Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

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Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Bellarius » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:52 pm

The story so far...

Bellarius wrote:Attempted to read S.M. Stirling's Draka series. Given up part way through book two on accounts of knowing too much about basic history and thinking about what i'm reading. It would be a series book if so much of it didn't make any sense.

The last time I saw someone giving a side a God-Mode cheat/enforced idiot plot this badly was when the Travissty was writing about Mandalorians.


Lord of the Night wrote:
Bellarius wrote:The last time I saw someone giving a side a God-Mode cheat/enforced idiot plot this badly was when the Travissty was writing about Mandalorians.

Really?? I just felt it was an author FINALLY showing that the Jedi are not infallible and that some of what they can can be construed as quite bad. Such as indoctrinating children into emotionless cultists that look down upon everyone else as uncivilised and believe they know what is best in every occasion. And the Mandalorians, who are some of the deadliest warriors in the galaxy, getting an author who appreciates them and gives us a novel series with likeable characters whose motivations are completely understandable.

But each to their own.


LotN


Bellarius wrote:
Lord of the Night wrote:Really?? I just felt it was an author FINALLY showing that the Jedi are not infallible and that some of what they can can be construed as quite bad. Such as indoctrinating children into emotionless cultists that look down upon everyone else as uncivilised and believe they know what is best in every occasion. And the Mandalorians, who are some of the deadliest warriors in the galaxy, getting an author who appreciates them and gives us a novel series with likeable characters whose motivations are completely understandable.


If you believe any of that then you have not the slightest idea of how the Jedi work, or the Mandalorians for that matter.
Traviss' writings were driven by a lack of research and personal hatred for how she perceived the Jedi. She openly admitted repeatedly that she did not read books by other authors about the universe, did not keep track of events or even look up what had been done with the Expanded Universe. Her response to people citing her getting facts wrong or writing things which were highly questionable consisted of her openly insulting them (to the point of openly saying anyone who supported the Jedi were morally wrong, not to mention neo-Nazis) and proceeding to ignore anything said. It reached the point where, rather than correcting a very questionable detail that said the Republic Army was only 3,000,000 strong, she wrote a hateful and badly thought out short story saying the Jedi and Confederacy were conspiring to disguise the actual numbers involved in the Clone Wars.

The Mandalorians are some of the deadliest warriors in the galaxy, no argument there. Traviss turned them into people who make John Matrix's skills look realistic and the Jedi into foolish caricatures of themselves, often at the cost of their established personalities, histories and killing off characters belonging to other authors.

Also, please don't call her an author. Authors try to write stories, not badly disguised hate essays filled with strawmen and personal mouthpieces. At that point you have a hack.


Lord of the Night wrote:
Bellarius wrote:If you believe any of that then you have not the slightest idea of how the Jedi work, or the Mandalorians for that matter.

Traviss' writings were driven by a lack of research and personal hatred for how she perceived the Jedi. She openly admitted repeatedly that she did not read books by other authors about the universe, did not keep track of events or even look up what had been done with the Expanded Universe. Her response to people citing her getting facts wrong or writing things which were highly questionable consisted of her openly insulting them (to the point of openly saying anyone who supported the Jedi were morally wrong, not to mention neo-Nazis) and proceeding to ignore anything said. It reached the point where, rather than correcting a very questionable detail that said the Republic Army was only 3,000,000 strong, she wrote a hateful and badly thought out short story saying the Jedi and Confederacy were conspiring to disguise the actual numbers involved in the Clone Wars.

The Mandalorians are some of the deadliest warriors in the galaxy, no argument there. Traviss turned them into people who make John Matrix's skills look realistic and the Jedi into foolish caricatures of themselves, often at the cost of their established personalities, histories and killing off characters belonging to other authors.

Also, please don't call her an author. Authors try to write stories, not badly disguised hate essays filled with strawmen and personal mouthpieces. At that point you have a hack.

I see the Jedi in the same light as the Tau. Yes they do good things and they can be considered good if you look at them a certain way. Look at them a different way and they are a cult.

I won't defend her personal conduct because that isn't something that means anything to me. As to that 3 million Clones debacle I have no idea where to begin so I just ignore it, it's a minor detail to me and not one that is worth the effort most people put into it.

The Jedi of her books were actually decent people, it just shows the hypocrisy of the Jedi who preach freedom and equality yet are willing to accept a slave army because it is convenient for them. But isn't that the true test of a person's morals? Whether or not you stick with them even when it isn't convenient? If the Jedi truly cared they would not have accepted the Clone army because it is akin to using slaves. Some saw that, like Bardan Jusik and Etain Tur-Murkan and left the Order, some didn't and paid for it. As to the Mandalorians I say Traviss wrote the books from their point of views so it's obvious that there would be a lot of Jedi hate, because the Mandalorians hate them for taking children away from their families and using a slave-army built on Mandalorian blood. I say she just writes compelling characters whose opinions and feelings are really clear to the reader.

And she is an author, a good one at that. Many people agree with me. Her Republic Commando series is one of my favourite Star Wars pieces, her Gears of War books are brilliant and she did write the plot for Gears 3 which was just excellent, especially the ending.

sam vimes wrote:Bit harsh Bellarius but each to there own view, me personally I like Karen's books her novel sacrifice in the legacay of the force series was one of the more enjoyable books in that whole sorry confused disjointed series, after that I gave up on star wars as a rule who knows maybe with the new movies we'll get some of the magic back.

I gave up on Star Wars after that The Clone Wars travesty of a cartoon. They are obsessed with making Star Wars more kid-friendly and they ruined too many things to do so. The Fakedalorians, Grievous becoming a ***** moustache-twirling "I'll be back!" Saturday morning cartoon villain, Anakin's annoying little padawan, and much more. And Fate of the Jedi, that Mortis crap was awful enough in the Clone Wars but using it in the books with that cheap Daemon rip-off Abeloth was worse, and Ben Skywalker using the force to slap a girl then hugging her was just creepy.


Started and finished Arcana Chronicles 2: Endless Knight by Kresley Cole. Really enjoying this series and the growing cast of Arcana, and the world becomes much more intriguing the more I learn about it. Only bad part is waiting a year for book 3.

Will start Vulkan Lives today.


LotN

Edited one word for the family-friendly rule. ~ Vivia


Bellarius wrote:It's a good thing I keep a certain essay ready for times like this. I will withhold the profanities usually reserved encountering someone defending a hack with no respect for her co-workers, fans or the universe she was writing for and made no efforts to even try to get along with any of them. Not to mention her relentless preaching.

God only knows this should have been expected from the person who considered C.S. Goto to be a halfway decent author. Not to mention a disgraceful lack of any understanding by proclaiming "SLAVE ARMY!!!!!" and trying to declare it was a somehow even interpretation of the order, not the spawn of someone with a Boba Fettish who creams herself at the idea of Jedi blood.


The Travissty of COGs and Mandos



Some readers might not like what I am about to say and I am going to be critical of the author's actions as much as her writings. Mostly because her behaviour and personality seems to have led to the decline in quality of her work.

But before I begin there are a number of thing which I wish to state.

I do regard Traviss as being a somewhat competent writer.
The style in which she describes scenes both in and out of combat is highly professional and detailed. What's more is that while there are a lot of elements within her books which I hate, there were more than a few ideas which I took an immense liking to. One such example being the ARC Null unit.

If she had kept out of Star Wars and her Republic Commando series had been written as an entirely independent universe, the chances are that I would be a fan of it.
Her main problem is that she's a terrible writer when it comes to universes already heavily expanded upon and seems to have incredible difficulty characterising individuals written by other authors.
What Traviss needed was to move onto a franchise with little in the way of novella already having been written about it. She's now doing this with the Gears of War series and managed to achieve the position of head writer for the final game, so it appears she is not as incompetent as it would seem from her Star Wars tales.

