Fifteen years after 'Return of the Jedi', the New Republic is troubled both by an impending civil war above Bothawui and the apparent return of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Elsewhere, Luke tracks Mara Jade to the uncharted world of Nirauan and together they make a startling discovery about the mysterious Hand of Thrawn.
Zahn uses this book to bring up to date all of his leading characters (I suspect he thought this was to be his last Star Wars novel), meaning we get some serious development of some familiar faces. I enjoyed the subplot involving Karrde and Shada seeking out Karrde's fearsome former employer, which leads to the revelation of the Thrawn hoax and also to a fascinating bit of back story about Yoda's adventures on Dagobah. Pellaeon (did anyone else notice that in the 'author' review that name was spelled wrong? Can you say 'impostor'?) really comes into his own as the head of a new forward-thinking Empire. Ultimately, the best reason to buy this book is the development of the relationship between Luke and Mara, which avoids being a fantasy romance and is instead a more subtle development in which they simply realise that they don't want to be apart. The Luke and Mara storyline is also packed with other treats, like a Thrawn clone, the return of Soontir Fel, the discovery of Thrawn's people - the Chiss - and Mara's Jedi Knighthood.
The only thing I didn't like was the Qom Qae and the Qom Jha. Having psychic bats as main characters doesn't sit well with me.
on 30 December 2008
Having read the Thrawn thrilogy first (naturally), and only a few other Star Wars novels in-between including of course Spectre of the Past, in my view this book can be evaluated positively. The story lines are nice, especially bacause they focus on interesting characters. Mara Jade had been one of my favourites since reading Heir to the Empire, and so I was particularly pleased that she and Luke had one story line all to themselves. And what a one. Although admittedly the sentient "bats" were a bit ridiculous, the rest of that particular thread was absolutely great. It was exciting, and you also get some insight into both their characters. To be honest, after The Last Command, I had expected them to have come together much sooner (there's app. 10 years in-between and they are now both in their late thirties), but as the author himself stated in an interview, Mara needed to come to grips with her new position first. The best explanations always derive from an author, so I accept that! But, it does happen at last. I had to raise my eye brouws a little when the marriage question came up, but that is probably due to living in a culture where it is more common to set up a household together first and only thinking of marriage after some years of living together. Be that as it may, their coming together was logical, and furthermore was arrived at with perfect timing in the book. Great story line! A pity the Thrawn clone died, as the grand Admiral is one of my favourites as well (especially if you have read Outbound Flight, you will be interested in getting more Thrawn), especially when he learns battle tactics and stategies by studying the art of his opponents.
I liked it as well that Talon Karrde was back. This was an interesting character in Zahn's earlier Trilogy, and so he remains.
I also liked the Vengeance group, especially the interaction with their opponents. Regrettably this didn't prevent them from being succesfull.
Finally, there were some nice story lines concerning Han and Leia as well.
The negative of course was the - in my view - rather silly overall plot. I mean, people go to war for more stupid reason's than this, but it was a bit too obvious.
Therefore, not five stars but four. It still is a good read. And for fan's of Mara Jade, an abolute must!
on 9 June 1999
VISION OF THE FUTURE is probably one of the best Star Wars books I have ever read. Timothy Zahn far surpassed his writing in the original trilogy. VISION OF THE FUTURE is a fitting book to end Bantam's line of Star Wars books and to begin the storyline of Del Rey's NEW JEDI ORDER. I've always been a Mara Jade fan, ever since I read about her in HEIR TO THE EMPIRE, and I am glad that she is now engaged to Luke. They had always been friends, though the friendship seemed to cool after Mara left the Jedi Academy. They went through so much together while they were trying to infiltrate the Hand of Thrawn that I'm not surprised their friendship blossomed into love. Zahn's introduction to the Unknown Regions prepared us for the storyline of the upcoming books and the invasion of some kind of new enemy. The subplots (Wedge and Corrran on the Bothan homeworld, Han and Lando at the Imperial base, Bastion, General Bel Iblis borrowing the Errant Venture from Booster Terrik, and the Imperial scenes with the triumvirate and Admiral Paelleon-spelling?, and others I haven't mentioned) running through the whole book may have been confusing to first-time readers, but the scene-switching is easy to get used to. After all, we see the same technique used in all four Star Wars films! If we can handle it on the movie screen, why not in a book? I hope Timothy Zahn is slated to write some books for NEW JEDI ORDER; I know he would do a great job! Also, for all Mara Jade fans who don't know, there'll be a comic book series coming out about Mara and Luke, but that's all I can say! :-)
on 24 April 1999
I've always been a little sceptical of reading follow ups to the Star Wars series, but Timothy Zahn probably does the best job of continuing it faithfully.
Specter of the Past promised a great deal, but I have to say that I found it a little disappointing. But I was totally hanging out for the next novel, and I have to say, Vision of the Future doesn't disappoint. Ok, a few bits were maybe a little superfluous, but apart from that it was non stop action - and me not able to put it down for two days. If only all science fiction was likte this!
