56 thoughts on “Open thread: Ask Dunc anything

  1. Mark Newbold

    Hey there Dunc, good idea to get a chat going, sure is a slow news day.
    Ok, you’ve been online since the mid 90′s and you’ve seen a LOT of stuff over the years. In no particular order in fandom, what were the biggest:

    Shock moments
    Meh moments
    Great moments

  2. Nanci

    I think it ate my comment.

    Anyway, my comment was: what are your uncensored feelings about shipping in general, and any specific Star Wars ships you wish to rant about?

    And a new one –

    What SWEU novels would you most like to read?

  3. eliz

    Fett – I’d go Mace Windu and take his head off. I would have been alright with him surviving the Sarlaac pit if it weren’t for the Mando leading and carbon frozen wife and a granddaughter of the later books. Just seemed to cheapen him and Jango Fett.

    Empire, Luke watching the sunset, way too hard to pick, I’ll go with Liam – love QGJ! He was as fitting into the role as Alec was in ANH.

  4. Dunc Post author

    Lane: Honestly, I’m okay with putting Fett on a bus. I recall back after Planet of Twilight when it seemed like half the Mara fans were all ‘WHY IS CALLISTA NOT DEAD?!?’ and I was just ‘Ehh, she’s gone. Good enough for me.’ (Though, in retrospect, Hambly probably should have killed her off. In CotJ, not PoT.)

    Matthew: ESB (duh,) Moment… IDK. Book? Oh, jeez. Thrawn tril? Mindor? I’m not good at picking favorites and listing things and stuff. Only person in fandom not wired for it, apparently.

    I follow SO MANY SITES. It isn’t even funny. I had 100+ when I moved to Google Reader and I have no idea how many it is now. Most of them are geek news and pop culture oriented, beyond Star Wars to publishing, SF/F and more. But here are a few: Vulture, The Awl / Hairpin, Tom & Lorenzo (I live for their Mad Style series,) Scalzi’s Whatever, Tor… That’s a very, very small fraction.

  5. Dunc Post author

    Mark: Ho boy.

    Shock: MsScribe. That shit was whack. Also, if you want SW, Lori Jareo. And any time the ‘professionals’ go off on fans.

    Meh: Too many to count. Probably most things shipping-related. I thought a lot of the reaction to Mara’s death was beyond ridiculous.

    Great: Also probably too many to count. So many JadeCons. Every Celebration but the last one.

  6. Dunc Post author

    Austin: How did we get to the point of having novels about Hutts?

    I know, right?

    eliz What’s your advice on Celebration? What’s your reasons for going or recommending anyone else go?

    I actually plan on writing a post about advice at some point, so I will abstain for now.

    But WHY to go? To hang out with folks, primarily. I’m not sure I’d rec it to everyone, particularly if it’s as TCW-heavy as it was last time. But I think it’s worth a try.

    Nanci: What are your uncensored feelings about shipping in general, and any specific Star Wars ships you wish to rant about?

    Oh, god. I am SO OVER shipping. I hate how it dominates SO MANY fandoms. I hate that shippers think that their ship is the be-all and end-all of any work. (Ahem, HP, ATLA.) I hate the stupid ship wars, and yes, I say that as someone who technically ‘won’ one. Guess what? It didn’t improve anything.

    Are there any ships in play at the moment? IDK. To play on what I said in the last comment, L/M shippers who decided that Mara’s death killed the ship for them? YOU GUYS ALMOST NEVER WROTE CANON-COMPLIANT ANYWAY. Ugh, ridiculous.

    Nanci: What SWEU novels would you most like to read?

    Standalones. Starring characters I actually give a shit about. Or, hell, existing characters that could use some fleshing out. But not new folks, because that’s what I have other books for. I’m in SW for the characters.

  7. DarthPahl

    When and how did you discover online fandom? Fan fic? Going back to the 90s when we were all still newbies on the AOL Boards, did you ever reflect on how the anonymity of online forums equalized contributors — (I still remember the shock of whoa, wait, Dunc is in high school?!! No way!.) Any reflections on how we were once so paranoid of copyright problems in emerging Internet platforms vs. today when content owners host and promote fan-created works?

