Star Wars March Madness: Seven Seeds

It is finally March and that means it is time for brackets. All kinds of brackets from College Basketball to dessert toppings and everything in between. With that in mind this blog will be doing a Star Wars authors bracket.

I am taking on the Vince McMahon role for this endeavor. That means I picked the authors who I felt most qualified to be considered. I don’t think I made any huge omissions but some of you may…This is the 32 authors I think have had the most impact on the Star Wars book universe and more importantly have entertained all the Star Wars book readers. They will be broken into four brackets; Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda, and Grand Moff Tarkin. The Authors have been seeded  1 through 8 again most due to my own personal judgement while taking into consideration how the authors works are viewed by the readers at large.

With that being said I give you the seventh seed in the Luke Skywalker bracket:

Kathy Tyers

KathyTyers

Kathy Tyers is the author of two Expanded Universe novels, and several short stories that appeared in the short stories collections that were all the rage in the late 1990’s. Now let us take a moment to explain some tournament rules. As a seven seed Tyers will have to win at least one matchup to be invited to future tournaments. We added this rule so that we can rotate in additional authors as new canon books get released and any older EU writers we may have overlooked. This will be a tough task as her seeding gives her a first round matchup with Kevin J Anderson. Live fan voting will take begin Monday March 20th via Facebook and Twitter.

Tyers has grown on me a lot in the past year as I started a EU reread with her first Star Wars novel and forgot that she wrote one of the New Jedi Order series. I also remember her short stories fondly so I thought she deserved a place in the tournament and I think her chances of earning a win are better than many may think. We shall see on that one.

bakura

Her first Star Wars work was The Truce at Bakura and it takes place immediately after the events of Episode 6. So immediately that the rebels are still at Endor. The first time I read this book I remember not liking it much. However, after reading it again I found it more enjoyable.

In timeline placement it takes place around the same time as the new canon entry Aftermath. I think it is immensely fascinating to compare how each timeline is built out and even though Aftermath is heavily scrutinized as an opening to a post Return of the Jedi book it is superior to Bakura.

I think my main problem with this book is it introduces a new alien theat too soon after the destruction of the head of the EMpire. While there are elements of dealing with a post Emperor Empire in this novel; I think that should have been the focus. Instead of a new threat lets see our heroes fully destroy the Galactic Empire. That is why I consider the Aftermath trilogy to be superior. This was the first standalone book of the EU and the fourth book published only being preceded by The Thrawn Trilogy.

Her next and final Star Wars novel would be Balance Point. This was the second hardcover in the NJO series. Remember this series was set up so that every fifth or so book would be hardcover and would contain bigger plot points for the overall story. The in-between books would tell the story from less central characters and what not.

The thing that bugs me about this book that while Tyers characters would appear later in the NJO series they are not here. The formula in the later part of the EU publishing history was to have each author use their characters they were most familiar with to move the overall plot along. While this is a fine book I wonder why Tyers wasn’t given the chance to do this. Maybe that is just how the story developed.

I like this book a lot because it deals a lot with moral issues. We see Jacen and Anakin Solo deal with the things they have done and the Jedi/men they are becoming. We see Jania Solo get shot down lose her sight and start to question her role in the Jedi Order, the military, and even her own family. Those are very interesting things to explore. For the most part this novel takes place on one planet so those deeper plot beats become more important as we learn about these Solo offspring. Not having read the Young Adult series this was my first exposure to them and I found them highly entertaining.

While Tyers is not my favorite EU author I do find her work highly entertaining at Bakura grew on me a lot the second time I read it. Especially the beats of Leia struggling with the fact that Darth Vader was her father. The EU needed more beats like that overall.

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The Truce at Bakura (Star Wars)

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Star Wars March Madness: Six Seeds

It is finally March and that means it is time for brackets. All kinds of brackets from College Basketball to dessert toppings and everything in between. With that in mind this blog will be doing a Star Wars authors bracket.

I am taking on the Vince McMahon role for this endeavor. That means I picked the authors who I felt most qualified to be considered. I don’t think I made any huge omissions but some of you may…This is the 32 authors I think have had the most impact on the Star Wars book universe and more importantly have entertained all the Star Wars book readers. They will be broken into four brackets; Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda, and Grand Moff Tarkin. The Authors have been seeded  1 through 8 again most due to my own personal judgement while taking into consideration how the authors works are viewed by the readers at large.

