Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: Beware the Sith by DK Publishing


Beware the Sith or if you are a Jedi of questionable moral fiber perhaps it is better to be aware of the Sith. In any event the publisher DK in February of 2012 release a book on the Dark Side targeted at children between the ages of 7-12.

Beware of the Sith features tons of images from the six Star Wars movies with little snippets of knowledge about the Sith, focusing on Palpatine and his various apprentices. Presented in this 96 page hardcover book is a collection of sections that are set up roughly like magazine articles with lots of images and word bubbles spread across them. As an introduction to some information about the Sith beyond the film, I think it does a great job dropping small EU nuggets like the Sith Code, Darth Bane and Darth Plagueis.

While as an adult reader some of the information presented is over simplified and some of the sections like "Sith Plan: Take Control" could have been worded differently, overall it is a cool way to get your Youngling reading, particularly if they have slightly evil inclinations.

My two favorite sections where the floor plan and description of Palpatine's offices and the section on Sith Artifacts. Any time we get to see high quality images of props that we see briefly or only in passing in the films I enjoy that.

The section of the book entitled "Becoming a Sith" has an awesome set of four photos of actor Ian McDiarmid as Senator Palpatine, then Supreme Chancellor, then Prequel Darth Sidious and finally original trilogy Emperor Palpatine. This is an awesome visualization of the transformation that the character went through. The only problem is that it seems to imply that the use of Sith Lightning caused the transformation, not the fact that Mace Windu used his lightsaber to redirect the lighting to Sidious that caused the disfigurement.

While as a critical adult Expanded Universe reader I have some issues with some of the content of the book, I absolutely loved the visuals in it and was surprised by the amount of detail and information that was provided at times. I think if your kids are anything like I was when I was younger, they will love this book. The bad guys are always have cooler stuff.

For more on Star Wars: Beware the Sith visit DK.com

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rancho Obi-Wan Experience coming to Celebration VI



The Rancho Obi-Wan Experience
Coming to Star WarsCelebration VI!

CONTACT: Consetta Parker:

ORLANDO—July 20—A selection of rare, interactive, and one-of-a-kind treasures from the world’s largest privately-held collection of Star Wars memorabilia will be on display at Star Wars Celebration VI as part of The Rancho Obi-Wan Experience!
“I’m really excited that we’re going to be able to share with tens of thousands of fans a carefully curated exhibit that shows the breadth and depth of both worldwide Star Wars merchandise over 35 years and the passion and skill that fans have shown in creating their own tribute works,” said Steve Sansweet, owner of the collection and president and chief executive of Rancho Obi-Wan Inc., the nonprofit company that runs the membership museum in Petaluma, CA.

The Rancho Obi-Wan Experience will occupy a 600-square-foot mini-museum space on the main exhibit floor of Celebration VI, which takes places in Orlando, FL, from August 23 through 26 (www.starwarscelebration.com).Items will range from props and prototypes to original art and fan-made wonders.

In addition, fans will have the opportunity to chat with Steve and ask any questions. There will be advance sales of the upcomingStar Wars: Ultimate Action Figure Collection book (Chronicle Books, fall 2012), with unique and colorful free bookplates that can be personalized and signed by all four authors.
Fans will also be able to become members of Rancho Obi-Wan and take home personalized membership kits that—in addition to a card, letter, and 2012 ROW patch—will contain an exclusive matching Celebration VI patch available in very limited quantities. There also will be a limited amount of ROW and special Rancho Obi-Wan Experience merchandise available, along with some of Steve’s Star Wars books.
Steve and other managers and board members of Rancho Obi-Wan will be doing a panel on ROW as part of the Collectors’ Track. Fans can also get help at the exhibit planning a future trip to ROW (www.RanchoObiWan.org), (twitter: @RanchoObiWan),(www.facebook.com/RanchoObiWan).
STAR WARS™ and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd.  All rights reserved.  All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

For more information about Rancho Obi-Wan as well as other great Star Wars related clients you can also follow Consetta Parker on Twitter (@Parkerpublicist)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Coruscant Fatigue: Are you as tired of the Galactic Capital as I am?


So admittedly I probably read and re-read Star Wars books an unhealthy amount, so maybe this is something that is only bothering me, but I want to get it off my chest.

                                   ENOUGH CORUSCANT!

Since the introduction of the massive City covered planet by Timothy Zahn as Coruscant in Heir to the Empire and it's subsequent appearance in the Special Edition of Return of the Jedi, the throne world of the Empire and the Republic has become a central point in Expanded Universe story telling.

