Ah, the wonders of science-fiction. I yesterday (by now, the day before yesterday) finished a wonderful (rephrase: another wonderful) book by Timothy Zahn, this one being named ‘Survivor’s Quest’. I guess it made a lot more sense given that I’m rather well versed in the Expanded Universe (disclosure: ‘Survivor’s Quest’ is part of Star Wars Expanded Universe //one of several hundred books there//, and takes place quite a bit of time after any of the movies) but also since I’ve read the so-to-say prequel ‘Outbound Flight’ (also by T. Zahn).
I can’t really tell what fascinated me most about this book, except for the fact that it had some really deep moments — these insights into people, why they act, and how people might be better of acting; and yet Zahn did not disappoint with action or logic (unless you, the reader, are one of the people who kindly says that science-fiction by itself defies logic etc etc and therefore should not be read).
One of his greatest achievements for the EU has been the inclusion of a wonderful species named the Chiss. The who, what and why are rather irrelevant, but this books brings up a few new Chiss characters (previously 95% of the interaction with the by-now-deceased Grand Admiral Thrawn) and they illustrate a beauty which many species (either imaginary or real) lack: a love of tactical thinking, or at least that is how it seems to be portrayed.
I’ll bring out a quote illustrating the Chiss:
“It is completely and purely a matter of honor and morality. The Chiss are never to be the aggressor people. We cannot and will not make war against any until and unless we have been attacked. That has been our law for a thousand years, [Master Skywalker], and we will not bend from it.”
I believe this displays what I wished to convey earlier on: and what humans, in this case, certainly are not — principles die too easily for us.
Somehow Zahn also manages to include a number of references to correct military behavior (e.g. nearly every EU book of his beginning with an Imperial Star Destroyer in space and a few notions of proper naval etiquette).
And a few other quotes for the conclusion:
“… it would be the height of arrogance and pride to risk their lives, not to mention the lives of our companions, by insisting on amateur leadership when a professional is standing by. Don’t you agree?”
“Past thoughts are irrelevant to the realities of the present.”