Thursday, January 19, 2006

On Jacen Solo

Amadeo asked:

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.

Our response:

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.


While taking a class on war and the Clausewitzian principles found there in, I had a chance to learn about where the term "stormtroopers" actually came from. Hitler was not the first to use the term in Germany. It comes from the German Sturmabteilung or "Storm Division." Sometimes they were called Sturmtruppen. They were initially used in WWI in trench warfare.

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

Announcements for Jan '06

1. After talking to my oldest son, X-man, I decided to put him on. So our blog will have three writers. I cannot wait. X-man is 11 years old and highly intelligent. I am not saying that cause I'm his dad. Dude got skills. He knows his Star Wars lore and is kick ass all around. You will see. Hopefully we can get his first entry in next week.

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

Star Wars, Dark Nest III: The Swarm War by Troy Denning

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.