The past three months have been ridiculously busy. Fortunately with only one week of classes left I find myself finally ahead of the curve. Now armed with that most precious commodity, time, I can finally devote my attention to my obsessive pursuit: The Star Wars Chronology Project.
It is my hope to get in seven posts this month. Big words I think, but with 95% of my professional life organized until the end of the month I think I might make it happen.
The source I’ll be looking at today is book 12 in the Jedi Apprentice series, The Evil Experiment. Picking up from the cliff-hanger of The Deadly Hunter, the story begins with Qui-Gon Jinn imprisoned by a mad scientist, looking to study his Force abilities, while his intrepid padawan frantically searches the galaxy for any clues to his whereabouts.
Presumably the second installment in a three-part story arc, The Evil Experiment sheds further light on the Sorrusian bounty hunter from The Deadly Hunter, and concludes with Qui-Gonn’s near rescue by his padawan.
Much of the story is about Obi-wan honing in on his Master’s hidden location, while Qui-Gonn engages in a battle of wits with his captor Jenna Zan Arbor.
Zan Arbor, an intellectual descendant of our old friend from millennia past Doctor Demagol, is obsessed with finding a scientific explanation of the Force, and is using Qui-Gonn Jinn like a lab experiment.
What strikes me most in this story is the development (or rather the introduction) of the “mad scientist possessed with finding a reason for the Force” archetype. This particular character has become a bit of an epitome in Star Wars Mythos. So far in my accounting of Star Wars history, Watson is the first to use this type of character (So far that is. This story was written in 2001, and this type of character could be present in an earlier work I have yet to read), but the model is used again by JJM in his story The Secret Journal of Doctor Demagol. In that tale, Doctor Demagol, a Mandalorian warrior and a doctor, is looking to genetically manipulate future Mandalorian warriors by discovering the gene responsible for Force ability, then inserting that gene into future Mandalorians. He does this by performing gruesome scientific experiments on Force sensitive subjects. He even got his hands on Alek Squinquargesimus, the future Darth Malak.
Likewise, Zan Arbor’s reasons for finding a scientific explanation of the Force have roughly the same purpose as Demagol’s: power and control. She too gets her hands on a powerful subject of study: Qui-Gonn Jinn.
In my write-up on JJM’s Demagol, I argued that Miller was attempting to “save” the Force for us. I proffered the idea that JJM was looking to re-mystify the last remaining religious element of Star Wars, and recuse it from the clutches of cold and empirical science. By the end of the story Demagol has no explanation of the Force, and he somewhat begrudgingly admits what its users purport it to be: a mystical energy field which defies explanation.
I can only expect Zan Arbor to come to a similar conclusion, but only if she is not stopped first of course.
For my next post I’ll be examining book 13 in the Jedi Apprentice series, and possibly the conclusion of this particular story arc in The Dangerous Rescue. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.