I have many guilty pleasures.
I’m not ashamed to admit it. I love horrible entertainment in general. Lately I’ve been binging on the show “Say Yes to the Dress” on Netflix. Yes, the show where brides pick out way-too-expensive wedding dresses over and over. I have no explanation other than I think wedding dresses are pretty, I like window shopping, and I like shows that don’t make me think too hard.
So it should come as no surprise that I have many guilty pleasures in my fandom of choice, Star Wars. After all, I’ve been reading the Expanded Universe for over 20 years now. I love Union, the comic in which Luke and Mara get married, because of its cheese factor. I don’t care what anyone says.
But that’s not even close to being the worst thing in Star Wars that I love.
* * *
The time is 1993. Timothy Zahn’s latest star wars novel, The Last Command, has been released. Twelve year old Nanci is devastated that there will be no more Star Wars in the book store. (Thirty-one year old Nanci glances at her bookshelves and Kindle filled with Star Wars books, and wishes she could go back in time and tell young Nanci to savor the time in which all the modern EU was written by Timothy Zahn.)
But then, a wondrous thing happens: Nanci discovers even more Star Wars books in the bookstore! They’re known as the Jedi Prince series, and consist of six books that take place right after Return of the Jedi. She’s ecstatic and buys them immediately. She doesn’t care that they’re young reader books that take place before the Thrawn Trilogy. They’re Star Wars books, and they have Luke in them, so she’s going to love them, even with the Whaladons and sky houses and Mofferences.
* * *
Fast forward several years. Nanci’s taste has matured and developed, and she can now adequately discern when Star Wars books are utter crap. (Thanks, The Crystal Star! Praise be to Waru.) One day when she’s bored, she opens up that young reader series she bought several years ago. And she’s horrified.
The books are beyond bad. They’re awful. They’re full of terrifying things like Whaladons and sky houses and Mofferences. Mofferences! And the artwork! Oh the illustrations are just fracking fantastically bad. (Ironically, the books have Drew Struzan covers. This is the classic warning against judging a book by its cover.)
And we haven’t even touched on the continuity catastrophes. You think that Jedi Masters dying multiple times during the Clone Wars is bad? Try Han and Leia having two weddings three years apart. Try Luke finding an entire Lost City of the Jedi on Yavin IV, seven years before he founds the Jedi Academy there! Hell, Palpatine has a grandson who just disappears after the series is over. Shouldn’t Luke want to, you know, keep tabs on him?Or train him to be a proper Jedi? The books just do not fit in with the rest of the post RotJ EU.
(And yet Matthew Stover referenced the Prophets of the Dark Side in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, and it made complete and total sense.)
Needless to say, Nanci put these books into that little corner of her mind called “Star Wars things she’d like to pretend never existed.”
* * *
Fast forward to now. I’m a little older, a little wiser, but still like crappy entertainment. And the Jedi Prince series is nothing but crappy. You know the way a lot of people feel about the Young Jedi Knights books? That’s the way I feel about Jedi Prince. I read them during my formative fandom years and therefore they will always hold a special place in my heart, deranged as they are. I know they’re bad, and I don’t care. I want to believe that Ken Palpatine is out there somewhere, either working as an accountant of being a random Jedi in Luke’s order. I want to believe!
And for you, the Tosche Station readers at home, I’m going to dive back into the horrible wonderfulness that is the Jedi Prince series.
Thus begins my retrospective. Expect animated gifs, photos of me looking horrified, and pictures of Mara the dog looking really bored.
May the Force be with me.