Topic: K.W. Jeters, scourge of the galaxy?
I am new to this site, but not to fett fandom. Seems i have found many a kindred spirit here in the aply named "serious geeking" area of the site. I have read your posts and know that you take these subjects seriously, and i can appreciate that. And if you actually read this entire post i know that you are indeed both serious and one of my geek compatriots. So it is to this audience that i would like to pose the question; "should K.W. Jeters be strung from the rafters?"
Now in all reality i would never suggest or condone physical violence aginst anyone, much less an author i have never met. But this man has shown no respect for those authors that went before him, or the characters that were developed. Please, let me explain...
In the early part of the 1990's Bantam books came out with new star wars stories with Timothy Zahn's trilogy, much to our collective delight. Bantam went on to produce many other star wars stories, but more than this they did one very special thing. They established a special continuity. Because the artistic licence was limited (due to the fact that 'the flannelled one' was still planning on making prequels) the company payed close attention to what its authors were writing.
This was evident in character continuity, time line continuity, and crossovers. For example; the company would not let an author have a cameo appearance of Solo, if Solo were written into another story (already published) in the same part of the timeline on the other side of the galaxy. If you read more than a few of the books you have seen some of the characters were created by one author, and then made appearances in other stories. I'm sure you could quote the litany of all such crossovers of your favorite characters including Mara Jade, Dengar, and Fett himself. The pinnacle example of this is shown in Tales from the empire with the short story that is in four parts by different authors. The characters remain the same and continuity is retained, but the feel of the story changes with each authors interpretation.
Although i consider Daniel Moran's story to be definitive on the character statement of Fett in "Last one Standing," I also appreciate the fleshing out of the character in "A Barve Like That." The whole feel of the story is different but the author retains the sense that Fett is not some opportunistic thug, but someone who follows a code of honor. This is really what drew me towards the character of Fett. The armor was really cool, and the mystique of being a pseudo-villian, but it's the stories that really got me. And if any story did contradict this ideal, most of the people that visit this post would be so frustrated and angry that we would burst a blood vessel.
Enter K.W. Jeter.
Before entering our favorite galaxy he had written a book as a sequel to blade runner. The original idea was not his, he only followed someone else's ideas with his own. But as I did not read this book I cannot comment on how his writing was. So lets skip ahead..
Now I'm pretty sure that bantam books didn't go on vacation while this guy was writing. But did they even check for continuity? If you read the "tales of the bounty hunters" [TOTBH] (and I'm sure as you're reading this, that you did, probably multiple times, as i did) you know that each of the five stories (about the six characters that were on the bridge of the executor) brought something unique into the story and the larger star wars galaxy.
In the very beginning of the first story we see IG-88 become sentient and absorbing incredible amounts of information. In fact the first five pages only represents five seconds since they turned him on, and everyone in the room is dead by page nine. (although this is not germain to the subject, it is a very cool story)
TOTBH goes on to introduce us to Dengar a.k.a. Payback. This, in my opinion, is one of the coolest characters in the expanded universe. He teters on the edge of insanity while he demonstrates superhuman, but not inexhaustable, power. And later in "A Barve like that" they expound on this character and show that both Fett and Payback have a healthy respect for each other if not also a friendship. Jeter writes this character as someone who fears fett. This isn't likely as he has already gotten the better of fett, and has also made his peace with him. Besides that, Fett knows that Dengar would pose a serious challenge as an adversary with all of his enhanced abilities and total lack of fear.
Bossk in the third story is a proud and superstious trandoshan who looks down upon humans because we eat other mammals (our own kind) while he would consider eating another reptile barbaric. Jeter has him chewing the bones of his father. Did this guy ever read a book? Bossk was a much better, and a bigger character when Kathy Tyres wrote him. Good Cathy, Bad Jeter.
The next story was really a unique idea. The duo of one hunter that was pure logic, and the other pure intuition. A good story with an unexpected ending. I enjoyed how everyone from Zucuss' planet is named "gand" until they earn themselves a name. As Zucuss obviosly must have done, we must assume he has some modicum of skill in hunting and his intuitive powers. Thusly armed when facing Fett in Jeter's book, Jeter still paints Zucuss as some little punk quaking in fear at the mere sight of Fett. (like zucuss didn't see the meeting coming or didnt expect it's outcome?)
Again i guess Jeter failed to read the books that came before. I would think that research into the characters you wanted to write about would be an important thing to an author. I would certainly want to know about what came before, and what the characters were really about. If i wrote a book with Han Solo as whiny as luke was through the first two movies, i think it would upset people.
In my opinion Jeter's portrayal of Fett lost something. Besides the fact that he ruined some great characters by not doing research, or even caring in the slightest about the galaxy in which he was writing. His writing itself was somewhat bland and definitely not on the mark of what i respect from the character that we love and revere.
All other books in the bantam universe were special because they respected the characters, story lines, and timeline of what was previously published. So what the hell happened? Did Bantam fall asleep on this one? A reduction of staff of the guy in charge of this department? No editing or stop caring?
Perhaps Bantam did change their policy. I cant tell you because i refused to read anything else by this author. It is painfully obvious that TOTBH is not a book that is on Jeter's shelf. So anyone who is familiar with Jeter's follow up to blade runner will have to tell me if he even payed attention to the original book. Even as much as I love Fett, I really dont care where the rest of Jeter's stories went, because the first one was so bad. And even though the first book was bad I just kept reading hoping that he would redeem himself.
Almost every other book i have lent out or given away to share these wonderful stories. Jeter's is the only one i tore in half and put to good use. Half went to level the short leg of my kitchen table, and the other half I threw on the grill and burned in effigy. This not only allowed a healthy venting of my anger, but also prevented some poor soul from the torture i inflicted upon myself.
I will keep my vision of Fett that is consistent with the character explored by Moran. The Hunter of few words and an underlying code of personal conduct. While taking every advantage over his quarry and selling his services, he does so to satisfy his personal sense of justice. Fett conducts himself by his own code of honor and to this he will not capitulate.
There is a special little place in hell waiting for Mr. Jeter just for writing about my favorite character without caring enough about the subject to do his research. And although I don't wish any physical harm on this gentleman, I cannot say what would happen if we met face to face. I obviously have strong feelings about the matter. While I am interested in your opinion of this, and i do invite all comments agreable or dissenting, i will not apologise for my opinion of Jeter's work.
I plead unrepentant.
We spend nearly the whole of our lives searching for the appropriate role that will mark the end of our existence with some moment of glory, ignoring the fact that fame and reputation are but mere perfumes of virtue. They never last.