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COPL Casting Couch

The Courtship of Princess Leia is a book based on a movie… so inevitably, we’d all love Dave Wolverton’s magnum opus to be made into it’s own movie. Sadly, a lot of time has elapsed, so Ford, Hamill, and Fisher are a teeny bit older than their characters are meant to be in this book.

But hey… this is the new millennium, and you now what’s trendy in film and TV right now: REBOOT. So here goes nothing. It’s our dreamcast (for a value of “dreamcast” that mostly means “hey, wouldn’t that be funny”) for Star Wars Episode VII: The Courtship of Princess Leia.

Carey Mulligan as Princess Leia Organa

carey mulligan

Nathan Fillion as Han Solo

Tom Hiddleston as Luke Skywalker

Robert Pattinson as Chewbacca

Katee Sackhoff as C3PO

Peter Dinklage as R2D2

Chris Hemsworth as Prince Isolder

Lucy Lawless as Ta’a Chume

Zoe Saldana as Captain Astarta

Mary McDonnell as Mon Mothma

Emma Stone as Teneniel Djo

Gillian Anderson as Augwynne Djo

Catherine Zeta-Jones as Gethzerion

Gina Torres as Barukka

Freema Agyemen as Rell

Grace Park as Kirana Ti

Edward James Olmos as Warlord Zsinj

Stephen Fry as Threkin Horm

Michael Fassbender as Wedge Antilles (Note: Wedge Antilles does not appear in this book. But he should.)

Bridget Regan as Mara Jade (Note: Mara Jade also does not appear in the book.)

Additional cast: Chow Yun Fat as First Man, Keanu Reeves as Second Man, Catherine Tate as First Woman, and Eliza Dushku as Second Woman. (Yeah Chapter Six!!)

What a man, Solo!

I’m not sure why C3PO is cast as the wacky sidekick in this book, but unfortunately, he is. Which means we’re all subjected to this lovely song he writes as part of his plan to help Han win back Leia.

He’s got his own planet,
Although it’s kind of wild.
Wookiees love him.
Women love him.
He’s got a winning smile.
Though he may seem cool and cocky,
He’s more sensitive than he seems.

Han Solo,
What a man! Solo.
He’s every princess’s dream!

You know what’s sadder than these lyrics? If Ke$ha or Katy Perry recorded them, they’d probably be damned catchy.

Honestly though, they could be awesome lyrics and I still wouldn’t care. I just don’t like song lyrics in books. Until such time as audio can be embedded in the book, I’d rather the author just says that somebody sang a song, and leave it at that. I find it incredibly frustrating that there is no tune and just want to skip over songs completely. Even if they are awesomely bad.

It has recently come to our attention that WordPress lets us see the search terms people have used to find this blog. I suspect the true purpose of this feature is “marketing” rather than “hilarity,” but as you can probably guess, we prefer the latter. (Also, who needs marketing? This books markets itself, dammit!)

“In which Star Wars book does Luke first visit Dathomir?”
This one.

“What does Chewbacca say phonetically?”

Um, I’m not sure those are phonemes that can be transcribed in IPA.

“When did Mara Jade have her courtship?”

In a better book than this. One written by Timothy Zahn. I think we’ve said before, but Mara should have been in this book, possibly kicking people’s asses for being such idiots.

“copl worth a read or not?”

An emphatic YES.

What is the most memorable scene in COPL?

“courtship princess leia teeth”

Yeah, I’m with you there.

“How much older is Han than Leia?”

I don’t know. What, you think I sit around memorizing the character guides?

What on “the courtship of princess leia page 375″ is worthy of a search?

“ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Wolverton is the author of three science fiction novels: On My Way to Paradise, Serpent Catch, and Path of the Hero. His special talent is creating fully realized characters who live in worlds utterly different from our own. A grand prize winner of the Writers of the Future contest sponsored by Bridge Publications, Wolverton has worked as a computer consultant, technical writer, and editor. He lives with his family in Utah.”

In short, the most boring page of the entire book.

Is the internet really for porn?

Well, you tell me, readers. I bring you: “princess liea hoth hentai,” “mon mothma hentai,” “mon calamari hentai,” “leia hentai,” “star wars leia hentai,” “twi’lek slash,” “hentai arranged marriages,” “courtship chapter hentai,” “princess leia and chewie hentai,” “leia princess hentai,” “star wars fanfiction han naked,” “han solo princess leia hentai,” “hentai warlord conquerors princess,” “star wars hentai-princess leia,” “hapiens hentai,” “‘courtship of princess leia’ naked,” and “mon mothma naked.”

