Alright, since I said before that I had never read this book before, I can safely say that there are going to be some things that I misread. So, there were a couple of things that I said that have turned out not to be quite true. Don’t worry about it though, there’s more than enough to make up for it.
So, top of the Old Business list, setting the record straight. The Eye of Palpatine did not land on the planet. There was apparently an automated landing craft. So, that’s one thing cleared up. Two, the stormtrooper I thought was dead pages after we met him actually survived.
Now, new business.
One of the first things that we learn once we were aboard the ship is immediately troubling. Luke is shaking off some kind of mind control. He figures out, looking around at the people around him, his friends from before, Cray and the trooper whose name I’m not going to bother remembering, a bunch of Talz, a weird, unidentified tripod like race and… Gamorreans.
Not a problem so far, but I promise, we’re getting there. Everyone else is still under the effects of mind control, brainwashing, whatever you want to call it. And they’re showing all the symptoms you’d expect, acting like stormtroopers, talking in basic, the inability to tell races apart. Wait… I don’t think that mind control works that way. I mean, not even the most outrageous of war films try that kind of angle. So, the people and things that have been picked up by this ship have been thrown into resocialization pods and now they’re stormtroopers. Except that Gamorreans can’t speak basic. I mean, not so much that they don’t, but that they can’t. Yeah, I know that was established later in the X-Wing books, so I’ll pick a different angle.
They managed to teach pigmean to speak English in a couple of days? With brainwashing? Alright, that’s dumb, but I can suspend my disbelief a bit. So-Hold on a second. They can’t tell different species apart from each other? A pigman is indistinguishable from a human. Not only that, but that pigman thinks he’s a human? What the heck kind of mind control is this?
Why did this process work on Luke, by the way? I mean, he’s strong in the force, right? He’s been trained to deal with mind affecting things. Why should this be any different? I know he eventually shakes it off, but why did it work in the first place? Was it the concussion? By the way, that’s still an issue. I maintain that a concussion this bad should have already killed him.
New problem. All right, this is an Imperial ship, gathering up troops for an enormous attack against their enemies. It’s programmed to gather up Stormtroopers from across the galaxy and take them to the attack! Why does it need this re-socialization tech? I mean, aren’t stormtroopers already fiercely loyal?
Building on the same issue, the ship is run by a single, apparently completely deficient, AI. At some point it went rogue for whatever reason and screwed stuff up and was lost for a generation. Children have been born, grown up and had children of their own by the time this thing was found, thirty years. I want everyone to hold on to that for a minute. It got lost because it was automated and something went wrong and everything got lost. Wasn’t that the plot to Dark Force Rising?
Recycling better written plots. Whatever. Anyway, this supercomputer AI is unable to tell the difference between human stormtroopers, elite human forces of the Empire, and obese pigmen. Or bizarre tripod things. Come on, author, those things aren’t even the right silhouette. How could the AI be this monumentally stupid?
It picks up Jawas at one point, which lead to a whole new can of worms being opened that I never thought I’d see out of one of the heroes of the rebellion. Deep seated racism. At every opportunity, the author seems to convey that Luke’s feelings about an entire race of sentient life are little more than dirty, hairy, smelly gutter snipes that delight in nothing more than tearing things apart. And when I say that she does this at every opportunity, it’s mentioned somewhere around four times in twenty or thirty pages. Grubby, stinky, shadowy, Jawas, always disassembling my land speeder and selling the part for space cocaine!
That’s not just me, right? That’s shockingly out of character, isn’t it? I mean, sure, he ends up saving the life of one of them from the Gamorreans, but still. Luke was fighting for the Rebellion because of the Empire’s apparent tyranny and it’s lack of respect for non-human life forms. By this point he’s fought alongside child-sized teddy bears that were literally going to eat themand never said a cross word about them but these nomadic scavengers? Can’t trust them!
In the single instance that we have with Leia in all of this, she’s exploring a planet, a planet that was attacked about thirty years ago by the Empire, but apparently not as hard as they wanted. Leia pokes around and has a force vision of kids and, apparently, a Jedi master who comes out of a door that doesn’t seem apparent now. She concludes that a Jedi should have been able to hide a doorway, even from sensors. So, let me get this straight. Jedi force powers can hide something from a sensor sweep, literally decades after the fact?
Alright, so here’s a comic book point for you. Apparently Jedi are pre-crisis Superman. Don’t know what that means? Okay, here’s the quick of it: You’ve seen Superman II, right? Remember that scene at the end when Clark erases Lois’ memories of his secret identity and how that made no sense? That’s something that they used to do all the time with Superman. He wasn’t all that interesting, what’s the writer’s solution? Why he makes up a new power for Superman! That or they push his pre-existing powers up to eleven so that he can literally juggle planets (by the way, that happened). Superman’s in a situation where he can’t use his strength to pull the lever across the room that will save the train car full of innocent people! What will he do? Oh, he’ll just use his telekinesis to move it with his mind! What, you didn’t know he could do that? Well he can!
So, apparently that works with Jedi too…
So, racism, a full on idiot AI, a recycled plot involving a super weapon that went astray, pre-crisis Superman and Jedi that are dumb even in context. Yup, it’s bad Star Wars.