The Star Wars Expanded Universe: The Pithy Reader’s Companion Vol. IV

Longtime readers may remember my three-part Pithy Reader’s Companion series from early in this site’s existence; for the unfamiliar, it worked like this: over on the Jedi Council Forums, I ran an ongoing thread called One Sentence or Less, wherein participants would summarize assorted works from the Expanded Universe in one sentence—the “or less” part was half joke, half gentle nudge toward brevity, but it didn’t always work out that way; ETE staffer Lucas Jackson’s synopsis of The Swarm War actually held the record (until now, that is) at 242 words, all still technically one sentence.

Anyway, readers would vote for their favorites via the forum’s “like” system, and after two days or so, whoever had the most likes won the round. After about a year, I compiled all the winners into the three-volume Pithy Companion, and there was much mirth to be had. The thread went on under the guidance of my fellow poster known as @instantdeath, and while activity has sadly waned in recent months, enough new winners emerged that I thought I’d use the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the original series of articles to catch back up with it, in Volume IV of the Pithy Companion. While each part of the original series focused on a third of the Star Wars timeline, this time I’ll cover basically the whole shebang, within the loose confines of “stuff I didn’t get around to in the first year”. Highlights include the the Knights of the Old Republic games, Fate of the Jedi, and the entire—yes, entireJedi Prince series, perhaps best known for its first book, The Glove of Darth Vader. Enjoy!

 


 

Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories

There once was a Sith girl from Kesh,
whose ancestors started afresh,
on a tropical isle
they commanded through guile
and creating a great deal of mess.
@CooperTFN

Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith – Exar and Ulic roid out on the dark side and consummate their Sith partnership with a manly handshake/arm wrestle. – @DigitalMessiah

Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War – And the winner of the prize for the Most Misleading Comic Book Title goes to The Sith War which successfully manages to tell the story of a war without showing any of it. – @Zorrixor

Tales of the Jedi: RedemptionTotJ KJA: Redemption. – @Ulicus

Knights of the Old Republic: Commencement – The Fugitive: Star Wars edition, way before TCW tried it. – @Cynical_Ben

Knights of the Old Republic: Flashpoint – Hold on a second… is that guy Malak… seriously, that dude looks like Malak… for the love of Captain Goodvalor, JJM tell us if that dude is Malak or if you’re just messing with us all!!?!??! – @Zorrixor

Knights of the Old Republic: Days of Fear, Nights of Anger – The introduction of Slyysk- the most adorable Trandoshan you’ll ever come across; so adorable, that his first line is a startled “YEEP!” – @Todd the Jedi

Knights of the Old Republic1 – A game in which you could choose to be either a sickeningly goody-two-shoes saint or the world’s pettiest Snidely Whiplash jackass while playing through a simplistic collection quest in a setting that was just a mishmash of the two trilogies, and it was totally awesome anyway. – @Havac

Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords – Fun game with an interesting story, but lacking a proper… – @AdmiralWesJanson

Red Harvest – Or, as I like to call it, “Unread Harvest”. – @Ulicus

The Old Republic: Revan – Revan, Master Strategist, and the Jedi Exile, Hero of Legend, come up with the plan of trying to kill the Sith Emperor by attacking him with their lightsabers. – @Charlemagne19

The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance – The Fatal Alliance Expansion Pack is designed for level 15-20 players of either the Republic and Imperial factions against a non-aligned droid-based faction with the added bonus of a new PVP zone plus mixed teams for the first time in TOR history (cost: 19.95). – @Charlemagne19

Lost Tribe of the Sith: Spiral – Kesh turns out to be the Gilligan’s Island of planets. – @MistrX

Jedi vs. Sith – A whiny kid joins the Jedi, betrays them, joins the Sith, loses a hand and yet somehow isn’t a Skywalker. – @Shadow_imperium

Jango Fett: Open Seasons – At this point, just assume that everyone important in the Star Wars universe originally grew up on a farm. – @blackmyron

