All this free time? I’m going to see if I can recapture this. I read some of these books years ago (before the prequels), then purchased them only a few years ago (now after the prequels), and never really read them. The prequels didn’t anger me, or destroy everything–they didn’t pop the balloon of my love for Star Wars, they just…let the air out. It’s not there anymore, and hasn’t been, and it’s sad, because it was something important and awe-inspiring.
It’s frustrating and sad on an entirely other level, because I’m not like the angry ranters, the people told to let it go, because in most senses I just do not care anymore. I don’t get excited, not even angry, even the denial of the prequels is just a sort of show, because I don’t really feel like watching the original trilogy anymore either. There’s sort of an eroded sense of leaping heart at the right moments (“Binary Sunset”, for instance), but it’s just a shadow of what it was before.
I’d like it back enough that, if I could, I’d bring it back, so, here we are at that free time again. Reading these books used to have the opposite effect, expanding the universe I already loved, building and building into something much bigger. But I don’t know: it was the invalidation of most (all?) of the words in these books that just killed the whole thing for me. Half (or more, as the EU is enormous) of what I loved was retconned out of existence, and I completely accepted the canonical supremacy of the prequels, as it would be baffling to fight those movies with “But that’s not how it actually was…” because now, well, yeah it is how it was. Boba Fett is Boba Fett, clone/son thing, not Jaster Mereel. And I don’t know if I can read these knowing that nothing in them is even true within their own continuity and that fictional universe. I’m not even sure what the analogue is: What If was knowingly taking established Marvel events and turning them on their ear just to see what would be different. Even fan-fiction tends to attempt slavish authenticity. It’s like reading a bunch of books that were made by people who tried to fill in the gaps while waiting, only to find out their guesses and ideas were all wrong, and oh well, nevermind. It’s such a unique and strange set of circumstances. I can’t think of a thing like it–anything even close generally doesn’t carry that determining factor of sixteen years of time that did not include even confirmation that the story was going to have “canon” continuation, so all of these books actually were the canon–until they sudden’t weren’t, and they were just invalidated. It’s not even like retconning in comics, per se, as so many people weren’t even aware of these.
Some of us pursued that expansion, most people didn’t. So we didn’t have this as a cultural continuation–Star Wars paused for everyone else after Jedi, and it only came out of its carbonite shell in 1999, even though some of us were building on it in the decade preceding. It was official, but only for some of us. So it wasn’t that everyone had this running stream–even if flickers would escape, like Dash Rendar, his Outrider, Prince Xizor and all of Shadows of the Empire or maybe Splinter of the Mind’s Eye–that someone went back and sort of nudged into place as the water kept flowing. It just poured right over the EU as if it had never been there, because it really wasn’t for most people.
I’d still like that universe back, but I don’t know if it can happen, because that universe was replaced so thoroughly, so completely, and so authoritatively that the well may not only be dry, but filled in.