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Star Wars Novels/Graphical Novels 2

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32 minutes ago, Ran said:

Basically, yes. I consider them space opera, but more from the science fantasy than the science fiction direction.

It certainly has a lot of dreck in it, but that said, I was glad it existed.

Given that he loses at the end, he was just powerful enough! He was one of the best things about the Expanded Universe.

Disagree here as well. The cynical exploitation of the Noghri which Darth Vader started and which Thrawn perpetuated led to his receiving his just desserts. Rukh had been a constant presence in Zahn's trilogy, Thrawn's shadow, so to have him be the one to turn and kill him was ... well, quite artful, I guess I should say, which is funny, given Thrawn's last words.

 

Thrawn wins because the plot demands it. Thrawn is basically Batman Of Star Wars EU.

Star Wars EU isn’t known for good writing, but glorified fanfic. It alienated a lot of people into getting into the EU.

 

 

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1 minute ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Thrawn wins because the plot demands it.

Right. Plot needs generally determine how you create a narrative.

1 minute ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Thrawn is basically Batman Of Star Wars EU.

And this is a problem how, exaclty? One of the most recognizable and popular fictional characters of the last hundred years is not a bad thing to be compared to.

1 minute ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Star Wars EU isn’t known for good writing, but glorified fanfic. It alienated a lot of people into getting into the EU.

The Heir to the Empire trilogy, which kind of started it all, was a huge hit and is why the EU existed. The stuff after, I can't speak too much to, but the fact that it created a generation of new fans (some of whom were angry when Disney basically killed the EU) suggests to me it was a success.

 

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36 minutes ago, Ran said:

Basically, yes. I consider them space opera, but more from the science fantasy than the science fiction direction.

It certainly has a lot of dreck in it, but that said, I was glad it existed.

Given that he loses at the end, he was just powerful enough! He was one of the best things about the Expanded Universe.

Disagree here as well. The cynical exploitation of the Noghri which Darth Vader started and which Thrawn perpetuated led to his receiving his just desserts. Rukh had been a constant presence in Zahn's trilogy, Thrawn's shadow, so to have him be the one to turn and kill him was ... well, quite artful, I guess I should say, which is funny, given Thrawn's last words.

 

Star Wars isn’t Space Opera or even Sci-Fantasy . It has magic bacteria. The EU force powers are ridiculous. Grandmaster Luke can manipulate a black hole. Their are a lot of things need to be swallowed just believe it is sci-fantasy.

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5 minutes ago, Ran said:

Right. Plot needs generally determine how you create a narrative.

And this is a problem how, exaclty? One of the most recognizable and popular fictional characters of the last hundred years is not a bad thing to be compared to.

The Heir to the Empire trilogy, which kind of started it all, was a huge hit and is why the EU existed. The stuff after, I can't speak too much to, but the fact that it created a generation of new fans (some of whom were angry when Disney basically killed the EU) suggests to me it was a success.

 

  

 Thrawn was been able to best force sensitives. Force sensitives have precognition and telepathy.

The Batman comparison is used because Thrawn and Batman are both Gary Stus. 

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21 minutes ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Star Wars isn’t Space Opera or even Sci-Fantasy .

You called it space fantasy, which isn't really a formal genre, whereas space opera and science fantasy certainly are and together basically give you the same thing as what you said space (opera) (science) fantasy.

21 minutes ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

It has magic bacteria.

I'm not sure how this is a problem. The setting is one where magical science and magical technology are primary elements of the story.

21 minutes ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

The EU force powers are ridiculous. Grandmaster Luke can manipulate a black hole. Their are a lot of things need to be swallowed just believe it is sci-fantasy.

Suspension of disbelief is an important quality to have.

I don't know anything about black holes, mind. As I said, I know there's a lot of bad stuff in the EU, doesn't mean the EU wasn't worthwhile.

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So... its cool that Apprentice Luke can lift a starship with his mind (sort of)... but whoa whoa whoa back the $%&# up lets not have him doing other stuff we are just sort of making up as a Grandmaster.

C'mon dude.  Its tie in fiction from a movie series that in retrospect, really had a lot of holes in it to begin with and really is only fondly remembered for its nostalgia.

I'm with Ran.  Heir to the Empire trilogy was legit good.  The rest of it was hit or miss, but generally fun.  Lets not try to poke holes in the logic of the "Space Fantasy."

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The EU had some absolute dogshit in it, but so has the new canon. The EU had some absolutely magnificent pieces of storytelling in it as well, and so has the new canon.

Which is better will be up to individual people, but I think the Canon Decay wreaked on the franchise by The Rise of Skywalker is quite difficult to come back from. As much as the Yuuzhan Vong and the subsequent storylines were divisive, they at least had a coherent thematic and plot through-line and you could do stuff afterwards, like the surprisingly good comic series set a full 100 years after Luke's time. TRoS feels like it's going to be harder to come back from, unless they perhaps just do the same thing: jump forwards so far that you can just ignore it.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

The EU had some absolute dogshit in it, but so has the new canon. The EU had some absolutely magnificent pieces of storytelling in it as well, and so has the new canon.