As a key planet in the Core of the galaxy it makes sense that Coruscant would play a role in the large scale conflicts of the galaxy, but it seems like almost every book series we have gotten lately has been far to focused on the planet.

Coruscant also gets featured very frequently on The Clone Wars series, is getting a staring role in LucasArts new game, Star Wars: 1313 and if it ever gets off the ground will be a central location on the Star Wars Live Action Series.

There isn't anything wrong with using Coruscant as a location, it is particularly visually compelling, but there are simply two many diverse planets and locations to focus so much time on this one particular planet.  We have two full books dedicated to the planets of the galaxy, The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons, and Star Wars: The Essential Atlas.

I will say that I am pleased that in the post-Fate of the Jedi novels the Jedi are moving away from Coruscant, it also seems likely we are less likely to get the sort of Galactic Civil War scale conflicts that make Coruscant a central story telling location.

A few years of novels without more than passing references to Coruscant would be awesome and would make a future stories set on the planet much more compelling.  Look at it this way, if George Lucas could make the Original Trilogy without showing the Galactic Capital world, I think we can manage a few more books without it.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories


"It was our destiny to land on this rock—and we are bound to our destiny. For a time, it looks like, we're also bound to this rock. So be it. We're Sith. Let's make it ours."―Yaru Korsin

In May of 2009, Del Rey and Lucasbooks launched the first in a series of ebook novellas detailing the story of a Sith starship's crew and their crash landing on the planet Kesh.

This series of ebooks detailed the exploits of what became known as the Lost Tribe, this group of Sith becomes marooned on a back-rocket planet circa 5,000 BBY.  While it began as a tie-in to the Fate of the Jedi series, the Lost Tribe of the Sith stories developed into a very compelling set of stories in their own right.

Publisher's Summary:

At last in one volume, the eight original installments of the epic Lost Tribe of the Sith eBook series . . . along with the explosive, never-before-published finale, Pandemonium—more than one hundred pages of new material! Five thousand years ago. After a Jedi ambush, the Sith mining ship Omen lies wrecked on a remote, unknown planet. Its commander, Yaru Korsin, battles the bloodshed of a mutinous faction led by his own brother. Marooned and facing death, the Sith crew have no choice but to venture into their desolate surroundings. They face any number of brutal challenges—vicious predators, lethal plagues, tribal people who worship vengeful gods—and like true Sith warriors, counter them with the dark side of the Force. The struggles are just beginning for the proud, uncompromising Sith, driven as they are to rule at all costs. They will vanquish the primitive natives, and they will find their way back to their true destiny as rulers of the galaxy. But as their legacy grows over thousands of years, the Sith ultimately find themselves tested by the most dangerous threat of all: the enemy within.


To be honest, on the whole I enjoyed the Lost Tribe much more than I enjoyed Lovecraftian villain Abeloth. What author and comic story writer John Jackson Miller does in this story is craft Dark Side Gilligan's Island or perhaps Lord of the Flies is a better comparison, either way we get a marooned crew of Sith which was a mixture of human and red skinned Sith (at least for a little while).  They crash on the planet Kesh, only two discover a native population with a mythology that is convenient and a lack of metal ore which is most inconvenient.

Without metal to build or repair their ship, the Omen, the Sith are faced with the fact that they have no choice but to remain on the planet.

This is where things get interesting, few in numbers the Sith must work together to wrestle control of the planet from the native population and in doing so create a very curious and unique Sith culture.

This volume is provided in trade paperback format (the same format that the Clone Wars Karen Miller books received).  This is purely personal preference but I detest this format.  I love hardcovers and like paperbacks, but I cannot get over the fact that my trade paperbacks do not stand up well to abuse.  The larger size of trade paperbacks makes them feel much flimsier then mass market paperbacks.  In addition to the different size, the trade paperback of this book carries a cover price of $12, while the recent Star Wars Mass Market Paperbacks are priced at $7.99. The book is also available as an ebook for the great price of $4.99.  Note: Amazon has not updated it's pre-order price and is still charging the $7.99 Mass Market price.


Note #2: Author John Jackson Miller points me to a new correct listing on Amazon.com that has the trade paperback edition for $7.80. Also if you are a Amazon Prime Member you can get 2 day shipping on the item for free. 

