Friday, September 19, 2014

Farewell to the Expanded Universe That Was

Earlier this month a new era of the Star Wars Expanded Universe was officially launched with the release of A New Dawn, the first Star Wars book to come out with the approval of the Lucasfilm Story Group. Earlier Star Wars books have been being printed under the new Legends banner for a few months now and the final comic set in the Expanded Universe That Was has also come and gone, but this book makes the start of the new Expanded Universe, one that does not share the history and continuity of the one I and so many others had come to know so well.

When it was announced that there would be no new stories in the Expanded Universe That Was and that a separate "Legends" banner would be created, I didn't feel overly emotional. It had felt like an inevitability since the announcement that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm. I had had time to get used to the idea and, in some ways, the announcement had made me glad. The Expanded Universe had been a mess for some time at that point and I had stopped following the new books going forward all the way back during the New Jedi Order, only picking up new Star Wars books by my favorite authors and ignoring the megaseries. I had been prepared for a continuity reset for over a decade. And then earlier this year I read Troy Denning's Crucible. If I hadn't been ready for a do-over before I sure would've been by the time I finished that book.

And yet now I feel a sense of loss, one that I did not feel at any of the announcements. The Expanded Universe I've known and read and discussed and researched my whole life is ended. There will be no more stories beyond fanfiction set in it, at least not for a long time. The characters I've grown so attached to may never appear in official material again and, if they do, they won't have the history and backstory I've come to know. And the lore and history of the entire universe has been wiped clean.

That is the part that caught me the most off guard. I had braced myself for the stories to stop being canon, heck, even approved of it. I had prepared myself for the absence of my favorite characters in the new stories. But the lore. The erasing of the lore was not something I thought about or prepared myself for. I did not realize how much that lore and history meant to me until about a month ago, when the timeline of the Republic and its wars with the Sith came up in several conversations with my brother.

 None of that extensive history matters anymore. None of it applies to the new stories going forward.

I never realized how much that history meant to me, but of course I'm attached to it. How could I not be? That lore was one of the first things I became attached to in the Expanded Universe, back when little me read and reread my brother's copy of The Essential Guide to Characters and learning about characters who lived thousands of years before the movies. That lore, that history, that was part of my Star Wars. It was the backdrop to the way I perceived Star Wars as a franchise. And those characters and those stories I had braced to bod farewell...they're a part of my Star Wars too. Even while I know and acknowledge that it's all fiction and I can think of it and arrange it however I want to in my head, the reality of there being no more official stories set in that timeline is tough to deal with.

I really do miss the Expanded Universe. I'm going to keep missing the Expanded Universe. The books remain on my shelves and their impact on me in not undone, but the knowledge that the Expanded Universe That Was and all of its history, all of its lore, all of its stories and characters will have such little impact on the new stories that come out hurts. But since I realized that I've been coming to accept that.

I'm saddened by the loss of all of that, but you know what? I'm also hopeful. New lore and history are going to be built! New characters and worlds! And the old stuff hasn't been destroyed, even if it no longer applies to things going forward. That story is over but we can still explore it and discuss it. We can still enjoy the stories that have been told before and the world that has been built by them, even as no more is added to it.

I have not yet read A New Dawn, but I fully intend to. It won't be part of what's been my Star Wars up until this point, but it will hopefully become part of my Star Wars in the future.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Magic Space Idol Attack: AKB0048 and Uncomfortable Implications

I just finished the sci-fi idol anime AKB0048 (both seasons of which are available to watch on Crunchyroll) and, while I on the whole enjoyed it as fluffy, silly sci-fi with lots of friendship and some rather sloppy world-building, there are some elements that have...uncomfortable implications if you think about them much. Or at all.  @arcadiagt5, who is entirely to blame for me watching this, warned me not to examine the show too closely many times while I was watching it, so let's examine it too closely now and talk about a few of the things that are a little--or a lot--troubling if you give them any consideration!

Spoilers below the cut.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Star Wars Crucible: I Have Made a Terrible Mistake

I am very behind in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Chronologically, the only book I have read that is set after the New Jedi Order is X-Wing: Mercy Kill. That is one book in the primarily focused on time period of the galaxy in over ten years.

Until now.