Maul: Lockdown – More Yuuzhan Vong content than DN, LotF, and FotJ combined. – @CooperTFN

The Phantom Menace2 – People may give this novelization a hard time . . . but any version of TPM without Jake Lloyd’s acting has got to be an improvement. – @Havac

Attack of the Clones3 – In which R.A. Salvatore’s prose is coarse and rough and irritating and gets everywhere; not like the next book, where everything is smooth. – @DarthSanctimonious

The Clone Wars4 – The Jedi display their moral virtue by apprenticing a child soldier to an occasional psychopath in the service of finding a gangster’s child to win his support against independence-seekers. – @Charlemagne19

The Clone Wars: Wild Space – Years ago Leia’s “father” served Obi-Wan in the Clone Wars through blood, sweat, tears, and many manly bro-hugs. – @Barriss_Coffee

The Clone Wars: No Prisoners – Pellaeon tells Ahsoka to put some damn clothes on, while the bad guys do, in fact, take prisoners. – @Todd the Jedi

The Clone Wars: Gambit: Stealth – Anakin seduces Padmé on Bail Organa’s dining room table, Ahsoka worships Anakin from afar and ends up with broken ribs, Lok Durd makes the ebola virus using an ingredient from a planet that only Padmé knows about, and oh yeah…Obi-Wan and his friend with benefits, the blue-haired chick with cancer. – @anakinfansince1983

The Clone Wars: Gambit: Siege – PAIN AND EXHAUSTION AND PAIN AND ANGST AND PAIN AND TORTURE AND PAIN AND MORE EXHAUSTION AND PAIN AND THEN TOTAL BOREDOM AT OBI-WAN AND ANAKIN SITTING AROUND HICKSVILLE ALL DAY AND THEN EXASPERATION WHEN YOU REALIZE THEY HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH RESOLVING THE ENTIRE PLOT THEY WERE SENT OUT ABOUT BECAUSE THE AUTHOR’S MARY SUE DOES IT ALL IN A PAGE AND A HALF AND PAIN. – @Havac

Darth Maul: Death Sentence – A random Jedi saves some cat-people from a really hot day, and also Darth Maul and his brother with the stupid name are there because people like that sort of thing. – @Havac

Revenge of the Sith5 – Though this is the end of prequel novelizations, they have saved their best for last. – @Lugija

Kenobi – Despite having his name on the cover, this book is actually about Obi-Wan Kenobi’s hayseed neighbors whose lives revolve around a general store and who all think he’s dreamy, and the biggest threat in the story is a bad loan, but it’s totally great anyway. – @Havac

Darth Vader and the Lost Command – Vader dreams of himself as the good Jedi with a son named Jinn, indicating that maybe Palpatine allowed him an occasional Percocet for the burn pain after all. – @anakinfansince1983

Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison – Darth Vader and the Sudden Rise in Quality. – @CooperTFN

Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin – Darth Vader battles the ninth incarnation of the Time Lord known as the Assassin, only it’s really his tenth incarnation because of the War Assassin played by John Hurt. – @Ulicus

Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows – I’m still waiting for the shadows to cry. – @Havac

Coruscant Nights: Jedi Twilight – Apparently, there are 582,797,754 men with the name Jax Pavan on Coruscant alone; too bad we only ever see the one who’s about as bland as toasted white bread. – @Cynical_Ben

Coruscant Nights: Street of Shadows – The butler, with a spike, in the art gallery. – @Todd the Jedi

Coruscant Nights: Patterns of Force – The Force Unleashed: Beta Version – @Todd the Jedi

The Last Jedi – The story of the last Jedi- no, not Luke and Leia, and not Yoda, and not Quinlan Vos, K’Kruhk, A’Sharad Hett, Dass Jennir, Rahm Kota, Qu Rahn, T’ra Saa, Zao, Arligan Zey, Kanan Jarrus, Drake Lo’gaan, Callista Masana, Olee Starstone, or Kevin Bacon. – @Todd the Jedi

Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse

Is Stark alive or dead
Did he have thoughts before he lost his head
The Imps will just Cross him there
Although Isard himself really doesn’t care
Stark was turned to iron
In the great Eclipse Station
Showdown on Reltooine
For the future of droidkind
Nobody wants Han
He shouldn’t be in Jahan’s world
And Jahan’s planning his vengeance
While stealing Stark’s wife and daughter twofold
Now the time is here
For Iron Eclipse to spread fear
Vengeance from a Republic Comic grave
Only the Imperial Agent can take down this knave
@Barriss_Coffee

Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets – The last comic where Jahan Cross was played by the original actor. – @Lugija

Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire – Kyle Katarn: stealing the Death Star plans before it was cool. – @CooperTFN

Shadow Games – Han Solo and Dash Rendar execute a daring plan to switch personalities, allowing Dash to play the role of a lovable, befuddled everyman; also, apparently he has a partner now who’s like Kit Fisto’s nephew or whatever because you can’t have a book without the Force anymore. – @Havac

Star Wars6 – George Lucas puts his name on a novel by Alan Dean Foster, thus beginning a long history of bending the truth about Star Wars to his will. – @Havac

Scoundrels – Zahn does the impossible and writes a book without ever including or even mentioning Thrawn or Mara Jade. – @Todd the Jedi

Galaxy of Fear: Eaten Alive – Two precocious kids and their kindly shapeshifting uncle land on a planet named D’vouran, and are somehow surprised when the planet starts devouring people, because Imperial weapons scientists apparently decided that “a planet that eats people who happen to land on it” would be the best use of their time and resources. – @Havac

Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead – In which Boba Fett is insecure about his appearance. – @DigitalMessiah

Galaxy of Fear: The Planet Plague – An evil disease is on the loose on a planet you’ve never heard of, but don’t worry, there’s a guy who can turn into a giant frog, plus Wedge Antilles, so you know no stupid goo disease is going to get one over on them! – @Havac

Galaxy of Fear: The Nightmare Machine – Today’s cameos are Lando Calrissian and Dengar, appearing in a story that’s about nightmares coming true because EVIL SCIENCE, and it’s set at Hologram Fun World, so there’s no way this isn’t awesome. – @Havac

Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge – Leia gets a novel to herself and spends it trying to recruit the most painfully naïve pirates since the Veggie Tales. – @Charlemagne19

The Empire Strikes Back7 – Darth Vader concludes his search for Luke Skywalker, and the narrative concludes its search for a black person. – @CooperTFN

Return of the Jedi8 – Moff Jerjerrod was this close to blowing up Endor and sparing us from ever having to hear the Yub Nub song, but Wedge and Lando were huge fans of the Ewoks cartoon and decided to blow up IG-88 the Death Star to save the rainforest and Mount Sorrow.@Todd the Jedi

Dark Forces: Rebel Agent – Boba Fett — operating openly a year after his ‘death’ without Han finding out until Dark Empire somehow — turns down a bounty on Kyle after remembering the thrashing he got at his hands on Coruscant four years previously. – @DigitalMessiah

Dark Forces: Jedi Knight – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of the Jedi, I will fear no Sith: for Katarn art with me; thy Force and thy ordinance they comfort me and they shall free the wrongfully imprisoned and destroy Jerec and Lord Cronal’s daughter and Chicka-Boc-Boc and every mudderkriffer who dares test me… or You.” -from the Journal of Jan Ors, lovemuffin to His Eternal Majesty, circa 5 ABY. – @IcePirate

Jedi Prince: The Glove of Darth Vader – Without three sentences, this summary could never achieve perfection. – @Havac

Jedi Prince: The Lost City of the Jedi – Some men just want to watch Yavin burn. – @darth fluffy

Jedi Prince: Zorba the Hutt’s Revenge

Dashing through deep space,
in a one-Hutt mosque-shaped ship,
to Tatooine apace
laughing like a drip
(a-haw-haw);

