Tag Archives: sci fi

Growing Up Too Fast

This post was intended to be my third article in my New Jedi Order series of posts.  I didn’t have the chance to write it until February 2015, and quaintjeremy has not yet had time to review it and get it posted.  With his permission to copy my series over to my own blog, I now present the third installment of my review and thoughts on the book series.


It has been a long time now since last you heard from me.  Between an over-demanding schedule at work, and an increased apathy after getting home from said schedule, I’ve been negligent even to my own personal blog.  But, I am resolved to reactivate myself in the blogosphere.  To that end, I return to a topic I began in August of last year: the death of Chewbacca.

Having examined Han’s reaction to his best friend’s passing, I wish now to look at Anakin Solo’s life after Chewie’s death.  If you need a quick reminder of what’s going on, you might want to check out my first and second sci-fi posts for the Thoughts.  The short version, Anakin was the one who decided the needs of the many out-weighed the needs of the one and leaves Chewbacca on the doomed world of Sernpidal, despite Han’s vehement protests.

After his father outright blames him for Chewie’s death, Anakin withdraws almost as much as Han from the world around him.  The loss of his protector and friend hardens the young Solo’s resolve to do anything in his power to prevent the loss of any more close friends or relatives.  Anakin becomes so focused on this ideal that he devotes himself to finding ways to fight back against the Yuuzhan Vong. In this pursuit, Anakin rediscovers the lost Jedi art of the battle meditation.  The battle meditation does play a pivotal part in the war at various battles, but I will examine that another time.

After a time, Anakin even develops a vague “Vong-sense” after some alterations to his lightsaber made during his captivity on Yavin IV. Anakin is able to take his lightsaber and attune it with a lambent crystal inside. Lambents are living crystal used by Yuuzhan Vong as sources of artificial light. Anakin struggles through a lot of mental turmoil before getting the weapon to work. When he finally ignites the now purple blade, he realizes that attuning the lambent to the lightsaber has provided a sense of the Yuuzhan Vong similar to Force sense of other people, but to a lesser degree. To get Anakin to Yavin IV, however, I must digress.

Upon learning that the Yuuzhan Vong have targeted Yavin IV as their next target, Anakin charges off to the planet, against the counsel of his uncle, Luke Skywalker, to warn the Jedi Praxeum. This is where Luke has established his training center and home for young Jedi-to-be. However, Anakin arrives to find that the Peace Brigade, a collection of dissidents who side with the Yuuzhan Vong thinking they will be allowed to survive the takeover of the galaxy, have already begun an invasion of the planet.  Anakin stays to fight, along with Tahiri and Ikrit, buying time for many of the children to escape.

During the fighting, Anakin’s long time friend and classmate, Tahiri Veila, is captured.  Anakin is still haunted by his decision at Sernpidal and decides to go after her in a poorly-planned rescue attempt.  He manages to get himself captured and is put to work as a slave with the Shamed Ones, the lowest caste of the Yuuzhan Vong’s society.  Shamed ones are without honor and deemed cursed by the gods.  Often they are Shamed by an implant not taking hold properly, or in the case of warriors, perform some act that strips them of their honor.  I will look more specifically at Tahiri’s story another time.

Anakin is eventually able to convince one Shamed One, Vua Rapuung, to assist him in freeing Tahiri, after Rapuung tells Anakin that she will be shaped into a Yuuzhan Vong.  During the ensuing Shamed uprising, Anakin and Rapuung fight side by side, instilling an ideal in the Shamed Ones that greatly affects the latter months of the war.  Anakin does eventually rescue Tahiri, but he still doesn’t feel that he has atoned for his perceived sins.

Several months later, the Yuuzhan Vong have created creatures that are part vornskr, part fero xyn: voxyn.  Voxyn are shaped and cloned for one purpose and that purpose is to hunt down and kill Jedi.  The voxyn combine the Force-sensitivity and hunting skills of a vornskr with the even-more ferocious hunting skills of the fero xyn.  Voxyn could smell Jedi through the Force and track them over great distances, even from one sensing the Jedi on other ships through the void of space.  They possessed 8 legs, a poisonous scorpion-like talk, and could spit acid and produce sonic blast-wave screeches.  These creatures were truly one of the most deadly adversaries the Jedi Order ever faced.

The Order was able to learn that the voxyn were all being cloned from a queen, who was being kept at the Yuuzhan Vong worldship in orbit around Myrkr.  After losing several Jedi to the creatures, something had to be done to stop them.  Most of the ordained Knights and Masters were occupied with other war efforts.  So, a strike team of young Jedi was assembled, despite Luke’s misgivings, and sent on a mission to kill the voxyn queen.

