Is Timothy Zahns stature in the Star Wars community fading?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Emperor Sebulba, Jun 14, 2001.

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  1. Dewlanna Solo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 4
    Thanks for the link G12, I'd forgotten that Zahn got nearly as many write-in votes than any of the authors you listed. :)

    Unless there is a way to have 25 or 30 choices in a poll, all Snowboard polls will be flawed, but on the polls where Zahn is included, he comes up at or near the top, time after time. And, as we can see from G12's poll, even when he is left off a poll, he comes out near the top.
    As long as we are posting links, check out this one Legitimate Poll: Answer a question about Timothy Zahn
  2. 181st Fighter Wing Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2000
    star 2
    Genghis, do you realise that many of your "reasons" are contradictory? I'll give you a quick example:

    58. His' books aren't "weighty" literature.

    82. Fans dislike the "complex" stories Zhan writes.

    There are several more, but since I don't type worth a damn I'm not going to repeat them all.


  3. Vergere Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2000
    star 5
    its obvious that the fan that thinks *58 isn't going to agree with #82. one fan may think #58 is corrent, another #82, and therefore both points are valid
  4. Anakin SkySolo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
    Dewlanna--

    But you DO still like Zahn, he stature hasn't diminished in your eyes has it?
    It's just that now there are so many other choices.


    I do still like Tim Zahn, yes. I always have since I first read his novels about four years ago, and his character Mara Jade remains one of my favorites.

    Has Tim Zahn "diminished" in my eyes? Probably not. I wish Dark Empire had been set before the Thrawn Trilogy as originally planned; I think Thrawn (or a similar attempt by the Empire to "come back") works better once the Emperor has been completely defeated. On the other hand, I like Anakin Solo being the youngest sib, and his birth fits in well with DE...Oh well.

    In relative stature--that is, compared to other authors I've read--maybe he's diminished. Maybe not. I had read books by only five authors before I saw TPM, including Zahn, Anderson, and Foster (writing as GL). Now I've read books by a couple dozen other authors, most of whom I've enjoyed, many as much as I enjoyed Tim Zahn. That doesn't even count comic book writers, like the immeasurable Archie Goodwin or the talented Ryder Windham.
  5. Anakin SkySolo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
    Also, a mundane observation. "Complex" and "weighty" are not synonyms.

    E.g., for a movie, the plot of Back to the Future II was complex enough to leave many viewers confused. Yet I would never call the film "weighty."

    By contrast, the novel Lord of the Flies deals with weighty issues, yet its plot is straightforward and not "complex."

  6. ImperialGirl Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2001
    star 3


    First, anyone who thinks Zahn is arrogant has obviously never met him. He has always been approachable, friendly, and willing to talk to fans--who agree or disagree with him. I haven't met a rude Star Wars writer, with a couple exceptions who shall remain nameless.

    Second, he hasn't lost any stature to me. As far as I know, he's still the only Hugo Award winner in the SW stable. Pretty impressive to me--and it also proves that he certianly doesn't have to be writting frachise fiction. His books were written assuming the writer was intelligent enough to follow multiple plots and possessing an adult vocabulary and assuming that the characters were now adults who'd act like it. TTT was a great intro to the new SW literature, and HOT was a nice attempt at a wrap-up (no one could salvage the entire Bantam line; Frank Herbert couldn't have made sense of that mess) and he didn't give into the easy temptation just to clone his chief villain and bring him back outright.

    If Zahn's plots are too complex, I'd advise you never try Sci-Fi's big guns, Clarke, Asimov, Herbert, etc. TTT is straightforward next to 2001, Foundation, or Dune.
  7. Anakin SkySolo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
    Imperial Girl--

    As far as I know, he's still the only Hugo Award winner in the SW stable. Pretty impressive to me--and it also proves that he certianly doesn't have to be writting frachise fiction.

    In point of fact, Tim Zahn is one of three Hugo Award winners (assuming I didn't miss anyone below). The "Star Wars" stable also includes three Nebula Award winners, two of which overlap with the list of Hugo winners. The films have also been honored by both Hugos and Nebulas, so George Lucas is also a Hugo and Nebula Award winner (more or less).

    Many, perhaps most, Star Wars writers clearly don't need to be writing "franchise fiction." Tim Zahn is certainly one such author, but he's not alone.

    Hugo Award winners:

    Greg Bear won the Hugo Award for Short Story in 1987 for "Tangents." He also won the Hugo Award for Novelette in 1984 for "Blood Music."

    Timothy Zahn won the Hugo Award for Novella in 1984 for "Cascade Point."

    Vonda McIntyre won the Hugo Award for Novel in 1979 for Dreamsnake.

    Also, Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi all won Hugos for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1978, 1981, and 1984, respectively.

    Nebula Award Winners:

    Greg Bear won the Nebula Awards for Novel in 2000 for Darwin's Radio, for Novel in 1994 for Moving Mars, for Short Story in 1986 for "Tangents," for Novella in 1983 for "Hardfought," and for Novelette in 1983 for "Blood Music."

    Walter Jon Williamson won the Nebula Award for Novelette in 2000 for "Daddy's World."
    Vonda McIntyre won the Nebula Awards for Novel in 1997 for The Moon and the Sun, for Novel in 1978 for Dreamsnake, and for Novelette in 1973 for "Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand."

    In addition, Star Wars received a Special Nebula Award in 1977.
  8. CountJared Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2000
    star 3
    In addition, Michael P. Kube-McDowell was nominated in 1991 for his novel The Quiet Pools. Greg Bear was also nominated that same year for Queen of Angels.
  9. ImperialGirl Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2001
    star 3
    Lucas doesn't even factor in the discussion. He's not an author; he's the creator.

