Star Wars: Aftermath — Reviews, News, And Such!

So, hey, uhhh — *clears throat* — anything going on, you guys?

Any, ahhh, books come out recently?

*whistles*

OH THAT’S RIGHT

*orgasmic Yoda face*

A little book called STAR WARS: AFTERMATH came out.

Force Friday And The Launch Weekend

I flew down to DragonCon and the Decatur Bookfest for the weekend — both of which were amazing, by the way, and each the polar opposite of one another — and on Thursday night headed over to the Edgewood Barnes & Noble for an Aftermath launch event. There I got to connect with a passel of fans new and old, and meet rad folks from various corners of Star Wars fandom, and just generally have fun signing books and oh yeah maybe buying myself a remote control BB-8 and a Force Awakens LEGO Millennium Falcon. Ahem.

The launch continued through the weekend, and being at DragonCon for it was like being at Ground Zero for the Joyous Nerd Bomb. I had people come up to me randomly to get me to sign their book. I got to do a really rad Aftermath panel with bad-ass moderator Nanci Schwartz of Tosche Station fame. (Actually, all the folks from Tosche Station were a blast. Big ups to them for making me feel welcome and just generally being a hoot to hang with. Oh, and sorry, Bria, that I can’t tell you ANY SECRETS. Also Luke dies in the book seven times.) Did an interview with the awesome Bryan Young and also with bad-ass drinker-of-foe-tears Donna Dickens at HitFix. Sold out of the book at various places. It was overwhelming in the best way possible.

The online response has been exciting, too — so many folks tweeting at me or emailing me or FACEYBOOKING me about how much they dig it. It’s really nice to see because Star Wars is a beloved thing to me, and having a little acreage of actual canon to cultivate is a dream come true.

(For much of the weekend, actually, the book was the number one novel across all of Amazon. Which is completely head-breaking to me in the best way possible. I swoon. I swoon!)

I’m In The Papers, Ma

[note: a lot of the links below may involve spoilers big and small]

First off, it was surreal to be at my hotel in Decatur and look over at a USA Today — in print — and see my big dumb face staring back. I literally had a moment where I thought: am I stroking outDid I eat some bad eggs or shrimp and now I’m tripping gonads? Am I staring at myself from inside a newspaper? Am I trapped inside the newspaper? Do I need to get myself out of the newspaper? I was ready to grab the paper and start ripping it up to free me from its prison.

Then I calmed down and realized it was real and also holy shit.

(You can read the USA Today article here. It also features a new excerpt from the book.)

I also had an interview with Anthony Breznican about Aftermath and Zer0es. It was a real pleasure to do this interview and it’s really one of my favorites. Broken into three parts:

Part One: How Aftermath sets the stage for Force Awakens

Part Two: Aftermath introduces a new gay character

Part Three: Finding Han Solo

Grantland did an interview and article about me and the book, too. Read that here.

And I guess I really made it because I have a book referenced in a Penny Arcade cartoon. (!!)

Blastr did “10 important things we learned from the new book, and hints about Force Awakens.”

And IGN offers “9 important new details from Star Wars Aftermath.”

Hollywood Reporter talks about how the book may tie into the new movie.\

From the Nerdist review:

“Wendig neatly captures the current states of the Empire and Rebel Alliance and does so through flawed, real, and nuanced characters. His writing gets you up close and personal with anyone we come in contact with, whether we spend chapters with them or only a few pages. Wendig does wonders with dialogue and voice and carving out space for everyone to breathe. Aftermath is a strong foot forward into unexplored territory and puts down just enough foundation that you can start picturing the Resistance and First Order of The Force Awakens taking shape.”

From the NY Daily News review:

“If the opening chapter of the Wendig’s “Aftermath” trilogy is any indication, the ‘Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ will be every bit as exciting as the movie.”

(also worth noting their comments on the droid character in the book)

“Rounding out the heroes is Mr. Bones, Temmin’s customized Battle Droid. This killing machine serves mostly as a deus ex machina, saving his allies from certain death… However, his scenes are always fun to read and many “Star Wars” fans will be reminded of HK-47 from the “Knights of the Old Republic” game and Triple-Zero from Marvel’s “Darth Vader” series. Bones is also one of the many clever shoutouts to the prequel era.”

From Den of Geek’s review:

“The four heroes work fantastically together, and have become some of my favorite characters in the new canon. They really seem to connect with one another: they hug, they laugh, they make maps out of household objects. Singer, whose job was torturing his own crewmates for information, flinches when he’s presented with a box of thermal detonators – he wasn’t a front-line soldier, after all. Their dynamic is fun and believable. Aftermath is also one of the most diverse books in the Star Wars oeuvre, showing characters of various races, genders, and sexual orientations…

Aftermath is a wonderful addition to the expanded universe. It brings vivid characters and a strong writing style, and while I won’t be outlining them here in order to avoid spoilers, there are intriguing hints at where Star Wars stories could go next. The Star Wars universe is fresh and new again, and just as rich and mysterious as it always was.”

