Here we are, back for the fifth time with the Aluminum Falcons, our way of recognizing the best work in the EU for the past year. As ever, we're tinkering with the format, and this year we're allowing three individuals into the Aluminum Falcons Hall of Fame rather than two, and we've consequently restructured the categories. Let us know what you think of the change. Now, to go over the rules YOU MAY CAST UP TO THREE RANKED VOTES IN EACH CATEGORY EXCEPT HALL OF FAME CATEGORIES. That's UP TO THREE. You have the option to submit three, two, one, or zero votes in each category. You are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO CAST ALL THREE VOTES, BUT IF YOU'RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THAT MANY NOMINEES, PLEASE DON'T CAST VOTES FOR WORK YOU HAVEN'T READ. VOTES MUST BE RANKED. If you just give me three unranked submissions, I won't know how to weigh your votes and you will make me angry, so I will ASSUME UNRANKED SUBMISSIONS TO BE RANKED IN DESCENDING ORDER. YOU MAY ONLY VOTE ONCE PER HALL OF FAME CATEGORY: One vote for the Hall of Fame Books nominees, one for the Comics nominees, and one for the Reference nominees. LISTS OF ELIGIBLE MATERIAL AND CREATORS WILL BE PROVIDED IN EACH CATEGORY. THESE LISTS ARE NOT EXHAUSTIVE, so if you see something eligible left out, let me know and I will add it. ELIGIBLE WRITE-INS ARE ACCEPTED. COMIC ARCS ARE ONLY ELIGIBLE FOR THE YEAR IN WHICH THEY END. INCOMPLETE COMIC ARCS AND THEIR WRITERS ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR OVERALL AWARDS. COVER ARTISTS AND INTERIOR ARTISTS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THEIR WORK ON INDIVIDUAL ISSUES, HOWEVER. VOTING STARTS NOW. IT CLOSES AT THE END OF SATURDAY FEBRUARY 2. SEND YOUR VOTES TO THE SOCK DARKLIGHTER. DO NOT SEND THEM TO ME. IF YOU DON'T READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS YOU WILL DIE. YOU'LL STILL DIE IF YOU READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS, BECAUSE EVERYONE DOES, BUT SERIOUSLY, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. The categories, with the lists of nominees, follow: Best Novel: Darth Plagueis Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse Scourge Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories X-wing: Mercy Kill The Old Republic: Annihilation Best Comic Arc: Knights of the Old Republic: War Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm Dark Times: Out of the Wilderness Blood Ties: Boba Fett is Dead The Art of the Bad Deal Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison Knight Errant: Escape Darth Maul: Death Sentence Lost Tribe of the Sith: Spiral Best Trade Paperback: Legacy: War Jedi: The Dark Side The Clone Wars: The Enemy Within The Old Republic: The Lost Suns Invasion: Revelations Knight Errant: Deluge The Clone Wars: The Sith Hunters Crimson Empire II: Empire Lost Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse Dark Times: Out of the Wilderness Knights of the Old Republic: War Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm Best Short Story: Lost Tribe of the Sith: Secrets Lost Tribe of the Sith: Pandemonium Winner Lose All Heist Getaway Maze Run Hunting the Gorach Reputation Roll of the Dice The Guns of Kelrodo-Ai End Game Best Reference Material: The Phantom Menace: The Expanded Visual Dictionary Dawn of the Jedi 0 Book of Sith: Secrets from the Dark Side The Secret Life of Droids The Essential Guide to Warfare Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide: Updated and Expanded The Essential Reader's Companion The Old Republic Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Epic Conflict Edge of the Empire: Beginner Game Best TV Episode: The Clone Wars: Escape from Kadavo The Clone Wars: A Friend in Need The Clone Wars: Deception The Clone Wars: Friends and Enemies The Clone Wars: The Box The Clone Wars: Crisis on Naboo The Clone Wars: Massacre The Clone Wars: Bounty The Clone Wars: Brothers The Clone Wars: Revenge The Clone Wars: Revival The Clone Wars: A War on Two Fronts The Clone Wars: Front Runners The Clone Wars: The Soft War The Clone Wars: Tipping Point The Clone Wars: The Gathering The Clone Wars: A Test of Strength The Clone Wars: Bound for Rescue The Clone Wars: A Necessary Bond The Clone Wars: Secret Weapons The Clone Wars: A Sunny Day in the Void Best EU Work: The preceding works are eligible, plus: The Wrath of Darth Maul The Clone Wars: Secret Missions: Guardian of the Chiss Key Best Series: The Clone Wars (TV show) Knights of the Old Republic Agent of the Empire Dawn of the Jedi Crimson Empire Dark Times Fate of the Jedi The