You can quote me the odds whenever you want, it’s not like I’m listening to them!
Art By: Ryan Hendrickson
Written By: Karen Traviss
“They say they’re making a quadrillions of droids. A quadrillion has fifteen zeros. A thousand million millions, not a few hundred. Are we missing something here?” – Prudii Skirata
There’s not much to Odds, but that’s what makes it a good short story. Karen Traviss’ tale is short and streamlined. It gets right to the point and it wastes very little time in getting there. The in and out approach that the storytelling takes on matches what is going on in the story. Odds comes across like a series of fast jabs from a boxer. The story switches vantage points, but it never feels drawn out. To put it simply Odds is lean, and it functions as well as it does because of its willingness to be lean and forego padding out its page count.
On top of its lean nature the further draw of Odds is that it is more time spent with the Mandalorians that I have come to want to spend a lot of time with. The perspective of Kal Skirata and his various sons is always a welcome one. Odds is another example of how Miss Traviss is able to give every one of them individual voices. In the few pages that constitute the story the three Skirata brothers-Ordo, Prudii, and Mereel- as well as Atin all come across as unique individuals with traits that easily define them. This is no small feat for a short story about already established characters, and it shows how much of a handle Miss Traviss has on the characters she has helped to develop and flesh out.
For as lean and as mean as Odds is, there’s still some interesting nuggets of information to be found in the story. I would never define Odds as a short story that didn’t need to happen. Getting to read about the Clones discovery of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’s fascination with cloning is an important moment in Star Wars as far as I’m concerned. It’s not the biggest, nor is it the most important revelation. But, it is important and the short story gives the revelation enough gravitas so that the importance of what I was reading was easily felt.
Odds isn’t a perfect short story. There are a few moments when I felt that Miss Traviss tried to get too deep into her characters heads. They weren’t moments that ruined the story, but they did stand out next to the leanness of the rest of Odds. Still, Odds is yet another quality work from Miss Traviss. It’s part of a greater whole, but Odds stands all on its own as the telling of an important realization within the course of the Clone Wars. Odds is a brisk and easy read, and one that all Star Wars fans should devour when they get the chance.