Star Wars Rogue Planet

Star Wars Rogue Planet

3.7 85
by Greg Bear

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The Force is strong in twelve-year-old Anakin Skywalker . . . so strong that the Jedi Council, despite misgivings, entrusted young Obi-Wan Kenobi with the mission of training him to become a Jedi Knight. Obi-Wan? like his slain Master Qui-Gon believes Anakin may be the chosen one, the Jedi destined to bring balance to the Force.

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The Force is strong in twelve-year-old Anakin Skywalker . . . so strong that the Jedi Council, despite misgivings, entrusted young Obi-Wan Kenobi with the mission of training him to become a Jedi Knight. Obi-Wan? like his slain Master Qui-Gon believes Anakin may be the chosen one, the Jedi destined to bring balance to the Force. But first Obi-Wan must help his undisciplined apprentice, who still bears the scars of slavery, find his own balance.

Dispatched to the mysterious planet of Zonama Sekot, source of the fastest ships in the galaxy, Obi-Wan and Anakin are swept up in a swirl of deadly intrigue and betrayal. They sense a disturbance in the Force unlike any they have encountered before. It seems there are more secrets on Zonama Sekot than meet the eye. But the search for those secrets will threaten the bond between Obi-Wan and Anakin . . . and bring the troubled young apprentice face-to-face with his deepest fears-and his darkest destiny.

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Editorial Reviews

Science Fiction Weekly
Greg Bear--winner of two Hugo and four Nebula awards--expertly blends his style with that of the Star Wars universe. He conjures the feel of Star Wars as adroitly as Ewan McGregor evokes the subtle cadence of the elder Obi-Wan's voice.
This exciting Star Wars adventure about 12-year-old Anakin Skywalker (who later becomes Darth Vadar) takes place three years after the events in the film The Phantom Menace. Anakin has been training as a Jedi knight for these three years. After his recklessness nearly gets himself and his master Obi-Wan Kenobi killed, he and Obi-Wan are sent on a mission to find out what happened to another Jedi who was exploring a distant planet that produced extraordinary space ships. They are pursued and attacked by Commander Tarkin (who later becomes Grand Moff Tarkin of the Empire). Tarkin is trying to kill as many Jedi knights as he can as the Republic weakens. There are hints of Anakin's specialness and of his eventual seduction to the Dark Side through his uncontrollable anger. This adventure lays some of the foundation for the later New Jedi series, which feature the grandson of Anakin. (Star Wars) KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Ballantine, Del Rey, Lucas Books, 330p., $6.99. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Hugh M. Flick, Jr.; Silliman College, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT , November 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 6)

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Star Wars Series
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Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.85(h) x 0.70(d)

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Anakin Skywalker stood in a long, single-file line in an abandoned maintenance tunnel leading to the Wicko district garbage pit. With an impatient sigh, he hoisted his flimsy and tightly folded race wings by their leather harness and propped the broad rudder on the strap of his flight sandal. Then he leaned the wings against the wall of the tunnel and, tongue between his lips, applied the small glowing blade of a pocket welder, like a tiny lightsaber, to a crack in the left lateral brace. Repairs finished, he waggled the rotator experimentally. Smooth, though old.

Just the week before, he had bought the wings from a former champion with a broken back. Anakin had worked his wonders in record time, so he could fly now in the very competition where the champion had ended his career.

Anakin enjoyed the wrenching twist and bone- popping jerk of the race wings in flight. He savored the speed and the extreme difficulty as some savor the beauty of the night sky, difficult enough to see on Coruscant, with its eternal planet-spanning city-glow. He craved the competition and even felt a thrill at the nervous stink of the contestants, scum and riffraff all.

But above all, he loved winning.

The garbage pit race was illegal, of course. The authorities on Coruscant tried to maintain the image of a staid and respectable metropolitan planet, capital of the Republic, center of law and civilization for tens of thousands of stellar systems. The truth was far otherwise, if one knew where to look, and Anakin instinctively knew where to look.

He had, after all, been born and raised on Tatooine.

Though he loved the Jedi training, stuffing himself into such tight philosophical garments was not easy. Anakin had suspected from the very beginning that on a world where a thousand species and races met to palaver, there would be places of great fun.

The tunnel master in charge of the race was a Naplousean, little more than a tangle of stringlike tissues with three legs and a knotted nubbin of glittering wet eyes. “First flight is away,” it hissed as it walked in quick, graceful twirls down the narrow, smooth-walled tun- nel. The Naplousean spoke Basic, except when it was angry, and then it simply smelled bad. “Wings! Up!” it ordered.

Anakin hefted his wings over one shoulder with a professionally timed series of grunts, one-two-three, slipped his arms through the straps, and cinched the harness he had cut down to fit the frame of a twelve-year-old human boy.

The Naplousean examined each of the contestants with many critical eyes. When it came to Anakin, it slipped a thin, dry ribbon of tissue between his ribs and the straps and tugged with a strength that nearly pulled the boy over.

“Who you?” the tunnel master coughed.

“Anakin Skywalker,” the boy said. He never lied, and he never worried about being punished.

