The Expanded Universe in 2011: Novels

Happy New Year! As you wave goodbye to the first year of this decade, EUCantina takes a look ahead. 2011 will see the release of plenty of Star Wars material, with a great year of Expanded Universe items planned. In the first of a three part series, we will update you on all of the new novels that will hit shelves over the next twelve months. Later this week, we will continue with looks at upcoming comics and games.

The first Star Wars novel in 2011 will be a paperback. Some recent research done by Nathan P. Butler has brought to light the fact that the number of original, hardcover adult novels released over the last two years is twice the number of regular and trade paperbacks combined. “Even if we toss in the canceled Imperial Commando 2 and Blood Oath as paperbacks, that is still only 7:11 (or 4:3:11 if you split the paperback types based on format and price)”, Butler observes. While the first release of this year will begin on a different note, it won’t start a trend. Six of the the original adult novels will be hardcovers, with three being paperbacks.

Knight Errant kicks off the year on January 25. Previews of the first novel by John Jackson Miller (writer for the Knights of the Old Republic and Knight Errant comic series) have been included in the Star Wars horror novel Red Harvest, and in the 4th Issue of Knight Errant: Aflame. As Miller has noted before, the novel will not be an adaption of the comic, but a whole new story featuring the characters from the series. According the publisher’s summary, Jedi Kerra Holt will face many enemies in the novel; “Lord Daiman, who imagines himself the creator of the universe; Lord Odion, who intends to be its destroyer; the curious siblings Quillan and Dromika; the enigmatic Arkadia.” The novel is set in the Old Republic, the same era that the next novel of the 2011 picks up in.

Our time has come…to learn about the intriguing past of Darth Malgus. On March 22, look for The Old Republic: Deceived, by Paul S. Kemp. The author of Crosscurrent takes a closer look at the events surrounding the Sacking of Coruscant, which was originally depicted in the first trailer (also titled “Decieved”) for The Old Republic MMO.  The first, second, and third chapters of the hardcover novel have been released online. Kemp has also penned a short story featuring Darth Malgus, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Star Wars Insider. SWBooks speculates that the story will appear in Issue #124.

According to our poll, Fate of the Jedi: Vortex was the EU item of the year. (Disagree? Vote on the sidebar!) The events of the novel certainly set up a great opportunity for the next book in the series. Fate of the Jedi: Conviction will pick up where Vortex left off when it becomes available on May 24. An excerpt from Aaron Allston’s third and final novel in FOTJ was included at the end of Vortex. After the good reception for sixth part of the series, is the hardcover book seven the most anticipated Star Wars novel of the year? It will face stiff competition for that title in July, when a familiar name enters the Star Wars Universe once again.

Regardless of the critical reaction to his books in the past decade, Timothy Zahn remains a name synonymous with the Expanded Universe. While his last Star Wars novel, Allegiance, didn’t fare too well with most fans, we expect there will be a Zahn high in July. When his next novel, Choices of One, hits shelves on the 19 as a hardcover, his public reception will be riding a wave of nostalgia. The 20th anniversary of Heir to the Empire will have taken place just a few weeks before Choices of One is released. With the anniversary will come a multitude of fan tributes and a new, hardcover addition of the granddaddy of the EU (complete with a new short story by Zahn). With fans remembering and praising what most consider to be Zahn’s greatest work, the bitter taste some of his more recent entries imparted will likely be forgotten. Smart timing by LucasBooks and Del Rey.

It might be a case of poor timing with the second novel of July. The week after Choices of One, we receive Paul S. Kemp’s second novel of the year (this time a paperback). Riptide, the sequel to Crosscurrent, may be overshadowed by the latest Zahn novel. Crosscurrent was an overlooked and underrated novel to begin with. The continuing adventure of Jaden Korr could use some time traveling to move to a slot in the release schedule where it can shine on its own. As it stands, Riptide will be available on the 26.

When the eighth book in the Fate of the Jedi series is released on August 16, how many of the questions from Vortex will have been answered? What direction will author Christie Golden head with Ascension? As this story brings us a book away from the end (also known as: Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse), we can expect many of the plot points to start to wrap up, while a few more begin. At this point, covers for the final two books have not been created.

Shadow Games – the Star Wars title chosen by fans! The novel formerly known as ‘Holostar’ is the lone September release. Featuring Dash Rendar and Han Solo, this paperback thriller with an interesting cast of characters will be written by Michael Reaves and Maya Bohnhoff. Look for it on the 27 as a paperback.

It’s the end of the world! Okay, it’s only the end of a nine book series, but with a title like Apocalypse, the last of the Fate of the Jedi novels may be something to panic about. Will Troy Denning wrap up the story successfully, leaving fans praising him as they did with Vortex? Or will the death of a major character once again end a series, leaving Star Wars fans in mourning? In any case, we have been told that the conclusion to Fate of the Jedi brings a break from long series, with standalone stories and duologies becoming more prominent for a while. This hardcover will be released on November 22.

It’s the end of the year! No, really. On December 31, the hardcover “Nomi Sunrider novel”, possibly titled Mandorla, will finish the year of Star Wars tales. Though it may bring an end to the year, it will be the beginning of a Star Wars writing career for Alex Irvine. Little is known about his first story in the Galaxy Far Far Away, but we can probably expect several previews or advanced chapters as the year progresses.

Some of the non-fiction titles from Del Rey next year include The Essential Guide to Warfare by Jason Fry, The Star Wars Craft Book by Bonnie Burton, and The Complete Vader by Ryder Windham and Peter Vilmur.

About the Author

Austin Blankenship is the webmaster of EUCantina. He is a host of our official podcast, EUCast, and also founded our sister website, SoloSound.net. Austin helped turn EUCantina from a forum into a website in 2007, and continues to operate the site and the EUC social media accounts. Austin works as a librarian in a small town above Atlanta, Georgia.