I, Jedi

So, the lack of posts to this blog are an indication of how strongly Star Wars Galaxies has me in its clutches. So strongly, in fact, that I started wanting to know more about this universe; initially enough to be able to remain in-character when speaking in the game. What do they eat, drink, where do they go to relax? That kind of thing. If it were Star Trek I’d know they drank Rigellian Ale and went to Reisa for vacation, right?

So that’s why I first picked up a Star Wars novel. A friend had recommended I, Jedi, by Michael Stackpole, as a decent stand-alone novel to try, just to see if I could get into the whole Star Wars mythos.

And it turns out I probably can. Jedi was a fun book. Great literature? No. It had that series patina, you know? The same one you find in Dragonlance books, or RobotTech books, or any of those other selections from the sci-fi/fantasy series shelf of your local bookseller. Its like, rather than handcraft the story, the authors have a big bag of story modules, and they pull them out and snap them together, then fill in the cracks and gaps, slap a coat paint over them and send ’em off to be published. Some of these authors, including Mr. Stackpole, do a really fine job of picking good modules and spiffing them up, but there are still big chunks of the novels that give a keen sense of deja vu.

But none of this means they aren’t fun and enjoyable, because they are. This is the story of Corran Horn, one time CorSec operative (cop, I guess), one time Rogue Squadron pilot, and now jedi-in-training. Like another young jedi we once knew, Corran doesn’t really agree with the training he is getting, and ends up risking the dark side by striking off on his own. He does it to save his wife, rather than his friends.

What surprised me was the prevalance of the characters from the movies. Luke Skywalker is the Jedi Master trying to train Horn. He also crosses paths with Wedge Antilles, Leai Organa and Han Solo. I found it a bit jarring to have these characters that I “know” so well taking on lives of their own and acting differently than I’d expected them to.

The other problem with I, Jedi, for me, is that I had no idea what was going on outside of this one tightly focused story. There’re a bunch of these Star Wars books and they tend to link tightly together. Stackpole assumes you’ve read others, and the tale is peppered with references to events I know nothing about.

Which in addition to being a problem, is a draw. Because now I want to read more of these books; ones that take place during or just after the movies, so I can find out all that I’ve missed.

A month ago, I was not a Star War fan, at all. But between Star Wars Galaxies, these novels, and the XBox title Knights of the Old Republic I suddenly find myself eating, drinking and breathing Star Wars. And I’m amazed at hos much I’m enjoying it.

I wouldn’t suggest starting your foray into Star Wars novels with I, Jedi though. Find something that takes place a bit earlier in the history and start there. I’ll post any wisdom I come upon in regards to specifics.