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Monday, December 2, 2013

K. W. Jeter on Boba Fett: Part 1

I first saw K. W. Jeter at the World Fantasy Convention held in San Diego back in 2011.  He participated in a panel discussion on Steampunk, and the way he enthused over what he learned while researching that type of novel made me want to read a story he had written.  Each time I perused the bookshops, and saw the Boba Fett novels he had written, I thought it would be interesting to read one.  Here was a character that had always intrigued me, written by a novelist whose attention to detail had impressed me.  Eventually, it began to seem as if George Lucas himself was holding a blaster against my forehead.  Well, that being the case, I no longer had a choice, did I?

Having read and enjoyed the entire trilogy, it was a pleasure to speak with K. W. Jeter at this year's World Fantasy Convention in Brighton.  I told him I really enjoyed his Boba Fett novels, and his eyes narrowed for a moment.  Then he smiled and nodded.  "Ah yes," he said.  I can understand those books not residing in the forefront of his memory. After all, they originally came out fifteen years ago, in 1998, which means he wrote them well before that. As work-for-hire projects, it's unlikely he would still be receiving royalties from them, if he ever did. Nor would he be dealing with subsidiary rights issues, or attempting to resell them to another publisher, as he doesn't own them.  Nevertheless, J. K. Jeter went on to say that he had gotten some positive feedback from other Star Wars fans, and that he had enjoyed writing them.

I wondered if he had found it difficult to get into Boba Fett's mind. Remember, this was before "Episode 2: Attack of the Clones" came out, and he hadn't seen Boba Fett as a boy yet.  All he had to go on with the character were those few scenes in "The Empire Strikes Back."  As the bounty hunter always wears a helmet, K. W. Jeter hadn't even seen the character's face.  Yet he built three entertaining novels around him, portraying him as a fearless and complicated character who lives by his unique moral code.  He makes Boba Fett into the ultimate Dejarik player, a man who could easily sit down at the holographic game table in the Millennium Falcon and beat the pants off R2-D2.  That is, assuming the droid wore pants.*

K. W. Jeter shook his head.  Just like Boba Fett, he responded, "No, no problem."

What can I say?  The author breathed life into a character about whom he knew nothing--a monumental task--and spun out three compelling tales about him.  But then, if asked a similar question, I imagine Boba Fett would likewise reply, "No, no problem."

For my money, that makes J. K. Jeter the perfect person to write about the galaxy's most effective bounty hunter.

Dragon Dave

*As R2-D2 occasionally serves drinks, shouldn't he wear a nice dark suit?  Or better yet, a tuxedo?  "Your drink, master Jabba," he might say, in his electronic language of squeaks and clicks. "Now, if you'll excuse me for a moment, I'll just toss a lightsaber to Master Luke, so he can take over your barge, and end Hutt rule of Tatooine."

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