Not to mention this gem…

“chewbacca leia slash fanfiction”

Okay guys, let’s get a few things straight.
1. WTF?!
2. Though interspecies, this clearly a straight pairing, and therefore NOT slash.
3. WTF!?

Apparently Matt is to blame for all the “hentai” searches. Glad you all like Mon Mothma?

Does anyone actually look for this crappy blog?

Why yes! Two people searched for “copl blog” and one for “courtship of princess leia book club.” Congrats, you get fan club badges!

What are the actual top search terms?
1. “the courtship of princess leia” (well, obviously)
2. “courtship of princess leia” (ditto)
3. “c3po kiss” (what?)
4. “isolder fabio star wars” (*swoon*)
5. “c-3po is malfunctioning” (is that what that poem was?)

Jedi Without a Cause

In chapter 14 I experienced my biggest “wow, something I really don’t remember from this book” moment yet. As Luke and Isolder travel to Dathomir and Luke does his skywalking thing (Star Wars buddy cop movie, anyone?), Isolder shows a curiosity about Luke’s abilities that the Jedi Master finds unusual.

  • Firstly, has no one ever expressed interest in what Luke can do before? If I was around, I’d probably have asked him 10,000 questions by now. Especially since the Jedi are supposed to by mythical, extinct super-beings.
  • Secondly, why does Luke interpret this curiosity as the Universe trying to tell him Isolder needs Jedi training?! He can clearly sense the man has no ability. Is he that desperate to find someone like him that he gets excited whenever someone expresses interest in the Force? I may have just found the answer to my first question.
  • I find this point funny in Star Wars novel retrospect, because by the time you get to the New Jedi Order books (and perhaps I shouldn’t be admitting I’ve read that far), the galaxy is teeming with new Jedi and potential Jedi candidates. Apparently the Empire just kind of sucked at that whole extermination bit.

I can’t remember where, if anywhere, these random musings of Luke’s go. Maybe he gets distracted by all the hot half-naked witches or chalks everything up to a bad drug drip after that whole upcoming “seeing the Force” incident.

Perhaps the most important part of this section, though, is the appearance of the Chu’unthor! I really want to know if the idea of a spaceship academy is consistent AT ALL with anything from the prequel extended universe novels. I’m sure it isn’t, but it’s actually kind of a neat concept. With a really stupid name. All of this Jedi teaching and history stuff leads me to at least mentioning something that I think plagues all of these early extended universe novels: NONE of the authors seemed to know what to do with Luke. He is constantly running back and forth across the galaxy, chasing rumors of bums on the street who know “magic tricks” who might turn out to actually be Force users. Even when he finds ancient artifacts, Massassi temples and ghost Jedi women, he doesn’t seem to learn anything concrete from any of them. It’s actually not a bad idea for his continuing journey, it just wasn’t coordinated at all. They should just go one step further with the books and do a Star Trek-esque alternate reality timeline side-step, so we can get back to reading books that take place before all the main movie characters are 50.

Chapter 13 brings a new and exciting subplot, in which Luke tries to teach Isolder the ways of the force. Why? Basically because he’s there. First Isolder is amazed that Luke can float his way down from his crashing X Wing (maybe that’s why he’s called Skywalker, har har), then they have a convo that goes sort of like this:

Isolder: I’m just here to kill Han Solo and steal back your sister. Yes, steal, because I need to make the objectification quota for this chapter.
Luke: Whatevs, I can read your mind and know that your destiny is to follow me and learn about the force.
Isolder: …

Obi-Wan always came across as wise; in comparison Luke seems oddly pretentious and, well, creepy. Maybe this is because the author feels the need to keep hammering it into the readers head that Luke is a Very Powerful Jedi. To help with this, he sometime refers to Luke as “the Jedi,” just in case we forgot, during the last few sentences, who this Luke Skywalker character is. (Pro-tip: Anyone reading a Star Wars novel [i.e. nerds] knows about Jedi, and probably wanted to be one at some point.) Luke is not always pretentious and creepy, though, sometimes he is kind to droids, blue aliens, and Ts’a Chume, and he doesn’t sweat:

Luke made light of the journey, sometimes jumping ten meters into a crevice where Isolder had to climb tediously down. Isolder soon found himself drenched with sweat, but the Jedi did not sweat much, did not pant, showed no signs of being remotely human. Instead, the Jedi’s face was locked in concentration.

