Yes, this post is about Star Wars. More specifically, it’s about the new Star Wars novel that has just been released. But first, for the uninitiated, let me introduce the man behind the words – Chuck Wendig.
I’ve been a big fan of Chuck’s for a while now. The man writes phenomenally good fiction. He has both self-published and traditionally published novels. He’s worked on movie scripts and video games. He dishes out wisdom and free short stories on his regularly updated blog. And he loves Star Wars.
His stories tend towards the visceral and disturbing. Strong female leads are a strength. His Miriam Black series, starting with Blackbirds, is one of the greatest things I’ve ever read (though certainly not for the faint of heart.)
What’s that reader? You want something like that, but it needs to be targeted more at the YA audience. The Atlanta Burns series is here to help!
He’s currently on Star Wars, but lets cycle back a little and go through some of his impressive portfolio. His stories certainly tend towards the visceral and gritty. Often led by a strong female character. Blackbirds tells the story of Miriam Black, a woman who can see how you die by making direct skin-on-skin contact with you. There are currently three books in the series available, with the next three available in quick succession next year.
Want a gangster story with a supernatural underworld and magic galore? So did Wendig – and he wrote The Blue Blazes.
Cyberpunk? Yeah, he went ahead and did it. Zer0es follows an eclectic group of hackers who are recruited to hack seemingly unrelated companies. It released to favourable reviews last year. A new book in the series (though not a sequel), Invasive, is due out in September.
The guy does it all, and I really don’t know how. He seems to be constantly working and engaging with the fans. Not to mention that for the writers out there, he gives stellar writing advice. Often on his blog, though he has a number of books on the subject as well. Not only are they hella useful, he’s also extremely funny in his instruction.
I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the guy writes comics. He writes The Shield for Archie comics. He writes Hyperion for Marvel. And he’s writing a comic book adaptation of The Force Awakens for Marvel. I have to admit, I’m unfamiliar with this work, but it makes me respect him all the more.
The guy is one of us. A nerd, extremely passionate about pop culture and storytelling as a whole. Admittedly, he’s not for everyone – the guy swears like a sailor. As he warns on his blog “NSFW. Probably NSFL.” Summed up pretty succinctly there.
Hopefully, you see now why he was handed quite possibly the world’s biggest franchise. The Star Wars extended universe was monumentally big. Disney had done away it, and wanted to start again. Everyone was watching. And he did what he always does. He knocked it out of the park.
Star Wars: Aftermath was released last year, the first instalment of a trilogy bridging the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. The book sold well week after week, and many who read it were impressed, despite the less than spectacular critical reception. Wendig did not rely on the previously established characters, with those present playing minor roles to our new heroes. Norra Wexley is a talented pilot. Her son Temmin is a technical genius with my new favourite droid – Mister Bones. (Yes, I am including BB-8 when I say that. That should tell you how awesome Mister Bones is!) Jas Emari is a Zabrak bounty hunter. Sinjir Rath Velus is an ex-loyalty officer of the Empire. And Jom Barell is a skilled pilot loyal to the New Republic.
I won’t spoil the events of that novel here, but it was a fantastic ensemble work with some familiar faces, plenty of action, and thoroughly likeable additions to the universe. I’d love to see them come to screen some day!
And that brings us to the present, with the release of book two in the Aftermath trilogy, entitled Life Debt. It’ll fill the Millenium Falcon sized void in your life since Star Wars left in December.