Monday, October 09, 2006
Review by Dan Tres OMi
Don't get me wrong, I really dig Karen Traviss. Her work with the Clone troopers in Triple Zero and Hard Contact stands out amongst the several authors who write for the SW Expanded Universe. The writing she has done for Star Wars Insider is superb. Yet Traviss falls way short of her previous work in Bloodlines. Boba Fett has always been gangsta. The fact that GL used Temuera Morrison as the face and voice of the universe's well known bounty hunter makes it even more gangsta.
The highlight of Bloodlines is the fact that we finally get into Fett's head in a 1st person sense. Previously, we only walked with Boba Fett in the third person sense in books such as the Bounty Hunter Wars which in themselves are great books. The downside of this is that now Fett is 70 years old. The crazy thing is that he is still collecting bounties despite all the money he has made in the past. This makes no sense whatsoever and I think is outside of Fett's thinking. Traviss tries to maintain some realism as she describes the pain Fett feels as he climbs a wall, holds a gun, etc. It's just ridiculous to picture a 70 year old man who has his body battered for decades chasing bounties and escaping death several times over still trying to fight folks young enough to be his grandchildren. I think learning about Fett in the 1st person sense is just too late at this point.
What bothered me about the Bloodlines story is that we learn more about Fett's earlier marriage, his daughter, and granddaughter. Traviss does a good job introducing all of them to new fans but the ending was just too obvious. All of a sudden, Fett has a heart. What happened to the cold hearted bounty hunter we have come to know and love? It reminds me of Wolverine in X3. Fett is also the Mandalore. Yet he does not act like it. He refuses to learn the language and culture yet he is the Mandalore? What gives? Personally, this story should have been kept out of the Legacy of the Force storyline.
Jacen Solo continues to follow the path his grandfather took. His steps are frighteningly similar. Solo actually time travels via the force to the raid on the Jedi Temple led by Anakin. These scenes bring everything home. Solo wrestles with his logic and contrasts his turn to the dark side to Anakin's fall. Solo makes some wonderful observations. He places himself in the council chamber when young Anakin first encounters the members. He does not understand why the Jedi Masters delegate the responsibility of teaching Jedi techniques to Anakin to Obi Wan since most agreed that he was the Chosen One. Solo also notices the Jedi's arrogance.
Luke Skywalker continues to baffle me. He knows that Jacen is the cloaked figure in his dream yet does not confront Jacen. As a matter of fact, he spends a great deal of time avoiding him even though Jacen continues to violate several Jedi codes. This makes no sense at all. One would think that as the Jedi Master of the entire Jedi order, Luke would either question or suspend Jacen from the Jedi Order. Solo also makes some moves that seem childish instead of sinister. To be honest, I find that Luke and Mara are insane to continue to let Ben train under Jacen. Having your 13 year old child break into people's homes in the middle of the night is not my idea of proper apprenticeship.
Jacen uses some storm trooper tactics to arrest and deport some Corellian citizens. He makes several political and military allies in his plan to attack the Corellian system and destroy their military. He even brings Ben Skywalker along for the show. Many people quickly make the comparisons to his grandfather. Jacen is given control of a secret police ala Hitler's SS and they make their moves raiding houses and quelling riots and demonstrations. We are introduced to Jori Lekauf, the grandson of a Lekauf who served under Darth Vader (also someone Vader had an attachment to). Lekauf is even proud of that fact. Ironically, we learn that several people had no issue with the Empire and their tactics.
My next question is since when do Jedi drink coffee?
Despite the fact that the book is part of a series, one must read it. Overall, its not worth the cover price (the cover however is dope). I think that Traviss' writing style centers around the military. Everyone is given this military work over. All of a sudden, Solo is this tough as nails officer when during the Yuuzhan Vong war he was anything but. Even during the Killik war, Solo was the loner who seemed to operate best outside of any formal organization. This is where Traviss fails. Her strength is writing about military outfits, battles, etc. When it comes to debating about issues of the force or child rearing for that matter, Traviss falls short.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Do you want to give Jacen his Sith name? Darth ______ !
well you can...Del Rey is having a contest which will allow the winner to have his Darth name used in the upcoming book Sacrifice by Karen Traviss...
YOu can go here for more details or check http://www.starwars.com/darthwho to get in.
let's get cracking...
Sunday, September 17, 2006
September 13, 2006
The future was supposed to be a fully automated, atomic-powered, germ-free utopia - a place where a grown man could wear a spandex unitard and not be laughed at. Where are the servant robots, the flying cars and the hover boards we expected?
Oh, and that reminds me, where's my flippin' jet pack? Visionaries such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells long ago spun wild tales of space flight and underwater adventure. In 1926, Hugo Gernsback introduced the first science-fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, with the motto: "Extravagant Fiction Today: Cold Fact Tomorrow."
By the 1960s and '70s, the Apollo moon missions made a lunar landing look like a trip to the beach. And don't even get me started on "Star Trek" (celebrating its 40th anniversary) with its tantalizing holodecks, transporters and universal translators.
Every pulp sci-fi tale was a promise of a better tomorrow, yet today zeppelins the size of ocean liners do not hover over fully enclosed skyscraper cities. Despite every World's Fair prediction, every futuristic ride at Disneyland and the advertisements on the last page of every comic book, we are not living in a techno-utopia. Or are we? (click Here)
Monday, September 04, 2006
It's been a minute, but you see the treats...
1. if you don't know the latest installment of the Legacy of the Force series is out. It's called Bloodlines and is written by Karen Traviss (check the interview here). it focuses on Boba Fett and Mandolares during this crisis. It should be dope.
2. Speaking of Boba Fett, there is an e novella written by Travis that takes place during the Yuuzhan Vong wars. you can go here for it...
