I’m considering the unthinkable: I may actually buy a Star Wars novel again.
Most people probably trace their reading of Star Wars novels back to Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire, the beginning of his trilogy that arguably kick-started Star Wars fandom back in the post-Jedi doldrums when it had all but died thanks to nothing new coming out. But I’d been reading the novelizations of the movies long before that. I’d snapped up Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter of the Mind’s Eye the second I saw Darth Vader staring back at me from the paperback rack. I’d not only read Brian Daley’s trio of Han Solo adventures, but also L. Neil Smith’s Lando Calrissian books. That was commitment. But I dove into the Zahn books as well, and yes, it was like a glass of water after a long walk in the desert.
Then more books started coming, with more and more regularity, and for a while I kept up. Some were good, some were bad, and some were by Kevin J. Anderson. Spare Imperial super-weapons abounded, novels were written by authors who had very little understanding of what Star Wars was, and everybody seemed to know everybody else. And still I kept buying the books, driven by a maddening need for completion. My shelves filled up with unread novels that I swore I’d get around to eventually, but never did. Until I finally gave up on the whole thing right around the time of the prequels, when I started to nurture the idea that loving Star Wars didn’t mean owning every single thing associated with it.
But then along came Disney, and the promise of Episode VII, and the erasure of the Expanded Universe, and the fresh start Rebels has been providing. That show in particular, as pure and enjoyable a distillation of what Star Wars as has been seen since May 1980, has me excited about that galaxy far, far away again. And with the table re-set and the decades of often poorly written books now relegated to a legacy imprint, it feels like it might be time for a new beginning. The new Marvel comic is off to a great start too, so maybe it’s a good time to get back in on the ground floor. If a nearly 40-year old franchise can have such a thing.
There are only two books so far, so it’s not a huge commitment. I can promise on open, hopeful mind. I certainly hope I can promise a lot less stubborn persistence if things start going off the rails. Just keep Kevin J. Anderson away and I think this might just turn out okay.