  8. Austin

    Restaurant choice for CVI fansite dinner (EUC peeps are going to organize it) – Red Lobster, Denny’s, or McDonalds? (Only things I can find within walking distance of the OCCC.)

  9. Mark Newbold

    CANON-COMPLIANT – Like that phrase, that describes what I’ve been trying to do with my own fan fic stuff since 1982. In fact, I really should drop you some links so you can see how much nonsense I’ve written in the last 30 years…
    And Austins restaurant idea, I like that. VERY keen to at least say hi to many of you good people. Long way for me to travel from the UK, so wantt o make sure I get chance to meet and greet as many peeps as I can.

  10. Nanci

    Here’s an easy one, but I don’t think I know the answer (beside the obvious): Who are your favorite Star Wars characters?

  11. Nanci

    “To play on what I said in the last comment, L/M shippers who decided that Mara’s death killed the ship for them? YOU GUYS ALMOST NEVER WROTE CANON-COMPLIANT ANYWAY. ”

    Amen. I came into fanfic very late and missed a lot of good authors. Now they’re gone and I’m like, noooo, come back! Write stuff! Read my stuff! *cry* But I’m the opposite – I started writing fic because Mara was dead.

  12. Dunc Post author

    DarthPahl: When and how did you discover online fandom? Fan fic?

    AOL, baby. One of the first things I found during our ‘free trial’ was the SW Fan Forum there are it was my first ‘MY PEOPLE’ moment. I mean, before that, the only people I knew who read SW novels were my parents. My friends liked SW, (I seriously hung out with a dude who called himself ‘Fett,’ believe it or not,) but I was the only one who really read the books and cared about what happened AFTER the movies. So to find people who not only read them but cared about the same things I did… IT WAS AMAZING.

    I discovered fanfic through AOL, naturally. Even though discussion of it was technically banned… There was a burgeoning discussion of the badfic-that-I-will-not-name. (You know the one.) And I was curious. But the file was corrupted and I ended up reading something else. THANK GOD.

    Going back to the 90s when we were all still newbies on the AOL Boards, did you ever reflect on how the anonymity of online forums equalized contributors — (I still remember the shock of whoa, wait, Dunc is in high school?!! No way!.)

    Dude, I was shocked you guys were shocked. ;) But, you know, I was more interested in the discussion and the common ground we shared.

    Any reflections on how we were once so paranoid of copyright problems in emerging Internet platforms vs. today when content owners host and promote fan-created works?

    Honestly, I’m not sure I was ever as paranoid as some… I mean, I understood it, but it wasn’t something that I stayed up nights worrying about or anything.

    Austin: Restaurant choice for CVI fansite dinner (EUC peeps are going to organize it) – Red Lobster, Denny’s, or McDonalds? (Only things I can find within walking distance of the OCCC.)

    Ehh. I’m not really a seafood fan? But I can deal with any of them.

    Nanci: Here’s an easy one, but I don’t think I know the answer (beside the obvious): Who are your favorite Star Wars characters?

    The obvious… Hmm… ::looks at masthead::

    You know, I kind of hem and haw about Luke being my favorite character: It’s more that I find what he has to do very interesting. But if we’re just playing favorites: I freaking love Artoo.

    Also: should I use my fancy CR-V to provide shuttle service at CVI and charge exorbitant rates?

    Do I get a discount?

    Mark: I don’t think what you write is really my thing. Sorry.

  13. Mark Newbold

    Mark: I don’t think what you write is really my thing. Sorry

    No need to apologise, it’s a broad church which Is why I think so many people enjoy playing here.

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  15. Dunc Post author

    Mark: I’m always super uncomfortable with people asking me to read their fics, because this stuff CAN be so specific. Plus, I can be Mean. My first site was actually fanfic reviews, and I went over the line at times.

  16. Dunc Post author

    Mark: What site was that? Didn’t know there was a fanfic review site, would be interested to find that on the wayback machine and have a look.

    It was called A Certain Point Of View and it was AGES ago. (There’s a site out there w/ the same name now… Needless to say I have nothing to do with it.) I wrote about it on Formspring a while back. And yes, it was AGES ago: It died when I was in college, before the PT.

    And no, I won’t give you the URL(s.) Some things should stay buried.

  17. Eric

    If you could go and make one sweeping editorial change to the Baantam era Star Wars books and one to the Del Rey (other than the Obvious keep Mara from dying like a fool) what would they be?

