Ed Cox Giveaway and Why Gavin Smith is Wrong About Ewoks (15/2/2015)

Apologies first of all that there wasn’t a giveaway last week, this being on account of an unusually severe attack of the snots. Apologies second of all that this week’s planned article (an insightful interview with the main parties contending the May general election as to their policies for coping with the inevitable eventuality of a major asteroid strike) will now have to be deferred until next week, but there are some things that need to be said about my Elite/Empires co-author Gavin Smith and his recent downright prejudiced comments about ewoks.

I’d like to begin with an extract from Empires – a pair of books which, I should point out, we WROTE TOGETHER[1]

What about Ewoks?’ asked Stanton. They were in the back of a V-22 Osprey. Somewhere out there was another Osprey and a pack of angry F/A-18 Hornets there to give shit to any Libyans who decided it wasn’t okay for the United States to send a pack of armed-to-the-teeth Special Forces types into the back-arse of their country without bothering to ask nicely first.

We shoot Ewoks,’ said one of the SEALs. As best Roche could tell, both Ospreys were loaded almost with their full complement of twenty-four soldiers and a Growler Fast Attack Vehicle. The Specialist Support Team was in the other Osprey. Roche, Woods, Stanton and Rees found themselves with two squads of SEALs and their lieutenant for company. There was the usual bit of trans-Atlantic ribbing.

Ewoks are bad-ass,’ said Woods. Roche raised an eyebrow at that. Woods was the last person he’d imagined having an opinion about Ewoks, one way or the other.

Bad-ass?’ The seal laughed. ‘Fucking teddy bears.’ They’d crossed the Libyan coast a while back and no one had tried to shoot them down. This far out over the desert, Roche supposed that no one much cared. There probably wasn’t even any air traffic control coverage. People were starting to relax.

Fucking teddy bears who take out AT-STs with rocks and bits of tree,’ said Woods. ‘You see an angry Ewok, you best run, because that Ewok he’s going to go psycho on your arse and send you running home to mama.’

Ewoks are badass. Sorry, Gav, but they just are. Armed with sticks and stones, and with no advance planning whatsoever, they take on the most advanced mechanised infantry in the galaxy and they win.

The argument that the esteemed Mister Smith immediately levels against this is that stormtroopers might indeed, technically speaking, be the most advanced mechanised infantry in the galaxy, but if so that’s because they’re also the only mechanised infantry in the galaxy, and they’re also the most rubbish, the most unable to shoot anything they even remotely try to aim at, and their AT-STs are made of cardboard and old bakolite that’s been left sitting in the Endor sun for far, far too long. Add to that that the ewoks had the advantages both of surprise and of being intimately familiar with the terrain and even a battalion of well trained attack-hamsters could have won.

Maybe so. Poorly armed insurgencies have triumphed against technically far superior enemies in the real world when the advantages of surprise, terrain and incompetence on the part of the opposition have been in play. That puts the ewoks in the same boat as the likes of the Viet Cong and the Mujahadeen, hardly bands of pussycats either of them, but that argument misses the point. Just how rubbish the imperial stormtroopers are really has nothing to do with this.

Let’s have a little think over what actually happens. The ewoks capture Luke, Han, Leia etc. and their natural response is, apparently, to boil the intruders and eat them. Right from the off, it’s quite clear that ewoks, despite appearances, are not in the least bit cute, but in fact are murderously bloodthirsty. They then decide that C3PO is a god, although – and this is important – the point at which they start respecting their new god and doing what it says instead of what they damn well felt like doing is when their new god gets angry and start issuing threats and exhibiting mysterious floating-across-the-room powers. This language of violence is clearly the only language that ewoks understand. Beneath their cuddly exterior, ewoks are anything but.

Driven by their god, the ewoks take up arms against the empire. They have no qualms about this, but embrace it with vigour. No matter how incompetent the imperial stormtroopers might be, no matter how their AT-STs are actually made of cardboard glued together with stormtrooper snot, the ewoks don’t know this when they commit themselves. They are prepared to go up against an enemy with vastly better weaponry, with tanks and speeder bikes and heavy blasters (and, let’s not forget, a fucking great DEATH STAR right there in the sky overhead), and they do this without hesitation. Whether or not the ewoks of Endor are badass for winning that fight, they are absolutely terrifying for committing to it in the first place. They are bloodthirsty murderous zealots who give little to no thought to the preservation either of themselves as individuals or of their families or society. Driven by a god they’ve had for about twelve hours they fight with utter and absolute conviction, heedless of consequence. Maybe badass isn’t a strong enough word for a race of creatures who commit to what is effectively a jihad at the drop of a hat – ewoks are utterly fucking terrifying. And let’s not forget what happens at the end, either. That feast? There is a xylophone-thing made of storm trooper helmets and chest plates, so they clearly stripped the dead, but what, exactly, are they eating? What exactly are they celebrating? The pretty lights in the sky as the Death Star explodes? The victory of the rebellion? I don’t think so. The ewoks aren’t celebrating Freedom, or the death of the Empire. They haven’t the first clue about anything outside of their forest. No, they’re just happy stuffing their little furry faces with roast dead human.

