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Literature / Star Wars: Red Harvest

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And you thought that zombie Imperials were bad.

Red Harvest is a Star Wars Legends horror novel from 2010, written by Joe Schreiber. It is a prequel to his 2009 novel Death Troopers.

Taking place during the Old Republic Era, the Odacer-Faustin Sith Academy is about to experience a horror the likes of which they have never experienced before. The leader of the academy, Darth Scabrous, is conducting experiments to prolong his life that result in the creation of flesh-eating zombies. To successfully preform the ritual, he needs the Murakami orchid as one of the essential ingredients. Unfortunately, the orchid is Force-sensitive, and it requires its Jedi caretaker Hestizo Trace to stay within one meter of it to stay alive. This results in her being kidnapped, and it also results in her brother Rojo Trace dropping everything he was doing and coming to her rescue.

Essentially, this book is a Zombie Apocalypse in the Star Wars universe.

This book contains the following tropes:

  • Academy of Adventure: If by "adventure", you mean having unakki eye spiders released by your headmaster among the student body to cull the weak (and resulting in eleven students going blind, two dying and one taking their own life), then yes, adventure!
  • Academy of Evil: The Sith academy is downright Darwinian. Students at best view each other with suspicious disinterest. Socializing is a sign of weakness, after all.
  • The Ace: Lussk is the academy's strongest student, a fact that he and everyone else is very well aware of.
  • Alien Geometries: There are rumors that Sith architecture warps the laws of space-the truth is they at least are capable of a limited form of Mobile Maze and Bizarrchitecture.
  • Badass Bookworm: Kindra avoids the dueling scene at the academy, focusing on studying ancient Sith texts to become more powerful, although she's more of a back-stabber than a combatant.
  • Bait the Dog: It's mentioned that Scopique once saved Jura from a bully who was humiliating, but then it's revealed his primary (if not sole) reason for doing so was to make sure Jura owed him a favor, and he filmed the whole incident in case Jura ever felt like refusing.
  • Big Bad: Darth Scabrous.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Rojo Trace's reaction to learning his sister was kidnapped was to go charging single-handedly at a Sith Academy to rescue her.
  • Big "NO!": This is how Scabrous responds when Hestizo manages to free herself from the sacrifical slab she was tied onto just when he is about to plunge his sword down.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: Zombies are described to have black, soulless eyes.
  • The Cassandra: Played with. Many of the Sith scoff at Ra'at's whispers of experimentation on the students, but some (such as Kindra, Scopique, Hracken and Hartwig) take him seriously, and its later revealed that Ra'at himself has actually been cultivating this image (and isn't quite sure what to believe himself) as a form of mind games to use against his enemies.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Any fight Lussk has with a student.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Consciously averted (at least in the short-term). Scopique and Hartwig are alarmed by the disappearing students, and the reaction of the Sith authorities, as well as rumors of experimentation, and want to find out what's going on. Rather than investigate themselves though, they blackmail Jura into doing it.
  • The Dead Have Eyes: The Murakami Zombies don't need eyes. They can hunt by a terrifying scream based form of echolocation. They do, however, enjoy using still functioning eyes to psych out prey.
  • Deadpan Snarker: At least a few characters qualify.
  • Deathworld: Odacer-Faustin, an icy tundra with enough latent geological activity to slowly turn the Sith academy into a perpetual ruin.
  • Determinator: Pretty much all the characters if they wanna survive, but special mention goes to Hestizo Trace, Rojo Trace, Tulkh & Mnah Ra'at.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The fate of every single Sith, Tulkh, Rojo, and assorted others. Considering the story is set mostly in a Sith Academy, it's easy to consider many of the Sith POV characters to be Hate Sinks and Asshole Victims to varying degrees (save perhaps for Maggs, Jura, Ra'at and Nickter). Readers may occasionally root for them, then you learn just how innately horrible and worthy of Laser-Guided Karma they really are.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone at the academy is afraid of Lussk, and for good reason.
  • Enemy Mine: Tulkh teams up with the Trace siblings to fight the zombies. Averted with the surviving Sith students, who don't encounter them.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The tower in the center of the academy.
  • Expy: Rojo Trace is a less successful Bryan Mills from Taken. He even does the monologue threat to the kidnapper, albeit over the Force.