Clone Wars: Secret Missions The Old Republic (comics) Blood Ties Knight Errant Lost Tribe of the Sith X-wing The Clone Wars (comics digests) The Essential Guides Best Novel Author: James Luceno (Darth Plagueis) Troy Denning (Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse) Jeff Grubb (Scourge) John Jackson Miller (Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories) Aaron Allston (X-wing: Mercy Kill) Drew Karpyshyn (The Old Republic: Annihilation) Best Comic Author: John Jackson Miller (Knights of the Old Republic: War, Knight Errant: Escape, Lost Tribe of the Sith: Spiral) John Ostrander (Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse, Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm) Mike Richardson (Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost) Randy Stradley aka "Mick Harrison" (Dark Times: Out of the Wilderness) Jeremy Barlow (The Clone Wars: The Enemy Within) Tom Taylor (Blood Ties, Darth Maul: Death Sentence) Zack Whedon (The Art of the Bad Deal) Haden Blackman (Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison) Henry Gilroy and Steven Melching (The Clone Wars: The Sith Hunters) Best Author: The previous authors are eligible, plus: Ryder Windham (The Wrath of Darth Maul, The Clone Wars: Secret Missions: Guardian of the Chiss Key) Daniel Wallace (The Book of Sith) Jason Fry and cowriters (The Secret Life of Droids, and David West Reynolds on The Phantom Menace: The Expanded Visual Dictionary, with Paul R. Urquhart on The Essential Guide to Warfare)* Pablo Hidalgo (The Essential Reader's Companion) Ian Ryan, Charles Boyd, Hall Hood, Joanna Berry, Zach Bush, and James Jones (The Old Republic Encyclopedia) Timothy Zahn (Winner Lose All, Heist) Christie Golden (Getaway) David J. Williams and Mark S. Williams (Maze Run) Ari Marmell (Reputation) Karen Miller (Roll of the Dice) Alexander Freed (The Last Battle of Colonel Jace Malcom) *For the purposes of clarity in voting, even though Jason Fry wrote both solo and with two different cowriters in 2012, Jason Fry, David West Reynolds and Jason Fry, and Jason Fry with Paul R. Urquhart will be consolidated into one nominee: Jason Fry and cowriters. Best Comic Artist: Andrea Mutti (Knights of the Old Republic: War, Lost Tribe of the Sith: Spiral) Stéphane Roux(Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse) Jan Duursema (Dawn of the Jedi) Stéphane Créty (Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse) Paul Gulacy (Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost) Doug Wheatley (Dark Times: Out of the Wilderness) Brian Koschak (The Clone Wars: The Enemy Within) Chris Scalf (Blood Ties: Boba Fett is Dead) Davidé Fabbri (The Art of the Bad Deal, Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets) Agustin Alessio (Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison) Marco Castiello (Knight Errant: Escape) Bruno Redondo (Darth Maul: Death Sentence) Vicenç Villagrasa (The Clone Wars: The Sith Hunters) Marco Castiello and Andrea Chella (Purge: The Tyrant's Fist) Best Cover Artist: Torstein Nordstrand (Darth Plagueis) Dave Wilkins (Knights of the Old Republic: War, Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison) Benjamin Carré (Knights of the Old Republic: War, Knight Errant: Escape) Stéphane Roux (Agent of the Empire) Rodolfo Migliari (Dawn of the Jedi 0) Dave Dorman (Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost, Darth Maul: Death Sentence) Jan Duursema (Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm) Gonzalo Flores (Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm) Pablo Correa (Dark Times: Out of the Wilderness) Indika (Red Harvest paperback cover) Brian Koschak (The Clone Wars: The Enemy Within) Ian Keltie (Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse) Larry Rostant (Scourge) Chris Scalf (Blood Ties: Boba Fett is Dead) David Palumbo (Blood Ties: Boba Fett is Dead) Adam Hughes (The Art of the Bad Deal) Tsuneo Sanda (Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison) Mike Hawthorne (Knight Errant) Daryl Mandryk (Choices of One paperback cover) Dave Stevenson (Lost Tribe of the Sith e-books) Scott Biel (X-wing: Mercy Kill) Paul Renaud (Lost Tribe of the Sith: Spiral) Dave Filoni (The Clone Wars: The Sith Hunters) David Michael Beck (Dawn of the Jedi: The Prisoner of Bogan) Dan Scott (Purge: The Tyrant's Fist) Best Artist: The previous artists are eligible, plus: Paul Allan Ballard (Book of the Sith) Jeffery Carlisle (Book of the Sith, The Essential Reader's Companion) Chris Reiff (Book of the Sith) Chris Trevas (Book of the Sith, The Essential Reader's