Tosche Station on Location: Dragon Con 2015 – How I Would Have Written TFA

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From Dragon Con day three, it’s the How I Would Have Written The Force Awakens panel featuring authors Mike Stackpole, Timothy Zahn, Kevin J. Anderson, and Rebecca Moesta. Paula Rosenberg moderates.

The authors going off absolutely zero knowledge of the film make a pitch for what they think Episode VII could be about.

Tosche Station on Location: Dragon Con 2015 – Star Wars Mythos

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From Dragon Con Day One is the Star Wars Mythos panel featuring Expanded Universe authors Mike Stackpole, Timothy Zahn, Kevin J. Anderson, and Rebecca Moesta. Moderating was Bryan Young.

A Unapologetic Love Letter To The Young Jedi Knights Books

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Sometimes, there are books that you classify as a guilty pleasure and sometimes there are books that you find yourself apologizing for every time you say that you enjoy them.  In the past, the Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights books have fallen into this category for me.  For those unaware: it’s a series of 14 young adult books by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta that focus on the Solo twins and their friends Tenel Ka and Lowbacca during their first few years at the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4.

From here on out, there won’t be any more apologies for liking these books.  Despite clearly being written for the younger crowd, they are entertaining reads with fun plot lines and great characters.  Most importantly though, they are some of the best gateways for younger fans to ease into the Expanded Universe and discover a whole new galaxy.  And years later? they still have plenty of fans who look back fondly at the books.  Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why they’re still some of the well-creased and beloved novels on some people’s shelves.

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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.

EU Retrospective: Young Jedi Knights – Black Sun

The Young Jedi Knights books draw to a close with one final trilogy that takes Jaina, Jacen, Tenel Ka, Lowbacca, and Zekk on a whole new adventure which, as we all know, means trouble.

Return to Ord Mantell
I’d forgotten that I dislike Anja Gallandro.  It’s not that I hate her or have some vendetta against her.  I just don’t like her and I’m okay with her not having appeared in the Expanded Universe otherwise.  On the other hand, I suppose these books can serve as another chapter in the ‘Don’t do spice, kids,’ grand story.

It’s always fun getting to see the twins get some serious page time with Han.  This book gets double fun points before it’s diving into Han’s smuggler past.  Watching Jaina fly the Falcon with her father never fails to make me smile.

Zekk’s journey towards becoming a proper Jedi Knight gets its start here.  The more I think about it, the more I appreciate that this plotline wasn’t rushed.  I also appreciate that he decided to combine his piloting skills with his Force abilities to win the Derby.

Oh.  And we get cameos from Kyp Durron and Streen which is always lovely.  I can’t help how much I love that jerk of a Jedi.

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EU Retrospective: Young Jedi Knights – Diversity Alliance

The adventures of Jaina, Jacen, Tenel Ka, and Lowbacca continue!  And by adventures, I mean they get into a lot of trouble because that’s how things work for them.  This time, they’re going up against bounty hunters and the new Diversity Alliance.  On the bright side, no one loses any limbs or goes to the dark side this time.

Shards of Alderaan
Just like with the first arc, KJA and Rebecca Moesta take the first book to set the stage for the new story.  Raynar Thul, the annoying brat from the previous books, gets the chance to move towards the forefront.  Unfortunately, it’s because his father has disappeared and Boba Fett is hunting him but nothing’s perfect, right?

It always amuses me that it feels like everyone gets a spaceship in this book.  Granted, by everyone, I just mean Zekk and Tenel Ka but still.  Poor Jaina still doesn’t have her own ship but she gets to be the Rock Dragon’s pilot so I guess it evens out.  And then Zekk gets the Lightning Rod.  I actually think it’s pretty cool that Zekk decides to become a bounty hunter and doesn’t immediately try to become a Jedi.  The poor boy deserves some time to try and figure out who he is.

On top of that, it’s actually incredibly sweet that the twins decide to give their mother a piece of Alderaan for her birthday.  Obviously things inevitably go wrong but it really is a nice gesture.  Oh the Solo children. <3

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EU Retrospective: Young Jedi Knights – Second Imperium

Ohhhh the Young Jedi Knight series.  These were the first Star Wars books I ever read except for the Jedi Prince books and I still enjoy them over a decade later.  While they are clearly written for a younger audience and get cheesy sometimes, they’re still fun reads.  I try to thank Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta every time I see them at Dragon*Con for writing these books and these characters because I love them just that much.  I am also 100% okay with admitting that I wanted to be best friends with Jaina Solo and Tenel Ka as a kid and I still sort of do.  You’ve been warned: these posts will be a fair bit gushing accompanied by some good natured teasing.

