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Lit GENERAL QUESTION THREAD (What to read? Where to start? What's canon? What's not? Duros, etc.)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Master_Keralys, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. Master_Keralys

    Master_Keralys VIP star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 8, 2003
    Welcome to the Star Wars Expanded Universe! If you're just jumping in, you might have a lot of questions - who the important characters are, what books or comics to start with, and so on. This is the thread to ask them. Right here in this post we have recommendations for you on where to start and a guide to comic-buying, and as users ask questions, the most common questions and answers will be gathered into a resource that is also a part of this thread. For more detailed info (but also spoilers, so beware!) you can find a lot of useful information on Wookieepedia, the Star Wars wiki. Have fun!

    With such a plethora of titles available for Star Wars literature, it can often be a daunting task to determine where a good place to begin is. There really are a number of great places to begin, but where and what these are can vary from person to person, since everyone has their own opinions (you're bound to find at least one person or loves or hates any particular title).

    In this thread you'll find a summary of the most commonly given suggestions and approaches for exploring the Expanded Universe:

    1) General Introduction
    2) Starting Points
    3) Choose an Era
    4) Chronological Order

    -General Introduction

    The Star Wars Expanded Universe began before the first movie even released- Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker was released in November 1976, while the first Marvel Star Wars comics began in April of '77. From there book and comic releases went on and off with not much pattern to them, until May of 1991 saw the launch of the longest-running stretch of Star Wars publishing with Heir to the Empire, the first book in the Thrawn Trilogy. Ever since then books and comics have kept coming and coming.

    When it comes to canon, things get a little trickier. In a nutshell, the expanded universe has always been canon. When George Lucas sold his company to Disney the people in charge of the EU stayed on, and not long after announced that everything in the EU up to Spring of 2014 was no longer canon, now deemed Legends, and all new EU material going forward would be canon. There's subtleties and other asterisk worthy aspects of all that, but that's the gist of things.

    -Starting Points

    There are a handful of titles that are usually the first to be recommended by other fans as good starting places- this is, besides the actual quality of the work, most likely because these titles are either standalone stories or they are more connected to the films/ do not rely heavily on characters & events from other books.

    For Legends, these titles are:
    • The "Thrawn Trilogy": a series set 5 years after Return of the Jedi and basically was the launching point of the modern publishing material. Probably the most often-recommended starting point in the EU. Stars the heroes of the Classic Trilogy. (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising & The Last Command)
    • The X-Wing series: A fan favorite, this time following the exploits of Wedge Antilles and his fighter pilots shortly after Return of the Jedi through 9 years after Endor. (Series I: Rogue Squadron, Wedge's Gamble, The Krytos Trap & The Bacta War; Series II: Wraith Squadron, Iron Fist & Solo Command; Series III: Isard's Revenge; Series IV: Starfighters of Adumar)
    • Shadows of the Empire: This "bridge novel" covers the timespan and events between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Features Vader, Luke, Leia, Lando and more.
    • Cloak of Deception: This political thriller sets the stage for the events of The Phantom Menace. Stars Qui-Gon and Obi-wan.
    • Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter: A more action oriented story also set just prior to The Phantom Menace.
    • Outbound Flight: Set between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones and featuring (though not starring) Obi-wan & Anakin in a prequel to the various Thrawn-related books.
    • Shatterpoint: The first Clone Wars novel written, focusing on Mace Windu and the horrors of war.
    • Labyrinth of Evil: The official lead-in to Revenge of the Sith! Also available (alongside the ROTS Novelization and Dark Lord) in a "Dark Lord Trilogy" collection)
    • Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader: Set in the aftermath of ROTS as Darth Vader obsessess over Order 66 survivors while adjusting to his new body. Also available (alongside the ROTS Novelization and Labyrinth of Evil) in a "Dark Lord Trilogy" collection)
    • The Tales of the Jedi series: This comic series is set some 4,000 years before the films, and, with it's primary story arc (which starts with Knights of the Old Republic-not to be confused with the game or actual comic series of the same name), delves into the ancient Jedi and Sith conflicts. This fan-favorite series also acts as backstory to the popular Knights of the Old Republic video games.
    For Canon, these titles are:

    • A New Dawn: A literal new dawn for publishing, this was the first canon novel, tying into the new show Rebels and written by EU veteran John Jackson Miller
    • Lost Stars: This was one of the earliest canon books, and it follows a pair of starstruck lovers from the years before ANH to the Batte of Jakku. It weaves right through the OT and features many of the main film characters.
    • Bloodline: A political thriller set between the OT and ST, featuring Leia as a senator for the New Republic. This acts as a bridge between the two trilogies and sets up the political situation seen in TFA.
    • The Aftermath Trilogy: A novel trilogy about the leadup to the Battle of Jakku, featuring fan favorite character Rae Sloane.
    • Shattered Empire: A comic miniseries about the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Endor, with each issue featuring a hero of the OT.
    • Darth Vader (2015): The first comic series Marvel made about Darth Vader, following the events of ANH and introducing another fan favorite character- Doctor Aphra!
    • Before the Awakening: A trio of novellas about the three heroes of the ST- Rey, Finn and Poe, before, well, The Force Awakens.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2024
  2. Kyptastic

    Kyptastic VIP star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Nice work, looks quite good =D=.

