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 #73: Mechanical Breakdown

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On this episode of Tosche Station Radio, Brian and Nanci discuss Razor’s Edge and fan expectations!

Kicking off the show, the hosts highlight what’s New on the Blog. Bria penned an unapologetic love letter to the Young Jedi Knights books. She also reviewed Star Wars Legacy #8. There’s a new episode of our sister podcast, Women of Odd Enthusiasms.This week Bria and Emily chat all about Harry Potter. We looked back on one year after Disney bought Lucasfilm and announced Episode VII.

In Fixer’s Flash, Nanci finished Razor’s Edge and started reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. She also work on her next NaNo project. Both of the hosts watched Pacific Rim and are now making Drift Compatibility jokes. Related to this, Bria took to twitter and asked for the best suggestions regarding Jaegers in Star Wars. As often happens on the show, the hosts go off on a tangent about meta diversity commentary in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D fandom

Deak’s Dirt starts with the release of the The Making of Star Wars enhanced eBooks. Last week Jedi News uncovered some Star Wars information out of the European Brand Licensing Show. Next up, it’s the rumor roundup. Rumor the first: LFL wanted a 2016 release for Episode VII, but Disney wants them to stay on target for 2015. Rumor the second: Harrison Ford has a deal for Episode VII in exchange for Indy 5? Finally, some big actual news: Arndt is done with his portion of the script, Kasdan and Abrams to finish. Next on the docket: Trailers! Lots of trailers! Specifically Catching Fire, Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past. And finally, in news very relevant to our interests, Jen Heddle and Shelly Shapiro met with Leland Chee and Pablo Hidalgo the other day. Wonder what they were discussing…

This week’s installment of Camie’s Concerns has the hosts discussing Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells and a more macro discussion of fan expectations and how they impact our feelings of books, film, and entertainment as a whole.

Don’t forget to check out our sister podcast Wrong Opinions About Movies. This week, they reviewed The Counselor.

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.

Compare and Contrast: Leia in 2013

comics_star_wars2013 was a big year for Leia in the Expanded Universe. First up, we got the Brian Wood written Star Wars comic, which Bria and myself were less than impressed by. Today we got Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells, which we were significantly happier with. Why the difference in reactions? Simply put, it boiled down to how Leia was used and characterized. To see what we mean, head below the cut.

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Review: Razor’s Edge

Razor's EdgeIt’s been hard in recent years to find a characterization of Leia Organa that just feels right.  It’s also been hard to find a story about our Original Trilogy heroes where the stakes are high (but not ludicrously so) and where the galaxy doesn’t have to be put completely back together again at the story’s end or, in other words, a fun adventure story.  Martha Wells delivers on both of these counts in Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge.  It’s a book where the story is important enough to warrant several hundred pages but it’s also a book that will make you laugh one page, smile another, and then perhaps duck your head and hide a tear for Alderaan.  (Or maybe that last one is just me.)

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Go/No-Go: Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells

nasa-mission-control-3Welcome back to Go/No-Go, Tosche Station’s regular feature where we offer our spoiler-free opinion as to whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a book, film, or other entertainment. Today on the launch pad: Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells. Does the first of the new Empire and Rebellion series stack up? Time to go around the horn at mission control.

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Bria’s ‘Razor’s Edge’ cosplay featured on Suvudu

Our own Bria was featured in an interview over at Suvudu to discuss cosplay and one of her latest costumes: Leia from the cover of Razor’s Edge.

What inspired you to create this costume?

From the minute I saw the cover for Razor’s Edge, I knew that I wanted to do the costume. I’ve said to my friends in the past that so many of the book covers with Leia bore me because they almost all show her in her film costumes. This was absolutely not something she wore in the films but it works so well for not only her character but also for the role she’s filling within the book as a leader of the Rebel Alliance on a vital mission. She gets to wear an outfit that shouts ‘this is meant for action!’ without automatically having to wear a catsuit. I had an idea for how I wanted to make the costume and one day, I challenged myself to complete the costume in 12 hours because I loved the look of it that much.

For the rest of the interview and for more photos, head over to Suvudu.

Dear Star Wars Books: Thank You For the Women

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a blog post for EUCantina in which I analyzed the roles of women in the Expanded Universe, specifically in the post-Return of the Jedi era. The article was inspired by the cancellation of “Mandorla”, the Alex Irvine novel about Nomi Sunrider, from the Tales of the Jedi comics. I’d been wanting a book about Nomi for awhile, and was really disappointed to see it cancelled. And the disappointment stung on more than just a level of “I was really looking forward to that book.”

And then my brain began to turn. As far as I can recall, “Mandorla” was the only novel in recent memory to be focused on a female protagonist. We’ve had “Han” novels, “Bane” novels, “Revan” novels; where are the “Jaina” and “Padme” and “Leia” novels? Why cancel a novel that had a chance to expand on a strong female lead?

The article was generally well received, with a few exceptions, mostly from people claiming that the EU was already filled with lots of female characters. While that may have been true, the point of the article remained:

“But Star Wars has many female leads,” you might say. To which I reply: “but none are allowed to lead.”

The original article has since been lost to the internet ether, but I had my own draft copy elsewhere. With San Diego Comic Con happening and in anticipation of the Star Wars Books panel, I recently skimmed the article with the intention of reposting it here on Tosche Station for posterity’s sake. But as I kept reading, I realized something: in less than 18 months, Del Rey and LucasBooks has addressed nearly all of my major complaints in the article. And I knew I’d be remiss if I didn’t revisit the article and say THANK YOU.

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Blurb – Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge

Razor's EdgeThe blurb for Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge, written by Martha Wells, has appeared in the Random House catalog.

Times are desperate for the Rebel Alliance. Harassment by the Empire and a shortage of vital supplies are hindering completion of a new secret base on the ice planet Hoth. So when Mid Rim merchants offer much-needed materials for sale, Princess Leia Organa and Han Solo lead an Alliance delegation to negotiate a deal.

But when treachery forces the rebel ship to flee into territory controlled by pirates, Leia makes a shocking discovery: the fierce marauders come from Leia’s homeworld of Alderaan, recently destroyed by the Death Star. These refugees have turned to pillaging and plundering to survive—and they are in debt to a pirate armada, which will gladly ransom the princess to the vengeful Empire . . . if they find out her true identity.

Struggling with intense feelings of guilt, loyalty, and betrayal, Leia is determined to help her wayward kinspeople, even as Imperial forces are closing in on her own crippled ship. Trapped between lethal cutthroats and brutal oppressors, Leia and Han, along with Luke, Chewbacca, and a battle-ready crew, must defy death—or embrace it—to keep the rebellion alive.

Alderaanian pirates? We were all really excited about this book, but now you know staff writer Bria is going to be allll over this book.

The first novel in the Empire and Rebellion series, previously known as Rebels, is scheduled for release in hardcover and ebook formats on September 24.

(via Knights Archive)

Razor’s Edge gets a new release date

For those of you looking forward to this book (that includes the staff here), great news! You’re going to get it a week earlier.