Sunday, June 17, 2012

You got your Zombies all over my Star Wars!

I've rarely met a Star Wars book I didn't like. I've crammed my noggin with Star Wars since I was a mere Padawan leaner, knee high to a bantha. For good or ill, I actually know the name of the scheming Dulok Shaman in Nelvana's 1985 Ewoks cartoon (no need to rush for your googles, it's Umwak) but when it comes to zombies, I'm still a neophyte. 
For all I know, George Romero is a character from the Godfather movies. 
In addition to loving me some Star Wars (not the Regan Era missle defence platform, that sounds horrible), I'm a fair fan of horror tales. I’m not such a fan as my BFF Kirk (who has written his own delightful review of Death Troopers here).  Kirk and I have been reading genre fiction since time immemorial (he has a stronger buzz for Horror while I tend to focus obsessively on SF) yet now and then something special brings us together. Prometheus, yesterday, for example, had some welcome thrills. Even though I had to break my self-imposed 3D boycott to see the thing. And last week it was Joe Schreiber's 2009 novel Star Wars: Death Troopers.
Eighteen years after Palpatine decided democracy was for saps and liberals, (finally doing away virtually all of those pesky Jedi), one of his many prison barges happens across one of his many appalling science projects.
Hilarity fails to ensue.
It's fast and fun – it was considerably jucier than the last Star Wars book I read (the Essential Guide to Warfare plods like a history treatise in places, although the galaxy maps are keen!), and very possibly influenced the remarkable Clone Wars cartoon's 'Brain Invaders' episodes from November 2009. Or both were simply drawn from the zombie zeitgeist.

At every risk of spoilers, some reviewers objected to the cameo appearances, since the known timeline ruins any sense of drama. You never get to wonder... will our VERY familiar heroes escape the slavering jaws of the Stormtrooper Zombie Hordes? Of COURSE they do, but can you say the same for the beleaguered prison doctor gal and teen convicts we only just met today?

Myself, I prefer the use of characters from the films. I find myself nodding off when novels start in on the Sith-battling adventures of Jedi Shadaxx Hatrack who you never heard of because he died 10,000 years before a Skywalker ever hotwired a land speeder.

But Imperial Era stories rock my Hutt Palace like Joh Yowza. Plus I loved the Prequel Era, so, suck on that deathstick, Simon Pegg. Wait, I mean HOORAY FOR SHAUN OF THE DEADWhere was I? Right...

Treat yourself to some blasters and shambling! Nothing wrong with that. Except the unnatural affront to life, the Force and everything. Save your skin, nerfherder!

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