From Big Shiny Robot:

“The book itself is incredibly readable. I couldn’t put it down, I consumed it rapidly over the course of two days. My time was limited and I had many deadlines, but found myself setting things aside in order to read instead. It moves quickly and is structured like you’d imagine a “Star Wars” book should be.”

From Sci-Fi Bulletin:

“If you’ve not read a Chuck Wendig book before, the present tense third person POV style may come as a bit of a shock, but it’s absolutely right for the story that’s being told. As I’ve said elsewhere about his original fiction, Wendig’s writing is visceral, drawing you into the characters he creates, appealing to all your senses, the pacing matching the emotional temperature of the scene he’s presenting (and presenting is the right word). The original Star Wars movie used fairy tale tropes – farm boy, princess, wise old man etc. – but this story is more about what happens after the ‘happy ever after’, and it needs that realistic edge, so that you feel you know the people – bounty hunter, Rebel mother and rebel teenager, Imperial loyalty officer – and inhabit their feelings…

“Verdict: A highly readable, sharp continuation of the saga.”

From Star Wars Post:

“First and foremost, Aftermath is an engaging, fun, thought provoking ride that will keep you engaged and thirsting for more. To put it simply, it’s just plain great Star Wars. The tempo is suberb and the affection and attachment to the characters is real and complete. There are great personalities here and they feel like they belong in our galaxy far far away.”

From the Eloquent Page:

“Wendig has achieved an accomplishment I thought nigh on impossible. He has written a novel that has left me actively salivating for the next Star Wars movie. Well played, Mr. Wendig, well played. Turns out, thirty two years later, I haven’t changed a bit; I am still completely in thrall to my childhood favourites. If The Force Awakens manages to capture the same sense of adventure that is on display here, then the future of Star Wars is in safe hands.”

The Dark Side

The book has also gotten some… interesting reviews.

A blogger at Allen West’s website has decried me and Paul S. Kemp somehow destroying America with our GAY STAR WARS. Something-something traditional values? I dunno. Probably don’t read it? But if you want a Do Not Link click to it, here you go.

And at Amazon, the book seems to have collected an astonishing number of one-star reviews — many of them arriving en masse, in a row, the first couple days of release. Obviously, some of that is simply that people don’t like the book. That happens with every book release.

Others have suggested that there may be a campaign by some Legends fangroups to “raid” the book’s reviews to tank its ranking with these one-star reviews — an interesting tactic that does indeed tank its actual review score, but not its sales ranking given that Amazon algorithms are interested not in the quality of the reviews but rather the attention that the reviews and the book get. (Meaning, a passel of negative reviews actually elevates the book’s overall sales ranking. Which in turn garners it more sales. Amazon reps have been clear with me on this point: buyers buy books with reviews, period. Not good reviews, not bad reviews. But rather: quantity of reviews impress buyers to make purchases. So, leaving a ton of bad reviews actually increases the book’s sales. Ironic, and not likely what anyone supporting such a campaign intends.)

Some of the reviews seem to take issue with my voice, some take issue with it being, erm, “SJW propaganda,” others still because I’m not Timothy Zahn and because I apparently hate the prequels and the EU. (Neither could be farther from the truth, mind you. We literally just watched some of the prequels last week, and the Zahn novels are three of my most beloved books.)

Jim C. Hines did a post unpacking some of this.

Michael Patrick Hicks took a look at what’s going on with those reviews, too.

Your mileage may vary.

As for my voice: I can’t do much about that. I’m me. My writing is my writing. I took a long time to find my voice and if it’s not your thing, I respect that. (That said, it also doesn’t make it “bad” writing, as some have suggested. It’s just not what you prefer, which is entirely okay.)

And some folks, too, I think may be disappointed that this does not… you know, ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS. I recognize that some readers will be picking this book up hoping it’s basically just a laundry list of details about what happens between this and the new movie. If you’re looking for that, I apologize. This book ain’t it. The principal three characters are only barely featured. (Heads up: Luke isn’t even in the book at all outside a mention or two.)

And on the idea of there being a campaign…

I’ll say only this — if the only reason you didn’t like the book or left a review like that is because of some kind of campaign against it based on the EU/Legends canon, I am sorry. Honestly. I get that it sucks that some of the stories you love will remain unconsidered and unfinished. That’s not awesome. I’m not really sure what else would’ve been an option in terms of carrying that forward, though I also don’t know that Disney has officially put Legends out to pasture in terms of no new content ever. I will say, though, if your love of the EU drives you to campaigns like this, or hate-tweeting me or hate-mailing me, you’ve stopped being a fan. That’s not what being a fan is. Loving something is fandom. Hate isn’t, or shouldn’t be, part of it. Fandom is about sharing awesome things with like-minded people. It isn’t about spreading hate and forming spiteful tribes. That’s heinous fuckery. Do not partake in heinous fuckery.