    Actually, Path of Destruction and Rule of Two take that honour ;).
  3. Master_Keralys

    Master_Keralys VIP star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 8, 2003
    Good catch. I'll fix it. Tomorrow. (I've already spent many hours working on this project, though not so much this thread. :p )

    - Keralys
  4. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 6, 2007
    You could insert a list of abbreviations here as well. Prehaps the general abbreviation for a book across from its title and a short list other goodies like: Whats a Jino? Who's this Iwod guy, etc...:)
  5. Kyp

    Kyp Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 27, 2003
    Which books were published by Del Rey and which ones by Bantam?

    I have read almost all the EU novels published but I've never paid attention to it, but recently more and more people refer to "The books under the Del Rey era.." and so forth.

  6. Excellence

    Excellence Jedi Knight star 7

    Jul 28, 2002

    I don't know what a Jino and Iwod is, but even trade. Spliced areas of the forum don't transliterate me well either.

    Could use some trimming, but this is a good idea.
  7. Master_Keralys

    Master_Keralys VIP star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 8, 2003
    Kyp - this list doesn't really break down well, but essentially anything published between 1991 and 1999 was on the Bantam contract. Del Rey published everything that came out 1999 and after, as well as the very earliest EU (the Brian Daley Han Solo trilogy and so on).

    The abbreviations are a good idea. Why don't you guys just start suggesting them and I'll add them in as we go?

    - Keralys
  8. JediHobbit

    JediHobbit Jedi Master star 5

    Mar 2, 2002
    nice job with the thread Keralys. I liked the inclusion of the acronyms for some of the newer people.

    and now I finally know exactly what JINO stands for. :p
  9. The2ndQuest

    The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Jan 27, 2000
    That's a relic of that document being made prior to the Darth Bane novels being released- I'll go ahead and edit that bit out. Once I get the NJO/LOTF starter guides assembled, I hope to update that document a little.

    I'm going to edit in a few abbreviations as well.
    Jarren_Lee-Saber likes this.
  10. Lord_Hydronium

    Lord_Hydronium Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 11, 2002
    The X-wing comics might be a good starting point to recommend, particularly with the convenience of the Omnibuses.
    anakin98 and Rebel Yell like this.
  11. Manisphere

    Manisphere Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 25, 2007
  12. Master_Keralys

    Master_Keralys VIP star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 8, 2003
    Hydro - good suggestion. I'll take care of that a bit later.

    Manisphere - which ones? Thanks!

    - Keralys
  13. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    TBT! TBT! TBT!
  14. spicewood

    spicewood Jedi Master star 2

    Jun 26, 2007
    Great thread, Master Keralys. I have had absolutely no idea what IIRC meant for the past year.

    Now I am not new to the EU, but I have a question about Legacy comics. Is there something I should read prior? I have read the entire NJO and LoTF as well as most of the Bantam stuff. This would be the first comic series I got into. Am I missing something important?

    Again, thanks for this thread. I really didn't want to throw this question as an aside in another thread and possibly derail the discussion.
  15. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 6, 2007
  16. spicewood

    spicewood Jedi Master star 2

    Jun 26, 2007
    Thanks, Rombimus.
  17. The2ndQuest

    The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Jan 27, 2000
    Legacy is meant to throw you in the middle of the action, and then it slowly reveals it's own backstory, so definitely go ahead and pick it up- it's not reliant on any other titles (though a few cameos have more meaning if you've read, say, some of the Clone Wars comics, they still will usually explain connections relevant to the plot.).

    I also want to note that I have never even heard of TBT (the acronym or the entity) before. [face_laugh]
    draw73 likes this.
  18. rikajaina

    rikajaina Jedi Youngling

    Feb 8, 2004
    Great list. =D= Very detailed!

