Just a few Star Wars-related things about me, favorite book, favorite character, etc., just in case someone is interested in it :-). It's in the form of a questionnaire.
When was your first contact with Star Wars?
I first watched the movies on TV, around 1989, 1990 I guess. I hadn't seen them in the movie theater, although I was already born when ANH was released ;-). But at that time I wasn't much interested in movies at all and had no interest in sci-fi. When I first watched ANH on TV, I switched programs after the first ten minutes, when C-3PO and R2 had just arrived on Tatooine, because I thought it was so boring. But eventually I watched all three movies and liked them. Enough to watch them repeatedly and to try to get some of my friends interested as well, but in vain.
When did you become a Star Wars fan, and why?
As I said, I liked the movies, but I don't think I would have ever become a SW fan without the books. I accidentally discovered Timothy Zahn's "Heir to the Empire" in a local superstore in 1991(?), thought "Well, why not, Star Wars was an interesting movie", and bought it.
I loved the book. It had the universe and the characters I'd already enjoyed in the movies, but it was more complex, with interesting new characters and a villain that was intelligent and even likeable. Unlike the movies, the book didn't paint a black and white picture, but had much more gray in it, and I liked that (and still do).
I immediately tried to buy the sequel, but it wasn't published at that time. So after a while I forgot about it again. Then, about a year or two later, again by accident, I discovered both sequels in a bookstore, remembered that I'd liked the first book, and bought them.
From then on, I bought every new Star Wars book, first the German translation, then very soon the English originals, as I didn't want to wait for the translations.
Why, of all SW characters, do you like Wedge Antilles?
I never paid much attention to Wedge when I watched the movies. I don't think I even noticed that there was the same minor character in all three of them. I've never been much of a fan of the battle scenes, I think they are quite boring, I prefer the character interaction.
In the books Wedge appears frequently, but still I didn't pay much attention to him. Until I read the X-wing books.
I bought them because I buy all Star Wars books (except prequel era, but that's another story), not because I had a special interest in Wedge or Rogue Squadron. Actually, when I first read RS, I often wondered when Han, Leia, and Luke would finally appear, and I was a bit irritated when they didn't. But reading on I quickly got hooked to the books. After reading so many SW books which dealt with the big four, with galactic politics and superweapons, I was bored of it. The XW books had fresh new characters and a different perspective on the galaxy. Additionally, they are much more science-fiction, military sci-fi, than Star Wars is in general, and I prefer that. I've never cared much for mystics and the Jedi. And I like pilots (ever since I watched "Top Gun" as a teenager *g*).
So the XW books quickly became my favorite SW books and its characters my favorite characters, and -- benefited by the new possibilities of the internet -- I dipped deeper into fandom than I'd ever before. For the first time I read fanfics, and after a while I even started to write fanfics myself, even so I don't have any talent as a writer ;-).
Who's your favorite character, and why?
Tycho Celchu. No doubt. But as usual with me, that developed slowly over the course of the books (and some fanfics). First I just felt sorry for him. He goes through a lot, and that immediately awoke my sympathy.
I like that he's serious, and mainly stays in the background. He does what needs to be done, but he never acts up.
Due to his role as suspected traitor a lot of attention in the first books is on him, of course, and that certainly caught my attention, as well. At some time I wasn't really sure if he might be a (unwilling) traitor after all, and I spent so much time hoping that he's not that I completely forgot to think about other suspects.
Other favorite characters?
Several *g*. Wedge and Hobbie, at a tie on number two.
Wedge for all the reasons usually stated ;-). He's a great leader. Hobbie, well, there isn't much known about Hobbie, so his background, even his personality is pretty much up to the imagination of the reader. So my mental picture of Hobbie might be very different from everyone elses's.
From the Wraiths, I like Lara and Myn. The development of their relationship and the doom hanging over it from the very beginning is one of my favorite subplots in IF and SC.
From outside the squadrons: Soontir and Jagged Fel.
Who's your least favorite character of the Rogues (and I don't mean Erisi *g*), and why?
Corran Horn. No, I don't hate him, and in the beginning I even kind of liked him. But it annoys me (though that isn't the fault of the character, of course) that he gets so much "screentime". If it weren't for Aaron's books, we would learn much more about Corran than about Wedge, not to mention the other characters. He certainly is an interesting character, but I would prefer if the focus would be on one of the others more often.
As a character, he just is too arrogant and egotistical for me. I simply don't like it, neither in real life nor in books.
What's your order of the XW books, from best to worst?
"Starfighters of Adumar"
"The Krytos Trap"
"The Bacta War"
(for reasons, have a look at my reviews in the book section)
I really enjoyed reading "Mercy Kill" and I would rate it somewhere in the upper third, but since it was published so much later than the other books, it is hard to tell where exactly. I should reread all of them again soon to decide ;-).
What's your favorite XW comic, and why?
"In the Empire's Service" and "The Making of Baron Fel". It's a great introduction of the character of Fel, much better that I would have thought possible in a comic. Besides, for the first time we see the Rogues face an enemy who might be better and deal with their fears, and I really like that. Way too often the Rogues appear invincible.
What's your favorite SW (non XW) book and comic, and why?