What we get in the book are the eight ebook stories, Precipice, Skyborn, Paragon, Savior, Purgatory, Sentinel, Pantheon and Secrets.  These amount to 255 pages of the book.  There is also an all new novella entitled, Pandemonium that weighs in at a meaty 128 pages.  The book also includes maps of two continents on Kesh, the continent that the Sith landed on Keshtah and a new continent that is introduced in Pandemonium, Alanciar. The last bit of added value is 19 page excerpt from Aaron Allston's upcoming novel X-Wing: Mercy Kill.

One of my favorite things about this series is that at times you can almost forget that the protagonists are evil, but then they display the callousness or casual brutality that can shock you out of liking these characters.  By crafting a rich Sith society and creating Sith characters of different types we get some very interesting story telling.

Pandemonium begins in 2,975 BBY and the over all effect of the series of stories is snap shots in history.  We get dropped in mid-story at momentous times in the history of the Lost Tribe, what happens in between is sometimes referred to but left to the imagination to fill in the dots.  By ending the story the way he does Miller also opens up some interesting story telling possibilities that he will continue in the new Dark Horse Comics which will debut on August 8th with Lost Tribe of the Sith #1. This continuation of the Lost Tribe tales represents the further integration of the Dark Horse comic and Del Rey novel lines and is a very positive thing for the Expanded Universe and fans of continuity.

I will admit I was a little worried about Pandemonium when I began reading it and started to wonder whether Nicholas Sparks had started writing Star Wars.  But the romantic story line involved is an interesting and humanizing way of introducing one of our main characters, Wardmaster Quarra Thayn.  I won't spoil the story for you, but it becomes a very interesting tale and we even get to see my favor "good" Sith Gand Master Varner Hilts return.

While I am not a fan of the format of this novel, if you like the Sith or simply like flawed and conflicted protagonists, John Jackson Miller has written a series of stories that are not to be missed.  Plus we get more maps, Star Wars maps are kriffing awesome.

For more on Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories visit Random House and for more from author John Jackson Miller visit, Faraway Press.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

SDCC Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Space Station Maul Trailer


Lucasfilm is spreading the love, first we saw IGN get the exclusive first look at the Mando Obi-Wan trailer, now Entertainment Weekly's EW.com gets the first look of a trailer with Darth Maul and Savage Opress aboard a space station.

 The video opens on an unidentified space station that appears to be manned exclusively by security droids of some sort. I do not believe this is a model of droids we have seen on the show before. The lead droid identifies another droid as "SD-357," so it is possible that this is an early series of the Balmorran Arms SD-Series battle droids. The caveat with that is that they do not look like the later series droids depicted on the Wookieepedia page.


We then see Maul and Opress lay waste to the droids.

It is a pretty quick scene, but I think we just saw a bank robbery.  Why?  Once again we get only a brief bit of dialogue in this clip.  The lead droid says the following,
Droid: "Intruders...You are trespassing on Intergalactic..."

Now the term "intergalactic" is vague enough by itself that it could mean any number of things with regard to who owns the space station and it's purpose, but we already have some clue as to what Maul may be doing in Season 5.

On the Star Wars Report website I speculated based on a forthcoming young reader novel description, that Maul will be attempting to gather his own power base from the criminal underworld.  We have know Black Sun will come into play in some way, and the SDCC Mando Obi-Wan clips hints that Maul may also have a faction of Mandalorians under his control as well.

How is Maul going to control the criminal underworld? After all he does not have a Death Star, the fear of which could keep people in line.  How then will he win friends and influence people? Copious amounts of credits.  In the Star Wars galaxy who has the credits?  The InterGalactic Banking Clan.

Once again according to the Wookieepedia (I love this thing by the way) the InterGalactic Banking Clan operates a series of Banking Clan Treasury Space Stations.

It served the InterGalactic Banking Clan during the tumultuous time of the Clone Wars and was known to have been the site of the Tide of Progress XII's construction.
Despite it being a major military target during the Clone Wars, no Republic attacks on had been successful due to its highly sophisticated defense system and the thousands of battle droids and droid fighters it contained. However, after the CIS shut down all droid forces on the order of Darth Sidious, it was vulnerable and defenseless. The Empire later attacked and destroyed the station in 1 BBY thinking by mistake it was a secret Rebel base, as they lost record of the existence and locations of these stations.
Behind the scenes
In the endnotes for The Essential Guide to Warfare, Jason Fry admitted that he loved the concept of the Banking Clan treasury space station with secret vaults and shipyards. He also mentioned that there were probably more than one of these stations and that their locations were lost after the Clone Wars, and implied that the concept of someone stumbling upon them would make a good story in the future. ~Source: Wookieepedia

So now we have the answer to (a) Why Maul needs money, (b) Where Maul could get the money, but we still need (c) How does Maul know where the treasury station is?

