Last week, Shane posted the first of what will be a summer series of retro reviews and discussions looking back at the X-Wing novels by Mike Stackpole and Aaron Allston. You should read it, especially if you haven’t read the books yet and are on the fence about diving into them. A few weeks before that, Nanci and I overviewed the series on the podcast. You should listen to that as well. We also interviewed both Mike Stackpole and Aaron Allston.
You might ask why we’re doing this. The books were published well over a decade ago and countless words have been spent discussing their merits. Unfortunately, despite the praise that have been heaped on the books over the years, they remain perhaps the most misunderstood novels in the entire Expanded Universe. I can’t count the number of misperceptions I run into when talking about them with even savvy EU fans.
- It’s only dogfights and lightfights.
- There are no interesting characters.
- Nothing important happens.
- There are no Jedi.
Statements like these are held as facts to many fans, despite the fact that there’s not much truth to them. The X-Wing novels are some of the highest quality books in all of the EU, but lots fans haven’t read them because they are, admittedly, different. Luke and Leia are only seen in passing cameos. Han doesn’t have a large role until the middle of the series. The Jedi aren’t the primary focus. The Galaxy isn’t about to be ripped apart by the bi-weekly apocalypse of doom. For new Expanded Universe fans, that can be a tough sell, but glossing over these books would be a mistake.
So we’re going to be spending the summer convincing those of you on the fence (and those of you who have never even considered it) to read these books before the long-awaited tenth novel hits bookshelves in August. Part of this is selfish. We want Mercy Kill to sell well because if it does, we’ll get more books in a franchise we love dearly. More than that, though, we believe that the Expanded Universe needs more quality books like the ones found in this series. Grand adventures that get back to the root of what makes Star Wars so special.
Are we going to make a sizable impact on the sales numbers of X-Wing novels? Hell, no. But if we can get at least a few people to pick up and enjoy these books, we’ll be happy. So what are you waiting for? Go get the first book.