Topic: Star Wars Authors

I thought I'd start a thread (if there isn't one already), to discuss the authors behind EU novels...opinions about writing style and creative direction, and the like. 

In part due to an inquiry as to my problems with Karen Traviss...which I will elucidate here, along with my opinion of three big name Star Wars authors that have contributed, for better or for worse, to the Star Wars Galaxy.
Yes, I have a problem with Karen Traviss; basically the same one that anyone who disliked the page from Bloodlines posted in a different thread.  Personally, I was not one of those individuals who particullarly enjoyed the Republic Commando novels...I found the writing, while rife with great millitary references and presenting the Commando's as a real tactical unit, to be subpar...the storyline of Triple Zero at least.  I admit it has been a while since I read that, and I have not read the other one published, but I don't exactly have a high opinion of her writing style...though it is better than some others, I admit. 
Though really, I'd have to say the reason I dislike her, almost to the same level that I loathe Troy Denning, is how she has seemingly twisted the character of Boba Fett to meet her creative ideas regarding the Mandalorians...herself having been given full creative direction with their once-mysterious background. When reading that portion of Bloodlines, I could see the alterations clearly;  references to Kamino, the cloners...tying himself to the Mandalorian connections behind the clone Commandos she created. 
But more so...the dialogue between Fett and his prey, including his personal thoughts, does not reflect the Fett we've come to recognize from other source material;  Tales of the Bounty Hunters, Bounty Hunter Wars, and the like.  While it is really a matter of opinion....I just don't like the way she's going with the character, and don't particullarly enjoy her writing style.  Though I may change my view after reading Bloodlines and the e-novela; yet I doubt that will happen.

Troy Denning, now.  I despise his writing.  As simple as that.  More even so...the way that he promotes his own creative material above everything else, including characters that really should never have been kept around...his precious trio of Squibs, which we will no doubt see in his contribution to the Legacy arc. 
When reading Denning...I don't know how he manages to do it, but he can suck all the life and vigor out of the story...what little story he has, anyway.  It's odd, I don't find that with much star wars authors, but dialogue feels impersonal, disconnected...I'm not sure why, maybe it's just me.
After he wrote "Star by Star", which sadly, many fans consider to be the best novel in the NJO, he was summarily given a chance to write his own trilogy; I have no clue how he managed to wheedle that one in.  For those of you who have read the Dark Nest arc...mediocre at best.  Story wise, and writing wise.  But all my opinion, yes.

Finishing now with my absolute favorite author...perhaps some of you have read his work.  Matthew Stover, author of NJO: Traitor, Shatterpoint, and the novelization for Episode Three.  He is truly remarkable among all Star Wars authors; while creative styles and writing techniques vary only slightly amonst most SW authors, with the exception of a few superior and inferior creations,  Stover is on a completely different level.  He writes incredibly different from the rest.   
I can't say that it is easy to describe...you would have to read it to know what I'm talking about.  Suffice to say, Traitor (besides Allston's duology), is the only NJO novel I find myself rereading, because I enjoyed it that much.  I've probably read it eight times now, sadly.  Shatterpoint was amazing; as much as many here dislike the infamous Mace Windu, I would recommend it as well. 
And the Episode 3 novelization...wow.  He took an (arguably) mediocre script and did something awesome with it.  So much more than what happens in the movie...and I finally understand why Anakin fell to the dark side, after reading this. 
Definetely my favorite;  I only hope that he get's recognized for it, and contracted to write some more.


Now...opinons?  Any SW authors you have a beef with/ enjoy?

"If you don't want me to eat you.....SAY SOMETHING." 
-Captian Murphy

Re: Star Wars Authors

I didn't mind Karen Traviss's take on the Commando's but I do agree that she didn't need to have them linked into the Mandalorian culture. That suggests too much free thinking and although the commandos are allowed to do more of that then the troopers, it still seems unlikely that they'd try and link back to Jango's heritage.

I have read Ep III by Matthew Stover. I actually found his style a bit disjointed. It was interesting but not what I like.

I really like Timothy Zahn's writing (not just SW either) and James Luceno who wrote Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader. I like descriptive types of writers, plus a start that gets you in from the beginning. I also love strong characters. I found it hard to read a lot of the novels with Han and Leia all lovely dovey. I prefered Luke's stories. But then I tend to go for the SW novels that are about characters that are less explored or totally original from the movies. I loved the 'Tales' books and the 'medstar' books. Haven't read any SW books lately - except one of the commando novels.