With that being said I give you the sixth seed in the Grand Moff Tarkin bracket:

Martha Wells

Martha_Wells

The decision to rid Star Wars canon of the Expanded Universe works was pretty traumatic for all of us. However, it was particularly crappy for Martha Wells. When Martha came to work in the Star Wars universe she likely thought she was writing one part of a trilogy of books that would tell some back story of some of our favorite heroes. When Disney came in the series Empire and Rebellion became a duology with the third instalment becoming an addition to the new canon.

Her first and only Star Wars novel would be the first book in this series. It takes place shortly before Episode 5 and tells the story of the Rebel Alliance getting the infrastructure in place for Echo Base on the Ice Planet of Hoth.

razorsedge

That a pretty good premise and I am a big fan of books that look to develop a character like this. The main of idea of this series is that each book would focus down on one of the main heroes and show us how they became the people we saw in Episode 6. It is a great element of story telling but for fans to buy in they have to care not only about the character but their journey. The problem I seem to be having with the Disney books is I am not so sure I like the characters I saw in episode 7. They makes it very hard for me to care about the journey that got them there. Or maybe I am just a bitter fan by who is pissed the mouse took my favorite books out of their timeline.

Wells is worthy of a lower seed but no so low as to get her in a bad match-up and not earn another bid into a future tournament. More on how that is to work in the near future.

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to your collection by using the following Amazon link:
Razor’s Edge: Star Wars Legends

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Star Wars March Madness: Six Seeds

It is finally March and that means it is time for brackets. All kinds of brackets from College Basketball to dessert toppings and everything in between. With that in mind this blog will be doing a Star Wars authors bracket.

I am taking on the Vince McMahon role for this endeavor. That means I picked the authors who I felt most qualified to be considered. I don’t think I made any huge omissions but some of you may…This is the 32 authors I think have had the most impact on the Star Wars book universe and more importantly have entertained all the Star Wars book readers. They will be broken into four brackets; Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda, and Grand Moff Tarkin. The Authors have been seeded  1 through 8 again most due to my own personal judgement while taking into consideration how the authors works are viewed by the readers at large.

With that being said I give you the Sixth Seed in the Yoda bracket:

Kevin Hearne

kevinhearne

Kevin Hearne was hired to write a Star Wars book. He thought he was writing the third installment of the Empire and Rebellion series. Then Disney bought Lucasfilm and his novel was turned into Heir to the Jedi. This would be the third novel published in Disney’s Star Wars canon and is the first novel to be written from Luke’s point of view.

That gives me great pause because the other first person point of view books have not been great. We here at the book club are currently struggling through a read of I, Jedi another book written in first person point of view. Granted us, the audience, have a stronger emotional connection to Luke over Corran Horn so maybe Heir will be an easier read.

HeirToTheJedi

I feel very strongly that Star Wars tales are best told in third person from a god perspective where the reader is looking in on the events happening. However, I like books that try to change-up the formula however this book does not get great reviews. I think that stems from how poorly Disney canon has done with dealing with Luke Skywalker.

While my main complain of the Expanded Universe (as it went on and on and on) was that the story kept being centered on Luke, Han, and Leia. Disney canon has the opposite problem as its works are very much Luke deficient. In this timeline we see Luke burn the body of Darth Vader and then we see a bearded Luke in the final scene of The Force Awakens. There is nothing telling us how he got from one point to the other (unless this is covered in comics I have not been made aware of). It’s possible in the run up to Episode 8 that Disney starts telling that story but overall there is a lack of understanding  of Luke’s journey.

It sounds like to me that Heir is attempting to tell the story of Luke between Episodes 4 and  5. In the EU this transformation of Luke was detailed in the book Shadows of the Empire (and takes place between episodes 5 and 6). That is a much beloved work and it seems Del Rey and Lucasfilm is inviting fans to compare the two timelines. I think that is a fight they are always going to lose as the hard-core EU fans are already predisposed to dislike the new canon.

I really feel like the book readers are starving for Luke’s story and maybe that is genius marketing to build up anticipation for something or maybe it is a really bad oversight. We shall see.

