Monthly Archives: April 2012

Jeff Grubb Interview – SWR #43

Welcome back to the Star Wars Report podcast!

This episode features an in-depth interview with author Jeff Grubb!

We talk about the process of writing a Star Wars book, lessons learned while playing in George Lucas’s sandbox, the different characters of Star Wars: Scourge, and Riley’s childhood passion… Attacktix. We’d like to thank Jeff for coming on!

We followed up on the George Lucas “selling out” story with our thoughts and your emails.

You can play in the maker’s driveway, but your tricycle may just get run over…

Enjoy!

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Keep it on the Rails! – SWBTF #17

Welcome back to Star Wars Beyond the Films!

This week’s discussion is about Star Wars publishing.

Is it better having a series written by one author, co-authored, or multiple authors?

Mark tries out a new recording room this week, and Nathan keeps outing himself this month.
What is you stance on the big series?
Has Del Rey dropped the ball? Did they go the wrong direction after the New Jedi Order? Mark explains why he feels the NJO was a success and that Del Rey needs to go back to a well thought out series.

Did Legacy of the Force not do well because the authors didn’t pick up each other’s stories? Did it leave the reader feeling disconnected? Nathan says the unthinkable… INTERCHANGABLE!?!!!
You hosts take a quick look at certain author’s trends. Lucenopedia, Zahn’s Thrawn/Mara, Karen’s Mando=centric, Stover- too deep to think and more. They mentioned Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Meh.

They focus on the FotJ series and the styles of each author. Does the post NJO suffer from a Denning thick direction? Or does this strengthen that end of the era having one author being the backbone of the plots?
They touch on closing stories. Bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, did Denning hit a homer? Or did he bunt? Fans seem to have varying opinions on this.

Nathan touches on the WARS series, the direction the writters take with that series, and how it plays out.

When authors pick up on elements from one story and use those in the next you feel like the story is connected. One author vs co authors argument is that they focus on whether a reader can tell when the author shifts during the story. Nathan explains the process of story writing in Star Wars when he wrote his Tales story.

Do co-authored books constantly evolve as a series is written? Do ideas generate as the writing team works? This could for some plots to be forgotten about as the story progresses.
Do authors different perceptions hurt the story? Some of the plots and story-lines seemed to be dropped in LotF when the authors would swap out from book to book.
Is it a failure to have a series with a villian not plotted out? Do the stories need more planning and a little thing called an exit strategy or not? Was Jacen Solo’s story sacrificed on the alter of publishing?

Is there more pay off in a larger series or a smalle one? Should authors spell things out? Should things be left so wide open that multiple answers can be seen? Though this could cause fan fights across fandom.
Should series be released closer together? Does the long gap between hardcovers HURT series?
NJO: One series? Or an Era set with standalones, duologies and trilogies?

This week’s topic makes both hosts want to pull their hair out.

Can multiple author trilogies work if each focuses on separate points of views? For instance one takes the Jedi, one takes the Sith, and another takes the Empire/Galactic Alliance. Could that work?
Mark rants his irritation with Del Rey’s choice to “not do large series” due to the last two, nine book series success ( or rather lack there of). He feels they made the wrong call, or drawn the wrong conclusion from the complaints about those series.
Plans for books, no matter how well planned, take the right author to bring them to life.
Is a solid plan, or a free flowing idea creating process better? Who’s to say?
Who green lights new changes that over rule older plot elements in the EU saga?
Quality control has no control these days, it would seem. Is this the plan?!
Mark hopes they avoid the villian of the week stragety, or place some bigger series in eras that are not well explored.
Did the fans who were vocal about disliking larger series scare Del Rey into giving up on what COULD be a winning strategy?
One off adventures that play into a larger story- this is ONE example of successful story planning.
Sometimes happy accidents happen when a character grows into a main element.
Should Del Rey start planning now for a EPIC large story come the 40th anniversary?
Does having a plan matter to you? Are fans divided on this?

Nathan calls out Zahn over the planning of Mara and Luke’s marriage all along.
J.I.N.O…. Mark is starting to understand that he’s Jacen In Name Only, a concept that drove him nuts, but now…. perhaps it’s more dead on then he originally figured.
“Derailment” it would seem is the biggest offender to most fans. Be it character, over all plot, what ever, keep it on the rails!

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Star Wars: Scourge Book Review

Star Wars: Scourge Book Review

Now for something completely different… 

Scourge, on bookshelves today, was written by Jeff Grubb.  This is his first Star Wars novel but he is not brand new to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, having previously written and contributed to a number of roleplaying guides and supplements.  Scourge is unique in the fact that it is a novelized version of the roleplaying game supplement Tempest Feud, making it the first Star Wars novel completely based on a story from the roleplaying game.

