Imagine zombies roaming around in the Star Wars galaxy, and this is the outcome. The plot itself is nothing new: a ship met some malfunction, stalled in the middle of nowhere, met a ghost ship, entered and bring back unspeakable horrors (you know what it is), everyone become zombies, a few protagonists died, a few finally survived and left, blah blah blah... Well, at least that is the gist of it. Sounds familiar? If it does, that is because it is. If you had played "Dead Space", then you can almost guess the whole story.
What is special about the story, which I really liked, is the way that the story did not repeat what was told in the summary, something which really annoyed me in most books. The story started directly with the event, and examined the past and thoughts of the few protagonists throughout the event. While the story runs its course by shadowing their escape and survival through the zombie horde, scraps of the details behind what caused this and what happened to the ghost ship was revealed indirectly. Since this is a science fiction story, zombies were of course caused by your friendly neighborhood virus, not magic or whatever hocus-pocus stuff....more
There is nothing novel in a story which featured a protagonist who was not confident in his abilities, even if he was a Jedi Master. But Mander Zuma was a different breed of Jedi Master - he was an Archivist. In other words, he was a librarian with spectacles to go with (yes, he really had specs).
What made Mander Zuma such an interesting character was his status as an Archivist (again, librarian with specs). I am used to Jedi Masters who put a show of Force and swinging lightsabers as if they were dancers, but the protagonist was just a simple librarian. He was not the best combat expert or tactician, nor was he even familiar with spaceflight, which somehow was something which you came to expect of all Jedi.
But he did not enter the story without bringing with him anything. I loved his particular strength of analysis - a cool head to think through situations and using his knowledge to resolve problems. He would read up manuals, facts and whatever volumes he could about the situation he would face before he face it. As an engineer who did that myself, this was a particular cool way which relate closely to my nature and job....more
A long long time ago, there was a ship filled with the living dead in a galaxy far far away. The captivating story of a ship full of Imperial dead shambling around was novel in the sense that the popular sci-fi franchise never tried to accommodate horror elements into it. At least never did it seriously. That was Joe Schreiber's Death Troopers (which was also another book shared in my previous article).
But the fact that this horrifying disease of living dead only struck on a ship full of Imperial mortals raised an interesting question, one which will eventually surface sooner or later: what if those weren't your usual bunch of mortals? What if those were Force wielders? Well, zombies carrying lightsabers is really a sight to behold, isn't it?
Red Harvest is not just about shambling Sith undeads - this is also where it began, and Schreiber tried to explain the unanswered questions from Death Troopers. The infection which occurred in the previous story was revealed to be the fallout of an event 4,000 years before, and evil had a name: Darth Scabrous.
The planet of Odacer-Faustin was the site of a Sith academy, where beings from around the galaxy convened to learn the ways of the Dark Side in order to fuel their own dark ambitions. Unfortunately for them, Darth Scabrous' ambition was something far darker and sinister and the infection started out as the solution to his scheme.
Thrown into the mix was Jedi Hestizo Trace of the Jedi Agricultural Corps, which essentially was the place for the less powerful. Well, at least we now know that not all Jedi were godlike beings, which makes sense. She was the caretaker of a rare breed of orchid known as the Murakami orchid, and unfortunately was the final ingredient for Darth Scabrous' recipe to work. With her misadventure thus began and whether she will make it through unscathed (or undead) became the focus of the novel.
In comparison, I still prefer Death Troopers as opposed to Red Harvest. Maybe it was the inclusion of something akin to black magic in the story, or it could be that despite the fact that the protagonists were Force wielders, they appeared puny and unable to defend themselves properly.
The more memorable scene of brother pitching against brother in the previous novel was replaced by another equally sad scene, although the latter somehow lacked the kind of impact the former had. It is undeniable though that the highlight of the story is not on what is most horrifying but on what is most saddening, which is what makes Schreiber's Star Wars horror novels unique and different....more
A Guide to the Star Wars Universe is a must have for die-hard fans like me in an era when internet is not as pervasive, and you just wanted to know a little bit more about that character or planet which you just read off the latest Star Wars novel.
The guide is organized like an encyclopedia, with articles on characters, organizations, planets and even artifacts and events. All the articles are arranged according to alphabetical order, allowing the reader to refer to his favorite scoundrel easily. The articles are all summarized according to published works on the Star Wars universe, which included novels, comics, radio programs, role-playing books, and of course, the movies. Since the guide is published in the year 2000, only the first of the prequel trilogy, The Phantom Menace, is included, as well as the first of the New Jedi Order series novel - Vector Prime. The illustrations in the guide is quite limited but still helpful.
Since Star Wars is a fictional universe developed around published works of novels and other literature, it has included in the footnote of each article where the item of interest existed. For instance, Garm Bel Iblis, the famed general who only existed in the Expanded Universe and not in the movies, is listed to make an appearance in works like Dark Force Rising and The Last Command....more