Companion) Russell Walks (Book of the Sith) Terryl Whitlatch (Book of the Sith) Stephen Martiniere (The Essential Guide to Warfare) Dave Seeley (The Essential Guide to Warfare) Darren Tan (The Essential Guide to Warfare, The Essential Reader's Companion) John Van Fleet (The Essential Guide to Warfare, The Guns of Kelrodo-Ai) Bruno Werneck (The Essential Guide to Warfare) Paul Youll (The Essential Guide to Warfare) Ansel Hsiao (The Essential Guide to Warfare) Ian Fullwood (The Essential Guide to Warfare) Drew Baker (The Essential Guide to Warfare) Modi (The Essential Guide to Warfare) Brian Rood (The Essential Reader's Companion) Joe Corroney (The Essential Reader's Companion, Getaway, Hunting the Gorach) Tom Hodges (Reputation) David Rabbitte (Roll of the Dice, The Last Battle of Colonel Jace Malcom) Best Licensee: Del Rey Dark Horse Comics Scholastic Lucasfilm Animation Dorling Kindersley Publishing Titan Magazines The Aluminum Falcons Hall of Fame: Nominees in the category of Books: James Kahn The author of the classic novelization of Return of the Jedi, James Kahn produced the most revered movie novelization before Matthew Stover's novelization of Revenge of the Sith. Like Stover, Kahn married evocative prose with moving exploration of the characters. Kahn went beyond simple translation of a script into a book, and created a genuine adaptation that took us inside the heads of the characters. His haunting description of Anakin Skywalker's final moments is perhaps the most memorable instance, but the novel is full of vivid, emotional character work, alongside pulpy action and expansion of the universe with new details -- though not all of them, like Obi-Wan's status as Owen's brother, survived. Kahn remains an underappreciated gem among EU authors, one who has made a significant and genuine contribution to the EU's quality. Greg Keyes Greg Keyes was one of the brightest new contributors to the New Jedi Order series, immediately taking to the existing cast of supporting characters like a natural and exuding appreciation of the Bantam-era material. In his Edge of Victory duology, Keyes deftly developed Jaina and Jacen while turning Anakin into the breakout character of the early NJO. He also reintroduced Tahiri to the storyline and made use of other forgotten supporting characters like Ikrit and Qorl. Keyes also took classic characters best known for their use in the hands of Zahn, Stackpole, and Allston, and wrote them like a master, handling Corran, Wedge, Gavin, Karrde, Shada, and Booster as well as they'd ever been handled. Somehow, he also found time to create memorable, vital new characters like Vua Rapuung and Nen Yim that did much to expand our understanding of the Yuuzhan Vong. Keyes was then invited back for The Final Prophecy, where he yet again took well-established main and supporting characters and fearlessly continued their development. Greg Keyes is an excellent author of exciting adventures, critical to the development of the New Jedi Order series and its cast, who displayed a tremendous feel for the Expanded Universe, respect for what had gone before, and a bold and courageous vision for the saga's further development. Kevin J. Anderson Kevin J. Anderson is one of the most important authors to the development of the Expanded Universe. A fixture in the Bantam Era, he wrote four novels, all of which were critical to the setting's development, plus most of the Tales of the Jedi comics, the Young Jedi Knights young readers' books, and other comics and short stories, as well as editing short story collections and writing The Essential Chronology. Anderson chronicled Luke Skywalker's reestablishment of the New Jedi Order, made Leia the leader of the New Republic, and both established the Empire's decline and the Remnant's establishment and placement in Gilad Pellaeon's hands. Along with his wife, he developed Jaina, Jacen, and their supporting cast as they became Jedi. He also created Exar Kun and laid out critical history of the Jedi, Sith, and Republic, plunging Star Wars into whole new eras. A great many important and memorable characters trace their history back to Anderson, and few other creators can claim more impact in shaping the entire Expanded Universe, as Anderson handled many critical creative turning points in the early EU. At the close of the Bantam era, the earliest and latest stories on the timeline bore his name, he was a major force in every aspect of Star Wars publishing -- books, comics, short stories, young reader's stories, and reference -- and had secured writing jobs for many of his professional friends, further