3. Star Wars Legacy 4 preview aqui...
Kar Vastor was a Korrunai that Mace Windu encountered on his home planet. He was a powerful force sensitive who was not actually a dark sider but used the force for selfish reasons. I use selfish loosely because Vastor was a product of his environment. He saw his family murdered by off worlders and was left in the harsh jungles of Haruun Kal. In this situation no one lives but Vastor was able to survive for one year. He was very strong in the force and actually beat Mace Windu in combat. He is also like Mace Windu, one of the last survivors of the ghosh Windu. He was captured by Windu and arrested. He was taken to Coruscant to await trial. That is the last we heard from him.
Nick Rostu was another force sensitive Korrunai that Mace encountered on his mission to his home planet. He was a guide for Mace Windu into the jungles of Haruun Kal. Windu inducted him into the Grand Army of the Republic. I liked his character. He was spunky and very useful in a fight. He was severely wounded but survived. Mace later mentioned him in his archives and stated he was on Coruscant in a medical facility.
I hope someone brings them back.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Review by Brother OMi aka Dan Tres OMi..
The story takes place several years after the conclusion of the Yuuzhan Vong war. The Galactic Alliance (as seen in the Dark Nest series) is near the tipping point. Several planets are on the verge of seperating and the Chief of state, Cal Omas, is bearly holding things together. The New Jedi Order under Luke Skywalker, the Jedi Grand Master (see the Dark Nest series), seems to be maintaining its presence throughout the galaxy. Of course, there is much animosity towards the Galactic Alliance and the NJO because of the actions taken and percieved to have taken during the Yuuzhan Vong conflict. This is the backdrop for the Legacy of the Force storyline. The reader can see how any move by any one of even small importance can tip the scales and plunge the galaxy into chaos.
The story centers on Jacen Solo with a nice emphasis on Luke and Mara Jade's son, Ben Skywalker who is now 13 standard years old. Jacen, whose relationship with Luke is rather strained, continues to train Ben as his padawan. It is a perfect fit since Jacen does not place any restraints on Ben and coupled with his philosophy of the Force, gives Ben the benefit of the doubt and allows him to take his lead. Ben's character is wonderful. He is less worried about impressing his parents or living up to their name. He just doesn't want anyone to consider him a child. He is not portrayed as an all powerful chosen one either but his maturity in the Force shows. Allston does a wonderful job on Jacen and Ben.
What I have always liked about Allston is his focus on military matters. So yes, those of you who remember him from Enemy Lines I and II in the Yuuzhan Vong series will see much more action on that level. So the reader will find battles between capital ships, clever stunts pulled off by seasoned pilots, and even some tricks by Wedge Antilles and others. DId i mention that Wedge Antilles makes an appearance?
Allston does not leave out the political intrigue. The politics in this book are harrowing. Diplomacy is employed by both sides as the Galactic Alliance (GA) tries to maintain peace while the Correllians continue to scheme, build up their military, and entice others into joining their cause while shaking hands with the GA. This reminds me of how the Japanese continued to negotiate with the US while invading other countries before 1941. The GA knows what is going on (like the US did with Magic) but tries to settle everything at the negotiating table.
What makes the political intrigue even more crazy is the fact that there are members of the GA military who are Correllians. Their loyalties are questioned. One such individual is Syal Antilles, the daughter of Wedge. She joins the GA using a changed name and quickly becomes an ace. Wedge is back on Correllia but is kidnapped by the GA and escapes. This adds more to the game.
New Jedi Knights are introduced and several more are brought back. it is good to see Corran Horn again. Some Republic era jedi are mentioned as well. THe end is a suprising twist as a Jedi is murdered by another murder. We also see someone turn to the dark side (and it isn't a minor jedi either).
Okay, the Millenium Falcon doesn't make another near death escape from a Star Destroyer (well actually it does but from several fighters). I just feel that Han Solo can't be that lucky. I also feel like dude is just too old to be running around. I could see if he is a jedi since they last longer and maintain much of their strength through the force. Please, someone retire Solo.
I enjoy Gilad Pellaeon. I really do, but he is cutting close to 80 years old. I mean, if they killed him off here, i would have dug that but come on. As much as I like Wedge, he has to be close to 90. He has fought since the Rebellion and I am sure he just wants to retire.
No Kyp Durron? I feel that Durron is a great character who was never fully developed. He was just background in the Dark Nest series where as during the Vong war, he was considered a rival to Luke. It would have been great to bring him back to the fold.
Thrackan Sal-Solo, even though he is not the main villain (obviously he is under someone's influence), is such a sucker. Even during the Centerpoint Crisis, he was not a formidable opponent. In the GA, he is considered a sham yet in the Correllian system he is like Jesus Christ (okay, poor analogy but you catch my drift... actually not a bad analogy come to think of it). Allston doesn't explain how he came back to hold power after the Ylesia debacle where the Vong pretty much punked him.
The book is a must read, however. Allston wrote, in my humble opinion, two out of three books of the Vong series. When discussing the force, this book is second only to The Rise of Vader book.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
According to Ron Howard: "The concept of Star Wars confused studios when he first tried to explain it to them. This sort of approach also makes George a really interesting problem solver. How many people think the solution to gaining quality control, improving fiscal responsibility, and stimulating technological innovation is to start their own special effects company?" -- found in the foreword of The Cinema of George Lucas.
This is in relation to a previous post i did from an article on starwars.com aqui.
I stumbled upon the book The Cinema of George Lucas. It's a pretty good read. It shows the evolution of his several scripts, how he put his folks on, and how he continued to flip it. I admired Lucas because he was always able to put one up on Hollywood. Where other directors have just quit or been whiteballed, Lucas has flipped it, made loot, and retained creative control.
I have always heard of how difficult it was for him to pitch Star Wars. the Book however goes through the motions. Several of the movie houses (Warner Brothers, MGM, etc.) were feeling American Graffitti. Yet Lucas approached them with a package. He wanted to sell American Graffitti with Star Wars. For those of you who study film, you know you have to study American Graffitti which casted Ron HOward and help to create the spin off of Happy Days (which Howard starred in and later directed and produced for it). It was a box office hit. Still, 20th Century Fox still flaked on Lucas with the though for Star Wars which immediately ran amuck of its budget. That turned out to be a hit. Lucas has been gunning ever since.
