Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Do we really need the whole story?

So I got back from Malta, early this afternoon (yes, it was a lovely hot 'shorts wearing' break from the blog, thanks for asking!) I had a lovely week doing, well... not an awful lot really :o) Lots of lovely walks through Valetta and Mdina as well as time spent happily at the beach. I'm not too impressed at being back in London (ice in the morning and rain in the afternoon) but that's the way it goes. Thanks to Jamie, Jen, David and Lawrence for supplying some great posts while I was away. I find myself in the position of having to up my game to keep the standard as high as they did! That can't be a bad thing though... :o)

Anyway, I got back home to find this book waiting for me on the doorstep...

Darth Plagueis: one of the most brilliant Sith Lords who ever lived. Possessing power is all he desires. Losing it is the only thing he fears. As an apprentice, he embraces the ruthless ways of the Sith. And when the time is right, he destroys his Master - but vows never to suffer the same fate. For like no other disciple of the dark side, Darth Plagueis learns to command the ultimate power...over life and death.


Darth Sidious: Plagueis's chosen apprentice. Under the guidance of his Master, he secretly studies the ways of the Sith, while publicly rising to power in the galactic government, first as Senator, then as Chancellor, and eventually as Emperor.


Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious, Master and acolyte, target the galaxy for domination - and the Jedi Order for annihilation. But can they defy the merciless Sith tradition? Or will the desire of one to rule supreme, and the dream of another to live forever, sow the seeds of their destruction?

I'm not too bothered about Star Wars books these days but I do have a whole load of them on the shelves so they will feature here at some point. 'Darth Plagueis' got me thinking though... Given that 'Revenge of the Sith' basically answers all these questions, is there really any point to this book? A bigger Star Wars fan than I might say otherwise but I'm having trouble seeing that point if there is one...

Looking at that blurb also got me thinking about the franchise's need to fill in every single little gap around each of the films (a gap often chiseled out of the tiniest piece of dialogue). Do we really need to know every single little bit of a story or is it better to leave some of it deliberately vague? I'm in two minds but if I had to make the choice I'd veer towards the latter. I like not knowing everything about a fictional world and its history. If a writer gives it all to me, on a plate, then there's nothing to explore and get into. I like to fill in those gaps myself; I find that it really helps me 'live the book' rather than just read it. Don't tell me what happens in that alleyway behind the pub; I'd much rather go off and work it out for myself. If you tell me everything then it's still a cool story (hopefully) but the mystery isn't there any longer and that's a shame.

How about you? Do you like to have it all or do you like to go away and think about all the stuff that you haven't been told? Comments please and any examples of books that do it (or not) for you would be great as well...

6 comments:

big_cheddars said...

When I watched revenge of the sith recently I realised that whether Sidious was Plaguis's apprentice is left deliberately vague to create a sense of mystery and menace... Which has now been completely ruined by this book in an effort to make more money. Sure it might be good, but it was unnecessary in the first place, so I basically agree with you Graeme

Sean H. said...

I prefer to know every little bit. Stephen King's Gunslinger series comes to mind, at least one entire book of it is basically a side-story. And I like the conceit of the ending, where he writes into the story the very choice you are talking about. Tolkien is another, the historical details behind everything that happens in LOTR is fascinating to me.

But the Star Wars example is a good case for keeping vague areas. There's so much material out there, and continues to be put out, that sometimes it feels like it's only a matter of time before that vague area gets its own book written about it anyways, so you get the best of both worlds. In theory at least...

Bryce L. said...

I'm with you, Graeme. I prefer less to more. I go on about this all the time, so excuse me if you've heard this before, but I think The Matrix should have stayed at one movie, Ender's Game as one book, and a couple more franchises I feel similarly about. Standing alone, these would be much more powerful.

But, I also acknowledge that a part of me loved the second and third Matrix movies, so I understand the draw of knowing everything. It's nice to be able to live in the world a bit more. I also can't say I'm too disappointed to have more Star Wars movies. They're just good fun when it comes down to it.

Tori Bergquist said...

I have to agree, you can't fill in all the cracks or you risk leaving nothing further to wonder about, explore, or imagine. Sidious and his relationship was much more interesting when we weren't certain it was a relationship or a sith fable. The clone wars that I imagined as a kid was much more interesting than what I got to see as an adult on screen. Sometimes the magic of "less is more" is a real deal. Not always....but Star Wars is a textbook example of how not to keep the mystery going.

Jamie Gibbs said...

Thanks again for having me, Graeme :)

I like the vagueness and mystery allowing my imagination to fill in the gaps; it makes things more interesting.

Jamie

Mark said...

I agree, Graeme. Although, I believe we are in the minority of readers out there...most want the entire story.

The First Law Trilogy ended brilliantly. I am disappointed Logan returned in "Red Country". I am sure Joe was pressured by the masses to complete the story.

The end to "Tigana" was another great example of leaving some things open to the reader.

Perhaps the best example, and my personal favorite, of not needing the whole story is the last episode of "The Sopranos". It was perfect.