The strike team and the voxyn. Image uploaded from http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mission_to_Myrkr?file=SbS_Fallen_hr.jpg
The strike team and the voxyn. Image uploaded from http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Mission_to_Myrkr?file=SbS_Fallen_hr.jpg

Anakin Solo lead the strike team including his twin siblings, Jacen and Jaina Solo, Tahiri Veila, Tenel Ka, Lowbacca, Alema Rarr, and several other young Jedi.  The strike team also included several YVH droids, and eventually included to Dark Jedi the team encountered on the worldship.  The mission was successful, but at a great cost.  All of the YVH droids were destroyed, and roughly half of the Jedi were killed, including Anakin.

The strike team was trapped in a corridor and being hunted by several dozen warriors and a few voxyn.  While the two Dark Jedi stole the ship the strike team intended for their escape, a severely-wounded Anakin took it upon himself to fight off the warriors and buy time for the strike team to escape.  He was determined that no more of his team would die on the mission and began to draw heavily on the Force during his fight.  As he drew more of the Force into himself, Anakin began to glow and emit a brighter and brighter light.  Pulling a thermal detonator to himself with the Force, he was able to kill the remaining voxyn chasing the team.  Ultimately, the amount of Force energy Anakin drew into himself was of such magnitude, that he became one with the living Force and vanished in a blinding white light of pure Force energy.

It is my firm belief that Anakin would not have felt compelled to meet his end in such a manor had Chewbacca not died on Sernpidal.  The death of someone so close to Anakin, combined with the subsequent deaths of other Jedi and innocents at the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong, pushed Anakin, and indeed all the young Jedi of the mission, to grow up too fast.  They formed in their minds a responsibility that would normally befall persons much older than them.  However, the culmination in his death at Myrkr was set in motion by the events and actions of Sernpidal’s destruction.

Tell me your thoughts on Anakin’s life and death in the comments below.  May the Force be with you.

Rage, rage against the dying of a planet. (complete post)

Greetings again, readers.  As stated previously, here is another of my posts from quaintjeremy’s blog.  This is a direct follow up to my first post on the subject of The New Jedi Order book series.  It was originally posted August 5, 2014.


In my last post, I commented briefly on how Chewbacca’s death had set a grim tone for The New Jedi Order book series.  I would like to take some time now and examine that a little more in-depth in the first post on this topic.

In Vector Prime, Chewbacca, Han Solo, and his son Anakin Solo, go to the planet Sernpidal at the request of Han’s “old buddy” Lando Calrissian.  Lando has asked them to pick up a shipment for him, but things are not well when they get to Sernpidal.  The moon, Dobido, looks awfully large and seems to be moving awfully fast through its orbit around the planet.

They are approached by the former mayor, who tells them the moon is on a collision course with the planet. Then Han and Chewie begin loading up people onto starships to get as many folks off the doomed planet as possible, while Anakin runs off with the former mayor to try and see what’s causing the moon to behave this way.  As it turns out, the Yuuzhan Vong are behind it all, using a dovin basal to manipulate gravity and literally pull the moon into the planet.

When Anakin is knocked away from the Falcon, Chewie runs after him and gets him back up on the ship.  Han asks Anakin to take over so he can help Chewie up onto the boarding ramp.  However, the planet is beginning to come apart at the seams.  The ground is in violent upheaval, the winds are hurricane-force, and the moon is about to make contact with the planet at any moment.  Despite Han’s protests, Anakin makes a hard decision to leave Chewbacca behind, to save themselves, and the dozens of people on board, all of whom are now homeless refugees.

Han watches, disbelievingly, as the Falcon flies away, and Chewbacca howls defiantly at the moon as it crashes into him and the planet.

Chewbacca howls defiantly in the face of death. Image from http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090626185056/starwars/images/f/f6/Chewbacca_Sernpidal.jpg
Chewbacca howls defiantly in the face of death. Image from http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090626185056/starwars/images/f/f6/Chewbacca_Sernpidal.jpg

Han is furious with his son and so overcome with grief-fueled anger, that he goes as far as to blame Anakin for Chewie’s death.  Han Solo, revered and hated throughout the galaxy, became a man consumed by grief.  He spent weeks alone in the Solos’ apartment on Coruscant, with the lights off and a bottle in his hand.  His family and friends feared that he would never come out of his grief.  They all tried to pull him back into the fold, to be there for him, comfort him, but he would just push them away.  Even after Chewbacca’s funeral on Kashyyk, Han was nearly inconsolable.

This whole ordeal causes a massive rift to form between Han and his family, and he goes so far as to fly off in the Falcon, leaving Leia and the kids to their own devices.  Even with a new temporary sidekick in the form of a Ryn named Droma, Han still refuses to even take comm messages from his wife for several weeks.  It is a full four books after Vector Prime before Han begins to return to his old self, but even then, it is not entirely his old self.  Chewbacca’s death breaks one of Han Solo’s most endearing qualities: his sense of invincibility.  For several months after Chewie’s death, Han second-guesses himself and errs on the side of caution much more than he ever did.

