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Troop morale is at an all time high! You go, Yukizane.

WARNING, STAR WARS RANT INCOMING!

I’m currently listening to the audiobook for Star Wars Aftermath, the newest Star Wars novel exploring the new canon following Return of the Jedi. It’s… well, it’s certainly written in the present tense. I’m pretty sure that’s a first for a Star Wars novel, and I hate it. Maybe it’s just me, but present tense prose is wildly distracting and keeps dragging me out of the narrative. I guess, maybe, sometimes, present tense is effective, but it’s got to be alienating to most casual readers. So it sure seems like an odd choice to have the first, heavily advertised Star Wars novel of the new canon doing the ‘he says, she says’ instead of the ‘he said, she said’. I feel like most books written in present tense are either by pretentious authors who think they’re being avant garde, or authors writing smut. Seeing as how Aftermath has not had a single ounce of sex appeal so far, I’m betting it’s the former. I’m also concerned because this Aftermath book is part one of a trilogy of books leading up to Force Awakens. Don’t give me two more new canon SW novels in present tense, guys! I can’t do it, it’s just so obnoxious to read!!

As for the book’s story itself, well, I’m only about half an hour into it, and so far I’m not terribly impressed, it’s mostly just managed to make me nostalgic for the old canon’s later books that crammed 30 years of lore into each novel regularly. Even if those books weren’t literary masterpieces, they always made me feel like I was invested with how often they referenced that massive history of Expanded Universe content I’d spent years ingesting. The new books sometimes bring back EU terms and locations that make me almost forget that everything I once knew about the Star wars universe is a blank slate again. It makes me kind of sad that, so far, the new novels don’t seem to be injecting a lot of new ideas or memorable characters into the void left by the old canon. We’re my Mara Jade/Grand Admiral Thrawn/Jaina Solo analog?

I do keep hearing great things about Marvel’s Star Wars comic line, though! When they start publishing compilation graphic novels of those series, I’ll certainly be picking them up.

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  • Xinef

    As a totally unrelated note, I’m starting to think they should teach Yuki how to fight like a ninja. Not that he’d ever need it, but it would look cool… I mean “You should always aim to expand your tactical repertoire.”

    • Kid Chaos

      Yuki is more of a “brains over brawn” kind of guy, but it never hurts to be prepared.

    • Flaming Squirrel

      CHUBBY JUTSU!

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      I’ll just leave this here.

  • Little Kingsguard

    Suzuka and Yukizane, masters of social skills! Such masters, in fact that they have open conversations about other people’s problems literally five feet away from them!

    That aside, props for putting some noticeable muscle on Suzuka there. Too many people make their warrior women stick figures.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      I like my ninja women to look like they can snap a neck or two if need be.

  • Kid Chaos

    Love that smile on Yumiko’s face; the way it shows through the mask is just beautiful.

    • Xinef

      Suzuka’s expression isn’t bad either, eh?

    • clogboy

      How cute, she got the hots for Ken.

      • Kid Chaos

        Well, that’s one way to rebuild the clan.

        • clogboy

          I was thinking they were the Adam and Eve of the Daisuke clan.

  • BeigePaladin

    Yumi. Smile. Mask. Cute. Dying. Gone

    • Kid Chaos

      You really have a way with words. :)

      • BeigePaladin

        The same way a bull has with a china shop XD

        • Kid Chaos

          No, really, it’s practically an Ice-Cream Koan! :)

        • Derkins

          you should watch that myth busters episode. it’s like watching a ballet. with bulls.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      T’is a rare moment, indeed.

    • Richard Cockman

      Indeed, how can wearing a mask and smiling under it be so cute?

    • Jordan Hiller

      I hadn’t caught it the first time I read it. Coming back… OMG that’s adorable.

  • foducool

    shit, he’s not a master tactician for nothing, that dude is awesome!

  • Minando

    “I can barely eat”…and it shows, oh yes.

    • Flaming Squirrel

      I was thinking, it looks like he might have lost some weight since the last time we saw him. Then again, maybe I’m just nuts.

      • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

        I think Yukizane’s weight fluctuates like the length of Ken’s sword. Actually, drawing heavy set characters consistently has proven to be a bit of a challenge for me!

        • Flaming Squirrel

          The bigger Ken’s sword gets, the smaller Yuki’s belly gets. The question is, does that only apply to Ken’s original sword, or does any sword Ken uses qualify? Because if it’s the latter, Yuki should be fatter than ever.

          • Kid Chaos

            “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
            –Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”

  • Flaming Squirrel

    I’m imagining Suzuka is making that face in the last panel because Yukizane sprayed her with chewed up rice in panel 4.

