Walk into the science fiction section of any bookstore these days, and Star Wars novels are a dime a dozen — and that’s not a terrible thing. It thrills me to no end to see all the different Star Wars titles that have been released in the past couple decades, from the Young Jedi Knight tween series of the 1990s to the recent The Old Republic books based on the Bioware MMORPG. It also pains me to see just how much catching up I have to do! Granted, I’m not the world best Star Wars fan when to comes to the novels – I have my own “expanded universe” preferences that don’t include much on the Old Republic or Clone Wars – so there are plenty of books that I’ve missed over the past several years. The choice of Star Wars books available to any fan these days is remarkable, but only recently have those choices boomed.
Most fans are probably familiar with the story that not many of the people involved with the original Star Wars movies thought they were going to be hits. When movies took off like roller coasters, the merchandising juggernaut eventually followed. By the early 80s, you couldn’t walk into someone’s house without stepping on a Star Wars action figure or seven. As great as this was for kids and Christmases to come (never mind the influence Star Wars had on merchandising and retail in general), it firmly placed the Star Wars universe in the realm of youth. This meant that most any expansions upon the universe, such as in and through books, were geared towards children. We had dozens of Star Wars picture books and coloring books, and they all sat quite comfortably in the known world of a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.