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2011 is the 20th Anniversary of Heir to the Empire.

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A special commemorative hardcover is going to be published with a new thrawn short story by Zahn.  It will include annotations.

Cover price set at 30 bucks USA, but through Amazon will probably be able to get it for less.

Instead of a new book by Zahn as we were promised we get this.  I guess better than nothing.

I think they already put out the anniversary hardback for dark empire as a trilogy set.

Remember the star wars 90's revival before star wars was destroyed, when we actually looked forward to the special edition and prequels,lol.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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Zahn's trilogy is the only EU I've ever bothered to try.  They were pretty good novels.

And yes, this thread makes me feel old too.

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Feeling old as well. The book coming out was the first tangible sign Star Wars was coming back to life, after several lean years in which even the fandom itself was pronounced "dead".

If there ever was going to be a sequel trilogy, Zahn would be a good choice to write the scripts.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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I think Timothy Zahn is one of the few EU authors who understands what made Star Wars appealing. Everybody else has always been too busy trying to make their works more canonical instead of fresh and new.

 

"The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition], and you’ll be able to project it on a 20’ by 40’ screen with perfect quality. I think it’s the director’s prerogative, not the studio’s to go back and reinvent a movie." - George Lucas

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wow, yes. whilst i cringed a bit at the ysalami things that could stop the force working and the whole problem thrawn had with his eyes and skin (previously I'd read that the Empire was racist which is why in ROTJ we have a rebel briefing room full of aliens).

the stories - whilst not memorable (errr, I mean 20 years later and i've totally forgotten the storyline except it was something to do with discovering a fleet of dreadnaughts) - i felt was more star wars-y than the dark horse comics that subsequently got released. the dark horse stuff seemed good but up-its-own arse in terms of tone and contrived "darkness" for the sake of being "dark" - it's a tough balance, but for me star wars has a whimsical quality (which when out of balance we get the horrid prequels) which dark horse didn't understand in my eyes. but yes, zahn "got it".

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I agree about Dark Horse but only for their 90's work, what they've put out this decade has been pretty great especially the last few years.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Stepping softly in a danger zone…

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So, who read it in 1991?

Memories of Heir to the Empire
by xhonzi
(sorry it's long)

I was a pretty big Star Wars fan just prior to this, but I was at the point where I thought I was ready to move on.  I was reading tons of Sci Fi books at the time, and I was at the mall with my parents when we passed a "Walden Books" (may it rest in peace).  Heir to the Empire was prominently displayed on a table that was half out of the storefront.  My parents pointed it out to me as we were leaving, and I immediately declared that it must be a compilation of the 3 movie novelizations.  Upon closer inspection, the title didn't make any sense (actually, I'm still not sure what/who it means exactly... but I guess that's still true of "Return of the Jedi" too) and why was Obi-Wan shooting lightning out of his fingertips?  So I ended up buying it.

I remember I just couldn't get into the first chapter starring the Imperials.  I ended up skipping a couple pages to get to chapter 2 starring Luke & Co.  I think I got the audiobook (3 hours on two tapes!) for Christmas and I listened to that several times.  But when my wife and I read the trilogy last year, I remember reading the first chapter and having the distinct sensation I had never read it before.  Then I remembered that I hadn't.  :)

HTTE to me, and the rest of the trilogy, was everything I never knew I wanted from a quasi Episode 7-9.  I was very in love with it at the time.

I didn't stumble upon Dark Empire until 1993.  I stayed with my cousin in Urban Boise Idaho (compared to unincorporated Davis County Utah, anyways) for a month or so in the summer and made my first trip into a comic shop.  I bought issues #3 & #4 of the British Star Wars magazine, which included reprints of Dark Empire issues #3 & #4, as well as the same from Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.  We ended up going back the next day so that I could buy the rest of the series.  I think issue #6 wasn't quite out yet, and I couldn't find issue #2 or something, but I snagged #1 and #5.  Many months later, I picked up Dark Empire #6, but it happened to be Dark Empire 2 #6, so I had to start all over.