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Re: Star Wars Authors

Well, it's all opinion anyways.  smile  I won't vehemently defend Stover as the best, I just enjoy him more than Traviss...

Luceno is good, I agree...though I've only read Labrynth of Evil, he's definetely one of the better SW authors out there.
Zahn does the same thing Denning does that bothers me; focusing soley on the elements of SW that he created (ie, Thrawn, Car'das, Outbound Flight), but at least he can write a good story...I enjoy his novels as well, though I wish he would write about something different....wish he could've been contracted for a NJO piece, that would have been cool.  tongue

But would anyone here agree....that Barbara Hambly (Children of the Jedi, Planet of Twilight) is the worst Star Wars author out there?

"If you don't want me to eat you.....SAY SOMETHING." 
-Captian Murphy

Re: Star Wars Authors

I like Zahn best. Followed by Stackpole, cause after the Thrawn Trilogy, the X-Wing books are my favorite. Allston does really good too. I agree about Stover, though all I've read is Shatterpoint but that book was really good. And maybe it's just me but I really enjoy Jude Watson. Kids books yes, but they're good kids books. And I think Dave Wolverton did a good job with his books. Kevin Anderson does decent, but I find he's constantly doing things like this, "And in the midst of this big battle this character suddenly goes into a page and a half or so of remembering things that happened in the movies". And I really did not like how Luke stumbled across the same wampa he ran into in ESB, that was kinda stupid. But otherwise he's fine I think.

Barbara Hambly's the one I don't like. It's not just her SW books either cause I read one of her other books. They just make no sense at all, and half the time I don't know what's going on. Sometimes I had to go back and reread whole sections just to understand something.

As for Traviss, I get the feeling she's attempting to destroy Boba and the Mandos. But then I've never read any of her books so my opinion so far doesn't count for much.

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Re: Star Wars Authors

My favorite author would be Dave Wolverton all i know he has done is the tale of Dengar from TOTBH but i just really liked that story and it was written really well, it was short but i still thought it was excelent.

I'm smiling because they havn't found the bodies yet. :)
I think, therfore i am I destroy, therfore i endure - IG-88 tales of the bounty hunters

Re: Star Wars Authors

I thought Karen Traviss' take on the Mandalorians was spot on.  I like how the women are as much a part of the Mandalorian Warrior culture as the men are.  It reminds me of the Celts.  Being of Scottish ancestry, that automatically drew me in.  Also, being in the military, I can definitely relate to her portrayal of the Commando's, as well.  The way they pick on each other is just like being at work.  However, they know that in a snap, they all have each other's backs (i.e., the friendly physical bantering between the ARC's and the Commando's).  It makes sense that since they were trained in small groups by Mandalorians that the Commando's drill sergeants would train them in the same way they were trained, and in so doing, pick up alot of Mandalorian habits and traits.  The same way the Alpha ARC's are more like Jango Fett, since he trained them.  I have to say that I'm biased, though, because I loved the RC game, and have always been facinated by the ARC's.  So, in her books, I have all those, and the Mandalorians, in one book. 

I did like her take on Boba Fett, being somewhat out of touch with the Mandalorians, even though he is Mandalore.  Jango was killed early in his life, so he didn't have the formal training in Mandalorian culture that the others have had.  I would actually go so far as to say the Commando's and Null ARC's are more in touch with Mando culture, than Boba is.  I wouldn't call Jango, though, an ideal candidate for living the Mandalorian way, though, seeing as he had his own agenda as a bounty hunter.  Maybe it was something he figured he could teach Boba more of in the future, but his untimely death prevented that. 

My favorite books, though, have been the "Tales of...." series.  It's done by different authors, and Kevin J. Anderson edited the first three, before Peter Schweighofer took over for the Tales from the Empire book.  I think those were very well done, indeed.  Something about reading the stories of characters, who you caught briefly on the screen, and then having the story go into why they were where they were at during the film, made for some very fun reading.  I just finished Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina.  My two favorite stories from that was the one about Davin Felth, and the Moisture Farmer's Tale.  As for the Tales of the Bounty Hunters, I think my favorite story was probably the IG-88 story.  They did a good job of retro-fitting all his appearances throughout the Star Wars universe (even the IG-88 body by the scrap heap furnace on Cloud City). 

