The Dark Scribbler

Jedi Harris (Buffy/Star Wars)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 3rd August 2004 (4)
Tags: Novel

This one's nominated in The Crossover Awards in the "Unfinished" section. Why, then, was I foolish enough to read it? I who swear I won't read Works In Progress? Well, I did check the last part (part 14) before I read it, and it has gotten to a reasonable stopping point, even though it isn't actually finished. A sort of end-of-part-1 stage, so I'm going to recommend it anyway.

I had no idea, until I stumbled across "The Xander Zone" (a pro-Xander fiction site) that alternative Halloween scenarios were actually pretty common, since M. Scott Eiland's "Silk and Sandals" was the first such story I'd come across. I'm very grateful that I didn't find "Jedi Harris" before I did my remix, or I may have given it up as pointless, since the scenarios are uncomfortably similar: in "Silk and Sandals", Xander takes Samurai Jack's costume instead of the Soldier, while in "Jedi Harris", as one might expect, Xander dresses as a Jedi -- Obi Wan Kenobi. Both very calm, poised, competent sword-masters. However, here, instead of leaving things at the end of Halloween, that is only the beginning.

The first thing that is impressive about this AU, is that it isn't a Xander-Sue. Sure, the setup is that Xander ends up with (the potential for) Jedi powers, but despite this sign of potential Xander-Sueness which would make many run away very fast, the author manages to avoid it very well. Most importantly, Jedi powers are shown as a two-edged sword, with Xander rightly anxious that he not go over to the Dark Side. It also avoids the "everyone admiring" symptom, because Xander keeps his powers secret. And finally, Xander doesn't save the day. He just renders assistance.

The second thing is the careful way the author steers the AU-ness. Things become slightly better, but none of the major disasters have been avoided. It also brings in continuity from things that originally happen later in the Buffyverse (and from Angel too), such as an encounter with Doyle, an incident with a delivery truck for The Initiative, and a quick peek at what Lindsey is doing at Wolfram & Hart. This makes things much more interesting than a straight rehash of the episodes would have been.

The third thing is that the prose is very readable. I can't exactly remember particularly outstanding bits, but, it's got a nice turn of phrase. Such as Ethan's thought in part 1:

He still wasn't sure quite why Ripper had settled here. It was possible that it was just the lure of the Hellmouth, although Ripper was now dear old fluffy where-did-I-put-my-cocoa Rupert. On the outside anyway.