Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Star Wars Expanded Universe: Most Prolific Adult Novel Author?

Just who is the most prolific author in the Star Wars adult novel publishing universe?  

This list focuses exclusively on adult novels, it excludes e-book novellas, young adult novels and short stories. I will be taking a look at these other categories subsequently.  The list doesn't include any canceled novels, however it does include future releases that have been announced. Where an author co-wrote a book with another author, I have given both authors credit for the book. Upcoming novels are indicated by a (*).

Below you will find the authors grouped by number of novels and my rambling thoughts about each group in italics.  Enjoy!

1 NOVEL

Steven Barnes ( The Cestus Deception)
Greg Bear (Rogue Planet)
Haden Blackman (Co-wrote The Ruins of Dantooine)
Terry Brooks (Episode I Novelization)
Dan Cragg (Co-wrote Jedi Trial)
Elain Cunningham (NJO: Dark Journey)
Donald F. Glut (Episode V Novelization)
Jeff Grub (Untitled novel*)
Alex Irvine (Nomi Sunrider novel*)
James Kahn (Episode VI Novelization)
Vonda N. McIntyre (The Crystal Star)
Kristine Kathryn Rusch (The New Rebellion)
David Sherman (Co-Wrote Jedi Trial)
Sean Stewart (Yoda: Dark Rendezvous)
Voronica Whitney-Robinson (Co-Wrote The Ruins of Dantooine)
Walter Jon Williams (Destiny's Way)
Dave Wolverton (The Courtship of Princess Leia)

Some real hits and misses in this group.  It strikes me that Stewart and Cunningham should be brought back for some more EU work as they did a really good job with their books.

2 NOVELS

Barbara Hambly (Children of the Jedi, Planet of Twilight)
John Jackson Miller (Knight Errant, Lost Tribe of the Sith Collection*)
R.A. Salvatore (Episode II Novelization, Vector Prime)
Joe Schreiber (Death Troopers, Red Harvest)
Kathy Tyers ( The Truce at Bakura, NJO: Balance Point)

Having Salvatore come back for a book would be cool, it would be interesting to see what Schreiber could do with a more mainstream EU story, and I think Miller is a keeper if he has time to write novels as well as comics. 

3 NOVELS

Roger McBride Allen (Ambush at Corellia, Assault at Selonia, Showdown at Centerpoint)
Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff (Co-wrote Coruscant Nights: Patterns of the Force, Jedi Dawn*; Shadow Games)
A.C. Crispin (HST: The Paradise Snare, The Hutt Gambit, Rebel Dawn)
Brian Daley (HSA: Han Solo at Stars' End, Han Solo's Revenge, and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy)
Alan Dean Foster (Episode IV Novelization, Splinter of the Mind's Eye, The Approaching Storm)
Christie Golden (FotJ: Omen, Allies, Ascension)
K.W. Jeter (BHT: The Mandalorian Armor, Slave Ship, Hard Merchandise)
Gregory Keyes (NJO: Edge of Victory I, Edge of Victory II, The Final Prophecy)
Michael P. Kube McDowell (BFC: Before the Storm, Shield of Lies, and Tyrant's Test)
Karen Miller (Clone Wars: Wild Space, Gambit: Stealth, Gambit: Siege)
L. Neil Smith (ALC: Mindharp of Sharu, Flamewind of Oseon, The Starcave of ThonBoka)

Ah some Bantam Era Trilogy authors in Allen, Crispin, Jeter,and McDowell.  I actually really liked Crispin's writing.  Karen Miller writes some great characterization, Golden is improving on an up an down debut, and I am not really sure what to make of Bonhoff because of the limited exposure at this point. 

4 NOVELS

Kevin J. Anderson (JAT: Jedi Search, Dark Apprentice, Champions of the Force; Darksaber)
Drew Karpyshyn ( DBT: Path of Destruction, Rule of Two, Dynasty of Evil; Untitled Old Republic novel*)
Steve Perry (Shadows of the Empire, Co-Wrote: MedStar I & II, Death Star)
Matthew Stover (NJO: Traitor, Shatterpoint, Episode III Novelization, Shadows of Mindor)

Some shots get taken at the Jedi Academy Trilogy, but I always enjoy those books.  Karpyshyn did very well with the anti-hero Bane, Perry's work particularly MedStar was really good, but Death Star fell a little flat for me.  Stover is a stud, I enjoyed all of his books, he needs to write more SWEU.

5 NOVELS

Paul S. Kemp (Crosscurrent, Riptide*, TOR: Deceived, Duology #1*, Duology #2*)

What can we say about Kemp, I think the editors at Lucasfilm and Del Rey know they have a keeper here and are throwing work his way.  This could be the next Denning or Allston in terms of volume of SWEU books.

