Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year: time for the Aluminum Falcons, our annual recognition of the best Star Wars works of the past year, based on your votes! As ever, it's important that we go over the rules clearly. Please, please read them. 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 JANUARY 25. SEND YOUR VOTES TO THE SOCK DARKLIGHTER. DO NOT SEND THEM TO ME. EVERY YEAR SOMEBODY FAILS TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. THIS MAY BE THE YEAR I START MOCKING THEM PUBLICLY. YOU NEVER KNOW. The categories, with the lists of nominees, follow: Best Novel: Scoundrels The Last Jedi Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void Crucible Kenobi Empire and Rebellion: Razor's Edge Best Comic Arc: Purge: The Tyrant's Fist Star Wars: In the Shadow of Yavin Star Wars: From the Ruins of Alderaan Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets Dark Times: Fire Carrier Dark Times: A Spark Remains Dawn of the Jedi: Prisoner of Bogan Legacy: Prisoner of the Floating World Legacy: Outcasts of the Broken Ring Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin Best Trade Paperback: Blood Ties: Boba Fett Is Dead The Clone Wars: Defenders of the Lost Temple The Clone Wars: The Smuggler's Code Dawn of the Jedi: Prisoner of Bogan Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets Star Wars: In the Shadow of Yavin Ewoks: Shadows of Endor Legacy: Prisoner of the Floating World Dark Times: Fire Carrier Purge Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin Best Short Story: Speaking Silently Eruption Good Hunting Incognito Hondo Ohnaka's Not-So-Big Score Constant Spirit The Syrox Redemption Best Reference Material: Star Wars: The Card Game: The Desolation of Hoth Star Wars: The Card Game: The Search for Skywalker The Clone Wars: Episode Guide The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett Death Star Owner's Technical Manual Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook Edge of the Empire: Beyond the Rim Edge of the Empire: Under a Black Sun Edge of the Empire: Enter the Unknown Edge of the Empire: Game Master's Kit Barely Tolerable: Alien Henchmen of the Empire Convenient Daily Departures: The History of Star Tours Slugthrowers: An Overview of Popular Music and Musicians in a Galaxy Far, Far Away So Uncivilized: Great Gunslingers in Star Wars The Essential Guide to Warfare: Author's Cut The Droids Re-Animated Viva Space Vegas!: The History of the Marvelous Wheel The Imperial Warlords: Despoilers of an Empire The Not-So-Magnificent Seven The Star Wars Holiday Special: Who's Who The Star Wars Spy Game: SPIN Declassified Best TV Episode: The Clone Wars: Missing in Action The Clone Wars: Point of No Return The Clone Wars: Eminence The Clone Wars: Shades of Reason The Clone Wars: The Lawless The Clone Wars: Sabotage The Clone Wars: The Jedi Who Knew Too Much The Clone Wars: To Catch A Jedi The Clone Wars: The Wrong Jedi Best EU Work: The preceding works, other than trade paperbacks collecting previously released comic arcs, are eligible, plus: The Clone Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel Best Series: Purge The Clone Wars (TV series) The Clone Wars (comics digests) Star Wars (Brian Wood) Agent of the Empire Dark Times Dawn of the Jedi Legacy, Volume Two Darth Vader and . . . Star Wars Blog Best Novel Author: Timothy Zahn (Scoundrels) Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff (The Last Jedi) Tim Lebbon (Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void) Troy Denning (Crucible) John Jackson Miller (Kenobi) Martha Wells (Empire and Rebellion: Razor's Edge) Best Comic Author: Alexander Freed (Purge: The Tyrant's Fist) Brian Wood (Star Wars) John Ostrander (Agent of the Empire, Dawn of the Jedi) Randy Stradley (Dark Times) Justic Aclin (The Clone Wars: Defenders of the Lost Temple, The Clone Wars: The Smuggler's Code) Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman (Legacy, Volume Two) Time Siedell (Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin) Zack Giallongo (Ewoks: Shadows of Endor) Best Author: The previous authors are eligible, plus: Jason Fry (The Clone Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy, Speaking Silently, Hondo Ohnaka's Not-So-Big Score, The Clone Wars: Episode Guide) Christie Golden (Good Hunting) Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham, and Jason Fry (The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett) Jennifer Heddle (Constant Spirit) Ryder Windham (Death Star Owner's Technical Manual) Joe Schreiber (The Syrox Redemption) Abel G. Peña and Rich Handley (Barely Tolerable: Alien Henchmen of the Empire, The Droids Re-Animated, Viva Space Vegas!: The History of the Marvelous Wheel) James McFadden (Convenient Daily Departures: The History of Star Tours) Ed Erdelac (Slugthrowers: An Overview of Popular Music and Musicians in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, So