July 08, 2005

Hard Contact, Karen Traviss

I liked City of Pearl enough to read Traviss' Star Wars novel Hard Contact, which is mostly about clone troops and not bad. Not surprising either, but it's satisfying young-adult storytelling about Coming of Age, and conscious of the larger problems of, say, diplomacy and mutually exclusive moral goods. The Jedi officer is awful whiny, but that leaves more room for the nobility of the troops. Also, of course, Luke was pretty whiny, maybe it's an unexpected side-effect of the Force. Okay, thought I, the movies tanked out but group action has developed a universe around them; that explains some lingering loyalty. So I picked out one of the last books in the closing series, in which the original characters are gray-haired grownups and their children are having coming-of-age-journeys; and it was awful. Far too many words are spent on naming weapons, far too many pages are spent making sure that every copyrighted character does a character turn. But the basic problem is that the closing series doesn't seem to build on the close of the middle series; instead of the necessary process of putting the galaxy back together after all kinds of civil war, some implausibly successful aliens attack from another galaxy and Han, Luke, etc. come back to do exactly what they did in the movies. Don't worry, kids, no-one has to learn anything complicated when they grow up! You just suffer until you start glowing. Either that or you're a redshirt. See inside bottletop; cash value 1/10 of a cent.

I should make clear that the novel giving me hiccups isn't by Traviss; I have already forgotten who it's by and what it's called and don't even want to look it up.

The plot stagnation is particularly annoying given the generation of offspring available for the adventure story; one didn't need the grayhairs to posture their way through it, even if all one wanted to write was youth adventure. Clearly I have been too annoyed at Lois McMaster Bujold; at least her children-of-the-powerful learned something from it.

ISBN: 0345478274

So wrote clew in SF&F.
And thus wrote others:
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