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markk

markk

Currently reading

Edward the Confessor
Frank Barlow
Progress: 118/375 pages
For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States from 1607 to 2012
William B. Feis, Peter Maslowski, Allan R. Millett
Progress: 181/736 pages
James Madison: A Biography
Ralph Louis Ketcham
Progress: 337/753 pages
Tales in Time: The Man Who Walked Home and Other Stories
Robert Silverberg, Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, Lewis Padgett, Garry Douglas Kilworth, Peter Crowther, James Tiptree Jr., Charles de Lint, Spider Robinson, Jack Finney, L. Sprague de Camp, Brian W. Aldiss, H.G. Wells

Explores the broader storytelling possibilities in Lucas's universe

Betrayal - Scott Allie, Ryan Benjamin, Curtis Arnold

George Lucas's Star Wars movies are grounded in a binary struggle between good and evil. On the one side you have the Jedi, the Republic and the Rebellion, and on the other the Sith, Palpatine and the Empire he builds. Both are largely monolithic, with people (most famously Anakin Skywalker) occasionally switching sides but largely respecting the order to which they've aligned. It's straightforward in a way that makes for nice moral contrasts, yet it loses much of the sophistication that can make for great storytelling.

 

This is why I enjoyed Scott Aille's Betrayal as much as I did. Set in the weeks before the events of the original Star Wars movie, it's centered around a group of top Imperial officials who decide that the Empire would be better served if it was led by them rather than a Sith lord and his apprentice. Well aware of Palpatine's and Vader's powers, the cabal concocts an elaborate plot involving brainwashed stormtroopers, mercenaries, and staged assassination attempts designed to remove them both. It's a great premise, and one that is a natural fit for the Star Wars universe: an Empire run by talented and ambitious military officers is bound to produce a few who are tired of living under the threat of being Force-choked to death for unavoidable reversals and who think they could do a better job were they in charge. Though the outcome is never in doubt, seeing how it plays out makes for entertaining reading, and serves as a great example of the larger narrative possibilities in Lucas's long-ago world.