“You way bold,” the tunnel master observed. “What mother and father say, we bring back dead boy?”

“They’ll raise another,” Anakin answered, hoping to sound tough and capable, but not really caring what opinion the tunnel master held so long as it let him race.

“I know racers,” the Naplousean said, its knot of eyes fighting each other for a better view. “You no racer!”

Anakin kept a respectful silence and focused on the circle of murky blue light ahead, growing larger as the line shortened.

“Ha!” the Naplousean barked, though it was impossible for its kind to actually laugh. It twirled back down the line, poking, tugging, and issuing more pronouncements of doom, all the while followed by an adoring little swarm of cam droids.

A small, tight voice spoke behind Anakin. “You’ve raced here before.”

Anakin had been aware of the Blood Carver in line behind him for some time. There were only a few hundred on all of Coruscant, and they had joined the Republic less than a century before. They were an impressive-looking people: slender, graceful, with long three-jointed limbs, small heads mounted on a high, thick neck, and iridescent gold skin.

“Twice,” Anakin said. “And you?”

“Twice,” the Blood Carver said amiably, then blinked and looked up. Across the Blood Carver’s narrow face, his nose spread into two fleshy flaps like a split shield, half hiding his wide, lipless mouth. The ornately tattooed nose flaps functioned both as a sensor of smell and a very sensitive ear, supplemented by two small pits behind his small, onyx-black eyes. “The tunnel master is correct. You are too young.” He spoke perfect Basic, as if he had been brought up in the best schools on Coruscant.

Anakin smiled and tried to shrug. The weight of the race wings made this gesture moot.

“You will probably die down there,” the Blood Carver added, eyes aloof.

“Thanks for the support,” Anakin said, his face coloring. He did not mind a professional opinion, such as that registered by the tunnel master, but he hated being ragged, and he especially hated an opponent trying to psych him out.

Fear, hatred, anger . . . The old trio Anakin fought every day of his life, though he revealed his deepest emotions to only one man: Obi-Wan Kenobi, his master in the Jedi Temple.

The Blood Carver stooped slightly on his three-jointed legs. “You smell like a slave,” he said softly, for Anakin’s ears alone.

It was all Anakin could do to keep from throwing off his wings and going for the Blood Carver’s long throat. He swallowed his emotions down into a private cold place and stored them with the other dark things left over from Tatooine. The Blood Carver was on target with his insult, which stiffened Anakin’s anger and made it harder to control himself. Both he and his mother, Shmi, had been slaves to the supercilious junk dealer, Watto. When the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn had won him from Watto, they had had to leave Shmi behind . . . something Anakin thought about every day of his life.

“You four next!” the tunnel master hissed, breezing by with its midsection whirled out like ribbons on a child’s spinner.

Mace Windu strode down a narrow side hall in the main dormitory of the Jedi Temple, lost in thought, his arms tucked into his long sleeves, and was nearly bowled over by a trim young Jedi who dashed from a doorway. Mace stepped aside deftly, just in time, but stuck out an elbow and deliberately clipped the younger Jedi, who spun about.

“Pardon me, Master,” Obi-Wan Kenobi apologized, bowing quickly. “Clumsy of me.”

“No harm,” Mace Windu said. “Though you should have known I was here.”

“Yes. The elbow. A correction. I’m appreciative.” Obi-Wan was, in fact, embarrassed, but there was no time to explain things.

“In a hurry?”

“A great hurry,” Obi-Wan said.

“The chosen one is not in his quarters?” Mace’s tone carried both respect and irony, a combination at which he was particularly adept.

“I know where he’s gone, Master Windu. I found his tools, his workbench.”

“Not just building droids we don’t need?”

“No, Master,” Obi-Wan said.

“About the boy—” Mace Windu began.

“Master, when there is time.”

“Of course,” Mace said. “Find him. Then we shall speak . . . and I want him there to listen.”

“Of course, Master!” Obi-Wan did not disguise his haste. Few could hide concern or intent from Mace Windu.

Mace smiled. “He will bring you wisdom!” he called out as Obi-Wan ran down the hall toward the turbolift and the Temple’s sky transport exit.

Obi-Wan was not in the least irritated by the jibe. He quite agreed. Wisdom, or insanity. It was ridiculous for a Jedi to always be chasing after a troublesome Padawan. But Anakin was no ordinary Padawan. He had been bequeathed to Obi-Wan by Obi-Wan’s own beloved Master, Qui-Gon Jinn.

Yoda had put the situation to Obi-Wan with some style a few months back, as they squatted over a glowing charcoal fire and cooked shoo bread and wurr in his small, low-ceilinged quarters. Yoda had been about to leave Coruscant on business that did not concern Obi-Wan. He had ended a long, contemplative silence by saying, “A very interesting problem you face, and so we all face, Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

Obi-Wan, ever the polite one, had tilted his head as if he were not acquainted with any particular problem.

“The chosen one Qui-Gon gave to us all, not proven, full of fear, and yours to save. And if you do not save him . . .”

