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Book Buzz: Star Wars: Back to Animation

Karen Traviss's novel kicks off the upcoming Clone Wars frenzy.

By Pat Ferrara     July 21, 2008


Star Wars-The Clone Wars Audiobook (novel written by Karen Traviss)(2008).
© Random House Audio
It’s been five years since the first Star Wars: Clone Wars television miniseries debuted on Cartoon Network, yet the folks over at Lucasfilm Animation seemed to have held onto the idea of an anime-style Star Wars arc pretty tightly. This August will see the release of a theatrical Star Wars animated vehicle followed closely by a full-fledged television miniseries of the same name, again debuting on Cartoon Network.
 
Having checked out a handful of the original Clone Wars TV episodes, I must say I was very impressed by the animated reboot of Palpatine’s struggles against Count Dooku’s confederation. While incredibly short the three to fifteen-minute episodes were extremely refreshing; updating the familiar storylines with eye-catching action sequences and clean cut animation style. Now that the feature film and upcoming series are both about a month away I’m starting to get excited about Lucas’ jump to full-blown digital animation. Star Wars: The Clone Wars, being released on August 15th, is the first of many planned features on the battles that raged between Episode II and Episode III. While the series may not add a lot of new depth to the original story, with the financial backing of Lucasfilms and a pool of nearly 300 talented digital artists we’re sure to get some pretty awesome cinematic set pieces.
 
But before the new TV series, movie, Jedi Alliance DS and Lightsaber Duels Wii game hit the consumer shelves this Autumn longtime Star Wars author Karen Traviss is offering us the first sneak peak in her hardcover and audiobook novelization Star Wars: The Clone Wars released this week through Del Rey and Random House Audio.
 
After a couple slow weeks in genre publishing Tor’s release schedule is picking back up to offer Sean Mcmullen’s next Moonworlds volume The Time Machine as well as Daniel Abraham’s third Long Price Quartet installment and L.E. Modesitt’s newest Saga of Recluse novel, all in hardback.
 
Other notable releases include David Weber’s By Schism Rent Asunder, James Patterson’s alliterative The Dangerous Days of Daniel X and Harry Turtledove’s time-twisting World War II thriller The Man with the Iron Heart.
 
 
 
New in Hardcover:
 
 
The Veil of Gold, Kim Wilkins (Tor)
 
When an ancient gold bear is found walled up in a dilapidated St. Petersburg bathhouse, researcher Daniel St. Clair and his frosty colleague Em Hayward set out for the university in Arkhangelsk to verify its age. Along the way they are mysteriously set adrift. Maps are suddenly useless. Lost and exhausted they turn north, sinking even deeper into the secrets and terrors of the Russian landscape. Daniel’s lost love, the wild and beautiful Rosa Kovalenka, fears the worst when Daniel goes missing and resolves to find him. To do so will mean confronting her past and secrets that she has fought to suppress. The only way to save him is to go forward, where she encounters the haunted Chenchikov clan, a family with their own shadowy tangle of grief, desire, and treachery. In the unknowable, impenetrable Russian forest, Rosa meets an enigmatic wanderer who is full of tales and riddles of times past. Who might hold the key to Rosa and Daniel’s future--or the destruction of their world.
 
 
Moonworlds Saga: The Time Machine, Sean Mcmullen (Tor)
 
Swords, sorcery, and time travel are a strange and dangerous mix. Wayfarer Inspector Danolarian saw his world’s future and did not approve. The inspector knew about time travel because he had once met his future self. What he did not know was that he would be abducted into the future, and wind up on the run with a constable who had shape-shifted into a cat. Danolarian would also find himself marooned in the ancient past, where he would have to recover his time engine from five thousand naked, psychopathic horsemen. A faulty repair plunges him another three million years back in time, to a world of strange, beautiful people living idyllic lives in splendid castles. But things are not always as they seem. After being attacked, he learns from his unlikely rescuer that time travel is not entirely real. A furious Danolarian returns to his own time, planning revenge against the time engine’s true builders.
 
 
The Dangerous Days of Daniel X, James Patterson with Michael Ledwidge (Little, Brown & Co.)
 
