Monday, June 10, 2013

Book Review: Lucasfilm's Alien Chronicles

Good Day Blogger world!

Good news on the job front: Not only do I have an interview for 3 potential jobs this week, but my People Answers answers just came in handy for a completely different job application than the one I was doing when I originally signed up. It's like when you're playing a video game and you get enough stars to unlock other worlds. Does this mean I've leveled up :B? I'm put in mind of the part of Neil Gammon's commencement speech (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you can find a link to it in the blog entry before this) where he described having become someone who answers emails professionally and writes as a hobby. It occurs to me that I am in very real danger of becoming a professional job seeker, and I don't yet have a way to stop it that doesn't involved self-sabotage. That said, I scored a few commissions this week too, so there is hope.

In the meantime, I'd like to make this a book review post.

The book(s) for today will be a work in fiction, departing from the trend set by my first 2 book reviews. I have always been a fan of science fiction, and at no time more so than when I was in high school. One of the books sets I remember best was the trilogy of Lucasfilm's Alien Chronicles, written by Deborah Chester. This is not, as far as I can tell, related in any way to Star Wars. Are there parallels? Absolutely. A fight for freedom from an oppressive regime, many and various fictional races of sentient creatures, and no Earth anywhere in the story, to name a few. It is a 3 part science fiction epic like many, and thoroughly enjoyable as such. But there are some interesting differences, which I'd like to explore.

Difference #1: No human characters. It's actually kind of easy to forget this while reading the book, because the characters are easy to relate to on a human level. At the same time, the specific characteristics of each species, and the ways their lives and cultures are built around them, are well thought-out. It's a colourful world, the like of which Lucasfilm is known for creating.

Difference #2: Female characters for protagonist AND antagonist. Statistically, I think it's safe to say the incidences of this happening in science fiction, and possibly in fiction as a whole, are not high. What is also interesting is that it feels less unusual that these two main characters are female because of the fact that they are not human. This is not to say there are no good, complex male characters. Our female antagonist finds a loyal and steadfast friend in a male co-protagonist, whose personal story is as compelling as hers. In case you're wondering if there is romance here, the short answer is no. This could be because they are of different species, and while there is more than enough ground for the possibility of inter-species relationships to be explored, no such romances actually form in the story.

These are the major differences. They are refreshing enough that I felt I was reading something special and unique, though I still got to go on the joy ride of reading a sci-fi epic. I really must emphasize that these are books for adults. There is violence and cruelty in this story, particularly in book 2. That said, I think this would fit well into the reading repertoire of many a Star Wars fan, and many sci-fi readers in general.

Thanks for reading, Blogger world :)!

February 24th, 2013:  Aang and the Beach of Time by ~Eseopia on deviantART

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