Star Wars fans please read (question about novels)

Marshall Alsup

Second Unit
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Jul 9, 2001
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Hey everyone,
I'm interested in reading some of the SW novels, specifically dealing with the Sith and the whole Emperor/Clone think. Basically I'd just like to know a little more about the SW universe. There are a million books out there though, and I though perhaps you guys could recomend a few to start with. Perhaps with a brief plot summary (not spoilers
).
Thanks,
Marshall
 

Jeffrey Forner

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Start with Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, and then read the sequels Dark Force Rising and The Last Command. Those are among the best of the new books.
I also enjoyed Kevin J. Anderson's Jedi Academy Trilogy.
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[Edited last by Jeffrey Forner on October 24, 2001 at 03:31 AM]
 

Dominik Droscher

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Keep in mind that Lucas doesn't care much about the books and so there are a lot of contradictions between them and his movies. If you really want to know how Lucas envisions the history of the Sith read Terry Brooks' offical Episode1 novelization.
 

TheoGB

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Well it might not be your thing but there is probably a pre-Empire Star Wars RPG sourcebook. I used to have the Episode IV one years ago when I played it and it contained a lot of stuff about the history between Vader and Kinobi. Of course, that was back in about 1990 so bugger knows how out of date it is now.

The Timothy Zahn novels really do kick some arse.
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PhilipW

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First off, there are only 2 series that deal with the Emperor and the clones. The Timothy Zahn trilogy (set 5 years after ROTJ) does deal with a clone, however, at this point in the timeline the Emperor is dead for good. The only other occurence of clones in the books is actually in the Dark Horse graphic novels Dark Empire which are set a year or two after ROTJ. This explains some more about the cloning the Emperor has setup.
I have to disagree with Dominik on the fact that Lucas doesn't pay attention to the books, as it has been stated that the new novels out now are in fact following a timeline overseen by Lucasfilm. The novels from Heir to the Empire to this new series were a little sporadic and mixed up in the timeline.
Hope this helps.
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Tom-G

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Keep in mind that the novels are not considered canonical material. They are separate from the films. Check this link for detailed explanations.
quote: the new novels out now are in fact following a timeline overseen by Lucasfilm.[/quote]
Not the timelines, the storylines. There hasn't been a novel strictly about the clone wars because George Lucas doesn't allow it.
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[Edited last by Tom_G on October 24, 2001 at 09:34 AM]
 

Jason Seaver

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Read the Timothy Zahn ones; ignore the rest of the post-ROTJ stuff (especially anything with Kevin Anderson's name on it and especially especially Vonda McIntyre's "The Crystal Star"). The clone-emperor only shows up in the comics - and while those have been uneven, there are a few gems in there, such as the two Mara Jade miniseries and the current "Tag And Bink Are Dead".
More high-quality fun can be had with the late Brian Daley's Han Solo Adventures and L. Neil Smith's Lando Calrissian Adventures; those came out around 1980 and give some backstore on the characters.
 

Dominik Droscher

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I have to disagree with Dominik on the fact that Lucas doesn't pay attention to the books, as it has been stated that the new novels out now are in fact following a timeline overseen by Lucasfilm. The novels from Heir to the Empire to this new series were a little sporadic and mixed up in the timeline.
Of course the books all have to go through Lucasfilm eyes but Lucas himself said that he only read a few of them. My comment was reffering to the contradicting history of the Sith which is not as much present in the Zahn books but in some others out there (Dark Lord of the Sith comics e.g.). Exar Kun anyone?

