Tag Archives: Aaron Allston

Like Wraith’s In The Night – SWBTF #38

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Wraith Squadron! Aaron Allston! X-Wings! Wedge, Wes, and Face! All on the next Star Wars Beyond the Films, YOUR Star Wars discussion podcast! YOUR ticket to the EU!

This week true believers, Fanboys, Fangirls, and respected aliens around the galaxy, your EU Guru; Nathan P. Butler and The Defender of the EU; Mark Hurliman recruit you once again. This time to discuss Aaron Allston’s part of the X-Wing series, all part of the trail that is their Hunt for Mercy Kill. Strap in and tighten the crash webbing, Star Wars Beyond the Films is setting off on a trip to adventure!

Focusing this time on Aaron Allston’s installments of the X-Wing series, this week’s episode touches on those timeless EU novels;

  • Star Wars: X-Wing- Wraith Squadron
  • Star Wars: X-Wing- Iron Fist
  • Star Wars: X-Wing- Solo Command
  • Star Wars: X-Wing- Starfighters of Adumar

Once again, your dynamic duo cover entirely too much X-Wing goodness in their ONE hour, but don’t worry, give it ago; you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you might even get a little education on the EU while you’re at it. But no matter how you slice it and dice it, you’ll be having another adventure Beyond the Films. So once again, sit back, hang on, enjoy the show and may the Force be with you!

Email:         beyondthefilms@starwarsfanworks.com
Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/swbeyondfilms
Twitter:      twitter.com/#!/SWBeyondFilms

A Couple Ole’ Rogues – SWBTF #37

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Rogue Squadron! Michael A. Stackpole! X-Wings! Corran & Wedge! All on the next Star Wars Beyond the Films, YOUR Star Wars discussion podcast! YOUR ticket to the EU!

This week true believers, Fanboys, Fangirls, and respected aliens around the galaxy, The Defender of the EU; Mark Hurliman, and your EU Guru; Nathan P. Butler, draft you into the New Republic Starfighter Corps for a test flight with Rogue Squadron. Strap the crash webbing tight cause Mark’s piloting this one!

Focusing on Michael A. Stackpole’s end of the X-Wing series, this week’s episode touches on timeless EU works such as;

  • Star Wars: X-Wing- Rogue Squadron
  • Star Wars: X-Wing- Wedge’s Gamble
  • Star Wars: X-Wing- The Krytos Trap
  • Star Wars: X-Wing- The Bacta War
  • Star Wars: X-Wing- Isard’s Revenge

In fact, your dynamic duo cover too much once again, but don’t worry, give it ago; you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you might even get a little education on the EU while you’re at it. But no matter how you slice it, you’ll be having another adventure Beyond the Films. So once again, enjoy and may the Force be with you!

Email:         beyondthefilms@starwarsfanworks.com
Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/swbeyondfilms
Twitter:      twitter.com/#!/SWBeyondFilms

Top 10 Standalone Star Wars Novels

Lately I have been hearing concern from fans of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. They say the universe is too big and bogged down in continuity for new fans to jump in.

I disagree.

Yes, there are A LOT of novels and many of them are a part of a LONG series, but there are many standalone novels as well. When a new fan comes to me and asks me where to start in the EU I don’t point them to the Thrawn Trilogy (gasp!) or the New Jedi Order. I instead point them to one of the many standalone novels. A single story with a defined beginning and end that is not directly connected to a series. When you are new to the EU even a three book series can be intimidating. Starting someone out with a single novel gives them a chance to test the waters of the Expanded Universe to see if it’s for them. If they come back to you after finishing the novel excited for more, then it might be time to move them onto the Thrawn Trilogy.

Here is a list of 10 standalone Star Wars novels that could be a jumping on point for someone new to the EU. If you have seen the movies you can pick up any one of these novels and enjoy it.