Enter Hego Damask, otherwise known as Darth Plagueis.  This Muun Sith was also an incredibly powerful player within the IBC.  As Hego Damask it is certain that Plagueis knew the location of these treasury stations.  It also seems likely that Plagueis taught their location to his apprentice Sidious and that Sidious taught their location to Maul.  The Sith are operating behind the scenes on their Grand Plan, but it would make sense that in case something goes wrong, the Sith would want an emergency plan.  In case they are discovered and need to disappear, a quick bank robbery would supply much needed credits for a strategic retreat.

So I could be wrong but I am pretty sure Darth Maul and Savage Opress are robbing what amounts to a bank or perhaps more accurately a stagecoach or armored car.

EW VIDEO LINK

SDCC Star Wars: Clone Wars Season Five: Mando Obi-Wan Trailer


In the Expanded Universe Venku (Kad'ika) Skirata, Bardan Jusik, and Jaina Solo are all examples of the awesomeness that arises when you combine Jedi and Mandalorians in different ways.  Kad'ika was the Force-sensitive son of a Jedi General and Clone Trooper who was raised as a Mandalorian.  Bardan Jusik was a Jedi who left the Order and became a Mandalorian during the Clone Wars, and Jaina Solo was a Jedi who specifically sought out Mandalorians to train her in order to have those Mando skills to assassinate her brother.

IGN has the premier of the footage shown at the SDCC Clone Wars panel by Dave Filoni.  Below is the video and screen captures from the video from IGN.

Prepare to have your geek mind blown as Obi-Wan dons Mandalorian armor and fights alongside Bo-Katan?  What the Filoni is going on here?


More thoughts to come as I digest this trailer...


Palpatine's shuttle approaching Mandalore

Red armored Mandalorians.  A new faction of Deathwatch or something else?
Nice blasters...

Force Choke > Blasters

The Dark Side is fun.

Bo-Katan and Obi-Wan are flying without helmets, you would think there would be laws against that.

Obi-Wan wearing the red armor of the faction, same as Palpatine's two friends.

Wrist shields, an interesting choice as apposed to beskar shields.

That is an odd helmet on the lead of our quartet of Red Mandalorians.

Mando on Mando crime, rocket blows up Mandalorian.

Punching a Mando in the helmet seems like a poor life choice.

This could be interesting...

Full blown Mando-geddon?

Obi-Wan judges you, always judges you.

Obi-Wan and Bo rush into action.

Interesting chest symbol on on of Bo-Katan's men.

In the only dialogue in the trailer we have Bo-Katan and Obi-Wan with the following exchange.
Bo-Katan: Maul must really want you dead.
Obi-Wan: You have no idea.
So the questions are, why would both Palpatine in the role of Sidious and Obi-Wan have enemies in red Mandalorian armor?

And why would Bo-Katan who last we saw as a bad guy be siding with Obi-Wan?

Are the Red Mandos a faction within Death Watch? Or are they a group hired an organized by Maul?

What is the symbolism of the claw marks on their helmets?

I can see the argument that they are an even more violent and militant band of Death Watch, perhaps the claw marks are derived from the Shriek-hawk, the creature that is the basis of Death Watch's insignia.  Perhaps they are Vizla's inner circle, maybe Vizla has an alliance with Maul and after retaking Mandalore with Bo-Katan and the rest of his Death Watch forces, he turns on Katan and others within Death Watch who are not as extreme enough and these elements who could be closer in view to the True Mandalorians are forced out, the new Death Watch adopting the new red armor.

In any event it seems like Sidious is on the war path, probably going after Maul.  It also seems like Obi-Wan and Bo-Katan are heading towards a goal, are Obi-Wan and Sidious heading to the same location?  That could be awkward.

Either way it is clear we have armored Mandalorians in combat with each other so it doesn't seem likely that it is the New Mandalorians and their pacifist ways involved.

If I had to guess, this episode comes after the coup on Duchess Satine that we saw previewed in the Sesaon 5 Trailer.


VIDEO SOURCE: IGN

Friday, July 13, 2012

SDCC Star Wars Friday: Del Rey Publishing News


Del Rey announced the following titles at today's "The Future of Star Wars Publishing: Dark Horse & Del Rey" panel at San Diego Comic-Con.