Secondly I want to point out that I'm a long time fan of the clone troopers and Mandalorians. Characters like Alpha-17, Jango Fett and Canderous Ordo are some of my favourites amidst this universe. I also enjoyed the grey morality which was occasionally displayed with their civilisation and while I thought they made better villains it was good to see elements of how they developed from the Crusaders into the Defenders.
I'll also give Traviss credit for trying to create a Mando'a language through the rhythmic chanting present within the opening screen of Republic Commando. The only complaint of which is how grammar was simply tossed out the window making it somewhat painful to read/use.

Now, with that out of the way I'm afraid I'm going to have to start criticising her works.

The first and foremost of these is her apparent obsessions over Mandalorians. Or outside of Star Wars a number of very similar proud warrior cultures she portrays as being utterly superior to all other races. Similarly she's intent upon bashing a franchise's current heroic faction and demonizing them to make her own group look better.
This is just as visible within Gears of War as Star Wars with her books containing COG operated mass gang raping facilities with some contrived reason for them wanting a steady supply of soldiers to be sent into warzones.
Ignoring the massive logic problems with these facilities having only been in operation for a few years, how long it takes a child to grow, the obvious and easier alternatives to this etc. I just want to point out that she's trying to demonize an organisation of soldiers already being forced to commit atrocities in the name for survival by turning them all into operatives within a group which utilises rape activities.
Additionally, the weapons developers which humanity needs? She repeatedly tries to hammer in the idea that all of them are war criminals, no matter their intentions or for what reason they're creating them.

Traviss also introduced us to the Pesang warriors. These are presented as being hyper-competent, misunderstood and absolutely perfect. They are shown as presented to be almost exactly like her version of the Mandalorians within her Star Wars books and just happen to be fighting for humanity and frequently outdoing the COG units at every turn.
The exact same thing is present within Traviss' portrayals of Jedi and Mandalorians within her Star Wars novels. Whenever a Jedi appears she often does everything within her power to show them to be the worst kind of irredeemable scum possible. Ignoring almost all good they can do and making them incredibly decadent, weak and overconfident. This is done to the point in which a Jedi character within Hard Contact is taught how to properly melee fight by a Clone Commando.
She also showed them to be incredibly hateful even to members of their own kind, something I'll get into later on, and treat those who lack 'sufficient Force power' as being inferior. In Traviss' mind any Mandolorian would beat the living crap out of any Jedi no matter the skill or stature of the Force user.

They're constantly used as an excuse to either show how badass her Mandalorians are: Convert to being a Mandolorian or sit quietly in the corner and listen to very long speeches by Mandalorians about why they suck so badly. Always being highly impressed by them in the process. In fact, Traviss goes so far as to directly portray the Jedi as being Nazis while understanding nothing more than the bare basics of their society, comparing their raising Force sensitive from child birth to relentless desire for a genetically pure race.
In spite of the fact that their number consist of hundreds of species rather than a single race.
In spite of the fact that this is impossible as the Jedi of this time were bound to oaths not to enter any romantic or intimate relationships with others.
In spite of the fact they dislike the use of cloning and genetic modification.

Oh and the Force? That power which binds all life together? That ability which allows those strong in it to use telekinesis and telepathy? That power which shaves reaction times, allows certain users to move in bullet time, pinpoint accuracy, precognition, strength enhancement? That helps to better oxygenate the blood and even heal wounds in a matter of seconds?
In her books it does nothing for them or is never used in an intelligent manner in the slightest. In spite of the films, novels, comics, cartoons and short stories all contradicting this portrayal of them.

Keep this portrayal in mind while I define the Mandalorians and Clone Troopers as she shows them in her novels.

The Clone Troopers of her stories utterly contradict those shown in every other book in the Star Wars EU. Traviss ignores all that mental conditioning, training, sleep taught tactics, discipline and everything else which they have spent the last decade being given to make them more sympathetic and misunderstood.
So, she shows them mostly to be child soldiers in grown men's bodies who've been handed small notes upon which way to hold a gun and sent out to be used as cannon fodder. The only exception to this seems to be the Commandos the novels focus upon so they can be shown to be superior to Force users. The Jedi (who again in everything else) were shown to be sympathetic towards the clones and hated having to use them as soldiers, are presented as bloodthirsty slave drivers caring nothing for the troops under their command.

I should point out here that Traviss ended up contradicting herself badly with this statement and even with the average clones she showed hints of her undying love to how 'awesome' they are in terms of their kill counts. The average Clone Trooper was noted to make two hundred kills before being brought down. This is a ridiculous amount even by action film standards, and to prove my point here are some statistics for comparison:
The Bride in Kill Bill (Vol. 1) – 76 on screen kills
John Preston in Equilibrium – 118 on screen kills
When an average unnamed faceless grunt is capable of outdoing John Matrix then the author has clearly either gone too far or is trying to parody herself.

I'm not going to go and bash the characters of her stories, as I enjoyed some of their portrayals. While there were a number of characters I disliked it would take me too long to give a proper in-depth analysis of the aspects I was at odds with, so I'm going to ignore them for the time being.
However, that's not going to stop me from bashing the Mandalorians as shown in the series.

Now, let me give people here a quick history lesson on how the Mandos have been portrayed in other novels. Jango Fett's group were mercenaries more interested in getting the job done than doing the right thing but still held a good moral compass and were unwilling to commit direct actions of wanton destruction of they could avoid it. However they were still living an existence which had them killing people on a daily basis and were far from being the most sympathetic of people.

In Knights of the Old Republic they were shown to be a very 'grey' morality force at the best of times and frequently villains who were being led to self destruction as a result of their life style. All of their tactics and strategies frequently validated the use of war crimes and atrocities against sentients. They frequently ignored honourable tactics in favour of mass orbital bombardments and sneak attacks against planets who could fight back. Terror tactics, mass destruction, targeting civilian populations with war machines, genocidal campaigns to wipe out whole species, all were used. Just look at the Cathar.

Those who survived these attacks were frequently either sold into slavery or press ganged to be used as cannon fodder in future crusades in a failing attempt to sustain the Mandalorians' numbers. Even genetic experiments and mass torture were used almost purely because they wanted to test if their enemies could actually put up a decent fight.
By the time of the Clone Wars their defeat and their efforts to antagonize everyone in the galaxy had left them with only a small handful of worlds, enclaves, with their kind trying to hide and prevent others finding an excuse to wipe them out. As such while they did change and kept many of their values they were in no way the perfect society Traviss portrays them to be.


In Traviss' version their whole civilisation is perfect and they can do no wrong. To quote a compact and good description of their existence:
Traviss' Mandalorians have a mandatory draft for all males, who craft their own armour. Females often do likewise and go to war as well. Some of them stay at war, acting as high-paid mercenaries for various individuals and governments, although some take up less warlike professions (apparently the surname "Fett" means "farmer") all are nonetheless required to have armour and fighting capability.
The language has a single gender-neutral pronoun for living things and is quite easy to learn; the society is welcoming to those who can fit into it, all of them love children, marriage and divorce are done with a few phrases in a few minutes. Women bearing sons traditionally wait five years to conceive again, one year if it's a daughter, because daughters don't always want to go to war. While this would be an interesting and valid society, and it's more developed than a lot of the others in Star Wars, Traviss always portrays it as a desirable culture with several of people wanting in and no-one but a few degenerates wanting out, and with most Mandalorians believing themselves superior to all the other societies.


In essence Traviss portrayed them in the same light as James Cameron does his Na'vi. Ignoring all the wrong they have previously done (and still do) and showing them to be people who can perform only good deeds. No race in any franchise which plays a major role in events should be shown as this, bar one off civilisations which are only mentioned or briefly appear. But not one so heavily intertwined with the history of Star Wars and heavily focused upon.


Now with that out of the way I can start to move onto some of the background information of this author and her works.
Let me just repeat something at this point though: I still think that had this been set in its own universe rather than Star Wars it would have been at the very least a very good setting. The idea of having a corrupt sect of geneticist psychics leading armies of clones who are little more than child soldiers against vast robotic legions, as well as having the only 'good' society are a handful of scattered worlds left over from a fanatical crusader civilisation, would have made a good series.
It could have been very dark and used to highlight a lot of good elements of morality and been given the freedom to expand upon the themes Traviss wanted them to. Her major mistake was trying to join a universe which she was seemingly uninterested in, had never read any novels from and held no interest of sticking to the established history. Or writing up about characters that she had not created.


