Speculating Canada on Trent Radio Episode 65: Star Wars

In this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio, I explore one of my favourite created worlds – the world of Star Wars. I look at the Canadian take on Star Wars by examining the novels of Drew Karpyshyn, a Canadian-American author of several Star Wars novels and the creator of the Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic video game.

In this episode, I discuss Karpyshyn’s Darth Bane novels as well as his Old Republic novels Annihilation and Revan. I discuss Karpyshyn’s ability to write the Sith and deal with the complexity of the Sith.

You can listen to this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio at the link below.

[audiohttp://www.dereknewmanstille.ca/media/trentradio/160223_episode68_drew_karpyshyn.mp3 ]


This audio file was originally broadcast on Trent Radio, and I would like to thank Trent Radio for their continued support. I would also like to thank Dwayne Collins for his consistent tech support and help with the intricacies of creating audio files.

Make sure to allow a few minutes for the file to buffer since it may take a moment before it begins to play.



Hacking The Dark Side

Hacking The Dark Side
A Review of Drew Karpyshyn’s “Star Wars The Old Republic: Annihilation” (Del Rey, 2012)

By Derek Newman-Stille
Drew Karypyshyn’s “Star Wars The Old Republic: Annihilation” is a Star Wars novel with a touch of cyberpunk. Karpyshyn explores the interaction between human and machine with a significant amount of The Force in between. The narrator, Theron Shan, is a black ops operative for the Republic. The child of a Jedi, Theron was rejected at birth by his mother, Satele Shan, because Jedi are not supposed to have children and aren’t permitted to create bonds with others. Theron, though he wasn’t raised a Jedi and didn’t have capabilities in the force, was trained to use some Jedi techniques by his adopted guardian, Ngani Zho. In addition to his training, Theron is equipped with a cybernetic implant in his eye and a spike, a device that allows him to hack into systems. 

Karpyshyn plays with the notion of prostheses and cybernetics when he creates an enemy for Theron, the Sith Lord Darth Karrid. Karrid has inherited a ship from her Sith master called The Ascendent Spear, a ship that is feared by the Republic because of its might and its level of success in battle. The Ascendent Spear holds multiple secrets, the greatest of which being its infusion with Dark Side energy and the fact that Darth Karrid is able to integrate herself into its systems and control it with her mind. The Ascendent Spear becomes a prosthesis for Karrid, an extension of her mind as well as her abilities in the force. Karpyshyn explores the border between human and machine as he integrates consciousness and technology, wrapping the two of them together. 

As much as this novel is an exploration of the relationship between human and technology, it is also a story about the personal interacting with the political. Satele is the Grand Master of the Jedi Order and, despite the demands to dissociate herself from her son, she still feels some connection to him and guilt at his abandonment. Her roles as mother and leader conflict with one another when she is forced to put Theron into battle.

Satele also fears for Jace Malcolm, former war hero and Supreme Commander of the Republic Military, who has to navigate the confusing murky territory between justice and revenge. Satele fears the potential of his war against the Sith Empire to turn him to the dark side of the force.

Karpyshyn invites the reader to question whether the personal can ever be separated from the political and how much the desire for revenge can motivate decisions in war. 

To find out more about Drew Karpyshyn, visit his website at http://drewkarpyshyn.com


EmptyA review of Drew Karpyshyn’s Star Wars The Old Republic: Revan (Del Rey, 2013).

By Derek Newman-Stille

I don’t often get a chance to talk about Star Wars since this is a site that examines Canadian Speculative Fiction, but Star Wars is a franchise that I have enjoyed since i was a child. So, i was extremely excited when i came across the work of Canadian author Drew Karpyshyn. In addition to writing the game Knights of the Old Republic, Karpyshyn has written several novels in the Star Wars franchise.

Star Wars the Old Republic: Revan takes long before the movies of the franchise in a time period when the Republic and its Jedi believe that they have wiped out the Sith Empire. This is a novel of political intrigue and the battle between light and darkness, but it is quintessentially a novel about people and personalities. The Jedi Revan, having been a dark lord of the Sith in the past has been converted to the light by having his memories erased by the Jedi. He now experiences a gap between his live as a Jedi before being seduced to the dark side and his later recovery. This absented presence in his mind leaves an emptiness that he seeks to fill, a need to find what has been lost and fill that void left inside of him. As part of his quest to discover what has been lost, Revan is drawn into a quest across the galaxy to follow those thin threads of memory and weave them together in order to find wholeness.

 Revan’s emptiness is paralleled a planetary emptiness when he discovers a planet that has been totally drained of all Force energy, left a desolate and empty wasteland that is stuck in a state of perpetual emptiness in the Force. This planet was drained of all of its Force by a Sith who feared death and hasn’t simply been imbued with the dark side, but, rather, erased from the Force entirely. When Revan lands on the planet, his own Jedi powers are eliminated as is his connection to the Force, creating an emptiness inside of him that parallels his erased memories. 

Karpyshyn takes on a subject that is challenging for most Star Wars authors, exploring the types of personalities and motivations that underly the desire to become a Sith and the cultural manifestations of a Sith culture. 

To discover more about Drew Karpyshyn, visit his website at http://drewkarpyshyn.com