- Seth Saunders
A Walk Thru My Process
Greetings, enthEUsiasts, and welcome back to the Legends event of the season! Friends, when Matt 5K Wilkins asked if I wanted to participate in the EUSN authors tournament, I said, “…What in space is that?” He then informed me that it was a celebration of Expanded Universe authors in the style of March Madness, and I said, “…That’s basketball, right?” His patience wearing thin, Sir Wilkins then broke the process down into small words that I could understand, and I of course replied, “Well, why didn’t you just say so? ‘Who write good?’ I have entirely baseless opinions on that I could spout far too confidently!”
If you, like me, require further guidance in anything sports-adjacent, this is what (I think) it boils down to: we’ve got sixty-four EU authors, whom I’ve been assured haven’t been pitted against each other arbitrarily; you, the fans, proceed to vote on each head-to-head battle, determining who progresses to the next, good-spirited match; we, the literary and audio/visual contributors of this website, whose EU insights you debate, refute, and occasionally even value, will then pointlessly and spiritedly deliberate amongst ourselves about whom we believe has advanced rightfully or wrongfully.
Being unsure how such things are usually conducted, I’ll be incorporating my own system for determining which of the two EU authors in a match-up deserve advancement, each aspect of which is at least somewhat subjective. My flawless and wholly untested system is as follows.
Firstly, I consider the impact each author has had on EU characters. This can range from what my assessment of an author’s original characters to my level of respect for how they handled legacy characters, such as the greats from the movies and long-time heroes and villains running about the galaxy introduced in any medium. It’s a tough balance to strike, both building and continuing character stories in a galaxy far, far away, and, if fans feel as though you’ve misstepped, they’ll inform you of their impassioned objections, loudly and, sometimes, inappropriately. Do I feel that some or all the vitriol toward such divisive character choices is warranted? What about the character arcs my fellow fans praise? Do I share their appreciation for the collective favorites?
Second, I weigh the influence an author has had on lore, be it the technical aspects of the galaxy’s machinery and organizations or the millennia-spanning history of the Legends timeline. Some authors may excel at one while inarguably falling short in the other, but I fancy myself a lenient fresh-faced EU pundit. Many gifts but one spirit, and all that. Some authors will be more naturally gifted at fleshing out historic conflicts, others at laying bare the inner workings of a beloved vessel type. Weighing one against the other is far from an exact science, but so is just about everything in Star Wars. As much precision as is feasible will be brought to bear in both these steps, however, should a decision between two Legendary juggernauts prove impossible, the third tier of my decision-making process will have to rule.
The heart factor. Yes, friends, as impractical and thoroughly lacking in objectivity as it may be, the truth is that we all simply have our favorites, for one reason or another. Perhaps this author’s writings struck us at a moment in our lives where we were particularly susceptible to a character’s path or a poignant galactic event. Perhaps we simply found ourselves fascinated by the way this person contributed to the greater tapestry of Star Wars. Whatever the case, when a decision as to which is best would otherwise prove impossible, we (or, at least, I) must fall back on what tale or journey impacted me the most profoundly.
May our brackets vary greatly, may each author be cherished, in their own way, and, of course, may the Force be with us all!