10. The Courtship of Princess Leia
Author: Dave Wolverton
Release Year: 1994
It’s eight years after the Battle of Yavin and Han Solo still hasn’t married Princess Leia?? Thus begins the story of The Courtship of Princess Leia.  A story where Han kidnaps Leia to prevent her from marrying another man.  Han is such a romantic.  Original Trilogy fans will be happy to hear that this story features Han, Leia, Luke, and Chewbacca.  It is also the book that introduces the Witches of Dathomir who have recently been spotlighted in The Clone Wars TV series.  Released early in the EU revival, this book is still trying to find its footing with Luke’s Force powers and such, but it is a fun read and introduces many elements that are core to the future of the Expanded Universe.

9. Shadows of the Empire
Author: Steve Perry
Release Year: 1996
Ever wonder what happened in the time between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi?  Then Shadows of the Empire is the book for you.  This book introduces one of the great EU villains in Xizor, the Falleen leader of the Black Sun criminal organization.  Rumor has it that we may even see his species in the upcoming season of The Clone Wars.  With Han in carbonite at this time we are also introduced to his replacement character, Dash Rendar, who also just happens to be a Corellian smuggler with a cool ship.  The rest of the usual OT cast is here as well including Vader, Luke, Leia, Chewie, and even Lando Calrrisian.

8. X-wing: Mercy Kill
Author: Aaron Allston
Release Year: 2012
Although this book is a continuation of the X-wing book series it is for the most part a standalone story.  Fan-favorite author Aaron Allston brings back the Wraith Squadron for another adventure.  This is a good book to read if you are interested in a story that is set in the Star Wars universe but is not about the principle characters that you are used to.  In fact, with the exception of a quick cameo, I don’t think any character in this book has been in a Star Wars film.  It is a fun book about a secret group which is trying to uncover a conspiracy in the Galactic Alliance military.  It is kind of a mix between Mission Impossible and Ocean’s Eleven.  Expect great characterization and a lot of humor.
Read my full review of X-wing: Mercy Kill here.

7. Outbound Flight
Author: Timothy Zahn
Release Year: 2006
Timothy Zahn is considered by many to be the father of the modern Star Wars Expanded Universe because he brought us the great Thrawn Trilogy which continued the story of Star Wars after Return of the Jedi.  Mr. Zahn has written a number of standalone Star Wars novels as well, one of them being Outbound Flight.  Don’t let the boring title fool you.  This is an exciting novel featuring Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the time between Episode I and Episode II.  It is a novel that shows us some of the machinations of Palpatine as well as what can happen when a powerful Jedi loses his way.  It also features popular EU character Thrawn before he was part of the Empire.

6. Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
Author: James Luceno
Release Year: 2005
This book would eventually be bundled with Labyrinth of Evil (see below) and the Revenge of the Sith novelization and sold as The Dark Lord Trilogy, but it is a standalone story.  It ,maybe better than any other story, captures what it was like to be Anakin Skywalker trapped inside the suit of Darth Vader.  The novel is set directly after the events of Revenge of the Sith.  It tells the story of a group of Jedi who escape Order 66 and their fight to survive.  The Jedi Purge has begun and it’s probably best to stay out of Vader’s way.

5. Shatterpoint
Author: Matthew Stover
Release Year: 2003
If you thought Mace Windu was cool in the movies but you just didn’t get enough of him, read this book.  Windu is sent to his home planet to rescue his former Padawan Depa Billaba.  There he confronts war and turmoil all around him as well as inside of him.  This is one of the more dark and gritty of the Star Wars novels which is fitting considering it is set at the height of the Clone Wars.  It is a story that really highlights the differences in philosophy among the Jedi.  What is more dangerous than a Jedi who has gone astray?

4. Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter
Author: Michael Reaves
Release Year: 2001
Darth Maul has recently been thrust back into our Star Wars consciousness with his appearance in The Clone Wars TV series, and we are promised even more of him in the upcoming season.  But can you ever really have too much Darth Maul?  Back in 2001 Darth Maul was still surrounded by mystery and we just did not know that much about him.  Shadow Hunter gave us the chance to see things from his perspective.  This is a book set right before Episode I and is about Maul’s hunt to kill a man and his Jedi protector before the man can deliver vital information to the Jedi Counsel.  You will find yourself on the edge of your seat and at times even rooting for the bad guy.  And of course with Palpatine involved there will always be some unexpected twists.

