was a bit disapointed that the Republic's Super Star Destroyers weren't in the book, even though they were on the back cover (like I said, this one isn't your fault).

    2. The giant Vong creature munching on Orr-Om brought to mind some of those truely awfull Japanese monster movies that I saw in my youth, and I couldn't shake that mental image for the rest of the book.
  18. Matt Windu

    Matt Windu Jedi Youngling star 1

    Apr 20, 2000
    Mrs. Tyres

    I finished reading Balance Point, and thoroughly enjoyed it. As the late Siskel & Ebert would say, "I give it two thumbs up". I thought that this was the most realistic of the novels I've read, and you captured emotions very well. BP has a high re-read value in my opinion, which I can't say for all of the SW novels.

    I have watched this thread and found most of my questions about the book, and had a hard time coming up with a question, but I wonder if you wouldn't mind answering this for me.

    What was your rationale in choosing Leia to be captured and tortured?

    I only ask this because I'm not one who like to see things like done to the characters, espically the mains. Though I do realize it's a way of showing how bad the Vong are. The other reason is that I happen to like Luke and Leia the most and everybody else second. I hate too see stuff like that happen to them, since we already know what both of them have been through already. I have to agree with you in that Leia will have a long recovery period no matter what happens to her lower legs.

    At least I have something to loose sleep over for the next 6 months as my overactive mind analyzes this, but it does leave open some good fan fiction possibilities too, as well as the Jedi being wanted now. Cool.

    Anyway I'll leave it at that, and congratulate you on a job well done, and hope that you have the opportunity to write future novels for Star Wars as well. I enjoyed TaB and I enjoyed BP as well. In my opinion one of the best SW authors.
  19. Shmi52

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

    Nov 20, 1999
    Oops -- see below.
  20. Entil`Zha

    Entil`Zha Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 9, 1999
    I'm now on page 50, I just wanted to say excellent work with the description off Jacen's vision at the beginning of the book, I could really see it with full details, going back to read as much as I can! Thank you, I'll be back!
  21. Schplooch

    Schplooch Jedi Youngling star 1

    Oct 29, 2000
    I don't have Balance Point yet so I skipped over all these posts and avoided all these spoilers just to post this. This is a feat worthy of your attention. That it why I am posting this.
    But I can't wait until I do get the book. But its $40 up here in Canada! Its INSANE!! I'm not saying thas its not worth it but come on! $40!?! I don't even have a job yet! This is killing me! I have to beg my mom to get it but you know how long that's gonna take.
    So this is my request: Kathy could you please send a free copy of the book via airmail. I will disclose the address when I receive a PM from you with your answer. I will cover the costs for the shipping. Thanks

    That should be the name of the next Vong pet!
  22. Entil`Zha

    Entil`Zha Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 9, 1999
    I know, 40$ in Canada, that's what I paid too, crazy canucks we are hey? :) I'm not sure the authors can send free books like that though... in which province do you live?
  23. Shmi52

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

    Nov 20, 1999
    WE INTERRUPT THIS DISCUSSION FOR AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT -- important to me, anyway -- the UPS man just brought my very first hot-off-the-press copy of the third Firebird book, CROWN OF FIRE. Yes! Yes! Yes! I am so happy! Two new books in two days -- oh dear heaven thank You!!!

    deep breath --

    Sorry about that. I'm calmer now. A little. They changed the cover -- mostly improved it, destroyed my favorite small detail -- oh, well. It's real, it's a book, they're both books, I'm turning somersaults inside.

    In front of an audience. (blush) But this is how it feels, people. Holding it in your hands for the very first time is like nothing else in the world.

    WormieSaber -- I like your sig and I appreciate your kind words about TAB. Do read the NJO books you've missed, when you can.

    As I understand it, the Bantam series was put together with an eye to bringing in as many authors as possible, so that very few got to write multiple books unless their original contracts were multi-book.

    Research? As much as humanly possible! I re-read several Bantam novels (including my own), read some I'd missed, reviewed Galaxy Guides and other supplementary material, utilized the research people who were made available to me (THANK YOU, RESEARCH PEOPLE!!), and stayed current on drafts & outlines of Bob, Mike, and Jim's books (since we did a lot of the work simultaneously -- that did cause a few minor continuity headaches, if anything shifted [some characters' names changed, for example] or was changed by proofreaders -- this was one reason we were asked to submit detailed outlines).

    Jee-dai -- an author dearly loves to know her reader's "memorable" moments. Thank you. My favorite of YOUR favorites -- that Luke can still outshoot Anakin when cleaning off Shadow's hull. That's our farm boy.

    noitart -- Remember that when I wrote TAB, Tim's trilogy already had been published. I had a feeling I'd met the future Mrs. S (at least I hoped so). What fun to be proved right. I'd always felt that the best match for Luke would be a former Imperial agent -- I just expected a captured pilot, not a shadow agent. I even wrote a fan fic about it -- in 1983.

    181st -- Thank you. The NJO has been carefully crafted (by others, not me) to gradually reveal details of the Yuuzhan Vong and their ways, exactly as the people of the New Republic would gradually learn about them. It's excellent use of point-of-view, and there's much more culture to be revealed.

    Your #2 -- funny!

    Would you, and future posters, please re-read my opening post about vulgarity -- or else just refrain? Please? This really is a sensitive issue for me.

    Matt Windu -- Why did I choose Leia for the hot seat? I was asked to require Jacen to use the Force to rescue a family member. She was in the wrong place at the right time. I also felt that putting her and Lah in the same room would generate some interesting, revealing dialog -- intelligence and insights she could take back to the New Republic.

    Also, since in EU fiction the characters are allowed to change, I felt that this crisis would stir the pot rather effectively, and (I hope) make Leia a potentially more interesting character. How do you think Borsk & co will treat her now? Might she have a new attitude toward death? Toward her children? New goals? Stay tuned and we'll all find out.

    Thanks, Entil`Zha.

    Schplooch -- groan -- that's a lot of money, and I can sympathize, but I can't help you that way. I'll bet you've got a friend with a loaner . . . somewhere . . . for now.

    Now I need to fan some pages -- see how my favorite chapter looks in print -- and call a certain editor to thank him -- back soon.


  24. ArsenicMan

    ArsenicMan Jedi Youngling star 1

    Aug 2, 2000
    After reading BP, I think that it's probably the second best book (sorry, KT - I have a soft spot for Stackpole's writings, especially Ruin). But I do have one question. Does Mara have two ships, or did something happen to the Jade Sabre? She was using the Jade Shadow in BP, but no mention was made of the Sabre.

    Again, excellent book. Please, *please*, LFL/DR, sign her to write more! HC4 (with Zahn doing HC5)!
  25. Shmi52

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

    Nov 20, 1999
    Hi ArsenicMan -- Sabre was destroyed on Dantooine, in RUIN. Not on-stage, though -- it's not difficult to miss, especially if you're reading at that finish-a-Stackpole-book breakneck speed! :)

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