Monday, March 25, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#83)

821. Pa Tho. The Pa Tho were a long-extinct species. They were the creators of something called the Great Subcrustal Tubeway, apparently one of the greatest archeological discoveries in a thousand years (in the roughly post-movie era).

When your history is such that you're calling things "discovery of the millennium" and you mean it literally, you live in a danged old society.

Rating: 3/5. The Pa Tho and the P'Chek are good reminders of just what the "old" in "Old Republic" really means.

822. Pa'lowick. The Pa'lowick are amphibians who look... well, frankly rather comical. Do you recall the singer with the long... snout-trunk-thing in Jabba's palace? She was a Pa'lowick.

There are apparently two subspecies of Pa'lowick, presumably because of continuity error. Some Pa'lowick lose their tusks by the time they reach middle age, while others maintain them for their whole lives. They have gangly limbs and rotund bodies, supposedly because this is well-designed for their amphibious lifestyle. Their tusks are attached to large mouths that they really only use when young; when they mature, their diet is restricted by the fact that they now feed through those little snout things. How they're still supposed to use their tusks when their jaws apparently fuse shut is anybody's guess (supposedly the ones that retain them do so because they developed in a more predator-heavy region).

Apparently, they're big on storytelling and music (especially singing), because the first member of a people that appears in any given story must be an exemplar of the whole people, right? [/sarcasm]

They apparently traded out precious gems for technology oriented towards maintaining their traditions. That sounds funny, but it makes some sense.

Their homeworld was isolated because of general galactic lack of interest, but the Yuuzhan Vong paid it a visit during their invasion. Happily, the damage they rendered was temporary and the planet and society made a full recovery.

Rating: 3/5. Perfectly average, really.

823. Paaerduags. Paaerduags are some kind of symbiotic pair of species. A green creature is fused backwards to a larger, hunchbacked creature, so that it faces in the opposite direction. The two each have limited control over the shared body; the green creature apparently needs to ask the other half to turn around if it wants to see behind it.

While this sounds awkward and improbable, there's a certain amount of sense to the idea, in that facing opposite directions gives them a greater total field of vision.

Quirkier is that the green part speaks English/Basic while the other half speaks a language that humans can't pronounce or even entirely hear. Technically, supposedly, "Paaerduag" isn't the real name that the dual species uses for themselves, it's something humans couldn't reproduce.

Rating: 3/5. I like parts of the idea, but the conglomerate creature still looks too awkward to live. There's also a bit of nonsense about how one needs more ears to hear it. Um, no.

824. Pacithhip. Pacithhip are extremely short-legged dinosaur-esque elephant-headed guys. Apparently, their tusk structures determine what caste they belong to. Also, because they have very short legs, they often wear mechanical stilts to fit in better in a galaxy built for long-legged humanoid creatures. While this is probably a continuity snarl cover, it is also an adorable (if sad) notion.

Also, apparently a Pacithhip Jedi sprayed somebody in the face with his trunk once. Hilarious.

Rating: 4/5. Do you notice that the presence of silly Jedi always seems to boost my ratings?

825. Pada. Pada apparently have yellow fur, round faces, horns, and large claws well-suited for climbing. They apparently also have very good night vision and an honor code that prohibits them from killing anybody ever for any reason (and are generally peaceful and junk). I was going to give them a 2, but then I read that the representative member was named Sidney Shortfang, and that made me smile.

Rating: 3/5.

826. Paiguns. The Paiguns look a lot like Muuns, to the degree where if Star Wars was Muunocentric fiction instead of humanocentric, they'd probably be called "near-Muuns." Despite this body shape and skin described as scaly and knobbly, they are also called "toad-like," which honestly just seems pejorative at this point.

They're apparently known for not liking fighting, being big on math and engineering, and using lightning rods on their climatologically active planet to power their cities.


Rating: 3/5.

827. Palarians. The Palarians are from Pal Goral, which is a funny name for a planet, because it rhymes.

Anyway, many Palarians were recruited to work in the Corporate Sector, where it turned out the jobs they had been promised were basically slavery, so the Palarians started a guerrilla war.

