Tuesday, August 3

For the fanbeings

This is your Star Wars update.

Yesterday, reading through meal breaks and such, I finished Sean Stewart's DARK RENDEZVOUS.

It's good. Really really good.

Anybody who likes my SW stuff is gonna love this. Most of the people who DON'T like my SW stuff are gonna love it, too.

I should probably have this guy killed.

Ah, nah. With that last name he's probably a Scotsman. Shooting him will just make him angry. He also seems to know his way around unarmed combat . . .

Here's the thing: Shelly Shapiro, who (as most of you know) is the Del Rey Star Wars Guru, tells me that SW authors get a cross-over bump to their own books' sales that's between 1% and 2%. Yeah, that's right: about the same as direct mail.

This is what I think: we can do better, and I'm gonna do my part. I, for one, am about to order at least three Sean Stewart novels.

That's all. I have to go kill some Jedi now.


Mastadge said...

I've been going through the Sean Stewart books, and I'd recommend you start at the beginning. For one thing, his two first books make up half of what he has in print right now, and for another, PASSION PLAY (his first) is pretty good, and his second, NOBODY'S SON, is really good, especially considering it's marketed as a YA novel. His third, RESURRECTION MAN, is out of print, but two of his subsequent novels (THE NIGHT WATCH and GALVESTON) are sort-of sequels, so I recommend reading it early, too. His most recent, PERFECT CIRCLE, just came out and is getting good reviews. My copy should ship any day now.

Oh, and: Damn you for getting to read Dark Rendezvous so early.

Anonymous said...

How incredibly odd. I absolutely hated _Passion Play_, enough so when I met Sean Stewart in Houston (he had an apartment next to mine), I didn't even realize I'd read his book. I borrowed _Nobody's Son_ from him. I really disliked that. It was a stretch to find something nice to say when I returned it.

But then again (and thus proving I still haven't learned any tact in 9 years), I don't like your Star Wars stuff either. I'm not very surprised someone who wrote _Traitor_ would like Sean Stewart's stuff.

_Blade of Tyshalle_ is one of my top favorite books and I recommend it to lots of people. But I'm sure Star Wars books pay better and don't take 5 years to write. Damned economics.


MWS said...

Uh, thanks.

I think.

Anonymous said...

Well, I can say that I've contributed to your 1-2%. Traitor and Shatterpoint prompted me to pick up Heroes Die, which I've since read and thoroughly enjoyed. Blade of Tyshalle is on the bookshelf and will be up soon in the reading rotation.

I've read pretty much every other Star Wars novel. The number of times I've read a book by a SW author other than you can be counted on one hand ... and those situations shouldn't even really count. They include some X-Files books by KJA, and a movie novelization by Alan Dean Foster. The authors weren't the reason I was reading those books.

It's an interesting issue you bring up. I'm not sure why I haven't sought out other works by the SW authors whose books I've greatly enjoyed. I guess the main reason is that I try to maintain variety in what I read and between SW books & comics and a few other select titles, I get my fill of sci-fi/fantasy/horror.

- Parabola

Mastadge said...

I contribute to a lot of those 1-2%s. I've read pretty much everything by Michael Stackpole, Aaron Allston and Greg Keyes, four or five of Zahn's books, most of what Walter Jon Williams has written. I've got one book by Roger MacBride Allen, though sadly his non-SW stuff is no better than his SW books, one or two by K-mac, a few by Hambly (whose non-SW stuff, for what it's worth, is far better than her SW stuff). And quite a bit now by Liz Hand. And probably others whom I'm forgetting. Usually I end up reading more non-SW books by an author than SW books, I think.

Anonymous said...

See, now I went the other way. Heroes Die was recommended to me highly. So I read it, and now carry on the tradition by recommending the hell out of it to everyone else. Then caem Blade Of Tyshalle, which had some of the best, dirtiest, nastiest, grittiest fight scenes I've read in the genre so far.

And then I saw that you wrote "Traitor" and HAD to pick it up. It was good. I usually avoid Star Wars fiction, because most of it's authors are simply writing for the paycheck... And then Shatterpoint was brilliant.

And recently I found a copy of Jericho Moon. Let me just say. Good book. Very unfortunate cover.

Wraith said...

I seem to be the same type of animal as Mastadge: In the last years, I've made it a habit of mine to check out novels of (upcoming) Star Wars authors. Doing this in advance has not always been a pleasant experience; I liked the non-Star Wars novels of Sean Williams and Shane Dix and of Steven Barnes very much (those I've read at least), but was subsequently disappointed by their Star Wars work. Though from what you're saying, Matt, I gather the same won't happen with Sean Stewart's novel (besides, I _liked_ NOBODY'S SON well enough, but didn't love it).

Anyway, authors I discovered through Star Wars: Steven Barnes, Greg Keyes, John Ostrander, Michael Reaves, Steve Perry, David Sherman, Michael Stackpole, Sean Stewart, Karen Traviss, Sean Williams, Shane Dix, Jude Watson, Garth Nix (ok, not SW, but another LFL project)
Barbary Hambly is an exception; I knew her work before I read her SW stuff (and haven't touched anything of her since PLANET OF TWILIGHT). I'd like to read some more authors' work (Allston, Denning, especially Luceno), but many of them seem to have written nothing worthwhile (or, if it is, it's out-of-print, like Denning's PS:T novel).
Still, that's quite a number. Luckily they write one of the kinds of literature I like reading anyway.

Matthew Woodring Stover is yet another case. I've tried to get everything you write, even the out-of-print stuff, for which I usually don't bother (too difficult to find used books when you live in a rural part of Germany and don't have a credit card). And I don't have the impression that your SW stuff is worse than your own work; actually, I don't see a great difference in quality at all (only IRON DAWN lagging slightly behind).

MWS said...


I write my guts out on everything I do. That's who I am.

IRON DAWN was my first novel. That's not an excuse; it began as a deliberate, cynical desperation-move to break into print. Then in chapter four or so of my first draft, the concept of the sceon tiof hit me -- and that's when I discovered that I wanted to be a serious writer instead of settling for workmanlike production of commercial fiction. Because I wanted the book to be more than it was originally intended to be.

And thanks to all you folks who are checking out other works by authors you like. That's what keeps us in business, y'know: you.


supercrisis said...

Funny, I bought Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshall based on the strength of Traitor. Shatterpoint on cemented it and now I'm searching for the Jericho Moon books. Caine's story is highly compelling and I'm absolutely loving it. And of course now I'm looking forward to Episode III. And anything else the future holds. I hope that's more than 1% - 2%.

deoiridh said...

I'm reading Iron Dawn for the umpteenth time, and want to know about the 'sceon tiof'. I have searched in many gaelic dictionaries (Scots and Irish) and can find nothing. Is this just a figment of your imagination, or is it based on some un-researchable fact you've uncovered? Please let me know - I'm a bit of a stickler for Gaelic accuracy in fact or fiction.