Daniel X works alone. Having watched from the shadows as the brutal events of the murder of his own parents unfolded before him, he has been forced to make his own way in a dark and unforgiving world with a heavy task handed to him. Daniel’s father was an alien hunter, working his way through a fearsome ‘wanted’ list of aliens intent on seeking control and wreaking devastation. But as he planned his next target, his own time was running out. Following his parents’ sudden deaths, Daniel faced an uncertain future: he knew little about his family nor where he came from but a few things are clear, he has inherited the list from his father and with it, a unique ability to create anything that he needs including some very devoted friends to help him along the way. His life has become dedicated to the mission. Every day has been transformed into a terrifying hunt, watching each step he takes for danger awaits around every corner and lurks within the shadows. His ultimate aim is to exact revenge against number one on his list: his parents’ murderer. But first he must target the others: each more sinister and gruesome than the last.
 
 
The Long Price Quartet: An Autumn War, Daniel Abraham(Tor)
 
Daniel Abraham delighted fantasy readers with his brilliantly original and engaging first novel, and in his second penned a tragedy as darkly personal and violent as Shakespeare’s King Lear. Now he has written an epic fantasy of much wider scope and appeal that will thrill his fans and enthrall legions of new readers. Otah Machi, ruler of the city of Machi, has tried for years to prepare his people for a future in which the magical andat, entities that support their commerce and intimidate all foes, can no longer be safely harnessed. But his efforts are too little, too late. The Galts, an expansionist empire from across the sea, have tired of games of political espionage and low-stakes sabotage. Their general, a ruthless veteran, has found a way to do what was thought impossible: neutralize the andat. As the Galtic army advances, the Poets who control the andat wage their own battle to save their loved-ones and their nation. Failure seems inevitable, but success would end the Galtic threat. With wonderful storytelling skill, Abraham has wedded the unique magic, high-stakes betrayal and political intrigue of his previous works with a broad tapestry of action in a spectacular fantasy epic.
 
 
Saga of Recluse: Mage-Guard of Hamor, L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (Tor)
 
Acclaimed author L. E. Modesitt, Jr. continues his new Recluce story in Mage-Guard of Hamor, the second of two volumes set mostly on the continent of Hamor, far across the sea from Recluce, where the story began. Rahl was a young apprentice on the island of Recluce sent to the mages training school for testing, then banished to Hamor.  His education now continues under dangerous circumstances.  In Hamor, his powers have increased, but so has the amount of trouble he attracts. The whole society of Hamor is a new culture for Modesitt—and Rahl—to explore, one in which magic is a monopoly of the state. Rahl is a mage now, powerful and still just as dangerous to himself and to others. This is the story of how he gains both more knowledge and power, and more self-control.
 
 
Detective Inspector Chen: The Shadow Pavillion, Liz Williams (Night Shade Books)
 
The Snake Agent returns in The Shadow Pavilion, the fourth Detective Inspector Chen novel from Liz Williams! When Chen's partner, the demon Seneschal Zhu Irzh, disappears, along with Chen's wife Inari's guardian badger, Chen must enlist all of his allies and assets in order to locate them. From the strange streets of Singapore Three to the rough and tumble world of Bollywood, where money flows fast and emotions flare even faster; from the realms of the Celestial to the haunts of the Infernal and all the spaces in between, The Shadow Pavilion delivers the thrills, excitement, and near-future occult action fans have come to expect.
 
 
The Collected Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales of Giuseppe Pitre, Giuseppe Pitre (Routledge)
 
This two-volume set collects 300 of the most entertaining and important folk and fairy tales of Giuseppe Pitre, a nineteenth century Sicilian folklorist whose significance ranks alongside the Brothers Grimm. In stark contrast to the more literary ambitions of the Grimms' tales, Pitre's possess a charming, earthy quality that reflect the customs, beliefs, and superstitions of the common people more clearly than any other European folklore collection of the 19th century. Edited, translated, and with a critical introduction by world-renowned folk and fairy tale experts Jack Zipes and Joseph Russo, this is the first collection of Pitre's tales available in English. Carmelo Letterer's illustrations throughout the volume are as lively and vivid as the stories themselves, illuminating the remarkable imagination captured in the tales.
 
 
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Karen Traviss (Del Rey)
 
A new era of Star Wars begins when "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" premieres as an all-new feature film--followed by the television series debut. This tie-in book goes far beyond novelizing the TV episodes: it adds depth and color to the story and characters.
 
