On the surface Han Solo is an “easy” character — a wise-cracking scoundrel with a penchant for getting in over his head. But for authors who want to really capture the sum of Han’s parts, it’s not quite as easy as it looks, especially post-Episode IV. He’s a mercenary, but he’s currently hooked up with a non-profit operation. He looks out for himself, but it’s his friends that are keeping him around. Author James S.A. Corey does a great job of handling this balancing act in the new book, Honor Among Thieves, out this week.
Archive for ‘Books and Comics’
There’s this story about being a writer that it’s a lonesome, solitary job where one labors in a garret or something. The reality is pretty different, and not just for us. Any writer going through traditional publishing models is at the very least working with an editor, a copyeditor, and the layout and design team. Often there are also first readers who give some distance and perspective on a new book, friends, and spouses who we bounce ideas off, other writers who we sit at bars with and talk about business and craft. So just from the outset, let’s be clear: Writing is only a solitary business when you compare it to something like tech support or consulting.
Writing for something like Star Wars? That’s a whole different level of collaboration. When we stepped into the project, there were already somewhere between 80 and 90 writers just on the novels in the Expanded Universe. Recent estimates have it that with the books, comic books, video games, and television shows, the Star Wars universe has more stories in it than there are atoms in the universe, though that may be a slight overstatement.
As an educator at the Secondary level, it’s imperative that you keep your students engaged and interested in the curriculum, as you navigate the distractions that life may provide at any given moment. While attending college to become certified as a high school English teacher, I was constantly told that students need to be met where they are at in their lives, and heard catch phrases like “edutainment” to describe the pedagogical approach that many are encouraged to pursue.
This is one of many reasons why incorporating Star Wars into the curriculum is all at once gratifying, exciting, and rewarding. It’s wonderful to see how integrating the saga can inspire students to explore other worlds, analyze complex themes, examine characters and characterization, and think critically about that galaxy far, far away. Navigating the saga encourages empathy and creativity that is essential to molding young minds to become something greater than themselves. Just as Luke Skywalker looked into the twin suns of Tatooine for an outlet to other worlds, and to find his place in the universe, each student is encouraged to make similar connections for the betterment of his or her own world. Star Wars is an excellent avenue for this.
Next month sadly will see the final issue of Dark Horse Comics’ Dawn of the Jedi. John Ostrander and Jan Duursema have done an amazing job of conceiving a Star Wars universe set more than 25,000 years before the events of A New Hope. As dawn turns to dusk, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about what I particularly loved about this groundbreaking series.
I’ve never had a job that involves quite so much secrecy before. There’s a certain element of surprise when working as a conventional book editor — you want to reveal a cover at just the right time, or you can’t announce a new deal with an author until the contract is signed — but as you might imagine, working at Lucasfilm adds a whole other dimension to the need to keep things under wraps. There are projects we can’t talk about yet, which may or may not be related to entertainment we can’t talk about yet, as well as other things that we just can’t talk about yet.
Unfortunately, all this can make coming up with blog post topics frustrating.
Few sights strike as much fear and awe in the Star Wars universe as the sight of a Mandalorian warrior clad in traditional armor. Star Wars fans were first introduced to it with Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back, with its iconic helmet, sleek weaponry, and very cool jetpack helping to make the bounty hunter a fan favorite. Since then it has made appearances in subsequent Star Wars movies, television shows, books, comics, and games. The armor is, without a doubt, the most iconic symbol of Mandalorian culture.
Mandalorian armor is known as beskar’gam (iron skin) in the Mandalorian language, and is worn exclusively by warriors. It is worn by both men and women, and while it gives excellent protection, it also creates a common appearance regardless of species or gender. The highest quality sets are made by lightsaber-resistant beskar (Mandalorian Iron), but the exceptionally high cost and rarity of beskar has led to the use of durasteel, alum, and duraplast in armor production. Mandalorian metalsmiths have traditionally kepth the methods for working beskar into an alloy a highly guarded secret, but the element could be mixed with other metals such as ciridium to create a highly dense and almost indestructible set of armor. (a)
The galaxy is vast and filled with wonders. There are ancient wonders, like Belgoth’s Beacon, which predates the Republic. There are massive wonders, like the Shawken Spire, which stood freely on the ground and reached low orbit. There are mysterious wonders, like the 35,000 Brass Soldiers of Axum. However, there are very few wonders in the galaxy that are ancient, massive, and mysterious all at once, like Centerpoint Station.
Throughout galactic history, Centerpoint Station has been many things to many beings. For the Killik hives, it was a religious duty. To cosmic threats, it was a prison. Colonists called it home, while criminals called it good for business. Governments have viewed it as a doomsday device, while Jedi thought it as a threat to galactic peace. For the Corellians, its power represented true independence. Centerpoint has been all of these things and more.