Anyway, the whole gang is back - Han, Leia, Talon Karrde (the incredibly charismatic smuggler), Wedge, Luke and Mara (my favourite character), plus a few new characters. I guess for a new reader, it might seem confusing at times, especially where the story keeps skipping from one place to another, but as usual, Zahn does a great job of pulling the whole thing together. And that Luke and Mara subplot kept me turning the pages when I got a little bored - I was totally rooting for them to get together in the end. The only thing - I was kinda hoping Thrawn really wasn't dead, I thought he was the best villian ever.
But now, with the prospect of marriage for Luke and Mara, and Peace between the Empire and the New Republic, is this the end of the series? Maybe it's better to finish it on that high note.
Verdict : best book in the series, great plot, and a sequel that really delivers the goods. All you Stars Wars fans out there, you will not be disappointed. May the force be with you.
on 2 April 1999
I enjoyed the latest storyline that Timothy Zahn had written, It includes a lot of interesting charaters from the Star Wars Universe, (ie Micheal Stackpoles characters from Rogue Squardron). And it ties up some loose ends from his original series Heir to the Empire. Now if you had read some of the reviews you know that Luke Skywalker proposes to Mara Jade near the final chapters of the book. Its is enjoyable to see that Luke is finally going to have the same happiness that his twin sister. Unfortunately I thought the same thing after reading "Children of the Jedi". It seems that there is something that always messes up Luke Skywalker love interest. If you have read all of the Star Wars Novels all of the potential love interest in Luke's life had fell in love with a Hapan Prince, died in a space battle, ran away because she lost her powers. Most of these happened in the sequels. I really hope that Luke does finally gets married and lives happily ever after, but until he says "I do " I'm gonna remain a skeptic. Another little thing that I found annoying about this book is that it reference several characters from the Comic book Dark Horse. Like the Reborn Emperor and Baron Fel. I did not know who these characters were and thought I missed several Star Wars novels. But overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend that it is "worth reading" I seriously hope that Zahn will continue to write more award winning Star Wars novels in the future, but I fear that all of the original Star Wars novels will be moving towards the eagerly awaiting Episode 1 that is coming out in May.
on 7 January 2000
Finishing off the story begun in Specter of the Past would have been difficult for anyone - except, it seems, Timothy Zahn. Everything about this book oozed class. It also set the scene nicely for anything that comes after. He's now done as much as George Lucas himself in building the Star Wars myth (and, frankly, more believably than Lucas ever did).
In Grand Admiral Thrawn, Zahn has created the best character in the Star Wars universe, and it's a pity that he didn't decide to preserve the clone in the fortress. It would have been an interesting plot development if he had allowed Thrawn to be resurrected for real and to lead the New Republic and the Empire against the "horrors" in the Unknown Regions.
It is nice to see that Zahn has decided to concentrate mainly on the characters of his own creation (Thrawn, Pellaeon, Talon Karrde etc) rather than rehashing old characters as some authors could be accused of doing.
And, for those who think it could be the end of the Star Wars story, don't forget that Zahn has left the door open for new enemies of the New Republic from outside the scope of the galaxy, rather than just leaving a New Republic versus Empire scenario in place. In many ways, what the book has set up could lead to a similar scenario to The Truce at Bakura.
It's more believable and better written than anything that's been done so far, and hopefully, people can learn from Zahn's triumph.
on 24 July 1999
WHOA!!! Vision of the Future blew me away! Timothy Zahn is the best author who ever lived!! The entire storyline is pure genius! Even though it's a book, I really felt honored just to read it. The various plots have a lot to offer as well. FOr example, Luke following his instincts and heading to the Nirauan system to rescue Mara turns out to be the best thing he could've ever done. For both him and for Mara. You see a side of Mara that remained hidden until then. And the Talon Karrde sub-plot! Whoa!! That was something to remember. Especially Jorj Car'das! The stories he told of his adventures with Yoda and Dagobah....well, they're amazing. And those Aing-Tii monks he learned to use the Force from! That one really gets you thinking. And anyone whos a fan of the X-Wing series know who Booster Terrik and Mirax Terrik Horn are. The son Valin is the perfect follow-up of I, Jedi's children hints, but the absolute fear I felt when reading about the Errant Venture's mission posing as the Tyrannic.....and Garm Bel Iblis' strict rules that nothing must stop them from completing the mission, even if it meant blowing a hole in the station where civilians may be killed....the station where a famous slicer is on a mission of his own.... Well...you get the picture. There's so much more to talk about, the sleeper clone regiments on Pakrik Minor, the "relaxing" vacation and then the galaxy changing missions of Han and Leia, Corran and Wedge trying to discourage sabotage attempts on the shields of Bothawui, the realization of what The Hand of Thrawn truly is, the increasing heat in the Imperial leadership, the tidbits of info on the Mistryl and the loyalties of Karoly and Shada, its all to much to fully explain with only 1000 words. But what other then STAR WARS and Timothy Zahn can pull that off? Nothing, nothing can and nothing will, just like nothing can or will top this book. A true must-have for STAR WARS fans. If you don't have a copy yet, get one. Period.
on 16 July 1999
VISION OF THE FUTURE, the book, is a fast-paced, intricately plotted novel that abounds with interesting characters and situations. VISION OF THE FUTURE, the audio cassette, is...a rather boring story about peace treaty negotiations and Imperial schemes that abruptly go awry. They cut out so much of the story that the little they left was confusing and ultimately yawn-inducing.
