Off-topic sci-fi. Star Wars EU novels.

by e_e_evans PhD student

Off topic post about Star Wars, just ‘cos.

It took me longer than I planned but I’ve finally finished the Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi saga.

In a way, I wish I’d finished it before Disney bought the rights to Star Wars because there’s a very real possibility that there will never be another Expanded Universe Star Wars novel again. It’s great that Disney is going to be publishing “in-universe” novels but, well, it’s just not the same. Speaking personally I’ve enjoyed the EU novels I’ve read, even the ones that contradict the later films e.g. The Thrawn Trilogy, even the ones that dragged on (Tatootine Ghost I’m looking at you), even the ones where I wasn’t quite sure what the heck was going on and why I should care (Planet of Twilight springs to mind, seriously, giant, evolved plague-spreading beetle? Something about Luke’s former girlfriend that I don’t quite known what was going on there… anyway, I digress).

Many, would, and have, dismissed the Expanded Universe as published fan fiction somewhat approved by Lucas Film. Speaking as a long time reader (and, for my sins, writer) of fan fiction the EU is not, NOT, N-O-T, not comparable to the likes of Fifty Shades of Twilight, I mean, Grey. Here’s why:

If you switched around the names, set the stories in another time or place, called the Force something else many of the books would be pretty good, and inventive to boot, fantasy novels.
Or, if you explained the Force through technology or human advancement (Homo Superior stylee) you could have some pretty interesting Sci-Fi.
Why? Because of the characters. Here’s one example.

Han Solo, besides the obvious being-played-by-Harrison-Ford reason, is one of my all time favourite fictional characters. Why? He’s a character with character. He’s a product of his life experiences. Cynical because he’s lost friends and family, cocksure because he’s survived enough times to die another day, loyal and caring because he knows how valuable the people he has left are, witty, cunning, decisive. He’s not a cypher or a Mary Sue or a blank slate, sure, everyone secretly wants to be with or be him cos actually we usually feel like Luke Skywalker most of the time not Han Solo.

Now to circle back to Fate of the Jedi. Non-fans of the EU would find it hard to get into. There’s layers upon layers of back story and several locations sometimes feel a bit like “hay, remember this place folks?! Great because it’s actually really important right now.” But once you get to know your Jaden Karrs from you Jaina Solos and your Kessels from you Nam Chorios’ there’s a flipping good story to be had. One involving Sith Meritocracies, mind bending demigod-like creatures, a father-son quest to find out the truth behind the cause of a Civil war, a gripping courtroom drama, philosophical musings on the nature of life, oh, and lightsabres, lots and lot of lightsabres.

And now I’m finished all that, in the knowledge that I’ve one book left chronologically (Crucible by Troy Denning), I should be satisfied with the ending of the last Fate of the Jedi book, Apocalypse, but I’m not. The ending of the main conflict is resolved and their is a happy ending or sorts but so much has now been left hanging I’m rather upset. There are characters who’s story arcs aren’t finished, a new quest that’s only just begun, a Jedi trapped on a distant planet, the looming threat of another fight and the very real possibility things might not be as final as they seemed. Gah!

In other news I’ve finished my lit review and Star Wars has been the thing keeping me somewhat sane I think.

Next blog post:
not Star Wars related. Possibly posting stuff I meant to write two weeks ago but had a lit review to write, etc, etc.

E

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