Which is better will be up to individual people, but I think the Canon Decay wreaked on the franchise by The Rise of Skywalker is quite difficult to come back from. As much as the Yuuzhan Vong and the subsequent storylines were divisive, they at least had a coherent thematic and plot through-line and you could do stuff afterwards, like the surprisingly good comic series set a full 100 years after Luke's time. TRoS feels like it's going to be harder to come back from, unless they perhaps just do the same thing: jump forwards so far that you can just ignore it.

@Werthead: terminology question here: canon decay? This is a term I've not heard before. If you get a chance, could you explain what it means? (I mean, I can make a wild guess, but I'd rather understand it correctly and as intended.)

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13 hours ago, Ran said:

You called it space fantasy, which isn't really a formal genre, whereas space opera and science fantasy certainly are and together basically give you the same thing as what you said space (opera) (science) fantasy.

I'm not sure how this is a problem. The setting is one where magical science and magical technology are primary elements of the story.

Suspension of disbelief is an important quality to have.

I don't know anything about black holes, mind. As I said, I know there's a lot of bad stuff in the EU, doesn't mean the EU wasn't worthwhile.

The only thing I liked in EU is KOTOR I and KOTOR II.

Vast majority of EU isn’t well written or is just mediocre.

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2 hours ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

The only thing I liked in EU is KOTOR I and KOTOR II.

Then aren't you glad the EU exists so that you could have enjoyed those works?

2 hours ago, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Vast majority of EU isn’t well written or is just mediocre.

This may be true. Still glad it existed, such as it was.

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3 hours ago, Ran said:

Then aren't you glad the EU exists so that you could have enjoyed those works?

The Old Republic novels (particularly Sean Williams') are also reasonably enjoyable. But as with all art: your mileage may vary. 

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12 hours ago, IlyaP said:

@Werthead: terminology question here: canon decay? This is a term I've not heard before. If you get a chance, could you explain what it means? (I mean, I can make a wild guess, but I'd rather understand it correctly and as intended.)

Essentially when a fictional world/universe undergoes a divisive event or instalment that makes further works in that dubious, or bound to upset a large amount of the fanbase. The Forgotten Realms underwent this with the Spellplague, Warhammer with the End Times and Battlestar Galactica 2.0 with its finale. Sometimes its possible to recover - Forgotten Realms basically retconned the Spellplague out of existence and executed some time jumps so it's still in the backstory of the setting but its more fan-enraging effects are no longer a thing - but usually the only solution is either a reboot or for future works in the setting to be set in dramatically different time periods (i.e. the approach HBO is taking with the Game of Thrones spin-offs being prequels, and the likely reason for cancelling The Longest Night was being its focus on the White Walker storyline, which the GoT fanbase mostly loathed).

I suppose it's more akin to jumping the shark, but in terms of something fundamental happening to the storyline or universe that makes recovery difficult, not just the writers turning out substandard material.

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Just finished reading SHADOW FALL and I have mixed feelings about it. It's a wonderfully gritty, black, and well-characterized book like its predecessor but I'm not really feeling Alphabet Squadron's take on the Galactic Civil War. The amount of moral ambiguity just doesn't work given the Empire is a bunch of fascists and Disney is all in on them being Nazi stand-ins. Almost all of the heroes are deeply unlikable characters contrasted to the Imperials who seemingly are just another bunch of people. It sours my opinion of the final product.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Essentially when a fictional world/universe undergoes a divisive event or instalment that makes further works in that dubious, or bound to upset a large amount of the fanbase. The Forgotten Realms underwent this with the Spellplague, Warhammer with the End Times and Battlestar Galactica 2.0 with its finale. Sometimes its possible to recover - Forgotten Realms basically retconned the Spellplague out of existence and executed some time jumps so it's still in the backstory of the setting but its more fan-enraging effects are no longer a thing - but usually the only solution is either a reboot or for future works in the setting to be set in dramatically different time periods (i.e. the approach HBO is taking with the Game of Thrones spin-offs being prequels, and the likely reason for cancelling The Longest Night was being its focus on the White Walker storyline, which the GoT fanbase mostly loathed).

I suppose it's more akin to jumping the shark, but in terms of something fundamental happening to the storyline or universe that makes recovery difficult, not just the writers turning out substandard material.

So the Chaos War in Dragonlance!  And the Dragon Super Mega Overlords in Dragonlance!

And sticking to Star Wars, the Yuzhong Vong.

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35 minutes ago, Rhom said:

So the Chaos War in Dragonlance!  And the Dragon Super Mega Overlords in Dragonlance!

And sticking to Star Wars, the Yuzhong Vong.

