Star Wars

Star Wars
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Phenomenon that is Timothy Zahn

 I'm right now about a fourth of the way through the 20th anniversary edition of Timothy Zahn's the Heir to the Empire. I've read this edition before, but I forgot tons of it. Probably because I read it so fast the first time. This is a very bad habit of mine, reading books too quickly the first time. It's partially because I have so many books to read, I just want to get to the next one. And partially because a good story compels me to finish it as fast as I possibly can. The first time I read the anniversary edition of Heir to the Empire  was not the first time I had read Heir, however. I read it at least four times as a kid and teenager. So I'm definitely familiar with the story. But before the anniversary edition, which is annotated, I never knew why I liked it so much or why it made so much sense as to why it fit in with the Star Wars galaxy so well. Now, seeing the way Zahn carefully planned every twist and turn, I get why he's considered such a heavy hitter in the Star Wars extended universe. Every situation he plans to fit into something else, whether it be later books or later on in the current book. He admits that some of this is not planned, but that he uses it later on as if it was.

I am so in awe of authors who are able to be clever and twisty with their writing. I've found I'm too upfront as a writer to really be good at crafting mysteries. But Zahn knows his stuff. He knows how to build tension. He knows how to screw with his characters. He's so good at putting them in tough positions, both literately and figuratively. And I'm finding that I'm loving Heir so much more as an adult because I actually understand what he's doing! Instead of just loving the action, I'm enjoying the subtleties Zahn slips in here and there. And now, enough of blogging! Back to reading!

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you! Zahn's careful planning is much more apparent to me as an adult than it was as a kid. What initially drew me to the series was the characters. I skipped over huge chunks of the stuff with the Imperials and Karrde because I wanted to read about Luke, Han, Leia, and, of course, Mara. I cared more about their relationships and character arcs than I did about the strategy and plot going on in layers throughout the books.

    As an adult, I love every aspect of the storytelling. I love how a single sentence will suddenly and inexplicably resonate with me and become relevant on the sixteenth rereading that wasn't evident at all during the fifteenth.