It is also some time before Han actually apologizes to Anakin for the blame Han placed on him.  Yet, even with his father’s apologies, Anakin is forever changed by the guilt he feels.  With or without Han’s blame, Anakin feels responsible because he made the decision to leave Chewbacca behind.  It is Anakin’s reaction to Chewbacca’s death that I wish to examine next time.  For now, how did Chewbacca’s death affect you?  Do you agree with Han’s reaction, as developed in the series?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

The New Jedi Order – complete post

Greetings, readers.  I know some of you may have seen this before, but here is the entirety of my first major post for quaintjeremy’s blog.  My friend has not had the chance to be as active on his site as he once was, so I am copying my original work to my own blog, with his permission.  I strongly suggest you head over to his page and see all the great work he and his contributors have done there.  For now, here’s my first post as his resident sci-fi “expert,” posted July 15, 2014.


Hello all!  For my first sci-fi post here at the Thoughts, I wanted to tackle the book series from the early 2000s called The New Jedi Order.  I was always under the impression that this book series was not well-written and generally not a good read.  However, some time ago, I decided that it would behoove me to know more about the details of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion.  This seemed to impact so much of the Star Wars galaxy that I felt under-accomplished as a Star Wars nerd for not having read the series.

Image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/51/Vector_Prime.jpg
Image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/51/Vector_Prime.jpg


…if you haven’t read any of these books or been on Wookiepedia at any point in time.

The series begins with a book by R. A. Salvatore titled Vector Prime.  This is Salvatore’s first Star Wars novel, and he does a fantastic job.  I doubt very much that this surprised anyone, as Salvatore is the rather successful author behind many of the Forgotten Realms books.  I’m sure what did shock everyone was his choice to kill one of the main cast from the original trilogy movies.  The death of Chewbacca was a hard one to take and affected the tone of the whole series, but the subsequent authors did a very nice job of picking up where Salvatore left off and expounding on the new society he created: the Yuuzhan Vong, a race from a whole other galaxy.

The Yuuzhan Vong are a completely alien entity to every facet of life in the Star Wars galaxy.  They embrace pain as a natural and very important part of life.  They intentionally inflict pain on themselves as a means of worshiping their gods.  Indeed, their creation myth tells them that the first Yuuzhan Vong were cut off of their most revered deity, Yun-Yuuzhan.  His initial sacrifice to bring his children into existence is a big part of why the Yuuzhan Vong practice ritual sacrifice of slaves and captives, as well as personal sacrifice of their person.

Another major differentiating factor is their use of biotechnology, or shaping.  The Yuuzhan Vong do not use any form of technology as we, nor indeed the denizens of the Star Wars galaxy, understand it.  But the Yuuzhan Vong take it a step further to the point that mechanical technology, no matter to what scale it is used, is blasphemous and an abomination to the gods.  This is usually the first thing they set about doing when they have conquered a planet during the invasion.

Perhaps the hardest thing to come to terms with for the Jedi is the fact that the Yuuzhan Vong exist outside the Force.  The Jedi can’t detect them, anticipate their movements, affect them with mind tricks, pick them up and toss them away, none of that.  However, the Jedi quickly become the focus of much of the Yuuzhan Vong’s efforts to splinter the factions of the galaxy by more or less posting a bounty on Jedi.

I will admit that I have not finished the series yet, but I am close to the end.  With only three and a half books to go, I believe I have found the part of the series where some start to take issue with the writing.  There is a trio of books toward the end of the series written by two authors: Sean Williams and Shane Dix.  Admittedly, I know nothing else by either of these authors.  However, they do seem to railroad the story line into a particular direction in their first book, and also have a distinctly different approach to some of the characters.

Jaina Solo is a major player, both militarily and as a Jedi, throughout the entire Yuuzhan Vong war.  She was deeply affected by the Mission to Myrkr with the other young Jedi, including her brothers Jacen and Anakin.  With the death of Anakin, and Jacen’s capture on that mission, Jaina was in a dark place for a while.  She eventually came to the conclusion that Jacen had also died in Yuuzhan Vong captivity.  As such, she closed herself off to a lot of her friends and family.  Her outlook on life became very grim as well, and she fully expected to die before the end of the war.  It therefore made absolutely no sense to me that suddenly, in Force Heretic: Remnant, she is quite jovial and optimistic about things.

I’m not sure which of the authors penned this part of the book, but it is making this trilogy within the series quite difficult to read at times.  However, my overall opinion on the series still stands.  It has been my experience that The New Jedi Order is a vastly underrated series in the Star Wars expanded universe.  I intend to have future posts that return to this series, so please tell me your thoughts on the book series in the comments.  May the Force be with you.

So Say We All!

