2005-08-13

Good Point by Abel G. Pena

Abel G. Pena, a frequent article contributor to Star Wars Insider, has a webpage featuring his somewhat perverse take on canon policies (more on that to come with the canon page update).

While I don't agree with his opinion on how canonicity should be determined, I *do* strongly agree with his position on Star Wars authors and how they should approach the canon issue:

"It is especially dangerous to Star Wars continuity when an author working within the mythos harbors this attitude of canon and apocrypha, for he or she is the one with the power to shape the universe, so to speak. In the name of equality, Star Wars authors must bear the burden of objectivity; in their case, there can be no distinction between good and bad, old and new when it comes to inclusion. Authors must not shy away from seemingly daunting contradictions, it is in fact their duty to directly reference and rectify contradictory elements of the Star Wars universe in their texts, regardless of their personal attitudes toward them. Continuity errors are bound to occur even with an active vigilance against them, but if this action is not taken, the number of inconsistencies will become enormous, and consequently lead to more and more events being labeled apocryphal and being tossed out. This fate will befall the works of even those authors who are presently considered "current," as their works inevitably age like all the rest, and thus fall victim to the same neglect that now systematically renders older materials apocryphal, the practice perpetuating until the Star Wars mythos collapses into a marginally linked web of confusion and inconsistency, in which references to certain events, people, and other things become meaningless, for they may not even officially exist. This is precisely the end which Lucasfilm Licensing intended to circumvent when it reopened the Star Wars universe in the early 1990s and requested that Timothy Zahn conform his new material with that previously established by West End Games."


In reading that paragraph, I could not help but think of Curtis Saxton. Author of the Incredible Cross-Sections children's books that have been the subject of such controversy in the Vs. Debate, Saxton included firepower figures which required willful disregard for the films in favor of comic books and other largest-locatable examples from the EU, utterly disregarding direct EU statements of kilojoule fighter weapons and mega- or terajoule capital ship weapons doing profound damage to other vessels. Then, for the Episode III ICS, these figures were boosted still further, without any evidence to suggest that this should be so. As many online have theorized, this is probably largely due to his status as a former Vs. Debate participant, and his long association with them. (Indeed, there is plenty of evidence in support of such a contention, given that Vs. Debaters aided in calculations for the ICS books, and had as a stated goal the enhancement of SW over ST.)

As a result, the technology of most EU materials and that of Saxtonian EU are in massive conflict, and Saxton himself has fallen afoul of Pena's point. One wonders how Saxton's interpretations will age over the years. As it stands now, the EU continues to evolve in separate directions . . . some make use of the children's books and suggest awe-inspiring power, others follow the movies and most adult fiction and make use of much smaller power levels.

As time passes, this divergence will be interesting to monitor.

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