I've already brought up points upon how she has broken from the canon with both the Jedi and Mandalorians in incredibly bad ways, but this is nothing compared to some of the character portrayals.
As she has simply no interest within the rest of the Star Wars universe, much of the information she gets are things she asks for from other writers who have a much broader understanding of the universe. For her novel Order 66 she asked for a number of Jedi characters whose deaths had not been confirmed and could be used in the novel. I'll avoid much of the things which irritated me in that book but I'll point out one character that briefly appeared within it: Scout (Tallisibeth Enwangdun-Esterhazy).


The character was a Jedi who had previously appeared in a book called Yoda: Dark Rendezvous who was noted to have little in the way of strength with the Force. This lack of ability was made up for by her resourcefulness, sheer determination and willingness to use very creative tactics to win battles. Yoda respected this, believing her to have a future ahead of her within the order as a result of this as did a number of older Jedi. Traviss appeared to only hear the part relating to Scout's lack of strength with the Force and as such she appeared within Traviss' novel stating that she had been thought of as worthless as a result of this. Thus contradicting not only her entire history but the core idea and basic aspects of her character.


Similarly very jarring events and personality shifts took place in the ill fated Legacy of the Force series:

•In an effort to shoehorn the Mandalorians into the series Jacen Solo suddenly becomes a hideously violent monster, something he had admittedly been working towards under the guidance of a Sith, and beats Ailyn Vel to death in an attempt to gain information rather than through more tactful methods.

•Jacen also gains the Force ability to time travel and view events of the past in spite of no such ability ever having even been suggested to exist.

•Luke Skywalker becomes an incredibly callous character during one book and begins leaping to conclusions, eventually executing a villain in cold blood with a movie quip. In spite of it being heavily against his character and the teachings he has followed for all of his adult life.

•Tahiri Veila appears to ignore all character development she had in the previous twenty preceding books by other authors and goes from a strong and independent individual to latches onto Solo and follows his every command. Resulting in a horribly abysmal death for Gilad Pellaeon, one of the oldest and best established Imperial characters of the series.

•Daala becomes a tactical genius despite every aspect of her history contradicting any capability of good leadership or understanding of battle tactics. This was a woman whose every military campaign had either led to massive casualties amongst her troops or total failure.

•Jacen Solo, a master of the darkside, only survives a brief encounter with a handful of Mandalorians because their leader ordered him not to be killed. They took him down in close combat without breaking a sweat.

•She then decided that there had been no female Imperial Moffs (systems governors) in spite of the series directly preceding this contradicting that.

•And an early major error in one of her book previews stated that Qui-Gon Jinn had killed a Sith on Naboo. I should just point out that in this instance she proved to be unable to even keep track of a major event within the films which spawned the books she writes, and the prequels' first major character death.


This is simply skimming the largest problems her books have created and in spite of all these errors and questionable events they are not the worst elements of her works by any length.
The worst aspects of her works come from her reactions to criticism and her personal views of the fanbase.


One rather glaring flaw repeatedly pointed out within her works was the estimate for the numbers of clones used by the Republic in its war against the Separatists. Rather than correcting a small piece of trivia which stated only three million clones made up the entire army, Traviss decided to stick with it and make the estimate an official fact. Meaning that the republic's 1.3 million worlds had approximately two clones to help defend each one. The size of this force means that in every single major conflict displayed within the cartoon, comics and films the Republic was deploying a huge portion of its entire fighting strength.


This was a factor repeatedly brought up and questioned by fans, scientists and military soldiers all of whom pointed out that the numbers were ridiculous and could not match up in the slightest. Rather than correct this or back down against this criticism Traviss decided to try and 'pull rank' upon them, pointing out how she had once been a deck seaman (the lowest rank within the British navy), and initiated one of the stupidest plots in the history of the franchise in an effort to get back at them.
In a venomous act against the 'Jedi fanboys' she wrote a story called Odds in which it was revealed that the Jedi and Confederacy of Independent Systems were conspiring together to prevent anyone knowing the true scale of the war taking place across the galaxy.
An even worse attempt to strike back can be seen in Dooku's internal monologue in the novelization of the Clone Wars film. I'll let it speak for itself:


"I've spent years preparing to break the Republic's strangle-hold. Years. A long way to go, still, but it'll come. The galaxy is ready for it. Worlds want to run their own affairs. Make it happen soon, Darth Sidious. The Republic's the worst kind of dictatorship-a pseudo-democracy cloaked in smiles and tolerance, as long as you do as it says.

And I will not do as anyone says. I'll think for myself.

Dooku stared into the mesh of light that showed the plan of a castle-like structure full of passages, chambers, and high walls.
Don't think, Padawan Dooku

"You were wrong then, Jedi," he said aloud. "And you're wrong now."

Destiny was not about feeling; destiny was about thinking, about rationality. Dooku didn't see reacting blindly to feelings as some mystic virtue, but as a weakness.

In a child, he would have punished it as giving in to impulses, a lack of maturity and self-control.

As a child, he had been trained not to think. As a child, he had been trained to be a Jedi.Don't question so much, Padawan Dooku. Feel. Don't doubt. Believe.

Well, he questioned things now. And he didn't believe. The Republic was corrupt to its core, and the Jedi were its lackeys-sanctimonious mercenaries. Their comfortable little cartel was coming to an end. Darth Sidious would finish it off, and Dooku knew it was his moral duty to help bring about that day,

Then he saw the snow again, not the polished apocia wood desk; a battlefield in winter, finally silent. The schematic's hair-fine lines of red light became spatters and trails of blood that Dooku feared he would never be able to wash from his hands.

He was standing ankle-deep in the muffled, ice-cold whiteness of Galidraan in winter. Jedi and Mandalorian dead lay every-where. And he could still hear his own appalled voice, his own shame.

What have we done?

It was a massacre; and the Jedi had carried it out, pawns of the corrupt Galidraan governor, who had set up the Mandalorian army for his own agenda. Looking back on it, Dooku saw it was the tipping point that had changed his life. It was the moment he had started to think.

I believed my Masters. I didn't think for myself. They didn't question, either; they took the governor at his word. They just believed. And we killed people. We killed them on the say-so of a criminal.

If you were going to take lives, go to war, then there was no benefit of the doubt to be given, no other's word to take. Dooku trusted only proof now.What have I done?

You came to your senses.

But I'm setting up the Jedi now. That makes me as degenerate as they are.

Think of it as using their own complacency against them. Turning their own weapon on them. Poetic justice. Whatever it takes. They won't say sorry and step down simply because you point out the error of the Republic's ways, will they?

He had these arguments with himself more than ever lately.

The snow had melted; the dead were buried. But he couldn't erase Jango Fett's face, the face of a man back from the living death of a slavery that Dooku had delivered him into, etched with all the bitter lines of surviving only to have his moment of justice. It was always the last image to leave Dooku. It wasn't just the millions of troops cloned from Fett that made forgetting impossible. It was that Fett hadn't lived to see the downfall of the Jedi. Fett's motive for sharing - aiding - Dooku's ambition hadn't been greed, he realized, but the same understanding that the Jedi Order was a destructive, destabilizing cabal.

The Jedi had killed Fett in the end. But most of him seemed to have died at Galidraan anyway, and only his insatiable hunger for justice had kept that formidable body moving.

We'll have our day, Fett.

Dooku opened the comlink again, this time to the monastery on Teth. It was time for the next stage of the operation.

"Ventress," he said. "Ventress, is the Huttlet all right? Bring me up to speed."


Now, ignoring the character's statements about the Jedi desiring their members not to think and only obey (due to being complete falsehoods and fabrications about the Order) there's one obvious problem in this entire section. She has essentially rewritten Count Dooku's entire background and reasons for falling to the dark side to get revenge for the Mandalorians. This not only contradicts the basic aspects of his character, but contradicts his reasons for meeting Sidious and starting to fall to the dark side in the first place.