Heirs of the Force
First things first: Tenel Ka gets the best character entrance ever.  “Oh don’t mind me.  I’m just going to CLIMB UP THE BACK OF THIS TEMPLE AND POP INTO THE MORNING LESSON.  LIKE A BAMF.”  I love her so much.

Oh!  And I also love that the authors turn a trope on its head at the start of the book because Han brings flowers for Jacen (or rather his pet) and a hyperdrive for Jaina.  The Solos are going to be who they want to be.  Even if it does mean that Jacen has pet snakes.

This book is mostly about introducing us to our four new heroes.  Obviously, we already know Jaina and Jacen Solo who continue with their grand tradition of getting kidnapped.  Good job kids.  At least they’ve learned from experience and don’t actually let Qorl fly off in a TIE fighter with weapons.  We also get to know Tenel Ka and Lowbacca, both young relations to characters we’ve met in the past.  I do think it’s a bit strange that the Solo twins don’t understand Shyriiwook since Chewbacca helped raise them but I can overlook that.  Like I said, this is a set up book and I appreciate it for what it is.

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EU Retrospective: The Jedi Academy

I’ll go ahead and fess up before we even start this.  I like these books.  Actually, I love these books.  In fact, these books have a very special place in my heart because they are the reason why I tumbled head first into the Expanded Universe.  Dark Apprentice is the first Star Wars book I stumbled upon after my grandmother bought me two random Young Jedi Knights books.  The YJK had already made me fall in love with the Solo twins, Tenel Ka, and Lowbacca and when nine-year-old Bria picked up Dark Apprentice for the first time, there was no turning back.  I do recognize that these books certainly have their faults but I could never hate them.  Instead, I am forever grateful to Kevin J. Anderson for writing books that were my gateway drug.  Therefore you have been warned of my nostalgia for this trilogy.  Onward!

Jedi Search
In retrospect, it’s possible that this trilogy is what started my “Han and Leia are the worst parents ever” way of thinking.  I do, however, make this comment with love for the Solo family to my friends.  But seriously: why would you ever let these two raise your daughter?  (I’m looking at you, Tenel Ka.)  Somewhere out there about ohhhh 30 years farther into the time line, Winter is shaking her head and saying “It’s not my fault” for what happened with the Solo children.

Okay, I shall stop ragging on the Solo’s questionable parenting skills.  For now.

The subtitle of this book should probably be “Han Solo Has A Series Of Really Bad Days”.  Honestly, it takes some serious talent to go from getting tossed into the spice mines of Kessel to stumbling into a secret Imperial research facility and being subjected to interrogation.  On the other hand, he does manage to escape intact and with a new sidekick.  Shut up, I love Kyp Durron.  He gets the long con character development over the course of the EU and I love it so freaking much.

As for Luke, it’s about darn time he decided to try and rebuild the Jedi Order!  I get that he’s worried about having a new Vader on his hands but I would’ve thought that Luke would’ve gotten over his worries there earlier.  But then again, I’m always surprised when Leia isn’t more trained in the Jedi arts than she is.

The blob races, on the other hand, make me laugh because of how ridiculous they are.  Really?  Blobs?  You didn’t even try on that one, KJA.  Aside from that though, I find the book to still be an enjoyable read.

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‘Five by Five’ Now Available

If you’re a fan of military science fiction, you’ll want to hop on over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble to buy yourself an e-copy of Five by Five, a collection of short stories featuring notable Expanded Universe authors Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Stackpole, and Aaron Allston.

Allston has a bit more about the book written on his blog as well as links to other sellers.

Dragon*Con Recap: Expanded Universe Authors talk Masculinity in Star Wars

It’s day two of Dragon*Con! Nanci and I are settling in for the second major Star Wars Expanded Universe panel, Masculinity in the Star Wars universe. Once again, Expanded Universe authors Timothy Zahn, Aaron Allston, Michael Stackpole, and Kevin J. Anderson are on hand for the discussion. Also here is Doctor Carol White. Highlights under the cut:

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