The sound effects were intrusive -- the background spaceship hum during the first scene between Paelleon and his aide was so loud that at first I thought I had a defective tape. Anthony Heald, the narrator, uses low, whispery voices for the women characters -- making them sound like a bad female impersonator act. And he gives Mara Jade a vaguely American Southern accent to boot -- ugh. I kept picturing a six foot man with five o'clock shadow laced into one of Scarlett O'Hara's dresses whenever Mara spoke; not a pretty picture. His other voices aren't as annoying (except for Shada's lisp -- where did that come from?!) but they are far from perfect bulleyes'. Almost all of the Luke/Mara story is thrown out (not a bad thing, really, considering Mara's voice) so much of the book title's significance is lost. I pity anyone who used the audiocassettes to skip the book and then has to deal with any future books' use of the Unknown Regions. Completely gone are all the scenes set over and on Bothawui -- not a complete tragedy except for any fans of Rogue Squadron -- but without these scenes one wonders just why the Camaas Document was so important.
To make a long review short -- BUY THE BOOK! SKIP THIS VERSION!
on 8 June 1999
No one was more excited than me when "Heir to the Empire" was published. A fan of the movie trilogy since I saw my first Star Destroyer, I snatched up all of the novels...at first. Zahn's first trilogy was exciting and, most of all, fun -- just like the movies. But as I read the other novels, my enjoyment began to fade. Luke opening up a Jedi Academy and keeping it open even after he discovers a powerful Dark Side influence?! Lando Calrissan -- galactic playboy searching for a rich wife?! An Imperial Grand Admiral with no tactical sense whatsoever who becomes soft and mushy when reunited with her lost love? Luke falling in love with a sentient computer who allows a woman to commit suicide so she can take over her body?! Puhleeze. I couldn't get away from the books fast enough. Then I picked up "Visions of the Future." WOW! Now I'm a fan again. And to make it even better, Zahn fixes nearly all the other authors' mistakes. It makes SENSE for Luke to have been under a Dark Side influence, which allowed him to make so many boneheaded decisions. And for him to overuse the Force to the extent that he no longer feels its subtle guidance. Finally Han has a job other than Mr. Organa Solo; and Leia is moved away from the tedious political machinations she is subject to as Head of State and becomes a councilor, a position that allows her to move around and is also more in keeping with her Jedi status. And as a big Mara Jade fan...I'm VERY happy. This has been foreshadowed since "Heir;" I thought the progression of their relationship was handled extremely well. If you notice, Mara and Luke are still wary of each other in the beginning, but as they share their innermost feelings and forgive each other for supposed past transgressions the relationship deepens. Mara is probably one of the most loyal characters in this universe; it makes perfect sense for her to stay away from Luke until she was sure that he understood the ramifications of his Force usage -- because once she gave her commitment she would be with him all the way, including if he fell to the Dark Side. She's been down that path before and didn't need to go there again...
Well, anyway, I'm hooked once more.
And for those of you wondering about the wedding, Dark Horse Comics has announced a limited series starting in November with the working title
The Marriage of Luke Skywalker. And yes, Mara is the co-star!
on 3 June 1999
Vision of the Future is by far the best Star Wars book since the original three books and movies. I have every Star Wars book available and I am a major fan.Timothy Zahn really captured the real feeling of the movies, I couldn't put the book down. I am oh so extremly annoyed with you amature Star Wars fans out there who read the books and then you criticize because you don't like whats going on. Too bad so sad. Whats wrong with Luke and Mara getting together? Any good Star Wars fan knows that Mara jis perfect for Luke, she is his other half, even is she is his perhaps his darker half. They're both strong in the force and strong willed. When the Empire Strikes Back came out some people thought that Leia sholud have been with Luke instead of Han. What a mistake that would have been. Callista was a wimp who left Luke because she was jealous that he could feel the force and she couldn't. I'm glad she's gone! I have been waiting for Luke and Mara to get together for a long time, and I'm so glad they finally did. I know that in the YJK and JJK stories they aren't together, but she hasn't really been mentioned yet either. They can always bring her back later. I also seriously doubt that this is the end of the series, they are so many other stories to tell, we know for a fact that Leia, Han, Chewie, Lando, and Luke are all still alive when Jaina and Jacen are sixteen and that Luke isn't sad or haunted about Mara's death. Also, what about the vision Luke had about seeing Leia's children grown up and fighting a new threat. They'll definatly have more books.