More Star Wars Books News

Sharp eyes from NJOE and ClubJade caught the new Spring 2012 catalogue from Random House last week.  Set for release in April next year, Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse will bring another flagship series to a close.

The Apocalypse is coming! In this final novel in the thrilling nine-book New York Times bestselling Fate of the Jedi series, it’s Jedi against Sith… and Luke Skywalker against Darkness itself!

In the epic conclusion to the Fate of the Jedi series, Luke Skywalker leads a desperate all-out assault against the new face of Darkness; the Lost Tribe of the Sith. The future of Coruscant – and of the Galactic Alliance – hands in the balance. But victory is far from certain. Luke and his Jedi Order will be tested as never before… and the galaxy will never be the same again.

I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the marketing push they have laid out in the accompanying promotional description.  Del Rey needed to have been doing this a long time ago.

Perhaps the most interesting item on the list of publicity actions is that Apocalypse will contain an “extensive” preview for the “next Star Wars series.”  If I had to wager a guess, Denning still doesn’t want to end with 100 pages of fluff or post-climax emotional fallout, so they’re going to give it to the readers as the start of the next series. We know Allston’s Wraith Squadron novel is in the works, and an X-wing-style series is about as solid a bet as they could make right now. (And just this afternoon on the Star Wars Books page on Facebook, the title was revealed: Star Wars: X-wing: Mercy Kill.) I hope we see Allston’s excerpt, which would be fitting.  It would allow him, in a weird way, to close the series he signed on to open – and to suggest there are good things to come.

As to the substance of the blurb, I have some thoughts in mind, but they would be more appropriate to address after Fate of the Jedi: Ascension has hit the shelves.


Speaking of Ascension, the next issue of Star Wars Insider includes this comment from the book’s author, Christie Golden, about one of Fate of the Jedi’s many antagonists, newly deposed Admiral Daala:

“She’s got some prejudices like most people, but she certainly hasn’t fallen prey to obsession. She’s a very passionate woman who cares deeply about what she’s entrusted with. In a way, she’s almost the classic tragic hero, falling prey to hubris.”

I share the reaction of many other fans, which is that this quote shows that, unfortunately, Golden either didn’t do her research or just doesn’t get it. Daala is not, and never was, a tragic figure. She’s an unreconstructed Imperial who hates the Rebels or their New Republic, chaos and disorder, and the Jedi (in roughly that order). We’re not supposed to have empathy for her; we’re just supposed to see her as the bad guy. Her choice as leader of the Galactic Alliance, while seemingly odd, told us something about the state of the government after Darth Caedus’ reign. What we’re seeing from fans is reaction to the lack of continuity of characterization for Daala.  It seems Golden has a pattern of seeking to humanize villainous characters, which only serves to undermine their value to the story. In a recently posted excerpt from Ascension, Golden also portrays a softer, familial side to a powerful Sith, Gavar Khai. If Golden hasn’t acquired a clear vision of characters like Daala, though, it’s no wonder she’s struggled with the characterizations of the longstanding, complex characters in the flagship storyline.


In other Star Wars Books news, San Diego Comic-Con looks to have some interesting news to reveal. There’s a Del Rey panel, featuring editor Shelly Shapiro and author Timothy Zahn. Interestingly, although Christie Golden will be at Comic-Con and participating in a World of Warcraft panel, and Ascension hits the shelves just ten days after the convention, Golden is not listed as a participant in the Star Wars Books panel. Curious.

In addition, a few lucky fans are going to get to have lunch with Zahn, whose novel Choices of One comes out on July 19th.  I’ve read the book, and I think this one will go down as a fan favorite.  Look for my review next week.

Finally, since Shelly Shapiro will be at the lunch as well, it’s a perfect opportunity for someone to follow up on the recent Facebook discussion Timothy Zahn had with fans regarding the long-buried The Reenlistment of Baron Fel, co-written with Michael Stackpole. 

Nanci Schwartz Werline I am more than willing to kick off an extensive letter-writing campaign in support of any of your ideas. :) (I STILL can’t comprehend why your Baron Fel story with Mike Stackpole has never been optioned. Especially considering Jagged Fel’s importance in the current Fate of the Jedi era.)

