Posts Tagged ‘Books About Star Wars’

From My Point Of View, It’s A Problem: A Commentary

July 28, 2017

The upcoming anthology of short stories based on ANH–originally dubbed “Operation Blue Milk” then revealed as “A Certain Point Of View”–didn’t interest me much because I’ve basically given up reading Del Rey’s new wave of licensed fiction.  But if there was any glimmer of interest at all it was extinguished with the full list of people brought on to write for this thing.  I don’t dislike everyone on there obviously; some of them have been involved with stuff that I enjoyed.  Others I have issues with but the most galling was bringing on actor Wil Wheaton.  No Timothy Zahn or James Luceno or Mike Stackpole but they had pages to spare for this guy.

Really, Del Rey and Lucasfilm?  Really????

Whenever somebody at Lucasfilm tries to claim that they love the prequels equally and treat them with respect, you’ve got to ask why then are the most notorious prequel bashers rewarded with prime gigs?  Simon Pegg got to guest star on The Clone Wars and scored a cameo in TFA.  Now a prequel basher known for another franchise gets to publish Star Wars fiction while scores of experienced writers, both professional and fan, never get the call.  As someone who has been trying for two years to get in the market with my own stuff, it’s HARD.  But maybe to get a deal with Del Rey I should just start the Prequel Hate Society and bash the films every chance I get.

What’s problematic about this is that we all know that they would never do this for anyone who publicly bashes the original trilogy, TFA, or Rogue One.  Ever.  To the people in charge, the prequels are expendable in a way the others are not and they don’t care because the movies don’t mean as much to them as the OT does and the overlords in Burbank aren’t going to tolerate anyone bashing their films.

Look, people at Lucasfilm:  admit it.  The prequels are second banana to your company, loved by a tiny few, liked by some, tolerated with gritted teeth by most.  J.W. Rinzler’s late blog indicated a lot of people there were not fond of AOTC at the very least and you know what, it shows.  It has shown for years.  Stop gas lighting us and stop making excuses.

I’m half tempted to get a bunch of pro-prequel fan fiction writers to put together an anthology…

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Fates Of Characters & “Canon”: A Really Short Commentary

February 28, 2017

The most recent novel in Del Rey’s post-2014 continuity reveals the fate of a particular prequel character. You can go look it up if you want. I haven’t read the book and don’t intend to. In any case, I suppose it is funny that it’s “canon” this particular character survived as long as he did, past the OT era, though I’ve noticed some complaints as to where this character ended up. All my humble opinion is that if it’s in a book, it just doesn’t matter. For now the movies can’t contradict this storyline but you have to remember, a company owns Star Wars now and what’s canon today outside of Lucas’s six movies may not be “canon” tomorrow. Since 1977, Lucasfilm has deep-sixed at least two tracks of outside-the-movies canon. The whole Marvel run from 1977 to 1986 was declared apocrypha. “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” is apocrypha. The Brian Daley Han Solo books are apocrypha. So are the L. Neil What’s His Name Lando Calrissian books. I don’t even think “The Star Wars Holiday Special” was ever “canon.” Those crazy kids’ books with Trioculus, Han’s floating house and the Space Pirate Boogie, Mount Yoda, and Ken The Fresh Jedi Prince of Bel Air? Not canon either, even if they started after the second wave of “canon” that arrived with “Heir To The Empire” and “Dark Empire.” Dark Horse’s stuff superceded Marvel’s stuff, while Marvel has chosen to reboot the entire comic world timeline when it got the ball back in 2015. Bantam’s stuff overrode the paperbacks of the ‘70s and ‘80s. The second wave was based on West End Games’s roleplaying game, which isn’t canon anymore either. The prequels actually made a lot of the stuff produced post 1990 inaccurate or obsolete. Various episodes of the Clone Wars freely contradicted various books and comics, much to EU fans’ annoyance. Then it was reboot time again in 2014.

All it takes is another company purchase, corporate merger, or changing of the guards within the company to open the possibility again of “rebooting” the books and comics. Someone decides the way things are going are not to that person’s liking and poof, everything changes. If book sales were to slump, the suits are going to demand changes to bring sales back up again. It’s just how it is.

So when you read these things, read them for your own enjoyment and don’t get too invested in them.

Book Report: “Ahsoka”

November 7, 2016

“Ahsoka” by E.K. Johnson

In many ways, Ahsoka Tano is the Harley Quinn of Star Wars. Sure, she’s nothing like the psychotic villainess who’s in love with the even more psychotic Joker but the trajectory of their characters are very similar. Both weren’t part of the original “mythology” but were created for an animated television series where each took a life of her own and quickly built up a devoted fan base. Ahsoka is as much a part of Star Wars now as Quinn is part of Batman and the DC universe, though if “Ahsoka”’s book sales, popular appearances on “Rebels,” toy sales, etc. are anything to rely upon, it won’t take 24 years for the spunky Togruta to make the leap to live action as it did for Harley Quinn.

Publishing this novel was a smart move for the Lucas Books department then, knowing Ahsoka’s vast popularity. I figure a lot of people will love this book because they love Ahsoka and Johnson does a decent enough job characterizing her. A lot of people will love this book because there are prequel references aplenty as well as references to “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels,” as you might imagine. There are times when Johnson knows how to produce the feels. However as a novel, it’s good but doesn’t quite reach “great.”

Spoilers ahoy!

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Popular Character From Canceled Show Inspires #1 NYT Bestseller

November 3, 2016

E.K. Johnson’s “Ahsoka” has scored its third week at the top of the New York Times’ YA hardcover list.  Of all of the new canon books, I think this the only one that has reached the top of any NYT list much less one that has had a 3-week staying power at the top.