You go, dudes.

Rating: 2/5. Because this particular case remembered that nobody is supposed to be native to the Corporate Sector.

828. Palmiens du Tigre, or just Palmiens. The ambiguously canonical Palmiens were humanoids, and were rendered extinct during an Imperial stormtrooper training exercise.

...Wow. Just to clarify, apparently the genocide was specifically the "graduation exercise," or whatever.

Rating: 1/5. That sounds like a pretty nasty training exercise. But it might not exist in the Star Wars universe. Meh.

829. Pan-preneur. The Pan-preneur look like Mon Calamari, at least a little bit, and supposedly are distant relatives. The article also claims, on the other hand, that "many aquatic species" share similar genetics. ...Yeah, I'll bite my tongue on that, there's a lot wrong with that statement but I just don't have the time or energy right now.

Their planet is named Sonn Vilmari. That's a nice name for a planet.

Rating: 2/5.

830. Pantorans. Pantorans are among the many blue-skinned just-about-humans of Star Wars. While blueness is usually appealing, the particular shade is kind of... off, and further it looks rather like a cheap Photoshop job. The article also takes the time to explain what humans look like. Sorry guys, still unnecessary, especially the bit about distinguishing females by their breasts. It's still creepy.

Anyway, they also have yellow markings on their faces, which are modestly interesting, and have the odd feature of being extremely cold-resistant. Yeah, whatever.

Rating: 2/5. Get out of here, you Chiss wannabes.

-Signing off.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Truth and Lies In Advertising (Are of No Concern Here)

So I still don't have an internet connection. I do have this Transformers toy commercial, which is one step away from the greatest type of toy commercials ever made, though.

That being stop-motion commercials where the actual toys appear to be moving under their own power.

Seriously, those are the best.

And also illegal in the United States, as indicated by the Transformers ad having the "toys do not move on their own" disclaimer.

-Signing off.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species (#82)

(Obviously, still no regular internet connection for me. But I'm still here.)

811. Orlak. The ambiguously canonical Orlak apparently have pointy ears and "nasty-looking" tails. They also can interbreed with humans, as evidenced by the fact that the sole Orlak character is half-human/half-Orlak.

He also was named Kelly and looked quite a bit like Wolverine, a combination that amuses me.

Rating: 2/5, because that's funny. (If it hadn't been, it'd have been 1/5, because I'm savage and cruel.)

812. Orrananans. The Orrananananananans... were supposedly rendered extinct by Xim the Despot, according to Evocar, the famous play written by a Hutt.

Rating: 3/5, because I'm never sick of hearing about the play written by a Hutt, and the name Orranananananan...anan... reminds me of one of the Discworld books. (I'm also apparently silly.)

813. Orryxians. The Orryxians had the nickname "Cats," but they'd hate to hear one call them that. Makes one wonder if they actually had any resemblance to cats (there's no way to tell from their article). They also are famous for their booze, Orryxian Catsblood. Hm.

Rating: 2/5. Casual ethnic slurs and booze, everybody!

814. Orthellins. All we really know about the Orthellins is that Lando Calrissian apparently got his private spaceship, Lady Luck, from a member of their royal family.

Probably because... Well, probably because he had sex with her.

Rating: 2/5. That... does sound like Lando.

815. Ortolans. The Star Wars galaxy would be an interesting place to visit, as noted by old jokes from the early days of the internet that note that you probably live there if the blue elephant playing the piano wasn't a drug/alcohol-induced hallucination.

Yes, Ortolans are blue dudes, and they look like pudgy little... elephants. Sorta.

They like to eat, and they like music. The Ortolan we see in Jabba's palace in ROTJ was a musician who was paid in food. (He wasn't especially bright. He also only laughed during the one scene because everybody else was, so he figured he ought to as well.)

There was also an Ortolan Jedi, although he's actually only really a retcon.

Rating: 4/5. Little blue elephant Jedi, even retconned little blue elephant Jedi, are... well, hardly bad.