Picture from https://andrewblog1.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/fleet.jpg
Picture from https://andrewblog1.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/fleet.jpg

Last month marked the 10th anniversary of the season premiere of the Battlestar Galactica reboot.  While the miniseries had aired several months before, the show didn’t start until January 2005.  This is one of my all-time favorite sci-fi shows.  The drama of the show is incredible, as is the writing and acting.  I bonded with a couple of my friends over this show.  In fact, my friend, Jeremy, got me back into the show after I lost touch with it early in college.  I felt I needed to post something about a show that has shaped much of my view of what sci-fi is and can be.  Words do not do justice to the impact this show and its characters had on my view of life and humanity.

Are you a fan of the show?  What are your thoughts on the show being 10 years old?  I, for one, plan to re-watch the whole series sometime very soon.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  And, if you are a fan of the show, I recommend you watch the video below put together prior to the start of season 4 as a quick recap.  It’s both funny and accurate in as brief a video as possible.

Loot Crate Unboxing – September 2014

Hello all!  I’m back, and it’s time for another Loot Crate unboxing!  I realize I’m a little behind the 8 ball, but this is really the soonest I had the time (and energy) to get back to the blog.  So, without further adieu, the September Loot Crate!  This month’s theme: Galactic.

The great stuff in my September 2014 Loot Crate!  Please ignore the cluttered computer desk in the background.
The great stuff in my September 2014 Loot Crate! Please ignore the cluttered computer desk in the background.

I’m going to start with the xenomorph and move in a clockwise-spiral through the picture.  So, the xenomorph.  One of the most terrifying alien species ever to grace the silver screen and haunt our nightmares.  This was actually one of the available figures available to Looters from ReAction Figures, so of course I ended up with the scariest one.  I’ll be honest.  I was actually afraid of the movie for a long time and would refuse to watch it.  I still need to watch it with all the lights on and caccooned securely in a blanket, but I do enjoy watching Alien from time to time.  I haven’t decided if I want to risk letting it out of the packaging…

Next, we have a Loot Crate exclusive Tribble from Qmx.  The packaging on this is lovely and quite amusing.  It includes warnings to “KEEP OUT OF REACH OF KLINGONS” and “DO NOT BLOCK VENTILATION GRILL”.  This little fuzzy guy is adorable, but I haven’t heard any squealing yet, so I’m probably going to leave him in there.  I’d rather not be eaten out of house and home.

Following the Tribble, we have a cool vinyl figure of Captain Tightpants himself! Malcolm Reynolds!  Another line from our friends at Funko, this box is usually a mystery sci-fi legend, and Captain Mal is usually holding his sidearm.  However, in the wonderful Loot Crate exclusive, he’s wielding his over-under double-barrel.  It’s a great Firefly treasure that any Brown Coat can appreciate (since we don’t get very many anymore).

We have a poster this month and it enshrines that fateful moment in Cloud City when Han and Leia kind of said ‘I love you’ for the first time.  It’s a fine piece of carbonite that will look good somewhere in my nerd den.  I just need a cargo hold to store him in…

Moving down to the Halo postcard, we have a digital download for a new run of Halo comics that follow the events of Halo 4 and the intrepid crew of the UNSC flagship Infinity.  It looks like it should be a good read, as many of the familiar faces of Halo 4’s Spartan Ops missions are seen.  There’s even a few of the old favorites.  I look forward to diving back into a world that’s been so prevalent in the lives of popular culture for the past decade and then some.

Then we come to another wonderful Firefly bit: money.  It seems that Looters have been gifted that which the fine crew of Serenity struggle so hard to find and keep.  Jayne Day would be long celebrated with this fat stack of cash.  On a personal note, I will probably add this to the Geek Supreme cosplay I have in mind, as well as my Jayne cosplay that will continue to develop.

Next we have something that every galactic traveler needs: cool snacks.  OK, so they’re just Pop Rocks.  That doesn’t diminish the fact that every Looter who ate bag after bag during their childhood isn’t filled with nostalgia.  And while it’s been proven that mixing them with soda won’t make your stomach explode, I can’t think of any soda that might go with apple flavored Pop Rocks.

Finally, we come to another fine mash up bit of swag.  For the third month in a row, Looters have been gifted a magnet.  If this keeps up, we’re likely to run out of space real fast.  This month’s magnet clearly looks like an early Star Wars arcade game crossed with the always classic Asteroids arcade.  The primary difference is, you’re a Star Destroyer looking for the Millennium Falcon in the Hoth asteroid field.

And that pretty much wraps it up for this month.  All in all, this was a pretty awesome crate.  It was also probably worth the most since I started my subscription.  I hope you all enjoyed your crates.  If you aren’t subscribed, I highly recommend it.

And to my regulars, I should have Weird Al Wednesdays back up and running this week.