To say that Lucas has ruined movies is a farce. If anything, he has continued to push the envelope and assumes creative control. I will admit that everyone else has taken from him when it comes to merchandising (he was one of the first writer/directors to ask for rights to merchandising for his movies...at the time the movie studios did not understand this).
If dude from Salon.com did his math, he would know that the concept of blockbuster movies comes from the Reagan era Arnold Schwarzeneggar/Sylvester Stallone movies where the body counts were high and TNT was used like paper on wall street. That was when we began to see more and more action movies being made that try to top each other. Lucas on the other hand stuck to mythmaking and epic space dramas.
For SW fans, the book is a must have. It shows the evolution of the director and media mogul straight from his college years. It also shows the clique of directors that he studied with. Now it makes sense how they all made movies that were outside of the box (Howard, Coppola, Steinberg aka Captain Genocide...)
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
I don't have cable so i did not see it when it initially came out.. so check it now...enjoy...
A brother by the name of "Daddy Vader" requested me as a friend on Myspace. At first I was skeptical.. then I checked his page and clicked on the link. I had to share it. It is the funniest ish I have seen a minute. I think its one of the best Star Wars parodies out there. After splitting my wig laughing, I had to add him on.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Did Star Wars Ruin American Movies?
Relevant to this blog is the link below, which is a cached link I found in a Yahoo search for an article I read long ago. For some time I actually agreed with this assessment until I saw Lucas' documentaries accompanying the first DVD editions of the original trilogy. To be sure, the writer of the below-linked article delivered a jolting, brutal assessment of Lucas as a director and creative thinker. Fans will not like it but for the sake of argument and in the interest of presenting both sides of an argument, I recommend reading it before you continue to my blog.
Years ago, a critic named Charles Taylor accused George Lucas of ruining American moviemaking. He slammed him for making Hollywood feel like it absolutely had to make the ultimate, million-maximizing blockbuster every time it set out to make a film. There could never again be a significant presence of true artistry in commercial filmmaking. It certainly seemed, and often still seems, as if this is indeed the condition today.
Remember Vin Diesel's Richard B. Riddick? David Twohy made a movie featuring this character called 'Pitch Black', on nearly a shoestring budget in a very short period of time in Australia, creating a highly derivative but enjoyable classic that spawned a legendary sci-fi action hero. Pitch Black was an independent classic. The next time Twohy made a movie around Riddick, he moved his apparatus to America and Hollywood, turned it into an 'epic' and made an over-the-top-blockbuster-Hollywood-by-numbers film. This is simply how it's done in America.
This is, in my opinion, what ruined Star Trek films for the vast part. For me, the best Star Trek films were the ones that were essentially silver-screen episodes: Star Trek II and III. Many people pan III, but I found it action-packed with interesting characters and possessed of an interesting plot. After these two films, in many ways they returned to the Hollywood syndrome (supposedly inflicted by Star Wars) of the first Trek movie ('The Motion Picture', which was essentially a lengthy pan-shot of the refurbished starship with some uninspired dialogue thrown into a bad rewrite of a classic series episode about a wayward probe coming home). (What's worse, because III had successfully gotten away with blowing up the Enterprise, it became a habit. What are the odds, sci-fi fen, that the featured starship in the next Star Trek movie is utterly destroyed?)
Trek movies are now universe-saving affairs instead of simply interesting, mind-bending situations with great character development. It's all entertainment now without much meat to the matter. No wonder people stopped going to these movies; it's surprising that Paramount is going to risk making another one in the near future.
The other component of the complaint is that there are now only a few basic types of movie that get made. One of these is of course the ubiquitous romantic comedy; personally, I'm absolutely sick of seeing the ads for these. I never go to see them. The last one I saw (rented) was 'When Harry Met Sally', which was entertaining enough, but it was fluff nonetheless. I don't have the money or the time to waste on fluff, and from the look of the advertising these things are getting worse. If I see actors I like appearing in them I get disillusioned; the last one I gave up on because she succumbed to the lure of making one of these commercial pieces of excrement was Christina Ricci. She's such a better and more interesting actress than Britanny Murphy or Goldie Hawn's daughter (can't remember her name), who apparently can't succeed in any other kind of movie.
Did Star Wars really do this? Is George Lucas really to blame for this? For certain there is a longstanding problem with Hollywood creativity, but let's take a hard look at what the problem really is.
Hollywood was created by the Mafia, much as was Las Vegas. It is an absolutely profit-driven, greedy enterprise wholly owned by artless corporados who have built their fortunes on formula, manipulation and negative social attitudes. They have projected imagery and ideas on the American consciousness that have helped break down the autonomy of our peoples' minds and imprint them with terribly negative attitudes, or at least needlessly augmented them at times when we could have altered them in time to eliminate much suffering in this country. Hollywood did absolutely nothing, for example, to combat Jim Crow, if you don't make too much of the film adaptation of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' with Gregory Peck.
To go on, the Hollywood studios are assembly lines, machines that spit out movies, and its product is brimming with poison. This is what George Lucas wanted to escape when he took his independent tack with Star Wars, to make his creation something that he, the creative entity, would control instead of the rich evil corporate bosses in Hollywood, even 20th Century Fox.
So, when Hollywood started increasing the money-laden, blockbusters-only FORUMLA factor in its productivity, was it truly acting differently than it has in the past, and was it truly emulating Lucas or Star Wars? Did Lucas let a genie out of the lamp?
I would say that the idiot-moguls at the Hollywood studios took the wrong cue from Lucas and saw a formula where there was only inspiration and a combination of classic and innovative techniques. One has only to look at Lucas' making-of documentaries accompanying the most recent (at this writing) rerelease of the original Trilogy to understand that Lucas was not and is not hampered by the Hollywood mentality. He has nothing to do with the Hollywood mentality, which has absolutely no bearing on his creative product beyond the fact that it is as different from Hollywood's tripe as he can make it. That is the only gravity Hollywood has on Lucas or his creations. He wants to be different from them.