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Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars

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Star Wars March Madness: Six Seeds

It is finally March and that means it is time for brackets. All kinds of brackets from College Basketball to dessert toppings and everything in between. With that in mind this blog will be doing a Star Wars authors bracket.

I am taking on the Vince McMahon role for this endeavor. That means I picked the authors who I felt most qualified to be considered. I don’t think I made any huge omissions but some of you may…This is the 32 authors I think have had the most impact on the Star Wars book universe and more importantly have entertained all the Star Wars book readers. They will be broken into four brackets; Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda, and Grand Moff Tarkin. The Authors have been seeded  1 through 8 again most due to my own personal judgement while taking into consideration how the authors works are viewed by the readers at large.

With that being said I give you the sixth seed in the Darth Vader bracket:

John Ostander

john_ostrander

Take a moment and think about the vastness of the Star Wars Galaxy. I have been seeing Star Wars movies in the theater my entire life, and I am old enough that I graduated high school before the Internet became the next big thing. I have been reading Star Wars books for 20 years and there are a number of Star Wars authors who I am not familiar with. Then there is John Ostander who may be the most prolific Star Wars comic book writer of them all. I know virtually nothing about him or his work.

Which brings me a point where I want to discuss how and why I picked these 32 writers for this tournament. Since this is a Star Wars Book Club Joint…we are focused on guys who have published written word works. So I stayed away from writers from the TV and movie projects. I also wanted to include authors from both timelines to see how the fans react. It was important to include writers from all the big areas of Star Wars publishing; books, comics, and young adult books.

Ostander writing work includes being the main writer of Star Wars: Legacy. This comic series is set 137 after the Battle of Yavin and the main character is Cade Skywalker who is a bounty hunter of all things. This is an era of civil war as a Sith Lord sits on the Imperial throne and facing challenges on all sides. This comic would run for 50 issues.

For his next series Ostander would go a lot farther in the other direction. Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi takes place 26,000 before Episode 4. This series tells the tale of an order of force sensitives that eventually became the Jedi Order.

On top of that Ostander also contributed greatly to the Star Wars: Republic book which was a comic series set in the prequel era. Many of his arcs from this comic would go onto be published as trade paperback collections.

He also worked on Star Wars: Vector. There he teamed up with John Jackson Miller for a series  that takes a single character on a journey through several continuities. That is a very interesting idea to me, and after I become more versed in the comics as a whole it is something I will definitely be checking out.

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STAR WARS LEGACY VOL 4 5 & VECTOR VOL 2 SLIPCASED EDITION

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Star Wars March Madness: Six Seeds

It is finally March and that means it is time for brackets. All kinds of brackets from College Basketball to dessert toppings and everything in between. With that in mind this blog will be doing a Star Wars authors bracket.

I am taking on the Vince McMahon role for this endeavor. That means I picked the authors who I felt most qualified to be considered. I don’t think I made any huge omissions but some of you may…This is the 32 authors I think have had the most impact on the Star Wars book universe and more importantly have entertained all the Star Wars book readers. They will be broken into four brackets; Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda, and Grand Moff Tarkin. The Authors have been seeded  1 through 8 again most due to my own personal judgement while taking into consideration how the authors works are viewed by the readers at large.

With that being said I give you the sixth seed in the Luke Skywalker bracket:

Michael Reaves

reaves

Michael Reaves is an interesting addition to this tournament because he got his Star Wars start writing television. The Ewoks and Droids cartoons were a important part of my childhood, not to mention the only Star Wars we were getting in the middle to late 1980’s. Reaves would write episodes for each series and not that I can recall anything but the major plots and characters of any of (I am in fact old) I still remember both series fondly.

His first Star Wars Novel was Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter. This book was published in 2001 in between the releases of Episode One and Two.A major flaw of the prequel trilogy is the secret of Darth Sidious and all Star Wars media released at this time was forbidden to reveal that not so clever secret. This book contains the most overt acknowledgment of that simple fact. The novel might be my favorite prequel era work, and its told in two parts both of which are very intriguing.

medstar

Next up Reaves would team with Steve Perry for the Medstar Duology. I have not read these books but I am a huge fan of telling Star Wars stories in new ways and with characters that are not in the films. Or stories that take characters from the background of the films and give them something interesting to do. I think Medstar had the potential to be the X-Wing series of the prequel era and since I am a big fan of both these writers I bet that I will very much enjoy these books when they work their way to the top of my to read pile.