 
By Schism Rent Asunder, David Weber (Tor)
 
The world has changed. The mercantile kingdom of Charis has prevailed over the alliance designed to exterminate it. Armed with a multitude of small technological improvements—better sailing vessels, better guns, better devices of all sorts—Charis faced the combined navies of the rest of the world at Darcos Sound and Armageddon Reef, and broke them. Despite the implacable hostility of the Church of God Awaiting, Charis still stands, still free, still tolerant, still an island of innovation in a world in which the Church has worked for centuries to keep humanity locked at a medieval level of existence. But the powerful men who run the Church aren’t going to take their defeat lying down. Charis may control the world’s seas, but it barely has an army worthy of the name. And as King Cayleb knows, far too much of the kingdom’s recent good fortune is due to the secret manipulations of the being that calls himself Merlin—a being that, the world must not find out too soon, is more than human. A being whose very existence is the result of a centuries-ago final desperate roll of the dice. A being on whose shoulders rests the last chance for humanity’s freedom. Now, as Charis and its archbishop make the rift with Mother Church explicit, the storm gathers. Schism has come to the world of Safehold. Nothing will ever be the same.
 
 
The Silver Ship: Reading the Wind, Brenda Cooper (Tor)
 
The colony planet of Fremont was supposed to be free of all genetically altered beings--a new home for a pure race. So when Chelo and her brother Joseph, along with two other genetically altered teenagers, were abandoned on Fremont, they were not welcome. They vowed to get off the planet by any means necessary. Joseph and the others managed to escape, but Chelo was left behind with her new found love, forced to live underground. Joseph and the others find that their homeworld is full of vengeance. Believing that the people of Fremont killed the teenaged castaways, they sent a technologically advanced mercenary team to Fremont to eliminate the entire planet's population. With the help of Joseph's father, the youngsters head back to Fremont to try to save Chelo.
 
 
The Man with the Iron Heart, Harry Turtledove (Del Rey)
 
What if V-E Day didn’t end World War II in Europe? What if, instead, the Allies had to face a potent, even fanatical, postwar Nazi resistance? Such a movement, based in the fabled Alpine Redoubt, was in fact a real threat, ultimately neutralized by Germany’s flagging resources and squabbling officials. But had SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, the notorious Man with the Iron Heart, not been assassinated in 1942, fate might have taken a different turn. We might likely have seen a German guerrilla war launched against the conquerors, presaging by more than half a century the protracted conflict with an unrelenting enemy that now engulfs the United States and its allies in Iraq. How might today’s clash of troops versus terrorists have played out in 1945? In this imagined world, Nazi forces resort to unconventional warfare, using the quick and dirty tactics of terrorism–booby traps, time bombs, mortar and rocket strikes in the night, assassinations, even kamikaze-style suicide attacks–to overturn what seemed to be a decisive Allied victory. In November 1945, a truck bomb blows up the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, where high-ranking Nazi officials are about to stand trial for war crimes. None of the accused are there when the bomb goes off, but their judges, all of them present and accounted for, are annihilated. Worse acts of terrorism follow all over Europe. Suddenly the Allies–especially the United States–must battle an invisible enemy and sacrifice countless lives in a long, seemingly pointless, unwinnable conflict. On the home front, patriotism corrodes, political fortunes are made and lost in the face of an antiwar backlash, and a once-proud country wonders how the righteous fight for freedom overseas has collapsed into a hopeless quagmire. At once a novel of thrilling military suspense, intriguing alternate history, and profound insight into contemporary affairs, The Man with the Iron Heart is a tour de force by a storyteller of exceptional imaginative power.
 
 
 
New in Paperback:
 
 
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time Calendar 2009 (Tor)
 
Since its debut in 1990, Robert Jordan’s beloved Wheel of Time series has become an international phenomenon topping bestseller lists all over the globe. With well over fifteen million books in print, readers have been enjoying Jordan’s lush storytelling for nearly twenty years. Selected by Robert Jordan himself out of submissions received from Wheel of Time enthusiasts, the twelve pieces of art included in this calendar symbolize the devotion that readers have to Robert Jordan and to the rich world he created. This calendar is a new way for fans to experience their favorite stories and characters and will be a must-have for Robert Jordan’s millions of fans. Since I started reading these novels back in 2000 I’ve had a WoT map and calendar in my office; rest in peace Rigney, Jr.
 