The idiot-moguls decided, in their money-talks-artistic-values-walk 'wisdom', that they were going to duplicate, in some manner regardless of genre or style, the financial success of Star War by aping and mimicking the outward trappings of its success. They could not see into the heart of Lucas' production machinery and did not care. They figured they could mimick what they saw: a BIG, cataclysmic story on a big screen with BIG locales, BIG, iconic characters and an action-packed plot with BIG effects and, most of all... BIG PROFITS. They could not see Lucas harkening back to the storytelling values of yore or the hearts of any of his characters, or the mystical qualities of his fictional universe.
Hollywood misunderstood what they saw in Star Wars and simply tried to reverse-engineer its success, and turned up all thumbs. They did not care about artistry and therefore could not begin to approach that of Lucas; their few talented and avante-garde directors who did have vision did not share the leather chair with the moguls, so the presence of people like Steven Spielberg and David Lynch is an anomaly.
If only these directors held the power in Hollywood instead of the CEO types!
I probably don't understand enough about how the Hollywood studio system works to completely and correctly explicate this topic, so I invite others to continue with their insights, here. Please help me to illuminate the truth about this issue. GO!
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
This just in...
"X-Men: The Last Stand" took in almost $45 million on Friday and landed in the history books. It is now the second highest opener of all time, right behind "Star Wars: Attack of the Sith."
Rick Callum states that the television series for SW MAY NOT go on television. It might be podcasted thought. He also states that the entire SW saga will return to the silver screen in 3D.
ALso.. hoping you guys get it soon...
Betrayal Online Chat on Tuesday! That's this Tuesday, 30th May, starting at 8pm Eastern, 5pm Pacific, Midnight UTC, and 1am British Summer Time.It's on irc.holonet.org, channel #eu.
see you there?
OH yeah, one more thing...
These guys at the New Jedi Order Encyclopedia... check check check...
Monday, May 22, 2006
To get a real background on what Lucas is doing, one should check out Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces. And if one follow's Campbell's script, one would see how Lucas used the same format as in any other myth. The Crisis, the hero, the journey, the near death experience, the resurrection, redemption, and triumph. THe same happens here. Lucas flips it however and gives us a story then gives us the background.
Billie Wheelz and I discuss myths in every conversation we have. we discuss the significance, relevancy, and the reproduction of it. Let's admit it, Lucas has created a genuine American myth based on other stories. We can't front, that's dope. I would prefer he put it on paper first but oh well.
My man Pharoan let me watch this joint: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. Its now on DvD. It's very academic but mad jewels on it. So if you can fathom reading Campbell's 600 page tome, this is good too.
I know we have brought this up before, but its interesting to look at it from that perspective...
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Amadeo kept bringing something up that we actually did not know about: The Legacy series from Darkhorse Comics. It takes place 100 years after the events of the New Jedi Order series. We are introduced to Cade Skywalker, a descendant of the Skywalker clan. Dark Horse is being hush hush about it. Of course, we have a peek here...
I started a short story on a Jedi but it takes place in the pre Clone War era (matter of fact, right at the Genosian arena in Ep II). I never thought of going past the NJO. but i think this is dope.
enjoy and please leave comments.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Is it me? Or is George Lucas a money starved cat? (then again, i always knew this...)
This September: Original Unaltered Trilogy on DVD. Yes, yes ya'll. The original unaltered joint on DVD so we can spend even more money. To be quite honest, one can tell what was altered from the original when one watches the updated versions. I guess these won't really be collector's items. But here is the article...
Video games.. killing it...
Two more video games will be released. I know, we don't review video games on here. Sorry about that. Even though i own a few SW games, I am not a big gaming buff. Here is the trailer for Star Wars Empire At War: Forces of Corruption . Basically, it focuses on the underground smuggling network that we often hear about. LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy is just like the other LEGO's game but with the Original Trilogy...
Rick McCallum , producer for the second Trilogy, has a nice interview right here. He states that the animated series will come first and then followed by the live action one.
Clone war chick...
Karen Traviss Interview here...
I hope you enjoy these treats....
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Review by Dan Tres OMi (Brother Omi)
There are several books from the SW universe that we miss here at Star Wars for Colored Folks. Billie Wheelz, X-man, and I can't get to all of them. It seems as if everytime I turn around, a new one pops up. I stumbled upon this one by accident. Normally, I keep very far away from this genre since it seems to be a marketing ploy on the part of the Hollywood types. Then I forget, this is Lucas, a marketing genius in the fact that he gets us to buy stuff but we always learn that's well worth its weight in gold.
The Art of Star Wars, Episode III by Jonathan Rinzler, considered a coffee table book by many, is well worth every penny. The Art... is a SW trivia buff's cornucopia. There are pages of sketches, paintings, and other artists' renditions that never made the cut. It demonstrates Lucas' creative freedom and the ability he gave his artists to brainstorm.
The artwork is breathtaking. The scenes that were cut makes one wish the movie was longer. There were several versions of Kashykkk and Mustafar that were cut. There were several pieces of storm trooper armor that were never used. There were storylines that were removed (such as Boba Fett's revenge where he kills Mace Windu). The artists in the Lucas camp were even going to let Mace Windu live!
There are several treats that I could let out of the bag, but I would rather let the reader learn about them on their own. THe book is highly suggested but not needed to keep abreast of what is going on in the SW universe. It could be used to win those SW trivia questions.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Review by Dan Tres OMi (Brother OMi)
Editor's Note: We find that before you purchase Outbound Flight, you should read the Admiral Thrawn series (which takes place about 7 years after ROTJ) and Survivor's Quest (which takes place right before the Yuuzhan Vong invasion). The characters in Outbound Flight appeared in these novels several years before. It will bring a better understanding of their connection.
