Bookstooge & Star Wars: A Tragedy of Shakespearian Proportion

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Last month (or so) Ola and Pio from Re-Enchantment of the World, did a Nostalgia post on Star Wars.  If you haven’t read it and have any love of Star Wars, I highly recommend their post, it was fantastic! It also reminded me that I had been a big fan of Star Wars for a very long time.

I know that now whenever Star Wars is now mentioned I’m pretty negative about it. I don’t keep that a secret, whether it is about the books or new movies. But it wasn’t always that way.

I was born in the late 70’s and by the time Return of the Jedi had come out I was aware enough of Star Wars to know how awesome it was. Of course, that was mainly because a neighbor boy had almost all the toys.  But I became very well versed in the Star Wars lore based on those toys.  As time passed I watched the movies from the library, on vhs.  You might say I was as much a naive farm boy was Luke ever was.

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When the Special Edition vhs editions came out in ’97, I bought them and me and my siblings and some friends had a Star Wars party. I don’t remember what everyone dressed up as, but it was cool. We were pretty cool in fact and we loved Star Wars. Even now, when I don’t have a vhs player or anyway to watch these, I’m not giving them away. They have Memory Value to me, big time.

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After that, I began to devour the Star Wars Extended Universe books. The Thrawn Trilogy was my gateway, like for so many other people and it just went on from there. The EU was really expanding and a new Star Wars book would come out every couple of months it seemed like. Even with the bad ones I felt like I was swimming in gravy. When you’re 19, a year is a long time and anything from a niche cult classic was good.

I bought, played and beat the Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight video game on both Light and Dark paths.

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I bought the boxset of the audio tracks for the original trilogy too.

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Then the prequels came out. I can remember how EXCITED I was for Episode One.  I remember hearing someone say they didn’t think it was that great and I distinctly know the word “blasphemy” sped across my mind. I was convinced it was going to be so great.  On one of our field trips I saw the book in a bookshop and spent some of my very precious cash on it. I sat in the van the rest of the afternoon reading it instead of going on tours and seeing the Washington Monument and other such useless things. Star Wars was more important. Then I watched it with a group of guys at Bibleschool.  I enjoyed it immensely but deep down inside I realized exactly what that person who spoke blasphemy meant. It was not “Great” with a capital “G”.

But it didn’t matter because more and more books were coming out. Prequel books, Clone War era books, then the massive 21 books series collectively known as the New Jedi Order.  More and more and more books. The rest of the prequel movies came out as well and that was when everyone realized Lucas wasn’t the genius behind the original trilogy. We got lucky he didn’t direct them. But I still loved Star Wars.

Star Wars had moved from the Niche Cult Classic into the Main Stream and I was a fan. I watched Star Wars, I read Star Wars, I played Star Wars, I listened to Star Wars.

**STRONG AND PROFANE LANGUAGE. I APOLOGIZE AHEAD OF TIME**

Sadly, the prequels were the first small step onto my journey towards becoming a Non-Fan. When Lucas released the original trilogy on dvd for the first time, he fucked every fan in the ass with no lube, laughed at us and told us to shut the fuck up and ask for more. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please feel free to ask in the comments.

***END STRONG AND PROFANE LANGUAGE***

But the books kept on rolling out. The EU was growing. New characters were trying to emerge. Then the next big hit came. In 2014 the EU was declared Non-Canon. It was unceremoniously chucked out the window to make room for Disney, which Lucas had sold Star Wars to. Star Wars was now a common franchise whore. No longer a precious jewel to be cherished by her fans but a wildly successful money maker. George Lucas knew no shame and Disney never had any.

My hope, while just an ember, was still producing heat. The Force Awakens would surely redeem all these business decisions, right? Then I watched the movie and my final flame of hope flickered out.  Star Wars was now nothing but grey ash that greedy bullies had pissed all over.  A literal lifetime of fandom was dead. The only lesson I learned was to never become too invested in something you don’t control, because some jerk will eventually destroy it. Thus my Journey from Farmboy Jones to Darth Bookstooge was completed. (Man, I’m depressing myself here. Sorry about that.)

There is no happy ending for me here. The best I can do is to try to not rain on other peoples’ blogs when they go on about new Star Wars books and even then I know I’m not successful. See, I told you this was a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare.

 

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ps,

My apologies for dragging Ola and Pio’s wonderfully upbeat post into such a sad one.

