Archive for empire

My Heart Is an Imperial Occupied Zone

Posted in Fun, Reviews with tags , , , on 22 July 2017 by Megan

Or, Merry Christmas in July.

Anyone spending any amount of time on this blog should know by now that I am deeply loyal to the Empire. Not to Emperor Palpatine — who was a corrupt Sith Lord focused on himself and more concerned with gaining power than making the lives of Imperial citizens better — but to the Imperial system, which strikes me as the only viable, logical method of government for such a huge and diverse stretch of territory. I stand with Admiral Pellaeon in the pursuit of forming a bastion of the new order, a system focused on the citizen and resistant to the pettiness of easily-corrupt bureaucrats.

As such, I admire the boys in white, who keep our Empire safe. I salute the officers in their attractive, professional uniforms. I shun the old Republic and the frail senators creating civil war and dissidence in their quest, not to make lives better, but to get their old jobs and positions of power back. Pax Imperius!

So it was an obvious move when a friend gave me The Imperial Handbook for Christmas last year.

Now, The Imperial Handbook occupies a strange place. It was published in 2015 after Disney|Lucasfilm decanonized the EU. But it’s part of a series of handbooks that are squarely part of the EU. (Things like this are why Disney|Lucasfilm can’t even begin to grasp the magnitude of what they’ve done.) I’m not particularly acquainted with the history, such as whether it had already been completed by April 2014, but the rest of the series has been cast out by Discanon. It doesn’t contain anything from Discanon, and that’s all that matters insofar as marking it official “realcanon.”

The concept of the series is that they are meant to be in-universe reference guides, not unlike The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, containing information written from the point of view of characters with the intended audience of “other people who live in the GFFA.” This was ostensibly written by Imperial information services to be disseminated among officers of His Majesty’s Armed Forces. Of course there are lots of little things that break such immersion (officer’s handbooks aren’t usually dotted with attractive watercolor artwork, and at least one ship is mis-identified), but it’s cute and it’s fun and I accept the conceit.

It’s also been annotated by leaders of the rebellion, which allows me to dismiss certain errors in the text (such as an attempt to emphatically claim a government-sanctioned racist policy that could never exist in a galaxy like the GFFA). I just assume that the rebel leaders made their own edits before circulating it as propaganda among their own crew. Gotta make the boogeyman boogeyer if you expect those bright young pilots to die getting your position of power back!

Ultimately, the book is a valuable if somewhat shallow resource. It needs supplementation, but its bullet-point break downs of branches of service, visual outlines of rank, armor, equipment, and bonus essays by such figures as General Veers and Baron Fel make it invaluable. My library would be grossly incomplete without it, despite its few minor shortcomings.

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Review Redux: Death Star

Posted in Reviews, Spotlight with tags , , , , , on 12 July 2017 by Megan

I know I keep saying “This is probably the only time I’m going to re-review something…” I should probably stop saying that.

Death Star Cover

Death Star by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry. Actually really good.

So, I first read this book back in 2011 when I was “getting back into” the Star Wars books. At the time, I dismissed it as an unnecessary rehash of the events of ANH. I didn’t consider that it added anything to the overall saga and promptly forgot about it.

To be honest, I have always been about as reluctant to give Del Rey Star Wars books the time of day as they have been to give credit to any other publisher but themselves. (Note the fact that Del Rey claims they published the first Star Wars book, when that was in fact Ballantine.) But I’m not too proud to admit I made a mistake here. In fact, as an information professional, I’ll go ahead and state plainly that before 2014, when Disney|Lucasfilm made it imperative to research the history and actuality of the Star Wars canon, I made a lot of mistakes about Star Wars and George Lucas. That’s over now, I hope ;)

Awhile back, feeling annoyed about Jocasta Nu and the fact that people never seemed to bother correctly differentiating archivists from librarians (another mistake I myself made in the past, until I got an MLS and the confusion was impossible), I asked around to find out of there were any legitimate librarians in the entire canon. What people told me completely flabbergasted me.

“There’s an Imperial librarian in Death Star,” they said. What?! But I read that already! I read it while I was in library school! You’d think I’d remember there being a Star Wars librarian, especially since I’m trying to create a cosplay of a librarian in the Imperial navy! Maybe I had done the book a deep injustice.