6 NOVELS

Sean Williams ( Force Heretic I-III, The Force Unleashed I-II, TOR: Fatal Alliance)

This one surprised me.  I really enjoyed Fatal Alliance, its a monster of a book, TFU I-II weren't terrific  but limited by their material.  I need to re-read the Force Heretic books as the NJO starts to blend together at times in my head.

8 NOVELS

James Luceno (NJO: Agents of Chaos I &II, The Unifying Force, Cloak of Deception, Labyrinth of Evil, Dark Lord, Millennium Falcon, Darth Plagueis novel*)

Michael A. Stackpole (Rogue Squadron, Wedge's Gamble, The Krytos Trap, The Bacta War; I, Jedi; Isard's Revenge, Dark Tide I & II)

Stackpole wrote one of my Top 10 novels in I, Jedi, but it seems like he is out of the SWEU orbit, Luceno's Clone Wars era books are good, MF is one of my least favorite novels, but Dark Lord I really enjoyed and I am really looking forward to the Plagueis novel.

9 NOVELS

Michael Reaves (Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, Co-Wrote: MedStar I & II, Co-Wrote Death Star, Coruscant Nights I-II, Co-Wrote Coruscant Nights III-IV*, Co-Wrote Shadow Games*)

Timothy Zahn ( Thrawn: Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, HOT: Specter of the Past, Vision of the future; Survivor's Quest, Outbound Flight, Allegiance, Choices of One*)

Timothy Zahn is a tremendous author, but his recent novels have had the curious choices of either following the Thrawn back story or the Jade back story.  It may be better if he takes a grander focus in his story telling instead of filling in the gaps and histories of his characters.  

Reaves primarily has written minor character/side story books but he does those very well in the MedStar and Coruscant Nights books.  I loved the ending of Shadow Hunter, possibly the best novel ending in the SWEU. 

10 NOVELS

Karen Traviss (RC: Hard Contact, Triple Zero, True Colors, Order 66, TCW: Movie Novelization, No Prisoners, IC: 501st, LotF: Bloodlines, Sacrifice, Revelation)

I will gladly admit that I am a Traviss Fanboy.  I love her writing style and her characters.  I love the technique she used of beginning the chapter with a scene or line of dialogue that happened off-screen but served to set up or deepen the story.  Did she overreact to the whole Mando/Boba Fett continuity thing? Yup, but I think both she and Lucasfilm have some blame in the ugly break up that led to the loss of one of the most prolific and best SWEU authors.  

11 NOVELS

Troy Denning (NJO: Star by Star, Tatooine Ghost, Dark Nest: The Joiner King, The Unseen Queen, The Swarm War; LotF: Tempest, Inferno, Invincible; FotJ: Abyss, Vortex, Apocalypse*)

Denning entered the EU with a bang with Star by Star, this is an epic must read book for SWEU fans.  He has some ups and downs but overall is a solid author.

13 NOVELS

Aaron Allston (X-Wing: Wraith Squadron, Iron Fist, Solo Command, Starfighters of Adumar; NJO: Enemy Lines I, Enemy Lines II; LotF: Betrayal, Exile, Fury; FotJ: Outcast, Backlash, Conviction*, Wraith Squadron*

Here you have it ladies and gentleman, the King of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Aaron Allston.  He can capture space warfare and comedy better then any other Star Wars author.  Hopefully he keeps them coming after the new Wraith Squadron book.  If I am Shelly Shapiro and Sue Rostoni, I give Allston carte blanche on whatever books he wants to write in the EU. 

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I have a lot of happy memories associated with some of these books.

    I miss Stackpole and Traviss. Your comments about Zahn, Dennning and Allston are spot on.

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  2. Great stuff. Zahn & Traviss are my two faves with John Jackson Miller a close third.

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  3. Loved this, even though I've read all of Traviss' novels I didn't realize she made the top three in terms of how many novels she wrote. Wish she was still around, but at least we have some new writers like Kemp who keep things interesting and Allston and Denning will always be favorites especially since I've talked to them at conventions and they're greats guys.

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  4. Good stuff - Allston and Traviss are two excellent writers and I'm glad to see they're two of the most prolific. Though, I wouldn't mind if Stover came back and wrote the majority of SWEU from then on...that man is a master of storytelling. My only disappointment when I saw this list was how many novels Denning has written. I haven't read any of his FotJ books yet, but most of his other novels had big plot holes, poor characterization, or were just plain weird. Not to mention how big of a let-down Invincible was. At least he's a nice guy in person and is dedicated and engaged in the EU community.

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