For several Star Wars EU fans, like the Clone Wars, the Outbound Flight project was a mission shrouded in secrecy. When Grand Admiral Thrawn first appeared on the scene, he definitely brought back the excitement after the death of Palpatine and Vader. Here was the Empire's finest military tactician who was unbeatable. He returns from fighting in the Outer Rim territories and pretty much rolls back all the progress the Rebel Alliance made in just a few months. Coupled with the even more mysterious Jedi clone Jorus C'baoth, Admiral Thrawn gave the Alliance a run for their money. It was in the Thrawn series, that Timothy Zahn introduces the readers to the Outbound Flight project. Luke Skywalker learns that C'baoth perished on the Outbound Flight and Admiral Thrawn was connected to its destruction.
Fast forward almost a decade later and Zahn gives us Survivor's Quest. The Chiss, the species from the Unknown Regions that Thrawn is a member of, summon Luke and Mara Jade. The Chiss have found the remains of the Outbound Flight mission. They arrive to find several humans who survived the assault and crash. Even though we learn more about the Chiss, Thrawn, and Outbound Flight, we still don't really learn what actually happened. No one really knows whether Thrawn destroyed the expedition and what happened to the Jedi on board.
Never fear, Lucas is here. Zahn, an accomplished writer, returns with Outbound Flight. Here he gives us the details of the ship, who spearheaded the expedition and its mission. Six dreadnaugths are linked together by several pylons that work in unison. Sixteen Jedi and 50,000 people including their families are chosen to fly past the Unknown Regions of space.
Of course, galaxy renowned Jedi Joruss C'baoth is adamant about this mission. Like several Jedi, he was becoming disenchanted with the way the Republic was being run and felt it would be a good idea if he set up colonies outside of the REpublic. However, the Senate has other ideas and planned to scrap the project. C'baoth pretty much strong arms the Senate and the Jedi Council (who are skeptical of C'baoth and place Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker on the job).
We learn quite a few things in Outbound Flight. One is that Palpatine secretly set up the mission to rid himself of more of the Jedi. He sensed that C'baoth knew that the Republic was in danger from something elusive. C'baoth was also a very powerful Jedi and Palpatine understood that he must get rid of him. The Outbound Flight project was secretly sanctioned by the Jedi Council because they were still looking for Vergere. They had reason to believed that she was taken outside of the Unknown Regions.
As usual Zahn's writing is superb. He really brings out Thrawn's genius. Of course, Thrawn is young and not yet in his prime but his military acumen is astounding. He continues to beat several opponents even though he is outnumbered and outgunned each time. The capital ship battles are exciting (something I wished the Star Wars EU would have more of). We are introduced to several Jedi. What makes this important is that almost all the Jedi, except C'baoth, question their committment to the Republic. Zahn really introduces how several non- Jedi felt about the Jedi in general through the human and alien characters he introduces. Several see them as baby snatchers and mind controllers. Quite a few believe that being away from the REpublic is a much better prospect. C'baoth on the other hand is arrogant and very condescending to non Jedi. He causes much chaos with the crew of his ship.
Even though Zahn does a great job in answering several questions such as how Outbound Flight was destroyed, how did Thrawn get kicked out of Chiss space by his own people, etc., he still leaves many questions unanswered. C'baoth's madness was evident but how come no one noticed? How did he become a clone? What was the source of his madness? I felt that this book should have answered this question. Yet Zahn left C'baoth a bigger mystery than ever before. We already knew he was mad.
The book is a must read and there are several topics of discussion I deliberately left out.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Our Response... Amadeo did bring this up before. We explain that we would hold back since many people did not read the Yuuzhan Vong Series and many did not know the fate of Jacen
Solo yet. We debated on whether we should discuss this now or wait. We felt that folks could just go to starwars.com to get the background on her.
Vergere was a Jedi who was sent on a mission before the Clone Wars to find the "Living Planet" Zonoma Sekot. Her species is Fosh and when she appears again, folks don't know what she is. THis took place in the book "Rogue Planet." While there she was kidnapped by the Yuuzhan Vong and taken outside of the galaxy . She comes back to the fore almost forty standard years later. She is now a "familiar" of the Vong priestess Elan. THe Yuuzhan Vong studied her but had no idea she was a jedi.
WHen she encounters the Jedi, they have no idea what to make of her. SHe does not exhibit any force powers at all. Her "tears" save the life of Mara Jade Skywalker. Later she encounters Jacen during the Myrkr mission and captures him (this is done in the phenomenal "Star by Star" and is one of the most memorable Star Wars Jedi missions ever). In "Traitor" (which in my opinion is the best Star wars book on the Force, ever), Vergere "tortures" Jacen and takes him on as an apprentice. She escapes the Yuuzhan Vong occupied Coruscant with him.
Vergere's approach to the Force is radically different but makes perfect sense. She claims that there is no dark or light side but the Unifying Force. She claims that a jedi can use Force lightning for good as an example. The Force doesn't cause anyone to be good or bad, that choice is left to the individual. People can be light or dark . the FOrce just is. This is where the similarities between the Force and Chi or Ase can come in. The Chi or Ase (in west africa) just is. It does not make anyone bad or good, that choice is left up to the individual.
Jacen introduces this concept to Luke. He is very skeptical since the Force concept he teaches has been around for thousands of years is all he knows. All of a sudden, this alien being with questionable motives appears. Yet when you look at the history of the Force, there have been several Jedi, most recently Kyp Durron, who have used the Force in questionable ways to beat evil. Some have become dark jedi because they could not control their emotions or became too selfish and wanted to serve self.
I don't want to get into detail into what Vergere taught Jacen but later on this concept serves Jacen very well. Luke eventually accepts this doctrine. He removes the Jedi Code and allows Jedi's to work according to their own conscience. However the Jedi runs into many problems.
I find this concept advantageous for several reasons. One is that the Jedi are not bogged down by some strict Code. That was the problem with the Jedi who lived during the Republic. It forced them to serve a corrupt Republic. This concept of the Unifying Force also allows the Jedi to recognize other ways to use the Force. During the Republic era, if you did not adhere to the JEdi Code one was considered Rogue and was hunted down. The Unifying Force embraces all ways except the Sith. Another reason is that it allowed everyone to develop on their own speed. No one is abandoned and anyone is free to come and go as they please. IN other words, no restrictions. You serve the Force and no one else. Another dope reason its great is that the Jedi are allowed to marry, have children, and have contact with their families instead of allthis detachment stuff.
