Mary is the next FANgirl contributor in our Sharing Star Wars series.
When did you first discover Star Wars?
In 1977, I thought that a movie set in space sounded great so I persuaded my family to go with me to see ANH. I was on the edge of my seat, completely enthralled, while the rest of my group fell asleep. That was quite a feat with blasters and angry Wookiees and hyperspace engines and a Death Star rumbling through the theater… and they still think that I’m weird.
What parts of Star Wars stories have you experienced? (such as books, comics, games, movies, television show)
I lost count of how many times I’ve seen all the movies years ago. I own more than 200 Star Wars books plus a couple of Rubbermaid totes full of comics too heavy to lift. When it came out, I bought and played the first X-wing video game and also had the first edition of Podracer, but I haven’t had a lot of time for gaming these last few years. I’d love to do more – maybe if I get a new computer!
How do you share your passion for Star Wars? (such as message boards, conventions, fan fiction, fan art, cosplay)
The first forum I joined was TheForce.Net. I felt like I had found my long lost tribe. It was there that I met FANgirl Tricia Barr (almost a decade ago), and I added her Cantina forum to my “hangouts.” Over at TFN, I wrote maybe forty or fifty fanfics, several of which were pretty popular. (Two were over 50,000 words – novel length. Yikes!) I also dabbled in Fan Art. Several of my pictures were placed in the TFN Fan Art Museum/Archive, but I don’t know if that still exists. I’m intrigued by cosplay, would love to do cosplay, and I’m entirely too shy to do cosplay. Maybe I’ll come out of my shell when I hit retirement age.
Conventions (especially Celebrations) are so much fun. If anyone reading this hasn’t been to one – GO! The only thing you’ll be sorry about is when it’s over and everybody goes home.
List the first five words that come to mind when you hear “Star Wars.”
Adventure. Imagination. Limitless. Powerful messages.
List your six favorite stories in Star Wars in any medium or format, and tell why they made your list.
You didn’t ask me to rank them (impossible task), so I’ll give you six, in no particular order:
* Novel: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn because it meant that Star Wars wasn’t finished. So rich with the characters we already loved plus incredible new ones. This book is just a great story by a fan, for the fans.
* Novel: I, Jedi by Michael A. Stackpole because writing first person is so difficult and Stackpole did such an amazing job of being Corran Horn. By the end of that book, I understood so much more about the Jedi Order, what it meant to be a Jedi, and the kind of man Corran Horn was – and I’ve loved that character ever since.
* Novel: Starfighters of Adumar by Aaron Allston because it was full-on fun. The four best pilots in the galaxy, making up the game as they went along, able to finish each other’s thoughts, and just controlling one messy situation after another with the apparent ease of master strategists and more than a little fighter-jock confidence (plus, of course, there’s Iella and Wedge). Great book.
* Novel: X-Wing: Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole, just because it is another great book – the one that started the best Star Wars novel series of all time.
* Movie: The Empire Strikes Back because it was a gritty, dramatic story with plenty of action interspersed with moments that allowed you to catch your breath. Characters and relationships changed and grew. Watching the end credits appear after seeing it for the first time, I turned to my friend and said, “NO! We have to wait ANOTHER TWO YEARS to find out what happens?” That indicates a pretty successful cliffhanger. (P.S. I was one of those people who was not disappointed by Return of the Jedi – I’ve always liked it, too.)
* Novel: Vision of the Future by Timothy Zahn, for so many reasons. We learn more about the Unknown Regions, the Fels, Thrawn, as well as Luke and Mara. Particularly loved Mara in this book: we see her more vulnerable side, she finally admits her feelings for Luke, and she blows up Soontir Fel’s hangar in such spectacular style!
List your six favorite characters, and tell why they made your list.
Again, in no particular order:
* Leia Organa Solo: not a stand-out favorite of mine in the early days, Leia has proven to be a consistently admirable female character. It isn’t easy to be a politician, but Leia managed it without compromising her principles. I think that has a lot to do with being raised by the kind and gentle Bail Organa – another character who seemed just too good to be a politician. (Do you think I’m too jaded when it comes to the political arena?) I found Leia’s Jedi apprenticeship to Saba Sebatyne intriguing and ultimately a terrific choice.
* Han Solo: such a mass of conflicting yet endearing emotions. Cocky, but you know that, deep down, he’s an old softie. Ruggedly handsome. Bravado. Cool vehicle. What girl doesn’t love Han?
* Jaina Solo: her father’s daughter and her mother’s daughter. What a combo. When written by the best of the Star Wars authors, she’s one of the top K.A. female characters in genre fiction. Don’t pi** her off.
* Jagged Fel: who matured from young, inexperienced squadron leader into his father’s son, probably even surpassing Soontir’s dreams for him by becoming Imperial Head of State. The perfect foil and partner for Jaina Solo – something we knew from their first discussions – plus a brilliant way to needle Han as a constant reminder of his nemesis, Soontir. I love it when Jag’s Antilles blood shows in his Rebel tendencies.
* Mara Jade Skywalker: I’m just going to say it – I hate that Mara died. I still feel that her death had no real meaning, no resonance, and the manner in which she died was not believable. Mara was such a complex character, a woman of tremendous value to Star Wars storytelling. She took K.A. femininity to a whole new level, earning at least grudging respect from beings across the galaxy: good, bad, and in-between.
* Tenel Ka: so self-assured, from her teenaged years until she grew into her role as Hapan Queen Mother. She’s not rattled by much of anything and she manages to be a tough Queen Mother without the treachery of her ancestors. She’s a good Mom, too. Great, all-around female role model.
Name five items you have that show your Star Wars pride. (such as collectibles, shirts, art)
* Purple Rhinestone Star Wars Baseball Cap from Her Universe. My favorite hat.
* A Very Special and Limited Edition “Team Jagged” badge that was created in secrecy and signed by Aaron Allston, who wore the “TJ” badge he was given proudly, and with a certain amount of glee, throughout Celebration V.
* My Empire Strikes Back edition Darth Vader watch.
* A Millennium Falcon dish/container circa 1980 (or so).
* My Her Universe Mara Jade T-shirt from C-VI, because the artwork is so spectacular!
Oh, my! There are so many more things I could have listed!
List the five best moments from your experience of being a Star Wars fan. (such as a scene read or watched, meeting with a VIP, a panel at a convention)
These are very difficult questions! It’s so tough to contain these lists, but let’s see:
* Meeting Artoo at my first convention (C-IV in Los Angeles).
* Opportunities to meet and talk with wonderful people like Aaron Allston, Troy Denning, and Ashley Eckstein.
* Watching the standing-room turnout fill the room to overflowing for FANgirl’s Star Wars panel discussion at 2012 GeekGirlCon in Seattle. (I’m still sorry that so many people had to be turned away!) That was the only Star Wars panel at the con, and to my knowledge, had the biggest crowd. Star Wars rocks! ‘Nuff said.
* Searching through every new Star Wars EU novel for Jaina-Jag scenes – before actually reading the books. It’s an addiction and if there’s a cure, I don’t want to know about it.
* I never tire of my favorite movie scene: the Falcon bursting into space, surrounded by flames and right behind Wedge and Tycho’s X-wings, barely escaping the exploding Death Star over Endor. Star Wars doesn’t get any better than that. (Thanks, Lando! Love you, too.)
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.
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