EUbits: Canon, continuity and where to start in the Expanded Universe

Where to start? Probably not here. 9.9 times out of 10 I will tell you Heir to the Empire and the Thrawn trilogy, but you probably knew that.

The blogside. Over at Suvudu, Eric Geller recommends Shatterpoint as a Star Wars gateway, which lead to a response by Pete over at Lightsaber Rattling on continuity and accessibly.

Accessibility and the EU is something I’ve been meaning to write on. Of course, I don’t really agree with Pete. Despite the vast amounts of clunky exposition stuffed into every book, I would never recommend a brand new reader to jump on with anything in the New Jedi Order, Legacy of the Force, or Fate of the Jedi. The recent series are all too big and bloated, and I think are just as likely – if not more – to turn people off.

On that note, a self-contained book like Shatterpoint, which doesn’t need much more background than the movies themselves… Well, why not? Granted, Shatterpoint wouldn’t be my first recommendation, as I haven’t read it, but it is Stover, one of the finer writers in the stable. You could do a lot worse. (Eric’s post is part of a whole series – the only one I wouldn’t shrug and say ‘sure’ at are the Imperial Commando books, because that way lies abject disappointment, and we have the comments to prove it.)

Of course, I’m also the person who once started a comic series by picking up the issue where the title character dies. (You don’t even want to know how I’m catching up on Doctor Who.) I suppose it all depends.

On that note… Three rules for good continuity from Pablo Hidalgo.

Chats. Star Wars Books on Facebook has two chats coming up. First, this Wednesday, John Jackson Miller talks Lost Tribe of the Sith. Next Wednesday, on August 14th, Leland Chee will chat about – you guessed it – continuity. Tom Taylor and Dark Horse had a Twitter chat last week – Roqoo Depot has the recap.

Comics. Jedi News has the cover for the next arc of Dawn of the Jedi,Prisoner of Bogan.’

Reviews. James gets back into the saddle over at Big Shiny Robot by checking out Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison #3, Blood Ties: Boba Fett is Dead #4 and Darth Maul: Death Sentence #1.

8 thoughts on “EUbits: Canon, continuity and where to start in the Expanded Universe

  1. Paula

    I could never get in to Shatterpoint, but that’s my thing.

    Where I start someone usually depends on what attracts them to Star Wars. But usually starting with the Heir trilogy or the X-Wing series is enough to get folks hooked.

    If they’re looking for a stand-alone, I’d actually go with Tatooine Ghost. But I suspect I’m probably one of the few.

  2. Dunc Post author

    Anything that’s not too far removed from the movies would be fine – Truce at Bakura, most of the PT books, etc. Not what I’d call ideal, but fine.

    On the other hand, a friend of mine in high school had bought Courtship and Crystal Star and, thanks to them, was thus not particularly interested in the EU as a whole. I can’t really blame him.

  3. Nancy K

    Oof. That was an unfortunate pair of choices.

    In addition to the Thrawn trilogy or the X-Wings I might recommend A.C. Crispin’s Han Solo series as a gateway, those were fun. Or Approaching Storm for PT era.

  4. jawajames

    I also enjoyed Shatterpoint. Whether I would recommend it or not as a gateway depends on what the first-time-reader likes about Star Wars – which era, which characters, action vs character drama, etc.

    and Dunc, didn’t read it? for shame.

  5. Doyle

    I’m usually one to suggest the Thrawn trilogy or the X-Wing series for their accessibility, but after reading them both this year I might consider shifting that to Allegiance and Choices of One. Allegiance takes longer to get going than is necessarily good, and it can be a little goofy (Mara and Vader unexpectedly run into one another at the library and share uncomfortable, awkward conversation? This is like the setup to a Robot Chicken sketch) but both could be excellent gateways because they don’t require anything more than knowledge of A New Hope, and they make an effort to fill in some of the time gap and explain some of the character development leading into Empire.

    Also, yeah. I remember being very well surprised by how good Shatterpoint was. I’m not sure I’d call it a good gateway, though.

  6. Lane

    I might waffle every now and then on where to start someone, but I always wind up coming back to Heir to the Empire.

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