However, this concept can cause problems if you have thousands and thousands of Jedi. They would have to kept in line. Luke experiences this later on.
Monday, March 20, 2006
SOme of you asked questions, so we will answer them...
Question, did Vader kill Roan Shryne? When they are on the platform fighting it doesn't say he finishes him off (even though he's beaten into pulp).
It's one of those dramatic action scenes that are built up in a book and then never really finished but is assumed that it happened that way. Shryne, even though he was a minor character in the SW universe, played a big role in keeping Darth Vader in the Dark Side. You can say he was the tipping point. BUt yes, Vader merced him.
KG also asked:
what became of Quin Lon Vos (<-spl?). I read in the comic book of how he survived Order 66, killed some clones, then reunited with newly born child. What becomes of Vos and his child?
To be honest, i am behind on the Republic comic book series. My co-blogger, Billie Wheelz the Jedi Consular, has kept up with it. I will make sure he does an entry on it. BUT there was a comic book published by Dark Horse way before the Ep III was put down on paper. It was Star Wars Tales: Ghost and it featured a young Han Solo who meets Quinlan Vos. For more info check here...
KG asked us as well:
Did you guys get to read Outbound Flight yet??
We gettin' there brother, we are...
Don't Forget to scroll down and read the other new entries.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I know this is supposed to be a blog about Star Wars but I felt that as a person of African descent, it was important that we paid homage to Octavia Butler. Personally, it is a tremendous loss for me. I really admired her work. It was top notch. But other folks had better things to say about her than I did. I decided to post them here.
But Dream Hampton (remember her?), wrote a nice piece on her in the Village Voice. I particularly love this part:
Like most science fiction, hers was primarily concerned with the master-slave relationship. She hated the idea that her Xenogenesis trilogy, the story of generations of Earth's refugees who "pay the rent" with their reproductive systems, could be read as an allegory of the psychosexual torment of plantation life. The Patternist series, which culminates in the 1980 magnum opus Wild Seed, features one of literature's most terrifying villains, the body-snatching Doro. He tracks Anyanwu, a shape-shifter and healer hundreds of years old, to 18th-century Africa. There he forces her to spawn his progeny. She becomes his great love and the only protection her generations of children have from his merciless appetite for fresh flesh. Anyanwu, most at home in her early-twenties body, is beyond fierce: Imagine a Pam Grier who makes the middle passage both as a slave and a dolphin.
NPR has an interview clip of her from 2004. It's real dope. check it aqui...
Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu stated about Butler: Octavia’s fiction contained a lot of firsts for me: Black people and people of color featured at the forefront of stories set in well imagined strange worlds and situations. Stories where race and gender were thoughtfully factored and woven into the type of fiction that I’ve loved since I could read. The most memorable characters I’ve ever read.
On Amardeep Singh's site, she quotes: What good is any form of literature to Black people? What good is science fiction's thinking about the present, the future, and the past? What good is its tendency to warn or to consider alternative ways of thinking and doing? What good is its examination of the possible effects of science and technology, or social organization and political direction? At its best, science fiction stimulates imagination and creativity. It gets reader and writer off the beaten track, off the narrow, narrow footpath of what "everyone" is saying, doing, thinking--whoever "everyone" happens to be this year. And what good is all this to Black people? ("Positive Obsession" 134-35)
The seattle Times wrote a nice piece on her. they interviewed the right folks and just really showed her genius.
Keep Shinin', sister.
It's very easy to assume that after the events of Episode III that Anakin Skywalker had no qualms about being Darth Vader. After betraying the only real family you had after the death of your mother, leaving your wife for dead, and killing babies, Anakin fought to suppress the demons that were consuming him. It's also easy to assume that for 18 years after those events in Episode III, that Anakin Skywalker simply forgot those things.
James Luceno does a wonderful job describing the torment within Darth Vader. For those of you familiar with his work on The Unifying Force and The Labrinyth of Evil (a Episode III prequel that is a must read), will understand that Luceno provides a vivid background before giving the reader the meat of the story. He does the same in Dark Lord...
The first 50 or so pages takes us to the outer Rim world of Murkhana, moments before Order No. 66 where we meet Jedi Master Roan Shyrne, a Jedi who lost a padawan and has become disenchanted with the Clone Wars and the Jedi Order. He questions his committment the Republic and approaches his situation from a pessimistic fashion. He is working with Jedi Master Bol Chatak and her padawan Olee Starstone. Once Order No. 66 is given, all three Jedi must make a decision that will change their lives forever.
Darth Vader realizes that he has made some bad decisions. He continues to blame Obi Wan Kenobi and the Jedi Order for his predicament but he realizes that Palpatine has not come through on several of his promises. He realizes that he is just a lap dog that Palpatine sics on his enemies. Palpatine has not taught him any Sith secrets. Vader also realizes that his suit hinders him and that the raw power he once wielded is spent just keeping himself alive.
What makes the book work so well is the confusion that is sown after Order No. 66. No one except Vader and Palpatine seem to know what's going on. Many Jedi (more are introduced throughout the book) assume that Darth Vader was the Sith Lord who manipulated Palpatine and the Senate. No one knows that Vader is Anakin. The Jedi also have no clue that the Jedi Council has been wiped out. They get the transmission to return to the temple and while enroute are told to escape and hide (as shown in Episode III). The confusion created by Palpatine demonstrates the genius of his plan.
Luceno offers the reader more surprises throughout the book as more background information is provided to fill in the holes left by Episode III. We learn that there are clone troopers that refuse to carry out Order No. 66. This brings more realism to the story. Several clone troopers grow to respect the Jedi and refuse to kill them.
To be honest, the only beef with Dark Lord is the fact that Vader realizes he is being used but does not act on it. Instead, he chooses to assume the Darth Vader persona and completely forget about Anakin. Luceno provides several reasons for that but one would think that with all that anger, he would immediately turn on Palpatine (which happens 21 years later in ROTJ Ep VI).
