Tosche Station Radio: In Memory of Aaron Allston

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Brian, Nanci, and Bria sit down for a roundtable special episode of Tosche Station Radio in memory of Expanded Universe author and superior wit Aaron Allston. We discuss our memories of reading his books, interactions at conventions, and the impact he had on our lives.

“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.” -Wedge Antilles, Wraith Squadron

Yub Yub, Aaron.

Laughter and Levity can Cut Through Darkness

It was just last night on the podcast Nanci and I were jokingly talking about how awesome it would be for Aaron Allston to write a second Starfighters of Adumar book in which Wedge, Tycho, Wes, and Hobbie run off to play diplomat again and mutter “we’re too old for this shit.” If anyone could have made that setup work, it would have been Aaron Allston. His ability to tap into the humor of Star Wars (and life in general, really) was unparalleled. If there was one lesson you could take away from his works, it was that there was always room for levity and laughter.

(Continue reading under the cut, warning for discussion of depression and suicide)

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Yub Yub, Aaron Allston

This is not a post any of us ever wanted to have to write. Aaron Allston, prolific Star Wars author and all-around awesome human being, passed away last night after apparent massive heart failure.

It’s safe to say that without Aaron, many of us wouldn’t be SWEU fans. It’s also safe to say that several of us wouldn’t have stayed SWEU fans without Aaron. No matter what he was writing, he had the ability to make you laugh and cry, sometimes on the same page, and then make you laugh through those tears. He created some of our most favorite characters, some of the SWEU’s best moments, and kept it fun through dark times. Several of us name Starfighters of Adumar as our favorite SWEU book of all time.

Aaron was a presence at many conventions, including Celebration and Dragon Con, where he ran writing workshops with Mike Stackpole. I participated in several of his seminars; not only was the man a great writer, but he was a great teacher, too. He always treated everyone like a friend, whether you’d known him for ages or had just approached him to ask him to sign one of your books. Aaron also contributed to several of my favorite panels at Dragon Con, where he had the audience in stitches. As Timothy Zahn said last night on Facebook, “The Aaron, Mike, and Tim show, as we called it, has come to a sad close.”

Brian and I had the honor of interviewing Aaron on the podcast, only our second interview (after Stackpole, fittingly), and were quite nervous to do so. He put us at ease and, needless to say, the interview ended up being informative and full of laughter. Probably my favorite interview we’ve ever done.

Star Wars will not be the same without Aaron Allston. Yub Yub, Commander. The Wraiths are flying in formation in your honor today.

Allston's Wraiths

edit: Brian posted his own thoughts here

Kickstarter: War of the Seasons by Janine Spendlove

Last week we were fortunate to have author and all-around awesome human being Janine Spendlove on the podcast. Janine is the author of War of the Seasons, a YA fantasy trilogy that both Nanci and I have greatly enjoyed. Today, she’s kickstarting the launch of the third and final book in that series.

If you’ve read the first two War of the Seasons novels, you can contribute to this kickstarter to get either an ebook or a print version (depending on the contribution level) of the third book. If you haven’t read the prior two novels, you can get those included as ebooks for a $15 or greater contribution or as print novels for $50.

As is the case with many kickstarters, there are bonuses for hitting some stretch goals. Among them? Short stories set in the War of the Seasons universe that will be penned by Star Wars Expanded Universe authors Aaron Allston and Mike Stackpole.

Other stretch goal authors that may wind up contributing short stories both in the War of the Seasons universe and outside of it are Bryan Young, Cleolinda Jones, Albin Johnson (founding of the 501st), and Maggie Allen.

Tosche Station on Location: Conspiring for Fun and Profit

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Now that we’re back home, we can get a stable internet connection to deliver a few more recordings of panel audio from Dragon Con. This one was a real treat. Timothy Zahn, Mike Stackpole, and Aaron Allston got together to discuss what it was like collaborating on the Expanded Universe. As a bonus, listen as a book idea is born (and as Mike said, look out for the Kickstarter).

Tosche Station on Location: Star Wars Expanded Universe Authors Panel

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Another treat from last night at the Star Wars track at Dragon Con: the Star Wars Authors panel. The event featured audience questions and was moderated by Bryan Young. The lineup:

  • Mike Stackpole
  • Aaron Allston
  • Kevin J. Anderson
  • Timothy Zahn

Some interesting tidbits in there about the process behind creating Star Wars novels and there’s even some debunking of rumors.

Today Nanci and I will be on the Podcasting/Blogging/Fanfiction/Vidding panel at the Star Wars track. Audio from that panel will be available tomorrow morning.