  18. Nanci

    Do people in “real life” know about your fandom proclivities?

    SWEU authors who should have a blank contract to write whatever they want?

    Do you still read fanfic regularly? What types of stories do you like?

  19. Dunc Post author

    Eric: If you could go and make one sweeping editorial change to the Baantam era Star Wars books and one to the Del Rey (other than the Obvious keep Mara from dying like a fool) what would they be?

    Honestly? I’d throw everything published after The Last Command into the scrap bin and start fresh. I’m not saying that everything after that point is bad, but so much of it is that it effects everything else.

    Or, at the bare minimum, I’d make Del Rey start from scratch. No NJO, no LOTF, no FOTJ.

  20. Mark Newbold

    I remember reading that when Zahn wrote HTTE, pretty much all he had were the films scripts, the novels and the West End Games material, some of which was incredibly shonky. Don’t you feel that the quality of the book comes down to the author? Zahn was practically starting afresh, as was Brian Daley with the Solo trilogy – surely that’s an advantage, as opposed to 3 days story meetings, plotting out end results of plots years in advance.

  21. Dunc Post author

    Nanci: Do people in “real life” know about your fandom proclivities?

    Yes. I don’t make a huge issue of it, but they know I run a blog.

    SWEU authors who should have a blank contract to write whatever they want?

    Allston! I’d be tempted to say Zahn but his Thrawn fascination really does nothing for me.

    Do you still read fanfic regularly? What types of stories do you like?

    Sometimes? It depends what’s going on. You know I like AU stuff like Son of Suns, but blank’s current one isn’t really doing much for me because the Luke is so removed from the one in the movies that he’s practically a whole new character. So there are limits.

    Though, like with the books, I’m not really interested in anyone’s original characters.

  22. Nancy

    To add to your Celebration post perhaps: What is your wish list for Celebration 6 so that it’s a better experience for you than the last one?

    Do you decorate your home and/or office area with SW?

  23. Dunc Post author

    Mark: Zahn was practically starting afresh, as was Brian Daley with the Solo trilogy – surely that’s an advantage, as opposed to 3 days story meetings, plotting out end results of plots years in advance.

    Oh, totally. And while early Bantam had a lot of fumbles, I think they did one thing right by sticking to a smaller scale and smaller casts. Where stuff like NJO and FOTJ starts to lose me with the cast-of-thousands-trying-to-please-everyone approach. (Shoehorning Fett into LOTF, for instance – just give him a standalone, FFS.) And trying to ape the prequels midstream instead of embracing post-ROTJ as it’s own thing… We can ignore Crystal Star. We can’t ignore the NJO or FOTJ, because they’re huge chunks of the timelime.

  24. Mark Newbold

    Well there’s another question then. Given your distaste for a lot of what came post TLC, do you prefer Alternate Universe Star Wars fan fic to stuff that stays in-continuity?

  25. Dunc Post author

    Nancy: What is your wish list for Celebration 6 so that it’s a better experience for you than the last one?

    More EU stuff. And I don’t just mean authors and announcements, but discussions and things… I want an actual TRACK covering all sorts of stuff, like the Collectors have.

    Do you decorate your home and/or office area with SW?

    I have some SW stuff at work, but I don’t embrace actually decorating with SW at all. First of all, I’m not a collector… And secondly, I don’t really want to live in some kind of fan museum. A couple pieces here and there, but nothing overwhelming.

  26. Dunc Post author

    Mark: Given your distaste for a lot of what came post TLC, do you prefer Alternate Universe Star Wars fan fic to stuff that stays in-continuity?

    I think it can go both ways, but I think there are far more ways to go in an AU. (Particularly with Mara, well, dead.) Plus, it seems a LOT of fans still have this lingering bitterness over the death and sometimes they let that infect their fics, but you get that in everything. (I remember one AU that basically ended ‘they all lived happily ever after AND THAT’S HOW IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE PROFIC.’ JFC, get a room for your whine.)

    Also, if you really want to cheese me off, mention the Vong in an otherwise AU fic. There’s one very well regarded L/M fic that lost me by throwing in an implicit mention of that in at the end. I didn’t mind the subtle hinting at it, but to go and SAY it… If it had been a book I’d have thrown it across the room.