If you are a diehard roleplaying gamer who picked up Tempest Feud back in 2002 then you already know how the story goes.  For the rest of us here is the official synopsis.

In the heart of crime-ridden Hutt Space, a Jedi Scholar searches for justice. While trying to obtain the coordinates of a secretive, peril-packed, but potentially beneficial trade route, a novice Jedi is killed—and the motive for his murder remains shrouded in mystery. Now his former Master, Jedi archivist Mander Zuma, wants answers, even as he fights to erase doubts about his own abilities as a Jedi. What Mander gets is immersion into the perilous underworld of the Hutts as he struggles to stay one step ahead in a game of smugglers, killers, and crime lords bent on total control.

Scourge was a book I was really looking forward to reading for a number of reasons.  I loved the idea that the book was set in the New Republic era just before the Yuzhan Vong War.  I was looking forward to a novel that focused on brand new EU characters and not the main cast.  I love books about individual Jedi on an adventure like previous books I, Jedi and Crosscurrent.

Sometimes what you think you want isn’t really what you want.  As I was reading through this book I found myself longing for familiarity.  I was happy to have a book that did not focus on Luke Skywalker but I could have used a reference or two to him.  This book is the definition of a stand-alone novel.  Characters and locations that would be in play at this time (19ABY) are not even mentioned. If it wasn’t for a couple of throw away remarks about the Jedi Praxeum being on Yavin 4 and Tionne being Mander’s former Master, this book could really have been set in any era.  I kept looking for something to anchor me into the galaxy and I just couldn’t find it.

Mr. Grubb does introduce some cool new characters into the galaxy.  Mander Zuma was an interesting Jedi to read about because he lacked the confidence you would expect in a Jedi Master.  It was a refreshing take on a Jedi character.  His main companions in the book, the Pantoran female Reen Irana and the Bothan male Eddey Be’ray, were great additions to his team and I wanted to know more about all three of the characters.  The Hutt characters were also interesting and unique.  The one Hutt having an entourage of drunken Wookiees made me smile every time they showed up on page.

The book addresses serious issues like drug use but still stays very lighthearted.  There is no lack of humor and sarcasm and the author writes it well.  The characters are put in some ridiculous situations and they know it.  One particular scene our heroes are attacked by a “Hutt in shining armor” and one character says aloud exactly what was on my mind, “You have got to be kidding me.”  Situations like this were obviously not meant to be taken too seriously and I really enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek style.

The book really reads like a game. I don’t have much experience with roleplaying games, so I related it more with video games.  The characters go to a planet, solve a mystery, defeat a boss…repeat until you get to the big boss at the end.  Scourge was a fun adventure/mystery book.  It is not action packed.  The galaxy as a whole is not in peril.  There are no Skywalkers or Sith Lords.  It is just an entertaining story set in the Star Wars universe.

There were moments the book moved slowly but it picks up toward the end, and the ending is very satisfying.  There are also some twists that, if you are not paying attention, you may not see coming.  I liked this book.  If you want a book that breaks away from the norm and doesn’t rely on the movie and major EU characters, you may very well love it.

“Gon kodowin pumba mallin.”

Random Thoughts

Was Toro our first Pantoran Jedi?
I really want a portrait of Mander, Reen, and Eddey in the Essential Readers Companion.
The drug trade kept making me think about Breaking Bad.
Best Hutt death ever.
The Jedi Mind Trick is really explored in this book.
Lots of hand injuries in Star Wars novels lately.
Let the ship wars begin… Mander/Angela or Mander/Reen.
Not since Beldorion the Splendid

Here is where you can buy this book.

- Aaron Goins

 

Top 5 Sound Effects – TWL #15

Join Karl and Jason as they discuss their favorite sound effects from the Star Wars galaxy. From blaster bolts to lightsabers, from Wookie roars to labored breathing, your hosts from the Wampa’s Lair talk about the sounds from Star Wars which are like music to their ears. Be sure to tune in for a special treat at the end of the episode as well!!

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The Sell Out! – SWR #42

Welcome back to the Star Wars Report podcast!

This week, due to not being able to do the live show this week,  it’s just Riley. I talk about an article I read entitled

“Lucas the Sell Out!”

If there’s one phrase that gets paraded around more than any other about the creator of StarWars, the flannel-wearing, beard-sporting George Lucas, it’s that he’s a “sell out.” George Lucas equals sell out in many corners of the internet. A few years from now, if you look up the phrase “sell out” on wikipedia or somewhere, chances are a picture of the notorious GL will be there by way of simple explanation. The two are practically synonymous!

Or are they?

Give it a listen :)

Riley

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