Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Great Library: Star Wars: The Heir To The Empire Trilogy

Previously in The Great Library, we looked at String Theory, a web comic about a physicist headed down the path towards supervillainy.  Today on Nerd Up, we return to the Great Library to discuss a series of science fiction novels set in the expanded universe of Star Wars.  It is not unusual for many science fiction and fantasy intellectual properties that begin as a film to have novelizations based off of the original property.  Sometimes, there are officially expanded product universes created containing comic books, animated television shows, additional films, toys, video games, clothing, and just about anything else you can think of with the purpose of expanding upon the original story, enhancing the immersion into the fictional world, and making the intellectual property rights holders a lot of money.

The Star Wars universe is certainly no exception to this, and in fact the term Expanded Universe is used to refer to the entirety of the officially licensed background material produced outside of the (currently, as of the time of this writing) six feature films.  While we’re not going to go too in-depth about specific details here, the ghost writer of the novelization of “A New Hope” published the first novel in the Expanded Universe, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, in 1978 and there were also comics published during this time that contained material set in the Star Wars universe that was not directly originated from the main films.  All told, there have been over one hundred novels and multiple comics, animated series, and video games which comprise the Expanded Universe.

The Heir to the Empire trilogy by Timothy Zahn, also known as the Thrawn trilogy based on the name of one of the primary characters, has sold over 15 million copies since its first print, and it was responsible for bringing new interest to the Star Wars universe nearly a decade after Return of the Jedi was released in (1983).  Set roughly five years after the death of Emperor Palpatine and the conclusion of Return of the Jedi, it is a direct continuation of the events in Episodes IV, V, and VI, and features many of the characters from the original movies as well as multiple groups of new characters.  The surviving forces of the Galactic Empire are now being led by the lone remaining Grand Admiral of the Imperial Fleet, the previously unknown Grand Admiral Thrawn.  The Rebel Alliance has now begun to move away from the temporary organization during the rebellion and is attempting to create a new government, the New Republic, to once again bring peace to the galaxy.  I’m going to attempt to avoid discussing spoilers here, but that won’t be entirely possible considering these books are now over twenty years old and the characters and subjects contained within have been mentioned elsewhere, some even within Episodes I, II, and III.

Star Wars: Heir To The Empire (1991)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Listening Chamber: Metroid Metal - Metroid Metal (2003)

After a brief period of extreme business In Real Life, and with several other entries having been started but none yet finished, we’re back with another installation in the Listening Chamber.  In the last two discussions in the Listening Chamber, we featured a band that focused on the music from games from a particular console and a band that only played songs from a particular company.  This time, we will take a look at a project that only features the music from games in a particular series.

The project is Metroid Metal, and the album is the self-titled Metroid Metal, self-released in 2003.  The original Metroid Metal was a project begun by Stemage (aka Grant Henry) in 2003 with the intent to only cover all of the songs from the original Famicom Disk System / Nintendo Entertainment System title, and not songs from other Metroid titles.  Stemage later decided to cover songs from other games in the series, and the project expanded into a full band playing as Metroid Metal Live.  Additional songs have been recorded since the original release in 2003, and an extended version of the album was released in 2007 with the same title.  This discussion will focus on the original 2003 release.

Metroid Metal - Metroid Metal (2003)

Metroid Metal contains 12 tracks – all 12 of which are VGM covers from the original Metroid game – and runs for roughly 29:21.