Timothy Zahn Thanks again, Nanci. I’ll let you know if we need to bring in the big guns (i.e., the *fans*).

Tricia Barr I have to second Nanci’s thoughts on the Baron Fel story. Fans have been begging for these stories for a while. All the Fels are popular. I can’t even imagine what’s been keeping that story on the shelf.

Timothy Zahn I can try pitching it to Dark Horse again. But it’s not exactly a secret that we have the story, so the fact that no one has yet approached *us* about it tells me that they other preferred fish to fry. But I still have an idea or two about Baron Fel that I may pull out of the hat one of these days.

Eric Geller It’d certainly be a shame if those ideas Fel by the wayside.

Timothy Zahn We’re all going to pretend we didn’t hear that…

Fans weighing in at the Cantina mirrored the sentiment on Facebook. Points to TFN’s Eric Geller for managing a rimshot moment. I about Fel over laughing.

Fangirl

Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and the intersection of women within Star Wars fandom. She is co-author of Ultimate Star Wars and Star Wars Visual Encyclopedia from DK Publishing, a featured writer for Star Wars Insider magazine with numerous articles on the Hero's Journey. Her FANgirl opinions can be heard on the podcasts Hyperspace Theories and Fangirls Going Rogue.

Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.
Fangirl

Fangirl

Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, fandom, and the intersection of women within Star Wars fandom. She is co-author of Ultimate Star Wars and Star Wars Visual Encyclopedia from DK Publishing, a featured writer for Star Wars Insider magazine with numerous articles on the Hero's Journey. Her FANgirl opinions can be heard on the podcasts Hyperspace Theories and Fangirls Going Rogue. Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.

4 thoughts on “More Star Wars Books News

  • July 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm
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    I was astounded to see another blogger laud Daala as a feminist icon a couple months ago: http://borderhouseblog.com/?p=5248

    Talk about rose-colored glasses! If KJA were a better writer, I’d think he was purposefully advancing a misogynistic agenda with Daala’s portrayal. As it stands, I think it’s an unfortunate accident that she’s so inept… a classic example of what the author is trying to say being directly contradicted by what he’s showing through the rest of the text. People who see Daala as a credible or sympathetic character could not possibly have read the works in which she appears correctly.

  • July 13, 2011 at 8:44 pm
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    “Eric Geller It’d certainly be a shame if those ideas Fel by the wayside.”
    I guess, then, that fans curious about the story would simply have to go Solo and write their own versions.

    Hmm… my thoughts on Golden’s statement. Before I start, I should mention that my copy of Allies has quite a few cross-outs, substituted words, and the occasional “What the heck?” penciled in the margin, so I’m no great fan of hers.


    Firstly, “tragic hero” isn’t the same as “tragic” + “hero”. Here’s the dictionary definition:
    ” a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on a tragedy”
    Note that a tragic hero doesn’t necessarily have to be heroic or very tragic. For instance, the current Luke Skywalker is a tragic hero in spades, as was Darth Caedus, as one might argue Kenth Hamner to be, as the Prequel Jedi Order was as a group, as was Anakin Skywalker, etc. I’d say “tragic hero” describes FOTJ!Daala decently; her arrogance (and borderline-psychotic behavior) brought about her fall from COS-position and, on a wider scale, one of the most shocking and controversial events in FOTJ, namely the Jedi coup.

    One of her fatal flaws is definitely her obsession, though, so Golden’s contrary comment is quite facepalm-worthy. I’m not sure what books she’s been reading.

    “It seems Golden has a pattern of seeking to humanize villainous characters, which only serves to undermine their value to the story. ”
    She openly admits that in the Insider article. “As a writer, some of the best advice I’ve ever been able to give is ‘Give your heroes flaws and enemies virtues’.”

    I don’t think humanizing villainous characters undermines their value to the story. Done properly, I think it only raises their creepiness through the dichotomy between the seemingly understandable person and the absolute monster. For instance, the scene in Fury where Jacen tells Allana of her paternity does a great job of this, particularly in the lines “And you can sit right next to me and help me decide how things are going to be for everyone. Won’t that be nice?”, because, to paraphrase Luke Skywalker in TUF, “[the loving father] and [the psychotic Sith Lord] do not always stand opposed, but mingle with each other in curious ways”.