3. Labyrinth of Evil
Author: James Luceno
Release Year: 2005
This book is really a thing of fanboy dreams.  As we were patiently waiting for the release of Revenge of the Sith this book came out to give us the perfect lead-in story.  It had everything you could want in a prequel era novel including clones, General Grievous, Mace Windu, Shaak Ti, Obi-Wan, Anakin, Dooku, Kit Fisto, Yoda, and Darth Sidious.  The Jedi are tired of these Sith messing everything up and have decided to hunt them down.  We all know that Sidious can’t be revealed, but Luceno does a great job of weaving a story that keeps you guessing even though you already know the outcome.

2. I, Jedi
Author: Michael Stackpole
Release Year: 1998
I was never really interested in reading the X-wing novels.  Not enough Jedi.  And then the author of the X-wing series went and wrote a book about an X-wing pilot becoming a Jedi and I was sold.  This novel, told entirely from the first person perspective, tells the story of Rouge Squadron pilot Corran Horn and his attempt to find and rescue his kidnapped wife.  The novel actually takes place at the same time as Kevin Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy and covers some of the same story.  If you have already read that trilogy this book is a great view from a different perspective.  Corran Horn and his family have become central characters in some of the latest Star Wars novels and he is one of my personal favorite characters.

1. Darth Plagueis
Author: James Luceno
Release Year: 2012
This is a book that had been in development since 2007.  It was well worth the wait.  Luceno brings us an intriguing tale about Palpatine and his rise to power under the tutelage of the mysterious Darth Plagueis.  All we had known about this character before was a few lines from Revenge of the Sith. “Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise?” This novel reveals all.  It takes an interesting look into Sith philosophy and sheds light on many of the mysteries of the Prequel Era.  Once you read this novel you will never see the Prequels, especially The Phantom Menace, the same again.
Read my full book review of Darth Plagueis here.

So there are ten books that you can pick up with no prior knowledge of the Expanded Universe.  That should keep your reading schedule pretty busy.  And if you enjoy them maybe you will enjoy more of the EU.  Maybe a trilogy or a nine book series or maybe even a 19 book series…  Baby steps.

Aaron Goins

 

Book Review: X-wing Mercy Kill

X-wing: Mercy Kill Review


Warning: This review may contain very minor spoilers.  Characters and locations are mentioned but no major plot points or events are revealed. 

I have a confession to make.  Until now I had never read an X-wing novel.  When I started reading the post Return of the Jedi novels back in the late 90’s I skipped right past the X-wing novels.  I read Star Wars novels to see what happened to the movie characters after they blew up two Death Stars.  I read Star Wars novels to learn more about the Jedi and the Force.  I wanted lightsabers and Luke Skywalker not space battles and Wedge Antilles.  I have since learned to appreciate Star Wars books that aren’t about Skywalker or the Jedi (although I still very much prefer those stories), but I am so far beyond the X-wing novels that I am not sure I will ever go back and read them all.

When I heard about X-wing Mercy Kill coming out I thought it might be another one to skip.  But lately I have been reading every new Star Wars novel and Mercy Kill was set after the events of Fate of the Jedi.  How could I not read the latest novel in the Expanded Universe timeline?  I had to, space battles or not.

Here is the official summary…

The intrepid spies, pilots, and sharpshooters of Wraith Squadron are back in an all-new Star Wars adventure, which transpires just after the events of the Fate of the Jedi series!

Three decades have passed since Wraith Squadron carried out its last mission. Taking on the most dangerous and daring operations, the rogues and misfits of the elite X-Wing unit became legends of the Rebellion and the Second Galactic Civil War, before breaking up and going their separate ways. Now their singular skills are back in vital demand—for a tailor-made Wraith Squadron mission.