We got more information and cover art for the previously announced The Last Jedi by Michael Reeves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, the introduction of a new author to the Star Wars universe in Tim Lebbon and his still shrouded in mystery Dawn of the Jedi novel that will tie into the Dark Horse Comics series by the same name, and finally a new stand alone novel by Star Wars go to novel author Troy Denning.

The Last Jedi is the fourth installment of the Coruscant Nights series, but it is interesting that it is not billed as such on the cover, my guess is that it will be a rather self contained tale.  I do like the cover art, but it is extremely different to the previous three books in the series which maintained a unique art style.

The Dawn of the Jedi novel probably has me most intrigued out of the three books featured at the panel.  I haven't read any of Tim Lebbon's books (yet), but his website describes him as a "horror and dark fantasy author."  Hopefully Lebbon is similar to author Paul S. Kemp's fantasy writing background and his darker tones, which I really enjoy.  Since Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void is so far away, we didn't get cover art or a real story description yet.

Crucible has me curious, Big Shiny Robot's Bryan Young (@swankmotron) was at the SDCC Panel today and has a great article including the following regarding Crucible,
Troy Denning is making an announcement. A Standalone a year after Apocoypse. It stars the big three, starts in a cantina. It’s set in a new part of the galaxy. Lando will be involved. There are no grandkids along. At the start of the book, the Jedi are worried about whether Abeloth is really gone or not. They’re worried about the Sith. But they quickly discover they have something bigger to worry about. There are new villains that have a connection that goes way back to West End games… The villain’s mother knew Han way back when. It’s about things spinning out of control and getting worse until the heroes find themselves in a tight situation…
It is interesting that there is a West End Games connection to the villains in the new novel.  Mr. Denning according to Wookieepedia wrote 3 books for WEG and had one cancelled project (Gambler's Luck).

The three books he did write where Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races, Scoundrel's Luck, and Jedi's Honor. If the villain(s)'s mother knew Han and is a character that Denning created or used previously in his West End Games work then it would make sense it would come from Scoundrel's Luck. I have never read the 80 page game book, but going through the Wookieepedia page, there are two female characters that have their own articles, one is Mama, a Columi information broker, and the other is Alfreda Goot a Togorian who is also a Mandalorian wash-out and who was shot by Han. Early money would be on a son or children of Goot being the villains, but that is simply wild speculation at this point.

The following is the artwork associated with the novel announcements and the comments written on Star Wars Books' Facebook page:



The Last Jedi (Coruscant Nights IV)


First up is STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
"Another fast-paced, action-packed Star Wars stand-alone mass market original by New York Times bestselling authors Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff!
Ever since Emperor Palpatine's Order 66--which called for the execution of all Jedi--Jax Pavan is the last Knight around to fight the dark side of the Force. Together with his droid I-5, Jax has eluded Vader time and again, all the while wreaking havoc against the Empire through the underground resistance on Coruscant. But now the Rebel's leader on the city-planet has been captured, and it's up to the Last Jedi to ride again...possibly for one final adventure."



Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void


Next up is STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI: INTO THE VOID by Tim Lebbon.
A stand-alone mass market tie-in to the successful comic book series, Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi, written by fantasy novelist, Tim Lebbon


Star Wars: Crucible


Finally we have a new hardcover, STAR WARS: CRUCIBLE by Troy Denning
"Han, Luke, and Leia are back in action--older and wiser, but as ready as ever to leap headlong into adventure!
Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia have spent a lifetime fighting wars, bringing the Jedi back from extinction, raising families, and saving the galaxy more times than they can count. They've earned the right to rest on their laurels and let the younger generation shoulder the burden--but fate has another adventure in store for our heroes, a quest only they can tackle and hope to survive..."
Cover attached. Cover illustration by Cliff Nielsen and cover design by Scott Biel.



SOURCES: Star Wars Books on Facebook and Fangirlblog

Timothy Zahn to write two Star Wars: Scoundrels Prequel short stories


Included in an update on some projects that Mr. Zahn has going included the mention of two new Star Wars tales that will tie into his forthcoming novel Scoundrels.

"Heist," a pre-Scoundrels story about Bink and Tavia, will be published this December in the Star Wars Insider.
I've been asked to write *another* pre-Scoundrels story, this one of novelette length (probably 8-12,000 words) to be published as a small ebook this December. I haven't yet submitted an outline (this *just* happened within the past week), so it's not in any way official, but I have no doubt Del Rey, LFL, and I can make it work.