Uncivilized: Great Gunslingers in Star Wars) Abel G. Peña and Daniel Wallace (The Imperial Warlords: Despoilers of an Empire) Greg Mitchell (The Not-So-Magnificent Seven) Tim Veekhoven and Kevin Beentjes (The Star Wars Holiday Special: Who's Who) Greg Mitchell and Abel G. Peña (The Star Wars Spy Game: SPIN Declassified) Best Comic Artist: Marco Castiello and Andrea Chella (Purge: The Tyrant's Fist) Carlos D'Anda (Star Wars) Davidé Fabbri (Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets) Gabriel Guzman (Dark Times: Fire Carrier, Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows) Jan Duursema (Dawn of the Jedi) Ben Bates (The Clone Wars: Defenders of the Lost Temple) Gabriel Hardman (Legacy: Prisoner of the Floating World) Stephen Tompson (Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin) Iván Fernández (Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin) Eduardo Ferrara (The Clone Wars: The Smuggler's Code) Ryan Kelly (Star Wars: From the Ruins of Alderaan) Doug Wheatley (Dark Times: A Spark Remains) Brian Albert Thies (Legacy: Outcasts of the Broken Ring) Mike Mayhew (The Star Wars) Zack Giallongo (Ewoks: Shadows of Endor) Best Cover Artist: Paul Youll (Scoundrels) Gene Mollica (The Last Jedi) Dan Scott (Purge: The Tyrant's Fist) Alex Ross (Star Wars: In the Shadow of Yavin) Stéphane Roux (Agent of the Empire: Hard Targets) Doug Wheatley (Dark Times: Fire Carrier) David Michael Beck (Dawn of the Jedi, Star Wars: From the Ruins of Alderaan) Mike Hawthorne (The Clone Wars: Defenders of the Lost Temple) Dave Wilkins (Legacy: Prisoner of the Floating World) Ariel Olivetti (Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin) Torstein Nordstrand (Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void) Rodolfo Migliari (Star Wars) Bengal (The Clone Wars: The Smuggler's Code) Cliff Nielsen (Crucible) Benjamin Carré (Dark Times: A Spark Remains) Livio Ramondelli (Legacy: Outcasts of the Broken Ring) Nick Runge (The Star Wars) Hugh Fleming (Star Wars: From the Ruins of Alderaan) Christopher M. Zucker (Empire and Rebellion: Razor's Edge) Zack Giallongo (Ewoks: Shadows of Endor) Agustin Allessio (Legacy: Outcasts of the Broken Ring) Sean Cooke (Star Wars: From the Ruins of Alderaan) Felipe Massafera (Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows) Best Artist: The previous artists are eligible, plus: Tom Hodges (Speaking Silently) Collective art team (Star Wars: The Card Game) Joe Corroney (Good Hunting) Chris Scalf (Incognito, Hondo Ohnaka's Not-So-Big Score) Magali Villeneuve (Constant Spirit) Chris Reiff (Death Star Owner's Technical Manual) Chris Trevas (Death Star Owner's Technical Manual) John Van Fleet (The Syrox Redemption) Best Licensee: Dark Horse Comics Del Rey Titan Magazines Scholastic Lucasfilm Animation Fantasy Flight Games BioWare/LucasArts Dorling Kindersley The Aluminum Falcons Hall of Fame: Nominees in the category of Books: Ann C. Crispin Though Ann Crispin tragically passed away this last year, her legacy lives on through her sterling contributions to Star Wars novels. Most notable is her Han Solo Trilogy, a look into Han's past that deftly balanced comprehensive continuity inclusion, high-spirited adventure, and emotional depth. Crispin weaved the many disparate references to Han's past, as well as numerous other threads of the burgeoning 1990s Expanded Universe, into one grand narrative following Han's maturation, an achievement particularly notable in the nineties. In the process, there were thrilling highs of action, romance, and camaraderie, but also affecting lows of disappointment, death, and depression as Han struggled through serious relationships. Also notable are her short stories in the Tales from . . . collections, "Play It Again, Figrin D'an: The Tale of Muftak and Kabe," and "Skin Deep: The Fat Dancer's Tale." Both are high-caliber contributions to the short story anthologies. But the Han Solo Trilogy remains Crispin's crowning achievement, a perfect Star Wars blend of joyous adventure, dramatic depth, and rewarding continuity. 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. 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. Daniel Keys Moran Before there was Matthew Stover, there was Daniel Keys Moran. Moran's short stories -- "Empire Blues: The Devaronian's Tale" in Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, "A Barve Like That: The Tale of Boba Fett" in Tales from Jabba's Palace, and "The Last One Standing: The Tale of Boba Fett" in Tales of the Bounty Hunters -- added literary quality with a gritty punch to the Expanded Universe way back in its Bantam days. He wrote the definitive Boba Fett, a mean loner with an idiosyncratic moral code -- a sanctimonious sociopath -- and gave him his classic Jaster Mereel backstory. Many others have tried to interpret Fett, but none have captured the quality, unique interest, and perfect suitability of