X-Wing: Mercy Kill Out In Paperback Today!

Mercy Kill CoverAaron Allston’s X-Wing: Mercy Kill is out now in paperback!  If you have yet to pick yourself up a copy, now would be an excellent time to do so.  Even if you’ve already purchased the book in hardcover or ebook format, you could pick yourself up another copy and either use it to help solve the dilemma of ‘do I place Mercy Kill after Fate of the Jedi or with the other X-Wing books?’ by having them in both spots on your bookshelf or by giving it to someone as a gift and getting them hooked on the Wraiths.

If you’re still not convinced of how great this book is, you can check out all three of our reviews.

Kickstart Time Traveled Tales

How would you like a speculative fiction anthology featuring works by authors like Timothy Zahn, Aaron Allston, Mike Stackpole, Janine Spendlove, and Bryan Young? Good news, there’s a Kickstarter for that.

At the $5 level, you’ll get an ebook version of the anthology. At $20, you’ll get the limited Kickstarter edition.

EU Retrospective: Fate of the Jedi Part 2

Well.  It’s done.  I’ve finished reading these books and I’m ridiculously relieved to be through with Fate of the Jedi.  To be completely honest, even though there are a lot of things in Legacy of the Force that upset me, I’d rather read a series like that than this one.  I hated the character derailment that some of them were subjected to but I prefer that series as a whole to reading about anything with Abeloth ever again.  No more tentacles please.  There were a lot more high points in that series than this one.  To top it off, I just never felt as invested in these books.  There was both too much and too little going on.  I know that sounds impossible but I don’t know how else to describe it.   Basically, the majority of the series made me do this:

At least there was Mercy Kill waiting for me at the end.  Observe my Wraith Squadron related tears of joy.

Warning: There are some NSFW words on some of these gifs

Vortex
My sentiment about having to read this book again can be summed up in one word: Ugh.

This book is bad.  It’s not Jedi bug sex bad because I didn’t cringe and resort to drinking but it is bad.  I literally just finished it and tossed it down and said “Stupid.  So stupid.”  Was half the galaxy replaced by Skrulls?  Honestly, I’m running out of reasons for why so many people acted the way they did.  Everyone makes bad decisions that in turn make me want to bash my head against a wall.  I can’t even rage like I usually do.  It’s just all so gosh darn frustrating.  We’ll go down the list.

First and foremost is everything involving Kenth Hamner.  I have yet to understand why “The Villainization of Kenth Hamner” had to occur and I think it’s ridiculous.  While I don’t think that he (or anyone in the order really) is looking at the situation from an entirely rational point of view, I also don’t think that anything that happened with his storyline was logical.  I especially disagree with how he dies.

That brings me to point two which is Saba.  I liked Saba when she was originally introduced.  I really did.  I feel like I’m not dealing with entirely the same character anymore.  It’s nice that she doesn’t take any pleasure in killing Kenth but it doesn’t change that she did and the last time I checked?  You don’t reward someone for that by making her the new Grand Master.  Seriously, Cilghal and Corran?  Seriously?  Kyp Durron or Kyle Katarn would’ve been better choices.  I’ll agree about wanting someone who’s more of a warrior in charge but I certainly don’t think that staging a kriffing COUP is going to help things.  There’s general distrust of the Jedi Order because they’re too powerful and act only as they see fit.  Clearly the best way to counter this is to remove the Chief of State from office.  EXCEPT NO.  NO IT IS NOT.

On the other side of the galaxy, we’ve got Skrull!Luke Skywalker.  Everything about this Luke feels wrong.  I don’t know what else to say except that this isn’t the Luke Skywalker we know from the films and previous books.  I’d also really like to know when his storyline went from ‘Retrace Jacen Solo’s Force Odyssey’ to ‘Retrace Luke Skywalker’s Love Life’.  Oh and hey!  We can throw in some Sith while we’re at it.  😐

Fourth, I still don’t get Abeloth.  If I could never read again about her tentacles and giant mouth that eats people or whatever, I’d be happy.  She is ridiculous.  Everything about this storyline is ridiculous and I want it to end.  I’m so done with all of this.

This next one doesn’t anger me as much as it annoys me.  I honestly don’t get the point of including this slave uprising storyline.  I know it gets used more later and does tie into the overarching story but it feels overall like wasted page space to me.  Sorry.

Finally, who thought this Barabel nest thing was a good idea especially when it comes to ending a book?  No, don’t answer that.  It was rhetorical.  On a scale from 1-10, this ranks an 8 on the Unnecessary Scale.

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