A powerful general in the Galactic Alliance Army, once renowned for his valor, is suspected of participating in the infamous Lecersen Conspiracy, which nearly toppled the Alliance back into the merciless hands of the Empire. With orders to expose and apprehend the traitor—and license to do so by any and all means—the Wraiths will become thieves, pirates, impostors, forgers . . . and targets, as they put their guts, their guns, and their riskiest game plan to the test against the most lethal of adversaries.

The good news for new readers is that this book, although titled “X-wing”, is basically a stand-alone novel.  The story does not rely on prior knowledge of the X-wing series, but having that knowledge will most likely expand your enjoyment of the book.  I will give a bit of a warning though.  If you plan to read the initial run of the X-wing novels, you may want to do that before reading this book.  Yes it is a stand-alone story, but there are mentions of events from past novels and some of those mentions are spoilerific.

As I started reading the book I immediately got an A-Team sort of feel.  As the book went on I also got some Mission Impossible and maybe even some Ocean’s Eleven.  It is very much a special unit/team-up/caper/undercover kind of story.  I was also very happy that there weren’t a lot of space battles.  In fact there was only one time in the book where I found myself zoning out because of spaceships maneuvering and chasing each other.  Mostly it was just great characters planning missions, going on missions, and getting the bad guys.

And the characters really were great.  Initially I was turned off by the main protagonist, a genius Gammorean who goes by the name “Piggy”.  Being a big fan of the Expanded Universe I had heard of this character but had never really thought that much about him.  Now I was having to follow him as a main character.  It didn’t take long for me to warm up to him though, and his character progression was interesting to follow.  “Piggy” was also surrounded by a team full of impressive characters.  I really enjoyed most of the Wraiths in this book and I would love to see where some of this new generation end up in future books.  They even managed to slip a Force user onto the team which made this Jediphile very happy.

Aaron Allston really knows how to write humor and this book is full of it.  It maybe has a little too much.  I liked the lightheartedness of the book but it started to feel like every line was a quip or sarcastic jab.  I know many appreciate this type of humor in a Star Wars book but it got to be too much for my taste.  Not that there weren’t serious moments.  When Mercy Kill got serious, it got very serious.  Mixed in with the humor there were exciting moments of action and even some heart wrenching emotion.  Although a little heavy on the humor, It was actually a really good mix and I found myself highly entertained for most of the book.

As someone who needs lightsabers and the Force in my Star Wars I was not expecting to like this book nearly as much as I did.  It was the characters and storytelling that won me over.  Even though the book did not have some of my favorite Star Wars elements it did have things like Star Destroyers, X-wings, and familiar alien species that place it firmly into the correct universe.  Don’t expect any Luke or Han cameos or galaxy shaking events, but if you are looking for a fun stand-alone Star Wars story I would highly recommend this book to you.  Established fans of the X-wing series will utterly love this book.

Buy this book.

(More spoilery stuff below)

Random Thoughts

I loved the characters of Myri, Trey, and Jesmin and hope to see them again.
I didn’t really like the Vong character of Scut. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to.
I took the main character much more seriously when he was going by Voort instead of Piggy.
Referring to people by names, code names, AND numbers got really confusing.
A Clawdite Wraith.  Very convenient.
Using the Force to make people need to pee.  That’s a first.
Some great flashbacks fill us in on what’s been going on with the Wraiths.
Just when you thought you had heard the last of the pilot with a horse head.
Wedge cameo!
Look for me wearing my “Quad-Linked Militant Pacifists” shirt at Celebration 6 next month.

Aaron Goins

 

Fan Days Update!

Riley, Aaron and I are really looking forward to being at Fan Days, and the time is getting closer!
This update almost makes me wish I was still a child and could attend the Lightsaber Training Academy.

Hopefully we’ll meet a lot of you there!

– Bethany

 

C2 Ventures, Inc.