  • Richard Shaffer

    On the subject of SW: Aftermath’s present tense, you said, “I feel like most books written in present tense are either by pretentious authors who think they’re being avant garde, or authors writing smut.”
    For the record a significant portion of Bestsellers and literary classics are present tense: The Hunger Games, Divergent, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, All Quiet on the Western Front, Gone Girl, 50 Shades of Bullsh–err–Grey, and perhaps a bit more topical given the subject of the comic: Memoirs of a Geisha.
    All written in present tense. It’s not nearly as uncommon as you think.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      In my rant I mentioned that I feel like ‘most’ books written in present tense are either by pretentious authors who think they’re being avant garde, or authors writing smut. There are genuinely great authors who really are or were avant garde who are totally justified in their prose because they’re masters of the writing craft. But, like abstract and modern art that breaks all the rules, the best avant garde artists are the ones who have already mastered all the rules. That’s why it’s genius when they break them.

      Now, between Hunger games and 50 Shades, every YA teen angst dystopia series and BDSM fantasy book has to be written in the present tense, and my rage meter continues to rise! I think there’s a general consensus that neither of those book series pushed the boundaries of literature, even if they were commercial successes for the mass audience. But does that mean the mass audience loves present tense writing? Maybe, I dunno, but I’ve got to say that I certainly don’t, especially not in my kriffing Star Wars novels!!!

      And I bet Aftermath sells really well because of its big advertising push, but it should come with the label ‘WARNING: Written in awkward present tense!”

  • okamitora

    VERY subtle there, Tactician. LOL

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      All part of the plan!

  • IDPounder

    Those silly ninja. So subtle.

  • Da’Zlein

    Follow those dorks and that guy she likes around as a job? Could be worse

  • Sunwu

    *Cut to Yumiko traveling with Iron claw*
    IC: Itsn’t this Great Yumiko-Sama! we’re going to protect that Little Wataro boy!!!!

    • IDPounder

      Ah, the petard hoist. A fine staple of ninja stories.

  • Hfar

    And whatever you do, don’t throw Yumiko into that brier patch.

    As for Star Wars Aftermath not being all that good, that’s sad to hear. I mean, they’ve already declared the old Star Wars EU non-canon, so at the very least they could provide us with some decent literature that we’re still getting a good deal.

    Ah well. Time to repeat my mantra: “Sturgeon’s law applies to everything.” Just got to wait for that 10%.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      Aftermath isn’t terrible, but I feel like it wasn’t what was advertised. It’s supposed to be the first book that really starts to bridge the gap between RotJ and FA, which would imply that it would begin the new adventures of Luke, Leia, and Han, but, instead, it’s about a bunch of new EU characters. Oh, and Wedge. All in glorious present tense.

  • Dorje

    And we see again how Disney burning the Expanded Universe is nothing more than them getting screen writers and directors who threw a hissy fit and because they are incapable of working within existing material.

    Looking up Chuck Wendig we find that he is mainly a horror writer, with most books to date in the World of Darkness setting by White Wolf (Vampire, Werewolf, Changeling). The rest are similar. He’s done a lot of writing… just not writing that would have prepared him for Star Wars.

    Sadly what this means is that Force Awakens will not be “The Thrawn Trilogy”, the shot in the arm that launched a generation of Expanded Universe material that kept Star Wars relevant and ticking. Hopefully the backlash to this book will be so massive (with returns to Amazon) that Disney will be forced to rethink its inclusion in the “new” canon.

    This is a subject that’s come up before with “remaking” or “reenvisioning” beloved material. And that is RESPECT. We find very often that writers, directors, and producers simply don’t respect the material they work with. They want to in some way shape or from become owners of it. Put their spin and stamp on it, instead of coming to understand the work, RESPECTING it, and working with what made it so great in the first place.

    If anyone is looking for English/Lit class compare and contrast material this is shaping up into a good one. Comparing the process of Timothy Zahn (its documented in an anniversary book) took to Chuck Wendigs seemingly slap dash cash-in. Of course another point is that Timothy Zahn was an established Science Fiction (far and near future) writer, where Chuck Wendigs is a dystopian horror writer. For realy this paper almost writers itself, and my degree wasn’t even remotely close to “Literature”.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      If Disney kept all the lore intact, what would they do for new movies? The books have covered basically every major event in the lives of Luke and Co. for some 40 years following RotJ. Should Disney have made the Thrawn trilogy into episodes 7-9? If they did, they’d still have to change things up quite a bit to get them to work as movies. The more a movie tries to be a direct translation of a book, the worse it is, generally speaking. So what we’d end up with is an alternate version of these books, and that mucks up the canon anyway, because now the book would be secondary canon to the film versions of the book! And chances are the films would contradict other already published novels and then we’d have a subset of official and unofficial canon anyway!

