Author Topic: Heir To The Empire series...  (Read 1272 times)

Offline LandotheScoundrel

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Heir To The Empire series...
« on: October 13, 2004, 03:10 PM »
I read Heir To The Empire and Dark Force Rising back when they were first released (early nineties?), but I never got around to reading The Last Command. I recently dusted off my copy of Heir To The Empire and burned through it. Now I'm about 1/4 of the way through Dark Force Rising, and I even ventured off to the bookstore to pick up The Last Command. I have to say that I'm enjoying these books.

I've read a bit of the EU stuff, and to be honest, alot of it makes my stomach turn. IG-88 in the Death Star 2? Boba Fett as Dengar's best man? Xizor responsible for the Owen and Beru's deaths? Borg-like aliens trying to take over the galaxy? Ughhh. I've read alot of the comics, and I generally like them. Some of them I don't like, but for the most part, they're pretty cool.

What I like about the Thrawn trilogy (I think its referred to as that?) is that these books are built off the movies themselves. My problem with alot of the newer EU, is that its built off stories that are kind of poor to begin with. This makes them a bit too convuluted for my taste.

Anyways, my question is to all you guys who are very familiar with the EU material. I noticed there's a couple books at the store which seemed to take place directly after these. I think they were Specter of the Past and Vision of the Future. Are these a 2-part series? Would someone who doesn't like to dive too deeply into the EU enjoy these?

Also, I'd like to hear what the rest of you have to say about these books.
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Offline Muftak

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Re: Heir To The Empire series...
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2004, 04:58 PM »
Yeah, the Thrawn trilogy is pretty good. A great start to the EU, which unfortunatley hasn't lived up to their promise.

The Hand of Thrawn series (Specter of the Past and Vision of the Future) pick up ten years after the events of Last Command. Nevertheless, it revolves solely around all the main characters of the earlier Thrawn books (including Zahn's creations as well as the OT folks) with the notable exception of Corran Horn and Booster Terrik from the X-Wing books (which I'll also recommend highly). It even takes the trouble to explain away some of the cheesiness of the interim books.

I re-read the five Zahn books earlier this year straight through, and I have to say it makes for  a pretty decent arc, easy enough to follow and kind of picking up threads right where they were dropped. The last two don't have the urgency of the first three, but as I understand it they were conceived as "the end" of the novels (they were Bantam's last, and it was thought entirely possible at the time that the Del Rey novels would shift focus to Prequel territory completely.)

Offline CorranHorn

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Re: Heir To The Empire series...
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2004, 09:29 PM »
The Zahn books are the best of the best when it comes to EU. They give a detailed yet realistic look at characters, worlds, and situations in the Star Wars galaxy, something only matched by the X-Wing saga of books from Michael Stackpole and Aaron Alliston. Those books I would highly recommend, even the NJO series can be a good read if you get past the first book and ignore the Borg-like qualities of assimilation from the Yuuzhan Vong.

Books to avoid though are the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy which you referenced a lot of stuff from, it's full of tripe and must have been written at a time when everyone at LFL was gearing up for Episode 1, thats the only reason I can venture to guess as to how it ever got released.

As a word of advice to people who start reading the EU. There are various levels of the EU, from the campy to the serious, to the just horrendously bad. When trying to decide what could have happened in the SW universe, go with what you enjoyed. In my own personal version of the SW Universe, several of the Marvel Comics tales did occur, despite the fact that they are not officially a part of the Star Wars Universe (basically any EU from the 90's is "official"), while the Bounty Hunter Wars has been chucked out the nearest airlock.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Heir To The Empire series...
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2004, 03:58 AM »
I'd say the Thrawn Trilogy is the single novel set that sets a bar that's difficult for any EU to attain or surpass.

Even what some don't like, I actually enjoyed pretty much...  The ending was a tad anti-climactic for me in the aspect of C'Boath and Luuke, but the battle was great...

Zahn set up incredible characters, species, and utilized ALL original characters with a skill that made you envision them like they were right there on the silver screen.  I could really visualize Chewie talking to Han even...  Again, Zahn's been the ONLY author with any skill enough to utilize Chewbacca in text as well as Lucas utilized him on film.  That's a credit to Zahn considering the rest of the hack writers couldn't manage it so they offed the character. 

Chewie's highlight is his defense of Leia against the NOghri assassination attempt, I believe.  Very good.

That said, Zahn actually put his mind to work, created a military genius as the legitimate threat to the fragile New Republic, and he explained away 14 years of warfare's wearing on the once mighty Empire...  He used a lot of military strategy along with his story, and no super weapons, super aliens, or cosmic mysteries...

You can't beat storytelling like that.  The military stories often are the most "believable" then, in my opinion... 

From the accompanying story to Force Commander, X-Wing, TIE Fighter, XW: Alliance, or Dark Forces/JK (with its more centralized story)...  to the X-Wing series of novels and comics...  They're some of the superior writing overall in any EU.

In my opinion, poor EU outweighs the good more often than not...  The good thing about EU is it's a free-for-all as to what you pick and choose as "Real Star Wars" for your enjoyment.  No forced canon of this stuff, it's all debateable if it isn't in the films.

I personally pick through things then...  With the NJO I like select aspects, such as the re-establishment of the Jedi Order under Luke's command...  and I like how it isn't in line iwth the prequals really.  Luke's trying new rules and things (even if it's only because the prequals are only being made now).

At the same time, while I like things in NJO I truly despise others...  hack writing tricks like offing a "main" character for the sake of new readership, outright copying (not even masking it well) aspects of Star Trek villains that are popular, etc... 

So I pick through things I like when I'm thinking about EU, or thinking of inspiration for something I want to work on in customizing or something along those lines...  It's all ok then once I pick it apart.

That said, here's my top EU hates:

-Super weapons...  There's too many biological, chemcial, scientific, military weapon, doomsday devices...  The World Devastators in Dark Empire 2 (I think) were the start... 

-Super beings/villains...  The Vong are up there, but Xixor comes in there too.  I HATE that someone would even CONSIDER Xixor as plausible given the storyline of Vader and the Emperor...  I just hate the thoughts that the EMperor woudl drop Vader for anyone but Luke.  There's other crappy villains too, but Xixor really is up there.

-Everyone must tie to everyone else...  I hate this.

Every character in the Cantina's a violent felon, or after someone, or doing something they shouldn't...  Nobody was just there for a drink on their way elsewhere.

Or, for instance, everyone knows everyone...  Dengar's out for Han because Han wrecked him in a race or some **** like that...  STUPID!  Could it be that Dengar's just a GOOD hunter who is trying to capture a hefty bounty!?  Does it have to tie together?

OR......  Just outright blatant stupidity...  IG-88 in the DS2 anyone? 

-Films Contradicted...  Fett lives on (And god knows his further stories are horrid...  Dengar's his best man?  Where's my F'n gun!?), guys on the Sailbarge all seem to live, Ponda Baba and Evazan live, etc...

Just silliness for the sake of making a sale.  No integrity in the story writing, no attempt at legitimately writing something new and interesting... 

Just stupid to me.  And unfortunately all these problems are plagues in the EU overall...  Really, C'Boath and Luuke were veiled "Super villains" too.  I didn't mind them...  I tried viewing them as actually minor threats compared to how they were written...  That, compared to Vader or Palpay, neither of these was a real challenge for Luke.  At the same time, I can see it wasn't Zahn's shining moment.
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