Lewisville, Texas

Press release

 

Star Wars Fan Days tailor made for kids

 

What young Jedi hasn’t dreamed of honing his or her skills with a lightsaber, shaking hands with Yoda or going one-on-one with Darth Vader?

Kids will be able to do all those things and more at this year’s Star Wars-themed Fan Days Oct. 8 and 9 at the Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas. A $5, two-day pass admits children ages 5 to 12 with a paid adult admission. There is no extra charge for the kids’ activities.

“We’ve always presented our shows as family oriented, and we’re working hard to bring in more events with kids in mind,” said co-producer Ben Stevens, who organized his first convention in 1994. “We want the younger fans to have just as much fun at our shows as their parents.”

At the Lightsaber Training Academy, kids ages 5 to 10 will learn basic Jedi moves, do battle with Darth Vader and receive a certificate upon completion of the course. Youngsters also can vie for prizes during Shoot-a-Trooper sessions as they take aim at a Stormtrooper or other Star Wars characters with a Nerf gun.

Young fans of the Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series can meet the actors who provide the characters’ voices, including Tom Kane, who does double duty as “Yoda” and the narrator. Mr. Kane and Stephen Stanton (the voice of “Tarkin”) will sign Fan Days exclusive photos for free, and will take part in a Clone Wars panel discussion with voice actors Ashley Eckstein (“Ahsoka”), Catherine Taber (“Padme Amidala”) and Meredith Salenger (“Jedi Barris Offee”).

Also offering free autographs during Fan Days are Timothy Zahn and Aaron Allston, best-selling authors who have penned dozens of Star Wars books. The pair also will answer questions and offer writing advice during special author sessions both days.

For kids who love to dress up, there is a special Kids Costume Contest for ages 16 and under with lots of cool prizes. And, of course, there will be lots of costumed fans throughout the convention center who love posing for photos with kids.

Fan Days also will feature a long list of media guests signing autographs for a nominal fee. Topping the list is actor Billy Dee Williams, best known among Star Wars fans for playing the roguish “Lando Calrissian” in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983). Also, George Takei, who played“Sulu” on the original Star Trek television and movie series, and is the voice of “Lok Durd” on The Clone Wars.

Fan days also welcomes living legend Jim Steranko, whose work as artist-writer on Marvel Comic’s S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain America and X-Men revolutionized the comics form. He’ll be joined by almost 40 artists, including Herb Trimpe, Spencer Brinkerhoff, Joe Corroney, Scott Harben, Tom Hodges, Lawrence Reynolds, Cat Staggs and Denise Vasquez.

A complete list of guests and a schedule of events can be found at www.fandays.com along with detailed information on tickets. Cost to attend Fan Days varies depending on level purchased.

Hours for the two-day show are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9. The Irving Convention Center, 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd., is at the intersection of SH114 and Northwest Highway in Irving, Texas.

For more information, please visit the website at www.fandays.com.

 

Media contact:

For more information, to schedule an interview or to obtain press passes, please contact Kathy A. Goolsby at k_goolsby@tx.rr.com.

Images:

Downloadable images for use in promoting Dallas Comic Con, including images from past C2 Ventures’ events, are available at www.scifiexpo.com/DCC/press-pix.html

 

About C2 Ventures:

C2 Ventures is a partnership of long-time STAR WARS fans Ben Stevens and Philip Wise. Since 2001, C2 Ventures has been the most trusted name in STAR WARS autographs, providing more authentic autographs to fans than any other provider worldwide. We produced the massive autograph program at the official STAR WARS Celebration II in 2002, Celebration III in 2005, Celebration IV in 2007, Celebration Japan in 2008 and Celebration V in 2010.

C2 Ventures continues to work closely with more than 100 celebrities from the STAR WARS Universe, including Mark Hamill, James Earl Jones, Carrie Fisher, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels and Samuel L. Jackson, to provide or produce special appearances at conventions and retail stores, authentic autograph signings on your product or our licensed photos, special events, exclusives, and more.