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, entire—Jedi Prince series, perhaps best known for its first book, The Glove of Darth Vader. Enjoy!
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Now over a year in the making, it’s time for the final volume of the Pithy Reader’s Companion! Our voyage begins with the arrival of the Yuuzhan Vong and the untimely demise of the mighty Chewbacca, and continues into the far, far future of the Skywalker family in the Legacy comics.
Fun fact: This batch almost certainly covers the time span where the sequels will be set, and as such is probably the stuff most likely to be erased from continuity—which is a damn shame for some of it, and frankly a relief for others. The exact proportions thereof may vary, of course; you can probably guess which ones @Havac (our own Lucas Jackson) would most like to get rid of. Enjoy!
Vector Prime – The book with one simple message: Chewbacca’s dead, Mara’s deathly ill, and incredibly dangerous biotech-wielding Forceless aliens are invading the galaxy — DEAL WITH IT. – @Havac
Dark Tide: Onslaught – The first of many NJO covers which depicts things that never actually happen in the novel. – @GrandAdmiralJello
Dark Tide: Ruin – Introducing Jagged Fel, the on-again-off-again-on-again-off-again-on-again-off-again paramour of Jaina Solo for the next twelve real life years. – @GrandAdmiralJello
Agents of Chaos: Hero’s Trial – Han Solo’s Magical Mystery Tour of Forgotten Classic-EU Supporting Characters. – @Havac
Agents of Chaos: Jedi Eclipse – Despite the cover, this book does *not* detail the Han Solo/Tsavong Lah buddy-cop comedy of the year. – @RC-1991
Balance Point – The most cleverly titled book of the series had no balance and no point. – @DarthRelaxus
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Welcome to Volume II of the Pithy Reader’s Companion! This round takes us all the way up to the marriage of Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade, and includes some of the biggest hits—and biggest misses—of the EU, most from what’s popularly known as the “Bantam Era”. Buckle in!
The Truce at Bakura – Curse your sudden yet inevitable betrayal! – @cavalier_one
The Rebel Opposition – The introduction of a new roster of Rogues, as well as the beginning of the greatest romance in SW history- that between Wes Janson and Hobbie Kliv- I mean, Tycho and Winter. – @Todd the Jedi
The Phanton Affair – On a college campus infested with avian space-hippies and thinly-veiled Nazi analogies, a professor invents the GFFA equivalent of the suitcase nuke, which is used against Captain Blobface – the Joker of Wedge Antilles’ Batman-style origin story – and then never heard of again, even when it would come in handy against enemies uglier than its first and only victim. – @Darth_Culator
Battleground Tatooine – Bib Fortuna masterminds a plot that gets him out of his brain walker and is ready to take over the galaxy, but sadly his reign will be cut short by some sort of Viper. – @Lugija
The Warrior Princess – Despite what the cover wants you to think, Leia is not in this story — the princess turns out to be the beer-swilling, face-punching redneck who’s been in the squadron the whole run, allowing Stackpole to do a riff on the Anastasia story that’s just as bald as the princess is. – @Havac
Requiem for a Rogue – Hot Human on Bothan action. – @Gorefiend
In the Empire’s Service – Isard sets a trap for both the Rebels and Pestage, and they Fel for it. – @GrandAdmiralJello
Blood and Honor – Finally, a Star Wars story with a good guy as the protagonist! – @GrandAdmiralJello
Masquerade – By failing to see the disguise, Tycho proves that he’s not meant to be with Winter, as her one true love would have instantly known it was a trap. – @GrandAdmiralJello
Mandatory Retirement – There once was a lady named Isard
to whom a coup d’etat seemed wizard
so after gaining his ear
she betrayed the vizier
who played the decoy-clone-thence-to-Byss card. – @Parnesius
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It’s pretty well understood at this point that this site is populated wholly by long-time members of TheForce.net’s Jedi Council Literature forums. Having been there myself for fourteen years now, I like to think of my role here as something of a curator—seeking out the best and brightest voices on the forums and giving them a more direct spotlight than a message board might offer.
Sometimes, of course, the best and brightest are also pretty damned snarky. So just over a year ago, inspired by the then-imminent release of Pablo Hidalgo’s Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion, I started a discussion thread called One Sentence or Less, wherein I would pick a story from the Expanded Universe—not quite at random, but not in any specific order either—and forumers would have two days to summarize it in one sentence (four words minimum). Readers then voted for their favorite entries via the forum’s “like” system, meaning that the winners were pretty much out of my hands (though you’ll notice many were penned by “Havac”—ETE staffer Lucas Jackson, and “GrandAdmiralJello”—staffer Jay Shah, proving I have impeccable taste in cohorts). The result is an extensive (but not yet comprehensive) synopsis of the length and breadth of the EU—with a couple imaginary stories thrown in for good measure.
So for you casual fans out there who might want to try out some of the EU, consider this sort of the polar opposite of The EU Explains—some of the winners are serious, many are sardonic, and one may even be an elaborate Gilbert & Sullivan parody—but any truly helpful information is purely coincidental.
Lastly, please note that while I have handed the reigns over to stalwart Lit forumer @instantdeath, the One Sentence or Less thread is still ongoing, and there’s much more left to cover. For my part, I’ll continue updating the articles here from time to time with new winning entries.
And now, with no further ado, I present Volume I of what will be the three-volume Pithy Reader’s Companion: Dawn of the Jedi through Return of the Jedi…
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