There’s been something rattling around in my brain ever since Mike recently asked us what story we’d like to see in The Pitch – Novels Humbly Requested by Eleven-ThirtyEight. At the time I requested a Romance novel and still stand by that, but I debated on asking for a completely different type of book. As I walk around a bookstore or browse an online site my travels take me all over the place. Sure I love Sci-Fi/Fantasy and the majority of things I read come from there but I also frequent the Young Adult section. I used to feel goofy about this until I went to a panel by Tamora Pierce at a Con last year that was specifically designed to talk to adults about reading Young Adult books. Sure everyone and their parents read Harry Potter but I’d been reading Young Adult books (series I started as a young adult that I didn’t want to give up) for a long time before that became a fad. With the success of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and Ric Riordan’s Percy Jackson series plenty of authors have made the jump to writing a YA series on top of their adult series. Notable names like James Patterson and Brandon Sanderson have jumped into the genre with both feet hoping to capture some of the market share. So why hasn’t Star Wars made an attempt?
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The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook collects the material from the Heir to the Empire Sourcebook, Dark Force Rising Sourcebook, and The Last Command Sourcebook
Top Shelf has already celebrated the Dark Empire Sourcebook as one of West End Games’ best sourcebooks and an excellent entry point for the fan interested in gaining familiarity with the roleplaying game sourcebooks. The sourcebooks WEG released for Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy, however, may be an even better introduction to the sourcebooks for the beginner. Rich in Expanded Universe lore, they flesh out Zahn’s trilogy with backstory and background information vetted by Zahn himself, providing an excellent avenue for those familiar with the Thrawn trilogy — and who isn’t? — to dip their toes in the sourcebook pool, while offering much to the experienced fan as well.
The West End Games sourcebooks are worth exploring for anyone interested in the Expanded Universe — ultimately, they’re the foundation of it. Though the books, comics, and Ewok paraphernalia produced around the movies are the earliest Expanded Universe material, they were largely ignored during the Expanded Universe boom of the nineties. It was WEG’s Star Wars roleplaying game, produced after the films concluded in the eighties, that began the task of building a systematic Expanded Universe, a dense web of background information, in the pages of its RPG sourcebooks. When Timothy Zahn kicked off the EU renaissance, he used the sourcebooks as reference material, building on an existing base. West End Games returned the favor by releasing sourcebooks expanding on each novel of the trilogy; the three were later collected in The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook, with relatively minimal cuts to the collected material.
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“I have come to a conclusion that is important to me. I no longer believe that the momentum of a life headed in a worthwhile direction ends when that life does.
“I will never know how much good surrounding me is a legacy of Jesmin’s life. Her future will be invisible to me. But invisible is not the same as nonexistent. I will know that her deeds and accomplishments still move among us, phantoms that represent everything good the New Republic stands for, and I am grateful for it.
“That, at last, was what he meant to say.”
-Wraith Squadron, by Aaron Allston
If you’d told me when I started Eleven-ThirtyEight that would be find ourselves eulogizing two different people in our first eight months, I don’t know what I would have thought. Nevertheless, that’s now transpired—first Ann C. Crispin, author of the Han Solo Trilogy, passed away last September, and now Aaron Allston, ten years Crispin’s junior, has met the same fate.
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As you’ve likely heard by now, longtime Star Wars author Aaron Allston passed away suddenly yesterday after collapsing at VisionCon in Branson, Missouri. The news came late last night and threw us all for a bit of a loop, so we’ll be taking an extra day off to collect our thoughts, and we’ll be back with those on Monday.
Our thoughts are with Aaron’s friends and family, including the seemingly limitless number of fans who had the pleasure of getting to know him at a convention or three. Aaron wasn’t just one of our franchise’s best writers, he was one of us.
Yub yub, Aaron. And frothing disease to your enemies.
As one might surmise from the name, Star Wars is fundamentally a story of conflict. As is the case with most such tales, the plot is driven primarily by two major opposing forces: the Galactic Empire and a certain ragtag band of rebel heroes (and, in the prequels, the Separatists and the Republic). Each side is represented onscreen by a cast of unique and memorable characters, but it is also worth noting that being unique and memorable does not necessarily equal being interesting, especially when we’re talking about the antagonists.
People will long remember Darth Maul, not for any clever characterization or witty dialogue (of all the main antagonists of the saga, he might have the least dialogue of any), but because he wielded a double-bladed lightsaber and had horns growing out of the top of his head. In fact, for all that the saga is trumpeted as the rise and fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker, its approach to villains and their villainy is often ham-fisted at best and cringe-inducingly cartoonish at worst.
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