Star Wars Reads Day: October 6, 2012



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LUCASFILM LTD. AND PUBLISHING PARTNERS ANNOUNCE STAR WARS READS DAY
Bookstore and Library events throughout the US to be held October 6, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA., July 13, 2012 – Lucasfilm and its publishing partners announced today a national Star Wars Reads Day to be held this October 6, 2012. Star Wars Reads Day is a multi-publisher initiative that celebrates reading and Star Wars. On October 6, events will take place at hundreds of bookstores and libraries across the United States. Participating publishing partners include Abrams, Chronicle Books, Dark Horse, Del Rey, DK, Scholastic, Titan Magazines, and Workman.

Officially participating bookstores and libraries will receive a Star Wars event kit (free of charge). The kit includes: an exclusive Star Wars Reads promotional item (25-50 per event); raffle prizes; promotional giveaways; a packet of event ideas, reproducible activity sheets and trivia; and more. The events will have the PR and marketing support of the eight participating publishers and Lucasfilm.

If your store or library would like to participate in Star Wars Reads Day on October 6, please sign up at http://us.dk.com/SWRDevent. Volunteer costumers can sign up at http://us.dk.com/SWRDvolunteer.

Follow Star Wars Reads Day on Facebook!

ABOUT ABRAMS:
Founded by Harry N. Abrams in 1949, ABRAMS is the preeminent publisher of high quality art and illustrated books. Now a subsidiary of La Martinière Groupe, ABRAMS is the publisher of bestsellers such as the wildly popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney and The Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger, the award-winning cookbooks of Alton Brown, and the stunning photography of Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s Earth from Above. ABRAMS publishes books in the areas of art, photography, cooking, interior design, craft, fashion, sports, pop culture, as well as children’s books and general interest. The company’s imprints include Abrams; Abrams Appleseed; Abrams ComicArts; Abrams Image; Abrams Books for Young Readers; Amulet Books; Stewart, Tabori & Chang; and STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books.

ABOUT CHRONICLE BOOKS
One of the most admired and respected publishing companies in the U.S., Chronicle Books was founded in 1967 and over the years has developed a reputation for award-winning, innovative books. Recognized as one of the 50 best small companies to work for in the U.S. (and the only independent publisher to receive this award), the company continues to challenge conventional publishing wisdom, setting trends in both subject and format, maintaining a list that includes much admired illustrated books and gift products in design, art, architecture, photography, food, lifestyle, pop culture, and acclaimed children’s titles. Chronicle Books’ objective is to create and distribute exceptional publishing that’s instantly recognizable for its spirit, creativity, and value. For more information about Chronicle Books, visit www.chroniclebooks.com.

ABOUT DARK HORSE:
Founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent such as Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Brian Wood, Gerard Way, Felicia Day, and Guillermo del Toro, and comics legends such as Will Eisner, Neal Adams, and Jim Steranko, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties, including The Mask, Ghost, Timecop, and SpyBoy. Its successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Mass Effect, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, Emily the Strange, Tim Burton’s Tragic Toys for Girls and Boys, Serenity, and Domo. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading publishers of both creator-owned content and licensed comics

ABOUT DEL REY BOOKS:
Del Rey Books (http://www.delreybooks.com) was founded in 1977 as an imprint of Ballantine Books, a division of the Random House Publishing Group, under the guidance of the renowned Judy-Lynn del Rey and her husband, Lester del Rey. Del Rey publishes the best of modern fantasy, science fiction, and alternate history.

ABOUT DK:
DK Publishing is the New York Times bestselling publisher known for its distinctive, highly visual books, ebooks and apps that inform, inspire and entertain readers of all ages. DK also publishes the award-winning Eyewitness series for children and Eyewitness Travel Guides. Alpha Books, BradyGames and Rough Guides are also available from DK, a division of Penguin Group. http://us.dk.com

ABOUT SCHOLASTIC:
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books and a leader in educational technology. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries and television networks; and the Company's Internet site, www.scholastic.com.

ABOUT TITAN MAGAZINES:
Titan Magazines is the largest and most experienced publisher of licensed entertainment magazines and comics in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Licensing partners include: Aardman - ABC - BBC - Bongo - CBS - DC - Disney - Hasbro - LucasFilm - MGM - NBC - Nickelodeon - Paramount - Twentieth Century Fox - WWE - Mattel. For more information, visit: http://titanmagazines.com/

ABOUT WORKMAN:
Workman Publishing Company, a medium-sized independent publisher, is the creator of award-winning calendars, cookbooks, parenting/pregnancy guides, and fun, educational children’s titles, as well as gardening, humor, self-help, and business books. From our What to Expect series and Page-A-Day Calendars to the iconic 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and Gallop!, the one-of-a-kind, moving picture book for kids, our products inspire readers and other publishers alike. The Workman Publishing Company also includes Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Artisan, HighBridge Audio, Storey Publishing and Timber Press. In addition, Workman is the distributor for Black Dog & Leventhal, Greenwich Workshop Press Fearless Critic Media, and The Experiment.

