Tosche Station on Location: EU Authors are Legendary

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Authors Mike Stackpole, Dave Wolverton, Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Christie Golden, and Timothy Zahn discuss their thoughts on the Expanded Universe moving to Legends status and field questions from the audience about their contributions to the Star Wars universe.

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.

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: The New Jedi Order Part 1

Welcome back to the Waru Express, dear readers, after a bit of a break.  We’re diving right into the New Jedi Order which requires an entire shelf all on its own.  19 books?  Let’s go!  Before we dive into the book reviews, I figured I’d let you all in on a secret: I don’t hate the NJO.  In fact, I like a fair bit of it.  There are certainly some books and occurrences that I strongly dislike and I think it could’ve been shorter but I enjoy the vast majority of it.  Spoiler Alert: I love the Stackpole, Allston, and Stover books but does that surprise any of you?  My point is that I’m not a hater when it comes to these books but neither do I blindly love them so while my thoughts are on these books are likely to be a fair bit more positive than most of the blogosphere, you’re still going to get a decent dose of snark.  Starting with this post.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into the first lengthy review post as I discuss the books from Vector Prime to Jedi Eclipse.

Vector Prime
Ah yes.  The infamous “Chewbacca is Dead!” book.  I feel nothing but pity for R.A. Salvatore having to be the one to pull the trigger on this given how the fandom can be at times.  Let’s get the giant wookiee in the corner out of the way.  Yeah, Chewbacca dying sucks.  Reading through the book knowing what was coming made all the scenes with Chewie that much more painful.  He’s a big part of our group of heroes and it is sad that he dies.  HOWEVER.  His death certainly does signify to the readers that this oncoming threat isn’t going to be easily defeated and that no one will escape unscathed.  Also?  If you’re going to go out, this is certainly one of the more badass ways to do it.  Chewbacca rejects your notion of death by blasterfire and goes down shaking his fist at a freaking moon.

I’d really like to know what the heck happened to Jacen Solo between the end of Crisis of Crystal Reef and the start of this book.  It feels like I’m reading about two completely different characters and I’m not even counting the lack of bad jokes because that’s something a person could reasonably grow out of.

Overall, I actually think the book functions quite well in its role.  It sets up the Vong invasion, lets us get to see our favorite characters again, and tells us that this isn’t going to be an easy ride.  I also find it to be an enjoyable book on its own.  It’s nice getting to see the Solo kids have some fun before the galaxy goes to hell even if it’s only for the first half of the book.

The final line of the book sums it up the best: “But to Han Solo, the galaxy suddenly seemed a more dangerous place by far.”

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EU Retrospective: Rogue Squadron

I’ve finally reached the first batch of X-Wing books and there was much rejoicing!  Obviously we here at Tosche Station are very pro-X-Wing books and I always enjoy getting to read them again.  So sit back and enjoy me gushing about the first four books focused on the flyboys and flygirls of Rogue Squadron as they do the impossible which is absolutely what they do best.

Rogue Squadron
I love these books.  I really do.  But WOW IS CORRAN HORN AN ARROGANT PAIN IN THE BUTT in this book.  I do like him as a character especially with some of the character development he’s gotten over the years but he is infuriating to read about in this book.  The arrogance and the monologing do get a bit old after awhile.  At least I know he gets better.  Corran will always have some of that arrogance because that’s just who he is and I appreciate that but it’s at an all time high here.

I do enjoy reading this book though because it’s a solid read that offers both a good story and some great characters.  It simultaneously tells the story of the squadron’s reassembly and also sets up the overarching plot for the next three books.

With the exception of certain arrogant Corellian and a certain Bacta Queen-who-was-clearly-a-traitor-the-whole-time-in-retrospect, the characters are rather enjoyable!  (Okay, maybe I was a little harsh grouping Corran with Erisi there.  That was mean, I’m sorry, Corran.)  I always love getting a chance to look into Wedge Antilles’s head and Stackpole does such a good job of it.  I also enjoyed getting to meet such great characters like Tycho Celchu, Mirax Terrik, and Gavin Darklighter.  Poor Tycho though.  Like his backstory wasn’t already tragic enough without adding in the ‘he might be a traitor’ thing.  At least Mirax gets to balance it out by being sassy.

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Video Game Flashback: X-Wing’s Impossible Mission

There was a point in time where I played a lot of video games.

I mean, growing up in the Seattle area, you had one of two options after school. Deal with the relentless rain (and this was before Gore Tex was cheap) or find some sort of entertainment inside. I was lucky to have a pretty nice computer at home at the time*, so after finishing up homework I’d often sit down to play the old X-Wing combat flight simulator that Lucasarts released in the 90s.

*Kids, there was a time when having a computer at home was a rare thing. In a class of about 25 students, I was the only person who had a personal computer at home.

One of my lingering memories on one such rainy afternoon was playing through Tour 1, Mission 4. The dreaded Protect Medical Frigate mission. The goal was simple, protect the medical frigate Redemption as it took on wounded soldiers from multiple shuttles. The complication came when wave after wave after wave of TIE Bombers entered the picture, seemingly more than you and your wingmen could handle.

I spent three days working on beating this mission. Time after time I’d get overwhelmed trying to fend off the Bombers. They would always get torpedo volleys off before I could so much as spot them. It was, looking back at it, the first time I was well and truly frustrated with a video game.

I wasn’t the only one that struggled with this mission, though. From the Wook!

The Redemption was created for the 1993 LucasArts video game Star Wars: X-wing, as one of two Rebel medical frigates, along with the Salvation. In the game, the Redemption appears in the fourth mission of Tour of Duty 1, “Protect Medical Frigate.” The difficulty of eliminating waves of TIE bombers approaching the Redemption from opposite directions led to Michael A. Stackpole selecting it as a training scenario for Rogue Squadron in his 1996novel X-wing: Rogue Squadron.

‘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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Dragon*Con Recap: Star Wars Expanded Universe Author Q&A

It’s day one of Dragon*Con! Nanci, Bria, Maggie, and myself are at the first big Expanded Universe panel (in costume) to cover all the fun. Aaron Allston, Kevin J. Anderson, Timothy Zahn, and Mike Stackpole are on hand. Highlights below the cut!

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