shaping the Expanded Universe, earning him the sobriquet "Chancellor of Star Wars University." Drew Struzan The most prolific cover illustrator of the Bantam Era, Drew Struzan's movie-poster-style cover design remains immediately recognizable. From The Courtship of Princess Leia to I, Jedi, The Black Fleet Crisis to The Han Solo Trilogy, Shadows of the Empire to the Last of the Jedi series, The Hand of Thrawn Duology to The Glove of Darth Vader, Struzan's cover work is all over the Expanded Universe. His mastery of the iconic symbols of the films -- the characters and ships that are immediately recognizable as Star Wars throughout the world -- combined with the creation of new designs to create appealing, distinctive cover designs that worked both as covers and as Star Wars art pieces. His work is beautiful, iconic, and definitive of a classic Expanded Universe publishing era. Nominees in the category of Comics: Lucas Marangon Lucas Marangon is not just a comic artist, but a comic artist -- the penciler of the humorous Tag and Bink comics, as well as several Tales entries and the Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan: The Aurorient Express comic. In all, Marangon demonstrated a mastery of the visual gag, filling his panels with funny touches that add enormously to the comedy. Marangon's art works beyond mere comedy, though, demonstrating solid design, good likenesses, and great action. Any aficionado of Star Wars comedy should know and appreciate Marangon's work. Walt Simonson One of the great Marvel names, Walt Simonson is known to many comics fans for his run on The Mighty Thor, but to Star Wars fans, he is known for his run on the Marvel Star Wars ongoing. There, as a penciler he designed characters as diverse as the cyborg bounty hunter Valance, the nefarious Sith spy Shira Brie, the cute, goofy Hoojib Plif, and the giant barbed space penis Ceasar. He shared writing credit for several issues with David Michelinie, including two issues he did not illustrate. Simonson's art was vivid and energetic, well-suited to the classic Marvel issues he worked on. His writing credits come in one of the most fondly remembered storylines of the entire Marvel series: the complex storyline that introduced Shira Brie as a supporting character, a member of Rogue Squadron, only for Luke Skywalker to suddenly shoot her down when piloting in reliance on the Force, putting him under investigation by the Rebellion and forcing him to confront his faith in the Force. Of course, Luke found out that Shira was actually a double agent working for Darth Vader, and the reader found out that Shira has survived, badly injured, and waiting for Vader to use her again. It was a great arc, and even without his other contributions, it would point to Simonson as a major figure in the early Expanded Universe. Christian Gossett Chis Gossett's work in the Tales of the Jedi comics is memorable and striking, bringing a new era to life. By taking on the Tales of the Jedi job, Gossett undertook to design a whole new setting four thousand years before the movies, one that would be recognizably Star Wars while also looking distinct. Gossett succeeded, creating a design sensibility that felt archaic and mythical while also giving the sense that it fit within the galaxy of the Star Wars films. Gossett designed characters like Exar Kun, Ulic Qel-Droma, and Arca Jeth, as well as worlds like Onderon and vessels like the Nebulon Ranger, creating a space age that also felt ancient. In walking this fine line, Gossett succeeded in giving life to one of the critical early works of the 1990s Expanded Universe revival, and should be properly credited as a pivotal figure in EU comics. Darko Macan One of the greatest writers of Star Wars comics, Darko Macan got his start scripting X-wing: The Phantom Affair, a well-received arc that married humor and pathos, a pattern Macan would continue throughout his comics career. In The Phantom Affair, Jedi vs. Sith, Vader's Quest, and Chewbacca, Macan focused on hard-hitting exploration of character psychology and exploration of haunting emotional themes, alongside witty humor and action. Among the many subjects Macan has tackled include Wedge's tragic past and drive for vengeance, the lingering spiritual and emotional scars of the Empire's tragedies, a Rebel pilot's transition from disillusionment to sacrificial heroism, Darth Bane's creation of the Rule of Two, and the emotional fallout of Chewbacca's death. Throughout, Macan sets heroism against cynicism and interrogates the true nature of heroism, explores its power to inspire, and