Tosche Station Radio #74: 2013 in the Expanded Universe

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Kicking off the show, the hosts highlight what’s New on the Blog.  Bria started her new blog project, the Hondo Caravan. She also reviewed 2013 in the Expanded Universe…which we’ll get back to shortly. Brian and Nanci did a Go/No-go for Ender’s Game. Brian reviewed the The Haynes Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual by Ryder Windham, Chris Reif, and Chris Trevas. Bria reviewed The Star Wars #3.

In Fixer’s Flash, Nanci’s been busy reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. She’s knee-deep in NaNo, but still found time to watch Ender’s Game. Both Brian and Nanci watched Thor in preparation for The Dark World. Bria. Bria’s kept herself busy with duolingo. She also attended a Pretty Deadly signing and met awesome person Kelly Sue DeConnick

There’s not a whole lot in Deak’s Dirt this time. UK Casting Call for Episode VII? Also a US call? Dennis Barbie tweets that Episode VII will be coming “end 2015,” but he backtracked later in the day. In comics news, the new Ms. Marvel is a Muslim shapeshifting teenager! Awesome!

On Camie’s Concerns, staff writer Bria joins the hosts to take a look back at the year that was in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. What books stood out? What books fell flat? Which book got everyone angry ranting and which book had everyone gushing? Wrapping things up, everyone discusses the trends noticed in 2013 and what we hope to see in 2014.

Finally, the hosts field questions in Ask Us Anything. 

Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net and a part of Majestic Giraffe Productions. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of Tosche-Station.net. You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and Audible.com.

2013 in the Star Wars Expanded Universe

It’s the vogue thing to do right now so I couldn’t help but sit down and take a retrospective look at this year’s Expanded Universe books and then rank them in my order of preference. (Because hey!  All the cool kids are doing it!)

Overall, 2013 was a solidly enjoyable year for Expanded Universe releases.  After all, what else could it be when we literally started 2013 with Scoundrels?  I can promise you that I paid no attention to the ball dropping in Time’s Square and was instead impatiently waiting for Scoundrels to finish downloading to my Nook instead.  As those who followed the Waru Express are probably well aware, I’ve had my fair share of problems with a number of the Expanded Universe releases in the past five years or so.  2013 has, for the most part, been a giant breath of fresh air.

We’ll start with my basic rankings and then I’ll go a bit more into detail because this list is going to look deceptive.  My reviews for each of these books are linked.

  1. Kenobi
  2. Razor’s Edge
  3. Scoundrels
  4. Into the Void
  5. The Last Jedi
  6. Crucible

That’s the simplified version of the rankings.  If you really want a better sense of how I felt about these books, it’ll look something more like this.

  1. Kenobi
  2. Razor’s Edge OR Scoundrels
  3. Into the Void.

9. The Last Jedi

87. Crucible

Let’s start with the good. (And a few spoilers that will be said in passing.)

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Tosche Station Radio #62: Where Do We Go From Here?

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On this episode of Tosche Station Radio, the hosts are joined by staff writer Bria for a discussion of diversity in Star Wars, a review  of Crucible, and ask where the Expanded Universe should go from here.

Kicking off the show, the hosts highlight what’s New on the Blog. Bria addressed the lack of diversity in Star Wars. Crucible released, and there was lots of discussion. First there was our new non-spoiler Go/No-go feature, Brian’s review, and finally Bria’s review. Nanci reviewed Overdraft: The Orion Offensive by John Jackson Miller. Finally, the inevitable happened. We have a Tumblr! Sign up there for our usual brand of fandom inanity in convenient, bite-sized morsels.

In Fixer’s Flash, Nanci’s been busy reading Overdraft: The Orion Offensive and an ARC of Kenobi by John Jackson Miller. She’s also working on some original fiction and somewhere in there, found the time to sell a short story. Brian also finished Kenobi and started watching Arrested Development. Only a few years too late to save it. Bria rewatched Dollhouse and picked up a new show to throw on her fandom plate, Hannibal.

Deak’s Dirt starts with more Disney Parks rumors. Will it be the largest ever? The Orlando Business Journal says yes. Paul S. Kemp says his duology is “on standby”, cites Disney and the Sequel Trilogy being the cause. Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells gets a blurb. Nanci gives a dramatic reading. Bria might be a tad excited for this. Disney is planning a large Star Wars presence at D23 expo. Also, Comic Con (July 18-21) and CE2 (July 26-28) are coming up! Let’s home for some exciting news. In release news, out now is William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. Get thee to a bookstore!

On this week’s Camie’s Concerns, it’s a spoiler-filled review of the latest Expanded Universe release: Crucible by Troy Denning. How did the bookend for three of the most important characters in the Saga fare? From there, the hosts segue into discussing just where the EU needs to go from here and what the Sequel Trilogy means for it.

Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net and a part of Majestic Giraffe Productions. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of Tosche-Station.net. You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and Audible.com.

Her Universe - Flaunt Your World - www.heruniverseshop.com Listen to a bestseller for $7.49 at audible.com!

Review: Crucible by Troy Denning

Crucible by Troy Denning is a bookend of sorts. It’s not the dramatic conclusion to the Expanded Universe that many fans hypothesized, but it is sort of an end-point for Luke, Han and Leia. As such, expectations for this book are high, and that’s only natural for a book of such importance for the Big Three. Because of the importance of this book, my review is going to run a bit longer than it normally would. As an additional note, we’re also going to roundtable discuss this book on the podcast this week, so we’ll be able to hash out some additional thoughts that Bria and I couldn’t quite fit into our written reviews.

There’s a lot of things I wanted to touch on here so without further ado, to the review. Be warned, spoilers loom below the cut.

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Review: Crucible

CrucibleCoverI went into Crucible slightly hopeful and also without very high expectations, hoping that this book would surprise me.  Unfortunately, it failed miserably.  Instead of moving forward and away from some of the less liked bits of the last ten years of the Expanded Universe, Crucible latches on to those bits and runs with them.  Readers who haven’t read Fate of the Jedi will be lost about a great many plot points, which makes it a failure as a standalone novel.  The best way that I can describe this book is that it takes the worst plotlines from Fate of the Jedi, adds in lot of arrogant Jedi superiority, and then a final dash of Crystal Star at the end.  Unfortunately, no Star Wars fan ever said “The Expanded Universe needs more plotlines like the Crystal Star!’ and for good reason.  If this is really going to be the last big adventure for Luke, Leia, and Han, then I am oh so sorry for all three of them.

Mild Spoilers Beneath The Cut

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Go/No-Go: Crucible

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Later tonight, we’ve got a pair of Crucible reviews that we’ll get posted. Until then, we want to try something new. Our reviews usually feature spoilers, and I’m certain a number of you wish to stay spoiler-free but also want to know if something we’re reviewing is something you should go out and buy right away. That’s why we’re introducing a new feature called Go/No-Go. What we’ll do is go around the horn Mission Control style and have the blog’s staff writers offer a brief, spoiler-free paragraph detailing whether or not they think a book, film, or other piece of entertainment is a Go or a No-Go to purchase.

First up on the launch pad: Crucible by Troy Denning

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Celebrate Jacen Solo Day with the SWEU

What better way to celebrate a day of terrible puns than with the Star Wars Expanded Universe, home of the best punster in the GFFA, Jacen Solo?

(Yes, it’s May the 4th. Yes, I’m grumbly about it. But hey, more Star Wars!)

If you can’t wait for Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void, coming out Tuesday, Suvudu released 50 pages of the book in their 50 Page Fridays feature.

Excited for Troy Denning’s Crucible? Suvudu has also released the first chapter.

Finally, the kind folks at Del Rey are offering deep discounts on four ebook titles: Heir to the Empire, Tatooine Ghost, Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, and Darth Plagueis. If you are building up your ebook collection, or have just been waiting for an excuse to get copies of these books, go buy them today! (Barnes and Noble) (Amazon)

Happy Jacen Solo Day, everyone! Don’t turn into a Sith Lord!

Crucible Gets New Blurb

Random House posted a new blurb for Troy Denning’s Crucible, the next and perhaps last grand adventure for Luke, Han, and Leia in the Post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe.

Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, and Luke Skywalker return in an all-new Star Wars adventure, which will challenge them in ways they never expected—and forever alter their understanding of life and the Force.

When Han and Leia Solo arrive at Lando Calrissian’s Outer Rim mining operation to help him thwart a hostile takeover, their aim is just to even up the odds and lay down the law. Then monstrous aliens arrive with a message, and mere threats escalate into violent sabotage with mass fatalities. When the dust settles, what began as corporate warfare becomes a battle with much higher stakes—and far deadlier consequences.

Now Han, Leia, and Luke team up once again in a quest to defeat a dangerous adversary bent on galaxy-wide domination. Only this time, the Empire is not the enemy. It is a  pair of ruthless geniuses with a lethal ally and a lifelong vendetta against Han Solo. They will stop at nothing to control the lucrative Outer Rim mining trade—and ultimately the entire galactic economy. And when the murderous duo gets the drop on Han, he finds himself outgunned in the fight of his life. To save him, and the galaxy, Luke and Leia must brave a gauntlet of treachery, terrorism, and the untold power of an enigmatic artifact capable of bending space, time, and even the Force itself into an apocalyptic nightmare.

Crucible is due out on bookshelves on July 9.

Via Club Jade