Discussion in 'Literature' started by JediMasterKeno, Feb 25, 2013.
Virtually every other author listed here could be viewed as overrated. Not Brian Daley.
More like Brian FAILey am I right?
The Han Solo Adventures were alright imo but not that great. I like the Lando Trilogy so much more.
Tier One authors (In no particular order):
best writer - Stover
best Star Wars writer - Keyes
best nostalgia shield - Stackpole
Karen Traviss and JJ Miller
Matthew Stover without a seconds hesitation. Even though Revenge of the Sith was not my number 1 favorite, it is in my opinion the best Star Wars novel ever written. It had a brilliant combination of detailed fighting/combat that got you hooked and amazing story scenes that tied you with every characters emotions spoken and unspoken and what they were going through. I almost got teary eyed at the end, it was that well done. In fact, had George Lucas halted in his tracks and based the script directly off of Stover's planned novelization, without making the movie too long, the movie would have been 100 times better!
My current choice would have to be JJM. The guy does swashbuckling adventure in the vein of the OT better than anyone else. And given we get everything but "swashbuckling adventure in the vein of the OT" from every other author, it's really a breath of fresh air to read his stuff. It's adventurous, it's witty, the humor is the funniest stuff since Starfighters of Adumar....what's not to love?
The "big three": Zahn, Stackpole, and Allston.
In no order
In precise order:
I put Zahn last only because in my opinion his work is on the decline. His fire has gone out of the galaxy, and all other authors are strait bantha poodoo!!
I'll have to plump for James Luceno, his Rise of Vader and Darth Plagueis novels were fantastic reads and both really immersed me in the story and kept me reading til the very end.
stover is easily the best. JJM is certainly getting better, and Luceno is really good as well.
For me, I'd say it's definitely Zahn. Though, I do really enjoy Aaron Allston's novels as well. His were always the highlights of the LOTF novels for me back when I read them the first time.
Allston's another favorite of mine. Starfighters of Adumar remains to this day the funniest book I've ever read, full-stop. Not just talking Star Wars, but the funniest book period.
Also gotta echo the love for old-school Zahn (not a fan of Allegiance or CoO for the most part), Stackpole, Luceno, Reaves/Perry, and Stover.
But I'm dang tired of reading books by Troy Denning so he makes it nowhere near my list.
I'm seeing very little Paul Kemp. I thought his book were fantastic.
Zahn, Allston, Stackpole, Luceno, Keyes, Anderson, Crispin, JJM, Reaves, Perry and Stover.
Agreed. ROTS was great, but Traitor is the greatest Star Wars novel ever written hands down.
I'll go Luceno for Plageuis alone. I was at a point where I wasn't sure I even wanted to read it, didn't think I'd like it, however I read it and loved it, then read it again right after. Amaze-balls.
I would have said Reaves as I enjoy some of his work as well.
I would argue that the top tier of Star Wars novel authors consists, in no particular order, of:
Matthew Stover, the best all-around author of the recurring writers, who has a total mastery of prose, characterization, plotting, continuity, philosophical depth, and atmosphere. He has written the best film novelization, the best pure literary work, and the best "Star Wars" book in the franchise.
Timothy Zahn, the master of the "Star Wars feel," who has had two off books in his long career, but makes up for them with far more amazing, definitive works. He is adept at both small adventures and vast, epochal epics, and works to genuinely expand the universe and create memorable characters and situations.
Brian Daley. He is not the master; he is the god of pulp adventure. His thrill-a-minute work is the purest distillation of the classic, fun pulp spirit that animated the original Star Wars universe, and features brilliant characterization, classic scenarios, and genius plotting.
Aaron Allston, who is more than just a comedy genius. The post-NJO hasn't done him any favors, but Allston remains a reliably fun author, and his unconstrained work is among the absolute best put out under the Star Wars label, full of psychologically deep and complex characters, great action scenes, keen plotting, memorable laughs, and incredible humanity.
James Luceno, the continuity wizard. Luceno's total mastery of the vast expanse of the EU, and dedication to interweaving it into his works, certainly pleases my inner fan, but it shouldn't obscure the fact that Luceno has a great sense of the universe's feel, and has demonstrated skill at crafting incredible epics, political thrillers, mysteries, war stories, biographies, and intelligence escapades. He knows how to give the fans what they want.
Greg Keyes is a top-notch talent who fit right into the universe, taking on fan-favorite characters and nailing their characterizations in bold, well-written adventures. I really want him writing Star Wars again.