Oh, And The Gay Thing

And if you’re upset because I put gay characters and a gay protagonist in the book, I got nothing for you. Sorry, you squawking saurian — meteor’s coming. And it’s a fabulously gay Nyan Cat meteor with a rainbow trailing behind it and your mode of thought will be extinct. You’re not the Rebel Alliance. You’re not the good guys. You’re the fucking Empire, man. You’re the shitty, oppressive, totalitarian Empire. If you can imagine a world where Luke Skywalker would be irritated that there were gay people around him, you completely missed the point of Star Wars. It’s like trying to picture Jesus kicking lepers in the throat instead of curing them. Stop being the Empire. Join the Rebel Alliance. We have love and inclusion and great music and cute droids.

(By the way, the book also has an older woman, a mother, rescuing a man. So if that bothers you, you might wanna find a bunker for hunkering down. And I dunno if you noticed, but the three new protagonists of the movie consist of a woman, a black man, a Latino man. The bad guys all look like white guys, too. So many meteors. So little time to squawk at them.)

Anyway.

Aftermath’s out if you wanna check it out.

Two more books in the trilogy coming, too. Keep your grapes peeled.

Star Wars: Aftermath: Indiebound | Amazon | B&N | iBooks

(t-shirt image at the top by houseorgana)

199 comments

  • I find it amazing people would get so uptight about this kind of thing. What is with all these campaigns? It’s like the Sad Puppies logic seeping into everything. Give it a rest! THEY’RE JUST STORIES.

    • Actually, a few GG’ers were giving me some shit about the book and lauding the reviews, which led me to wonder if there was at least a little overlap there in the great Venn diagram.

      What’s interesting to me though is that though the connections between some of the pushback and GG/SP/RP may be tenuous, abstractly they’re actually pretty connected. What I mean is this:

      In each of the movements, there exists the urge to keep fandom “pure” — a nostalgic segment of a certain kind of fan group remembers (or MIS-remembers) a time when The Thing They Loved was kept more pure. It was unchanged and original and did its one thing very well. Games weren’t political. Sci-fi was just about rocketships and rayguns (and also not political). Star Wars was all about Legends (and also wasn’t political). And then when that starts to change — and also when the misremembered memory of that purity is called to question — some folks squawk.

      And tied into that kind of fandom canonical purity too is the purity associated with what they consider “political” ramifications, but what some folks are really railing against are the changing social situations and character makeup inside these stories.

      That’s not to say everyone who dislikes the book are bigots or are married to some antiquated nostalgia. Some folks surely just hate the book because they hate the book. That’s unfortunate for me and them, but that’s the reality of making anything. You can’t please everyone. And really, it’s worse to try.

      But there is certainly *some* component here that is representative of that weaponized nostalgia — a search for purity bound up with other, possibly more toxic, ideas.

      — c.

      • When the black storm trooper thing happened – and people got pissed – their ire was apparently over the idea that the clones were of Maori descent. Aside from the fact that there are no Maoris a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (there’s no Earth or New Zealand either), it was always my understanding that, although the Imperial army was largely made up of clones, by the time the events of Episodes IV to VI came to pass the Empire was supplementing their forces with conscripts from worlds under their control. That was certainly implied in the stories that accompanied TIE Fighter (although who’s to say fiction accompanying a computer game is canon or not? That’s a whole other minefield).

        My laboured point is, it takes the smallest modicum of imagination to conceive of a possibility in which a black person (shock!) might be a stormtrooper. Maybe he was conscripted? Maybe he believes in right-wing Empire propaganda and signed up? Maybe he’s posing as a stormtrooper in EXACTLY the same way Luke and Han did in A New Hope?

        Why, then, was it so shocking? Simply, they’re either racist – or have no imagination. Either way, I’m not interested in what they have to say.

        I have to admit, I thought the GG/SP campaigns were the same people, or at least with a lot of overlap. They certainly spout the same venom and rile against the same perceived enemy: SJWs.

        But why you would want to limit storytelling, I don’t know. Bizarre.

  • First book of yours I’ve read. Both my son and I are digging it. Your style has an immediacy that certainly complements the tale being told.

    Something my son noticed: Tooms sees to switch species at a couple points, from Abednedo to Rodian. What’s up with that?

    • It’s an editing SNAFU, one that’ll be fixed future-forward. The alien was originally one thing and in edits, I changed it to something else and must’ve missed one of the mentions. Things slip through at various stages, sadly — it’s the reality of making anything.

  • Since high school, I read probably 60+ of the books that are now considered “Legends.” I absolutely adored them, and when I learned that everything I’d read wasbeing thrown to the wayside, I was heartbroken.