I had.

Death Star is a great read. It fleshes out A New Hope, giving depth and feeling to characters that in 1977 were little more than extras adding ambiance to our cowboys-in-space Bildungsroman. Michael Reaves and Steve Perry are responsible for some of the high points in the EU, and together they weave a crowded ensemble into a high-tension story leading up to the moment seared onto all our imaginations, when Luke Skywalkers sends those proton torpedoes into the small thermal exhaust port.

An escaped convict, a bartender, her bouncer, a gunner, a librarian, a doctor, and a soldier tormented by strange dreams . . . They are all drawn together by this floating fortress, this “Death Star” that combines the most powerful laser ever conceived of in the galaxy with the largest space fortress ever built. Telling us the “other side” of the story we know so well, Reaves and Perry explore why people serve the Empire, what made soldiers volunteer to work someplace that could destroy planets, what went on in Tarkin’s final days. Even when we know exactly how the story ends, the psychological weight bearing down on the characters creates a high-tension narrative and leaves us not sure what to hope for.

I was so inspired by the character of Atour Ritten that I decided to adapt my Imperial librarian costume, already in-progress, into a cosplay of this proper librarian. I was impressed both that Reaves and Perry captured universal librarian behavior so well, but also that I had spontaneously chosen the correct rank (Commander) for my cosplay! And now I’m thinking I should do a post specifically on my upcoming costume. Hmm.

Anyway, Death Star is not disappointing; it is essential! I apologize for ever disparaging it.

A disturbance in the library force

Posted in Fun with tags , , , , , , on 9 May 2014 by Megan

It’s not always unfortunate when Darth Vader has to bring a garrison in!

These late fees mean I’m gonna have to Force choke you.

Valerie Bogert over at Skipping Through the Stacks shares her experience with the local Imperials via A disturbance in the library force. Enjoy!

Favorite Member of the Empire

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , on 23 January 2014 by Megan

I’m an Imperial girl, I am. Not ashamed of it, either. The Empire was a fitting replacement for a diseased and outmoded galactic republic. A government in charge of billions of non-homogenous races cannot function taking into account the opinion of every one of a countless number of minorities. A weak and chiefly ceremonial chancellor clearly could not shoulder the responsibility of a million planets. Are you really going to fault the imperial system for the one single tiny insignificant little detail that its leader was evil? There was nothing wrong with the system. The Republic couldn’t even enforce its own antislavery laws. I’ve probably said it before but it’s a truth I’ll repeat forever: I guarantee you that the vast majority of galactic residents didn’t notice a change in their day-to-day lives with the Empire in control. And probably for every group of people who did feel oppressed or noticed a change for the worse (i.e. all those senators who started the rebellion in response to sudden unemployment), there was almost certainly a group of people who felt their lives changed for the better. And by that I mean people who were oppressed by the Trade Federation and Banking Clans and people who were slaves. Yes, some high-up imperials (such as Palpatine) and gangsters (such as Hutts) continued to own slaves, but it almost certainly ceased being as common a thing.

Anyway, all that to say that I didn’t want to start every post in this challenge by saying “last year when I talked about this” — but I wanted to be able to reiterate I love Maximilian Veers and also to emphasize that I have loads of favorite Imps because frankly I just love the Empire. I’m a devoted loyalist. I don’t deny that there were evil imperials, like Tarkin and Palpatine. There were less-than-honorable rebels, too, you know. All that to say I’m still trying to decide who to regale you with this week! We all know I have a special weakness for the military officers. I love an Imperial uniform. And the navy is my jam. So I see I’m presenting you with . . .

Firmus Piett

Firmus Piett

Yes, his first name is Firmus, and I would be lying if I could tell you I didn’t think he and Captain Needa were the same person the first 12 times I watched ESB. They just look very similar. In fact, I considered making Needa my favorite member of the Empire — because there is a man who demonstrates every admirable trait of the Empire, sacrificing himself in order to save his crew when the unthinkable occurs. I’ve often thought it was half suicide of him to insist on apologizing for something that wasn’t his fault, in person, to Vader, but it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility that Vader would have had the Avenger destroyed if Needa had not presented himself as a target. Therefore, I admire him greatly. However, Piett has the larger role.