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Marshall Alsup

Second Unit
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Jul 9, 2001
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Wow, thanks guys. Thats a lot of info, and it sounds like the Zahn novels would be the best place to start.
Thanks,
Marshall
 

JonZ

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The way I remember it was that Lucas was very impressed with Zahns books-but the novels arent "edged in stone" and theres alot of stuff written in 20 years of Star Wars novels that are bound to cuase some inconsistancies. Like comparing a XMen movie to the years and years of history in the comic book, the movie is a entity of its own.People know the history and theres lots of stuff that is "common knowledge" but I really doubt Lucas would allow what was written in a SW novel affect what he puts in a movie.
Im waiting to see if the stormtroopers are clones-those who know about Han Solos background and how he met Chewbabba will know why.
I read lots of SW books during the 80's,especially the Han Solo books.Someone lent me the Zahn Trilogy,but I only finished book one.
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Kenneth English

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Read the Zahn books first, otherwise you're likely to be put off altogether (some of the others are real crap):
THE ORIGINAL "THRAWN TRILOGY" (and still the best):
Book 1: HEIR TO THE EMPIRE
Book 2: DARK FORCE RISING
Book 3: THE LAST COMMAND
THE SECOND "THRAWN" SERIES:
Book 1: SPECTER OF THE PAST
Book 2: VISION OF THE FUTURE
The only other one I'd really recommend is I, JEDI by Michael Stackpole. And I'll second the thought that you should steer clear of any of the Kevin Anderson books.
 

PhilipW

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Mar 5, 2001
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So is nobody reading the current "New Jedi Order" books at all?
I'm finding them quite good with some new ideas and problems. Something fresh. The good guys have rarely come out on top in these books.
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Jason Seaver

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I started on them, but I sort of fell behind. They're really pandering to the knee-jerk sci-fi fanboy idea that "dark is good", without much of the wit or excitement that made even The Empire Strikes Back, well, fun.
I absolutely despise the atrocity R.A. Salvatore committed (though he claims it wasn't his idea), I don't like watching Han mope because of it, the Yuuzhon Vong just don't do it for me as villains (not to mention they hadn't produced a really good main villain in the Vader or Thrawn mold by the time I stopped reading), Mara Jade has been on the sidelines, I'm sick to death of the Solo kids, and they're so cluttered with characters I have no real attachment to... I mean, in the 10 years or so since Heir To The Empire, has anyone other than Timothy Zahn added a character to the SW universe that's worth seeing again?
Zahn just seems to "get it" better than any of the other writers. I remember someone pointing out that each of the original Thrawn books started out with a "shot" of a Star Destroyer, because each of the movies did. Maybe if Del Ray gets Zahn to write some New Jedi Order books, I'll have to play catch-up (though I'd rather see him have a chance to play in the Episode I-III range like Greg Bear did, hopefully with better results), but right now, I'm taking the attitude of "if I don't read them, they didn't happen" toward them.
 

Daniel DeLawter

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I agree - Timothy Zahn's series' are the only way to go.
I actually met Timothy Zahn and got my books signed by him. (His niece was in my high school class and he came to our small, hometown book store) He was kinda weird - I thanked him for all his hard work, (Remember at the time his first trilogy came out, hard-core fans had NOTHING to look forward to) and asked him to sign something unique. He said "no", and I got:
To Dan: Best Wishes, Timothy Zahn
=)
As an afterthought, Splinter of the Mind's Eye is an interesting read because it slipped through before Lucas decided to audit Star Wars novels.
[Edited last by Daniel DeLawter on October 25, 2001 at 01:49 PM]
 

PhilipW

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Mar 5, 2001
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Jason,
Just to give you a heads up. Han has quit moping and is quite a bit darker, Anakin has turned into a bad-ass Jedi that could possibly follow in his grandfather's footsteps, there's been an addition to a family, Mara is well and ready for action, and it appears the Vong warlord may turn out to be a fairly ruthless villan.
Now with all that being said, it has taken quite a while to get into the "juicy" parts of the series which I think are coming up in the next few books, starting next week Oct. 30.
Just my take on the series.
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Adam_S