    Who is Walter Jon Williamson?

  10. Anakin SkySolo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
    Walter Jon Williams is writing the fourth NJO hardcover.

    EDIT: My error. Williams, not Williamson.
  11. Dev Sibwarra Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 4
    Is it Williamson or Williams?
  12. CountJared Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2000
    star 3
    I think Stover is writing the 4th hardcover. Williams is writing the paperback after that.
  13. Anakin SkySolo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
  14. CountJared Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2000
    star 3
    I was looking at the Book Release Schedule at theForce.net. It lists Williams as a paperback in Nov. The Official site is probably right.
  15. Dev Sibwarra Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 4
    Now, if you argue that certain authors are missing from that one (a valid arguement IMO), then you must recognize that the polls you refer to are just as flawed. One can hardly take the polls here as anything close to being accurate and scientific.


    Actually, Genghis12, I'll accept your poll. However, at the beginning, your only question was "Who is your favorite EU author?". Not "favorite new author" or "favorite of the following". Therefore, any vote would be valid. Since the poll does not state that one has to use the automatic voting system, write in votes should be accepted. If we allow that, Zahn wins.

    But...
    Being popular does not equate with being a good writer. Many good writers are popular. Many popular writers are good. But not all of them. Why is an author's popularity relevant? If everyone else likes the GoDV series, does that mean I should? If all of the Ewoks jumped out of a tree, should I follow? In other words, this argument over how many really like Zahn is somewhat pointless.
  16. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    181st Fighter Wing...
    "Genghis, do you realise that many of your "reasons" are contradictory? I'll give you a quick example:"

    Ummm, 181st, exactly which part of the following sentance from the introduction to that list did you NOT understand?

    ...Note to people who may not understand, this is just a listing of things everyone has posted thus far to answer the question and should not in any way be taken to be this poster's opinion (shouldn't have to do that, but I wanted to make sure everyone could comprehend that fact).

    I suppose even though such an intro shouldn't have to be required, people may not understand that fact even when I do make sure to point it out. ;) Read my first post again, including the portion directly above the list, and see if it answers your question. Here's a hint - none of them are MY opinions, they are a list of reasons that a whole bunch of different people gave for Zahn falling out of favour in a prior thread on this issue. Of course some may be contradictory, because different people are going to (dis)like different things.

    The topic of Zahn falling out of favour comes up rather often if you've been around long enough. In fact, as we've seen in the NJO discussions, some people even give weight to the fact that if an issue pops up often enough it must be true (right, Dewlanna ;)
  17. Darth Pipes Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 5
    Yes and no. I liked Zahn's stories but I didn't care for some of it's elements. The use of clones just got plain silly. The Tierce revelation at the end was unnesscary and a complete cop-out. He tends to rely on his characters far too much. I never cared for that "excessively using the Force" stuff. I also think he made Thrawn too superhuman. The heroes are terrified just when they hear his name and barely do anything. Also, the part about Thrawn disobeying the Emperor four times...would never happen. He would have been dead after the first time.
  18. I-poodoo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2001
    star 4
    I've never thought Zahn was the second coming or anything, but I did like the way TTT captured the feel of the movies.

    Has anyone read Zahn's novella written jointly with Stackpole...in one of the anthology books. I loved that story.

    and if I'm not mistaken I thought stackpole and Zahn were friends. (atleast Stackpole credits a Tim in the dedication of one of his SW books.) So how could Zahn be arrogant and totally Vegeta from Dragonball Z-like towards the other authors.

    The problem with Zahn's stuff for me is that in some places it was rather cumbersome reading, certainly in HoT, and that I thought it woulda worked better if it didn't end with just two books, a trilogy might've been better for HoT.
  19. Dewlanna Solo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 4
    The Zahn/Stackpole novellas are among my favorite bits of SW lit.

    Zahn is a terrific writer. A few months ago I read his Conquerors Trilogy (non-SE SciFi) Some of the best SciFi I've read in nearly 40 years of reading SciFi.
    I just finished Zahn's Icarus Hunt. Great story
    I wish I could find some of Zahn's other works, but they are as hard to come by as many of Stackpole's non SW books. And like Stackpole's books, Zahn's books rarely end up on the shelves at used bookstores.

  20. Dev Sibwarra Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 4
    I-poodoo- Did you know that HoT was originally a single book? Halfway through writing it, Zahn realized that his deadline was close, and that the book was going to be over 1000 pages long, so Bantam decided to break it up into a duology.
  21. I-poodoo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2001
    star 4
    Look for Warhorse Dewlanna. It's one of his earlier books and I got it from a used bookstore. Good read it might actually be better than his SW stuff.
  22. Dewlanna Solo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 4
    I probably need to look at a used bookstore somewhere other than the Outer Rim :)
    The Conqueror's books were much better than HoT or even TTT. When Zahn is writing in his own universe, not in someone else's creation, his talent and imagination are phenomenal
  23. Romio-and-Juliet Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 23, 2001
    Zahn came up with Corasaunt! That was great!
  24. SexyElf Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2001
    star 1
    I love Zahn, but that may be because the only Sci-Fi that really gets me interested is Military Science Fiction...That's also why I love Stackpole.

    However, I do have some big problems with Zahn, mainly Mara Jade - I REALLY dislike her, she seems like too much of a bitch to me...

    About Thrawn being too good to be true: How about Napoleon? Rommel? Alexander the Great? Hannibal? They all were incredible leaders, and they all died...Thrawn just took it a step forward...

    ~ Sexy Elf
  25. Darth Pipes Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 5
    Zahn didn't come up with Coruscant. GL came up with it during ESB story conferences with Leigh Brackett in 1977. Zahn only chose the name.
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