Badass? Ewoks would hunt xenomorphs for fun. That hapless stormtrooper at the start of the teaser for Star Wars VII? He looks that scared because he knows the furry ones are coming.

Anyway . . .

This week’s giveaway is The Relic Guild by Edward Cox. I’ve not read it, but Ed and Gav have both been annoying me on Twitter of late by not agreeing with everything I say, so I thought I’d give one of Ed’s books away and deprive him of a sale. I’m nothing if not petty.

Usual deal – comment on this post before Sunday February 22nd and I’ll randomly select a lucky victim for a free copy. No special game this week, just wave and say hi to enter the draw, although I do encourage you to pitch in on the whole ewok debate or suggest some other alien species that have been sorely mis-represented. No no one has complained (so far) about how long it takes me to get to the post office and post things, but it can take a while and if you live abroad then it can take even longer. Sorry about that, but they do get there eventually. Well, so far. Am currently up to date with posting things.

[1] except for this bit, which I snuck in while Gavin wasn’t looking.

No tags for this post.

18 Responses to “Ed Cox Giveaway and Why Gavin Smith is Wrong About Ewoks (15/2/2015)”

  1. Adam Selby-Martin says:

    Why wouldn’t you be terrified of a waist-high (at best) furry psychopath? – I’d run for my life

  2. Mango Heroics says:

    You make a very convincing argument about the zealotry & general badassery of the Ewoks. Plus, they speak Tagalog, a Filipino language! Post battle cannibalism is a thing in that part of our world. You know, to take on the attributes of your slain enemies by eating them. The history of the Ewok relationship with the Phiilppines is shrouded in the mists of history, however.
    *ends impromptu lecture & waves goodbye*

  3. Shane Kiely says:

    What about warrior races that are depicted as being well hard but when they actually fight they turn out to be a bit rubbish. Like Klingons who once attacked Deep Space 9 in droves & were battered by a tiny woman, an engineer & a doctor.

  4. Lea Fletcher says:

    Ewoks are brutal little grisly mini-grizzlies. Bears, man. Totally a pushover on our planet, right? Size matters not!

  5. Sue Harrison says:

    Would love a copy.The Ewok debate could surely lead to many childhood beliefs being shattered.

  6. Stephen Haskins (@MyBookishLife) says:

    This is my Pro Ewok comment!

  7. Mister Ed says:

    I actually missed my chance to grab a copy of Relic Guild a while ago. I’d love to take a look at it.

    Ewoks scare me.

  8. Nicole says:

    You’re clearly right about the ewoks. Murderous little bastards that pretend to be cute, so they can get close enough to rip your face off and eat it…

  9. Simon Bradley says:

    I don’t know. Maybe the furry cuteness is a highly-evolved entrapment strategy, but we’re definitely on the slippery slope to J*r-J*r B*nks here.

  10. Anthony Butler says:

    Ewoks are badass? They are plot-line savers in a galaxy as far away from true heroes as they from reality. Sure they look cute, like little animated teddy bears, but the truth of the matter is that aside from stupid cuteness that were just there to save the films heroes from an ignominious quick death because any other story line was also too cheesy to let them escape, complete their mission and get the hell out of there. Next someone will say Jar-Jar Bleedin’ Binks was the intellectual giant of the first two films (chronologically speaking).

  11. Mark says:

    I’m looking forward to it.

  12. Ren Kuroya says:

    Halo’s grunts are actually just as terrifying. The covenant altered their birth rate so they didn’t completely overwhelm them. They may be used as cannon fodder in the novels and games but they are really quite impressive.

  13. Paul says:

    Ewoks all the ways

  14. Joe says:

    Even gremlins start off cute and cuddly… I’d hate to see what happens if you feed an Ewok after midnight.

  15. Mango Heroics says:

    Stop dragon yer feet & pick summon!

  16. Stephen says:

    The Gods of Random raise their eyebrow at Mango as they choose Joe… :-p

  17. Mango Heroics says:

    Never one to miss a chance to tempt fate (or to miss a chance to use a dragon pun) Mango returns raised eyebrow. Adds wink :)

  18. Mark Lechman says:

    THANK YOU!!!

Leave a Reply