A BRIEF HISTORY OF THIS SITE by Warren Dunn
It all began, of course, with Star Wars. I remember the first time the movie came to television. It was heralded as a TV event, which it was. In the special that preceded the movie, people were interviewed and asked how many times they had seen Star Wars. People had seen it hundreds of times! I was impressed, and I wondered how often I had seen Star Wars. It had only been seven or eight times, and I decided to start making a note every time I watched it, for potential future use. I did the same for my other favourite movies, all products of Lucasfilm Ltd.
Later, I started keeping a database which listed the books that I had read, and how much I liked them. As my reading list consisted mainly of Asimov, Tolkien, Weis and Hickman, and some non-fiction space books, I was never hard pressed to like a book. Even if the book was not that great, throw in a successful conquest or romance at the end, and Iíd give it a great rating. That database has long since disappeared.
In 1988 I started a more ambitious database, which listed the books I had read, along with the authors, the dates that I read them, and how much I enjoyed the books. There were no synopses or comments at all. And so when I look at the pages that has become my archives (SF and Fantasy), I often wonder what a book was about, since I can no longer remember much, or anything, about the plot or characters.
For this reason, in 1995, when I was learning the database program Microsoft Access, I decided this would be a good place to start. I included a few lines of comments, describing what I liked or didnít like about the books that I read, in addition to the information in the other database. Still, the ratings were generally high, even for poorly written books. As long as the book was solid at the end, it got a good rating.
Eventually, I started feeling the same way about movies. I remembered having seen a movie, but had no idea what it was about, or even whether I enjoyed it at the time! So in 1998 I began writing brief summaries for movies, as well. These turned into reviews as my opinions started seeping into the summaries. I decided that, for both books and movies, I might as well remember exactly what the book was about, and how I felt about it. This was especially important to the growing number of intertwined Star Wars books. I revised my ratings scheme to something more consistent, and lumped all the stuff I didnít like into one group, grading everything else various degrees of a pass, and revising the ratings of all the older books.
And so the review database was born. And one morning I woke up with the idea of transferring it all to a website. Of course, what I wanted required more than just a template to dump the information into, which is why, even now, I canít yet use the full potential of the new Access 2000 to create web pages directly from the database. I also have no way of creating a searchable index, which is how Iíve programmed Access on my desktop. I need a server for that.
Ossus is a planet in the Star Wars Universe. Until about four thousand years before the destruction of the Empireís first Death Star, it was a place of Jedi study. It was the location of a vast library, which contained an astounding amount of Jedi lore and information concerning the Galactic Republic.
Unfortunately, Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma fell to the Dark Side of the Force, and instigated what became known as the Sith War. Kun and Qel-Droma forced the evacuation of Ossus, but the Jedi did not have enough time to remove all of the contents in the library.
Four thousand years later, the Sith War was barely even a memory, and the planet Ossus was barely a name on a star chart. The Dark Side rose up again in the form of the Emperor Palpatine. His New Order destroyed the Jedi, but was opposed and defeated. Luke Skywalker grew up and became the only Jedi Master in the galaxy.
One of his adventures led him to the planet Ossus. There, he discovered the descendants of several Jedi who had not abandoned the planet during the Sith War. However, they were ignorant of their Jedi heritage. But they did know the entrance to a place that seemed to be haunted. The ancient Jedi Library.
The texts and artifacts were in fragments, after four millennia of decay. It would take years, even decades, to piece them back together.
Early in its inception, I compared this web site of reviews to the Ossus Library. It certainly doesnít contain material as valuable as that ancient Library did, but it seems to be in the same state of affairs. Older reviews are simply a line or two describing how I liked a book or movie. Even older books donít have reviews, and many donít even have synopses. I have tried to obtain a graphic of each book cover, or movie poster, but I have not always been successful, especially with older books and TV or IMAX movies. Some that I have obtained are of poor quality.
But like the restoration of the Ossus Library, this is an ongoing project. The reviews have become more comprehensive, and as I go on, I will obtain better cover and poster images, and I may lazily flip through books to add their synopses to the web site. This site went on-line September 26th, 1999, and I have changed my mind several times on formatting. I am sure that there will always be many changes forthcoming, as I decide that I like some ideas better than others, and decide to make alterations.
This site was originally intended for myself alone, but the switch to starwars.com in early 2000 made it available to an audience that I did not know existed. From then on, it has become for all who visit. Unfortunately, starwars.com web hosting shut down in December 2001, precipitating the move to tripod.com. I was sad to see the demise of so many web sites, but I was also getting frustrated with the system that was used to create the site. The current home of the Ossus Library is much easier to work with.
It is still for myself and visitors. That has not changed. Thanks for coming, and please come back.
May the Force be with you,
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