Heir to the Empire is probably responsible for my still being a Star Wars fan.  I was probably ready to set it on the porch for recycling pick up at that point in time, but reading HTTE got me to re-read the movie books, and the Lando books and the Han & Chewie books.  I was a very faithful EU reader for many years, even though I knew that Truce at Bakura and the subsequent Jedi Academy novels weren't as good.  Children of the Jedi, I think, was the last book I bought and then never read.  Or maybe it was Planet of Twilight, whichever one came after Dark Sabre.  I maybe bought a few more books at that point in time, for that was what I did.  But I didn't read any of them.

The Special Editions were a fun time in '97, but they didn't lead me back to reading any more books.  I guess I was into the Dark Horse comics full tilt at this point in time...  Until whenever the original Tales of the Jedi megaseries ended.  Then '99 happened.  That's when I left for Albania for a couple years and didn't get to see TPM until 2001.  But I didn't leave without reading the Terry Brooks novel, which extremely disappointed me.

I came back to the states curious to watch TPM, and cautiously hopeful for the rest of the PT.  Over the next couple of years, with the Star Wars on DVD problem, the PT sucking so hard, and the new fans that just didn't love SW the way I had... I started to give up on it again.  And then a tri-fecta happened that brought me back in.  I found Star Wars Revisted, I played The Force Unleashed, and I started reading Star Wars Legacy comics.  All of those things hit me at the same time, and it reawoke that old geek inside of me.  I started hitting OT.com regularly, and I decided to revisit the book trilogy that had had a similar effect on me almost 20 years prior.

I don't have as much time devoted to reading as I did when I was a teenager, so I get a lot of my "reading" done in the car with audiobooks.  The other Zahn books had come out in my dark times, so I decided to catch up with the Hand of Thrawn Duology and the Survivor's Quest books.  I realized that Zahn (and Veitch, to a point) were the only authors I really cared for in the modern EU, so his were the only books I really wanted to catch up with. 

I found them to be terrible.

So I dug out my tapes of the HTTE trilogy and relistened to those as well.

I found them to also be terrible.

But my wife and I had had an interesting experience with audio books.  I started reading the Wheel of Time books in about 1997/1998 and thoroughly enjoyed those, though I didn't consider myself a "fantasy" fan at the time.  My wife and I were preparing for a road trip in about 2004 and we came across an audiobook of The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1) and I told her we should listen to it.  It was abridged to 2 tapes/3 hours.  We listened to it, and I couldn't believe how terrible the whole thing was.  I had read them only 7 years before... could I have been that wrong about how terrible the book was?  I found myself apologizing to my wife the whole time about how terrible it was.  But soon, it was over, and I was just left scratching my head.  I knew it must have been severely abridged to get it down to three hours, but I couldn't remember anything specific in the book that wasn't in the abridgement.  When we returned the tapes to the library, I saw that they had UNabridged CDs for the Eye of the World.  30 CDs, 33 hours.  WOW, that is some abridgement.  I borrowed the CDs and started listening to them in my car.  I found it to be as delightful and compelling as I had in 1997.

So I wrote my younger, single, more time to read, brother and asked him if the HTTE books stood up to the test of time, or if they were as sucky as the audiobook abridgement, or if it was a poor abridgement.  He hadn't read them recently either, but he had read Survivor's Quest and thought it was pretty good.

There are not (as far as I know (please tell me I'm wrong!)) unabridged audio versions of the Zahn books.  I decided I had to read them again to know if they were any good.   I further decided that my wife and I would read them aloud (as we commonly do together) to each other so that I could actually get through them, and that she could maybe enjoy them as well.

I found them, again, to come back alive in the full text and be just as good and as exciting as I remembered.  My wife was less of a fan.  She didn't think they captured the characters very well- especially Han and Leia.  I think we can all agree that this is not her opinion... that she is simply mistaken in the matter.  About a great many things.

Now I'm trying to decide what's worth reading (the two of us) between the end of Last Command and the start of Spectre of the Past.  We started Courtship of Princess Leia.  Which is plain awful in any state of bridgement.  But ironically, my wife was enjoying.  I gave up on the book, just when it was maybe getting good... but I don't care.  I think we'll read Dark Empire 1 & 2, and maybe suffer through 3.  We'll read the Jedi Academy books, which I don't think are on par with Zahn's books, but they're better than average.  And I think that's about it.

And then the DSIII Blows up.  THE END.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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xhonzi said:

And then the DSIII Blows up.  THE END.

