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My Review of Star Wars: Tarkin, by James Luceno

25 Jan

January 25, 2019

In Star Wars, Grand Moff Tarkin was played by Peter Cushing. He’s easily my favorite character, more villainous in the film than Darth Vader. He’s also played by one of my favorite actors, so when this book came out I went against my better judgement and read a Star Wars novel. I’m glad I did.

I give Tarkin 5 stars, but bear in mind, this 5 star rating is not the same 5 stars I give Flowers for Algernon. This is 5 stars as far as Star Wars books go, a totally different scale. Flowers for Algernon is a triumph of literature. This is a good read.

I generally dislike Star Wars novels. This one, though, breaks the mold. It is more sci-fi than fantasy, ignoring all the Jedi mumbo-jumbo nonsense that other books get bogged down in. In fact, being from the bad guy’s point of view, this has a nicely negative view of the Jedi. It reads more like the old Alan Dean Foster novels, like Splinter of the Mind’s Eye or the original Han Solo novels. It bridges the gap to the New Hope era, disposing of The Clone Wars and entering the better era of Star Wars. If  you need a movie reference point, consider this as happening just before Rogue One.

Peter Cushing

Some reviewers don’t care for the plot, which they dismiss as Tarkin and Vader chasing around some random disposable rebels. They miss the point. This book is all about the backstory. You learn a lot about Tarkin and what molded and motivates him. You also learn a bit about The Emperor and Vader too. The main plot is really just the skeleton that the meat of the backstory hangs on. This is a character study / biography of Grand Moff Tarkin, and as such it works. The novel also explores the relationship between Tarkin and Vader, and for all those who wonder why Vader would take orders from anyone besides the Emperor, let alone someone who isn’t even a force user, this book explains.

The writing is also well done. In fact, just compare it to the two excerpts of novels by other authors that follow it in the paperback edition. Not only is neither the least bit interesting or original, but their writing is clearly not as good. James Luceno may be the only Star Wars writer today worth reading.

 

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Dudes In Space!

12 Sep

September 12, 2018

It’s totally time to start a new space adventure!

 


The Time: The future. Way, way in the future, like when you get an estimate on how long it’ll take them to paint your house and it goes way past the estimate and they are charging you for like rags and stuff. What’s up with that? So yeah, that far in the future.

The Place: Space. Somewhere like in a nebula or something. Or a black hole. Whichever is cooler, take your pick. Maybe Underwater? Nah, space.

Super Space Guy Hunk Blockcheese strides across the bridge of his spaceship. It’s really awesome with lots of expensive bling. He stops near the navigator, Callie Fornia, and flexes. He’s like got a crush on her and stuff but he’s too much of a wuss to tell her, so after a couple of minutes he goes to the gym to oil his pecs.

Meanwhile, somewhere else far away, maybe on a planet or a moon or something, there’s this evil guy all covered with tats. He has like a real mad on for Hunk Blockcheese because of something that happened in high school. It was totally his mom’s fault for always buying him those cheap department store pants. He doesn’t want to talk about it.

Blockcheese comes back from the gym, all pumped up. He sits in his chair and wants to know like where they are, you know, with coordinates and things like that. He’s trying to sound all professional and stuff because he thinks Callie Fornia likes those kinda guys.

This spaceship also has robots too, and they can fly.


 

Like wow! This is going to be … good?

 

 

 

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