Apart from having a last name very similar to Piatt, as in the historical family homes that I worked in as a guide for a few years, Piett is awesome for other reasons. He was the longest-surviving admiral under Vader’s command, and pretty much the only imperial officer to appear in both ESB and ROTJ.

Admiral Piett

Admiral Piett

Piett was born on Axxila and began his naval career early, first in an anti-pirate militia in his home sector. His humble backwater background made progress difficult, and he was cautious about the rapid promotions granted him by the fact that Vader liked to kill those under his command. Being a member of the elite squad assigned to Vader was a dubious honor at best, and becoming admiral in this unorthodox way was not exactly something to be proud of.

He managed to survive Vader’s wrath, demonstrating intelligence in battle, shrewd cunning, and extreme diplomacy necessary to navigate Vader’s moods. Although convinced his death was at hand when the Millennium Falcon escaped them yet again, Piett escaped and never let himself get too at ease with his position — a mistake Ozzel had made.

Generally, I find Firmus Piett capable, intelligent, and all that top quality admiral stuff. I imagine that he and Veers had a close relationship, and that they would knock back some drinks together when they got some time off. The Executor was his baby, not Vader’s, and half the sadness of seeing a ship that gorgeous go down is knowing that he died with her. It’s so wasteful! If they hadn’t been that close to the Death Star, they would have survived. It was just losing control and getting pulled into the gravity well that did it. Oh, I can’t talk about this; it still chokes me up.

The Super Star Destroyer Executor

The Super Star Destroyer Executor

Piett was played by Kenneth Colley, a distinguished British actor born in 1937. In conclusion, while this site is not highly accurate, it brought a smile to my face, so enjoy the Piett Dossier, why don’t you? It includes every line of dialogue spoken by Piett in both films.

Favorite Object/Prop

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , on 20 June 2013 by Megan

Okay, let’s take this a slightly different direction. You think props and Star Wars and of course you think lightsabers. But what I want to talk about is my favorite thing in the entire franchise:

The Super Star Destroyer Executor

The Super Star Destroyer Executor

Look, it is an object, and it is way more my favorite than lightsabers are. I mean, just look at it, all the grandeur of the Empire summed up in one sleek ship. An almost unique ship, in fact, as there were not a lot of other Super Star Destroyers made, and this one cost the Empire AurebeshSans-Serif credit1,143,350,000. Manufactured by the Kuat Driveyards, one of my favorite places ever, the ship was 19,000 meters long, or about ten miles. To give that a little local  perspective, if the ship were landed in Champaign County, Ohio, the ship would reach from the town center of Urbana to West Liberty on the county line.

Proportions in perspective

Proportions in perspective

So it’s a really grand ship is what I’m saying. You  can’t deny that it’s really beautiful. At four times the size of an Imperial-class destroyer, the Executor could in fact dock an entire Star Destroyer if necessary. It had many times the armaments as well: 5,000+ turbolaser batteries and ion cannons, 250 heavy concussion missile batteries, and 40 tractor beam projectors. It carried 144 TIE fighters; 200 combat and support ships; 3 prefabricated garrison bases; several hundred armored walkers, speeder bikes, and ground vehicles; and 50,000 heavy concussion missiles. It could run with a skeleton crew of 50,000, but its usual compliment was more like 279,000, 1500 gunners, and 10,000 droids. It could carry 250,000 metric tons of cargo, and supplies for six years.

Significantly larger than an Imperial-class destroyer

Significantly larger than an Imperial-class destroyer

Now, there is some confusion over the name of this spectacular ship. In fact I was pretty confused myself for a long time. It’s often thought that Executor is pronounced “ex-ih-cute-r,” as in someone who cuts off people’s heads for a living; in fact an early toy of the ship said this was so and it was in fact considered too dark. However, after I realized that a person who cuts off heads for a living is in fact an executioner, the actual name of the ship made much more sense: “ex-yeh-cute-r.” That is, the guy who gets things done for the Emperor. Much more sensible.

In all its sleek glory

In all its sleek glory

And I know it wouldn’t have counted as “saddest moment” anyway when that question came up, but I’m always so heartbroken when the Executor goes down. And Ackbar is so  self-satisfied with the whole thing. Ugh.

These guys are people too.

These guys are people too. And now they’re all dead.

