Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

Women have made great strides over the decades; demonstrating physical strength and endurance as well as academic aptitude. We have earned the right to fight in combat situations, investigate homicides, and drive big-rigs.

It is empowering to watch fantasy and sci-fi genres embracing these advances. Take Jean Grey from X-Men as an example. A strong and intelligent character, second only to Professor-X himself; telepathy, telekinesis, and an eidetic memory?!? With this combination she is capable of nearly anything.

Let’s not forget the impact Xena Warrior Princess has had on the world. While a huge icon in the Lesbian community, Xena broke down many walls in the world of mythology. For centuries male gods and demi-gods dominated and victimized humans, until Xena exposed their fallibilities.

And then there is Daenerys Targaryen Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea. She is the epitome of strength; she gathers an army of loyal men not by blood and force but with truth and freedom.

As pivotal as each of these magnificent women have been, I feel there is one bad-ass chic that paved the way with blood, sweat and grease for all the others; Ellen Ripley. Without her, a LOT of bad stuff would have happened.

Who is on your list?

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Sacrifice is book 5 in the Star Wars Legacy of the Force series. It’s official.  Jacen has picked his sacrifice and assumes his Sith name: Darth Caedus. His decent from Jedi Knight to Sith Lord has been eerily reminiscent of his grandfather’s.  Both of them were incredibly strong in the Force, but weak in will.  They were both open to Sith instruction because the Light Side was not enough to accomplish their goals.  And they both felt justified in their actions were for the good. There is also quite a bit of a feeling of Emperor Palpetine (aka Darth Sidious) about his actions.  One side of him, the political side, knows the right things to say to the right people; the right babies to kiss to make the news holos.  But then there’s the side of him that makes decisions behind closed doors: sending Ben to assassinate Dur Gejjen. When Ben overhears a conversation Jacen is having with Lumia, he realizes that Jacen has really lost his way and confesses everything to his mom, Mara Jade. With this knowledge Mara Jade decides that Jacen must be stopped.

This book is pivotal to the Star Wars universe: huge changes take place, Jacen passes the point of no return, and a beloved character’s life is lost. Karen Traviss has handled this heavy episode tremendously.  The moment it ended I was left gasping, crashing back into reality and mourning the loss.

Exile is book 4 in the Star Wars Legacy of the Force series.  Lumia informs Jacen that before he can complete his training he must chose a loved one to sacrifice. He takes some time to look within himself and discovers that his feelings for his parents are mixed.  He realizes that if he does still love them, he will have to sacrifice one of them, killing the other to prevent retaliation. If he in fact hates them, then he will kill them both to protect himself and the galaxy from their interference. Similarly, he is wondering if his sacrifice will be Ben.  He has sent Ben on a dangerous mission alone; convincing him to run away from his family in a search that leads him to Zoist, the Sith home world.  On this world, Ben meets, and learns how to fly “Ship”, the Sith training vessel that pops back up in the Star Wars Fate of the Jedi series; yet another tie in with that series.

“Jacen smiled. Causing people to think and feel what he wanted them to, even without resorting to the Force, was becoming easier and easier.” This line completely represents that Jacen has completely lost himself to the Dark Side.  When he first began, the manipulations made him uncomfortable but he was able to justify them as a means to an end.  At this point, he has actually begun to relish his superior control of the Force over others.  At this point, he actually feels evil to me.  His motives are less for the greater good, and more for his own advancement in the Galactic Alliance.

Tempest is the third book 3 the Legacy of the Force series. Jacen Solo, son of Han and Leah, twin brother to Jaina, has completely embraced Lumiya’s teachings in the Sith ways.  He is spiraling deeper into the Dark side of the force, believing that he’s doing what’s necessary to bring balance back to the universe. But on his journey, he is losing himself, losing his sense of humor and loyalty to his family and what is right.  He begins making military decisions based on his emotions before learning facts, even firing on the Millennium Falcon KNOWING that his parents were on board, believing that they were traitors.  While Han and Leah had gone against the Galactic Alliance’s wish and entered talks with the Corellian insurgents, they were set up but those same people when they were sent to speak with Tenel Ka and to discuss and alliance with the Hapan Consortium.  Instead of talking, they were actually sent as bait to bring Tenel Ka into the open for an assassination attempt.  Caught in the middle of these factions the Solos try to use it to their advantage and gather information about the plot.  Sending notes and clues every chance they have, the Solos come under fire from Jacen Solo before they can get clear of the situation completely.