Jabba’s doors are closed,
at the news Zorba gapes:
by Leia’s hand his kid got hosed;
now vermin eat the drapes,
O!

jingle bells, Zorba yells:
“I’ll avenge my son;
there’ll be no more Pirate Boogie
in the SKY HOUSE when I’m done”;
O!

jingle bells, Zorba quells
Lando at Sabacc,
carbon-freezes Trioculus
then survives the Sarlacc! – @Parnesius

Jedi Prince: Mission from Mount Yoda – Not to be confused with the popular Clone Wars-era adult holofilm, “Mission to Mount Yoda.” – @Havac

Jedi Prince: Queen of the Empire – After an accidental misfire of the internal weapons of a replica droid of Princess Leia forces them to fly a scientist all the way to his home planet (really), Han and Leia have a vacation at Hologram Fun World (really!), then Zorba the Hutt captures Leia at a magic show and takes her and a Trioculuscicle to the Mofference aboard the Moffship (really!!), then the Moffs defrost Trioculus and claim Leia and Trioculus’s first inclination is to propose marriage to an enemy leader (really!!!), so Trioculus orders Zorba the Hutt to be dumped into the Pit of Carkoon to help make Leia like him and commands Moff Hissa to grab a copy of the Dark Book of Imperial Justice to read at the wedding (really!!!!), meanwhile Han takes the Leia HRD and Luke (and of course Ken – really!!!!!) on a rescue mission to switch the droid for Leia (really!!!!!!), whereupon Robo-Leia apparently remembers that Trioculus once proclaimed he has a heart and fries it with her laser eyes (really!!!!!!!), and finally Zorba the Hutt pulls a Boba and crawls out of the sarlacc (really!!!!!!!!); amazingly, this all happened in an actual book that I have an actual copy of. – @Darth_Culator

Jedi Prince: Prophets of the Dark Side – The use of the same reference photo for Luke as on the cover of The Truce at Bakura fools the reader into hoping that Ken might possibly befall the same fate as Dev Sibwarra. – @DigitalMessiah

A Forest Apart – hunghwaaaarrrrrrrghhuaghwuaghuaghuagh – @Trip

The Dark Empire Sourcebook – Blame this book for everything Jello ever talks about: Ars Dangor and Ederlathh Pallopides. – @GrandAdmiralJello

The New Rebellion – This is a story in which Han Solo is accused of bombing the Senate with his wife inside; Wedge Antilles does not respect or understand the concept of democracy; some nobody manages to put bombs EVERYWHERE IN THE GALAXY because no one checks anything ever and then uses this to demand that he be handed “control of the galaxy,” perhaps in a nice gift box tied up with a small ribbon; Luke Skywalker pals around with a giant dog with anesthetic saliva and decides to just give up and die at the climax; Lando fights fire-breathing swamp dragon people for no reason at all; Leia gets upset that low-level ex-Imperials are allowed into politics and stupid galactic citizens are allowed to vote for them if they want to and in fact did, and gets herself into massive political trouble because apparently the Senate is always implacably hostile to Leia in late Bantam and everyone forgets this but was she just terrible at politics or was the NR all a-holes well before NJO or what, so she just appoints Mon Mothma to take over for her because democracy sucks; the finale features Star Destroyers zipping around like fighters and being blown up by the Wild Karrde, which the author thinks is a yacht, and these Star Destroyers can outfight Wedge Antilles despite having incredibly stupid robot AI controlling them, which Wedge can confuse by something as simple as shooting at his allies in the middle of the battle, and also these Star Destroyers pop like bubbles if you just shoot around their shields or something at their sweet spot; and did I mention that Han Solo is seriously accused of bombing the Senate with his wife inside and this is a serious thing and the basis of a great deal of the plot that people take seriously, because this is the stupidest Star Wars book of all time — but at least it has Cole Fardreamer. – @Havac