Recently I liveblogged my reading of Troy Denning's Star Wars: Crucible, the book that was meant to be the final adventure of the main trio of the Star Wars books before handing the main focus of the series off to the younger generation. A few days later it was announced that the Star Wars Expanded Universe is getting a fresh start and the previous books would now be "Star Wars Legends." This effectively makes Crucible not only the final adventure of Luke, Leia, and Han but also the final book in the timeline of the Expanded Universe as we know it (not including the Legacy comics, which are kind of their own thing).

This was not a good sendoff book, either for the Big Three much less the EU as a whole. I did not find it to be a good book in general. Before getting into the issue that really stood out to me as a poor way to end this universe that I am rather attached to, a quick rundown on some of my thoughts about the pros and cons of this book. There will be spoilers.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ryorin's Ramblings: Now With More Tumblr!

I did it.  I gave in.  I now have... a tumblr.

If you want to see me comment on things that I don't think I could write a whole post on or the things I don't think would fit this blog, that would be the place to look.

Or twitter.  Both work pretty well for that.

Webcomic Wednesday: Bad Machinery in Book Form and Johnny Wander Does Lucky Penny

Hey guys, been a while!  Quick update, first of all: I'll be posting at least once everyday for the rest of this week before moving on to a new, improved, and significantly more flexible schedule.

On to webcomics!

Volume 1 of Bad Machinery, which I have previously discussed and you need to go read, was released today in book form by Oni Press!  It's really very pretty and I highly recommend picking it up.  It collects the prelude and the first story, as well as some extras, including year book photos of the main characters, a helpful (or at least entertaining) glossary for us non-UK folk, and the fictional history of the fictional Tackleford Football Club, presented as clippings from a fictional newspaper.

This is my copy. No you cannot have it. Nor can you have the other comics I picked up today.
If you haven't read it before, now is the perfect excuse to start.  I got my copy at my local comic shop, but it is also available at Amazon, so don't fret if you can't find it!

Another webcomic that you should check out that I haven't talked about in this feature before is Johnny Wander, a comic about various ridiculous things that happen after college is over.  I really enjoy this comic; it has great humor, perfect pacing, and really fun art.  While it's for the most part autobiographical, it occationally also includes fantastical short stories, such as Girl With the Skeleton Hand and Delilah & The Basilisk.  At the moment, they're posting Lucky Penny, a book they're doing with Oni Press.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Where's Ryorin, What's Up With The Schedule, and How About Some More Eva

You may remember when I previously mentioned that my shiny new schedule got a wee bit thrown off when unanticipated things that make up life happen.  This past week I've learned that when said unanticipated events include musicals, jet-lag, and illness, schedule get eaten whole.

So!  I will spend the next week making up the five posts I missed while laying in bed trying to digest my oh-so-hardy breakfast of a single sip of water before I move on to a new and improved schedule for March!

For those of you keeping track, that's one Fiction Friday, one Animated Tuesday, one Webcomic Wednesday, and two posts about whatever-I-kriffing-well please.  And, yes, I am counting this as today's official post because I'm still recovering and don't have the energy for this.

If you simply must have content, I watched the second Rebuild of Evangelion film, Evangelion: You Can (Not) Advance (the first of which I discuss here) and it was fantastic.  It felt much more coherent as a film than the first one and it changed a lot.  It even had a father-son moment, which caused me to flail about, grab my phone, and ask my brother if I was still watching something involving Eva.  It changes pacing, character development (oh my Waru, Rei!  You grew a personality!), when events happen, who the events happen to, etc.  It is still Eva but, to me, it felt the way Eva should have been.  And it adds a little things called "foreshadowing."  So much.  So.  Much.  So if you were let down by the ending of Neon Genesis Evangelion or just want to see an alternate take, check it out.  Also, it ends with a Hikaru Utada song that I am beginning to suspect is the theme for these movies.  Take that as you will.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Webcomic Wednesday: Bad Machinery, Good Comic

Today's Webcomic Wednesday, for reasons that should be fairly clear, will be another short recommendation: John Allison's Bad Machinery.  A spin-off of Scary-Go-Round (which was itself a spin-off, but I don't feel like talking about that at the moment), Bad Machinery is a fun, humorous, sometimes dark comic following the misadventures of a group of youths as they stumble upon and solve supernatural mysteries.  You do not have to be familiar with Scary-Go-Round to enjoy this comic, though if you are you'll be treated to some familiar faces and learn the fates of a few characters.  I highly recommend it.