Sunday, April 17, 2005

Star Wars: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous
Sean Stewart

The savage Clone Wars have forced the Republic to the edge of collapse. During the height of the battle, on Jedi Knight escapes the carnage to deliver a message to Yoda on Coruscant. It appears that Dooku wants peace and demands a rendezvous. Chances are slim that the treacherous Count is sincere but, with a million lives at stake, Yoda has no choice. ...

These books - in the "Clone Wars" period leading up to Episode III - are written under a remarkable amount of constraint. Everything leads up to this last movie, but nothing in them can change the status quo after Episode II. So how do you tell an interesting story?

This is not a new problem - it has existed for years in the Star Trek franchise books that are written all *over* the known history of Trek. I think of this as being like a strict form of poetry, whether a limerick or sonnet; if you can write within the rules you can make a great story, but if you fail, you might make a bunch of two-dimensional cut outs. There are plenty of stories within both the Star Wars and Star Trek literature that exemplify this, and when you find a good story in this vein, it is a real treasure.

Dark Rendevous is one of those treasures. Stewart uses the common device in these franchises - he creates some new characters, and fits them into the mix of fixed stars. This lets him create people who you DON'T KNOW will live - he makes you care about them, and worry about what may happen.

And I really liked the character of "Scout," a less-than-Force-ful Padawan. She is an interesting character - more believable than just following the superstars around.