From there Perry and Reaves would co-write the Death Star novel. This is not my favorite work as I found the device used to tell the narrative stale. Not everything can land for everyone and even though I enjoy both of these authors this is a low point for both of their Star Wars resumes.

I am not a huge fan of the prequel era works especially mostly because by the time we get to Lucasfilm producing Star Wars: The Clone Wars we encounter a load of continuity problems created as George Lucas crafted the story for that series. For the most part the post Return of the Jedi continuity is maintained. With the Clone Wars multi media project a lot of that work gets lost. The prequel era is a mess and I bet that is why Disney has so far mostly stayed as far away from it as they can.

Reaves next work runs afoul of changed continuity. Coruscant Nights would be the next series he worked on, and he would write the first two editions of this series by himself. The first book, Jedi Twilight, is set in the months after Episode Three which of course is post Order 66. Jedi Master Even Piell is the main character and the problems start is that character is killed off at the height of the Clone war. Little details like that bug the crap out of me and it is the main reason I have avoided this series.

The second book of the series, Street of Shadows, is basically a murder mystery with the character Jax Pavin becoming the central character. There are more continuity errors here as the book depicits the death of Padme Amidala as happening before Palpatine declared himself Emperor. This kind of stuff drives me crazy and maybe it shouldn’t and maybe it can be explained but it is the story team’s job to insure this kind of stuff does not happen. someone here really dropped the ball.

The third book sees Reaves team up with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. Patterns of Force is notable in that this is probably the first time a character in the Star Wars universe comes to find out that Darth Vader was once Anakin Skywalker. The audience knows this to be fact but that does not take away the drama from characters in universe discovering this secret. Star Wars Rebels did this very well when Ashoka learns this truth and I hope that this book does as good a job dealing with this topic.

Reaves and Bonhhoff would team up again to write Star Wars Shadow Games which tells the some of the back story of Dash Rendar the fan favorite character from Shadows of the Empire. I have not read this book either but it is in my to read pile.

thelastjedi

This writing duo would team up again for their next project. The Last Jedi was to be the fourth Coruscant nights book but wound up being a stand alone follow up to that series. Once more the story centers on Jax Pavan and the resistance group Whiplash.

I always though that the Star Wars team did a better job with their timeline and continuity than say the Star Trek universe of shows, movies, and books. However, once The Clone Wars started changing what had already been written I gave up on that idea. It is really shame that a lot of Reaves’ work is diminished in my view because Lucasfilm would go on to change it. That is sloppy to me and it offers little encouragement to go back and read these books.

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Star Wars: Darth Maul, Shadow Hunter (Star Wars – Legends)

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Star Wars March Madness: Five Seeds

It is finally March and that means it is time for brackets. All kinds of brackets from College Basketball to dessert toppings and everything in between. With that in mind this blog will be doing a Star Wars authors bracket.

I am taking on the Vince McMahon role for this endeavor. That means I picked the authors who I felt most qualified to be considered. I don’t think I made any huge omissions but some of you may…This is the 32 authors I think have had the most impact on the Star Wars book universe and more importantly have entertained all the Star Wars book readers. They will be broken into four brackets; Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda, and Grand Moff Tarkin. The Authors have been seeded  1 through 8 again most due to my own personal judgement while taking into consideration how the authors works are viewed by the readers at large.

With that I give you the fifth seed in the Grand Moff Tarkin bracket:

Greg Keyes

keyes

I am very familiar with Mr. Keyes’ Star Wars work having read all three of his Star Wars novels at least twice. He wrote three of the novels in the New Jedi Order series, including the penultimate novel.

conquest

His first two books were the Edge of Victory duology, The first book, Conquest, centers the story of Anakin Solo and his young friend Tahiri Veila. Its a great coming of age tale as Anakin for the most part is on Yavin by himself and must make choices about what kind of person/Jedi he is going to be. The main antagonists of the book are the humans from the Peace Brigade and we learn a lot about the Yuzhaan Vong, their culture, and their shamed ones.