  27. Nanci

    What do you think about the idea of Luke going dark in canon?

    (Also, I know exactly what fics you’re talking about. Lol. And I just did that (with the Vong) – ooops! LOL.)

  28. Dunc Post author

    Nanci: What do you think about the idea of Luke going dark in canon?

    Dark Empire should never have been canon. (Or ‘canon,’ whatever, I’m not going to argue that crap.) They should have invented Infinities for it.

    That said, I think it could have worked if they’d actually integrated it into the books that followed AT THE TIME, instead of just throwing some mentions and construction droids into JAT.

    I mean, yeah, there have been retcons NOW, but at the time? NO, Luke just-back-from-a-Dark-Side-safari shouldn’t have started a Jedi Academy. In case anyone thinks Del Rey invented ‘lolz governments are dumb’ in the GFFA.

    Also, I don’t know if people now realize JUST how confusing those mentions were for those of us reading at the time. This was a few years before graphic novels were in every bookstore in the country, so many of us had never even heard of DE before JAT.

    Mark: Wow, it really IS a slow news day….

  29. Nanci

    Why is the SWEU such a sausagefest now, or has it always been one? What would you say to people who say that it isn’t a sausagefest, because there are “a lot of women”? What do you think would help make the GFFA less of a sausagefest?

  30. Dunc Post author

    Nanci: I love that you typed sausagefest so many times.

    There need to be more female characters, INTERESTING female characters who actually DO STUFF and HAVE PLOTS that don’t have to do with their boyfriends. (Or last minute ‘oh hai you have to kill your bro’ HEY JAINA. It may be just me, but I find Jaina completely boring.) I think Allana is a step towards this, assuming they don’t screw her up. (They might.) Also, more books where the women ARE the main characters and, like, maybe get mentioned in the blurb text? That would be good.

    Oh, and not killing off the few ladies you do have.

  31. Dunc Post author

    Ryorin: I think I’ve mentioned all the biggies? I’m kind of ruthless today.

    Also, pretty much anything having to do with videogames. Bye, Celestials! (Those were from video games, right?)

    I realize this is all HIGHLY unrealistic. I think I’ve just reached the point with the EU where I’m ready to go Order 66. Scorch the earth. FOTJ did not leave me in a good place.

    Realistically, I’m all for just ignoring stuff when you can. Alas, the more that piles up…

  32. Nanci

    I love the word sausagefest.

    “that don’t have to do with their boyfriends”

    This is the key. Tahiri lost all my interest when they completely screwed her up because she was still pining over Anakin. I think that Jaina is also headed in the right direction (I’ve liked her so far in Apocalypse), but it depends on what they do now that her love polygon is resolved. Just stop reminding us every other page that she’s the Sword of the Jedi. I wish they’d give Leia an actual plot again. (I love that in Mindor, she’s with Han and there’s romance, but she’s still LEIA and awesome.)

    I’ve actually liked Daala, even though she’s nuts, because she’s an interesting female character who’s not characterized by being female (or who she’s with). If only she hadn’t been Admiral Daala from, you know, the JAT, and someone more credible as the Chief of State.

  33. Nancy

    I’m a big fan of ignoring the bits and pieces of the timeline that I don’t personally care for. Just like I can ignore video games and action figures and TCW whatever else and still be a SW fan.

    Music is a huge part of my life and it tends to be something I focus on in movies. Do you have favorite bits of music from the SW soundtracks? Do you enjoy movie soundtracks in general?

  34. Dunc Post author

    Nancy: Ignoring things is my preferred method.

    I’ve enjoyed movie soundtracks (Children of Dune is a big fave) but I actually tend to avoid the Star Wars ones. Not because I dislike them, but more out of overexposure. One too many main themes blaring out from Youtube, etc.

    I actually grew up with musicals and soundtracks – my mother was a big fan and, since this was the 80′s/90′s, lots of Andrew Lloyd Weber. At one point in my preadolescence I had memorized the entire London recording (not the highlights, the actual complete recording) of Phantom of the Opera.

