Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Trilogy/Duology novel format Strikes Back...

News out of Celebration V courtesy of TheForce.net...

Shelly Shapiro

"- Once Fate of the Jedi concludes, look for Star Wars novels to go the way of duologies and trilogies as opposed to long multi-author series."

The current publishing contract between Lucas Books is with Del Ray, formerly the publishing partner was Bantam/Spectra. During the Bantam era the novels generally were released in Trilogies, sprinkled in with Stand-alone novels and the one major exception the X-Wing novel series.

Under the Del Ray contract we have seen three much longer book series.
From 1999-2003 we got the epic 19 book New Jedi Order Series that also included 2 e-book novellas, and 3 short stories. From 2006-2008 we got the 9 book Legacy of the Force Series, and we are currently in the 9 book Fate of the Jedi Series which started in 2009 and ends in November 2011. We also had the Republic Commando series which spanned 5 books and 2 short stories, with the 6th novel (Imperial Commando 2) being canceled.

In between these extra large series, Del Ray has also released a number of duology, trilogy and stand alone novels all over the EU time line.

Which format is better?

That is an interesting question. The longer series allow for greater in depth story telling and character development, they also give a chance to let minor characters get more screen time. However, they also take up a lot of space on the publishing calendar, and they by their very nature require using multiple authors, who have different styles, favorite characters, and different interpretations of the same characters. This can be problematic as in Legacy of the Force were the portrayal of certain characters like Jacen Solo during his fall to the dark side seemed to be all over the place switching back and forth between Denning, Traviss and Allston.

Going back to shorter series allow one author (or if co-writing two authors) the chance to tell the story they want to tell it, and leads to a more natural flow between all the books of the series. It also should allow for more shorter stories to be told. As a reader, if you dislike a particular series it should also make it easier for you to find new EU content that you like instead of having to wait until the mega-series is over.

My hope is that this transition means we get 2-3 novel series not including stand alone novels released every year and not a cut back in the overall number of novels released.

With Fate of the Jedi we are getting @ 3 books of the 9 per year, with Legacy of the Force we got 3 books in 2006, 4 books in 2007 and 2 books in 2008, and with New Jedi Order we got 1 book in 1999, 5 books in 2000, 3 books in 2001, 5 books in 2002 and books in 2003.

If we only get one multi-book series at a time and get a novel once a year from the author that would be extremely disappointing. Lets hope the good folks at Lucas Books and Del Ray keep up the good work with multiple series going on at the same time.

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