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Zahn's Other SW Books (was: Survivor's Quest vs Outbound Flight)

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 (Edited)

I realize this thread might go far afield of this question, but if at least someone could please offer an opinion:

The wife and I have been reading Zahn's Thrawn trilogy.  This is her first time and my 3rd or 4th.  We've both been enjoying it (as far as I can tell) and I've toyed with the idea of following it up with Spectre of the Past and Visions of the Future.  And then maybe Survivor's Quest and Outbound Flight.  I've never actually read those last 4, since they were published after I stopped reading EU, thought I did really mean to since they were by Tim Zahn.  I picked up the 3 hour abridgements and found I didn't like them much.  However, the 3 hour abridements of the Thrawn trilogy are also mostly terrible too, so I've decided I can't judge a book by its 3 hour abridgement.

Anyways... here's my real question.  For those that have read both Survivor's Quest and Outbound Flight, which one should we read first.  As I (half)listened to both of them, I noticed that they had nearly the same plot.  In one, Luke was uncovering the events from the past and in the other C'Baoth and the others were living through the events as they occurred.  Survivor's Quest was written/published first... so my inlcination would be to read that one first.

Any thoughts?

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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If your plan is to read both, go with Outbound Flight first, as Survivor's Quest is essentially its sequel.  You can probably read the latter before the former, as the story stands up well enough on its own, but Outbound Flight fills in the details that are only alluded to in Survivor's Quest.  Additionally, if you read them in that order, it's interesting to see, in Luke's time, how much information has been lost to history over the decades due to the Clone Wars and the rise/fall of the Empire.

As for the Hand of Thrawn two-parter, I definitely recommend them.  In addition to being a great read, they do a good job of tying together events from previous novels and comic books (specifically the Dark Empire comics), mainly to get Luke "back to his roots" and lead him away from being the All-Powerful Uber-Jedi he was often portrayed as in previous novels.  (There's a great scene where Mara forces Luke to confront the past 10 years of his life, and makes no bones about where he went wrong and where he was headed if he didn't get his head out of his ass PDQ.)

Oh, and a word to the wise: the two books about Outbound Flight do incorporate PT elements (especially Outbound Flight), but IMHO there's not too much to worry about (YMMV, of course).

There are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary, and those who do not.
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I too have been interested in reading the later books by Timothy Zahn, but haven't made up my mind to do so yet. Pollard's post has definitely piqued my interest. How about Zahn's latest Star Wars book, Allegiance? Has anyone read that?

"Every time Warb sighs, an angel falls into a vat of mapel syrup." - Gaffer Tape

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C3PX said:

I too have been interested in reading the later books by Timothy Zahn, but haven't made up my mind to do so yet. Pollard's post has definitely piqued my interest. How about Zahn's latest Star Wars book, Allegiance? Has anyone read that?

The one written as a love letter to those nerds that dress up as stormtroopers, the mighty 501st?

The one Zahn stuck Pink Five into.

It is a decent novel but like all Zahn's books after the trilogy not very good.

I mean if the hand of thrawn duology was any hint at to how much suck the rest of his novels would be in comparison to the first 3.  That coming from someone who has enjoyed all of his novels including vision of the future.

The stormtroopers are not really bad guys kind of angle is kind of typical of the pathetic modern EU mindset of moral ambiguity.

Incorporating prequel trilogy stuff is a mistake the writers should be able to write their own better prequels and pretend those bad lucash ones don't exist.

These days if you want to escape the bad prequels and clone wars in the EU forget about it as they have now tied all new novels into that crap and stiffled the writers creativity.

Now you can't branch off the oot and read post jedi novels without references to Hayden Skywalker and co and their supposed real backstory of star wars.

“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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C3PX said:

I too have been interested in reading the later books by Timothy Zahn, but haven't made up my mind to do so yet. Pollard's post has definitely piqued my interest. How about Zahn's latest Star Wars book, Allegiance? Has anyone read that?

If you want an opinion that isn't infused with a metric buttload of PT hatred, I'd say that Allegiance is at the bottom of the list of Zahn's SW novels (i.e. it's okay, but not great).  It's set early in the OT and features Mara Jade and the Imperial 501st (fanwank alert!), but IMHO Zahn does better when he's writing outside of the OT.  If you're still interested in reading it, I'd recommend checking it out of your local library or finding a cheap used paperback edition.  Otherwise, you aren't really missing anything by skipping it.

For the record, my ranking of Zahn's novels would be: The Thrawn Trilogy, The Hand of Thrawn, Outbound Flight and Survivor's Quest (tied), and Allegiance.

There are 10 types of people in this world: those who understand binary, and those who do not.
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MJPollard said:

If you want an opinion that isn't infused with a metric buttload of PT hatred...

lol

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TV's Frink said:

MJPollard said:

If you want an opinion that isn't infused with a metric buttload of PT hatred...

lol

 This is the kind of witty post I would have missed out on?  Hmmm... I should have left you ignored.

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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Sometimes I let my short-fused, gramatically correct temper get the best of me.  But I get over it pretty quickly.

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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Necrobump! 

