Friday, August 22

On the "my take on Jacen" question, let me quote my response from March of this year over on's Stover Forum:


I am familiar, in broad outline, with the events of the Dark Nest and Legacy series. Haven't read 'em because I've been too busy with the Prequel and OT eras.

As to the specifics of your question, however, I can't give a satisfactory answer. Part of this is due to the simple fact that neither Jacen nor Vergere was originally my character (in fact, the only characters in TRAITOR who were original to that work were the World Brain and Ch'Gang Hool, the Shaper Master -- who was basically just a walk-on, anyway -- and the various extras). Vergere was the creation of Jim Luceno, I believe, and Jacen's roots go so far back into the EU that he was already well-established by the time KJA picked him up for the Young Jedi Knights.

In the Literature forum over at TheForce.Net, there are several lengthy threads discussing the validity of the choices made for Jacen and Vergere. There is really nothing I can add to the discussion, largely because my opinion is exactly that: my opinion, no more. When you come right down to it, on this point I'm exactly on the same level as all of you: a reader trying to assess someone else's story.

But due to my privileged position as a Star Wars novelist, my opinion would be given more weight by the fans than it actually deserves -- it would tend to tip the perceptions of, at least, my particular fans, and even others would be tempted to end arguments with "Well, Matt Stover says . . ." I've decided I just have to keep it to myself.

Sorry for a lengthy reply that doesn't end up saying much. It is what is is.


And that's as far as I am willing to go on the subject.

Except perhaps to point out once more that what a story means is what it means to you as you read it. Nothing more . . . but more important: nothing less.

And thank you, Joe, for pointing out that Barra Coll Eigg Rhum is based on the Fabulous Robyn -- though the truth is deeper than that: Robyn invented her in the first place, and (graciously, at my request) gave me permission to write books about her, back in the Bad Old Days. As opposed to the Bad New Days. I used Robyn herself as the model to fill in the nooks and crannies of the character, that's all.


Robert said...

Don't worry about it Matt. While there are many people who loved how you grew the character of Jacen and more importantly how you expanded upon the concept of The Force; your response is about all I would have expected you to give.

From a professional standpoint, if you disagreed with any of it, it would not be wise to state it openly. Especially if you look to do any further business with the people that hold the reins of the franchise.

That being said, thanks for the response nonetheless. It reminded me of discussions on literary philosophy that a teacher had with us in English class one year. "Does the intention of the author really mean anything or does the interpretation of the reader supersede it?"

Joe said...

Yeah, Stover had his say when he wrote the words. I had mine when I read 'em.

As for Legacy of the Force, or any other series, you can definitely vote with your pocketbook if you stop enjoying it. I did. That's money I'd rather spend on CBK, or, in Star Wars, Coruscant Nights.

And ultimately, to paraphrase a pretty smart guy, LotF didn't do anything Traitor; Traitor is still sitting right there on my shelf.

Joe said...

edit: didn't do anything *to* Traitor.

Patrick said...

Hi Matt,

I'm a big fan of your Star Wars stuff and I recently heard rave reviews of Heroes Die and BoT. I was hoping to get these books but according to Amazon BoT is out of print (which is strange seeing as the third novel in the series is coming out in October). Is there any plans for a reprint of BoT or maybe a double reprint of HD and BoT. I am a set junkie so I want to know if I should wait off and buy a set of matching new editions or trying and find a used copy somewhere online. Keep up the great work!


PS. I know that this original post wasnt about this but I didn't see an email or a better way to ask you. Thanks!

Alex said...

I'd snatch it up before it's gone...

Nathan said...

"Does the intention of the author really mean anything or does the interpretation of the reader supersede it?"

So what you're asking is whether Dumbledore is gay, right?

Honestly, I always hated those particular lit class shenanigans, the arguments involving whether the text is the only thing or whether its context is important (or even relevant) as well. No. Hate's implies something other than apathy, and this is just one thing about which I can simply not bring myself to care. I read. I interact with the text. If I've enjoyed the text, I will undertake to learn more about the writer and the book's circumstances; seek out interviews; if the author's accessible, maybe try to get in touch. I find it fun and interesting. If you feel that doing those things is unimportant, or unfun, or corrupts your relationship with the text, or should be avoided because authors lie and don't know their own intentions anyway -- don't do 'em. Fine.