    Once I had some time to think about it though, I realized the two last major arcs (Legacy of The Force and Fate of The Jedi) were absolute slogs to get through. Sure, they had some great parts (Invincible made me cry), but for the most part they just felt really confused about what they were trying to be. I was actually worried this trend might continue with this new canon!

    When I heard that you were writing the first installment in the post-RoTJ stuff though, I just felt totally relief. I haven’t read much of yours yet, but what I have read has given me total faith in you to write this book. Now I just need to find a bookstore near me where it’s still in STOCK

  • I actually thought of you and Aftermath today in the grocery store. They had a display of Star War balloons, complete with a life-sized R2D2 and a Stormtrooper balloon (that totally stood on its own two feet), complete with gun. The 3 yo was enthralled and kept wanting to touch them. I just did not want to spend $25 on something that would potentially give me a heart attack late at night. =) Congrats on your latest release!

  • Science fiction and fantasy fans often seem to have a problem with discerning between “I like this thing, so its good” and “I don’t like this thing, so it’s bad”. Objective criticism, the ability to read something/watch something/play something and say that it is not to my taste but it is still done well is an important skill for any critic of media to gain. A lot easier to be able to say “well that’s just awful” once you’ve honed that skill.

    Thought Aftermath was fantastic – but don’t let Star Wars turn your head too far Chuck, I want more Mookie Pearl. 😉

  • Hey hey…hey…Let’s not associate those bigots to the Empire or even us Sith. We accept everyone..as long as they’re willing to wear black robes and weild red lightsabers..

  • (English is not my mother tongue, so excuse mesa grammar).

    Chuck – I haven’t finished your novel yet, but I must say, I was astonished by number of alien species you used or mentioned in the book – there are over 40 of them! (I was a little sad there was no Kaleesh – my favourite one – but one can hope that always in motion is the future :D) Also, those little allusions here and there to TCW, “Rebels” and Legends! I have also heard people complaining about gay characters, but really – galaxy is a big place. Is does not belong to WHHMs (White Human Heterosexual Male, a some call them).

    • I did try to include lots of mentions — making the universe literally diverse, whenever possible. (Again, it’s weird to me that people think I hate the prequels or the Legends books. Like with nearly all things, I think there’s some amazing stuff there, and also some less-than-amazing stuff.)

  • I like to think I like Star Wars. I love Episodes 4, 5, and 6. Episode 1 is okay. I hated Episodes 2 and 3, but I did see them in the theater (and never again). I love Jar Jar Binks (apparently I am the only one.) I am looking forward to Episode 7. And I love Star Tours at the Disney Parks and can’t wait for them to build an entire Star Wars land. But I’ve never read any Star Wars book in any series. All that being said, I am going to read Aftermath. I liked the blurb I read about it and I like you as a blogger. So, thanks for adding a book to the Star Wars world that sounds awesome and is filled with unique characters. May the force be with you.

  • I understand people being table-flipping angry at the nullification of the expanded universe, I just don’t really understand why they’d take it out on you. I think if the name of the Disney exec who made that call was ever leaked online, he or she would wind up being thrown into a makeshift Sarlacc pit right quick.

  • Congratulations on the book’s release and on the impressive sales. My book, The Serpent Sword, was featured on BookBub at the weekend and sold loads, but it was kept off of the top spot on a couple of lists on Amazon over the weekend by a book I’d not heard of before. When I looked at the book at number 1, I was amazed to see how many negative reviews it had. You guessed, it was Aftermath. Well, power to you and good luck!

    Oh, and of course…

    May the Force Be With You…Always.

  • Oh man! You are my new most favorite person EVER! That Don’t Be The Empire rant is spectacular!
    I’m a low-level Star Wars fan (read Zahn and a few others- casually keep track of filming – way not intense enough to follow the canon arguments) but I love your tolerance for the various reasons some people might dislike your book, followed by your complete (and in my honest opinion correct) understanding of the point of fandom and the world that the original Star Wars gives us. In the ongoing battle against heinous fuckery, I am now going to go order your book from my local indie bookstore. Well done sir.

  • About the whole legends raid… This is actually not what happened the 1 star reviews are from people not liking the book. There was a raid on the new book… But only for social media… Not amazon or any other review sites. You gotta check the facts before assuming that the book is being raised.

  • Well I’m getting this and your cornspunk novels and probably Zeroes. …Okay I kinda had a falling out with your writing (Damn you Miss Black! damn you!), but suddenly I’m hearing all this great stuff about your YA and sci-fi fiction…I have to give it another go.

    Also apparently I decided to jump into writing again after an unannounced hiatus. I partly blame you for this inspiration. I BLAME YOU! *points accusingly*

  • Disappointment that it doesn’t answer ALL THE QUESTIONS was my initial reaction, yeah. But taking it for what it was – and not what it was marketed to be – I liked it, and plan to check out your other work now. 🙂

  • Oh the power of the internet… opinions and assholes… we’re equipped with one and entitled to the other.