Moran's quiet killer. Less hailed, but no less excellent, is his characterization of Mos Eisley Cantina fixture Labria, a sour drunk, terrible spy, callous war criminal, and passionate music aficionado. Labria may be an alien, but he is a deeply human character -- misanthropic and aimless, but capable of incredible artistic passion and transcendent rapture in beautiful music (or the perfect bottle of booze). Whether it be the three-dimensional, affecting Labria, the iconic Fett, or the stunning showdown between an older Fett and a restlessly aging Han Solo, Moran's characters are deep and well-conceived, his action exciting, his themes rich, his prose moving. Few authors have achieved the level of quality Moran brought to these short stories. Nominees in the category of Comics: Archie Goodwin Comics legend Archie Goodwin was the key comics writer in Star Wars' early years. The dominant creative mind of the first half of Marvel's comic series, he wrote almost every issue from eleven to fifty and returned for one more issue near the end, making him the most prolific writer on the series. He took over after the first post-ANH story arc and guided the comic through a golden age of pulpy Star Wars adventure. His comics were lively, action-packed, joyous tributes to the spirit of Star Wars, often campy but always entertaining. Goodwin introduced characters of depth and lasting significance like self-loathing cyborg Valance, devious Senator Greyshade and his loyal assistant Master-Com, Vader's hubristic rival Baron Tagge and his clan, and the redeemed Rebel deserter Tyler Lucian. He interwove thrilling one-off adventures with running story arcs that kept readers hooked. He also wrote memorable arcs for Marvel's Pizzazz magazine and Star Wars Weekly, as well as the Return of the Jedi comic adaptation, but Goodwin's next great project was the Star Wars daily comic strip, with illustrator Al Williamson, with whom he had worked on adapting The Empire Strikes Back. Goodwin's work on the comic strip was even better than his work on the monthly comic book -- tight serial storytelling that drew a narrative link between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. He told the tale of the bounty hunter on Ord Mantell, gave us the appearance of Executor, the evacuation of Yavin, the integration of Commander Ackbar's fleet, and the discovery of Hoth. Into that narrative Goodwin wove negotiations with a pirate queen, the cowardice and repentance of General Dodonna's son, Imperial officers' attempted assassination of Darth Vader, tragic human replica droids, and Vader's attempt to snare Luke with an Obi-Wan Kenobi impersonator. These stories were rich, thrilling, and spirited, filled with depth, beauty, and innovation. A pioneering storyteller who built much of the basis of the Expanded Universe, Archie Goodwin was the ultimate translator of the spirit of Star Wars from screen to comic page. John Nadeau John Nadeau's art was the X-wing series. Many great artists worked on the X-wing comic series, but it was Nadeau's art across five arcs (one shared with Steve Crespo, one only as a bit of fill-in art to help make up one issue) that set the tone for the series. Nadeau was perfect at capturing the used-universe technology of Star Wars, a necessity in the X-wing series, and his designs of characters, settings, and ships were gritty and striking, feeling as if they had just stepped out of the films. Nadeau's X-wing art stands out as one of the highlights, not just of nineties comic art, but of Star Wars comic art overall -- but that's not all he did. Nadeau also illustrated the excellent Boba Fett: Twin Engines of Destruction; pitched in with fill-in art on Prelude to Rebellion, Emissaries to Malastare, Boba Fett: Enemy of the Empire, and Shadows of the Empire; did the Wedge Antilles section of the Chewbacca comic; and most recently illustrated the Tales comic Routine -- plus he did pieces for all of the Handbook entries and drew many covers. Nadeau's influence on Star Wars has been wide-reaching, but it is most significant that on one of the greatest Star Wars comics, Nadeau was the definitive artistic voice, shaping that corner of the universe with impeccable accuracy to the spirit of Star Wars and thrilling readers everywhere with his perfect match to the material. Tom Veitch At the dawn of the Star Wars comics renaissance, Tom Veitch led the way with Dark Empire and then Tales of the Jedi, two series that captured Star Wars as myth. Dark Empire was a heightened experience, a grand narrative of Palpatine's return and Luke's temptation. Veitch's creepy, moody, epic-scale masterpiece thrilled fans with its towering drama, exciting new worlds, returning villains, and overwhelming menace. A smash success, it spawned two sequels that expanded the story further, and also led to the creation of Tales of the Jedi, a breathtakingly daring look into Star Wars' distant