 
Lankhmar: Swords and Ice Magic, Fritz Leiber (Dark Horse)
 
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser have traveled the width and breadth of the land of Nehwon in search of adventure and fortune. Now lost at sea, their ship drawn out on the Great Equatorial Current, their journey brings them to Rime Isle, a tragic island populated by vagabonds and wanderers. The island is also home to a race of gods, schemers, and manipulators that plague the humans for their amusement. Will Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser be able to escape the island, or be trapped forever as pawns of the gods?
 
 
Escape from Hell, Hal Duncan (MonkeyBrain Books)
 
A hitman, a hooker, a homosexual kid, and a hobo suicide make the ultimate prison break...escape from Hell itself! But when news of their attempted escape gets out, the souls of the damned are transformed into a rioting mob, and all Hell truly does break loose. It's Escape from New York meets Jacob's Ladder, by one of fantasy's rising stars.
 
 
Star Trek Myriad Universes: Infinity’s Prism, Christopher Bennet, William Leisner & James Swallow (Simon & Schuster)
 
It's been said that for any event, there are an infinite number of possible outcomes. Our choices determine which outcome will follow, and therefore all possibilities that could happen do happen across countless alternate realities. In these divergent realms, known history is bent, like white light through a prism -- broken into a boundless spectrum of what-might-have-beens. But in those myriad universes, what might have been...is what actually happened.
A Less Perfect Union: More than a hundred years after the Terra Prime movement achieved its dream of an isolationist Earth, humanity is once again at a fork in the river of history...and the path it follows may ultimately be determined by the voice of a single individual: the sole surviving crewmember of the first Starship Enterprise.
Places of Exile: Midway through Voyager's journey across the galaxy, Captain Kathryn Janeway and Commander Chakotay must choose whether to brave a deadly war zone or abandon their quest for home. But an attack by Species 8472 cripples the ship, and the stranded crew must make new choices that will reshape their destinies...and that of the Delta Quadrant itself.
Seeds of Dissent: Khan victorious! Almost four centuries after conquering their world, genetically enhanced humans dominate a ruthless interstellar empire. But the warship Defiance, under its augmented commander, Princeps Julian Bashir, makes a discovery that could shake the pillars of his proud civilization: an ancient sleeper ship from Earth named the Botany Bay.
 
 
Succession: The Risen Empire, Scott Westerfeld (Tor)
 
From the acclaimed #1 New York Times bestselling author of Evolution's Darling (Philip K. Dick Award special citation and a New York Times notable book) and Uglies, Pretties, and Specials, comes a sweeping epic. The Risen Empire is the first great space opera of the twenty-first century. The undead Emperor has ruled his mighty interstellar empire of eighty human worlds for sixteen hundred years. Because he can grant a form of eternal life-after-death, creating an elite known as the Risen, his power is absolute. He and his sister, the Child Empress, who is eternally a little girl, are worshipped as living gods. The Rix are machine-augmented humans who worship very different gods: AI compound minds of planetary size. Cool, relentless fanatics, their only goal is to propagate such AIs. They seek to end the Emperor's prolonged rule, and supplant it with an eternal cybernetic dynasty. They begin by taking the Child Empress hostage. Captain Laurent Zai of the Imperial Frigate Lynx is tasked with her rescue. Separated by light years, bound by an unlikely love, Zai and pacifist Senator Nara Oxham must both face the challenge of the Rix, and both will hold the fate of the empire in their hands.
 
 
Inverted World, Christopher Priest (NYRB Classics)
 
The city is winched along tracks through a devastated land full of hostile tribes. Rails must be freshly laid ahead of the city and carefully removed in its wake. Rivers and mountains present nearly insurmountable challenges to the ingenuity of the city’s engineers. But if the city does not move, it will fall farther and farther behind the “optimum” into the crushing gravitational field that has transformed life on Earth. The only alternative to progress is death. The secret directorate that governs the city makes sure that its inhabitants know nothing of this. Raised in common in crèches, nurtured on synthetic food, prevented above all from venturing outside the closed circuit of the city, they are carefully sheltered from the dire necessities that have come to define human existence. And yet the city is in crisis. The people are growing restive, the population is dwindling, and the rulers know that, for all their efforts, slowly but surely the city is slipping ever farther behind the optimum. Helward Mann is a member of the city’s elite. Better than anyone, he knows how tenuous is the city’s continued existence. But the world—he is about to discover—is infinitely stranger than the strange world he believes he knows so well. Afterword by John Clute.
 