Overall, the book is a must have.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
If you can, pick up the latest Star Wars Insider. They have a great article on Mandolarian culture AND a nice piece on what audiences will see now that the saga is complete. It's an ill piece that makes you think. What made the original trilogy so dope was the fact that there was so much mystery and Lucas held back much information. It made the prequels exciting for us when we watched it. but what about people who were born after the original trilogy? Or those who saw the prequels first (I know folks like that).
I can't count my son because his mother, his uncle, and I kind of like conditioned him to be a Star Wars fan from our perspective. So like us, the mystery kept him hooked. BUt it's an ill take. What do you think?
Update on TV series :
From TheForce.net, ( interview with Lucasfilm's Steve Sansweet over at Movieweb.com )
Steve Sansweet: We're doing it in two phases. The first is Star Wars animation, which is CG 3-dimensional animation, like a Toy Story, that takes place during the period of the Clone Wars that takes place between Episodes 2 and 3. And that we're setting for Fall of 2007. Preproduction is underway, we're doing animation test, people are working on initial scripts. So we're well under way on that. And George is very much taking hand and is very much part of the whole process. I know some people thought maybe he would just hey "hey, go do it," but George is Star Wars and he's always gonna be very closely involved in this.The other project is live action, and the live action is going to take place between Episode 3 and Episode 4. We're looking at a 1 hour show and [Producer] Rick McCallum has said the ideal would be to come up with 100 hours to really get into the story line and characters, and that's the direction we're going in. So that is really targeted more towards the end of the decade."
Revisiting Jar Jar Binks....
Unfortunately, white SW fans don't get our beef with Jar Jar Binks. Of course, they agree that his character was plain wack but they don't get the idea that for us, it's a throwback to minstrel shows. the white SW fans didn't peep that his accent was West Indian. Lucas, who considers himself racially sensitive and he does his thing, couldn't understand it either. Of course, he was trying to make a cute hero for the kiddies but the true fans of SW who are mostly parents now would have taken to see their babies ANYWAY.
the other day I ran into this white SW fan and he brought up the Jar Jar Binks situation. I tried to convey to him the racial implications of it but he did not get it. I left forced to being satisfied that we both agreed it was wack and a huge mistake that Lucas made (he is human right).
THe crazy thing is that he is played by Ahmed Best who is now playing lead for a jazz fusion band. I feel like booking his band, then getting the entire audience to just boo him....
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
-- A new reader has made an ill post on their blog... it's too funny. big up to Dallas Pen for this one...here is the link. THanks brothers and sisters, keep them coming...
-- another fan film on Stormtroopers
-- African Magazine looking for comics submissions here..
-- Lateef Crowder ( a brother's footsteps I plan on following, if my wife lets me) in Tom Yung Goong.
-- if you can make it The Fifth Annual Cine Noir: A Festival of Black Film will be held March 2-5, 2006, at Cameron Art Museum and Cape Fear Museum in Wilmington, NC. feat. Dwayne McDuffie (if you don't know who he is , then you don't know)
-- oh yeah i found this , The Nubian Cantina...
Can't say I don't love you all...
Monday, February 06, 2006
The story takes place after the Yuuzhan Vong attack Duros and leave Princess Leia terribly injured. Fortunately for me, it did not disrupt the storyline in the Yuuzhan Vong series. Like Amadeo, I learned that it was supposed to take place before the Edge of Victory series but was published afterwards.
Again, we apologize for that.
I also want to apologize with my son's entries. He is in between moving so he has no access to a computer. His school does not allow him access to yahoo so we have to freak it. It will be coming soon. So stand by.
Also the Unofficial Clone Wars site is now 3 years old. Happy birthday, clones. The site has great essays on topics spanning the clone wars. preddy dope. they get as deep as we do but not as esoteric. They also describe several battles that take place in detail so if you don't read the comic books, you can catch up. Check them out when you can.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
The second best thing to Jedi's in the SW universe are space battles. Unfortunately, there aren't enough. The Admiral Thrawn series was great because there were many of them. The NJO series Enemy Lines: Rebel Stand and Rebel Dream were also good when it came to space battles.
If anyone remembers Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, they will remember the space battle over the Moon of Endor. As Han Solo, Leia, Chewbacca, several rebels and the Ewoks attempted to destroy the shield generator, Rebel capital ships led by Admiral Ackbar, faced off against the Death Star II, several Star Destroyers, one Ship Interdictor, and one Super Star Destroyer.
According to Wookiepedia, there were 40 Imperial Class Star Destroyers and several Imperial cruisers and frigates versus 25 Mon Calamari Star Cruisers, 10 Nebulon B Frigates, and several other cruisers that were originally built to carry supplies but outfitted to become battle ships. Not to mention the thousands of star fighters such as Ties and X-wings.
The Emperor amassed several of his best fleet officers at this point. He set a trap for the Rebel Alliance and felt that one crushing blow would finally defeat them. Many argue that building another Death Star was an idiotic move not just because of the expenses but because of its initial defeat in Episode IV. The Emperor may have felt (no one has confirmed this) that if he defeated the Rebel Alliance, the flaw would not have mattered anyway.
Unfortunately for him, Han Solo and his crew were successful in their gamble to destroy the shield generator and forgot about the military astuteness of Admiral Ackbar who was once a slave to Grand Moff Tarkin, where he learned a thing or two about space battling. This defeat was a crushing blow to the Empire not just because of the death of the Emperor.
Later Admiral Pellaeon, who would survive as an Imperial all the way past the Yuuzhan Vong war, stated that many good and capable officers were lost in that battle particularly when the Super Star Destroyer Executor , Vader's flagship, crashed into the Death Star and when the Death Star II was destroyed. He felt that was when officers who were ambitious for power instead of doing their duty split the Empire and became warlords.
