Judging EU novels on their merits alone has always been vexing given most of the fanbase's very ingrained preconceptions on what they like and do not. Example, Chewbacca is killed instead of how Salvatore constructed the scene or the logic of Chewie dying in the series. Another irritable variable specific to Lit here is the near dogmatic reading of continuity versus narrative flow. Sorry small group of the fanbase, most of the readership had not read Young Jedi Knights when Vector Prime was released. All sprawling continuities have adjustments periodically, and a revision of a small aspect of the timeline is not worth anger. Salvatore's incessant usage of the exclamation point, however, is an agreeable nail for authorial crucifixtion. A general critique of the major EU novelists? Stackpole is someone who creates interesting characters and plots to overcome the fact he is at best a mediocre writer. His terrible dialogue has been described numerous times, and two of his three main antagonists- Ysanne Isard and Sheado Shai- are forgettable shrill screamers who act far less intelligently than the story proposes. His numerous red shirt deaths in X-Wing is another well known weakness alongside his occasional Corran indulgent. Post-Rogue Squadron his protagonists like each other too much for any significant tension in the squadron. For positives, supporting antagonists such as Loor, his introduction of first person into the EU, and his nomially interesting lead characters are a significant counterbalance. Thrawn Trilogy is an excellent trilogy almost killed by C'Baoth's ridiculous behavior. Zahn's post-Thrawn Trilogy work has been mixed. Outbound Flight is a microcosm of Zahn's strengths, the Car'das sections, and Zahn's terrible self-indulgence, the C'Baoth/Outbound Flight portions. Hopefully Scoundrels will show Zahn finally pull his head out of his *** so he can return to worthwhile writing. I've written entire essays on how terrible Allston's writing is from a technical level, which I can e-mail to anyone who is interested. His timid construction of scenes, the inability to deeply inhabit the characters, the lack of emotional impact in his later novels, his tendency to end battles in a simple paragraph, and so forth. How this schlock is published let alone appreciated by large sections of the fanbase is baffling. KJA is possibly an even worse scene constructer. The scene proceding the execution of the warlords in Darksaber is a great personification of his prose work on a whole. The warlords scream at each other, even physically hit each other, and Daala hits a button wiping all of them out. What great potential wasted on a lackluster writer. His ability to meet his deadlines is probably the main reason for his career. On the whole, the Bantam editors did pay a lot closer to copy editing of the novels, but when someone bad reached publication the terrible is quite shocking. Observe several of the ridiculous similes Tyers employed in The Truce at Bakura. I wish my library still had a copy so I can type out the Calamari one. Bleh. For Del Rey, several of their writers are arguably the best prose and narrative constructors though questionable editing can bring their efforts down. Luceno is the largest example of Literature's love of continuity overruling any semblence of coherence. Weird sentences, awkward positioning of scenes, and forgettable characters makes most of his bibliography forgettable save for Luceno's ability to land the important event novels as the Revenge of the Sith lead-in or The New Jedi Order's conclusion. Undercurrent, Luceno is the Star Wars equivlant of Knightfall for Batman. Golden can intuit emotion from her scenes despite her subpar writing. Compare Omen to Outcast. When Ben and Luke learn the Jacen Force ability of the novel Ben is able to Force walk back in time to see a younger, less baby murdering Jacen. Notice how Ben is sixteen, the same age Jacen was in Vector Prime. This is an excellent compare contrast of Darth Vader's grandsons. Too bad Golden did not have another draft to fix the prose holes. Stover utilizes techniques to bring his scenes too life. Present tense, a slight self-awareness of the Sam Jackson persona, rewriting Lucas' terrible dialogue, and the introduction of novel-in-the-novel are small examples of the tricks he uses to make his writing stands out. Most of his praise is deserved. Denning is excellent at scene construction. He also can use minor details as running motifs in his novels. Han's dislike of bugs is used to inform his characterization in Dark Nest instead of simply standing as a one-shot metafictional joke. Invincible is still a strong conclusion filled with nuggets of greatness too many people overlook. Denning's biggest weakness is that his subtleties probably goes over the head of most of the EU readership. Traviss is another very strong writer who has voice issues, and her novels are unfairly assailed by continuity fundamentalism. The point of "Odds" is not another argument over numbers. Finally, someone is recognizing the Clone Wars is not making sense. Triple Zero, Bloodlines, and Revelation are great tie-in novels with strong emotional cores. (For self-deprication purposes, I'll admit my bias towards a fellow journalist ) Gag, my brain hurts, and I have a job interview tomorrow. This hack needs sleep.