816. Ossan. Ossans... apparently have been described in at least three incompatible ways. General agreement seems to be that they're not very bright and rather strong. And chubby.

Rating: 1/5. Enough of that.

817. Oswaft. Oswaft are a race of gigantic spacegoing jellyfish-like beings. They're comparable in size to small capital ships (average size seems to be a wingspan of over half a mile-and yes, they have wings because they also look like manta rays), excrete valuable materials as waste, can enter hyperspace just by thinking about it, and communicate with electromagnetic radiation of sufficient intensity to destroy a poorly protected spacecraft (such as a fighter or a larger vessel with its shields down).

NOTE: Significant spoilers for the Lando Calrissian Adventures, a set of stories I recommend, follow.

Their mere existence was considered threatening enough to the Emperor that he assigned one of his allies, Rokur Gepta, Sorcerer of Tund and Centran Scrivinir, to blockade their home, the ThonBoka (literally "star cave," as in "cave made of stars," in the Oswaft language), and destroy the influx of nutrients into it. Lando Calrissian had befriended one of them when he (the Oswaft) had mistakenly tried to eat the Millennium Falcon, thinking it was something like a ThonBokan crustacean (he was smart enough that he wasn't under that impression for very long), and when he heard about what was going on, he came to help (he incidentally was also interested in settling accounts with Rokur Gepta, who was sort of his archnemesis at that point).

Things went really far south when, while Lando was trying to help the Oswaft elders come up with a plan, some other elders went and "shouted" at the lead ship of the blockade fleet... and because "shouting" was a concentrated form of their electromagnetic speech, they melted it and got the fleet all mad.

The fleet killed quite a few Oswaft and threatened to use one of Rokur Gepta's superweapons to render life in the ThonBoka impossible unless Lando gave himself up (apparently Gepta was allowed to not exterminate the Oswaft if he didn't feel like it-you'd think the Emperor would be annoyed at that), but fortunately, a really big fleet of spaceships that were really well armed showed up and decided to kick the Imperial fleet out.

And I could tell you who they were, but I want to talk about them later. (You could read the book yourself, for that matter.)

Anyway, the Oswaft are awesome.

Rating: 5/5. One of my favorite alien races from one of my favorite Star Wars stories.

818. Ovoni. Humanoids. Rebelled against Empire. One was Jedi. Now he dead, 'cuz Darth Vader.

Rating: 1/5. This has been an exercise in brevity.

819. P'Chek. The P'Chek were an ancient civilization that apparently resembled Twi'leks, and they may well be the oldest civilization known to exist in the Star Wars galaxy.

I've mentioned civilizations that are quite old, such as the Gree, Celestials, the Kwa, and the Force Demons. All quite old, and they all also rubbed shoulders with each other, because their civilizations existed around one hundred thousand years before the movies' era.

The P'Chek existed a little bit before that. Their civilization was at its height one billion years before the movie era.

For reference, one billion is ten thousand times the size of one hundred thousand, and there wasn't any such thing as multi-cellular life on Earth a billion years ago.

Rating: 4/5, because DANG it's fun to read about a probably unimportant civilization that's super-mega-old.

820. P'w'ecks. The P'w'ecks were slaves to the Ssi-Ruuk. They were probably technically the same species. They were extremely downtrodden and often depicted as having no wills of their own, but eventually the P'w'ecks had an uprising and formed an alliance with their human neighbors on the planet Bakura. This uprising was partly enabled by the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, making it one of the few places where the Vong didn't totally mess up everything for everybody. (It was ambiguous in the stories as to whether the P'w'ecks had survived the Yuuzhan Vong, but apparently it's been established that they did and are doing well. Which is good, as I'm sick and tired of reading about all the dead guys the Yuuzhan Vong left in their wake. THEY WEREN'T THAT INTERESTING, GUYS.)

Rating: 4/5. This may seem high, but I'm going to talk about the Ssi-Ruuk later, and they're cool, so these guys are cool by association (what with being essentially the same species and all).

-Signing off.