More and more of her plots within the books she made began to focus upon getting 'revenge' against certain critics to the point where some fans began to swear off some of her later works.
In the novel of the same name, Order 66 itself seemed to be written to excuse the clones as they mass murdered the Jedi. This was done to the point where a Jedi who had more or less converted to being a Mandolorian sacrificed herself to protect a clone from a Jedi padawan fighting for his life.


Later on she began directly insulting any fan who began questioning her writings or the portrayals within them.
When a fan questioned why she hated the Jedi, Traviss responded that it was 'impossible to hate a non-existent idea', then started calling fans neo-Nazis for liking them. Regarding the Jedi as being just Nazis for somehow trying to create 'genetically superior master race' by only accepting Force sensitives into their ranks.
She accused fans of being low life misogynists for telling her that she had clearly not done her research upon many of the subjects she was writing about. Insinuating that they thought a woman could not understand Star Wars. In truth no one I have seen or spoken to ever stated 'no woman', just her.
And finally she began to refer those who continued to point out the errors of her works and try to get her to correct them as being 'Tallifans'. And yes, that was an intentional reference to a certain extremist group of religious suicide bombers killing soldiers and civilians alike within the Middle East. Classy.
Amidst all this she constantly dared critics who pointed out flaws in her works to do better, challenging them to write something better than she had produced.
Many of these blogs and messages were deleted by her when even she began to realise she was going too far but records of what took place still exist within some circles.

That is why people dislike her. Because she treated those who did not share her views with no respect and endlessly insulted them, as well as directly opposing the writers who had come before her.

Finally I'll finish on this note: Her writings apparently became so conflicting with the universe they were set in that the writers of the Clone Wars series retconned them out of existence in one episode, choosing the history of other writers over her own works.
In short she was becoming so much of a problem for Star Wars that a mainstream series intervened to prevent her doing more damage to the established timeline. She was becoming such a problem with her "improvements" that writers openly rebelled against her and stuck with the stuff she had tried to write out of the SWEU's history.
When you manage to frustrate so many people that your co-workers agree with the fans and try to undermine your nonsense, you have officially crossed the Matt Ward threshold of horrible writing.

Had she not let her ego get the better of her, kept her inner Mando-fangirl on a tighter leash, and tried to be more accepting of criticism I feel that her series would have been welcomed by the vast majority of the fanbase. Instead her works now exist as a monument of how not to do Star Wars books.



Lord of the Night wrote:I'm only going to reply to parts of this as the essay is too long to fully present a counter-argument, and as i've said I have no intention of defending Traviss's public behaviour, only her writing.

Bellarius wrote:This is just as visible within Gears of War as Star Wars with her books containing COG operated mass gang raping facilities with some contrived reason for them wanting a steady supply of soldiers to be sent into warzones.
Ignoring the massive logic problems with these facilities having only been in operation for a few years, how long it takes a child to grow, the obvious and easier alternatives to this etc. I just want to point out that she's trying to demonize an organisation of soldiers already being forced to commit atrocities in the name for survival by turning them all into operatives within a group which utilises rape activities.

Additionally, the weapons developers which humanity needs? She repeatedly tries to hammer in the idea that all of them are war criminals, no matter their intentions or for what reason they're creating them.

Traviss also introduced us to the Pesang warriors. These are presented as being hyper-competent, misunderstood and absolutely perfect. They are shown as presented to be almost exactly like her version of the Mandalorians within her Star Wars books and just happen to be fighting for humanity and frequently outdoing the COG units at every turn.

The breeding farms are a logical thing considering that 99.9% of humanity died by E-Day. That is 99.9%, meaning 0.01% of humanity still lived. That is the point when you realise that if you do not do every single possible thing to increase your numbers, you are going to go extinct. The goal for producing soldiers was done with the expectation that the Locust would still be a threat by the time those children were old enough to fight, which would probably be around 13-15 which the game proved right as the Locust were still a threat by then. And the Jilane facility was active a few years, doesn't mean all of them were only active that long. You cannot say she's demonizing the COG by having some of them take part in this, because some would. No organization is flawless, and the COG higher ups would judge it as a necessary evil to recitfy that 99.9% of humanity is dead.

Of course they are war criminals, if they'd been on the other side of the conflict then the COG would be calling them that. A war criminal is a war criminal no matter what side he's on, it's just that if his side wins then he's a hero. It's all about perspective. One man's war hero is another man's war criminal.

The Pesang were great, at stealth and recon and commando work which is what we only ever see them doing. I doubt they'd be as good at fighting the Locust or Indies in a frontal assault battle. The COG are just being smart about sending these troops that are good at something to do only that something, rather than waste them in tasks and places they are ill-suited to fight in. The COG isn't the Administratum.

Bellarius wrote:In Traviss' version their whole civilisation is perfect and they can do no wrong. To quote a compact and good description of their existence:

Traviss' Mandalorians have a mandatory draft for all males, who craft their own armour. Females often do likewise and go to war as well. Some of them stay at war, acting as high-paid mercenaries for various individuals and governments, although some take up less warlike professions (apparently the surname "Fett" means "farmer") all are nonetheless required to have armour and fighting capability.

The language has a single gender-neutral pronoun for living things and is quite easy to learn; the society is welcoming to those who can fit into it, all of them love children, marriage and divorce are done with a few phrases in a few minutes. Women bearing sons traditionally wait five years to conceive again, one year if it's a daughter, because daughters don't always want to go to war. While this would be an interesting and valid society, and it's more developed than a lot of the others in Star Wars, Traviss always portrays it as a desirable culture with several of people wanting in and no-one but a few degenerates wanting out, and with most Mandalorians believing themselves superior to all the other societies.

A question. Have you considered that since this is a Mandalorian POV series, Traviss is not going to have her Mandalorian characters start spewing anti-Mandalorian rhetoric? The Jedi and Sith never go around saying how flawed and imperfect they are, why should the Mandalorians have to?

Most society, real and fictional, believe themselves superior. You can't fault her for having the Mandalorians think that way, of course the warrior culture that once made the galaxy tremble is going to think that they are superior. And why aren't they? Unlike the Jedi who take in species and drum out everything that makes them individuals, hammering them into what they consider to be the accepted standard, Mandalorians are capable of accepting new ideas and don't care what personal customs you keep or what faith you have so long as you stick to seven simple rules that aren't hard to follow. There are downsides to the Mandalorian society but those are about how they interact with others, for the most part Mandalorians do have a very strong culture whose ability to take in any species and remain unaltered shows it's survivability.

Bellarius wrote:The character was a Jedi who had previously appeared in a book called Yoda: Dark Rendezvous who was noted to have little in the way of strength with the Force. This lack of ability was made up for by her resourcefulness, sheer determination and willingness to use very creative tactics to win battles. Yoda respected this, believing her to have a future ahead of her within the order as a result of this as did a number of older Jedi. Traviss appeared to only hear the part relating to Scout's lack of strength with the Force and as such she appeared within Traviss' novel stating that she had been thought of as worthless as a result of this. Thus contradicting not only her entire history but the core idea and basic aspects of her character.

I know about Scout. Yoda said she had a future in the Jedi, fine she did. As an agricultural worker. Remember how Mace Windu said no to Anakin because of his age even ignoring his massive force level? So what if she has those skills, the Jedi Knights need to have a certain standard and if Scout couldn't make that then other Council members aren't going to make her a Jedi Knight who isn't capable of using the Force to the degree a Jedi Knight needs to. Her skills could have her be useful in other places. And to be honest I think fans of that character should be pleased she lived, had she been a Jedi Knight like they'd wanted she'd be dead. In fact she would have become a Jedi Knight had Traviss gotten to write Imperial Commando 2.

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Imperial_Commando_2

Bellarius wrote:•Luke Skywalker becomes an incredibly callous character during one book and begins leaping to conclusions, eventually executing a villain in cold blood with a movie quip. In spite of it being heavily against his character and the teachings he has followed for all of his adult life.

