Sunday, January 13, 2008

Star Wars Republic Commando: True Colors

by Karen Traviss

Book Review by Dan Tres OMI

There's one thing that bothers me, sir. They say Master Yoda referred to the war as the Clone War after the Battle of Geonosis. It was the very first battle of the war. Why did he identify the war that way, by the clones who are fighting it? Have we ever said the Fifth Fleet or the Corellian Baji Brigade War? What does he know that we don't?

-- General Bardan Jusik, confiding in General Arligan Zey ( an excerpt from Karen Traviss' True Colors).

I thoroughly enjoyed Traviss' third installment of the Republic Commando series. There is not much action in this book but Traviss goes to work in the drama department. We learn more about Omega squad and the other Clone Commandos and Null ARC Troopers who Kal Skirata, the Mandalarian who Jango Fett had hired to train several units of the Clone Commandos, takes under his wing as his own sons. The story made me want to read more versus waiting on action scenes. I assumed that Traviss would begin the story close towards the end of the Clone Wars. Instead she starts about 18 months after the battle of Geonosis.

Traviss also throws in several interesting intelligence reports about how the war is being conducted. As the Null ARCs learn that the Separatists' droid production has been over exaggerated and that the war could be over if a series of strong pushes were conducted instead of spreading the Jedi and the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) thinly across the galaxy. Jedi General Arligan Zey, head of the Special Forces, makes note of this several times and notifies Master Mace Windu who in turn let's Supreme Chancellor Palpatine know what the intelligence on the ground is telling him. Like most wars, the Clones realize that it is the politicians who run the war. Doing the math, the Commandos and Skirata learn that the Clone Wars are being fought for entirely different reasons then everyone expects.

We also learn that the Republic has no plans to purchase new clones or take care of the ones they already have. When one of the members of Omega is put in a coma, they learn the shocking truth that any clones who are too hurt to return to the field are exterminated, Skirata decides to take matters into their own hands. Skirata has always wanted to reverse the aging process of the clone army. When he learns that Ko Sai, the Kaminoan chief geneticist, faked her death during the Battle of Kamino the chase is on. The Commandos also learn that Palpatine is also looking for Ko Sai for her secrets into the aging process. Add the Separatists and other companies who are involved in cloning and time is winding down.

Again, there is not much action but the story seems to be winding for a big spring. Traviss must have some great stuff in the works for all the Republic Commando fans. Again Traviss' expertise with all things military shines through. Her tweaking of the Mandalore culture is just the icing on the cake.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Political leaders and Sci Fi

I know I often complain about how in Sci-Fi several white writers somehow leave people of color out of the future. Movies are the most recognizable ways in which this is done. Look at joints such as The Minority Report (which Philip K. Dick's short story takes place in a different city). In this K. Dick remake, Washington D.C. was devoid of black folks. Or the the Star Wars OT where all we had was Lando Calrissian. I could go on and on. However, there are times when Sci Fi has its shining moments when it comes to people of color.

Take joints such as the latest incarnation of Battlestar Galactica. Admiral Adama is played by Edward James Olso. Even GL did his think using Temeura Morrison as Jango Fett and the template for clones. I knew Boba Fett was a brother!

What I notice, and maybe this is a bad thing, is that when there are people of color in Sci Fi they hold positions of power. Take the Matrix or movies such as “Bruce Almighty” and “Deep Impact.” Are we saying that only in fantasy worlds people of color can hold power?

So folks like Jared Ball or Barack Obama have no chance?

Well, I have learned that usually Sci-Fi movies, books, and other forms of media are brief glimpses into the future. They are written to keep humanity hopeful in an often bleak world. Then again, throughout the world, people of color hold positions of power. Most come from humble origins.

We are not invisible anymore.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

We are so behind...

First up, Happy New year to all. 2007 was kind of a busy year for us. There are a few books we have not caught up to. We promise to get to them before the month is out.

One of course is the latest Karen Traviss Clone Commando joint, True Colors (Star Wars: Republic Commando). I am dying to read this piece. It should be on point. It takes place during the Clone Wars. It also answers a lot of questions.
The latest installment of the Legacy of the Force series was released in Nov of '07. It is entitled Fury (Star Wars: Legacy of the Force, Book 7). Billie Wheelz has read it (hint, brother, hint). Let's see what happens.

So we have a lot of catching up to do.

Thanks for the support.

Let's keep it great for '08

P.S. -- check some of the new links