Tag Archives: crystal star

EUbits: Shadow Games mini-excerpts, looking at recent SW comics, and a real Crystal Star?

While a lot of talk this week has been focusing on the changes coming in the Star Wars Blu-ray release, there’s also been some news and chatter in the world of the Expanded Universe:

Shadow Games: Del Rey has posted two mini-excerpts from Shadow Games on the Star Wars Books account on Facebook. The novel, by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, comes out at the end of November.

Mini-excerpt #1 (from last week):

“Confidence,” Dash retorted, annoyed at being pulled out of his pleasant reverie. “The Outrider is twice the ship the Falcon is.” As far as he was concerned Solo’s boat was a scow compared with Dash’s heavily modified YT-2400.

Mini-excerpt #2:

“Then where am I supposed to come by these steely-eyed, laser-toting…characters?”

A smile curved Kendara Farlion’s lips and her teeth showed, white and even in her face. “I never thought I’d say this, but there are advantages to being from Mos Eisley. I know exactly where to look for that kind of character.”

Comics:

Favorite Scenes: Del Rey asked fans on Facebook to identify favorite scenes from the novels. A lot of deaths pop in: Anakin Solo, Ganner, Chewbacca (I guess fans have mellowed a bit on that) and Thrawn, as well as scenes from the X-Wing (both comedic and action scenes), Republic Commando, and Darth Bane series. Did not see any mentions of Waru or the Black Fleet Crisis, and that makes me sad.

Fact mirrors Star Wars fiction: Discovered: A real life “Crystal Star” (well, a crystallizing former star) – Formerly a white dwarf star, this planet is believed to be turning into one giant diamond. At 4,000 light-years away, it’ll take a while for this rock to be a girl’s best friend. Also, did not see any mentions of Waru, and that makes me sad again.

The Crystal Star is bad… But not that bad

I am not here to deny that Vonda McIntyre’s much-maligned 1994 Star Wars novel The Crystal Star is not a good book. It is perhaps one of the few Star Wars books that could be considered significant (Sorry, Ruins of Dantooine) that I cannot recall ever once being praised by anyone. (Except perhaps Abel G. Pena, and only then mildly.) Even my own personal Jar Jar, the works of one Kevin J. Anderson, have fans.

My own experience with Crystal Star is one of mixed reviews. Coming as it did on the heels of Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy, I found it kind of a relief. No, it wasn’t a great book, and it was kind of weird, but at least it was better than Anderson. (Granted, I rank the Jedi Academy trilogy among the worst things I have ever read, period.)

But that aside, there is one reason above all else why I give Crystal Star a pass: It is a completely self-contained book. There is absolutely no reason that anyone needs to read it – unless you’re undertaking some personal urge to read every single Star Wars book ever published, or have a deep interest in the childhoods of the Solo kids.

What is the lasting legacy of The Crystal Star in the Expanded Universe, really? Waru? He’s a punchline. Prozac Luke? McIntyre is far from the only culprit there: Luke is a mopey dope throughout the entire era spanning Dark Empire and the Hand of Thrawn duology.

There are a lot of bad books in the Star Wars stable, in every era. Your mileage may vary, but I find it hard to hate a novel that had no real lasting effect on the Expanded Universe as a whole. There’s something to be said for standalones: Whatever your opinion, they are generally easy to skip over.

Thankfully fannish attitudes towards the book seem to have (mostly) evolved from outright hatred to loving snark, and The Crystal Star is treated exactly as it deserves: As the Expanded Universe equivalent of the Holiday Special.

Expanded Universe at random

It was a busy week on the VIP blogs… First, a slightly defensive Drew Karpyshyn Rule of Two update (seriously fanboys, lay off the guy already,) then John Jackson Miller pondered keeping things unexplained, and we were favored with an Abel G. Peña double-punch on Darth names and, of all things, The Crystal Star.