Questions About Reading, 18

Executive decision time! I’m now posting two questions per week. And this week’s couldn’t have been better timed! While I don’t even observe May 4, I can’t pass up this sort of timing! Plus I don’t want to wait.

  • What is your favorite book series?

My head is buzzing Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars right now. Though I’ve never really thought of it as a series, I guess it is! And, you’ve got it: it’s my favorite book series. Buckle in and I’ll tell you why it’s so timely.

And, yes, I made this post 1138 words on purpose.

Just before the end of April, Del Rey announced they were starting over: the canon of books we’ve had since 1991 were being summarily dismissed and replaced by a “new canon” of Star Wars books. The internet went insane.

Somehow, everybody seems to have missed the fact that “Episode VII” (properly Reboot I) was going to erase the books we’d been reading for almost 40 years. Somehow people had the impression that 1) pulp novels from 1991 were going to make viable scripts; 2) a 63-year-old Luke Skywalker could be the NJO action hero of the early 2000s; 3) a Mara Jade in her 60s was somehow going to work. (Seriously, am I the only one aware of how old these people are?)

geriatricwars

So the shock and betrayal that I’ve been suffering for a year and a half finally caught up with everybody else and, in a strange way, filled me with intense hope. Hope that the Star Wars community would finally be able to see the truth of what I’ve been saying all along — first, that Disney-backed movies are a nightmare to any real Star Warrior, and second, that real Star Wars canon has to be the product of an individualized, personal choice. To that end, I revamped my Star Wars reference blog completely and have started a new movement, #realcanon, all about supporting the last Star Wars canon established before Darth Disney took it over. Find out all about it at The RebeLibrarianrealcanon, solidarity, and more!

All the good stuff!

Okay, I’m off the soap box and prepared to talk about why Star Wars is my favorite series. As you should well know by now, I first saw Star Wars on February 12, 1997, atย  age 11ยฝ. It was about eight months later, sometime in November, that I read my first novel. I was at a homeschool workday at Marmon Valley Farm, a local horse ranch that conned homeschoolers into doing 16 hours of free, fairly intense labor in exchange for cheap, flavorless food and a bunk in a drafty old house. (Seriously, we spent two days cleaning stalls, polishing saddles, and clearing rocks out of a field, and didn’t even get to ride or even see horses for our trouble.) The only good part was that as we were getting ready for bed, I saw a girl I knew from acting class reading Assault on Selonia. And because I wasn’t shy yet, I bounced over and said, “Is that a Star Wars book? Oh, my gosh, I love Star Wars.” We spent the majority of the night each reading a chapter before passing book and flashlight back and forth.

Then I used to polish the stacks at our local library looking for anything stamped Star Wars — the Corellian trilogy (set 14 years after ROTJ) was a poor one to start with but that didn’t much matter. It was followed by the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Truce at Bakura, the Han Solo Trilogy — actually, I didn’t get around to Timothy Zahn for quite awhile. I used to devour these things like mad.

Even now, I realized as I started re-reading some favorites in order to review for RebeLibrarian, most of these books hold up. Once I felt free to declare canon or not canon on various books, I grew even more comfortable with the series. To date, I own some 200 Star Wars books, not just including realcanon but also early books (like Splinter of the Minds Eye and the Brian Daley Han Solo books), comics (like Stan Lee’s ROTJ adaptation and Dark Empire), nonfiction books about Star Wars (compendiums, how it was made, screenplays), and Star Wars research books (like visual dictionaries and cross-sections). Many books I own several times over — like paperback, hardback, omnibus, and book club editions of the OT novelizations, or hardback/paperback and varying covers of the prequel novelizations (four for Episode I, two for Episode II). I even have Terry Brooks’ The Phantom Menace translated into German. I’ve drafted three novels of my own — Legacy of Palpatine, Twilight Jedi, Tremors in the Force — and written about 1/3 of a concordance of every word spoken in the films. Also, I have a project called Real Star Wars in which I write the films into one complete novel about the rise and fall of Vader.

These pictures are out of date and only represent about a half or maybe 2/3rds of my present collection. I’d give you fresh new pics, but everything I own is in storage . . .

I love Star Wars so much that every time I’m in a HPB, I just want to buy up the books regardless of whether I already own them. Sure, sometimes the writing is a bit campy, but I’ll tell you something: nothing on this earth smells so good as a mid-90s Bantam paperback. It’s intoxicating. I could smell them forever.