I've currently been reading Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno.  So far, I can't complain.  I have really enjoyed the story and he does a great job of the conflicting emotions going through Darth Vader's mind, in the early days after Revenge of the Sith.  I especially liked his take on Darth Vader's displeasure on the limitations of his suit (i.e.--having to alter his fighting style, because he can't lift his arms over his head as he did before, or do all the jumping and flipping around that Anakin was known for). 

The Bounty Hunter Wars was good, but it took me awhile to get used to the story flipping from the present, to the past, back to the present again.  I think it would have been better if they started in the present with the first book, went to the past with the second book, then brought it all full circle in the third book. 

The only thing I've ever read from Timothy Zahn, so far, was the story about Grand Admiral Thrawn posing as Jodo Kast (here's another example of him using Thrawn again, Balancesheet), in the Tales from the Empire novel.  That one was pretty decent, I thought.

--Sadriel Fett (BFFC Moderator)
"I'm just a simple Fan, trying to make my way in the universe."

Re: Star Wars Authors

Thrawn posing as Jodo Cast?  I don't remember that one...I guess I need to reread TftE again... tongue

I agree, the past/present flipping in BHW threw me off a little too...I never actually finished reading it a second time because I forgot where I was/what was going on...still a good read though. 

Of the Tales, I'd have to say my favorites are...IG-88 also, (though it is a bit wierd to think that he was in control of the Death Star II when it blew up).  Dengars tale, the rancor tamer's tale (so sad...), Labria's tale...it's been a while, but there is some great stuff in there, I admit. 

Kevin J. Anderson hasn't written any SW in ages...they definetely need to sign him for something.  Anybody but Troy Denning would make me happy.  tongue

"If you don't want me to eat you.....SAY SOMETHING." 
-Captian Murphy

Re: Star Wars Authors

BalanceSheet wrote:

Thrawn posing as Jodo Cast?  I don't remember that one...I guess I need to reread TftE again... tongue

You're in luck, I actually brought it with me here to Mississippi.  I still need to finish reading it.  I grabbed it, because it had Fett on the cover, only to find out upon reading the story that it was supposed to be Jodo Kast on the cover.

The story is the last four in the book.  It's called "Side Trip."  Timothy Zahn writes parts one and four, and Michael Stackpole writes parts two and three.

--Sadriel Fett (BFFC Moderator)
"I'm just a simple Fan, trying to make my way in the universe."

Re: Star Wars Authors

Thanks...I've got it in my collection somewhere, I think.  :-P

"If you don't want me to eat you.....SAY SOMETHING." 
-Captian Murphy

10 (edited by Ursula Saturday, September 9, 2006 5:37 pm)

Re: Star Wars Authors

I think Traviss advances Fett, rather than keeping him static.  NOT that Fett is in the grave yet, but he is confronted very much with the prospect of limited mortality. Having cared for dying hospice patients, they do tend to take a hard look at the past, and they do act oft times different from before.  It's hard when characters we like grow. Sometimes they may grow in ways we don't care for. I have not read the other Traviss novels, but in this her writing seems fine.  However, writing, like most things, is a matter of taste. I know I didn't care for her own SF books, because I didn't get into the writing. As to character, I love the direction Fett is taking, but I understand why some folks may not. It's a tough pill to swallow that Fett, as an individual, might evolve, but I think there is ample psychological support for the direction taken. Still, I bet it's one of those things: you either love it or hate it, and there's not really a middle ground. My husband feels the same way about Jeeter. I liked him, but mention his name to the old man, and all hell breaks loose. wink

I'm not sure I have a favorite SW universe author. I find sometimes the books are very uneven, both between books, and within the books between different characters.  I read Dark Lord, and the book was technically well written, but the parts that were not about Vader came across very 'forced', and the book overall fell kind of flat. I was hoping to see more of the Dark Lord in the making, less of the Jedi. But I guess you need one like a mirror to show the other? Not sure.  Still, it's a book about the Dark Lord, there really should have been more on screen time for Darth Vader. What there was of Vader I very much enjoyed.

Sadriel, I agree on BH wars about the order, though I liked the past and present. I find sometimes I enjoy more non-linear story telling.

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