    The Truce at Bakura would also be a good starting book. I usually tell people to start on TTT or Shadows of the Empire but Truce wouldn't be a bad start either. It jumps off while our heroes are still on Endor. And for the ladies (or men) of the fandom: the Courtship of Princess Leia is also a good starting read. It gives background information before reading TTT and reading about the Nightsisters is always fun. [face_love]

    Oh- and I actually started off on KJA's Jedi Academy trilogy. I was pretty confused about Thrawn...and Jorus C'baoth... and Luke turning to the Dark Side- but once you get past initial confusion it's a great read that incorporates a ton of fun stuff from OT. It kept me interested and wanting more! I'm re-reading Jedi Search right now and it's definitely apparent how the style of EU writing has changed over the years. I much prefer the Bantam Era...
    Darth Majestic likes this.
  19. Handmaiden Yané

    Handmaiden Yané Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 15, 2002
    So I just finished LotF. :p what now?
  20. TypoCelchu

    TypoCelchu Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Feb 1, 2005
    Depends on what you want. If you're looking for the next story (in the novels), chronologically, you're going to be waiting until December, when Millennium Falcon comes out. Otherwise, I'd strongly suggest picking up the first and second trade paperbacks of the Legacy Comic series, which happens to be well after LotF, and also happens to be awesome.
  21. AdmirableAckbar

    AdmirableAckbar Jedi Youngling star 2

    Jan 9, 2008
    You should probably also recommend the third omnibus in particular, because the first two, while decent, weren't up to the same standard and seem disconnected from the main EU, and you don't need to have read the first two omnibuses to enjoy the third. :)
  22. Manisphere

    Manisphere Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 25, 2007
    It's not an easy making a suggestion considering we don't know what else you've already read outside of LOTF or if you even liked LOTF. I would concur of course that Legacy Comics is a great way to go. But comics weren't my thing until a year ago. So speaking strickly of novels, have you read The NJO? I have a handfull of books to recomend there. Prequel books that rock: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, Labyrinth of Evil, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader.

    Also there is the Darth Bane duology that takes place 1000 years before Luke and the gang. They're a fun and very quick read.

    What's next? What do you like, Handmaiden?
  23. JediRaanic

    JediRaanic Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 23, 2001
    I just finished up the LotF series and now I want to move on to the past. I would like to read something in the star wars past, but I am having a hard time finding reviews/rating for these books series. I am going to list the books series I haven't read that seem interesting and I would appreciate any feedback on which I would most enjoy. Thanks!

    In chronological order:

    Outbound Flight

    The Thrawn Trilogy (HtoE, Dark Force Rising, Last Command)

    The Black Fleet Crisis (Before the Storm, Shield of Lies, Tyrant's Test)

    The Hand of Thrawn Duology (Spector of the Past, Vision of the Future)

    Survivor's Quest

    I have read prettymuch every other Star Wars book with the exception of those. Thanks ahead of time for any help!!
  24. The2ndQuest

    The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Jan 27, 2000
    Well, OBF, TTT, HOT & SQ are sort of Zahn's saga-within-the-saga, and is definitely worth checking out. I'd suggest starting with either TTT (as it was produced first and stands on it's own well, plus is still surprisingly excellent after all this time) or OBF (as it's the first book set chronologically. thoguh the most recent to be produced).

    I wouldn't read HOT without reading TTT first, and I wouldn't reccomend reading SQ before any of the others, except for OBF.

    SQ & OBF are sort of a strange case. They are essentially a duology, but both are standalones- you don't have to read one to enjoy the other. Also, you can read the two books in any order, depending on your preference.

    For example- SQ was released first, dealing with the aftermath of the OBF incident. reading SQ first makes SQ more of a mystery novel, with some things left unanswered due to the fog of time elapsed, but things are slowly pieced together. Reading OBF next then fills in the blanks and shows how it all played out.

    But, reading the two in chronological order, with OBF first, follwoed by SQ, you get a different experience, with SQ now being about the characters discovering what you already know.

    But definitely at least check out TTT- it's one of the best, and key, series in the whole EU. The others elaborate and co0ntinue plotlines established in it and flesh out a larger history.

    BFC is good trilogy also, though it basically breaks down into 3 plotlines. The main plot with Leia is pretty well liked heavily in general, the secondary plot with Lando is generally enjoyed though it's relevance to the other plotlines is minimal, and the third plot with Luke (though not without it's merits) isn't thought that highly of, but is generally overshadowed by the other two plotlines.
  25. Manisphere

    Manisphere Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 25, 2007
    Oh, I didn't even see that you hadn't read TTT before I recommended Outbound and HOT. Yeah, listen to Quest. Do read TTT as soon as possible. It's kind of crazy that you've read every EU book but missed TTT. Get it pronto.[face_peace]
    Sinrebirth likes this.