Lucasfilm, STAR WARS™ and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.





Thursday, July 12, 2012

San Diego Comic-Con Friday & Saturday: Star Wars EU and Clone Wars Panels


If you haven't heard by now, there are two panels at this years SDCC that have me most interested, they are Friday's "The Future of Star Wars Publishing: Dark Horse & Del Rey" and Saturday's "Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Onto Season Five."

Both panels are afternoon panels and I will have a summary and reaction to the news following the panels once reports trickle out of the Con.


FRIDAY: 3pm - 4pm, Room: 7AB
The Future of Star Wars Publishing: Dark Horse & Del Rey: 
Find out what's coming up in the Expanded Universe of Star Wars publishing. Editors Randy Stradley and Dave Marshall from Dark Horse Comics will discuss what's next for Agent of the Empire, Dawn of the Jedi, Lost Tribe of the Sith and Darth Maul, as well as reveal a new secret title that's on the horizon. From Del Rey Books come editors Frank Parisi and Erich Schoeneweiss with author Troy Denning (Apocalypse) to look at new novels coming later this year from fan-favorite authors Timothy Zahn and Aaron Allston, as well as give us a peek into 2013. Also on the panel is Jennifer Heddle, senior editor at LucasBooks. Moderated by author Pablo Hidalgo (Star Wars: The Essential Reader's Companion).


SATURDAY:  2pm - 3pm, Room: 6DE
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Onto Season Five: 
The aftermath of Season Four has left the Star Wars galaxy a very dangerous place: Darth Maul is alive, Asajj Ventress is a bounty hunter, and the Mandalorian Death Watch is deadlier than ever. How will these threads continue in Season Five of Star Wars: The Clone Wars? Find out in this behind-the-scenes panel, which will feature new clips, new insights and more. Join the discussion with Supervising Director Dave Filoni and head writer Matt Michnovetz (who wrote Season Four's powerful Umbara arc). Moderated by Star Wars author Pablo Hidalgo.

SOURCE: Starwars.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Course of the Force: Jabba's Sail Barge stops in Pacific Beach


Mrs. Lightsaber Rattling was able to capture some pictures from Tuesday Course of the Force stop in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego, California.

As awesome as the Sail Barge is I would love to have that bus as my motor home.








Sunday, July 8, 2012

Joe Hogan's The Siren of Dathomir: An unofficial Star Wars: The Clone Wars Motion Comic


Artist Joe Hogan has written, drawn and created a pretty awesome work of fan art, The Siren of Dathomir.

The motion comic is just under 10 minutes long and features a Clone centered story set on the planet Dathomir.

Check it out on Youtube (it looks great in full screen), head on over to The Siren of Dathomir Facebook page and give it a "Like," and while your at it check out Joe's other work.





BLOG: I Will Be A Star Wars Artist & DEVIANTART



Review: The Green and the Gray by Timothy Zahn


New York Times best selling author Timothy Zahn's 2004 novel The Green and the Gray was my first foray into this particular author's non-Star Wars fiction.  I was intrigued and decided to pick up this book because it seemed much different then the typical space opera novel that I am used to reading, and I am pleased to report I really enjoyed it.

