Review: Star Wars vs. Warhammer 40k Season 1

Star Wars Vs Warhammer 40k, Season 1

Star Wars and Warhammer 40,000 combine science fiction with mystical fantasy, albeit the latter to a much larger degree. So it came as little surprise that one self proclaimed “fan with too much time” made an elaborate crossover audio drama of Era Indomitus 40k and prequel-era Star Wars. A large fleet from the Imperium of Man gets blown into the Star Wars galaxy at the height of the Clone Wars. Stuff then ensues.

An open-ended fanfic is always hard to review exactly, so I’m sticking with the first season in this review. And it’s excellent. First, the audio drama has some great written and voiced scenes, like describing what it’s like to be on the receiving end of an Astartes/Space Marine attack (hint: not very pleasant). Second, it manages to balance the factions well. The clash of Astartes vs. Jedi is balanced in an apples vs. oranges way, as they’re not symmetric superhumans the way that say, Astartes and SPARTANs from Halo would be. Finally the culture clash (as in, what happens when a sane universe meets a crazed one) is handled great as well.

This reminded me of Worldwar, with the Imperium as the lizard-race. It’s been a very fun way to pass the time.

Review: I Jedi

I, Jedi

Michael Stackpole’s I, Jedi may be my favorite Star Wars novel ever. It’s also a book that has absolutely no business being as good as it is. After all, Stackpole is a writer who isn’t the best prose-wise and tends to take game mechanics literally. Corran Horn, his protagonist, is the ur-example of someone parachuting their own Mary Sue into an existing franchise. The first part of the book uses the same plot as a book by the infamously subpar Kevin J. Anderson.

And yet, it somehow works brilliantly. Part of it is that Stackpole’s writing is in better form than usual, in everything from starfighter battles where Corran fights his old teammates and can sense their thought processes to everyday life on a backwater world. Another part of it is that by being small-scale and comparably low-stakes, it manages to actually make the universe look bigger and more wondrous.

Stackpole’s epic might be helped along by the other books of the time, which tended to have a random ex-Imperial using the superweapon of the week and an inappropiately small number of Star Destroyers to threaten the entire galaxy. But even on its own, it works. It embodies the “distant vista” principle, restores a sense of awe, and just succeeds as a story in its own right.

Unstructured Review: X-Wing Series

As a kid, I inherited (and read) a lot of my family’s old Star Wars novels. The most relevant to Fuldapocalypse and most fun are the X-Wing novels by Michael A. Stackpole and the late Aaron Allston. For books that are both movie tie-ins and video game tie-ins at the same time, they’re actually really good.

Especially Allston’s. The Wraith Squadron series are a combination Dirty Dozen and fighter story (and yes, fighter pilots somehow turn into effective commando-spies. But this is Star Wars), and manage a degree of emotional height (Allston’s not afraid to kill off developed sympathetic characters) and comedy (such as someone having to fly into battle with a giant stuffed Ewok in his lap-long story) without feeling jarring at all.

Stackpole’s books are more formulaic, less daring, and he has the tendency to take game mechanics a little too literally, but they’re still solid and still better-scaled than a lot of the other Star Wars books of the time period (which have all the antagonist problems of 1990s technothrillers and then some).

Technothriller authors could do worse than read these. They’re good examples of how you can manage a decent-sized cast and medium-scope story, and they’re fun.