past. Building on Veitch's fascination with the ancient Jedi and Sith, Tales of the Jedi dove an unbelievable four thousand years into the past to show ancient Jedi Knights battling the dark side and falling to corruption as Sith Lords in a golden age of adventure and war. It is almost impossible to overstate the impact of this first glimpse at the glory days of the Jedi and Sith on the Expanded Universe and on the minds of its fans. Veitch wrote the first seven issues of his bold tale alone, exploring the struggles of doomed Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma and tentative heroine Nomi Sunrider to master the Force and battle the stain of the ancient Sith. With Kevin J. Anderson, he then brought Exar Kun into the story, uniting the villain of the Jedi Academy Trilogy with his story to build up to a grand tale of Sith Lords, the first such exploration of its kind, before handing the series over to Anderson. An irreplaceable pioneer, Veitch broke new ground with resounding stories on a grand scale that defined the shape of the emerging Expanded Universe and captured the minds of fans with his stunning sagas. Edvin Biukovic A great talent, Edvin Biukovic was taken too soon due to brain cancer. But before he went, he contributed two truly fantastic works to Star Wars fans: X-wing: Rogue Squadron: The Phantom Affair and the comic adaptation of The Last Command. In both, his art was tremendous, capturing expressive likenesses, striking and classically-Star-Wars designs, exciting action, and moments of incredible beauty. Biukovic's art was in the best comics tradition, fun and energetic, but his incredible compositional talent meant it was also full of terrific panels capturing stunning moments. With The Phantom Affair, Biukovic played a critical role in establishing looks for Wedge, Janson, Hobbie, Tycho, Mirax, and the rest of the X-wing cast, and in The Last Command, he brought some of the Thrawn Trilogy's most critical moments to life in memorable fashion. Dead at age thirty, Biukovic was robbed of the chance to do more, but the work he did leave behind still stands as some of the best art in Star Wars comics. Nominees in the category of Reference: Bill Slavicsek Bill Slavicsek is one of the most outrageously prolific reference authors of the Expanded Universe. A leading figure at West End Games, where he had a major hand in the shaping of the fundamental fabric of the Star Wars galaxy, and a significant contributor at Wizard of the Coast, WEG's successor in the roleplaying game license, his bibliography is massive, encompassing sourcebooks, rulebooks, adventures, and magazine articles. He co-wrote the original Star Wars Sourcebook, and went on to put his name on such key works as The Thrawn Trilogy sourcebooks, Tatooine Manhunt, Black Ice, and the Death Star Technical Companion, as well as many of WOTC's core sourcebooks, and was editor on several Galaxy Guides and numerous other sourcebooks and adventures. In addition, Slavicsek wrote the second and third editions of A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, then the ultimate in comprehensive Star Wars encyclopedianism. He also notably wrote the New Sith Wars short story Darkness Shared. Unmistakably, Slavicsek was an incredibly prolific and widely talented author and editor. Slavicsek's work was fundamental in building the Expanded Universe we know today, establishing a great deal of background detail, inventing context, and setting the tone for stories well beyond WEG's walls. WEG's importance to the early EU deserves the fullest emphasis, and Bill Slavicsek was one of the absolutely key figures at WEG. Mike Vilardi Mike Vilardi is maybe the most significant illustrator of the WEG age. Prolific, talented, and inventive, Vilardi captured the WEG tone perfectly in his lovely drawings, which always seemed to be telling some story from a lesser-known corner of the galaxy. Vilardi drew creative new alien designs that seemed right at home in the Star Wars galaxy -- perhaps because he was so good at capturing the Star Wars sensibility in his pictures of Imperials at work in their daily routine, daring Rebel saboteurs, and nasty slavers. Vilardi genuinely expanded the Star Wars galaxy with his classic and highly influential artwork, found in Galaxy Guides, Adventure Journals, Cracken's Rebel Operatives, Platt's Starport Guide, and many others, including some for Gamer in the WOTC days. Whether offering immersive new tableaus in sourcebooks or bringing the characters and events of the Adventure Journals' classic short stories to life, Mike Vilardi was an enormous and unusually talented figure in the visual landscape of West End Games, at the heart of an EU golden age. The great RPG illustrator, his work deserves serious attention from anyone interested in EU art. 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. 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.