    Like you, like all of us who toil so to put our best effort out there, I’ve had to develop my own rhino-like exterior. When someone bags my work because it’s too short or it’s too harsh or it’s too sexy or… some other goddamned thing, that’s when it’s time to suck it up and parse facts from agendas.

    Not like you didn’t already know that.

    As for inclusion. Jeebus man, it’s freaking Star Wars. They got about a billion intelligent alien species. How many genders is that for crying out loud? And why in the hell would a gay character bother me when, in Episode 5, I’m confronted with the notion that those disgusting slug-dudes like Jabba are presumably boinking various humanoid species? I’m pretty open minded, but that particular concatenation of body parts probably doesn’t even bear consideration.

    In context, I found your style a little startling at first, but as I read on, it was more bracing than anything else. For me at least, you’ve helped strip away some of that 30 year encrustation of barnacles. Maybe it’s not the Star Wars of 1977, but then I’m pretty sure I’m just fine with that.

  • I’m confused. How come you got to write a book populated by Star Wars characters? Did you have to get permission from someone, or did someone commission the book? Or can anyone do this? Good luck with it anyhow. JJ

  • I’ll admit, I’ve been reading this blog for over a year now, and have yet to read any of your wholly-original IP (which I should probably do).

    When I first caught wind of you writing the first novel in a series of narratives that lead up to “The Force Awakens”, I was elated. Here was a chance to witness Chuck — perhaps in his prime — digging into a universe and narrative which he loves and respects.

    I’m so happy to welcome you to a list of incredible, talented authors that make up Star Wars narratives. Thank you for all of your flavored awesome words. I look forward to reading more.

  • I grew up along side Star Wars. The first movie came out a little before I was born, and in the 80’s we had the movies on beta-max so I got to watch them over and over again (My favorite was always Jedi, my little brain was never quite sophisticated enough to fully grasp Empire and my preference stayed with me through adult hood). My favorite childhood toy was an Ewok tree-house playset including Wicket and his family. The prequels came out when I was in my early 20’s and filled me with excitement first and then disappointment… a kind of synchronicity with life in my early 20’s “This is gonna be great! Well… it’s not what I was expecting…parts of it actually kind of suck… ah well at least it was an interesting ride.” When I saw the first teaser trailer for the Force Awakens I was filled with starry-eyed anticipation mixed with cynical dread. I want it so bad… but I also want it to be amazing. I’m scared that if I don’t love it, it might just break my heart.

    Anyway… I think my point is… that you’re giving me hope Chuck. I LOVE that you’ve brought a gay character into into the story. I love that you are willing to tell a story that isn’t just a nostalgic recasting of the favorite things that I remember from my childhood. It sounds like this may be a door into a more mature and grown up Star Wars that I should be mature and grown up enough to embrace with affection despite its flaws. After all, it’s not like the original trilogy was flawless. I just learned how to love it during a time when I was blind to most everything that wasn’t worth loving. So I haven’t read your book yet, but I will. And I hadn’t absolutely made up my mind if I would see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but I will. There is no fictional franchise that has touched me as deeply or been with me as long as this one has.

    Thanks

  • Hey Chuck,
    Loving Aftermath and Zeroes. It reminds me a lot of the show Mr. Robot, which everybody should be watching. Did the show serve as an inspiration for the book? And can you comment on a sequel to the novel. For any fans too of Mr. Robot who are sad the show is over read Zeroes!!!

  • I’m working my through the audiobook. I have to confess the third person present voice threw more initially. However it’s something that I “toughed out” and have been enjoying the book. Mr. Bones gives me some chuckles and yay for showing some positive same sex relationships in a galaxy far far away.

    One terrible, horrible thing. The audiobook may have the most cringeworthy wookie growl in history. 🙂

  • Got it on Friday, and am forcing myself to read it slooowly, savoring every word to make it last as long as possible. So far, I love it. Wendig, you are my hero. How did you even get this gig? Keep up the good work? MTFBWY

  • Just finished the book. Thought it was a really great read, and am looking forward to the rest of the trilogy. One thing that did disappoint me (which you mentioned above) was the lack of the Big Three (aside from Han’s cameo). I guess the marketing may be a bit at fault for that as the whole “Journey to…” seemed to indicate that it would involve more build up to the film. Just wondering if the decision to leave them out was a creative one on your end or a request by the LFL story group?

  • I consider myself a Star Wars purist, but none of the things you mentioned pisses me off. If there is no Jar Jar I’m down with whatever. That is one thing I like about “Rebels” they include lots of different species without it seeming like a push for action figure sales.

    I am digging Zeros, Aftermath is on the to read list.