It was with this battle, that the Rebel Alliance gained more allies throughout the galaxy. Unfortunately, the new version of Ep VI shows people cheering on Coruscant and other planets as if the Empire fell, but this is not so. It takes another 5 years to retake Coruscant and another 10 to finally beat the Empire for good.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
I was just wondering what are you guys thoughts on Jacen Solo...keep in mind that while I know how things go down...I've only read up to Balance Point. Despite the two factions that formed amongst the Jedi he was caught in the middle and as with alot of things that's usually where the truth lies between to sides of a philosophy. I was wondering your opinions of his deeper questioning of the force.
If you have noticed through our reviews for the Dark Nest series, we kind of gave it away. We do urge you to read further particularly the NJO (New Jedi Order) book "Traitor" which Billie Wheelz and I admit is the best NJO book written. It deals with the Force and several of the philosophies debated during the Old Republic. I can only tell you that much.
I will say that early in the NJO, I really felt how Anakin Solo decides to roll. I felt that Jacen was a wimp and had to get over it. I said these things with influences such as Yoda, Kyp Durron (who i felt way before the NJO series), Qui Gon Jinn, Count Dooku, and several others who had their own opinions on how the Jedi should deal with the Force. Looking back, I have to remember that the Solo's are teenagers who were thrust with some really big responsibilities. I must say that each one in their own right does a good job. And after much thinking, I could see why Jacen approached the Force like he did. he understood early on that the Force was not a tool and that at times the Jedi were not the the overseers or priests of the Force. He felt the Jedi should tread lightly in matters pertaining to the Force and should be careful as to what decisions they make.
Again, if you skim though our reviews and articles, you will find several views of the Force (I know when we first started , our first few articles really dealt with them).
In the future, Billie Wheelz and I will probably present a few varying discussions and the Jedi's who centered themselves around them.
Thanks for the question.
There was a German officer but the name of Oskar von Hutier who realized that the way the Allies and the Germans fought trench warfare was extremely ridiculous. First, a heavy artillery barrage would start and then after that swarms of infantry would try to overtake the enemies trenches. If anyone has studied the battles of WWI, one would note the tremendous casualties taken just to defend or invade a few hundred yards of trenches.
Hutier decided to recruit the most elite members of the infantry and form them into small units. During the heavy artillery barrages, he would send these shock troops or "storm troops" right behind the barrages. To the Allies, these troops appeared out of the "storm." Their job was to hurl explosives at communication depots, officer encampments, and artillery posts to weaken enemy positions. It was a dangerous job but proved to be successful. Later Hitler used to moniker to create a group of para military thugs that would later become the SA.
Connection to Star Wars...
Many Star Wars theorists claim that George Lucas made the empire seem like Hitler's Third Reich hence all the Imperial officers with the Nazi like appearances. This of course has never been proven. Others argue that the Stormtroopers in SW were supposed to be elite. If one reads the Expanded Universe, one will learn that they were elite and were very feared. The Empire does have its regular infantry.
However, throughout the movies we see them as bumbling idiots or keystone cops. Yet they are still feared throughout the galaxy.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
2. Billie Wheelz will be doing a review on Star Wars: Rise of the Dark Lord which is a must read. They cover so much in that book not just chronologically but also philosophically.
3. Help Ep III win best flick of 2005. go here and cast your vote.
4. Star Wars E-books -- if you can stand to read them on your computer, you can save some dough..
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Review by Dan Tres
(WARNING: This review has spoilers, so if you don't want to know what happens, read no further...)
Troy Denning ends the Dark Nest series with a not so thrilling ending. The first two books were much better for some reason. Yet this book ended the series too quickly. First, the Jedi realize that the only solution to the Killik problem is to revert them to their status before the arrival of Jedi Raynar Thur (or UnuThul as he is now called). So he has to be "eliminated" or "removed." This was an obvious solution since Lomi Plo and Alema Rar were part of the "unconscious" mind of the Killik Nest, thus the Dark Nest. When Lomi Plo and her minions in the Groggog showed up, UnuThul somehow got amnesia. Even when proof was shown to him (as noted in the previous novels), he quickly denied it. Of course, much of relunctance of the Jedi to implement this solution was due to Luke Skywalker's idea that he could redeem UnuThul.
Another problem with book is that Leia and Seba Sebatyne are again captured. This time by the Chiss. With the help of her bodyguards, they use their Jedi skills to escape. It's daring but it's almost similar to her escape in Dark Nest II from the Galactic Alliance ship. I can't understand how Luke had a problem fighting Lomi Plo with the help of Jacen Solo and Mara Jade. In the end he battles Lomi Plo and UnuThul with ease. One could tell that Denning was trying to end the series abruptly.
Then I realized something...
The Dark Nest series is not really about the Killiks. They pretty much make up the background. It's not about the Chiss, who seem to become more ruthless then ever and one can see them presenting more problems for the Jedi and the Galactic Alliance. The series is about the Jedi Order and how they deal with their new philosophy of the Living Force.
We learn that when there is no galactic crisis, this idea works. Everyone can do their own thing, learn their own way, get attachments, answer to no one. Yet when something really big comes along, there is no cohesion and no focus. In the first two books, we see the Jedi Order split into several factions: those that feel that the Jedi should follow the Force and no one else (headed by Kyp Durron), those that feel that the Jedi should work for the Galactic Alliance (headed by Kenth Hamner and Corran Horn -- a problem that was questioned during the Clone wars), and finally those that felt that the teachings of Vergere were the way to go (this faction was headed by Jacen Solo). The Killik crisis created another faction that felt that the Jedi should just help the underdog (headed by Jaina Solo and Zekk). Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker stood by while everyone bickered and acted on their own.
In Book III, Luke decides to take over the order as the Supreme Master. He asks that those that disagree with his position leave the Order forever. Few leave, but most stay including Hamner, Horn, Kyp, and Jacen. Together they fix the problem. I find this part of the book satisfying. Again as we saw during the Clone Wars, the Jedi have to figure out their place in the scheme of things. Its good to sit back and meditate on the Force, but reality bites and people depend on the Jedi to fix things. With great power comes great responsibility (right Parker?).
Overall the book gets 3 out of 5 stars. The first two in the series were exceptional. Part III just doesn't do it for me.