I was going to start a new thread, but I decided this one was close enough.  I'm hoping to draw out Anchorhead, or anyone else that really liked the Heir to the Empire trilogy, and followed it up almost immediately with Hand of Thrawn.

I read HttE as they came out- I loved the books then, and as I've said on this site somewhere, I have loved re-reading them as an adult- even as a jaded Star Wars fan.  There were levels of complexity I could not appreciate as a young'un that I really dig now.

As mentioned in the first post of this thread, I had never caught up with the Hand of Thrawn.  I thought I had listened to 3 hour abridgments, but I'm now thinking that isn't the case seeing how I remember absolutely none of what I'm reading* now.

So I'm reading* Hand of Thrawn now, about halfway through the second book.  Is it just me, or are these books kind of terrible?  There are enjoyable threads, but on the whole, I'd say they're not very good.  Which very much surprised me given how much I like HttE.

Of course, I didn't like Scoundrels that much... and I'm beginning to wonder how much blame to lay at the feet of the reader.  Yes, * again means an audiobook.  And in fact, it's Mark Thompson- the same reader who might have ruined a couple of other Star Wars books for me.  He does some "alien voices" in Hand of Thrawn that have me reaching for the volume control every time.

So here's my question- there seems to be consensus that Hand of Thrawn is not in the same league as HttE... but is it actually bad?  Or do I need to ditch Mark Thompson?

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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I remember liking the Hand of Thrawn books. Perhaps they're a little drawn out, but I still enjoyed reading them. As a general rule, I avoid audiobooks, so I can't say if they are the source of your lack of enjoyment.

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

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Honourable mentions:

http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/topic.cfm/New-Star-wars-books-and-other-fiction-and-books-thread/topic/7434/

http://originaltrilogy.com/FORUM/topic.cfm/What-do-you-LIKE-about-the-EU/post/618507/#TopicPost618507

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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I was going to look for that thread.  It's littered with my reviews as I worked my way through them.  In short; I don't dislike any of them. 

My only struggle was Outbound Flight.  It's very prequel-esque for a bit, but Zahn came up with a way to jettison Obi-wan and Annikin almost abruptly. Felt like he had them in, gave them their fifteen minutes, then moved on with the real story.

If I had to pick some recommendations, I'll stay with my original reviews. I prefer the Mara jade, Luke, and non-OT characters and stories.  Zahn wrote about that galaxy far far away we were promised, yet never saw after 1980.

http://originaltrilogy.com/FORUM/topic.cfm/What-do-you-LIKE-about-the-EU/post/560011/#TopicPost560011

http://originaltrilogy.com/FORUM/topic.cfm/What-do-you-LIKE-about-the-EU/post/572363/#TopicPost572363

http://originaltrilogy.com/FORUM/topic.cfm/What-do-you-LIKE-about-the-EU/post/569767/#TopicPost569767

I've mentioned before that I think Force Awakens takes a cue from Allegience with how it appears they've written the Finn part of the story.  I'm very interested in that. 

For me, the best Zahn storyline ever.  I'm speaking specifically of Daric LaRone.  The two trailers look like Finn's story is lifted from the novel.  That would make me very happy.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

"Why are you here, Rey from nowhere?”

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Thanks for responding, 'head.  I have been questioning whether it's the bad narration, the passage of time, or a declining author- your feedback is going into the mix.

EDIT: You too, Duracell.

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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I liked the Hand books.  In fact, I just finished them.  I don't think I would ever return to them, but they were good reads for sure.  While a little drawn out, Thrawn's supposed return was a great scheme and I liked knowing how it happened from the very beginning instead of it being a surprise.

The ending of the duology, though, is definitely a series of clusterfuck deus-ex machinas that barely make sense.  I still enjoyed it, but the resolution felt ... well, too good.  Everything came together perfectly all too fast.

A Goon in a Gaggle of 'em

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After abandoning the EU years ago, I recently decided to get back into it and read Outbound Flight.

I had already read the Thrawn trilogy, but that was it for Zahn. It was nice to get Thrawn’s origin story, and there were some really good ideas in the book, but other than that I was lukewarm on the whole thing. Zahn’s books seem like an excuse to set up intricate strategic battles which end more often than not with deus ex machinas in Thrawn’s favor. This is no exception, but it’s fun to see the clockwork battles and hear our military genius explain his brilliance at length.

One issue was the ending. There wasn’t one. I assume this ties directly into Survivor’s Quest, but it’s still a poor way to end a novel.

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I haven’t read the Hand of Thrawn duology, but I loved Survivor’s Quest and Outbound Flight, which were some of the first EU books I read.

Not enough people read the EU.

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I feel like the Hand of Thrawn duology made a lot more sense back in the late 90’s if you had already read all the other EU books than it does nowadays. I found them to be very confusing and I had to pull out my phone and look up names all the time. At least Survivor’s Quest doesn’t have this problem, but I found it to be somewhat mediocre, even kind of dull at times. As indifferent as I am overall when it comes to the new EU, I actually found Thrawn (2017) to be Zahn’s most interesting book about Thrawn since the Thrawn trilogy.

Haven’t gotten around to reading Outbound Flight yet though.