What I love about the Star Wars universe books is that they tie in with other books; characters, events.  But it has never been clearer than when I read the Fate of the Jedi series before the Legacy of the Force series.  Everything that Luke is trying to discover in Fate of the Jedi, everything that is being tried by the Galactic Alliance, is happening in this series. With so many books in the Star Wars universe it can be difficult to keep chronologies straight.  But I highly recommend this series before the Fate of the Jedi series.

It’s so difficult seeing what Jacen is doing.  How he has conned himself into believing that what he is doing is for the good.  The characters that we have come to love are being torn apart by what he is doing, by his manipulations. It’s a difficult story to read, but it’s an important one to the Star Wars universe. And Troy Denning has done a fantastic job of telling this episode.

Allies is the 5th installation in the Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi series.  In this series, Christie Golden also wrote Omen, the 2nd book.  A banished Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker ran into a heap of trouble at the end of Backlash, an entire fleet of Sith.  In Allies, the Sith say they to work with Luke in his investigation into what is causing the Jedi’s to go crazy, indicating that they have  apprentices of their own going bonkers.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Chief of State Natasi Daala seems to be suffering from a case of the crazies herself; giving Mandolorians free reign on the siege of the Jedi Temple. 

The last book seemed to become distracted from the journey that Luke and Ben had undertaken; tracing Jacen Solo’s path.  But I feel that we’re back on track with Allies; back to clues, and new revelations; back to advancing the original plot.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…a Jedi padawan, a Sith apprentice and a Mandalorian walk into a bar… (queue laughter). 

So, way back before Vader and Luke hugged it out on an exploding Death Star, the Galactic Republic was strong and secure with the Jedi as the Peace Keepers.  The Sith were in hiding, but growing strong.  They began attacking the outlying worlds and firming their Imperial rule.  When the Republic capital of Coruscant was finally sacked, the Republic Senate was forced to agree to an unstable truce with the Empire.  

It was during this uneasy truce time when a mysterious ship appeared from an unknown planet, carrying clues of its origin.  During the investigation, it is discovered that the galaxy is in danger of being overrun by hexagon shaped droids, too strong from either the Republic or the Empire to control alone. So the Imperial and Republic fleet are forced to work together…taking directions from a Mandalorian.  Wha? Yeah, it’s kind of a crazy story.

This book is a very specific story in the Star Wars Old Republic era, but is said to be based on the video game that will be coming out sometime next year from Bioware and Lucas Arts.  Sean Williams, author of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (another Star Wars book based on a video game), has once again created a very interesting story; with engaging characters that I want to know more about.  The difference between these two books is that in The Force Unleashed the game was completely clear when reading through the story.  During my read through Fatal Alliance, I have no idea what to expect from the game.  This is either a good thing, or a bad thing…I’m not really sure.

Overall I enjoyed the story, but I felt removed from the Star Wars universe. Typically the stories add pieces and information to the great puzzle that is George Lucas’s world.  However this story was different, and I was left feeling slightly unfulfilled.

Aaron Allston, author of the first Fate of the Jedi book Outcast, has provided this fourth installment in the Fate of the Jedi series, Backlash. Allston has once again crafted an engaging story, however it doesn’t advance the core story of this series.  In each of the previous books, we follow Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker and his son in their exile, gathering the same bits of force knowledge that Jacen Solo picked up on his spiral to the dark side. In Backlash, Luke and Ben follow a Sith apprentice to a jungle planet and help the indigenous, force-sensitive people fend off some nasty dark side local witches.  While Luke and Ben have been busy, Vestara Khai sent her location back to her Sith home world.

One of the reasons I invest my time in a series is for what each book add to the overall big picture.  I love the story line that the first three books have created; why are seemingly random Jedi knight going crazy and exhibiting force traits that Jacen demonstrated on his path to becoming Darth Caedus? And what is politically exiled Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker doing about it?

As I stated, I did enjoy this story very much.  It was entertaining, introduced us to some interesting characters, and brought the new Sith population from the planet Kesh where the “Lost Tribe of Sith” had been stranded in 5,000 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin).