Remember a simpler time in Star Wars, where there were no sequels, no TV shows, when Star Wars was still kind of rare. Before the Special Editions, before the prequels, before Disney. Remember the… Jedi Academy trilogy? It’s okay, we understand if you don’t want to. Look at all the fanfic it made us write.
It was an odd time. Just kidding, it was kind of a shit show, one of many. But hey, if not for that awfulness, would we have soldiered on? The mocking let us bond, and for that, we are grateful. Mockingly.
As it so happened, I did a few posts on the topic myself a few years back. Now yes, we do love the EU here, but let’s face it: There’s a lot of awfulness in them thar hills, and we here at Club Jade have always been fans of facing them head-on. With sarcasm!
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.
Dark greetings, my little mookas! Feast your third eye on this: Topless Robot has mined one of the early Expanded Universe’s proudest moments for a list of the ten crappiest aspects of the Jedi Prince series. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll boggle that some of us actually spent money on this crap.
Personal aside: To this day I can’t see the title Mission from Mount Yoda as anything but Mission to Mount Yoda, thanks to a certain founding member of Club Jade.
Before a blog was a type of website, it was a “a water-dwelling species” that appears to be a hippopotamus/Loch Ness monster crossbreed in the Ewoks cartoon. “They were fairly large and fierce, and would sometimes attack Ewoks.”
I might point out that Club Jade published an Ewok cookbook long before we ever had a weblog.
Embrace the pain. Inspired by the latest in transparent rumor-mongering, Cracked puts their well-worn Wookieepedia bookmark to use to come up with five reasons the Star Wars sequels would be worse than the prequels. As an EU fan, I say… Well, yeah. It’s easy to be hard on the prequels, but we can’t deny that the post-ROTJ EU is at least equally screwed up. (I for one have no problem admitting the EU is probably worse. One word, kids: Volume. Also, [insert your least favorite author/book here.])
Not that I would expect George to actually use the existing EU for much besides a few spare parts if he ever did decide to make a sequel trilogy. But various statements he’s made over the last few years show he really doesn’t see much in the sequel era – Han Solo and the Backyard Barbecue much?
Postponed.The Complete Vader will be getting a new release date due to printing issues. It was supposed to be out on Tuesday, but better a nice, carefully reconstructed book than a complete crispy mess completely encased in plastic, right?
Oh, Cracked. ‘Retarded’ is not a word we use. Still, one has to give them a bit of credit for looking the most horrific aspects of the EU (Sorry, Death Troopers) full on in the face. I suspect this list was compiled by someone who spent an hour or two on the Wook and not an actual reader, because how else could any reader forget the golden magnificence and ultimate WTFness of Waru?