The text is the text; it says what it says. If I disagree with the author on interpretation: so what? We disagree. If it was so important, it would have been clarified in the book.

As far as work-for-hire shared universes like Star Wars: the author's intentions are insignificant next to the power of the Force. What the books mean is exactly what the licenseholders decide they mean and subject to change at their whim.

It's early or late or some time and I'm jetlagged and don't even know what I'm talking about anymore.

Patrick: Blade is also being reissued in print-on-demand format.

Bret said...

What boggles my mind is when readers don't recognize the concepts presented within Traitor as the concepts presented within the movies themselves. I seriously wonder if half the star wars fanbase actually pays attention to the movies. Traitor wasn't good because it defied the Movies' definition of the Force, it was good because it embraced it and looked at the very same philosophy from another angle.

That or my interpretation of the movies is just... completely wrong. Which it could be the case, I don't know.

I didn't stop reading Star Wars books because they stomped all over Jacen's characterization, even though I agree they kind of did. I quit because the writing started sucking.

Phil said...

After a recent mention of your book Sword of Tyscheel on Dragon page cover to cover, there appears to be a shortage and those that are available have gone up in price. Where can I get a copy at a reasonable price?

Patrick said...


Where can I find a Print On Demand copy? i.e. Who do I demand prints me a copy?

AzrofD said...

wow, no one's bought the one remaining yet (as of this check.) Fair warning, if it's still on sale when I get home I'm buying it as a backup.

Bret said...

When I lost my original Blade copy, I bought a pre-final-edit preview copy off ebay (With big letters on the front saying NOT FOR SALE) so I could loan it out to all my friends. Azrofd, the best thing you can do is buy yourself the backup copy and lend it out to as many people as you can find, because you can't trust anyone else to do so in your place.

Anonymous said...

So, uh, not to be That Fan or anything, but Scalzi is officially soliciting for the Big Idea pieces. You really, really should do one.

To keep this vaguely on topic, I have six copies of Blade of Tyshalle, and therefore I am more virile than the rest of your posters.

Th...that's how this works, right?

NSB said...

Only six?

But, yes, Scalzi. Big Idea. Good. Go forth.

Anonymous said...

Hi my names Andre and just had a question. I haven't read the Star Wars: Shatterpoint but do plan to. I was just wondering if there would be any future planing finishing on what happens to Kar Vastor. Like anyone I'm just a big fan of Star Wars and just came across Vastor in Wookiepedia when looking at Windu. I'm a cosplay kind of guy so I really would like to see what happens to Vastor after prison. Since his whole life was built off survival I know he could have died in prison and happening that he might have some kind of life changing thing happen or not but in the end run into Windu body cuz Episode 3 or into something his like his lightsaber and point Vastor in =to what will be the rest of his life. I like seeing him as a bit of Dark Jedi its just cant imagine what he would wear if he really had some Jedi threads not complete Jedi but something more his style....

You can email at or for a reply.

Rob Locke said...

Hell yea. Along with the Book of the New Sun tetrology (Gene Wolfe) I get a fresh new virgin untouched copy of Heroes Die (i can't for the life of me remember who I lent my old one to).

It makes my Blade look horrible in comparison, with its yellowed and ratty pages. I didn't think pages could yellow so quickly.

In other news, I read Bra'r Robert and I remember mentioning Stephen King in a previous post. This short devours King for Brunch.

I've noticed more people buying the Amazon Kindle ebook reader. I had a chance to play with it... I was impressed. E-ink. Read up on it. Matt, were you talking about releasing a digital copy of your novels? Would be convenient to wirelessly purchase something from the Kindle shop page.

Though I wonder... is it even profitable? The e-books seem cheap, and if Hard Cover puts more food in your starving mouth than paperback, imagine e-book?

Couch said...