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll206/xxxmint/H2_clap.gif

I read it in college, which puts it around 1994 or 1995.  One of my roommates was the biggest Star Wars nerd I've ever met prior to coming onto this board and finding you freaks* and he had every book and toy possible (or so I imagined back then).  The only books that looked interesting to me were the Thrawn ones.

I bought the paperbacks in the late 90's, read then one or two more times, then sold them back a few years ago when we had to start decluttering the house.

It was pretty good. I give it 3-1/2 fingers out of 4.

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This makes me feel old as well.

I adored those books when they came out (I was in 6th grade). I don't think they stood the test of time well, as it seems Zahn was more about his own awesome characters than giving our heroes anythng to do other than comment on how awesome Thrawn was, and in the end stand back and be observers as other characters saved the day.

The story was extremly political, it had clone Jedis, LuUke Skywalker and if anyone says the ysalimiri are somehow better than midichlorians I will cyber slap them.

The lizards will block the force to build the clones that the clone Jedi will then mind control to rule the galaxy. The plots a little convoluted and too full of wierd sci-fi concepts for my taste.

And Taalon Carde, the world's most perfect boss and great guy, both LIVES where the magic-lizards are, and just HAPPENS to know where to find the super ghost fleet. One coincidence is a plot point, two pushed my credibility, even for a sci-fi story.   

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I remember the moment when I discovered SW books and the EU. Heir was the first SW book I read. Sheer magic. Talon Karrde, Mara, Thrawn, Pellaeon, the Solo children, Winter, Luke feeling the weight of the galaxy-Zahn basically set up the entire EU.

And yes, I like the ysalamiri.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.
“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford
YT channel:
https://www.youtube.com/c/DamnFoolIdealisticCrusader

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captainsolo said:

 

And yes, I like the ysalamiri.

 So, did you mind midichlorians?

 

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I don't see how ysalamiri and midi-chlorians are similar in any way.

a trolling bantha

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They're not, at least not to me. I like the idea of Jedi/Sith having a weak point. The Force should not be all powerful.

Yes I did mind the midichlorians.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.
“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford
YT channel:
https://www.youtube.com/c/DamnFoolIdealisticCrusader

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It's funny, because I'm of entirely the opposite opinion now, but when I was young I actually couldn't get into the Zahn books that much.

Looking back, I think I didn't really understand much about character and narrative structure, and why they were important to making a story hold together.  I was mostly interested in the sci-fi action and technology and things like that.  I had been deeply upset by ESB the first time I saw it, because it seemed too dark and disturbing after the fun of the first one, and for a while I actually thought RotJ was the best of all three!  It is perhaps no surprise that I was at first drawn to things like the ridiculous Kevin J. Anderson books, while finding Zahn's work to be too slow moving and dull, and I only ever skimmed over them and never read them all the way through.

I didn't try to read them again for a long while--but disgusted with the New Jedi Order series, I decided to give the Thrawn trilogy another shot.  This time I was able to see all their merits that had previously gone over my head.  I distinctly remember being astonished and delighted by the excellence of the characterisation, the momentum and intricate twists of the plot, and of course Zahn's unparalleled brilliance with creating science fiction technologies and putting them to all sorts of exciting uses, which somehow as a child I had missed completely despite it being a great interest.  And having outgrown my need to see the good guys always outmatch their foes, the notion of something like the ysalamiri that could remove Luke's advantage lent certain scenes that much more excitement.

(For the record, ysalamiri and midichlorians are not conceptually similar at all.  Zahn himself has said outright that he greatly dislikes the midichlorian idea, preferring a more mystical and mysterious view of the Force, and the ysalamiri in this regard are not so different from the various magical creatures that appear in fantasy stories.)

I think the description of Zahn as someone who really gets Star Wars is spot on.  He has a definite understanding of what it's all about and what makes it work, and his stories reflect that in a way that very few others have been able to achieve.  His additions to the world have a unique sensibility all their own that blends deftly into the original material, without changing it or trying to foist some kind of contradictory alternate intrepretation.  Best of all for those who despise the prequels, the Thrawn trilogy draws only from the original films and nothing else, and even contains hints of a vastly different clone wars backstory--the Old Republic military (which had always existed) engaged in fierce battles with unknown "clonemasters" trying to take over the galaxy, as well as several renegade Dark Jedi with their own agendas.  Unfortunately, he wasn't allowed to put in much detail about these ideas, but what there is sounds infinitely more interesting than anything Lucas has ever done lately!