Greg Bear only wrote one book, but it was tremendous. Bear got at the encounter with the mystic, mysterious, and larger than ourselves that is so important and so underused in Star Wars, and did it within a great mystery context and with stunningly brilliant characterization. The most underappreciated of the authors in my top tier.
Michael Stackpole. In the pure mechanics of prose writing, Stackpole is probably the weakest of the people I'm putting in the top tier; his sentences can be clunky and his dialogue even clunkier. But Stackpole makes up for it by being so, so good at getting the feel of the universe across; bringing it to life as a real, lived-in place; giving us classic adventures; and creating some of the richest, most memorable characters in the universe. I'd be willing to put up with a lot more of his clunky dialogue if we could just get him to bring back that feel for the universe for a while.
And for the heck of it, the next tier of authors, those who are very good but not elite:
Ann Crispin, who wrote a classic trilogy that deftly wove together the moving pieces of continuity into a rip-roaring adventure of a whole, bringing a lot of depth to Han's background. Hell, maybe she belongs in the elite category. Her Han Solo Trilogy is incredibly impressive, yet highly underappreciated.
Michael P. Kube-Macdowell. His Black Fleet Crisis trilogy wasn't perfect -- the Luke sections dragged -- but he wrote what was overall a brilliant work, bringing realism to characters and politics and their maturation since the films, and telling the story of one of the greatest military-sci-fi campaigns in Star Wars right alongside one of the greatest pure-sci-fi adventures as Lando explored the mysterious empty spacecraft left by a long-disappeared race.
Walter Jon Williams wrote a brilliant military-sci-fi-tinged entry in the New Jedi Order series. He got the characters, whipped up a solid plot, and delivered a rousing dose of hope to move the series forward. One of the few one-shot novelists I'd really like to see return.
Kathy Tyers never wrote a really excellent Star Wars novel, but both her entries are interesting, unique, entertaining books. She's a significant step above most of the authors we have now, and I would be perfectly happy if we saw her name on a new book announcement.
Sean Stewart. I suppose I don't feel comfortable elevating him to the elite category on the basis of just one book, which had some flaws. But he's damn close to elite, and probably belongs there anyway. His YDR is a deep, moving work bursting with great characterization.
John Jackson Miller. His debut novel is a confident, incredibly fun pulp-adventure work with a great dash of humor. I can't wait for Kenobi.
The next step down, the good-to-competent authors:
Steven Barnes. He turned out one Clone Wars novel that wasn't overly impressive, but certainly worked overall and showed a higher level of authorship than a lot of the crap we're getting today.
Elaine Cunningham wrote a book that wasn't as bad as its reputation. It was a solid, character-based adventure with a good dash of romance. I was looking forward to her Blood Oath, before it was unfortunately canceled.
R.A. Salvatore wrote a decent opening to the NJO. It's pretty standard fantasy-tie-in-author stuff, but it hits a basic standard of craftsmanship, which is more than you can say about a lot of what we've been subjected to. A perfectly competent, acceptable author.
Jeff Grubb turned out one novel, which was an unspectacular but fully entertaining romp. Nothing great to say about him, but nothing bad, either.
Alan Dean Foster. One fun, lightweight classic-pulp adventure, one dull slog. It balances out around here.
Steve Perry and Michael Reaves/Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. Both Perry and Reaves follow a similar pattern: one excellent debut novel each, followed by collaborations with each other, and in Reaves's case, a few solo/with Bohnhoff outings. The post-debut work has ranged from very good to mediocre, mostly landing in the acceptable-but-disappointingly-unspecial zone. Had they stopped with their debuts, or even with MedStar I, both would be at least up a tier, but their consistently disappointing output since has reduced them to the level of merely passable authors.
Paul Kemp's novels show promise, but they have consistently underachieved, falling into a pattern of thin characters, rote plots, and uninvolving affect. Kemp needs to step up his game significantly to deliver on his initial promise.
Joe Schreiber's two books have been acceptable, lightweight horror-adventure and misguidedly pointless, awkward horror-followup, in that order. I'm not ready to condemn him yet, but a weak showing in his upcoming novel would probably downgrade him.
K.W. Jeter's Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy was enjoyably offbeat and featured some cool ideas, but it suffered more than its fair share of problems, too.
