The other day, Michael Stackpole informed fans that his X-Wing books are still in print. Having read his blog entry explaining why he was under the impression the impression that his books were no longer in print, I completely understand why someone would come to that conclusion. I hope that this type of confusion does not happen to anyone else.
This error, however, has a positive side to it. One, Stackpole is giving fans his perspective on the publishing industry. The more authors and publishers that share their views, the clearer the picture becomes for those who outside the business. In addition, fans rallied behind Stackpole. Anyone, regardless of the industry, benefits in some way from support.
The third group to benefit from this ordeal is the Star Wars franchise. Fans of the X-Wing books backed Stackpole and X-Wing series. The sheer amount of fans who shared a common sadness for the loss of such great works in the Star Wars fandom displays that yes; the fans are still out there. It also shows what fans want as a whole. Lately, many blogs, forum, Facebook and Twitter posts state the many issues of the current Star Wars fandom. These range from a severe lack of strong female characters to repetitive plots to poor characterization. I will not dive into these issues in this blog post.
The X-Wing series feature a rich cast of characters not seen in the movies. With Han, Leia and Luke aging, it’s past time for the next generation to take the spotlight. The X-Wing series serves as a strong example that a book featuring many Expanded Universe characters works.
So rejoice, Star Wars fans, we get to keep a treasure! I wish many more years of royalties to Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston for their great contributions. They deserve them.
Yesterday fans of the Star Wars Expanded Universe learned through Michael Stackpole’s blog that his X-Wing books were no longer in print.
This is a huge mistake.
When someone new starts reading the Expanded Universe, more often than not people recommend Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy and the X-Wing series. Both sets of books incorporate the very heart of Star Wars. Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy is set for a major rerelease while the X-Wing books are left to die. These two strong series help draw in and keep people reading the Expanded Universe.
The X-Wing focuses on the story of fighter pilots, reformation of the Rogue Squadron, Wraith Squadron and the early days of the New Republic. These books introduce many new characters, like Corran Horn and Mirax Terrik, and bring in characters from the movies, like Wedge Antilles and Wes Jansen. The books contain all the elements vital to a good story- developed characters, romance, comedy, action and strong plot. The feel of the books is different from other books that focus mainly on Jedi. The books themselves feel like Star Wars. The excitement, stress, adrenaline and fear felt by the pilots during each run radiates from the pages. Readers feel as if they are in the cockpit with Corran Horn and Wedge Antilles as they take risk after risk in the name of what is right.
If anyone was unsure of how popular the X-Wing series actually is, search for the fan reactions to the announcement that Aaron Allston (who wrote four of the series titles, including “Wraith Squadron”) is penning a Wraith Squadron book. Fans cannot wait to get their hands on this book. As a long time EU fan, I am looking forward to rereading the X-Wing series around the time this book comes out. Now that the books are out of print, however, I have to hunt down copies of the few I don’t have.
No longer can fans give each new copies of “The Bacta War” or replace their tattered copy of “The Krytos Trap.” Now it’s harder to pull others in to the EU when they cannot find some of the best books of the fandom.
In the end, it’s going to cost the franchise money and potential members of the fan base. With falling book sales, it’s clear that the EU fans are holding on to their money. Removing one of our favorites only further drives keeps us from fully supporting something that many of us hold dear.