Hard to say. I still like Timothy Zahn's trilogy a lot. He created the best villain of the SW Expanded Universe, and his were the first SW books I ever read, so through them I got a first deeper glimpse into the SW universe.
I also like the NJO series, because it goes away from the conflict Empire - New Republic (which is exhausted by now) to a new threat, and because it is much darker than the books before. The New Republic isn't always good, and there isn't always a happy ending.
I usually don't read many comics. I liked "Union" as a rather funny end of the Bantam era (before the Yuuzhan Vong invasion brought war again). And recently I read "Legacy", which I enjoyed a lot, and I'm looking forward to the next parts (from different authors). I also read the first three volumes of "Star Wars" by Brian Wood, and I'm wondering if this will be the tale of Rogue Squadron's foundation and early days that I've always wished for. It is too soon to decide how much I like it, though, but it started promising (if a little different from what I had in mind :-)).
How do you like the latest SW books?
I really liked the NJO series. Not every book and every plotline, but as a whole I thought it to be very good.
I had high hopes for the Troy Denning trilogy that followed (especially since it has the Chiss in it), but I was very disappointed. I don't care much for the Killiks. Besides, Jacen's fall to the Dark Side started with these books, and I'm not able to relate to that.
Consequently, I don't like the main plot of "Legacy of the Force" at all. I just don't see Jacen becoming a Sith. The civil war was okay, but couldn't it have been done without a Sith (and if not, at least without Jacen in that role)?
"Fate of the Jedi" started with a good book in my opinion ("Outcast"), but for most of the series, I was bored, and I didn't like the Abeloth subplot, and eventually I stopped reading it at all. I only finished the series when I learned of the new X-wing book which takes place after FotJ, and I wanted to be up-to-date. Which would not have been necessary for reading "Mercy Kill", but well, the last two books of FotJ I enjoyed. I'm not entirely happy with them, but at least something was happening (I would have never thought that I would be happy reading about political intrigue and Sith ;-)).
The Yuuzhan Vong seem to be almost completely forgotten (with the exception of "Mercy Kill"), and especially Coruscant seems to have exceptionally efficient construction droids. There was an optimistic outlook possible at the end of the NJO, with the galaxy united against a common enemy, and not much later everyone was fighting against everyone again. Which might even be realistic, and maybe I wouldn't have so much trouble with it if they hadn't chosen Jacen of all people to go for the galactic record for the fasted plunge into bloody anarchy and most stylish black outfit, as Admiral Daala put it.
"Fate of the Jedi" started quite optimistic, again with an opportunity to unite the galaxy, but at the end everything is worse than in the beginning. I understand that there had to be an external threat, involving the Force, since Daala's argument that force users cause a lot more grief than they are able to prevent could not be easily dismissed, after all that has happened before. But in my opinion, a planet full of Sith would have been enough, I didn't need a being with super-powers. And I could have easily done without the spiritual journey to all kinds of force-users and Sith planets. Especially since other topics were not addressed at all. Almost no word about the Confederation, and no explanation why Jag suddenly has a Chiss bodyguard and is able to call on ships from the "Empire of the Hand" (which previously didn't even exist anymore). They had promoted one of the main characters to Imperial Head of State, and he doesn't even _is_ in the Remnant for most of the time, let alone that we learn much about it.
Which SW books would you like to see written?
More X-wing books, of course :-). I would really like a book or a series about Rogue Squadron during the Rebellion, from the Battle of Yavin to the Battle of Endor. And I would like to see the comic series finished to finally learn how Soontir Fel ended up in the Unknown Regions, and if Wedge has met his sister again or not. If it does not contradict the comics, a book or a series about Rogue Squadron in this time period would be great, too, starting with the Battle of Brentaal and ending with Fel's disappearance, Tycho's fateful mission that has him end up in Lusankya, and the disbandment of Rogue Squadron.
A hopefully more realistic wish: a follow-up of "Mercy Kill". I like the new Wraiths and there is of course a lot of potential for more stories.
In general: a book dealing with the "Empire of the Hand" and the Chiss Ascendancy. There was quite a confusion lately, with the "Empire of the Hand" as a separate organisation first, then apparently absorbed into the Chiss Expedition Force, and then seemingly separate again. I would like to see that clarified, and, if possible, Jag and Jaina having to deal with it (and their past). Without yet another break-up, though, please. And no Killiks ;-).
And I admit: I would like to see Jaina and Jag to have children, even though it is difficult for the authors (they can either send the children into hiding as they did with the Solo children and Ben, or jump some years into the future, which causes problems of its own).
What's your favorite quote?
"Rogues, now and forever, part of a grand tradition all of them would gladly trade for another second of life." Wedge Antilles - Blood and Honor
This is one of the rare occasions the fallen Rogues are seen as humans/beings, not as heroes. War isn't pretty, and no one wants to die, hero or not. Another great quote from one of my favorite fanfics ("Legacy" by Jennifer Cole) puts this very well, too:
"I wondered if they went into battle thinking they were as invulnerable as all soldiers did, and if, given the choice, they would have swapped a comfortable old age under the Empire for an early death fighting for a cause they would never live to see won."
What's your favorite quote from the movies?
Darth Vader's "The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am." Cracks me up every time I hear it.