He's like that in Fate of the Jedi too. Can't blame Traviss for that, she didn't write anything in it. I blame Troy Denning, he is rapidly turning the Jedi Order into Knight Templars.

Bellarius wrote:Finally I'll finish on this note: Her writings apparently became so conflicting with the universe they were set in that the writers of the Clone Wars series retconned them out of existence in one episode, choosing the history of other writers over her own works.

I know exactly what you are talking about and it was that decision that ruined Star Wars for me. The Mandalorians are my favourite thing about Star Wars and those idiot writers ruined them, making them weak and pathetic pacifists who discarded the great warrior culture that Abel G. Pena wrote and Traviss expanded on. If they had actually invalidated Traviss's work I would have quit Star Wars all together and stuck with the books I already own, and ignored anything else that they release. Fortunately Traviss's Mandalorians still survive as the Clone Wars has not been declared full canon yet and even if it has, the Fakedalorians can be written off as a bad idea in a part of Star Wars that has largely been ruined as they eventually realised their warrior ways were superior and Fenn Shysa knocked sense back into them and formed the Mandalorian Protectors.


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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Lord of the Night » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:55 pm

I think this topic belongs in General Fiction Discussion rather than BL Spoiler Zone.


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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Liliedhe » Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:02 pm

@Bellarius: Your essay is spot on.

@LotN: I agree with you that it is possible that the Mando loving might be just POV. Might. Because there is a difference between characters thinking they are the most awesome thing ever, and the author thinking so. It can be hard to tell the difference. With KT it's gradual. In the first Commando novel, it is POV. I remember a scene where Skirata first lambasts the Jedi and the Kaminoans, and then espouses the Mandalorians doing exactly the same thing - marking him as a first class hypocrite.

Only, that sort of thing diminishes as time goes by. By Order 66 and the Mando novels of LotF, any POV illusions go out of the window.

@Bellarius. You forgot the most egregiously horrible part of LotF: Jaina having to go to the Mandos to learn how to fight. I had never read anything so misogynistic, racist and abhorrent outside of explicit Nazi propaganda. (and no, that isn't hyperbole. I'm a historian, I actually have to read the original stuff.)

re Scout: LotN, you are wrong. Scout fights for her future with the Jedi in Dark Rendezvous, where she is in danger of being sent to the agrarian corps - for her own protection. Because she isn't strong enough to fight on the frontlines. Only, she proves her worth and convinces Yoda to decide otherwise. That what she has is enough to make her an effective Jedi in the field, even if her force powers aren#t as great. The Jedi never hated her, never looked down on her (aside from childish rivalries, which happened to ALL people) and never would have cast her aside. KT raped her character and changed the resourceful, tenacious character into a whiny weakling.
"You were a warleader, a fighter, when did you gain such illuminating insight into the minds of others?"
"I learned such things as you and your brothers applied brand to my flesh and parted skin with rasp and knife," snarled Astelan. "When your witches tried to prise open my mind they opened me for an instant and I stared back."
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Bellarius » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:38 pm

Lord of the Night wrote:I'm only going to reply to parts of this as the essay is too long to fully present a counter-argument, and as i've said I have no intention of defending Traviss's public behaviour, only her writing.


Sorry, but no. Casually dodging around the main issue of her works, her utter bias as an author and complete refusal to accept anything beyond her own vision is not acceptable. So much of her public displays are a part of everything wrong with her works, and you don’t get to casually pretend they never happened when you are arguing in her favour.

If a writer displays homophobia openly and publically then uses their writings to decry gay marriage then people discussing their works don’t pretend it never happened. The same goes here, the Travissty proceeded to endlessly rant about people who actually liked the Jedi, made no efforts to even try to understand what they were, threw the same insults at the fans as she did the Order itself, and instead opted to display rampant acts of hypocrisy at every damn turn.

Lord of the Night wrote:The breeding farms are a logical thing considering that 99.9% of humanity died by E-Day. That is 99.9%, meaning 0.01% of humanity still lived. That is the point when you realise that if you do not do every single possible thing to increase your numbers, you are going to go extinct. The goal for producing soldiers was done with the expectation that the Locust would still be a threat by the time those children were old enough to fight, which would probably be around 13-15 which the game proved right as the Locust were still a threat by then. And the Jilane facility was active a few years, doesn't mean all of them were only active that long. You cannot say she's demonizing the COG by having some of them take part in this, because some would. No organization is flawless, and the COG higher ups would judge it as a necessary evil to recitfy that 99.9% of humanity is dead.


No, what they are is a half baked excuse to try and make the COG look like the bad guys and her previous Mandalodian stand-ins of the Pesang warriors look all the more morally right. The project did not make any sense because at the rate they were losing soldiers they should have known there would be no time to train them and send them into battle. At no point in any of the games did it look like humanity would last anywhere near long enough to neither actually use them nor justify the amount of resources they were spending to keep it operational. Even if they did, it’s still a complete failure in intelligence as it pretends any of humanity’s advanced technology of that time doesn’t exist. Cell research, artificial wombs, genetic modification, cloning, none were even considered for a second in favour of the option which had the heroic faction of that franchise, shoving women against walls and screwing them until their stomach’s bulged.

Oh, and don’t try to skirt around that point by trying to protest not all of them were involved thus she wasn’t demonizing them. She was associating the organization with it directly and having them be willingly compliant with them at every turn. The reasons of which are fairly obvious and I’ll get to in a moment.

Lord of the Night wrote:Of course they are war criminals, if they'd been on the other side of the conflict then the COG would be calling them that. A war criminal is a war criminal no matter what side he's on, it's just that if his side wins then he's a hero. It's all about perspective. One man's war hero is another man's war criminal.


Except she considered this to be a blanketed statement covering any person who was involved in any weapons development for any reason. She made no effort to try and even consider the implications beyond a junior school morality play of “this is bad, end of story” or just why it might have been done. She made no effort to say why it happened or even state that they would be decrying it if they had been on the other side, or show any degree of moral complexity in the choice. They don’t try to consider why such weapons were required to be constructed; they don’t discuss the cost if it had not happened or what would have happened to one side if they had not used it. What she was more concerned about was preaching her own ideals to the reader, and any characters in favour are written either to be villains or make pitiful attempts to justify themselves so they can be slammed down harder by mouthpieces. This is a complex situation, yet all she’s concerned about is shouting her own opinions and saying why she is right above all others.

I would go into this in greater detail, but thankfully someone has already done it for me. One which very effectively criticises a similar approach to writing poorly disguised personal preaching and why they are disingenuous to such a complex subject. It takes some time to get to his point, but listen and you might understand how badly Traviss failed as a so-called author in that book. Or failing that, just look for one moment about the arguments surrounding dropping atomic weapons on Japan, most of which are considerably less one sided as they feature less strawmen.

Lord of the Night wrote:The Pesang were great, at stealth and recon and commando work which is what we only ever see them doing. I doubt they'd be as good at fighting the Locust or Indies in a frontal assault battle. The COG are just being smart about sending these troops that are good at something to do only that something, rather than waste them in tasks and places they are ill-suited to fight in. The COG isn't the Administratum.


Except at no point was any effort made to even try to point out “they’re specialists, better in this field and poor in others.” Instead what we get is the Pesang outdoing the COG forces at everything. Stealth? They’re better. Survival? They’re better. Open firefights? They’re better. Melee? They’re better. Endurance? They’re better. All of which are done with worse equipment, a lack of real government backing and they happen to be a warrior society who is supposedly mistreated by everyone else. No offense, but you have just invented stuff out of thin air which Traviss made absolutely no effort to show, and completely missed exactly what is wrong with all her books.

Let’s just look at what we have so far: We have the protagonists using a facility for supposedly rapidly increasing military numbers through artificial means and are being presented as morally wrong as a result. We have Traviss making thinly veiled preaching to the reader and screaming that anyone who opposes her views are wrong. Finally now we have suspiciously similar substitutes to the Mandalorians sans armour.
She is not writing a story, she is writing the same story as in Star Wars and yet again it’s at the cost of all established canon and individual ideas. She just keeps repeating the same elements, with no variation and uses them to make very poorly disguised essays screaming about her pet hatreds. And guess what? She did this yet again with Halo, and it’s just as poorly thought out and ignorant of any other author’s works in that universe.
And yes, I know that she’s tried to justify the Pesang by claiming they were actually stand ins for the Ghurkhas, but that’s highly suspicious given her later writings. Especially given how little they actually resemble that force and the fact Traviss herself even dropped this excuse later on.

