July 19, 2005

Rogue Planet

Prior to getting the Potter book, I was trying to finish up my Star Wars reading for a while by reading the last pre-Episode-III book that I had missed (well, one of two, but I probably won't read the other), Greg Bear's "Rogue Planet". I'm a big Bear fan, and I've reviewed some of his other stuff in my sidebar, and I wasn't disappointed with his effort here.

This one takes place a few years after "Phantom Menace", so it is early in the Anakin-Obi-Wan relationship. I think Bear is surprisingly perceptive about what threads will be picked up from that story and emphasized in the movies, because he wrote this before even Episode II came out. What that means is that this book ages well and fits well with what comes later, and that's not true of all the pre-III books.

The plot here is that a young and rising officer named Tarkin ("Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.") is trying to locate a planet that builds expensive and remarkable ships, so he follows Anakin and Obi-Wan, after planting the seed with the Jedi that they should check it out. There's some stuff with a minor character called a "Blood Carver" that I'll ignore here, because I'm cutting Bear a break. Very annoying.

Anyway, the two Jedi reach this planet, and it turns out the planet is sort-of force-heavy, and they have an ecosystem that is capable of growing an organic ship with super powerful engines and stuff that "fits" its pilot like a glove and interfaces organically, etc. It acts like a familiar, super-responsive, very fast, incredibly expensive and all that. The part of the book during which Anakin and Obi-Wan are going through the process of growing their ship is really fascinating and would make a good stand-alone story outside the Star Wars universe (which is likely what it was, an idea that Bear adapted because he couldn't figure out anything better to do with it).

That plus the well-written interplay between Anakin and Obi-Wan (along with hints of Qui-Gon's ability to communicate from beyond, something not revealed until Episode III) make this probably among the top two or three Star Wars books prior to the "New Hope" era. A good one to read between viewings of Episodes I and II.

Posted by Observer at July 19, 2005 10:03 PM

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