  • I have really been enjoying Aftermath. Still only about half-way through but I love the new perspective you bring to the SW Universe. It’s people’s prerogative if they are going to put up a bad review on Amazon, but to organize a group of haters to give 1-star reviews is just wrong. They went up so fast that there was no way many of them would have even read it all. You are almost in a no-win situation here, being the first new canon book set after the events of ROTJ. All I had to do was go into it with an open mind and enjoy it for what it is. Looking forward to finishing it and will be ready for the 2nd and 3rd books in the trilogy. Thanks for sticking behind your work and being who you are.

  • The audiobook of Aftermath was my constant companion while driving hither and to across the city this weekend for holiday festivities. I especially love the discussion between some of the various imperials (to avoid spoilers) and it lends a depth to things that, to me, recalls quite a bit of the best parts of the old expanded universe.

    I’m going to be sad when it’s all over. Looking forward to more!

  • The book is just poor. Nothing to do with an affinity for previous canon, or gay characters or people not liking the prose style. If people want to cloud the issue by saying this criticism is warped by prejudice so be it, but that’s not the real message here.

    Your writing on your blog is richer, flows evenly and is well written… And I confess I haven’t read your other novels, but I’m just floored that your copy editor missed the mistakes they did, that no one warned you of the very real need to connect us to your new characters if we weren’t going to meet the old favorites. That connection had to be rooted in emotion and action crucial to the story so that we care about these people. I love new characters, and have read dozens of SW novels… but I felt nothing because I could see the strings of the puppeteer. It didn’t seem authentic or character driven. They just seemed to be where they needed to be because the story demanded it.

    The constant jumping around made it difficult for me to feel invested in your important original characters. I wanted to like them, but there was nothing compelling me… Three pages later I was pulled away by the Deus Ex Machina for reasons I couldn’t tell. It was so jarring.

    I’m so disappointed and you seem like a lovely guy and I’m never even sent an message like this but I think it’s really important to listen to the fans who are trying to tell you why they’re disappointed. Sure some of them are being dicks, but underneath it all is a very real fear. I am now hesitant about the two book sequels and will most likely avoid them. But I’m hopeful that they won’t.

    • The writing on my blog and the writing in my books is similar, because it’s my voice. I’m surprised you find the voice here somehow palatable, and in the books, not so.

      “Listen to the fans” is a thing easier said than done, since fandom is not a unified army with a singular criticism or desire. (Would you believe that, gasp, some fans actually seem to like the book? I know! It’s madness!) The best I can do is tell the STAR WARS story I can tell within the confines of the job at hand.

      Sorry that you didn’t enjoy the book. But I stand by what I wrote.

      — c.

  • Well said. Sadly my copy from Amazon isn’t getting here until later this week, but I’ll definitely leave a review once I finish it. The book seems to be well liked by most sites I’ve seen, hopefully that average will come up once more people finish and review it.

  • September 8, 2015 at 4:41 AM // Reply

    I am one of the people who left you a one star review on Amazon shortly after getting a hardback copy of “Aftermath” on Friday. I am not part of some campaign of EU fans angry because of the ending of what is now referred to as Legends continuity. I, however, am someone who was excited by the plot description of “Aftermath” and then horribly disappointed by your use of present tense and your writing style. It certainly is not for me and while I have nothing against you personally, your writing style does remind me of something one would see on old fan story sites from the 90s! Styles very, I am aware of that, but I think you should have used a more accessible style in past tense so that “Aftermath” would have been enjoyable for the general Star Wars reading audience. This is my opinion of course. I will say that I am a professional author, though, and spent years working on the craft and have never understood a writer wanting to use a style such as yours. However, I digress and don’t worry, I am not so rude as to attempt to plug my own work on another writer’s site. I will say that as a professional you should not dismiss the criticism of honest fans who were disappointed by the way you wrote a major title for a property you claim to be a fan of!

  • I was going to skip Aftermath; while I like Star Wars well enough, I’m not a super fan of it. Also, So. Many. Great. New. Books. Really, we’re living in a golden age for great SF/F.

    But when I heard about the 1-star reviews, I immediately went to Amazon (where I almost never shop anymore, for Reasons) and ordered the hardback, just so I can review it as an actual purchaser and counter the snuffleheads.

    So you’re bumping “Updraft” from the top of the To Be Read pile. I’m sure Fran’s minions will be along shortly to Have Words. 🙂

    Live long and prosper, sir.

      • Well, you’re next after “The Plundering Time”, a scholarly book about the historical conflict in 1645-46 colonial Maryland, which I’m reading after a chat with Myke Cole about religiously-motivated conflict in the 17th century. “Updraft” was next after that.

        BTW, having just dropped my son at college about 10 days ago – enjoy your time with Bdub. You’ve got 13-14 more years before you’re wandering the house, wondering why there aren’t sneakers in the hall and and they will FLY by at warp speed.

  • I’m still upset that “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” (Alan Dean Foster) was made non-canonical…by “The Empire Strikes Back”!