A question. Have you considered that since this is a Mandalorian POV series, Traviss is not going to have her Mandalorian characters start spewing anti-Mandalorian rhetoric? The Jedi and Sith never go around saying how flawed and imperfect they are, why should the Mandalorians have to?


Except there is one very small problem: NOT ALL OF HER VIEWPOINT CHARACTERS ARE MANDALORIANS! We had Jedi, senators, Republic figures and scientists, none of who were ever in the right when they thought less of the Mandos. Many of those who did were always presented in the wrong and not once were they written to have an actual point in what they were saying. Instead they are simply used, as said before, as an excuse to show why the Mandalorians are so much better than everyone else at everything and as strawmen who never effectively argue any point they might have.

Did it occur to that one of the characters might want to bring up the facts the Mandalorians were killers who crusaded and pillaged the galaxy, driving almost entire races to extinction? Or how about the fact many served as cold blooded murderers, thugs and guns for hire by crime lords? No, instead they are perfect. Their society is completely re-written from the ground up to make them morally upstanding, have suffered nothing from the repeated wars which ravaged their society nor any kind of lack of resources. Hell, the Republic itself, that force for peace which has stood for a thousand years, completely turns a blind eye to (thanks to Traviss’ sudden retcons) a civilisation consisting entirely of elite armed forces with better ships, guns, armour than everyone else and vast quantities of (what was a previously very rare) borderline indestructible metal. Every single time they are brought up they are shown only as being morally right, superior and with no reason why any sane or right minded person might ever want to oppose them.

Then on the opposite side we have the Jedi Order. Despite being a police force which has been established to have prevented thousands of years of crime, stopped wars, acted as diplomats, and usually seek to preserve life treated as a purely despicable force. One which no one in their right mind would ever defend, is completely morally wrong, blind, foolish, decadent and ultimately based on a failing system. As with the Mandalorians, half of the facts Traviss uses to argue against them are invented purely by her, and anyone who argues for them is ultimately written to be wrong. This includes many of the viewpoint Jedi themselves, who come to only see the Order being wrong and end up, almost paralleling your own example of what shouldn’t have happened, spouting anti-Jedi rhetoric.

It goes so far that she completely retcons the treatment of the Jedi Order of the clones and has them refusing to even accept they are sentient. Some Jedi were indeed like that, and some didn’t trust them. Others meanwhile, treated them respectfully, often as equals, and more importantly campaigned for their re-integration following the war’s conclusion. Not only that but a group of Jedi, discovering that some clones were programmed to regard themselves purely as cannon fodder for natural born individuals, sought to try and end the war and were only stopped by Sidious. Her works even completely ignore the most bare minimum basic facts she could have gotten if she had tried to do any research or even care about what she was writing: First the fact the Jedi attempted to end the war before the army was used, sending over a hundred of their number to behead the Confederacy before the conflict began and failed only at great cost. Second, the fact that it was the REPUBLIC’S army. The Jedi did not commission its creation, that was in fact a Sith, it was not their personal guard and the Jedi themselves only acted as officers in services of the Republic.

There is a vast amount of difference between what you describe, what Traviss ultimately did, and actually making even a token effort to present any forces in an even handed matter.

Oh, and before you claim that the Jedi have never, ever been questioned over their actions or presented in anything but a perfect light, Fate of the Jedi is actually doing that. Showing them going too far and actually justifying some of the fears of one of that series’ villains, showing some degree of grey morality. For all its flaws, it’s actually doing a better job at presenting an even handed representation of the Jedi, than the hack you are defending ever cared or attempted to do. More than that, the Clone Wars comics had two separate stories showing how anti-Jedi hatred could legitimately come to exist from people and why some would oppose them training infants from such a young age. The first one was the Battle of Jabiim, which I might note ended with Anakin opting to preserve the lives of as many Clone Troopers as possible rather than leaving them to die, the second was Children of the Force, which had Mace Windu as the focus character conflicted over their policies of preventing children seeing their parents. The difference is both at least had the respect of their audience to present both sides in a somewhat even light and let the reader decide for themselves, not preaching one side and declaring “This is right! That is wrong!”

Most society, real and fictional, believe themselves superior. You can't fault her for having the Mandalorians think that way, of course the warrior culture that once made the galaxy tremble is going to think that they are superior. And why aren't they? Unlike the Jedi who take in species and drum out everything that makes them individuals, hammering them into what they consider to be the accepted standard, Mandalorians are capable of accepting new ideas and don't care what personal customs you keep or what faith you have so long as you stick to seven simple rules that aren't hard to follow. There are downsides to the Mandalorian society but those are about how they interact with others, for the most part Mandalorians do have a very strong culture whose ability to take in any species and remain unaltered shows it's survivability.


No, I won’t fault the Mandalorians for thinking that way. I’ll fault Traviss for personally believing that wholeheartedly and allowing it to affect the quality and content of her writing. I’ll fault her for presenting any and all characters involved for believing that, refusing to give it any flaws or negative aspects, and going so far as to completely retcon their entire history so she wouldn’t have to deal with humanising a faction who practiced the traditions of conquering murderers. There is a world of difference between the characters believing that their society is perfect, and the person writing that society from the ground up falling in love with it and declaring it to be perfect. At no point does she seriously try to show them as being not perfect at any detail, and at no point does she make any real effort to actually show them as being fallible in any respect. That small downside you mention about the problems of interacting with other societies are often brought about as being the failings of the outsiders and their inability to actually understand the Mandalorians. If anything how badly thought out it is, is only proven by the fact many work as mercenaries for others and the fact they supposedly easily integrate other races into their own society without suppressing them or causing problems.

What’s most surprising here is that not only has she stripped out and taken many traits from the Jedi for her own Mandalorians, replacing them with her own made up tripe to make them look like villains, but she is completely unaware she has managed to reverse nearly all traits of the two.

Previous EU works by actual authors showed the Mandalorian Crusaders press ganging people into service. During this they forced them to give up all previous aspects of their identities in the name of Mandalore, forced them to obey without question and serve only the code they worshipped and refusing to allow individual freedoms. They completely “drummed out”, as you put it, all individual or cultural traits in their desire to gain more cannon fodder to fight the Republic. This is the society Traviss’ ones supposedly evolved from, yet there are no signs of either sharing any similarities of any kind or the codes they follow.

The Jedi meanwhile, in nearly every era they are present in, are shown to have others follow a code but not unquestioningly. Many stories focused upon the reasons why the Jedi had their beliefs and policies (often due to Padawans questioning a master) ranging from their acts of self-sacrifice to their desires to suppress passion and romance among their numbers. Many are still permitted to follow the teachings of prior religions, social traits and even generic requirements. To give two examples from the Jedi Council itself: Kai-Adi-Mundi was permitted to marry others and sire children due to the low number of males among his race, and Mace Windu was permitted to develop a very individual and distinct fighting style despite risks of leading to the Dark Side. So long as their personal desires did not conflict with the basic code the Jedi followed, there were no problems.

What you’re defending here is a hack completely switching all elements of the two around to suit her own desires! Hell, by proclaiming what they do is wrong, you should be arguing in favourof the Jedi!

I know about Scout. Yoda said she had a future in the Jedi, fine she did. As an agricultural worker. Remember how Mace Windu said no to Anakin because of his age even ignoring his massive force level? So what if she has those skills, the Jedi Knights need to have a certain standard and if Scout couldn't make that then other Council members aren't going to make her a Jedi Knight who isn't capable of using the Force to the degree a Jedi Knight needs to. Her skills could have her be useful in other places. And to be honest I think fans of that character should be pleased she lived, had she been a Jedi Knight like they'd wanted she'd be dead. In fact she would have become a Jedi Knight had Traviss gotten to write Imperial Commando 2.