  • Fertile Feet: Hestizo Trace to a limited degree.
  • Got Volunteered: Several of the Sith students (such as Jura) became Sith initiates simply due to the misfortune of having been born on occupied planets, rather than any inherent malice.
  • Green Thumb: Even as a member of the Jedi Agricultural Corps, Hestizo Trace stands out as an amazing plant empath.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The HK droid who was acting as Scabrous' valet pulls one of these near the end of the novel. He jumps out of the Mirocaw onto the academy's central tower which was being swarmed by nearly every zombified Sith on the planet and turns turbolasers on the tower, destroying himself along with it.
  • Hive Mind: "The Sickness", to some degree, networks all the zombies. They learn and grow by adding more to their horde, but still audibly call to each other.
  • It's Raining Men: In the aptly titled chapter "Flesh Blizzard", zombie Sith acolytes who were climbing up Darth Scabrous' tower start raining down from it when they notice Hestizo and Tulkh at its base.
  • Losing Your Head: In some zombie cases, decapitation proves ineffectual to stop them as Scopique finds out after he manages to decapitate the zombified Jura with a thrown vent cover. Jura's headless corpse falls down, but then gets back up, picks up his head and throws it at Scopique, who receives an infecting bite from it.
  • Mad Scientist: Darth Scabrous, and before him Darth Drear.
  • Meaningful Name: The librarian Dail'Liss' name on his homeplanet means "lover of knowledge".
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The title of the novel is a reference to "Blue Harvest", the development title for Return of the Jedi.
    • The zombie Sith hiding inside undead Tauntaun carcasses is a reference to The Empire Strikes Back, where Han and Luke keep themselves warm in icy wastelands of Hoth by staying inside the corpse of a Tauntaun.
  • Noble Savage: Tulkh, to some degree. He's still a cold blooded killer, but he has some sense of honor and asks to be killed by vacuum rather than turn into a zombie.
  • Non-Human Undead:
    • Among the various humanoid zombies, there is one zombified Neti (a tree person), who was the librarian of the Sith Academy and whose roots are everywhere on its soil. Its body made from bark mimics the rotting appearance of the zombies with open sores that leak fluids, dried branches and blackened leaves.
    • At one point, Tulkh and the HK droid he is accompanying are attacked by undead Tauntauns (horned snow lizards or more precisely, "reptomammals"). Some of them have zombie acolytes hiding inside their bodies.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They're dead, can run and sprint, and aren't killed by head shots. It takes full dismemberment to stop them. Of special interest is it's virus based and can jump species, a hive mind with Demonic Possession properties, and fully sentient. Oh, and they're infested with insane versions of the Murakami Orchid.
  • People Puppets: Lussk has developed this Dark Side ability, and trains by forcing weaker students into un-winnable duels. At least one of his defeated opponents committed suicide afterwards.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Hracken, the Sith combat trainer, constantly frowns.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Ra'at is one of the shortest Sith students, and also one of the best duelists.
  • Restraining Bolt: On Scabrous' HK droid. Poor thing thought it was a Protocol Droid.
  • Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration: The zombies don't heal, and continuously rot in horrifying ways. They do, however, seem to get stronger and shrug off physical damage. Oddly, the fact that they have a living orchid inside of them that can grow so much as to pop open their skull seems to make them tougher.
  • The Stoic: Rojo Trace, who even ignores the advances of an attractive Republic captain.
  • Talented, but Trained: Ra'at, who has a lot of force power and combat skills, but has also spent a long time honing them before risking challenging Lussk.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Realizing that he has been infected, Tulkh chains himself up so that Estinzo can throw him out of his ship's airlock. She complies, sending the zombified Lussk with him out of the ship.
  • Two-Faced:
    • After successfully turning the Sith acolyte Nickter into a zombie, Darth Scabrous beckons his creation to come to him. Nickter obliges by attacking him, and biting half of his face off. Scabrous then the spends rest of the book with this look.
    • Sith acolyte Rucker also loses half of his face when he is attacked by zombies, and sports the look when he himself shambles around looking for flesh to eat.
  • Villain Protagonist / Deuteragonist: The various Sith who have a POV chapter, such as Nickter.
  • The Virus: "The Sickness". These being Sith, a couple actually try to do Transhuman Treachery just to realize that for all its power and guile, it considers them fuel. It's able to fool Sith into thinking it's the Dark Side, but is itself unable to use it.