Poll: Did Star Wars novels get you started on genre?

A point that’s often made when arguing the merits of media tie-in novels is that they bring additional readers to the science fiction/fantasy genre. My own experience runs completely counter to this: Star Wars didn’t get me into SF/F; SF/F got me into Star Wars. Granted, I grew up in a family of readers, and Heir to the Empire was not the first genre novel I borrowed from my parent’s bookshelves before I was old enough to drive. So, I admit, I get a little miffed at the notion that reading these things makes us knuckle-draggers. (What’s wrong with an intelligent reader enjoying a little melodramatic space trash, huh? Wait, don’t answer that.) So, for the sake of science random internet polling:

[poll id=”31″]

15 Replies to “Poll: Did Star Wars novels get you started on genre?”

  1. I was reading SF/F long before I ever laid eyes on a SW book. The EU did start me reading Timothy Zahn’s original SF work, though, as well as convincing me to not bother with the original work of a few others. :p

  2. The first one I clearly remember is Dragonflight. I don’t know how respectable early McCaffrey is considered these days, but I could have done worse: The Stephan King was only one shelf up, and at least Pern wasn’t nightmare-inducing.

    Ironically, I’ve never had much luck with SW authors outside of SW. I’ve tried a few, and I remember reading stuff by Sean Stewart, Stephan Barnes, and Gregory Keyes long before they did SW, but no one has ever actually stuck. They were decent reads all, but nothing to put anyone on my must-read list. But other CJers were all over Zahn and Stackpole’s originals, and even my father bought the Conquerors Trilogy.

    Pretty early on I even tried deliberately vetting authors beforehand, and while Dreamsnake was a far better read than The Crystal Star, I can’t say it was any help in determining if McIntyre would be any good with SW…

    It seems to be that I tend to slant more towards fantasy, and LucasBooks/Del Rey go for SF people… And the fantasy writers they do pick don’t hold much appeal for me. (I would never have touched anything by R.A. Salvatore, ever, had there not been a SW logo involved. The whole D&D/rewarmed Tolkien thing is just… ugh.)

    Sheesh, veering off-topic on my very own post…

  3. Star Wars brought me back to reading in general, starting with SF/F and then on to various other things. I wasn’t reading anything out side of school assignments before that.

  4. Zahn’s first trilogy was the first adult-geared fiction I ever read. This was before all of the (good) young adult SW books had even been imagined. They were pretty heavy for me at the time, but they opened all sorts of SF/F doors down the road. Once I ran out of Star Wars books I started to see what else was in that section at the bookstore.

  5. I was a voracious reader as a kid, so I’d tons of fantasy books under my belt before SW:ANH hit the screen. But the novelization of the movie is the first “outer-space” book I remember reading. But most agree that the movies are fantasies not Sci-Fi. I normally don’t read hard Sci-Fi – battles bore me stiff. This is why I’ve stopped reading the new SW books – too much Sci-Fi not enough Fantasy.

  6. Since I am a second generation SF/Fantasy Geek, I started reading very early. My dad introduced me to the best, starting with “The Hobbit” when I was 7 (really) followed up by Heinlein, Asimov, Clark, etc as the years went on. Then I branched out on my own and haven’t looked back.

  7. i was pretty young when i first read SW novels (Han Solo at Stars’ End, and the Lando books) from the library, but i was also reading Asimov’s Norby series (for kids) and some other sci-fi and fantasy (and later on, Xanth). but i really don’t read other media tie-in lit. ok, i do have some of the Tales of the Slayers. but that’s it. i wouldn’t say that SW was my gateway into sci-fi lit… that would have mostly been a class i took on sci-fi lit and then later, meeting Whitney, who had tons of sci-fi lit to push on me.

    heh.. i also read a Stephen Barnes book way before he got to SW – a Star Trek novel, back in the early 90s that came in a box set of Trek novels someone gave me.

  8. Xanth! Everyone reads Xanth when they’re 12, right? I did try a Buffy book (Something about Spike and Dru?) when I was in the height of my obsession, but… Meh.

    I read Barnes’ Lion’s Blood and the sequel because I love alternate history. And actually, come to think of it, I’ve never read his SW book…

  9. yeah.. i read Lion’s Blood too, though didn’t get his sequel. i do enjoy a good alt hist from time to time. did you ever read “Years of Rice and Salt”?

  10. I read Years of Rice and Salt last year. A little draggy in the middle – and I kept getting all the name-changes mixed up. Definitely a book that requires rereads…

    I’ll try pretty much any non-Turtledove alt-history, though.

  11. turtledove is not so bad – i liked WorldWar, though i never finished Guns of the South (it was a reading assignment for my sci-fi class)

  12. Everything about his books say ‘snoozer’ to me. Though it seems every guy I know loves them.

    I don’t care for Civil War or WWI/II fiction though, so whatever.

  13. I took a SciFi English course in College, only after seeing SW for the first time. All I can say was, it was ugly. I quit reading SciFi after that class. It was only after hitting upon Tim Zahn’s novels that I was willing to give the genre another chance. Of course, the rest is history. Now, it’s the biggest part of what I read.

  14. It literally did start me on other genre books. I was obsessed over the ANH novelization (at the age of 9) and my teacher saw me with it. She explained to me that Star Wars was part fantasy and sci-fi.

    She then wrote a note and had me bring it to the librarian who promptly hooked me up with “A Wrinkle in Time” to start. Then she helped me work my way through other classics. Heinlein and Bradbury were particular favorites.

Comments are closed.