Well, Mr. Zahn, welcome to the new canon!!! We have been waiting for you. This week the grass is a little greener and the sky is a little bluer, as our Legends/Expanded Universe writing hero, Timothy Zahn has taken his place at the Canon table. What better way to enter the new timeline than to bring an old iconic friend with you! Mith’rawn’urruodo, otherwise known as, Thrawn. It seems that with all the new material that has been published recently and as more time has passed since the last Zahn story, my appreciation for his talent had gone a bit dormant. Well it’s alive and well once again. I can’t wait to tell you why.
Unwavering dedication to continuity and fine detail is on full display in the new Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia hitting shelves April 4, where 40 years of saga history blend together seamlessly.
The latest in Star Wars reference compendiums is rife with fascinating tidbits, delivering on its promise to curate the weird, quirky and iconic into a single comprehensive volume. In Jabba the Hutt’s corner of Tatooine alone, we learn the name of his rancor (Pateesa!), the details of Max Rebo’s lifetime performance contract (free meals instead of money), and a few handy Huttese phrases. For logophiles, there’s also a primer on the Aurebesh alphabet and a few key sayings in Bocce, droid binary and Jawaese. (Sadly the exact meaning of “Utinni” remains a mystery on these pages.)
Wow! I just finished Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig. I feel as though I have been on a rollercoaster ride with out a seatbelt! I had so much fun listening to this audiobook. Even though this book had a beastly listening time of 16 hours, it was so worth it. I have to be completely transparent and say right up front that I was not the biggest fan of the first two books of this series. I did listen to them because I am a fan of all Star Wars books. I feel at peace knowing that those books brought us all to this one. I don’t intend to spoil anything for anyone here. My goal of this post is to encourage you to invest the time or agree with the rest of you that this book rocks!
Chuck Wendig’s final entry in the Aftermath trilogy, Aftermath: Empire’s End has been released, and completes the adventures of Norra Wexley and her mismatched group of miscreants. The reader journeys with Norra Wexley and bounty hunter Jas Emari in their pursuit of Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, but that is only one focal point of the narrative. We also follow Temin (“Snap”) Wexley, his wonderfully terrifying droid, Mr. Bones, and recovering Imperial Loyalty Officer, Sinjir Rath Velus as they desperately try to convince the New Republic that they must journey to Jakku (no spoilers here; once you read the book, you will understand why) for a number of reasons that are critical, both personally, as well as on a galactic scale. While it does not reach the staggering heights of Life Debt, Empire’s End is a worthy bookend to the Aftermath trilogy.
Paul S. Kemp, author of Lords of the Sith, has a new book scheduled for release January 24. A Conversation in Blood is the third entry in Kemp’s Egil & Nix fantasy series, and I had the pleasure of being able to read and review the book.
Here is an excerpt from my review, which can be found in full on Goodreads.
So, this was a new experience! I’ve never reviewed a coloring book before, and I don’t think I’ve actually colored since I was in grammar school. And that was many decades ago. When presented with the opportunity to review Art of Coloring: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (recommended ages 18-99), I was pretty excited. I went to the store, bought a box of Crayola crayons (64 colors, sharpener included!) and got to work.
I had forgotten how time-consuming coloring can be. I had also forgotten how soothing it can be. I understand now the recent trend toward adult coloring books. Sometimes you just need to let your mind go, focus on something a bit creative, and relax. Not to get too personal, but I received some very bad news this week. I was in a fair amount of distress, but in the time I was coloring, I felt better. Honestly!
After much anticipation and patience we have finally been given the back story for the Death Star, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story! At the same time the movie was released the novel and audiobook were put on the market for our enjoyment. For an old-school EU/Legends guy like myself there is something comforting and reassuring about the fact that narrators like Marc Thompson, and in this case Jonathan Davis, have been retained as readers of Star Wars novels. Davis uses his powerful pros reading voice, and vast collection of character voices to bring this amazing story even more to life.
Up front, I love books about concept art for films. Love them! Last year, I read The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and was blown away. This year, I’m happy to report I’ve had the same reaction to The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The all-encompassing beauty of the concept art, and the informative text combine for a thrilling experience perfectly in keeping with the movie itself.
The Art of Rogue One is written by Josh Kushins, and features forewords by concept artists Doug Chiang and Neil Lamont, and by Rogue One’s director, Gareth Edwards. These are folks with a clear love for Star Wars that goes back to their earliest days, and that fact shines through in this book. As a Star Wars fan from way back myself, I’m appreciative. Fans sharing their exceptional work with other fans elevates the whole Star Wars experience.
If you’re anything like me, the first thing you want to do after you’ve seen an amazing movie is immerse yourself in that world. Watch everything, read everything, devour everything. I go through that cycle with each new Star Wars film, and with Rogue One it’s no different. I love the movie, so I want to soak in all there is to know. The best way to do that is to read! Fortunately, there’s no shortage of Star Wars related books.
One of the tie-ins to Rogue One is Star Wars Rogue One: Rebel Dossier by Jason Fry. While intended for a younger audience (ages 9-12), Rebel Dossier can be appreciated by any Star Wars fan of any age. It’s a fast read, but it’s also a resource you can revisit time and again. I plan on seeing Rogue One again (naturally), and I always find reference materials like this only enrich my subsequent viewings.
Narrative Equality in Star Wars Galactic Maps
Please note, the following article has mild spoilers for several Star Wars canon books and comics, including but not limited to Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir, Lords of the Sith, Lost Stars, and Shattered Empire.
The excitement around new Star Wars narratives seems in direct proportion to the narrative weight that we as fans give those stories. A new Star Wars film is typically seen as the pinnacle of storytelling, with the animated television shows coming behind, also with a lot of excitement and media coverage. New novels are a milestone in their own right while comics fizzle in and out. Short stories often find themselves lacking coverage and reference books rarely make a dent. But… entertain me for a minute, as we explore how a particular reference book, Star Wars Galactic Maps by Emil Fortune and Tim McDonagh, a brand new “Illustrated Atlas of the Star Wars Universe,” brings to light elements from all these mediums in one single printed history of the galaxy, providing some narrative equality across all storytelling vehicles.