♪How do you solve a problem ♪like♪ Star Wars♪? (Parto Seiso)

After the NJO, Jacen Solo, aka Darth Cadeus, becomes head of the Galactic Alliance and begins to secretly recruit Ben Skywalker as his apprentice. Ben is having none of it though. Cadeus openly reveals himself as Sith and begins to follow in his Grandfather’s footsteps. Jaina, as Sword of the Jedi, cuts him down like a two dollar box of cardboard. This is the Legacy of the Force.

Next up was Fate of the Jedi. Luke has withdrawn after his complete failure with Jacen and it is up to the other Jedi to keep the Academy running. Unfortunately, Jedi begin going mad on Coruscant and killing until brought down and sedated. Admiral Daala becomes head of the GA and outlaws the Jedi and institutes a hunt that makes Order 66 look like childs play.

Now if certain ideas sound familiar, that is because the new movies stole ideas left and right from the old EU books. Of course, they stole all the crap and produced crap films.  By the end of FotJ, I was done. When a whole planet of Sith was revealed, I just gave up.  Then Lucas Arts announced that the EU books were no longer canon and everything that I had been following was now just fan-fic. Stabbed in the back by Lucas himself.

 

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Traviss keeps her Mando story going. Interesting, until it was simply shut down. Bleh.

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Han and Leia have seen one child die and another turn to the darkside. Oh, and that darksider? He kills Mara, Luke’s wife. What a guy!

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Han and Leia now have to watch their daughter kill their son. How much misery does this poor couple have to endure?

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The Jedi go crazy and Luke and Ben try to figure out why

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Admiral Daala, former Imperial, is now in charge. And a planet of Sith are revealed.

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At this point I don’t remember the storyline, except that all the characters who were meant to carry the Star Wars Torch have fallen by the wayside. Bad writing, bad planning, bad ideas

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The last 3 Star Wars books I bought. Even as I bought them I knew they couldn’t save my interest. A drowning man’s final desperate grasp onto a sinking straw. In other words, doomed to failure.

 

So there you have it folks. 6 days of Star Wars covers. What am I supposed to do with them all? I simply don’t want them any more and worst case, I’ll throw them away. Second worst case is I donate them to a fundraiser my cousin’s stepson regularly participates in. Best case is I sell them for free on Craigslist and score some cash.

Well, whatever. I’m over my reading funk by sheer dint of being bored out of my skull.  Tomorrow I am going to read all day and make a Survival Saturday post. A good book by Adrian Tchaikovsky and some “interesting” food, sounds like a perfect way to spend my Saturday.

 

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♪How do you solve a problem ♪like♪ Star Wars♪? (Parto Fiveo)

In the deep depths of space, there is only war, continual war…

…..

Oh wait, wrong franchise.

Sadly, someone should have told that to the editors crafting the next series of Star Wars books. The New Jedi Order was 20+ books long and was nothing but the Star Wars Galaxy fighting off an alien invasion. It delved deeply into grim territory. Back in the Correllian Trilogy and other books, Luke and Mara had a son named Ben. Han and Leia had 3 kids, Jacen, Jain and Anakin. These series were meant to pass on the story torch to a new generation. Sadly, hardly one author could do so and the storylines after NJO became even more convoluted and outlandish. The Star Wars torch began to gutter out.

 

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The Yuuhzon Vong invade. They worship pain and are outside the Force

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Also, they are a complete culture of warriors. And Chewie dies.

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Jaina begins her training as Sword of the Jedi while Jacen begins flirting with the Dark Side

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Anakin sacrifices himself and Luke brings the Yuuzhon Vong into the Force

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Bugs and a wicked bad storyline

 

Folks, there was simply nothing good about these books. Redemption was swept aside and carnage, on a planetary scale, was the name of the game. Surely things will get better from here every fan asked…

 

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♪How do you solve a problem ♪like♪ Star Wars♪? (Parto Cuatroo)

These books show some of the best of the EU and some of the worst. Writers, while not quite having a blank check, did not have a lot of backstory to worry about or future story to worry about. It was a wide open range and they wrote with all the vigor of a herd of buffalos. Some of the writings smelled like a herd of buffalos had camped too. Win some and lose some I guess.

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We’re keeping the X-Wing books.

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Stackpole wrote well….

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…and Allston wrote funny

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One of these books wa a real stinker. Hint- it wasn’t the one where Han woos Leia…

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Anderson wrote a hack trilogy

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Before there was Mara Jade, there was Callista. She was supposed to be a love interest for Luke. Didn’t work out.

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Only a Star Wars Completist would read either of these!