meditates on the toll of war. Yet Macan also had a way with light material, as seen in his Tales story Lady Luck, and his stories were always entertaining as well as impactful. Nominees in the category of Reference: Bill Smith One of the most prolific authors in Star Wars, Bill Smith was a writer for West End Games, responsible for writing and editing dozens of sourcebooks, as well as writing The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels and The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology. The creator of the second edition of Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Smith has editing or writing credit for, among many others, Cracken's Rebel Field Guide and Cracken's Rebel Operatives, the Death Star Technical Companion, The Politics of Contraband, the Thrawn Trilogy sourcebooks, the Dark Empire Sourcebook, Galaxy Guides Six through Twelve, Wanted by Cracken, the Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook, Creatures of the Galaxy, Galladinium's Fantastic Technology, Alliance Intelligence Reports, The DarkStryder Campaign, Imperial Entanglements, No Disintegrations, The Black Sands of Socorro, Secrets of the Sisar Run, and Platt's Starport Guide. If you enjoyed WEG, chances are that Bill Smith was a significant part of your favorite WEG experiences -- and who didn't enjoy WEG? Andy Mangels Andy Mangels wrote the Essential Guide to Characters, the first Essential Guide and a classic work of Star Wars reference. In it, Mangels brought together the entire burgeoning Expanded Universe, linking together the adventures of the leads throughout the vast network of works, including referencing the Marvel run, while also profiling supporting characters. While not doing as much to expand the universe itself as current Essential Guides, Mangels's work nevertheless represents a major breakthrough, beginning the trend of pulling together the various stories into a coherent narrative for fan consumption. Mangels was also the writer for Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction, one of the definitive Boba Fett stories, in which Mangels yet again helped integrate Marvel references into the Bantam era. An action-packed story that helped establish the classic hardline Boba Fett persona by setting him and his code of honor in play against Jodo Kast, it again demonstrated Mangels's ability to marshal the EU in service of storytelling. Mangels was not a prolific Star Wars contributor, but he was an important and high-quality one. Curtis Saxton Curtis Saxton is one of the few Star Wars fans whose fan projects gained such notice that he was invited to contribute to the Star Wars universe officially. The astrophysicist Saxton's Technical Commentaries applied scientific theory and visual analysis to the Star Wars films and Expanded Universe. While some of the assumptions in his methodology and his treatment of sources was controversial, his application of scientific principles to Star Wars was intriguing and pushed Star Wars in the direction of greater rigor. In fact, his work was so impressive that Saxton gained work as a writer on the Incredible Cross-Sections for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, as well as a consultant on the Inside the Worlds books on Attack of the Clones and the original Star Wars trilogy. There, he was able to implement many of his theories, living the fan dream and significantly shaping the technical context of the Star Wars universe. Peter M. Schweighofer Another West End Games great, Peter Schweighofer was a prolific sourcebook writer, writing for Cracken's Rebel Operatives, Galaxy Guide Twelve, The DarkStryder Campaign, Platt's Starport Guide, Platt's Smugglers Guide, and the Shadows of the Empire Sourcebook, of the last three of which he was sole author. He also wrote for the Galactic Campaign Guide and The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide for Wizards of the Coast. Schweighofer's writing talent was also featured in the Adventure Journals, eight issues of which he edited and to which he contributed numerous articles and short stories. He was also the editor of Tales from the Empire and Tales from the New Republic. Plus he wrote articles for Star Wars Gamer and Star Wars Galaxy Magazine. It should be clear that Schweighofer was extraordinarily prolific, contributing much to the fundamental fabric of the Star Wars universe in the best WEG tradition. A talented editor, author of short stories, and sourcebook writer, he is one of the most significant figures at WEG, one of the most significant names in Star Wars' early history.