Time and again cold hard facts have proven fans still love The Clone Wars and if this doesn’t make Disney sit up and take notice, nothing will.  The book is also heavy on prequel-era references and the suits should take notice of that too.

I’ve got about 80 pages to go and as soon as I’m done I will post a review.

Book Author (Mostly) Defends PT

June 7, 2016

Cass Sunstein, the former head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs wrote a book called “The World According To Star Wars.”  I have to admit I only knew of Sunstein as one of President Obama’s policy wonks and I was really surprised he decided to delve into pop culture, especially since in this interview with The AV Club (groan) he admits he wasn’t into it all of that much when he started out writing it.

The even more surprising part of it is how Sunstein mostly sticks up for the prequels:

VC: That folds into your larger defense of the prequels, a cause that you’re passionate about in the book. You argue the commonplace view, of “original trilogy = good, prequels = bad,” is oversimplified. It’s almost part of what you’re talking about—this idea that we want to streamline narratives to retrofit the conclusions we come to.

CS: Yeah. I think it’s not politically correct to like the prequels. If you say you like the prequels in polite company, you kind of mark yourself as not quite right. There are a couple reasons I want to say some nice things about the prequels. One is that they are visually spectacular. The start of Attack Of The Clones is really tremendous. Many of the scenes in Attack Of The Clones are tremendous. I think that’s the most underrated of the seven. Revenge Of The Sith, that’s a good movie. Scenes in which Anakin turns to the dark side are both really good in themselves, and they eerily mirror what happened to Luke. That’s very cleverly done. I think there’s a lot to be said in favor of them.

And okay, they don’t have the kind of joyful giddiness of the original three. That’s fair. I think I want to say it a little bit with respect to George Lucas: Give the guy a break. You know? He took real risks in the prequels. He thought really hard. They’re very ambitious movies. If you watch the first one, The Phantom Menace, a little bit with the feel of being a kid, I can’t say it’s a great movie, but it has greatness in it. Again, Lucas did some amazing things visually.

“Propaganda” Book Coming In October

March 14, 2016

Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo has a propaganda art book coming out in October, featuring stuff from all eras of the saga.

Jedi-Bibliothek has more info and images.

Fun Stuff To Buy

February 20, 2016

Need to show your allegiance to the Separatists or the Republic?  Check out these vinyl decals you can buy on eBay:

Separatists

Republic

Today the delivery guy brought the Star Wars English-Japanese Dictionary For Jedi Masters ordered from JBox.com in Japan.  Unless you can read Japanese, you won’t learn a thing but it has scores of amazingly cute illustrations from the prequels (along with regular photo stills) as the films are used to teach English.  While you’re at it, the Dictionary for Padawan Learners has similar cartoons and lessons from the OT.

Nickel Review: Art of Coloring Star Wars: 100 Images To Inspire Creativity and Relaxation

December 22, 2015

I ordered a copy of this new Star Wars “adult” coloring book, which is some kind of new trend. The book is actually a hardcover, not the soft heavy paper covers you normally find with kiddie coloring books.

As the title says there’s at least 100 line art images of characters and symbols from Eps I-VI. Some are kind of simple, others are really elaborate and getting some of those colored with regular ol’ Crayolas or markers would be kind of challenging. A lot of the pieces are unique, while others are older line art mixed in with new elements. Art nouveau and mandalas seem to be the most common styles.

A lot of the art is beautiful. An enterprising and skilled fan could photocopy one of the images, color it, and scan it to use on “personal” items like t-shirts or mugs or whatever. I think there’s a fair representation of the prequels in the book. After all, it’s probably the only place you can find an art nouveau rendition of Sebulba or Jar Jar.

Art supply stores like Michaels or Aaron Brothers might have it in stock. Otherwise you can order it from Amazon, Walmart, and other fine retailers.

Book Report: Little Golden Books Prequel Trilogy

August 24, 2015

LGB_TPM

Zulily was selling the new Star Wars Little Golden Books in bundles of three–one set for each trilogy–at a good price, so I ordered away. The books arrived today and they are really adorable.

Each book has different writers and artists yet the books are consistent in style throughout. As you might expect, it’s an illustrated rundown of each movie. The adaptations hit every highlight of the films and do an admirable job of accurately summarizing them in a few bedtime story pages.

These are great for introducing little kids to Star Wars who might not yet have the attention span to sit through a two-hour-plus movie. But even if you don’t have kids or they’re long since out of kindergarten, they make for a fun collectible.

Book Report: The Clone Army Attacketh

August 22, 2015

Ian Doescher’s Shakespeare-Meets-AOTC parody “The Clone Army Attacketh” came out last month but it took a while before I was able to get to it. I have to say I enjoyed it even more than the TPM one. AOTC seems weirdly very suited to a Shakespearean take on the film. Doescher has fun with Anakin and Padmé’s courtship for one thing (lots of soliloquies about how they really feel about each other). I also enjoyed the action scenes. Even the reek, nexu, and acklay get dialogue.

Jar Jar isn’t as self-assured as he was in TPM and I wonder if that was by design, after all he decided to vote for Palpatine’s emergency powers, or whether Doescher wasn’t sure what to do with him in his diminished role. We’ll have to see how it pans out in ROTS.

The book has some nice illustrations and if you’re not a huge Shakespeare geek, there’s a section at the end that explains how Doescher structures the dialogue. Even a non-expert like me caught the lines and devices used in other plays I’ve actually read. For example, Anakin quotes the famous soliloquy from “Macbeth.” For those of you more familiar with modern pop culture references, Doescher drops references to Samuel L. Jackson’s films, i.e. “Die hard, with a vengeance!”

Thankfully Doescher seemed even less inclined to poke fun at the movie as he did a little in the TPM one.

Go check it out!