Survivor’s Quest – After a fun, swashbuckling adventure, Mara and Luke finally have time to snuggle up in bed on the Jade Sabre for some intimate alone time talking about how awesome and terrifying Thrawn is. – @CT-867-5309

Young Jedi Knights: Heirs of the Force – Before war, before Sith, before extragalactic aliens and falling moons and twin duels that ended with one dead, the Solo twins and friends were just a bunch of innocent children having fun on Yavin Four. – @Nobody145

Young Jedi Knights: Shadow Academy – The bad guys actually succeed in this book it just doesn’t take effect for twenty years. – @DigitalMessiah

Young Jedi Knights: The Lost Ones – The street rat with the shaggy black hair finds out he has special powers (I think I also may’ve just described Star Wars Rebels and/or Aladdin). – @Revanfan1

Junior Jedi Knights: The Golden Globe – Because the existing psychic rabbit character was insufficient. – @CooperTFN

Junior Jedi Knights: Lyric’s World – Snakes on a planet! – @Gamiel

Riptide – The exact same thing as Crosscurrent all over again, except without the pointless time-travel B-plot and with a weird clone B-plot instead. – @Havac

Fate of the Jedi: Outcast – “This time, it’s going to be different — I know it will,” Aaron Allston breathed in the tones of a man pleading with reality, “because my co-authors can’t completely ruin my unexpectedly good job of salvaging their misguided premises with a reasonably promising opening novel twice in a row . . . can they?” – @Havac

Fate of the Jedi: Omen – It was only after Outcast shipped that LFL realized they had released a major product that didn’t include Sith; Christie Golden was required to remedy this oversight immediately. – @Havac

Fate of the Jedi: Abyss – Turns out Daala wasn’t the only Eldritch Abomination to come out of the Maw. – @Todd the Jedi

Fate of the Jedi: Backlash – Seeing that nothing good will come from this series, Cha Niathal kills herself, simultaneously avoiding having to see Admiral Daala ever again. – @Todd the Jedi

Fate of the Jedi: Allies – For over a thousand generations, the Jedi and Republic failed to put a dent in the Hutts’ slave-based civilisation – then a couple of blundering Sith, reintroduced to space travel just two years earlier, decide ‘hey, that fountain looks neat’ and bring the whole edifice tumbling down. – @Parnesius

Fate of the Jedi: Vortex – Having survived Karen Traviss’s brutal onslaught the Jedi Order, bloodied but still standing, takes a moment to survey the battlefield, and is accidentally clobbered over the back of the head by its endearingly incompetent ally Troy Denning. – @Parnesius

Fate of the Jedi: Conviction – Now that lame Kenth Hamner with all his ‘peaceful resolution’ and ‘none are above the law’ nonsense has been eliminated, the Jedi Order can deal with things the Jedi way: by executing a coup d’etat against the lawfully constituted government, throwing the Chief of State in prison and installing Grand Master Sebatyne as co-dictatrix for the duration of the emergency, thus vindicating Daala Luke in his trust – seriously, I wish that last part was sarcastic but Luke is totally fine with everything they’ve done. – @Parnesius

Fate of the Jedi: Ascension – Nothing says “I love you” like breaking into your room, harshly slapping you, reading your private journal, and forcing you to cry. – @Todd the Jedi

Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse – You know your plot makes no sense when after nine books, you need The Clone Wars to explain it for you. – @Jeff_Ferguson

X-Wing: Mercy Kill – One of the few bits of post NJO stories to have: A Vong character, actual change due to the war and HUMOUR. – @AusStig

Crucible – The Expanded Universe goes out on the lowest note imaginable. – @Havac

 


 

While we didn’t quite get everything in (at the end of the day, that would’ve been borderline impossible), I think this volume brings the “Legends” era of The Pithy Reader’s Companion to a very successful close. Of course, the One Sentence or Less thread lives on, and we’ve only just begun tackling the new canon novels—feel free to join in the fun, and who knows; there may be a Volume V someday…

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