Roger Macbride Allen's Corellian Trilogy was drawn-out and thus a lot more boring than it had to be, but it featured some really cool ideas, and had he not had to drag it out, it could have been pretty decent. In places, it was highly amusing, too. Allen doesn't deserve to be put in the bad category.
L. Neil Smith crafted an absolutely insane, totally fun trilogy. Never great, but certainly a good and enjoyably weird author.
Dave Wolverton gave us a competent, if flawed, Bantam novel. Not a bad author, but certainly not distinguished.
Sean Williams and Shane Dix are more on the barely-competent side. Their collaboration was a long, poorly-crafted, and ultimately boring trilogy that wasted time repeating itself and, for all its incredible length, got very little story told. What story it did tell was generally formulaic, sometimes stupid, and rarely exciting. Williams's solo ventures have ranged from incredibly dull video game novelizations to a competent video game tie-in that flopped on the finish line with a lousy third act. They're not so thoroughly bad as for me to bust them down, but they're right on the edge of it.
Christie Golden isn't quite terrible, she's just a bland, unimpressive standard tie-in author. I'm not prepared to declare her bad yet -- she appears mostly on the weak end of competent so far -- but she has yet to impress me at all.
And now, the final tier: the outright bad authors:
Troy Denning started very promisingly, but for years and year and books and books he has run the Star Wars universe almost irreparably into the ground with horrible plotting, reprehensible characterization, no feel for the universe and the message of Star Wars, and incredibly bad fundamentals in the creative department. I'll always love Star by Star and enjoy Tatooine Ghost, but I can no longer call Denning a good author in good conscience.
Karen Traviss, like Denning, had a promising start, but it devolved into, like Denning, bad characterization, a terrible feel for the universe, and abysmal fundamentals in such areas as plotting and character voicing. Her debut novel was an excellent, insightful take on a military expedition, but her work declined into blind polemics and echo-chamber pointless coddling of pet characters.
Kevin J. Anderson, the Chancellor of Star Wars University! Rotten plotting, weak characterization, bad-crazy ideas, and abysmal command of the craft of English-language writing combined into a perfect story of awful tie-in hackery.
Barbara Hambly's novels were terminally dull slogs, undercooked explorations of ideas with potential that failed to deliver either excitement or deep meaning. She deserves points for ambition, but she completely botched the execution.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote maybe the dumbest Star Wars novel ever. Bad plotting, bad characterization, bad fundamentals, bad grasp of the universe.
Vonda McIntyre wrote maybe the most-derided Star Wars novel ever. The derision is justified for this jumbled mismash of third-rate fantasy and sci-fi concepts with a botched children's tale. I'm not sure whether it's more charitable to assume that McIntyre's ideas were misguided, or that she had no idea what she was doing at all.
Voronica Whitney-Robinson's dull, cliched, pointless video-game tie-in is exactly the reason people deride tie-in fiction. Boring, silly, and obnoxious, it gives no reason to think Whitney-Robinson a competent author.
David Sherman and Dan Cragg. Their disastrous military sci-fi novel was laughably stupid, unexciting, and a total waste of the time of everyone involved. If only their book had died when droids shot it.
Karen Miller's outrageously bad novels are, in essence, bad, bad fanfic published with an official seal of approval. Her work is maundering, maudlin hurt/comfort fanfic in extended form, with execrable plotting, lame characterization, weak writing, and hideously objectionable subtext. It does not help that she included an honest-to-god, original-meaning Mary Sue. Her Clone Wars Gambit: Siege is, hands-down, the worst Star Wars book ever written, and her other work does not rise far above its level.
Drew Karpyshyn has never met a story or character he can't make more cliched, generic, and totally uninteresting. His tepid prose cannot spice up what is invariably plotting based on resort to the nearest worn-thin cliche and characterization that could generously be called stock, calibrated to appeal to the basest sort of fanboy and failing even in that modest ambition. I am not convinced that he has any ideas of his own, and his versions of others' ideas are invariably a massive disappointment. There is nothing that Karpyshyn's touch cannot make worse.
I believe that covers everyone to ever write a Star Wars novel. I might have forgotten somebody, though.
I wish Daniel Keys Moran wrote a novel. He's easily in the "very good" category, if not higher.
Oh, he's top tier.
Holy ****, Hav.
I don't even recognise some of those names. I am inferior.
My favorites are Stover, Luceno, and Daley.
After them, probably Zahn, Stackpole, Allston, and then Denning.
Also forgot to mention Brian Daley.
Dang, where has my brain been today?