October 16, 2018, 12:46:46 AM

Author Topic: Star Wars: X-Wing - One man's terrorists are another man's freedom fighters  (Read 1196 times)

Offline Yora

Usually I'd treat Star Wars as clearly fantasy with space ships, but in the case of the X-Wing novels it really is military science-fiction. (Barely any Jedi stuff in it.)

I just read a post of someone regarding the RPG Werewolf as being basically about terrorism and one comment asked if you could also analyze Star Wars unde the aspect of terrorism. My first thought was duh!, but my second one was about the X-Wing novels. It's about an elite starfighter/commando unit that has the task of infiltrating imperial worlds, gathering information, and using sabotage and starfighter assaults to destroy planetary defenses right before the arrival of a Rebel invasion fleet.

I think the series started in the early 90s and I've last read them close to 20 years ago. I've long planned to read the first four again (the others aren't quite as great) and reread the Thrawn series last year, which was just as good as I had remembered it. I really wonder how these books are reading these days: There is so much stuff about bombing key installations in the middle of cities, getting known Rebels through airport security, a small ideological military force declaring the creation of a new state, minorities being very unhappy with their self-proclaimed liberators, and what is effectively a huge hybrid bioweapon/dirty bomb. And then the imperial security forces go underground and do their much bloodier insurgence against the Alliance.

It used to be fun books for 12 year olds. Should be very interesting to read again.
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Offline tebakutis

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Usually I'd treat Star Wars as clearly fantasy with space ships, but in the case of the X-Wing novels it really is military science-fiction. (Barely any Jedi stuff in it.)

I just read a post of someone regarding the RPG Werewolf as being basically about terrorism and one comment asked if you could also analyze Star Wars unde the aspect of terrorism. My first thought was duh!, but my second one was about the X-Wing novels. It's about an elite starfighter/commando unit that has the task of infiltrating imperial worlds, gathering information, and using sabotage and starfighter assaults to destroy planetary defenses right before the arrival of a Rebel invasion fleet.

I think the series started in the early 90s and I've last read them close to 20 years ago. I've long planned to read the first four again (the others aren't quite as great) and reread the Thrawn series last year, which was just as good as I had remembered it. I really wonder how these books are reading these days: There is so much stuff about bombing key installations in the middle of cities, getting known Rebels through airport security, a small ideological military force declaring the creation of a new state, minorities being very unhappy with their self-proclaimed liberators, and what is effectively a huge hybrid bioweapon/dirty bomb. And then the imperial security forces go underground and do their much bloodier insurgence against the Alliance.

It used to be fun books for 12 year olds. Should be very interesting to read again.

Ha, you're speaking my language! The whole "could Rebels be considered terrorists?" question actually inspired my most recent espionage sci-fi novel (currently sitting with Baen for consideration, but will likely be self-published if they passed). Basically, it never made sense to me that a ragtag group of "freedom fighters" (like the Rebellion) could be so squeaky clean. They never had to make any moral compromises to resist the Empire, and that bugged me.

No to mention, the Empire. Jeez. At least in the movies, the Galactic Empire was comically and uniformly evil (seriously, it's like all their officers had to take an "evil loyalty test"). It was just accepted that millions of people would happily go along with genocide without a single moral objection. All in all, both sides just felt like cliche "good" and "evil".

Real governments and resistance movements aren't like that. There's good people, bad people, and shades of gray in both. So obviously, my book has a very similar set up (overbearing fascist government vs scrappy resistance) except in this universe, *both* groups (my Empire and my Rebels) have decent folks and terrible ones. And the "rebels" have to make a number of moral compromises and work with despicable people.

I'd say the Star Wars EU books (particularly Allston and Stackpole's excellent X-Wing series) are a big reason for why I was motivated to write my book, plus, of course, playing a "moral Imperial" in Star Wars Galaxies. Personally, I can't bring myself to read any of the old EU, since it's no longer canon (I'm weird like that) but I do fondly recall how the EU fleshed out both sides and made them less cliche.

Thank you for the nostalgia. I needed it today. :)

Offline The Gem Cutter

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The original and spot-on exploration of these themes is in Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls - a classic special forces mission, juxtaposed with pseudo-allies, a hero prepared to shwack them, an evilly portrayed opposing army, subtly LGBT characters, and a dark ending. And it's Hemingway :)
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Offline CT_Phipps

While this is an older topic, I actually just re-read these books and had the same view. It's what inspired me to write my own latest novel.

I think Stackpole and Aaron Allston wrote some great mild military sci-fi with zero moral ambiguity.

But we're getting a little away from that with Rogue One.
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