Hey Matt... I just found this blog. Actually, I just decided I was tired of waiting for you to write a new, original novel that I Googled your name and thought I'd tell you how much the fantasy world is empty without your contributions.
Heroes Die and Blad of Tyshalle are probably the 2 finest books I've yet read in the genre. I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to read them. Unfortunately, I read Blade first because my bookstore didn't have Heroes in stock...if ever. Blade was so awesome I had to hunt down Heroes. Now, I never, ever, ever re-read books. My memory is such that even if I've forgotten some of it...within 15 pages or so I remember the whole plot and it's not interesting anymore.
Your books, even though I remembered them almost verbatim, were so good that I've read them each 3 times!
And I keep looking on the shelves and checking amazon to see if you have anything new coming out...and all I see is Star Wars. I'm sure it pays well, so of course you gotta write those..but,not even a little ole novel of your own in all this time??
We're jonesin' man....jonesin'!!! Help us out!! Lol...thanks for the 2 great novels of fantasy and regardless of what you choose to do, you'll be always considered one of the all-time greatest fantasy authors!! Mahalo and aloha!!

Alex said...

It's nice to see that I'm not alone in thinking how well Stover captured the mythos and mysticism of the Force in Traitor... and how very poorly it's been handled ever since (though I give James Luceno some credit for trying to tie those concepts back in at the end of the NJO).

Always a fan, Matt. I eagerly anticipate your next brilliant contribution to the Star Wars saga.

Anonymous said...

bret: "What boggles my mind is when readers don't recognize the concepts presented within Traitor as the concepts presented within the movies themselves. I seriously wonder if half the star wars fanbase actually pays attention to the movies. Traitor wasn't good because it defied the Movies' definition of the Force, it was good because it embraced it and looked at the very same philosophy from another angle."

what scares me - really scares me - is when people reject traitor as a novel because "vergere is incorrect! she goes against what yoda says about the dark side in the movies!". y'know what? she might just be wrong. or she might be right. the beauty of traitor is that it simply presents vergeres case - it doesn't try and set anything down in stone. if there was a star wars novel where palpatine ranted how evil and corrupt and debased the Jedi were, no one would take it at face value and start complaining, "this goes against the mythos of the films!". so why do a lot of people do so wrt traitor?

it just worries me that so many readers rejected arguably the most challenging star wars book simply because it didn't fit with their preconceptions and view of the movie. what do they want, more of the dull stories that plagued bantam's publishing run, in which the heroes fight a dark jedi/imperial warlord, make a few allusions to the films and have a bad feeling about things, yet ultimatley save the day? colour me traitor.

JamesD said...

Yeah, I'm also glad that I'm not alone in hating what they did to Jacen in LotF. I hated this for a couple reasons, one being that in the way I saw and understood the whole Star Wars universe, none of it could ever have happened. I also disliked it for reasons similar to what the person above me said, it made me realize that Star Wars was pretty much doomed to infinitely repeat the tired old plot line of Fall to the Dark, Cause Chaos, Redemption/Destruction. I thought that Jacen was a good hope for something new. A line of Vergere's comes to mind here "What a tragedy, what a waste. Could it not have been otherwise?"(may not be exactly right)
Also sort of referencing the above poster, yeah I observed that what most people want in a fantasy book is the same, typical, set-in-stone fantasy story they've always read. While I personally (and I think many of the other people here) like stuff that screws with your head a little and makes you think. I wish more people wrote stuff like Mr. Stover and that more people saw how brilliant this stuff really is. The only book in a long time that I've read that was what I like to call "Stover good" was Fight Club, I'd recommend it to anyone here.

dave lucci said...

I don't normally comment, but I I have so much emotion built up on this subject that I had to share. "Traitor" is the book that got me into Star Wars. Matt's galaxy that allowed gray to exist changed my opinion of the dogmatic Star Wars universe. I think that like many other franchises, Star Wars went back to the bread and butter, which was to turn someone good evil. Everyone been evil. It's the cool things to do. They turned a completely compassionate character who was more in tune with nature and the essence of life than any other character into a cold blooded killer for the sake of making us all crazy. They wanted us to pick them up and say,"I wander how they could turn such a good guy crazy." We did just that.