Pretty much yeah, although I didn't have a problem with the Yuuzhan Vong as such, more that the Vong War was more devastating than the Galactic Civil War and the Clone Wars combined. They made the mistake of making the war far, far too big and epic to the point that it got a bit silly.

Still, we did also get Traitor out of it, a strong candidate for the best piece of Star Wars tie-in fiction ever.

Dragonlance's problem was that the War of the Lance was a reasonably good story (although with iffy execution), then the stuff with Caramon and Raistlin was pretty decent, and then everything else they did was a variation on a theme. The gods are back! They're gone again. Now they're back again! Clerics are a thing, no they're not etc. It's one of the reasons they stopped producing new Dragonlance stuff for a time in the 1990s and focused on Forgotten Realms, which was more designed to be a world with lots of stand-alone, individual stories instead of a bit metaarc (and, indeed, the Realms started going downhill when they tried to shoehorn massive events into into for no apparent reason).

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3.5/5

SHADOW FALL by Alexander Freed is the sequel to ALPHABET SQUADRON. Alexander Freed has a history of writing Star Wars novels in the new canon that take a remarkably unglamorous look at the Galactic Civil War. His heroes are frequently cynical, full of trauma, and often confused at meeting people who really believe it is a battle of Good vs. Evil. Alexander Freed also tends to right very sympathetic Imperial characters.

The premise of Alphabet Squadron as a series is Yrica (pronounced "Erica" in Jacen Solo fashion) Quell is a defecting Imperial starfighter pilot who has been sent to head up a ragtag band of misfits with varying starfighter types. Their goal is to bring down Shadow Wing, an elite Imperial combat unit that has been reigning hell on various groups during the Imperial retreat after Endor. It is something of a quixotic quest as the war effort is far bigger than the hunt for any individual group of Imperials, even as dangerous as Shadow Squadron.

In a perhaps deliberate deconstruction of the original Rogue Squadron and Wraith Squadron novels, Alphabet Squadron is not a group that comes together as a family. Indeed, its members become even more divided and shaken up by getting to know one another. Worse, their effectiveness is frequently questionable as they are carrying around enough baggage that they never know if the other members have their backs (or even if they want them).

There was a good scene in the previous novel where Hera Syndulla (Star Wars: Rebels) decides to mentor Yrica because she doesn't trust Intelligence officer Adal. This proves to be wasted effort because Yrica is a spectacularly awful leader and has no real loyalty to the Rebellion. Indeed, her Imperial war crimes are severe but she can't really seem to recant of them either and just wants to pretend she wasn't involved in them.

Opposing Alphabet Squadron is the forces of Shadow Squadron. The Empire is in full retreat and scrambling for supplies, reinforcements, and equipment. They have since been taken over by Soran Keize, a pilot dedicated to protecting them as well as giving them purpose. Soran knows the war is lost and pointless but has a passionate devotion to the people he leads, even if it gets countless innocent people killed.

The novel follows Alphabet Squadron as they are stationed over a Deep Core world called Cerberon. Ceberon is a planet with remaining Imperial sympathies that is mostly pacified by the time events spiral out of control for both sides. Both sides wish to destroy the other for morale purposes and indirectly cause massive collateral damage. Friendships are destroyed, lives lost, and perspectives changed in a surprisingly dark as well as deep storyline.

So why the comparatively low score? Well, honestly, almost every character in this book is deeply unlikable. Yrica is a war criminal, Nath is a corrupt glory hound, Chass' harsh cruel exterior hides a harsh cruel interior, and Wyl--okay Wyl is nice. There's even a lengthy section of the book where Chass spends it hating on the religious commune that rescued her from certain death. It may be interesting but it's not exactly fun to read.

In conclusion, I recommend this book but I have to say its not the kind of read that I really go to Star Wars for. Given the awful things on in the world today, I'm pretty much for a book that reinforces that the shooting of Space Nazis in the face is a good thing. No one here really seems to have any ideological commitment to the shooting of Space Nazis. If not for Wyl, I wouldn't want any of these people on my team.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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9 hours ago, Werthead said:

Still, we did also get Traitor out of it, a strong candidate for the best piece of Star Wars tie-in fiction ever.

Here here. 

Stover's other Star Wars books are also extremely excellent. His Revenge of the Sith novelisation continues receiving praise for for its excellence. 

...And it occurs to me - despite the Disney buyout, some books are...trans-canon? The novelisations of the movies are still canon despite being published pre-buyout. @Werthead, what the heck do we even call that? Is trans-canon - a word I completely made up - the best word to use? Is there a better term you've come across you could suggest?

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14 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

The amount of moral ambiguity just doesn't work given the Empire is a bunch of fascists and Disney is all in on them being Nazi stand-ins.

I have always thought that the Empire (in the original trilogy) was supposed to represent the Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an "Evil Empire" in his 1983 speech.

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