Sunday, December 05, 2004

Star Wars: The Cestus Deception: A Clone Wars Novel
Steven Barnes

Library Journal
The Republic sends Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi to the planet Ord to prevent the Confederacy from acquiring a new series of powerful battle droids. Upon his arrival, Kenobi discovers that a third party has involved himself in the scramble for the droids-and no diplomacy, however brilliant, can prevent a near catastrophe. Barnes (Firedance; Zulu Heart) brings his storytelling expertise to bear in this well-told installment of the immensely popular "Star WarsR" series. A good choice for fans wishing to pass the time between the films.

I find the franchise fiction of Star Wars and Star Trek an interesting thing. Easily ignored as pure potboiler, the books often transcend their genesis as work-for-hire. There is an aspect of the books that allows them a freedom within form, like a well defined type of poetry, say a sonnet, that defines a very rigid framework, but allows freedom within it.

Droids, blasters and lightsabers are the backdrop - what the paying customers expect. But given that, the authors can explore a lot of interesting territory. Barnes uses this book to explore destiny and predestination, as he uses a strong sub plot of a clone warrior wrestling with gaining a real identity. A book of war and battle and honor, Barnes also still delivers (not uncommon in the Star Wars books) a definite anti-war message. Star Wars definitely fits within the Military SF tradition (especially with all the gaming available), yet with its mystical mythos manages to deliver, if not a pacifist message, at least a very peaceful one.

Not sure if reading this will launch a full immersion in the SW books - but I do enjoy the elaborate tapestry one can explore in the SW universe - see