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Imperial_Commando_2


Liliendhe has already pointed out the obvious problem with this point, the fact it’s completely false and does contradict the entire point of the character. I’d only be repeating what she said so let me instead focus upon the point of her becoming a Jedi Knight.

The only Jedi we saw up to that point in the series served three purposes: To die, to defect to the Madalorians, or to be casually beaten down by them and forced to listen to speeches about how much more awesome the Mandalorians are than everyone else, especially the Jedi. Given her quality of work up to that point, it’s likely this would have only been repeated yet again and her character used as a strawmen to argue “Everything the Jedi do are wrong!” There was nothing to suggest otherwise up until then, and her work on Halo and Gears of War since that time has only shown that Travis kept this mentality with all of her books. At best we probably would have seen Scout used as an excuse for the Mandalorians to fight the Empire and, like every bloody fight in that series, have it end in a one sided curb-stomp in their favour.

Furthermore, this sounds more like a desperate attempt at damage control and to spite her critics than something she would actually do. Given she nicknamed those who criticised her lack of respect for the canon and quality of work after the Taliban (and no, I refuse to let that point lie), it’s easy to imagine her pulling something childish like declare she was going to truly fix all the problems with her books in the next one to try and sour any celebrations of her departure.

He's like that in Fate of the Jedi too. Can't blame Traviss for that, she didn't write anything in it. I blame Troy Denning, he is rapidly turning the Jedi Order into Knight Templars.


And? I’ll merrily blame Denning for continuing the trend, but I’ll still blame Traviss for initiating the latest round of wildly out of character actions by Skywalker. Denning and Fate of the Jedi might have many, many flaws but at least he is attempting to tell an actual story and isn’t trying to shoehorn the Mandalorians into every story so he can write badly disguised preaching about them being better than everyone at everything. Pointing out that others are continuing with the problem she started doesn’t suddenly render Traviss innocent in her mistake.

I know exactly what you are talking about and it was that decision that ruined Star Wars for me. The Mandalorians are my favourite thing about Star Wars and those idiot writers ruined them, making them weak and pathetic pacifists who discarded the great warrior culture that Abel G. Pena wrote and Traviss expanded on. If they had actually invalidated Traviss's work I would have quit Star Wars all together and stuck with the books I already own, and ignored anything else that they release. Fortunately Traviss's Mandalorians still survive as the Clone Wars has not been declared full canon yet and even if it has, the Fakedalorians can be written off as a bad idea in a part of Star Wars that has largely been ruined as they eventually realised their warrior ways were superior and Fenn Shysa knocked sense back into them and formed the Mandalorian Protectors.


With the greatest of respect Lord of the Night, good. If this ruined Star Wars for you then I am genuinely glad, because it heralded a return to what was established before and ended her careless rampage through the universe, murdering characters at random and getting into edit wars with other authors. Traviss’ own works completely ignored any and all background information on the Mandalorians, keeping only the bare minimum facts so she could shape them into anything she wanted. Her's were the “Fakedalorians” as you call them, jumped up embarrassments of what the Mandalorians actually were in the same manner Mat Ward’s Ultramarines were to those which came before his defilement of the canon. They were shallow Mary Sues heralding from a society without flaws, portrayed in poorly written hypocritical texts which might as well read as a what-not-to-do list for anyone writing about a major franchise. Traviss’ works only deserve to be ignored and be rendered completely non-canon. For not only adding nothing to the universe but detracting many well developed elements from it and turning the Mandalorians into an embarrassment of fictional writing. The only reason she actually has anything resembling a sizable fandom is largely thanks to an excellent LucasArts video game her series latched onto by sharing its title, not by actual quality nor appeal.

Those “idiot writers” as you call them were the only people who actually made a stand. The only people who attempted to undo the damage she inflicted upon a decades old universe she, by her own admission, had no interest in until she found out about the Clones and lacked any real respect for. Quite frankly they deserve to be awarded for their efforts, not decried as you seem to think.

Referring to the essay again, I note you completely avoided the following subjects: Her acts of character assassination of others, killing off other authors’ characters without permission, referring to the Jedi as Nazis, and ruining any quality there might have been in Legacy of the Force by getting into a violent pissing contest with Troy Denning. An event which had both authors trying to violently screw over the others characters rather than actually write anything good. That was the short list.

Now, finally, I’ll just leave with one of the last acts she performed in the timeline with her own writing. Along with Daala becoming Head of State, she had everyone involved effectively agree that Force users should be suppressed and almost outlawed. A conversation between her and Fett did all but state they should be put into concentration camps, specifically agreeing that they were too dangerous to be allowed to exist and shouldn’t be permitted to be trained. This was then followed by the Mandalorians effectively taking the place of the Jedi Order as law enforcers without reason or any real acts to make others accept this monumental change.

None of these are the actions of an author wanting to build upon a universe, they are the actions of a poorly trained, unskilled, spiteful, hack of a writer.

Liliedhe wrote:@Bellarius. You forgot the most egregiously horrible part of LotF: Jaina having to go to the Mandos to learn how to fight. I had never read anything so misogynistic, racist and abhorrent outside of explicit Nazi propaganda. (and no, that isn't hyperbole. I'm a historian, I actually have to read the original stuff.)


Believe me I wish I could forget about that crime against literature. I tend to save that specific incident for when I need to wheel out quotes and extracts from her book. That and the fact the actual review I have covering that book’s problems is about fifteen times the length of the previous essay.
Thank you for the compliment by the way.
Last edited by Bellarius on Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Malcador » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:39 pm

What the hell is going on here? O_O
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Liliedhe » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:55 am

Old scars hurting. ;)

KT is a sore spot for some people including me.
"You were a warleader, a fighter, when did you gain such illuminating insight into the minds of others?"
"I learned such things as you and your brothers applied brand to my flesh and parted skin with rasp and knife," snarled Astelan. "When your witches tried to prise open my mind they opened me for an instant and I stared back."
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Lord of the Night » Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:20 pm

Fine, your right, I can't argue with your points. I admit that Traviss has done all that, that she demonizes those who criticize her books and that she is biased as hell about the Mandalorians and Jedi. Thank you, you've ruined the Republic Commando series for me. Now there's only one Star Wars series I still like.

That said the scene with Daala and Fett raised a good point. The galaxy would likely be better off without the force-sensitives. Nobody in Star Wars ever says the glaringly obvious fact that stares them all in the face. Bar the Yuuzhan Vong war, every single major war in Star Wars has been started by the Sith or by Dark Jedi who later became Sith. The wise thing to do would be get rid of all Force-users including the Jedi as while they may do good things they will always be a breeding ground for Dark Jedi and Sith. And interestingly the worst and most evil Sith were nearly always Jedi, bar Sidious and Plagueis. Darth Malak, Vader, Krayt, Caedus; all Jedi at one point.

I wish we could just go back to the pre-clone wars era. The Bounty Hunter Wars books, those are brilliant and some of my favourite books period, not one mention of Clones and not a Jedi in sight.

But I admit you are correct. Traviss is biased. I still think she writes good prose though.


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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Athelassan » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:34 pm

Lord of the Night wrote:The wise thing to do would be get rid of all Force-users including the Jedi as while they may do good things they will always be a breeding ground for Dark Jedi and Sith.

I know it's a fictional universe, but this is an utterly terrifying line of thought.

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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby LordLucan » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:25 am

Instead of ethnic cleansing, maybe just enforce an edict saying the force users can't use their powers, and have to just act like regular people. Also, ban their religions.

It worked for the Emperor afte-

... waitaminute...
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Xisor » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:29 am

Athelassan wrote:
Lord of the Night wrote:The wise thing to do would be get rid of all Force-users including the Jedi as while they may do good things they will always be a breeding ground for Dark Jedi and Sith.

I know it's a fictional universe, but this is an utterly terrifying line of thought.

Ath


*tv tropes klaxon*

Piffle. Humans are the worst monsters of them all. Of course, in Star Wars, you've also got the villainy of the aliens too. And the droids.