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Thus the taming of Star Wars was complete

 

After these books, the Star Wars EU entered into real Franchise territory, with large storylines being plotted out by editors and multiple authors taking up the mantle. Honestly, the Powers that Be wanted Star Wars to be edgier, grittier and darker. I feel that these books here, no matter how badly written, still captured the spirit of hope and redemption that was showcased in the original movies. Prepare yourselves for dark times ahead.

 

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♪How do you solve a problem ♪like♪ Star Wars♪? (Parto Treso)

Ok, it is only Wednesday and I’ve already watched way more Youtube than I ever want to for the rest of my life. I feel like my brain has inhaled whole bottles of spray cheese.

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Poodles are to Dogs what Easy Cheese is to Cheese

Ughh. How do people DO this? I think I’m ready to read just about anything, even a romance! *shudder*

 

Ok, now we are moving on to books immediately surrounding the first movie trilogy, with Luke, Han and Leia taking centerstage, as they should.

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A treso of trilogies. Han Solo Adventures are WAY better than the Han Solo Trilogy

 

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The Han Solo Adventures in individual hardcovers. Written in 1979 and 1980. Awesome baby!

 

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Yoda was BLUE in the novelization. Weird huh?

 

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I call these the Miquels, as they take place in the Middle of the trilogy between the main events

 

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These “Tales” books were good, except for the Bounty Hunter Wars. That was bad.

 

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Quite possibly the worst Star Wars book I ever read.  Tied with The Crystal Star, which will be in another post

Alien reptiles in robot bodies that eat the Force. THAT is the quality of story you got in one of these books. I doubt you have to guess very hard which one. You can’t fake this folks, it really was written about and worked into the now defunct EU canon. This was the beginning of the Wild West Era of Star Wars. Luke smashed moons together, Han flew the galaxy. Leia, well, honestly, she didn’t do a whole lot yet. But don’t worry, her heyday is just around the corner.

 

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♪How do you solve a problem ♪like♪ Star Wars♪? (Parto Doso)

Since the last couple of reads I’ve had just plain stank, I’m taking a week long break from reading and posting reviews. I’m wasting my time on Youtube, so that I can feel ever so superior once I stop next week and posting book covers to keep my blog alive.

Self-Righteous Nihilism without apology. And anger. Because Star Wars used to be great (even if the stories were terrible, and let me tell you, some of them were B-A-D!!!!!) and now it’s drunk and puking in the gutters, begging for spare change from any passing stranger. Even Forgotten Realms has more dignity these days.

So hearken back with me to the glory days when we all thought Star Wars could be great again.

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Traviss could write, but man, did she hate the very idea of the Jedi and she let that hatred shine on through in her writing

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Half of these books were pretty good and the other half really stank

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The novelization of the Revenge of the Sith was probably one of the best Star Wars books I have ever read. If the movie had been half as good, it would have been the best Star Wars movie anyone had ever seen

 

And this brings us up to the Infamous Episode 3.  That movie was a dagger in the heart of a lot of fans. Not the story necessarily, but the poor acting, poor writing and poor directing. Lucas is squarely to blame.  It took a lot of “I love Star Wars” for me to buy some of these back in the day.

 

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♪How do you solve a problem ♪like♪ Star Wars♪? (Parto Uno)

What with having 4 books in a row just be beyond stinkers, I’m taking a break from reading for a week.

I used to be a huge star wars fan. But that fandom began its death back in ’12 or so and its death throes happened when I watched The Force Awakens. I had been collecting Star Wars books ever since the 90’s though and continued to buy them in hardcover from the Science Fiction Book Club up until I bought  Kenobi near the end of ’13.  I have accumulated a lot of Star Wars novels, with most of them being in hardcover. They take up 3 shelves, double stacked, on one of my book shelves and honestly, it is time for them to go. Mrs B wants to keep the X-Wing books as they are just good adventure stories, star wars or no star wars.

I don’t know what to do with them all now. So before I make any decisions, I’m just going to do a couple of posts showcasing them all so if I ever feel regret once they’re gone, I can simply look at these posts and be all good.

 

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From the very failed Old Republic video game novel tie-ins

 

 

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Darth Bane Trilogy

 

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Prequels leading up to Episode One aka The Phantom Menace

 

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All 4 variant covers for Episode One.

 

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Prequels leading up to Episode Two, aka Attack of the Clones

 

 

 

I’ve tried to group my books together by Era, which seems the best way. I believe it is all chronological, but with them no longer being canon, who knows.  14 books, with about 90+ more to go. Hope you all like Star Wars covers 😉

 

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