There was to be a trilogy of book that came before this novel and the story goes that it was to deal with some of these elements as well as Danni Quee who was introduced in Vector Prime. If the NJO series has a flaw the way Quee gets lost in the overall narrative through the middle part of the series is assuredly it.

The second book, Rebirth, focus on several stories but at its core once again is Anakin and Tahiri. Added to the mix this time is Corran Horn. It is here where we begin to see the effects of the Vong torture of Tahiri. That is a plot point throughout the rest of the Expanded Universe. By this point in the EU for me the stories that focused on the non-movies characters became my favorite. It is a shame Tahiri likely will not make it to the new canon.

prophecy

Keyes’ final EU contribution would be The Final Prophecy. What sticks out to me about this novel is the arc that ties it back to the novel Rogue Planet. My first time reading through the NJO series was I was pretty confused about the living planet thing. Even though the search for the planet was detailed in the Force Heretic trilogy. I think a lot of that has to do with my distaste for concentrated efforts to link the EU to the prequel era, and some mental exhaustion due to reading a series as big as the NJO series was (19 books for those counting at home).

I guess I always view this book as moving the pieces around the map to get them setup for the finale. Every time I get to this book doing reread I think that and I always attribute it to nerd exhaustion as this is a massive series of books.

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Edge of Victory 1: Conquest (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order)

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Star Wars March Madness: Five Seeds

It is finally March and that means it is time for brackets. All kinds of brackets from College Basketball to dessert toppings and everything in between. With that in mind this blog will be doing a Star Wars authors bracket.

I am taking on the Vince McMahon role for this endeavor. That means I picked the authors who I felt most qualified to be considered. I don’t think I made any huge omissions but some of you may…This is the 32 authors I think have had the most impact on the Star Wars book universe and more importantly have entertained all the Star Wars book readers. They will be broken into four brackets; Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda, and Grand Moff Tarkin. The Authors have been seeded  1 through 8 again most due to my own personal judgement while taking into consideration how the authors works are viewed by the readers at large.

With that being said I give you the fifth seed in the Yoda Bracket:

AC Crispin

accrispin

I have a lot of love for Ann Carol Crispin. Mostly because she wanted to write the back story of Princess Leia, a trilogy of book to take place between Episodes 3 and 4. While we get bits and pieces of that story through Star Wars Rebels and in other books I always thought Leia should get in her own book…and then I read Bloodline, or at least tried too. Crispin’s Star Wars main contribution ended up being the Han Solo Trilogy. These books deal with a 19-year-old Han and how became the lovable scoundrel we all know and love.

On top of all that this trilogy was released at a point in time when the Expanded Universe books had become…stale, or maybe just bad. The Han Solo Trilogy comes in at the very end of Bantam Spectra’s run with the Star Wars book license. Planet of Twilight which is probably my least favorite EU novel. It’s predecessor trilogy was The Black Feet Crisis which is my least favorite EU trilogy. I hadn’t yet found the X-Wing series which was in the middle of its initial run. And it is true the Hand of Thrawn Duology was almost ready to hit stores. However, so was I, Jedi which is divisive among the fans and to be perfectly honest its a tough read.

hstrilogy

The Han Solo trilogy beings with the book The Paradise Snare and we begin with a 19-year-old Han who is conscripted to the pirate Garris Shrike. In this novel we learn why Han is skeptical of the force and religion in general and the book comes to a close with Han enrolling in the Imperial Academy.

The Hutt Gambit is the next novel in the trilogy and its purpose is mostly to tie together characters we know are from Han’s past (from many other forms of media) but most notably does not speak of Han meeting his fury buddy Chewbacca. That is the biggest flaw with this trilogy and it seems to come by directive from the powers that be.

The third book in the trilogy, Rebel Dawn, skips a period of time and has many other EU novels that come chronologically between it and the other two books. It also skips ahead in time within the narrative to allow for the other Han Solo Adventures to take place. This novel opens with Han winning the Millennium Falcon and closes with him about to sit down for that fateful meeting in that Mos Eisley cantina.

This is a really fun trilogy and it really is too bad that we never got a similar look into pre Original Trilogy Leia. Ann has also written several short stories for the shot story collections that were a big part of this time in the world of Star Wars books.

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Star Wars Han Solo Trilogy Set: The Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, Rebel Dawn

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