"To summarise the summary of the summary: people are a problem."

Also, I'd contend that reason or KarenTraviss were the real villains ruining the Republic Commando series. (But as I haven't read them, that's a bit spurious.)
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Bellarius » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:42 am

LordLucan wrote:Instead of ethnic cleansing, maybe just enforce an edict saying the force users can't use their powers, and have to just act like regular people. Also, ban their religions.

It worked for the Emperor afte-

... waitaminute...


Or how about listing those with high Force sensitivity so they can be isolated and contained. Suppressing those people because they are born differently than those who do not want them in power by rounding them up and putting them into camps. Perhaps creating figures who publicly speak about their evils, how they can never be integrated into society and are nothing but a danger to those around them. After all, the only way to keep them from becoming a threat and taking over is to ensure all of the public completely see them as evil and never allow them to integrate. To keep the sentient races of the galaxy pure.

Perhaps they could even create war droids to do their work and round up the "Jedi Threat"...

Image



And don't even get me started on that whole "breeding ground" statement.
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Vivia » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:09 am

Liliedhe wrote:
@Bellarius. You forgot the most egregiously horrible part of LotF: Jaina having to go to the Mandos to learn how to fight. I had never read anything so misogynistic, racist and abhorrent outside of explicit Nazi propaganda. (and no, that isn't hyperbole. I'm a historian, I actually have to read the original stuff.)

What exactly are these books? :|

It's like when LotN was writing about the series Flashman, I know nothing about them, and the main character was raping, book after book, or whatever it was. (I just saw the cover for one of them.) *vomits*
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Liliedhe » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:47 pm

Republic Commando (and then Imperial Commando) are a series of novels set in the STar Wars universe during the Clone Wars era and at the beginning of the Empire. The author, Karen Traviss, after a rather auspicious beginning, began to descend into madness, I can't put it any other way.

Unfortunately, during the time when she actually wrote good books, she was also hired to do three books of the Star Wars EU flagship series, which at that point was Legacy of the Force (LotF for short), and consisted of nine books written by three authors as an ongoing series - author A writes the first book, author B the second book, author C the third. The fourth is written by A again, rinse and repeat. That way, they can produce a nine book series in only three years. Karen Traviss wrote books two, five and eight of LotF. The first one was pretty ok. The second began taking massive plot detours to shoe horn her Mandalorian pets in, the last was execrable and contained the parts I alluded to up there.

If you want more details, they can be provided. But probably not here, as that would mean I'd have to ban myself.
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Lord of the Night » Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:15 pm

Vivia wrote:What exactly are these books? :|

It's like when LotN was writing about the series Flashman, I know nothing about them, and the main character was raping, book after book, or whatever it was. (I just saw the cover for one of them.) *vomits*

Do you mean Flashman or Republic Commando??

(And Flashman only ever raped a woman once in the first book, and the alternative was offending an Afghan warlord who liked to castrate and hang people who offended him from his palace walls.)


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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Athelassan » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:43 pm

Lord of the Night wrote:(And Flashman only ever raped a woman once in the first book, and the alternative was offending an Afghan warlord who liked to castrate and hang people who offended him from his palace walls.)

Note: That doesn't make it ok.

While that was the only instance of rape in the books (in his lifetime, iirc) he does nevertheless tend to treat women as disposable objects, which isn't particularly pleasant.

Also, detailed discussion of sexual assault (if it must happen) belongs in the Debaters' Lounge, so if that line of conversation is going to be pursued any further, please take it there.

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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby VictorK » Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:28 am

I'm going to hijack this thread but in a way that's tenuously related to the discussion. What we in America would call a segway, because you look ridiculous doing it.

I was reading an article recently by the ever provocative[url="http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/10/23/copyrights_and_creativity_how_too_much_of_the_former_can_kill_the_latter.html"]Matt Yglesias[/url]. It was about Dune and James Bond, which is to say that it was about copyright strangling creativity. Given that this is a site for a bunch of fan fiction authors, do we think that Karen Traviss' transgressions against George Lucas' glorious accident is magnified by the fact that that his company gets to pick and choose a handful of authors? Would we better off if Star Wars was in the public domain, and the fans could vote with their wallets about where they wanted the franchise to go, and would that be a favorable arrangement for authors?

I don't know. I'm curious.
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Vivia » Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:37 am

Lord of the Night wrote:
Vivia wrote:What exactly are these books? :|

It's like when LotN was writing about the series Flashman, I know nothing about them, and the main character was raping, book after book, or whatever it was. (I just saw the cover for one of them.) *vomits*

Do you mean Flashman or Republic Commando??

(And Flashman only ever raped a woman once in the first book, and the alternative was offending an Afghan warlord who liked to castrate and hang people who offended him from his palace walls.)


LotN

Yes, it was Flashman, set in in the 1800s, I think. "Only once" should be a logo.

No, I don't want to debate, it was only a reaction from an outsider's point of view after reading what people describe here. They don't sound like healthy books.
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Liliedhe » Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:59 am

They aren't. But, before you think it compares to what LotN describes about Flashman, no it doesn't. There is no sexual violence in the books. Merely attitude, general violence and endorsing of bigotry and hatred.
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby J D Dunsany » Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:53 am

This is one of the most interesting threads on the forums. My experience of Star Wars fiction is limited to early Anderson and Zahn, neither of which were particularly gripping, although Thrawn remains a very interesting character. I've been tempted by some of the episode 1-3 related stuff, but not succumbed for reasons more to do with budget than anything else.

Going back to Victor's earlier question, though, my answer is no. No, we wouldn't be better off.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, a lot of fanfiction is crap. Secondly, Star Wars is the sort of IP where some sort of control over the ongoing story is necessary, because, unlike 40K or a series of novels based on a fantasy setting like Forgotten Realms, there is an ongoing story and it needs to be at least semi-coherent. Too many cooks, etc etc.

As for Traviss, I've not read anything by her, but, after this conversation, I'm sorely tempted to. She sounds like my kind of writer. I did hear half an interview with her and Gwyneth Jones on Woman's Hour a couple of years ago. She struck me as being, well, a bit boring and monotonous, actually - and I found her ready admission that she doesn't read science-fiction despite being a writer of it a little odd. She also readily admitted that she's writing almost exclusively for the American market, which is why she's never really been a feature of the UK sci-fi scene. Unlike Jones, who most assuredly is.

Having had a quick look at her website, a couple of things strike me further. Firstly, she's from Portsmouth, which is where my mum was born. Secondly, she was a reporter before turning her hand to sci-fi. She's a graduate of one of the Clarion workshops and she really has a gameplan in terms of where she wants her career to go. She's also served in the TA and has an admiration for the men and women who serve in the British armed forces, while being deeply sceptical of the interventionist politics of the last decade or so which has sent them into harm's way on foreign soil. In that context, her apparently subversive approach to the more political Jedi makes a certain kind of sense, along with her admiration for the more martial Mandalorians. (Yes, yes, all of this is massive generalisation, I know, but I think there's a bit of a link...)

Her calling some Star Wars fans 'tallifans' made me smile. The links between a certain kind of fandom and extreme religious fundamentalism are fairly obvious - slavish devotion to the sacred text, intolerance of dissenting opinion etc. (And I say that as both a fan and a fairly fundamental religious chap. :) )

I can see why she'd alienate some sections of Star Wars fandom, but I've read enough stuff about her online to suggest she's a good writer and I'll probably try and get hold of her original sci-fi series at some point.

Regards,

JDD
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Re: Essays and Jedi hatred of Karen Traviss

Postby Liliedhe » Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:17 am

If her a try then. You'll see.

Not saying she is a bad writer, technique-wise. But at least in her Star Wars work she is soapboxing a lot (and with vile opinions) and that ruins books. An author can write pretty much anything in a book as long as it is still a character talking. Once it is the author talking, it gets annoying for me. Most authors are guilty of this only occasionally (say ADB in parts of Void STalker) but others do it all the time (KT, or Anne Perry) to whom I'd say they should write political commentary not novels.
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