Unfortunately for Luke, he’s too busy examining the “neat wreck” of the Chu’unthor, the Jedi academy on a spaceship (quick, somebody call the continuity police!) to notice that he’s about to get hit by some force lightning and be captured to be a slave to a young witch. Tenenial Djo apparently has a lot of emptiness inside her… and proposes to remedy this by mating with Luke. (Because she has also noticed that Luke does not sweat. Seriously, it’s pointed out more than once as evidence of Luke’s power. Whatever happened to a good Jedi mind trick?

Anyway, Luke’s solution? Try to educate her about the force to. And so the pretentious tool tries to tame the savage woman and lead her away from the dark side. Hurrah!

Meanwhile, Han wrestles with a giant worm.

RIP, Irvin Kershner

Empire is, of course, the Book Club’s favorite Star Wars film.

I’ve come to the next section of The Courtship of Princess Leia that’s up for review—that’s chapter 10 through 12—and for once I’m at a loss for what to say about it. Thus far, I’ve been ridiculing the terrible characterization, ridiculous plot devices, and, re, unique, writing style of the book. But here’s the thing about this section: it’s really not that bad.

I was a bit of relief to arrive here. I remember honestly enjoying COPL when I read it the first time, not just laughing at it, so it’s good to know that my middle school self hasn’t completely failed me. (Or maybe that’s part of a larger discussion. Middle school self probably didn’t realize she was establishing herself, for a lifetime, as a certain sort of geek. I mean, really, Star Wars novels?) Anyway, my point is, at this point we kind of settle into the action and things get a little bit more normal (for a Star Wars novel, that is.)

At this point, Han is crashing the Millennium Falcon into Dathomir in a reckless attempt to hide their “landing” from Zsinj and the Imperials. This is very Han-like. Leia is still pretty pissed at Han, except now it makes sense. Before she was pissed at him because he wouldn’t accept her sudden flip-flopping desire to become the next Queen Mother of Hapes. Now she’s pissed because Han kidnapped her and then crash-landed them on a planet full of rancors. Can you blame her? Luckily, when Leia is acting like Leia, and not a pod person, she eventually forgives Han’s shenanigans when he eventually gets them out of trouble.

So here we are. Everybody’s on a bit of an adventure. C-3PO gets to put on some battle fatigues, which don’t disguise his shiny gold head from some nasty Imperial walkers. Luke and Isolder, the odd couple, are off on a rescue mission, and meanwhile, there are Force witches riding rancors. And, most importantly, I finally realize why the paperback cover basically comes right out of Return of the Jedi. How long can this normalcy last, I wonder?

CHAPTER SIX IS HERE!

Tricia Helfer as Number Six

We all know that six is a pretty auspicious number, so it makes sense that chapter six of The Courtship of Princess Leia is pretty much the best chapter of any book ever.

The scene opens at the Star Wars Cantina where Han is inexplicably pouring out his soul to C-3PO. Because Han respects C-3PO’s opinion so much. Have you always wanted to better understand the thought process of a protocol droid? YOU ARE IN LUCK!

Han downed a mug of Corellian rum. Since it was his second in the past few minutes, Threepio quickly calculated Han’s body mass and the alcohol content of the rum and decided that Han was more than mildly inebriated.

This is after he’s just told Han that the average distance between Leia and Isolder is 0.562 decimeters and closing. (Yes, in a galaxy far, far away, they actually give a shit about decimeters. For us Earthbound folk, that’s 5.62 cm or approximately 2.2 in.) Let’s think about that for a second. 2.2 inches!?! They’ve just met, and already they’re the clingiest of obnoxious, clingy couples.

But I shouldn’t get distracted, because Chapter Six has much more in store for us. C-3PO helpfully recites an epic alien courtship poem, then provides us with the transcript of a very stilted conversation between galactic busybodies First Woman, Second Woman, First Man, and Second Man. You know, if these characters had been named, by now they would appear in Star Wars character guides with extensive back stories. True story.

By this point, I was pretty sure that Wolverton really couldn’t throw anything else into this chapter to make it more ridiculous than it already was. The Alderaanian Council, who are still kind of bummed about not having a planet and all, gather to vote on whether or not Leia and Isolder make a beautiful couple. Democracy at work! But then OMG! C-3PO interrupts this important proceeding to propose that Leia marries General Han Solo instead because HAN IS THE FRAKKING KING OF CORELLIA.

Han Solo. Is a king. a;lsdgjk;aslkdf;aksjdf;lkajsd;lkfjasl;dkjfasef

THIS SHIT IS BANANAS! WHY DO I REMEMBER NOTHING AT ALL ABOUT IT?!?!