My status as an expert on Star Wars EU comes from my reading and re-reading these intently. Although I like Mara Jade — and was pretty flattered when a kid in youth group decided my Star Wars nickname was Mara Jade — I’ve never wanted her and Luke to end up together. My favorite relationship is Wedge Antilles and Qwi Xux. I, Jedi is one of my absolute favorite books, but out of the whole series, K.W. Jeter’s The Bounty Hunter Wars Trilogy is by far the best. A.C. Crispin’s Han Solo Trilogy, especially The Hutt Gambit, definitely falls in my top 5. And Dark Apprentice, my first favorite, still has some right to precedence. (Check RebeLibrarian tomorrow ’cause I’m writing a review of it then!)

These books will always be Star Wars to me. The authors of my adolescence — Timothy Zahn, Kevin J. Anderson, Michael A. Stackpole, Kathy Tyres, K.W. Jeter — they will always be the voice of Star Wars. Nothing Disney does will ever change that. If Star Wars is my best friend, then these books are my best friend’s children, and you better believe, I’ll knock somebody flat for insulting them. Or for suggesting I should or even can replace them with shiny new ones.

4 thoughts on “Questions About Reading, 18

  1. Impressive, most impressive. By the way – 1138 words?!?!?! You are A. W. E. S. O. M. E.

    I’m actually excited about Disney and Star Wars. If the first one goes well, then hurray! But if it goes poorly, you can say to me, “I told you so.”

    I, too, don’t know why people were so surprised about the EU Legends announcement. Seriously? I’ve probably read 30% of the books you read. But judging on my calculations, you have two years on me, so I’ll blame it on that (not on the fact that I gave up on the EU 12 years ago).

    I also am not in the camp that these books will disappear. I think they will stand the test of time and in 50 years, they will be precious to hardcore fans.

    I love looking at those photos and thinking, “I have that one! I have that one too!”

    Oh, and now i want to build a bookshelf above the door frame. GENIUS.

    • ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks. My new emphasis is all about the Star Wars fandom being about picking and choosing, mixing and matching. I spent probably 12 years, or whenever New Jedi Order came out, being exclusive, shutting things out, discounting this that or the other, but now I’m more on “you like what you like, I like what I like, as long as we respect that, we can have a good time ’cause Star Wars is awesome.”

      I’m still grim about Darth Disney because 1) I’ve hated them since I was a tiny child, and 2) I can’t abide anything JJ Abrams has ever done (except he was the executive producer of Regarding Henry, but I don’t think that is in the reboot’s favor). I’ve also seen the precedent that many Star Wars fans only want to anticipate films and can’t abide them once they come out. And I’m a little wounded that this stuff has put the 3D on indefinite pause, and I was so excited about that.

      • I do agree with the fact that Star Wars fans do love getting excited…and then criticizing. It’s a shame. My personality is not really like that, in general, but my good friend (Mr. Reticent, who I’ve mentioned on my blog before) is exactly like that. He never likes a movie. He’ll get really excited, and inevitably will be disappointed. It’s a silly way to live, and I tell him that.

        BUT…I love Disney! I love everything Disney! Well, actually, I didn’t like Atlantis. But a lot of my favorite childhood memories involve Disney. How did you feel about The Avengers? A lot of skeptics actually really liked the Avengers, so I’m kind of leaning on that in terms of questionable-Disney-actions-that-made-people-happy.

        As for J.J., I’m not an avid follower of his, but I did enjoy the Star Trek reboots. The first more than the second, but I thought both were good.

        • I’ve actually never watched The Avengers without the Rifftrax (<a href="http://www.rifftrax.com/riff/avengers"Avengers Rifftrax) — and with the riffs I consider it a 5-star film, but I’ve never wanted to see it without ๐Ÿ™‚

          I was having a conversation the other day where the other person told me, “If Joss Whedon was directing it, you’d feel differently!” And I laughed and agreed for the sake of politeness, but the truth is, I’ve always loved Star Wars too much to go beyond the boundary of “the series ends 20 years after Return of the Jedi.” I never cared to know what happened to them after that, because “the end” is the most important part of any book to me. That’s just me. I like endings. “The New Jedi Order” never tempted me, and this movie won’t, either. I especially never wanted to see geriatric, pushing-80 Han Solo spouting the same catchphrases…. Even if it turns out to be the most cinematically-acclaimed film since Citizen Kane, which I doubt, I just won’t ever be interested.

          Plus I find that for me, Abrams has zero re-watch value. The first time I watched Star Trek, I was like, “I guess it wasn’t totally horrible.” The second time was with the Riffs and I thought, “Eh, that movie was a lot worse than I thought.” I watched it a third time and went, “Oh, my, I can’t even finish this.” The same thing happened with Fringe; I really loved it the first time through because I’m an X-Phile, but when I tried to give it a re-watch, I was bored to tears. Now I don’t even know or care if it’s still on the air or having a finale or what.

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