 
Polity: Shadow of the Scorpion, Neal Asher (Night Shade Books)
 
Raised to adulthood during the end of the war between the human Polity and a vicious alien race, the Prador, Ian Cormac is haunted by childhood memories of a sinister scorpion-shaped war drone and the burden of losses he doesn't remember. Cormac signs up with Earth Central Security and is sent out to help restore and maintain order on worlds devastated by the war. There he discovers that though the Prador remain as murderous as ever, they are not anywhere near as treacherous or dangerous as some of his fellow humans, some closer to him than he would like. Amidst the ruins left by wartime genocides, Cormac will discover in himself a cold capacity for violence and learn some horrible truths about his own past while trying to stay alive on his course of vengeance.
 
 
Miracle Science and Fantasy Stories, Victor Rousseau & Elliott Dold (Adventure House)
 
Miracle Science and Fantasy is one very scarce pulp magazine. Published by Harold Hersey, the magazine quickly sank during the depression and only lasted a scant three issues. “The Bowl of Death” by Elliott Dold: A bright god-a bowl of death, and waters of oblivion. That is what one man met face to face when his plane crashed on the rocks of an unknown land. “Revolt on Inferno” by Victor Rousseau: Because of a conspiracy to overthrow the corrupt Dictator of the Earth, half a hundred men and one woman were banished from all earthly contact-and sent to Inferno, the Doom Planet, from which there was no returning-a fat an hundred fold worse than death!
 
 
 
New in Audiobook:
 
 
By Schism Rent Asunder, David Weber (Macmillan Audio Unabridged)
 
The world has changed. The mercantile kingdom of Charis has prevailed over the alliance designed to exterminate it. Armed with a multitude of small technological improvements—better sailing vessels, better guns, better devices of all sorts—Charis faced the combined navies of the rest of the world at Darcos Sound and Armageddon Reef, and broke them. Despite the implacable hostility of the Church of God Awaiting, Charis still stands, still free, still tolerant, still an island of innovation in a world in which the Church has worked for centuries to keep humanity locked at a medieval level of existence. But the powerful men who run the Church aren’t going to take their defeat lying down. Charis may control the world’s seas, but it barely has an army worthy of the name. And as King Cayleb knows, far too much of the kingdom’s recent good fortune is due to the secret manipulations of the being that calls himself Merlin—a being that, the world must not find out too soon, is more than human. A being whose very existence is the result of a centuries-ago final desperate roll of the dice. A being on whose shoulders rests the last chance for humanity’s freedom. Now, as Charis and its archbishop make the rift with Mother Church explicit, the storm gathers. Schism has come to the world of Safehold. Nothing will ever be the same. Read by Oliver Wyman.
 
 
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Karen Traviss (Random House Audio Unabridged)
 
A new era of Star Wars begins when "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" premieres as an all-new feature film--followed by the television series debut. This tie-in book goes far beyond novelizing the TV episodes: it adds depth and color to the story and characters. Read by Jeff Gurner.
 
 
 
Check back next Monday for all the latest info on current sci-fi, fantasy, and horror book releases. Questions or comments? Hit me up at Pferrara.mania@gmail.com.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jedi4sshield 7/21/2008 5:45:07 PM
Nah, I didnt care for the original Clone Wars 2 second animation from cartoon Network. It was utter crap. This looks so so. Truthfully I wouldnt have minded if they did it like disney style animation. That would have been awesome. Why you ask? Realism. You know Disney movies,they add a certain realism to their characters and that would have been seriously awesome. Alas we go the cut and paste south park version hahahaha. As for the Clone Wars movie animation coming up I'll probably take my Nephew to go see it. I wouldnt dare pay to see it for myself. Ive given way too much to Lucas already! Personally, I've said it a million times before and I'll say it once again. This was a waste of time. I'm already passed the Clone Wars Trilogy. I'd rather Lucas had started writing and preparing CGI for Episodes 7,8,9. As for Clone Wars, we know the outcome! why bother showing more? Yeah yeah we didnt ge to see Asajj Ventress and maybe some other characters but oh well we can read that in books. Especially since this might not even be Movie Cannon. The Bantha's being milked till it cant give no more. I say kill the Clone Wars bring on the Sequels!
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