Suicide by Star Wars Apocrypha: The Pre-Republic Era, Part 2

Into the Void, One

SW2 Image 1Author: Tim Lebbon

Medium: Novel

Publication Date: May 7, 2013

Timeline Placement: 25,793 BBY (with flashbacks to 25,802 BBY)

Series: Dawn of the Jedi

When we last saw Lanoree Brock at the end of “Eruption,” she had been summoned back to Tython by the Je’daii Masters for a mysterious mission. That mission, it turns out, is to hunt down and neutralize her long lost younger brother, Dalien Brock, who has been believed dead for the past nine years. The main story line of the book is punctuated by frequent flashbacks to the events of nine years ago, when Lanoree and her brother traveled across Tython to begin their Je’daii training and Dal ultimately disappeared. He has recently resurfaced as the leader of a cult known as the Stargazers, whose mission is to escape the Tythan system and rediscover the original planets from which the Tho Yor took their ancestors. To accomplish this, Dalien is seeking a device called a hypergate, rumored to be buried on Tython beneath the ruins of a city built by an ancient and mysterious alien race known as the Gree. If he’s not stopped, Dalien Brock’s mad quest could destroy the entire star system . . . somehow.

The book describes Lanoree as a 25-year-old hottie with auburn hair and gray eyes. Not quite a match for the green-eyed redhead trope, but close enough for government work. It’s difficult to tell from the only two pictures we have of her, but given that the text describes Dalien Brock as a swarthy bro, Lanoree is apparently our first non-white protagonist (enjoy that while it lasts!). There are also a noticeably high number of female secondary and minor characters, including the Stargazers’ financial backer, Kara, a morbidly obese hoverchair-bound woman with artificially elongated arms. If nothing else, Into the Void really racks up points on the diversity scale.

The Adventures of Lanoree Brock, Racially Ambiguous Samurai Mage

The Adventures of Lanoree Brock, Racially Ambiguous Samurai Mage

Following a tip from her mentor, Master Dam-Powl, Lanoree first travels to the sixth planet in the system, Kalimahr, to find a Twi’lek rogue named Tre Sana. We know he’s a rogue because he’s described as such in the dramatis personae. On her way to meet him, however, she notices a Stargazer spy taking pictures of her. She confronts him, which results in him machine-gunning a bunch of innocent bystanders for no reason and then blowing himself up. Lanoree is then taken into police custody for questioning, where she mind-tricks the police captain into telling her that a woman called Kara, played by Kenneth McMillan, is funding the Stargazers. When she meets Tre Sana, this is the only information he has for her, making his character completely pointless and redundant. He sticks around for the rest of the book anyway. I guess Lanoree’s party needed a rogue.

Tre Sana’s brain has been alchemically altered by Dam-Powl to render his thoughts unreadable to telepathic Force-users, allowing him to serve as her underworld contact. (This Chekov’s gun never impacts the plot in any significant way.) In return for feeding information to the Je’daii, Tre has been promised a new identity and a fresh start at life so he can escape from all the terrible things he’s done in the past. (We’re never told what those terrible things are.) Lanoree frequently has to remind herself not to let her guard down around Tre, because he is a dangerous man with the proven capacity for great evil. (The most evil thing he does in the book is shove a guy out of the way so he can use a payphone.) Tre Sana’s whole character is a violation of the cardinal rule of storytelling: show, don’t tell.

I hate this character more than life itself.

I think the author intended him to be pitiable, but really he just comes across as pitiful. He has no agency of his own; almost everything he does is something he’s forced to do by another character. The only exceptions are shooting Kara with a tranquilizer dart when they interview her at her apartment, and rescuing Lanoree toward the end of the book, because she’d been too competent up to that point. Even when he rescues her a second time by pushing her out of the way of gunfire, the text suggests that he might have just tripped and accidentally bumped into her. He’s afraid of heights, he’s always twitching or looking pale, he spends the final act of the book throwing up and passing out from breathing poisoned atmosphere, he’s constantly being outsmarted and put down by Lanoree. Presumably he’s supposed to fill the niche of the “Han Solo-type” character but he’s just pathetic and no fun to read about at all.→