Je n'aime pas dans les vieux films américains quand les conducteurs ne regardent pas la route. Et de ratage en ratage, on s'habitue à ne jamais dépasser le stade du brouillon. La vie n'est que l'interminable répétition d'une représentation qui n'aura jamais lieu.

Star Wars Expanded Universe Chronology: The Triumphant Return!

*Yes, it’s true!  My legendary attempt to read through the entire Expanded Universe in chronological order . . . failed miserably.  Well, anyway, trials and tribulations and such; it was never going to really succeed in its initial high concept phase – new books just keep coming out and jacking with the timeline. 

*In other ways, it was a rousing success and a lot of fun.  I got to know a lot of people better over the years I worked on the project, even after it became more sporadic.  It’s only been a couple of years now since I had the pleasure of meeting Ryder Windham himself; he’d done a Google search for reviews of his Star Wars books and stumbled across my (generally insulting, hopefully hilarious) reviews of some of his less than stellar work and posted via Facebook, “Stephen, we need to have a talk.”  We messaged back and forth for quite a bit.  We talked about a lot of things.  I talked about how writing humorous reviews about how bad some of his books seemed to someone outside the target audience wasn’t as insulting or mean-spirited as it might seem.  He talked about making peace with the fact that he writes on spec for money and won’t ever be any sort of great “artist.”  We talked about how we both came to our respective projects (his, to expand the Star Wars Universe; mine, to comprehensively explore it) through the same door: an absolute love for the Star Wars films.  We haven’t chatted in a while, but we’re still Facebook friends.  I like the guy.  And, after Jedi Vs. Sith, I’ve developed an appreciation for him as a writer.  Those Jar Jar books are still inexcusable on many levels, most of which we basically agreed on, I think, but, hey, the kids liked them, I guess. 

*I’ve also gotten to talk to a lot of wonderful folks from the Lit forum itself that I otherwise wouldn’t have known.  I can’t even start to name names or I’ll forget countless folk, but let me just say this: I was introduced to the poet, philosopher, artist, critic, etc. known as Excellence through my original thread.  Goddamn, but it would have been a tragedy if I’d never met that guy.  He’s the guy behind my favorite line from the entire Lit forum: “It rains, it snows; I still say Kir Kanos looks like Ulic Qel-Droma.”  Maybe one day I’ll write even just one sentence that’s even a tenth as good as that one.

*And then there’s all the people I met on other websites because of this project.  Joe Borngiorno over at Timeline Universe; DinoJim of the Expanded Universe Checklist; Rob Mullins of the (tragically unupdated for quite a while) SWEUC; Eddie, of course – we all know Eddie, the guy with every Star Wars book ever written on one side of the room and a simple, literal day planner on the other, right?  It’s been a pleasure meeting these fellows and seeing how all of our different perspectives on the Expanded Universe mesh together. 

*And then there’s the fact that I just got to read a crapton of Star Wars stuff.  When it was awesome, it was awesome.  The project resulted in my getting into Star Wars comics for the first time and finding a lot of stuff that, if I’d stayed on my path of just kind of reading the main Star Wars novels when they came out, I’d never have encountered.  Without this project, I would never have encountered Nomad, I guarandamntee you. 

*In fact, I read so extensively that I was briefly, in my own mind at least, kind of an expert.  I used to be an expert on the pre-TPM era.  Then KOTOR dropped and now we’ve got Dawn of the Jedi and all that . . . plus the new Bane books and Force Storm and whatever . . . I now consider myself an expert on the 900 years prior to TPM.  Well, whatever.  Well, okay, Ki-Adi Mundi prior to TPM.  I can damn well talk about that without fear of contradiction!  He had some blind spots, dammit!

*Okay, so I am starting over and reposting all the reviews I already posted here.  There will be substantial new material as well, of course, but I’m doing this repost for a couple of reasons.  First of all, and most obviously, all my old reviews have been brutally truncated by the move.  Secondly, well, a lot of my old reviews just aren’t that great; I wasn’t the best writer in the world back then (nor am I now, I suppose, but I’m certainly better now than I was).  I’ve edited a lot of them substantially. 

*Anyway, I’m starting a new thread for a few reasons.  The old thread is . . . massive and, unfortunately, butchered by the truncated posts thing.  I fear that both the size and the fact that most of the “content” posts in the thread have been basically destroyed kind of work against the old thread.  I mean, who woulda thought?

*Secondly, I want this to be a fresh start of sorts.  I’m going to really dedicate myself to this project in a way I haven’t since those first couple of years.  I have countless other projects that I’ve worked on over the years, right?  Middle Earth, Batman, Indiana Jones, The X-Files, Podcasts, etc.  Well, okay, enough; I’m setting those all on the back burner in order to really concentrate on this project again.  My plan is to still, occasionally, post in some of those other projects – I really want the Middle Earth project and the Batman project to take off again at a later date, so I’d like to post those every once in a while.  But mainly, THIS is now my writing project.  Yes, there are countless others I wish I could do, but it’s time to focus.  And this project, the one that started me off on the all the others, surely deserves to be the one focused on.

*Something about me also loves the irony of this timing; I’ve been planning this for a while, but it’s somehow perfect to return to the absurdly large EU at the moment when Disney/LFL basically cleared the board.  This gives me the opportunity to create a personal canon as we go.  The personal canon has always been my preferred method.  There is, quite frankly, no way in hell that TPM is canon and the Thrawn trilogy isn’t.  That just isn’t happening on my watch.  So, with every work I look at, I’ll give it a straight up canon rating.  Does this stay in my personal canon or no?  Expect a lot of nos. 

*Now, as we all know, this is a lifelong project here.  I’m not going to “finish” reading the Star Wars EU.  It’s just not going to happen.  So, I’ll take some time off here and there probably, to work on other stuff.  But for a while anyway, I’m going to focus on this project. 

*Okay, all that to the side, I’ve once again changed the methodology of my project.  I’ve been striving to find a timeline that would combine simplicity and comprehensiveness.  I mean, it might be fun to, you know, go through all the TPM adaptations page by page – that’s very comprehensive, but I want things to be substantially less complicated, quite a bit simpler. 

*So, I have four chronologies that I’m going to be using in a tiered fashion.  First is the Timeline of Legends Media from Wookieepedia, which typically groups things in the simplest possible fashion at the expense of being totally chronological.  A good example is Knights of the Old Republic: Vindication, which it puts in the timeline as a single story, rather than breaking it up according to the two or three flashbacks in it.  I’ll go by this one first. 

*Second, I’ll be using Rob Mullins’ Expanded Universe Chronology.  It unfortunately hasn’t been updated in a few years, but it does contain a lot of things that the Timeline of Media doesn’t, but it also maintains an emphasis on reading works as wholes, rather than being too anal about splitting them up. 

*Third, it’s Dino Jim’s Star Wars timeline checklist. This one’s even more comprehensive than the others, but also significantly less simple.  And then fourthly, it’s the The Star Wars Expanded Universe Timeline. Hopefully, that’s all clear.  It’ll become clearer as I go.  Anyway, this will allow me to be simple about a lot of stuff, but also comprehensive.  We’ll see how it works.  Probably no one cares.  So, anyway, let’s just go ahead and get started and we’ll start with a good one that should help make this “four different chronologies” thing a little clearer.

*So, I’m going to post my first actual review tomorrow.  It’s the beginning of the timeline of the Star Wars EU.  And you will not ******* believe how long ago this one is.  Next time, it’s The Essential Guide to Warfare: Dha Werda Verda by Jason Fry & Paul R. Urquhart (everybody knows who that is, right?)