    What Golden does isn’t humanizing her villains, it’s romanticizing them. That’s the difference between Caedus in Fury and Gavar in the excerpt, and a rather large difference it is.

    TL;DR: She actually has the theory down correctly, but botches the execution.

    I do have one complaint about the blurb.
    “But victory is far from certain. Luke and his Jedi Order will be tested as never before… and the galaxy will never be the same again.”
    That’s a lot of vague, unspecific language, bled dry of meaning by overuse. You could use these same two sentences to describe the LAST two series! It would work for some Bantam books as well – JAT and Darksaber included – and even more if you deleted the “and his Jedi Order” part. Actually, come to think of it, it would also work for ESB and ROTJ if you deleted the “and his Jedi Order” part… and possibly ANH if you stretched it.

    I realize they’re working under a character limit, but can’t they find a less cliched description? I mean, a few word substitutions get you this!
    “In the epic conclusion to the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter himself leads a desperate, all-out assault against the face of Darkness: the Death Eaters. The future of Hogwarts– and of Wizarding England – hangs in the balance. But victory is far from certain. Harry and Dumbledore’s Army will be tested as never before… and the Wizarding world will never be the same again.”

    Or:
    “In the epic conclusion to the Resident Evil series, Chris Redfield leads a desperate, all-out assault against the new face of Umbrella: Tricell, the puppet of Albert Wesker. The future of Africa – and of the human race – hangs in the balance. But victory is far from certain. Chris and the survivors of S.T.A.R.S. will be tested as never before… and the world will never be the same again.”

    Or:
    “In the epic conclusion to the Jaina/Jag Will-They-Or-Won’t-They quagmire, LominAleCantina leads a desperate, all-out assault against the new face of Badfic: Christie Golden. The future of the Fel Empire – and of the Star Wars EU’s writing quality – hangs in the balance. But victory is far from certain. TKL, Darth Lex, and the rest of the moderators will be tested as never before… and the Galaxy Far, Far Away will never be the same again.”

    I mean, it makes a great Mad Libs game, but is that really what one wants in a blurb?

  • July 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm
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    Good riddance to an absolutely terrible series. Waste of trees and ink.

  • July 14, 2011 at 8:55 pm
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    Anison: I was astounded to see another blogger laud Daala as a feminist icon a couple months ago

    Perhaps the blogger missed the part that Daala’s rise to power had to be sold via her relationship with Tarkin?

    Starwarsfan: I guess, then, that fans curious about the story would simply have to go Solo and write their own versions.

    Rimshot for you as well. ;)

    Firstly, “tragic hero” isn’t the same as “tragic” + “hero”. Here’s the dictionary definition:
    ” a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on a tragedy”

    Yep, that point was brought up in the TFN discussion as well. The term can be a bit confusing I guess for some people, but it’s worth reiterating.

    She openly admits that in the Insider article. “As a writer, some of the best advice I’ve ever been able to give is ‘Give your heroes flaws and enemies virtues’.”

    It’s good advice but there is a difference between knowledge and execution. Personally I think she should make her characters simpler and concentrate on the basics.

    I don’t think humanizing villainous characters undermines their value to the story. …

    What Golden does isn’t humanizing her villains, it’s romanticizing them. That’s the difference between Caedus in Fury and Gavar in the excerpt, and a rather large difference it is.

    You’re right, although I’d prefer, because of the dual meaning of romanticizing, to actually use the term “glamorizing” and keep the romance out of it. Still for me it’s humanizing, because I tend to see “being human” as the good and “the monster” as the bad side of human nature. Gavar Khai is a monster; I see him no other way. Just like I see Palpatine as a monster (or embodiment of evil) with a human face. People are still trying to understand Palps but I believe mythic stories and space operas by definition will contain a force for evil in their story and that’s what Lucas always intended for him to be.

    The biggest problem I see with calling Daala a “tragic hero” is that people are meant to relate to the tragedy and the hero, but I don’t know many people who relate to her at all.

    Joanne: Worse is all the trees wasted that will be returns. They’re still so many sitting on the shelves.

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