      This is why I’m fine with Disney throwing out the old EU. I didn’t dislike it, I loved it, but it was too bloated, it’d filled in too much history of the characters in ways that wouldn’t translate well to film without heavy revision. It makes more sense to build a new canon off of the movies, and Disney has the right idea of it by making sure everyone creating new parts of the EU are in contact with each other and making sure it all locks together. My big problem is that we’re getting too much of it all at once, no one person could reasonably keep up with it all!!

      And I do think they’re respecting the EU, because so far the new books are using all the terms, locations, and character archetypes I’d become very used to in the old EU. In fact, they might be sticking a little too close to the old stuff. The Alliance is even adopting the title of “New Republic” in Aftermath. Maybe it’s only a matter of time before Thrawn and other negated EU characters show up, who knows. After all, is there any woman in the galaxy better suited to hook up with Luke Skywalker than Mara Jade? Oh wait, I think Luke’s like a hermit or something in Force Awakens. N/M.

  • Johannes Hjortshøj

    Yuki is the uncle we all want and need. :)

    • Cross Ikon

      Well, except Suzi… She’s got the tease she wanted and needed…

  • Cross Ikon

    If the people in charge of the new EU were smart, they’d have Timothy Zahn writing the baseline for it. He did a pretty good job of it the first time around, and he’s definitely somebody I point at when people ask me for good sci-fi to read.

    Also, I want my goddamn Chiss back… and not played by Benedict Cumberbatch… ffs

    THRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWN

    • Grimlock13

      Mith-Raw-Nuruodo AKA: Great Admiral Thrawn, the only non-human to reach such a high position in the imperial army.

      • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

        I want to see Thrawn in Legend of the Galactic Heroes (if you don’t know what that is, google it!)

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      I think Chiss are still officially canon. Did any Chiss make an appearance in the Clone Wars cartoon at any point? Just one brief appearance and we’re good! I’m still hoping that Thrawn and Jade will appear in the new canon, and maybe not die this time.

      • KaelHyun

        No they did not however a quick look on Wookieepedia says they appeared in one of the new App games so they became canon again.

        • Cross Ikon

          Oh, thank God… Idiotic reason, but at least they’re still canon.

      • Cross Ikon

        Closest thing TCW introduces to Chiss are Pantorans and… ugh.

  • Vyse Krugger

    The man is glorious and I would gladly serve under him

  • http://www.digitalbias.com David Mitchell

    I think the tense in SW: Aftermath is off-putting as well. Takes me out of the story all the time.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      It’s totally unnecessary!

  • http://www.fennecfoxpress.com David A. Tatum

    Never been a fan of Wendig. He’s a “big name,” though, in the writing field — his blog frequently gets cited by other writers (though he’s frequently crass) for both debates (such as the recent Hugo Award fracas) or on the business of writing and publishing. From what I’ve read on that blog, I wouldn’t put “pretentious author who thinks he’s being avant garde” past him. Really don’t like the choice of him as an author for the new SW books.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      Well I suppose that explains a lot! Mind you, my biggest frustration with Aftermath is that it isn’t focusing on Luke, Han, and Leia and that present tense detracts from the narrative. The story that is there is, well, fine, so far. It’s certainly diversifying Star Wars with at least three featured gay characters and quite a few female imperial admirals and officers. I’m all for that because I do like the SW universe being gender and lifestyle blind. It’d make sense in a diverse galaxy. Heck, it’d make sense right here on Earth, but not everyone’s logical about these things!

  • http://rjthorwip.blogspot.com/ Redundant Jovian Thor

    i can actually see her smiling… hahahaha

    ALSO: you’re looking into the crack in the holograph and drawing what you find, arent you?

  • Scott Henry

    Yumiko is kinda hot. Love a tough woman who still looks womanly.

  • http://insolenz.echoing.org/ SotiCoto

    That is a smile?

    I thought it was bits of food that she had inexplicably tried to eat through her mask for some reason. Like she keeps just lifting the food to her mouth, pressing it against the mask, and it just falls on her lap, leaving little stains all over her mask.

  • Nos Rin aka CTCO

    She happy.

  • arkcine

    is it weird that I read Yukizane’s lines with uncle Iroh’s voice?

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