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like everyone else said, if the name Zahn is on it, then it is absolute tops as far as Star Wars goes. (geek alert wasnt' Thrawn a character in the comp game Tie fighter? so Zahn didn't create him, just made him the most awesome star wars villian yet.) And again as other's have said stay completely away if it has Anderson's name on it. Also relatively worthless are The Crystal Star (though interesting because of the only instance of molecule manipulation using the force in some very creative ways), The Yevetha series (Black Fleet Crisis) WTF is up with the White Current, this was so incredibly wrong... finally toss out the two barbara hambley books, I was eleven when i read children of the jedi, and even i picked up that the limitations on Luke where incredibly ridiculous.
the short list of good stuff
Zahn - the two thrawn series fantastic, only one creation rival mara (nothing touches thrawn) which leads us to
STackpole - The X Wing books are good, but hampered by huge casts that are hard to keep track of, however Corran is second only to Mara as new creations go. I, Jedi is highly recommended, and is one of my personal favorites, it also manages to fix some of the damage Anderson wrecked all over the place with his serieses.
Tyers - anyone can pick up Truce at Bakura and be in for a wonderful ride, I think this book matches empire in tone more than any other, it's tragic, poigant, and the Luke/Leia/Han relationship/banter is spot on, plus you get some really brutal villians. She has also written the best Star Wars book yet in Balance Point (see below).
Wolverton - I really want to read something else SW by Dave Wolverton, The Courtship of Princess Leia was fantastic. Great banter, relationships, battles, and new characters, plus you have one of my favorite moments ever, when luke is healed and taps into the force as a master for the first time (to me this is the point luke becomes a master, he reaches a level of connection he's never had before, but (my theory) it does drain him quite a great deal so I don't see him as reaching for that power again, but rather the connection)
The funniest books, and sometimes the most unpredictable and enjoyable are Aaron Allston's Wraith squadron
If you like the solo kids (which I do!) the corellia books are fun, if implausible, steer clear of the jedi academy books, most every tie from those series has been cut or neatly tied off by now in NJO (thank god).
The New Jedi Order
Vector Prime - good setup, good characterization of the classic trilogy characters, weak on the others, dialouge is okay, and action is okay but hampered by knowing nothign of how stackpole did xwing battles/flight.
Dark Tide by Stackpole - fantastic stuff! this is great, lots of Corran which i love, and lots of great training of jedi as well, plus lots of tragedy and bad stuff happens, fantastic fantastic! no han though

Some two book series about Han, you can ignore these, unless you've read every single SW book at least twenty times you won't know who the hell the twenty odd million characters that pop up in this series are.
Balance Point By Kathy Tyers - my personal favorite, astoundign characterization especially for luke and mara, great job with th solo kids, excellent dialouge, close tightly woven story, a bit coincidental, but what great star wars story isn't?
Edge of VIctory duology
i've got about 150 pages left in the second one, but i really enjoyed these, lots of Anakin and Tahiri
most of the young jedi knights and junior jedi knights idiocys tied up very neatly here, only Tahiri seems to remain, and rightly so! great creepy stuff done with her, the jedi gain a tiny new possibility of hope in somethign anakin does.
that about wraps it up
for reference the only SW books i'm aware of not having read are the bounty hunters trilogy.
Adam
 

Jason Seaver

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geek alert wasnt' Thrawn a character in the comp game Tie fighter? so Zahn didn't create him, just made him the most awesome star wars villian yet
Nope, Timothy Zahn created Thrawn. Folks just happened to love him and Mara, so they got used by everybody. Not always to good effect - there's an amusing scene in, I think, "Specter Of The Past" where Zahn basically undoes what Kevin Anderson did with Mara in his books.
 

Joe D

Supporting Actor
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May 21, 1999
Messages
838
Well, I'll just add my praise to Timothy Zahn's works.
Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command are incredible books. Sceptor of the Past and Vision of the Future are great as well.
Since no one mentioned these, I'll recommend(Note that these don't have anything to do with Cloning):
Tales From the Mos Eisley Cantina
Tales From Jabba's Palace
Tales of the Bounty Hunters.
These three books are a collection of short stories written by various authors, including Timothy Zahn, and expand on what individual characters during the Trilogy were doing. Some of the stories are great.
I also recommend the Han Solo Trilogy by A.C. Crispin. The books are(These also don't have anything to do with cloning):
The Paradise Snare
The Hutt Gambit
Rebel Dawn.
I rank these books just behind what Timothy Zahn wrote.
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Joe Dahlen
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