So Han, you’ve just been revealed as the King of Corellia. What’re you going to do now? Oh, I think in Chapter Seven I’ll steal the Gun of Command™ that the Hapans dropped off in Chapter Two and use it to kidnap Leia!

Chekhov would be proud.

Recipe for a Clusterfuck

Chapter 8 finds our heroes crash landing on the resort planet of Dathomir, surprised right out of hyperspace to find a horde of Imperials are using the planet as a shipyards. This convenient “coincidence” got me thinking about just how many strange plot threads are going on here, and how they are all going to miraculously converge on Dathomir. Let’s go through them, for those of you who aren’t keeping count:

  • Ta’a Chume’s “issues”: Apparently she really wants Leia to be the next Queen Mother? Isolder claims it was all his idea, but I’m pretty sure that’s just pretty talk for the Princess. I can’t really remember why Ta’a Chume wants this so bad; stay tuned!
  • The Han/Isolder dilemma: This is probably the dumbest dilemma ever, at least as far as choosing between the man Leia’s fought beside, who is her equal and isn’t afraid to challenge her, and the dumb hunk who falls all over himself to please her. The political part of this decision is the only thing I find realistic, and yet all we get is focus on how gallant Isolder is.
  • The Alderaanian refugees: Are just annoying gossip mongers, apparently. Or at least Threkin Horm is. The refugees are just gonna have to settle for whatever they can get.
  • Warlord Zsinj: Is not that scary. And by the way, what’s up with the randomly convenient force-sensitive Imperial dude we see for like three paragraphs? Actually, though, I don’t mind the “remnants of the Empire” storyline, because it’s believable and carries through a lot of the books. It’s just going to end up totally ridiculous, thrown in with everything else.
  • The Bit–er, Witches of Dathomir: We haven’t really gotten to them yet, and all I can remember is the teeth-breaking. Maybe they have secrets to impart to Luke about the Force? They certainly don’t like Han and his claim to own their planet.
  • The Chu’unthor: Going along with the weird “secrets” of the Force Luke discovers while on Dathomir, he also finds a crashed ship filled with delicious Jedi knowledge filling. Maybe it doesn’t end up being that much or that useful, cause I can’t remember it ever being mentioned again. Luke is doomed to continue his quest for Jedi knowledge until the Timothy Zahn decide to give him Mara Jade to play with.
  • The mess with the Verpines: In the midst of everything else going on, there’s this weird limb-trafficking situation going on that I swear spills over into everything else later on. I guess not every diplomatic problem can be resolved by Mon Mothma’s badassery.
  • Warlord Omogg: Another one that I’m not completely sure on, but Luke comments about Omogg getting together her own search party to look for Han. Does she just want the bounty? Is she gonna show up and get pwned by Dathomir’s resident teeth-breaking bitches? Only time will tell!

Add all these wonderful elements together and what do you get? One clusterfuck of a novel!

“I love you.” “I know.”

If you’ve obsessively seen the original Star Wars trilogy as much as some of us have, you probably have your own favorite moments and scenes you can quote line for line. So, when these lines pop up in other places, they are instantly recognizable.

In just the first six chapters of COPL there have been an unnecessary number of cute little throwbacks to lines like these. One or two not-so-subtle allusions to well-known conversations from the movies wouldn’t bother me, and might even be kind of amusing, but I think Wolverton tries to cover up his inability to write good Han/Leia dialogue with these little twisted quotes.

Some particularly awful ones:

Han: “There’s that smile. I love you, you know.”

“I know.”

(page 38 of the hardcover)

::scream:: One of the best love confessions of all time has now turned into dumb conversation filler.

Leia glared at Han, stuck a finger in his face. “Maybe—just maybe—you should accept his offer while you can still get something out of this deal!”

(page 39 of the harcover)

While this particular one isn’t a direct quote, it definitely brings to mind that famous Hoth corridor scene in The Empire Strikes Back. This is about the point where I started to become dismayed. Once I start noticing things like this, they really bug me. Apparently Wolverton’s idea of witty banter between this two was “Ooh, sting, Leia’s going to throw Han’s actions and even words back in his face!”

In the next paragraph we have this gem:

And I’m here trying to hold on to you, and the harder I hold, the more you slip through my fingers.”

Now I know this is sort of a common saying. But really, for me, it will always evoke Leia standing on that Star Destroyer complaining about Grand Moff Tarkin’s “foul stench.”

Those are the three main offenders so far, but I will certainly be on the lookout for more as we continue through the book!

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