  35. Nancy

    My love for SW came alive in high school (mid-90′s) and I couldn’t get enough – if I wasn’t watching the movies or reading the (few!) books, I was poring over the “Art of” books while listening to the soundtracks. I also listened to the DFR and TLC audiobooks a lot, so much so that I overdosed on them. Even now I can’t read the books without hearing snatches of Anthony Daniels’s voice in my head. It’s annoying. As much as I loved them I can’t listen to them anymore because I want them to fade and not intrude on my reading experience. I didn’t burn out on any of the rest of it though, happily.

    Was there any one audiobook that soured your opinion of them? Are there any you enjoy?

  36. SarahBear

    What is the craziest or most memorable off-the-wall and random thing/event you have ever snarked about? Star Wars and non-Star Wars

  37. Dunc Post author

    Nancy: I actually overdosed on READING the books. So… yeah.

    Was there any one audiobook that soured your opinion of them? Are there any you enjoy?

    My audiobook thing is two-fold. First, I HATE being read aloud to. I. HATE. IT. This dates back to elementary school. You know how they make the class read aloud? And there’s that one kid who is unbelievably slow at it? I know it’s really not that kid’s fault, but man… I hate being read aloud to.

    The second part dates to 2002. I was going to see AOTC in Las Vegas with CJers. For some reason plane tickets from Detroit to Vegas were crazy expensive and I was bitching about it and my (newly retired) father was all like “Let’s drive!” So we did. At some point – I can’t remember if this was to or from – he puts on an audiobook. It was one of Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt books. IT WAS SO AWFUL. SO AWFUL. THE GUY DID VOICES AND THEY WERE AWFUL. Also, the book sucked.

    That was the first and last audiobook I will ever listen to. It really boils down to one thing for me: Books are meant to be read. I’m visual, I’m a reader, I’ve been a reader ever since I got the hang of reading. Audiobooks hold NO appeal for me.

  38. Dunc Post author

    SarahBear: What is the craziest or most memorable off-the-wall and random thing/event you have ever snarked about? Star Wars and non-Star Wars.

    Uhh… I dunno if this is snark, but I once told Mike Stackpole he looked like a young Palpatine when he posed as Corran Horn on a CCG card. He snarked back riffing on Young Frankenstein. So if I ever make a fanfilm, it’s totally going to be Young Palpatine, and maybe I can get Mike to star. (Or not.)

    Otherwise… It all blurs together eventually.

  39. Nanook

    Hope I’m not late…
    Would you like to have a day-job related to SW EU, with the ability to influence it, like being an editor at LFL or something of that kind?

    And, if you could re-write post-ROTJ EU, what would be your vision of it?

  40. Dunc Post author

    Nanook: Would you like to have a day-job related to SW EU, with the ability to influence it, like being an editor at LFL or something of that kind?

    I can’t see getting a job in publishing! I’m not sure I’d want to be in that position, honestly. It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback and second-guess stuff now, but actually being in that position… I don’t know. And my experience is as a reader, NOT on the other end. Users do not always know best, and I’m sure there are plenty of factors that we’re all completely unaware of. ;)

    Plus, given how much of a loudmouth I’ve been about this stuff, I’m not sure LFL would want me!

    And, if you could re-write post-ROTJ EU, what would be your vision of it?

    I’d go a little slower, focus more on making sure that the characters get their due. There’s a lot of stuff in the EU that looks to me like it originated more as ‘wouldn’t this be cool’ than ‘would the character do this.’ Of course, everyone has their own visions of the characters…

    And no, I certainly wouldn’t do away with OC stuff entirely – I’d just make sure that the main line stuff isn’t all locked up in the same basket so there’s more options and variety. This is, basically, what I think/hope they’ll be doing now that FOTJ is over, so I haven’t completely lost hope that they’ll find their way.

  41. MichelleH

    Hey Dunc,
    What fandom-related thing would make you squee and flail?
    For me it was the new Wraith Squadron book (I remember rushing to buy the first Wraith one when it came out!) and the new Zahn book, but it also doesn’t take much to make me squee and flail. :)

  42. Dunc Post author

    Nanook: What fandom-related thing would make you squee and flail?

    As the Greyjoys do not sow, I do not squee.

    BUT I may have made some sort of noise when they announced Jon Stewart was coming to the last Celebration. Not saying it was a squee, though.

    I can tell you the think that shocked me the most: The Luke/Mara engagement. I honestly didn’t think that would happen. Ever.

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