    Well, no. I can still read that and enjoy it.

    In other words: Get a life, one-star reviewers. Nobody told you that you can’t read these books (still). No Imperial Storm Troopers broke into your house and stole your books.

    • I think it’s amusing that so many of the lower-end reviews (here and there) sound so similar. Almost as though they’re not more than a handful of people, posing as multitudes of “fans” that an Author somehow has an obligation to “listen to”. As though we’re one monolithic group with one idea of what’s good. Yeah, that’s always worked. *eyeroll*

      • I always worry about that assessment, yeah. “WHY DON’T YOU LISTEN TO THE FANS” actually translates to, “WHY DON’T YOU LISTEN TO ME IN PARTICULAR AND THE OTHER PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE EXACTLY WHAT I BELIEVE.”

  • I’m a HUGE fan of the EU. Like…I almost cried when they nullified it. I have every fucking book stacked in neat rows on shelves. I was so angry when they told me that it was all nothing and that none of it really happened. Mara Jade, Tycho Celchu, the Yuuzhan Vong, The Solo kids, Ben Skywalker…all wiped out in an instant. The years I had invested in these books and the stories of generations were killed off as if Bob Newhart woke up from another dream. It’s fucking emotional…I’ll be honest…I was really upset in a way that surprised me.

    But then 15 minutes later I shrugged my shoulders and realized that I’d get to experience it all over again in a different timeline. A new reality. I was excited again. These trolls that are beating you up on Amazon just for the sake of being angry are the same people that can’t accept that things change. They’re the people that boycott new Transformers and TMNT movies because they can’t bare to let their childhood get stepped on. These people have never grown up and are scraping their fingernails trying to claw and scrape back to their past. It’s pathetic.

    The book is good, Chuck. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new EU unfolds. I’m also damn glad to see you as a part of it.

    • Thanks, Paul! I appreciate that.

      And I appreciate that, like I said, it’s tough for folks. SW has treated itself more like Tolkien than the Marvel universe, and so folks in that space are more used to treating it like a history rather than something that gets a fractured continuity. I’m sympathetic. At the same time, not much I can do about that, and for me, new stories are new stories and cool stuff is cool stuff and all those books still exist — and in some cases are still in print, even.

    • I was also a bit sad when they nullified the EU, but that isn’t Chuck’s fault and I’m not going to rip into his book for not being EU.

      (also, I am one who boycotted the last few Transformers, but only because the first two were god-awful)

  • Two things:

    First, I want to say thank you for taking the giant freaking leap of being the first guy to make the first post ROTJ book in the new canon. That took a lot of courage. You knew you were going to be hated by a good group of people, I assume. For one reason or another. (ie, it’s not the original EU, there are gay characters, there are women heroins, etc etc.. you know, stupid reasons).

    Second, the book is great. Starting my second read right now. I love the characters and I actually quite enjoy your writing style.

    Anyway, keep up the good work, and don’t let all the people getting blindsided by the meteor knock you down.

  • From what I’ve seen, people are mainly upset over 40 years of story being tossed in the trash. Apparently, the EU has many a homosexual character in it.

    Not that I have a dog in this race having put a moratorium on all things JJ Abrams. Being a fan of Star Trek too, the fact that he wrecked that series, as well as dumping 40 odd years of canon, makes me disinclined to see the same wreckage happen to Star Wars.

    As far as the other point, how one could carry on with the EU in both books and film, its not hard. It just takes two things that Hollywood seems woefully short of these days. Innovation and creative thinking.

    So, carry on all those who want to continue on with these stories. You’ll be doing so without me.

  • Chuck you pissed off a lot of people earlier this year with your tweets about Zahn and your comments regarding fans of the EU and the prequels. So, only blame yourself for that mess.

    I don’t care if Disney wants to start over with the books. But many like me only want a continuation of the books that we have read and come to love for the last 30 years. The EU books earned over 4.9 billion dollars and created a vast following and some serious bad ass characters. There is simply no reason that Disney could not continue with these stories as an alternate universe or timeline. At least the fan base would not have split. If they were to release “Sword of The Jedi,” it would stay in the top 10 for weeks, no doubt!

    I personally think that Disney is trying too hard to build this new background for TFA. 20 books between now and the opening of the movie??? And the story group has everything laid out??? How creative can you be?

    I wish you luck with your book. Although it would be hard for people that read your tweets to get behind and enjoy the book. You are right, sales will tell us what we need to know. So, let’s see how your numbers do compared with other SW books. It wasn’t a hit for me. But everyone has there own opinion.

    I personally have not done a “review” raid. We usually just bombard the boards with comments, asking for more Legends books. If the new canon is good, I have no problems with that. But people need to understand that Disney made a rotten decision. People spent thousands on EU related material that kept SW going when nothing else was coming.