I'm very glad I gave Zahn a second chance, because his works provided all I could have ever dreamed of in Star Wars sequels.  The trilogy is undisputably the best, but the Hand of Thrawn set is very good also, particularly for the scenes on Nirauan with Luke and Mara Jade.  A few years ago I managed to persuade my dad to read the Zahn books, and while initially sceptical he ended up enjoying them a great deal as well.

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ChainsawAsh said:

I don't see how ysalamiri and midi-chlorians are similar in any way.

Really?

Not to put words into your mouth, what I've heard people not liking about the midichlorians is that they turn the force Sciency instead of mystical. That's all the ysalimari do, and they do it worse.

What makes the Force more sciency and banal than that lizards can evolve to fight it? Does the same planet have Sith-lightning bugs? Frogs that can Force-jump?

Clones cant be grown fast because the Force senses duplicate souls, and the ysalimari block the Force so that they can. OK, so circumventing the energy field created by all life, the power that binds the universe together, can be accomplished with a convienient reptile that 'evolved' to do it. It's like a plumbing problem.

And while the midi-chlorians are in maybe five lines of dialogue that could be cut from the PT and not effect it in any measurable way, the Jedi-lizards are the main plot point of the entire Thrawn trilogy. Since the Force is so easy to manipulate, I'm surprised Thrawn wasn't bottling it, drinking it, and using it to power his ships. 

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That's an interesting viewpoint.  I've just never looked at it that way.

I don't see how a creature that can repel the Force makes it anti-mystical.  Isn't there stuff like that in myths involving magic all the time?  They're basically a Jedi Kryptonite.

I think the difference is the ysalamiri aren't explained in such cold, scientific terms as midi-chlorians.  I don't have a problem with an anti-Force creature, but I do have a problem when you explain the origin of the Force in such a cold, biological way.

a trolling bantha

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Also...no one says something like "Master Qui-Gon sir, I heard Master Yoda talking about ysalamiri.  I've been wondering...what are ysalamiri?"

:p

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I also think the ysalamiri aren't on the same terms as midichlorians.  Yes, they are both hard to spell... But if the force is the energy of all living things, then the ysalamiri are like an anti-matter.  They are anti-force.  To me, that's not any more or less mystical than what Yoda was talking about.

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!

 

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Midichlorians are easier to pronounce...which makes them less mystical?

Then again, it's pretty easy to pronounce "The Forsh" so I guess I don't know the answer.

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xhonzi said:

I also think the ysalamiri aren't on the same terms as midichlorians.  Yes, they are both hard to spell... But if the force is the energy of all living things, then the ysalamiri are like an anti-matter.  They are anti-force.  To me, that's not any more or less mystical than what Yoda was talking about.

You mean just like how the Vong came from a nearby Galaxy and couldn't be found in the force, in the new jedi order series.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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That's just bunk.  The Force, according to my own understanding, is an energy field created by All living things.

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Sluggo said:

That's just bunk.  The Force, according to my own understanding, is an energy field created by All living things.

 "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter... unless there's this one species of lizard near by. Then, crude matter we all are."

 

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TheBoost said:

Sluggo said:

That's just bunk.  The Force, according to my own understanding, is an energy field created by All living things.

That just goes to show you should never be so superlative.  Everyone who generalizes is an idiot.

 "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter... unless there's this one species of lizard near by. Then, crude matter we all are."

Well... you can still be a luminous being even if you lose your connection to the rest of the luminous beings.  I mean, I don't think Yoda only meant that those who could feel the Force were luminous.  I mean, he and Chewie are bff, amiright?

IT'S MY TRILOGY, AND I WANT IT NOW!

"[George Lucas] rebooted the franchise in 1997 without telling anyone." -skyjedi2005

"Yeah, well, George says a lot of things..." a young 1997 xhonzi on RASSM

"They're my movies." -George Lucas. 19 people won oscars for their work on Star Wars (1977) and George Lucas wasn't one of them.

Rewrite the Prequels!