Publisher's Summary: 
Timothy Zahn, author of Heir to the Empire, the best selling Star Wars novel of all time, has crafted a fresh, suspenseful tale of conflict in New York City that threatens to escalate into all-out genocidal warfare.
For seventy-five years the Greens and the Grays have lived quietly among us in the shadows of New York, alien refugees from a war of attrition that utterly destroyed the rest of their kind. Passing as everyday citizens, yet with powers and technologies unknown to humanity, each group has long believed that they are all that remain of their old world and their terrible conflict.
But now, to their mutual surprise, they have found each other, and the old hatreds and fears have once again risen to the surface.
And each side is preparing again for war.
On a cold October night, Roger and Caroline Whittier, a young couple struggling with their marriage, are accosted at gunpoint, and an unexpected burden is thrust upon them: Melantha Green, a twelve-year-old girl snatched from the hands of a peace coalition consisting of both Greens and Grays. The coalition had been preparing to cold-bloodedly sacrifice her in a last-ditch effort to prevent the impending battle . . . and it desperately wants her back.
As Roger and Caroline strive to protect Melantha and to understand the alien cultures they have suddenly been thrust into, they find aid in unlikely places. They're joined in their efforts by NYPD Detective Thomas Fierenzo, who's determined to prevent what he believes to be an impending gang war, and by Otto Velovsky, a former Ellis Island clerk who was present at the very beginning of the aliens' new life on earth.
Unlikely allies, unlikely heroes...and they have just one week to find a way to prevent New York City from becoming a battlefield the likes of which the world has never known...
The novel kicks off with Roger and Caroline Whittier, in the middle of a marriage in crisis. All to often in our relationships it is the breakdown of communication that leads to misunderstandings and emotional trauma. In Roger and Caroline, Zahn portrays a human couple with very human flaws and provides characterization that for this reader was at times uncomfortable because it hit close to home.
In the midst of this damaged relationship, we have Melantha Green thrust, a young girl who was to be sacrificed by two mysterious groups of aliens (The Greens and the Grays) in order to maintain a tense peace between the two groups.  An unknown injured gunman entrusts the care of Melantha to Roger and Caroline in a dark alley.

From that moment on the entire world changes for Roger and Caroline and as they unravel the mystery of who Melantha is, they open up an even greater mystery about the two groups of aliens in New York City and race to find answers and a way to stop the coming war between the two groups.

Genetically different yet similar to humans the Greens and the Grays represent two distinct races of aliens, the Greens a darker haired Mediterranean looking race that is aligned with nature and trees in particular and has some rather curious abilities.  The Grays are a shorter, stockier race, more aligned with rocks, metals and electronic technology.  Zahn does a delicate job in world building with the Greens and the Grays, giving us enough information to make the cultures feel complete and distinct, but not overloading us with unnecessary trivialities.

As the threat of war between the Greens and the Grays grows, Detective Fierenzo joins the tale and becomes the third point of view character in the novel.

What follows are a number of twists and turns as Zahn does a tremendous job keeping the reader guessing about what is really going on and what is going to happen next.  If you read enough fiction you can usually spot these plot "twists" coming a mile away and usually guess what is going to happen.  What Zahn does is pack so many of these twists in that I ended up being wrong more often than not when I tried to guess where the story was going next.

It is interesting to note that the two spacecraft we see in the novel never move, this is a very down to earth Sci-fi novel, the themes of miscommunication, fear, and trans-generational feuding weigh strongly here.  Whether it is the Hatfields and McCoys or the Israelis and Palestinians, the kind of blood feud that the Greens and the Grays have is a familiar and powerful storytelling element.

One thing that is evident to readers of Zahn's Star Wars fiction is that he has a very good way of introducing characters and plot lines that will all come together in the climax of the story.  This same pattern applies to this novel giving a satisfying conclusion to this massive  541 page book.

If you enjoy Zahn's writing and are looking for something a little different than the typical science fiction or fantasy novel, give The Greens and the Grays a read.

The Green and the Gray is available as an eBook on Amazon Kindle for $6.99.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Star Wars Want: Essential Guide to the Mandalorians



The latest entry into my Star Wars Expanded Universe Want list would be a new entry in the Essential Guide series of reference books.

In recent years we have gotten a number of much improved entries in the EG line, such as Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force, The Essential Atlas, and the Essential Guide to Warfare.

One of the key roles these Essential Guides can play is to ret-con conflicting stories and attempt to intigrate bits of continuity that don't seem to fit together.

Perhaps no continuity puzzle is as complicated to unravel then the one surrounding the Mandalorians and the most famous Mandalorian of all time Boba Fett.

After the Clone Wars television series is wrapped up, it would be the perfect time to update and set in order the complete history of the Mandalorian people, as well as a reference source for Mandalorian fans and costumers.

We already have some expanded background on the Mandalorians in the Essential Guide to Warfare by Jason Fry, but think of the possibilities.

Some section/chapter topics could include:

Succession History of the Mandalores
Mandalorian Family and Clan structure
Mandalorian Language
Beskar'gam: History of Mandalorian Armor
Mandalorian Technology
Mandalorian Tactics
Mandalorian involvement in historic conflicts
Mandalorian Cultural Impact on the galaxy at large
Key Mandalorians in Galactic History

As a fan of the Mandalorians, I may be looking at this with a rose colored visor, but given the depth of story telling and amount of conflicting information regarding the Mandalorians it seems like a topic ripe for Essential Guide treatment.








There was an error in this gadget