Thursday, March 29, 2012

The 100-day, 100-Question Great Star Wars Blogathon, Question 36

NOTE: I briefly posted this in the wrong place -- if you left a comment on that post, you did it quick but I deleted it because I've taken away the post that came out below the ad. If you don't know what I'm talking about, forget I said anything.

Boy, even when I don't even ask a question, Andrew gets it right.

I started off yesterday thinking about Splinter of the Mind's Eye, a book I read long long ago...

...raise your hand if you just mentally said "in a galaxy far, far away"...

...did you really raise your hand?

... so long ago, in fact, did I read that book that I don't really recall what it was about, and for purposes of today's post, which I'm writing in real time, I'm not going to go look at even the cover of the book because I want to test my memory.

(My memory is something that's on my mind a lot; a long time ago I started out what was supposed to be a memoir of a big year in my life and it ended up being more a meditation on how memory works.)

So in my memory, Splinter In The Mind's Eye is a paperback book and on the cover of it there's some mist and maybe a glowing red crystal and I think Luke Skywalker seen from behind, possibly crouching.

Which, as I think of it, kind of makes it sound like I'm thinking of The Dark Crystal, instead, and now I kind of want to go watch The Dark Crystal but: focus, man!

That's all I remember about Splinter In The Mind's Eye. Literally all. I can remember other Star Wars-based fiction, like the Han Solo trilogy, and I even remember some specifics about that trilogy.

(The specific part I recall, for some reason, is a scene where Han smuggles guns to some rebels, and he's talking to the rebels about the shipment and he takes pity on one and explains how the rebels should leave their guns on single-shot, instead of just wildly firing like the stormtroopers will be, because stormtroopers have essentially unlimited ammunition and the rebels do not, so they have to be careful. I don't know why I've remembered that scene for over 25 years.)

(Now I'm really wondering why that scene in particular stuck in my mind.)

Anyway, the other thing I think I remember about Splinter is a scene in which Luke goes into a cave or tree or something and battles someone or something, but the moment I thought of that, I realized that it was a scene from The Empire Strikes Back, unless it was a scene in both the movie and the book.

So the point of all this is that the question the other day from Lara about where this information all comes from led Andrew to point out about how there's this whole Expanded Universe which built on the mythology, and that started me wondering about the Expanded Universe and the mythology and how much of it sticks when it's kind of an offshoot -- we know that Andrew knows this stuff as if he were the Jedi Library Archivist (which: don't you think a large library would not be needed in a culture as advanced as the Star Wars universe is? Our libraries, eventually, are going to be less "stacks of books" and more "public spaces where people can access things for free" -- rows of computers and lendable Kindles.)(The future is going to be excitingly different from the present.)

People are out there creating this whole mythos, expanding the Star Wars universe, which was really pretty tiny and inexplicable: In Star Wars itself, there's like five planets (Tatooine, Alderaan, Yavin... so, three?) and there's The Force, which is barely explained, and there's hints at the Kessel Run and this larger culture, but really, in two hours, how much can you get into that?

Not much -- but how much do you need to? Because that universe of Star Wars The Movies really stuck, and the universe of Star Wars The Books I Read didn't really.

Which is hard to figure out, because ordinarily, expanded universes are great and I am a huge fan of reading -- I like to read more than I like to watch TV, and I think reading is far more entertaining. And the expanded universes, so to speak, of Harry Potter or Narnia or The Lord Of The Rings or The Hitchhiker's Guide stuck in my mind far more than the expanded universe of Star Wars. And that was true even though I read many of them at the same time. In fact, I read the Narnia books when I was younger than Star Wars.

I don't really have a point, beyond just throwing out there the question of how much an "expanded universe" might be necessary and raising the issue of why some things stick with us and others don't -- why the universe of the Hitchhiker's Guide was more memorable to me than the universe of Star Wars, or why the Star Wars universe, for me, stubbornly refuses to be expandable.

Because that's the other side of the coin: I actually have four new Star Wars books on my Kindle, and I cannot bring myself to read them. It's like when I tried to read Dragon Tattoo or watch X-Men: I can't get started. Something about the Star Wars universe will not let me expand it.

Even this Blogathon, in which I'm learning new trivia every day, slips away from me almost instantly. We're 35 questions in and all I know about Star Wars, still, is Wookies.

That's mostly due to Rusty's persistence, but still.

Enough ruminating. Here's today's question, worth 28 points:

Who said "The ability to speak does not make you intelligent." and who was (s)he speaking to?

Commenter 3 gets the 10 extra points, if (s)he is not commenter 2 also.

PS: I looked up Splinter on Wikipedia, and I was kind of right about the memory of the cover, and a tiny bit of the plot.

PS2: "There's no sliding rule," said Andrew yesterday, about that "caller number" points, and I'm going to adopt that: Let's get all complicated up in here! You can BLOCK someone from getting that 10 extra points -- but I won't let you block if you're also the person who gets the answer right. So, if you get the answer right AND take up the commenter points' space, you LOSE 10 points. But if you block legally, nobody else gets it.


Grumpy Bulldog, March Madman said...

Qui-Gon to Jar-Jar.

Andrew Leon said...

Here's what I remember about Splinter (I read it when I was 8 or 9): The Mind's Eye is some kind of crystal that's force sensitive or something. Luke needs to find it. There's a lightsaber fight at the end in which Leia is involved for some reason. Luke cuts off Vader's hand or arm to win the fight.

Honestly, other than the Zahn books, which you should read, the other Star Wars book I've read have been... less than good. Most of the lore I know is related to characters from the movie, and I learned a lot from the original Decipher CCG. I also worked in a comic book store for a while, and you pick up a lot doing that kind of work. Well... and when I was a kid I had the art books with all kinds of information in them (actually, I still have those packed up somewhere), and I read everything I could about Star Wars when I was a kid, and that stuff has lingered.

Sometimes I want to read some of the newer Star Wars books, but, then, I remember how bad the Kevin Anderson books are, and I decide not to read any others.

Rusty Webb said...

I never want to think of Kevin J Anderson again.

And just in case Grumpy was wrong and Andrew missed it. It was Wookies speaking to other wookies about whether or not their gargling was actually speech.

Grumpy Bulldog, March Madman said...

Kevin J Anderson was terrible. Dave Wolverton was worse. Yeah like Andrew said stick with the Zahn ones.

Andrew Leon said...

I never read any Wolverton.

Andrew Leon said...

Okay, plugging the blogfest in tomorrow's post. I just wrote that part up, so it's there. Just make sure to check the post tomorrow.

And you never answered the question about Obi-Wan's lightsaber mastery.

Grumpy Bulldog, March Madman said...

Wolverton's "Courtship of Princess Leia" was just the the corniest Star Wars book I ever read. It was like if you took "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" or "Father of the Bride" and made a Star Wars version of it. Plus just stupid shit like the Rebels (or New Republic or whatever they were at the time) having fleets of Star Destroyers and Princess Leia having her own personal Star Destroyer and crap like that. Just a freaking mess.

Incidentally I'm Facebook "friends" with AC Crispin, who wrote some Han Solo prequel books a few years ago.

Grumpy Bulldog, March Madman said...

Wow, looking up Splinter in the Mind's Eye did explain who Grammel and Bin Essada are when I play the Imperials in "Rebellion".