I want you to know that all of you knew Aaron, the real Aaron. Those of us who were lucky enough and honored to log more hours in his company didn’t know him better, we just knew him more. Aaron was the man you meet in his books. He was the man you saw on panels. He was the man who would listen and smile, and listen more.
(I’m not sure if I want to make a joke about Courtship of Princess Leia or, as the cover text urges, a reference to The Princess Bride. How about we all just go watch The Princess Bride instead?)
In any case, our next book will be William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back on March 25.
Like Razor’s Edge, the previous book in the Empire and Rebellion series, James S. A. Corey’s Honor Among Thieves harkens back to a simpler time in the Expanded Universe.
Like it says on the tin, the book is Han-centric, and keeps a fairly close character focus – It serves the story, and this one feels even more back-to-basics than Razor’s Edge. Yes, it’s short, but
this isn’t a story that requires a tome – though Corey is more than capable of such, if you’re familiar with their Expanse books. It’s a quick, fun read, and despite a bit of potential galaxy-shaping consequences, there is not a lick of the Force.
Minor spoilers beyond this point.
There’s been a huge outpouring of grief, affection and memories after last night’s horrible news.
In our own corner of fandom, he’s remembered by Brian and Nanci at Tosche Station, Tricia at Fangirl, Peter at Lightsaber Rattling, Mike at Eleven-ThirtyEight, Aaron of Star Wars Bookworms, Mark of Jedi News, Eric at TFN, Andrew Liptak, and EUCantina. There are also brief but touching writeups (and lots of comments) from the 501st and Rebel Legions.
On the professional end, we have words from Del Rey’s Shelly Shapiro, Lucasfilm’s Jen Heddle and Leland Chee and fellow authors Tim Zahn, Troy Denning, Christie Golden, Martha Wells, Helen Keier and many, many more. (You can see some of them in the Twitter list below.)
And finally, there’s been a ton of talk about Aaron on Twitter:
I recommend everyone watch a really horrible movie and/or make a lot of puns this weekend in Aaron’s honor.
It is with a great deal of sadness and tears that I must report that our dear friend, author Aaron Allston, passed away Thursday.
Aaron was, as Timothy Zahn describes him, “a wonderful author, a devastating punster, an erudite teacher, and — most of all — a wonderful friend.”
For Star Wars fans, Aaron is perhaps best known for his many books in the X-Wing, New Jedi Order, Legacy of the Force and Fate of the Jedi series. His other books include Doc Sidhe, and he had recently self-published Plotting: A Novelist’s Workout Guide. He also conducted writing seminars at conventions such as Celebration, Origins and Dragon*Con, often in tandem with fellow author Mike Stackpole.
I don’t think there’s much I need to say about his writing to this crowd: It’s a rarity, but it seems like pretty much everyone loved Aaron’s books, Star Wars and otherwise.
I meet Aaron in the JadeCon suite one year, when GenCon was still in Milwaukee – it must have been the late 90′s. I was one of only a handful of people in the suite, and I was a bit nervous, because speaking to authors, or celebs of any kind, has never been my forte. But talking to Aaron was easy. He was personable, he was hilarious, he instantly made one feel at ease. Even if you had just met him, he treated you like a friend. He would have been an instant favorite of Club Jade even if he hadn’t written books we loved.
No matter what one thinks of the Expanded Universe, Aaron was a great asset to Star Wars and the fandom. Club Jade is honored to have known him, his work, and to have had him as our first and only Emperor.
Fans and friends are leaving remembrances on Aaron’s Facebook page.
Toy Fair. Jedi Temple Archives reports (a bit hyperbolically) that Lucasfilm has told Hasbro that the Expanded Universe is off limits, save for a few figures that were already in the pipeline.
I think this makes sense. We’ve never gotten all that much EU from Hasbro to begin with, and at this point any EU figure is going to be pounced on by fans as some sort of “proof” for Episode VII. They’re cutting back on prequel-era figures as well, to focus on the OT – with a heavy focus on Return of the Jedi as we approach the new films – and Rebels.
Rebels. Is Brent Spiner voicing a character? This tweet from Gallifrey One, a con held in Los Angeles this weekend, leads us to believe so… The actor, who played Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has worked with Rebels’ Greg Weisman before – they were on a Young Justice panel at the con. (He voiced The Joker on the show.) He was also one of several TNG actors who did voices on Weisman’s Gargoyles. And we’ve had Trek crossover before: George Takei voiced General Lok Durd on The Clone Wars.
Episode VII. Tom Hiddleston and Alex Pettyfer talk their Star Wars chances. (Both unlikely, if for very different reasons) while an Irish unknown, Daryl McCormack, talks about getting far on in the audition process.
With Maul: Lockdown on sale this week, I had a chance to have author Joe Schreiber answer a few questions about his new novel. Joe was gracious enough to discuss the character of Maul and other aspects of Lockdown, including his collaboration with Jim Luceno to have it connect with Darth Plagueis. Having previously brought the living dead to Star Wars in Death Troopers and its prequel, Red Harvest, Schreiber is no stranger to the darker side of the galaxy far, far away.
Episode 7 News is back with some clarification on their previous Mara Jade rumor. Their source now has a name – JediDigger – and they say his info comes from “discussions between people inside Lucasfilm and it’s licenses.”
The gist of his clarification is that they’re using the existing Expanded Universe characters as a template. The actual characters we get will be based on folks like Mara/Shira Brie, Jaina, Ben and such, but with different names – like the oh-so-convenient Korriban/Moriband confusion.
“This can not be made clearer, the post ROTJ EU launched in 91 is dead,” he says. “No story from Outbound Flight forward counts.” This all comes “the request of Disney, Kathleen Kennedy and Howard Roffman.”
But “the love of Luke Skywalker’s life” is a “character George Lucas has had since the end of Return of the Jedi,” which seems like it could conflict with the idea of basing her on Mara… Or does it? It’s not like we haven’t seen a similar character from Lucas before.
They’re also claiming that Michael Arndt has “moved on to Episode 8″ and that Abrams has met with Timothy Zahn. UPDATE: Zahn himself says this part isn’t true, which casts even more doubt on the rest.
So that’s a big rumor dump – but again, not a particularly trustworthy one: Taking the EU characters as templates is significantly less dramatic a change than I would expect. I continue to be skeptical.
Maul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber is out today, and fans of the Dark Side should rejoice. Lockdown delivers a can’t-put-this-down tale of scum and villainy.
Set before The Phantom Menace, Lockdown has Darth Maul sent undercover to infiltrate a space station prison to find an elusive arms dealer operating out of inescapable penitentiary. Maul quickly becomes a contender in the warden’s profitable prison fight circuit, but there’s more to finding someone who doesn’t want to be found in a prison than just cracking heads all the way to the top. Plus, more than just prisoners and guards lurk in the dark confines of this station. And throw in Jabba the Hutt, dangerous cultists, and Darth Sidious scheming under his own master’s nose.
Darth Maul has gone through a renaissance in the past few years – he has gone from being the weapon of rage back in 1999 in The Phantom Menace and the related EU (Michael Reaves’ Shadow Hunter & Ron Marz’ comic), to his resurrection on The Clone Wars (along with Tom Taylor’s Darth Maul: Death Sentence and James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis) as some one able to scheme his way into power as he seeks vengeance on both Obi-wan Kenobi and his old master, while taking on his brother Savage as his own apprentice. And now this year, we get more of Darth Maul, with Lockdown and the upcoming Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comic. Maul: Lockdown adds to this modern character and builds some of Maul’s roots as a plotter as this mission tests his abilities to not only survive but achieve his objective before time runs out.
Minor spoilers beyond this point.