Yoda had said nothing more to Obi-Wan about Anakin thereafter. His words echoed in Obi-Wan’s thoughts as he took an express taxi to the outskirts of the Senate District. Travel time—mere minutes, with wrenching twists and turns through hundreds of slower, cheaper lanes and levels of traffic.

Obi-Wan was concerned it would not be nearly fast enough.

The pit spread before Anakin as he stepped out on the apron below the tunnel. The three other contestants in this flight jostled for a view. The Blood Carver was particularly rough with Anakin, who had hoped to save all his energy for the flight.

What’s eating him? the boy wondered.

The pit was two kilometers wide and three deep from the top of the last accelerator shield to the dark bottom. This old maintenance tunnel overlooked the second accelerator shield. Squinting up, Anakin saw the bottom of the first shield, a huge concave roof cut through with an orderly pattern of hundreds of holes, like an overturned colander in Shmi’s kitchen on Tatooine. Each hole in this colander, however, was ten meters wide. Hundreds of shafts of sunlight dropped from the ports to pierce the gloom, acting like sundials to tell the time in the open world, high above the tunnel. It was well past meridian.

There were over five thousand such garbage pits on Coruscant. The city-planet produced a trillion tons of garbage every hour. Waste that was too dangerous to recycle—fusion shields, worn-out hyperdrive cores, and a thousand other by-products of a rich and highly advanced world—was delivered to the district pit. Here, the waste was sealed into canisters, and the canisters were conveyed along magnetic rails to a huge circular gun carriage below the lowest shield. Every five seconds, a volley of canisters was propelled from the gun by chemical charges. The shields then guided the trajectory of the canisters through their holes, gave them an extra tractor-field boost, and sent them into tightly controlled orbits around Coruscant.

Hour after hour, garbage ships in orbit collected the canisters and transported them to outlying moons for storage. Some of the most dangerous loads were actually shot off into the large, dim yellow sun, where they would vanish like dust motes cast into a volcano.

It was a precise and necessary operation, carried out like clockwork day after day, year after year.

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Star Wars: Rogue Planet 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 85 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the summary on Wookiepedia... Save yourself time and money. Meh.
Johnny3 More than 1 year ago
It wasn't the best book, but it did enough to keep my interest throughout....
Sibylla More than 1 year ago
While Rogue Planet embodies a bright idea: Show us Kenobi and Skywalker early in their relationship, during Anakin's troubled early adolescence, against the backdrop of an exciting mission, the pacing and somewhat pedantic style get in the way. The book tells us about the characters' emotional responses to various stimuli without actually showing us. The author's perspective hovers somewhere between third person limited and third person omniscient, too distant to allow us to see through any particular set of eyes--or into any particular mind or heart--without actually providing a bird's eye view of any scene. This book will be most appealing to readers who want more "trivia" or background information on the political situation in the Old Republic preceding the Clone Wars and the relationship between Obi-Wan and his misfit apprentice in particular. Readers hoping for insight into this or any other developing relationship will be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'd say if you're not into the Star Wars saga it rates a 3-Star. If you are it rates a 4-Star. I thought the storyline interesting and character development good but somehow it lacked enough gripping scenes involving the two main Jedi characters. This trait isn't completely absent but I wasn't completely satisfied with it either.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ryan1234500 More than 1 year ago
I liked the parts of this book that dealt with Obi-Wan and Anakin's developing relationship as master and apprentice in the years following Episode I. The entire living planet storyline though was somewhat confusing to me. I know this is a prequel to something from the New Jedi Order storyline, which I haven't read yet, and it seemed like I didn't get everything I was supposed to from the book because I didn't really know the NJO story yet. Even allowing for that this was a pretty good novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It gives you more information about what happened between the movies. I would recommend this book to people who like starwars and have seen the movies. Not to long of a book and keeps you intreastead .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You must not be a true star wars fan if you are telling people that Quigon Jinn forced Obi-wan Kenobi to train Anakin Skywalker if you have seen the first movie or reed the first book its called The Phantum Menace in case you didn't Quigon was going to train Anakin himself but died shortly after being stabed by Darth Maul after Obi-wan kill Darth Maul he rushed to Quigons side and promised his Master on the spot that he would train Anakin then after that Quigon dies and Obi-wan takes Anakin as his padawan learner. So maybe you should watch the movie and reed the first book again if you already have. This book by-the-way is awesome two thumbs up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It has action in the beginning and at the end. I did like the discussion into Obiwans feelings regarding Anikin's training. After Qui Gon forced it upon Obiwan. It is a book of explanations that you will find interesting after you have read through the New Jedi Order19 book series - The Vong Invasion. For info - YES? For action - NOT SO MUCH
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book bacause it gives more insite into Anakins training inbetween episodes one and two. It also shows how more intune with the force he is than with most people by subtle hints inside the text.
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ColoradoBR More than 1 year ago
This story does take the reader back to the early days of Anakin and Obi Wan as master and apprentice. It will also introduce a few facts that are brought up again in the New Jedi Order series, but there was not enough excitement like I have come to expect from a Star Wars story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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PandemicProdigy More than 1 year ago
Once you unravel the mystery of Zanoma Sekot this you will undeniably question your new found love for Star Wars.