    • Apologies if I hurt anyone at any point. A serious, honest apology if anything I said hurt anyone. I like to try to be funny at times (key word: try), and I’m sure sometimes that comes off more as abrasive to those who do not know or share my particular style of humor.

      Though, you’ll have to help me understand — what exactly (and I don’t mean in generics, but precisely) did I say about Zahn, the EU fans and the prequels that pissed folks off?

      Citations, if you please.

      — c.

      • I will certainly take the time to go back and pull them up and send back to you. But, surely you remember the exchanges??? It created a stir among many of the EU fan base. I do remember something along the lines of who is Zahn..the god in my fridge?

        I would also like to say that I have never seen anyone take criticism so badly. You made assumptions that butt hurt fans of the EU did a negative raid on your books on amazon without any proof of such. You even went to the media with it…or Del ray did to try and spin the bad reviews.

        Then elicited people from this site and twitter (your fans) that would take that information and run with it. in which they have begun a 5 star campaign.

        It would’ve just been more professional to say that some people just don’t like your book, rather than blame it on fan groups, or people that have different beliefs than you. Did you ever think that maybe it just wasn’t a good Star Wars book? Maybe your next one could be better?

        I certainly don’t wish you any poor sales and like a great book as much as anyone else. This particular book was not for me, and I did not give it a review on amazon. For me as a fan of Star Wars, it just wasn’t a SW book…I could care less about the sexual orientation or any other issues that you seem to point the finger at about people that didn’t like it.

        One question…do you think the EU (Legends as it is now called) should continue as a alternate universe or timeline and could co-exist as an alternative to the new canon that Disney is creating?

        • “You made assumptions that butt hurt fans of the EU did a negative raid on your books on amazon without any proof of such.”

          HAHAHAHA! There is proof dude. Screenshots and everything. Thanks for playing though!

          • Please show me…the screen shots I’ve seen refer to buying Truce at Bakura as a strong showing for the EU. Or groups asking for more EU or legends. So, if you have definitive proof, show it. Some didn’t like it, so what? Wendig is right, the buzz good or bad will sell it out of curiosity about it. Sales are high for now because of this…bet money, they fall off quickly unless more the media keeps it on radar.

  • I am a big fan of the EU. When I found out about Disney taking over, and going in a new direction with the movies and books I was a bit pi$$ed off. I’ve loved all of the many books I’ve read and did not support the change. After thinking about it for a while, I realized it could be a good thing. After all, with the EU being as large as it is, there would be just too much to cover in the movies, things would be left out or changed, and ppl would end up being just as unhappy either way. This way, there’s new stories without stepping on other ppls toes as well. That being said, that doesn’t mean that they should discontinue the Legends books. There are hundreds of great stories that should be continued. Fate of the jedi was one of my favorite series, and I was really looking forward to the trilogy of books that were supposed to follow it called Sword of the Jedi. Disney wants to go in a new direction? Cool. But don’t alienate all the fans that still care about the EU. Call it Legends and make it a “what if” kind of timeline, by all means. But give the people what they want. Isn’t that what star wars is about? The fans? If Disney just sees it as a paycheck that’s disappointing.But the revival of Legends could be a decent side business too, and would keep a lot of fans happy. Just sayin’.

    • Here’s the problem. You’re “just sayin'” that to the wrong person. I am not the ghost of Walt Disney. I am not his cryogenically-frozen head. I can’t make Disney do something more with Legends. I also did not personally kill Legends. As Han Solo says in ESB when the lightspeed fails on the Falcon:

      “It’s not my fault!”

  • I’ll admit I didn’t love the book. It’s certainty not because of the gay character. It was nice too see. I like there are in fact three gay characters in the novel with Sinj and Temmin’s two aunts who raise him. This I thought was a nice touch. I listened to the audio version, and I got a little lost in this telling at times. I think it stemmed from the interludes, and so many characters being thrown in at once. The first half was a little hard to get through, but once all the characters meet up I thoroughly enjoyed the last half. The epilogue has me giddy for the next book.
    I was surprised of the ratings on Amazon, and think it’s silly for fans of the EU to tank the book. I loved the EU and have most of them in hardback. Hell, my dogs name is Mara It was hard when it was wiped, but to echo some of the other comments I was excited to read new stories. Hopefully the vocal minority of these “fans” will be drowned out.

  • Chuck, I scooped up a signed copy of Aftermath at DragonCon (and got to catch the Comedy and Calamity panel you were on — which was excellent and most enjoyable) and am reading it in between bouts of work and sleep. I LOVE IT. I’ve loved Star Wars since I was a tiny creature but was never interested in reading the books until yours came out.

    I’m also ecstatic to see “non-traditional” characters on the page, as I am a “non-traditional” creature myself.

    I’ve loved reading your blog and I’m madly in love with Aftermath. Can’t wait for the next two!!! So excited for you and for this opportunity to write in a galaxy far, far away.

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