Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kids Star Wars Costumes, and STAR WARS FEVER and Why Timothy Zahn breathes life into the Star Wars Universe....

I am in a Star Wars phase right now.
So I am torn between dressing up my 2 yr old son for Halloween as this

or this

They are both AWESOME.

Considering my son has made me watch Captain America 19 times, Captain America was the obvious choice. But I am in a Star Wars mood. And if my 2 yr old son is going to be Captain America, what will my 1 yr old daughter be? Someone suggested a modest version of the chorus girl outfit, but while it would be objectively cute, I didn't really like the chorus girls as characters--they weren't really awesome. Now Peggy would be an awesome character. But the thought of sewing a complete Victory Suit Jacket for a 1 yr old---all those tiny button holes...ahhhhh

And then I saw this
At this place, with adorable pics of a little girl wearing it

And the the thought of Isaiah in Luke's tunic with a blue lightsaber standing next to Jenny my little R2 unit was more cuteness than I could bear.
Especially with this hat

So....I was one of those people who heartlessly mocked my little brother's reading Star Wars Books as pulp fiction. I firmly believed only Episode IV-VI was canon (and decried the travesty that is Ep. I-III). I scoffed the Star Wars books, and over time scrapped Ep. V and VI from my internal canon as well, refusing to believe Leia was Luke's sister, etc.

Now I've revised my internal canon somewhat.

Because Timothy Zahn is awesome.

Or at least, he really really breathes life into the Star Wars universe. He gives depth to the 'Force' by straining the metaphor to make it as theistic as possible, he writes characters that feel so incredibly real, and best of all, there are no expendable characters. Even the one-page nameless throwaway characters feel real and are given dignity and personhood---from the witty shield-ship operate annoyed with Han's non-cooperation in moving the Millennium Falcon, to the control-operators of the Imperial Fleet, to the squabbling aliens at the marketplace, to the faceless bad-guy ninjas---all transformed into beings with faces, with souls, with thoughts.

You never get the feeling that all the other characters are card-board cutouts to give color while the main characters be awesome. You get the feeling that everyone else is just as precious as the princesses and Jedis, from the conscripts of the Imperial fleet, to the pushy nameless alien trying to sell fruit to Wedge. Every life is precious, each soul something remarkable and valued. Even (spoiler alert) the clones. (As a clone myself, this distinction is very important to me). Even if sometimes you have to kill people. They still matter. Its complicated....But basically, you finish his books caring about his characters, who feel like real people---who struggle with big things, like the meaning of 'justice', and the value of human life, and demonic possession, and not letting bitterness eat your heart out.

Not to say there aren't places where Zahn does it poorly. The end of The Last Command was a pillow-punching disappointment for me. (I don't want to give away too many spoilers) Suffice to say that he has made up for it in his 2-book sequel The Hand of Thrawn, everything good in the Thrawn trilogy gets better in the Hand of Thrawn, and the things done wrong in the Trilogy are somewhat righted in the Hand of Thrawn.  (Although I haven't finished it yet....)

However, as the Hand of Thrawn bitterly shows with its elaborate (and creative) re-explanations of the havoc wreaked by lesser authors on his beloved characters in between his books (Mara just PRETENDED to be an airhead for a secret spy mission...Those other girl's Luke dated? He was under the influence of the Dark Side...) , many many Star Wars books are silly, stupid, and do wretched things making beloved characters act totally out of character.

Hannah's internal Star Wars canon (a.k.a. THE TRUTH), is
  • Episode IV
  • Episode V
  • Episode VI
  • Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy
  • Timothy Zahn's Hand of Thrawn
And its not just what-I-like. Within these books + movies, the characters are consistent, and it fits reality. In lots of the books, the characters act out of character (a.k.a. bad writing, when the author tries to force characters to conform to his/her ill thought out fantasies/plot points, e.g. Terry Pratchett's butchering of Corporal Carrot in Men at Arms) or the universe does not even remotely conform to reality (Ep. II Anakin: I killed them all, women and children! Padme: Everyone gets angry)

But in Ep. IV-VI + Timothy Zahn's books, the Star Wars characters act true, and the universe corresponds to reality.

It fits. It works. It's real.

I rest my case.
Updated with all the new books he's writing "Allegiance", "Choices of One", "Survivors Quest", and "Scoundrels".

I refuse to accept whatever weird death some lesser author assigned to Mara.
She clearly had at least 4 kids (her vision saw "childREN"), and convinced Luke to go off and work with a Thrawn clone in the Empire of the Hand to defend the galaxy from the horrible threat....