Anyway, in conclusion on this post that took me way too long and I’m sorry about that, I love this ship and am not a bit sorry for being upset when it goes down or for considering it an object/prop. And now I shall give you my favorite shot of the command station behind the bridge of the crown jewel of the Imperial Fleet.

The command station

The command station

Favorite Villain

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , , , , , on 4 April 2013 by Megan

All right, Star Wars Librarian, let’s not overanalyze this question. It’s tempting, I know. Villainy gets to be one of my favorite subjects, so I sit here and think, “Who’s really villainous? Who’s really evil? Who do I love who is really evil?” I must rein myself in, or never answer the question, and settle frankly on what the creator of the challenge meant by villain — antagonist — and what Star Wars fans and creators alike consider when they think of villain — empire. So even though I do not consider this man villainous, I love him and am satisfied to make him my answer.

Veers

General Maximilian Veers

I love the Empire. I love a man in uniform, and I love Imperial uniforms. General Maximilian Veers is first seen in Empire Strikes Back as the leader of the Imperial forces. He is present on Vader’s command ship, and leads the AT-ATs in the ground assault on Hoth. In many respects, he is quite safe from Vader throughout the film because he is not in control of any situation on board the flagship. A good soldier, he follows orders and tells his superior what he wants to hear — but nevertheless he sounds tense during the Hoth battle because he knows Vader has a sharp temper and is easily displeased even with good news.

Veers-hd

Veers reports to Vader

I have no idea why General Veers is the one who reports to Vader about the fleet coming out of hyperspace. However, you can tell he dislikes and disagrees with Ozzel, and is not much perturbed at his demise.

Veers, portrayed by the handsome Julian Glover (he of the velvet voice), is a very expressive character, and you can tell he is a good military leader. He has a great backstory as well; he rose quickly in the ranks as a young officer, fell in love with a beautiful woman, and had a son (Zevulon) with her before her unexpected death. Devastated by the loss, and not having access to a convent offering the services of flighty would-be nuns for governesses to fall in love with and repair the wounds of broken hearted military men, Veers sent his son to a military school and thrust himself into Imperial service with a vengeance. He invented the AT-AT, as a matter of fact — although I experience disgust with the would-be chronicler who tries to claim he subversively murdered another soldier who pointed out the weakness with the legs — Veers would not commit an honorless murder like that! Get with the program!

Anyway, tragically, his son turned to the rebellion, never appreciated, knew, or loved his father, and pretty much set out to destroy everything he believed in because he felt rebellious. So many people involved in the Rebel Alliance have so much more convoluted or mistrustworthy motives! It just goes to show you that things are not often wholly black or white in a conflict. Yes, okay, Death Star, WMD are evil and a bad idea, but I mean in general, the Empire was just an organization of law more efficient than the Republic had been or could be, and what the Rebellion should’ve focused on was getting a more appropriate leader on the throne. But I guess they all believe the myth that “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” which is just nonsense.

I was talking of Veers. Well, he’s a great man.  I think I have no reason to find conflict with the comic that kills him off six years after ROTJ. He was involved with Thrawn’s alliance, but gets killed in the rising of the Emperor Reborn. A tragic figure, but my favorite Imperial of all time.

(I could not with conscience choose Boba Fett for a “villain” because he just . . . it doesn’t work. I love Boba Fett, too, but he’s just too lawful neutral to even begin to fit in this category.)

Origami in Hyperspace

Posted in Spotlight with tags , , , on 11 September 2011 by Megan

Like most people who own Moleskine journals, I love them! I don’t love the price tag, but they are awesome little things, to be sure. So when I saw that Moleskine was coming out with a line of Star Wars related journals, I was super excited! Star Wars, journals, and Moleskine? Good deal! With the announcement, they released this cute little video, which I think you will agree is pretty cute.

There are two different journals, and, I might add, they are limited edition, so if you’re going to get me one, you’d better get a move on it! One features the opening crawl in “bronze,” and the other is silver with the memorable jump to hyperspace on it. There is Star Wars artwork inside, too–pictures of the Death Star and X-wings. They also come with a concept poster in the inside pocket. Anyway, I think these things are awesome. They are available large or pocket sized, lined or unlined, here: Star Wars. Origami in hyperspace. – Moleskine ® English.