With “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” due to arrive in theaters on December 15th, we still have a fair amount time to kill before we find out what the deal is with bearded, hermit Luke and to see the brilliance of the late Carrie Fisher onscreen one final time. Fortunately, there are quite a few literary options to both pique and maintain your love of all things space opera in the interim. With that in mind, here are eight of our recent space-faring, swashbuckling faves.
DELILAH S. DAWSON
What better way to get in the mood for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” than reading a novel under the Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi banner? This latest novel from Delilah S. Dawson centers on one of the most mysterious new additions to Star Wars canon: Captain Phasma. This origin story lays out the dark and brutal background of one of the First Order’s most ruthless and relentless officers and is not to be missed.
Ernest Cline is best-known for the pop-culture extravaganza of Ready Player One. Armada is his sophomore effort and sees the author turns his nerd-approved eye toward the stars for an alien invasion thriller. Armada centers on Zack Lightman, a gaming maven and sci-fi junky whose life is changed forever when he sees a flying saucer and realizes the his favorite game, a flight simulator called Armada, is far more than it seems.
Wondering what took place in the years between “The Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens”? Don’t worry, Chuck Wendig has you covered. The Aftermath trilogy picks up following the infamous Battle of Endor and sees the fledgling New Republic working to maintain its foothold over the reeling Empire – but the Empire may have still have a few tricks left up its sleeve.
Following the runaway success of Weir’s debut novel, The Martian, expectations are running high for his second effort: Artemis. The story follows Jazz Bashara, a smuggler on Artemis, the first and only city on the Moon. Struggling to make ends meet, Jazz lives a difficult and sometimes dangerous life. All of that changes, however, when Jazz lands the opportunity to commit the perfect crime. The crime is an impossible one. Artemis is an edge-of-your-seat thriller like only Andy Weir can write. It’s also a heist story. On the moon. What more do you need to know?
C. A. HIGGINS
In this intriguing sci-fi thriller, C.A. Higgins takes readers aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft funded by the ruthless organization that controls Earth. The novel centers on Althea, a computer scientist with an closer emotional bond to the ship’s systems than any of her crewmates. When a pair of terrorists gain access to the ship, it falls to Althea to defend the Ananke from its twisted saboteurs.
This revenge epic from Rhoda Belleza falls somewhere on a spectrum that includes Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Saga and Joss Whedon’s “Firefly.” Rhee is the crown princess and sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. Aly is a war refugee falsely accused of murdering Rhee. With war looming just on the horizon, Rhee and Aly forced together to confront a ruthless evil putting the entire galaxy at risk.
Featuring a quirky and eclectic cast of space-faring ne’er-do-wells, plenty of interstellar adventure, and even a bit of romance, Ascension is just the ticket for Star Wars fans not so patiently waiting for “The Last Jedi.” The story centers on Alana Quick, an ace starship mechanic who stows away on the Tangled Axion and gets way more than she bargained for.
ALIETTE DE BODARD
Set in the same universe as Aliette de Bodard’s award winning Immersion, On a Red Station, Drifting centers on Prosper Station – which has thrived for generations under the guidance of artificial intelligence born from a human womb. When the station’s people are called to war to defend the Emperor, life as those on the station have long known quickly begins to unravel.
If you haven’t picked up Brown’s bestselling Red Rising Saga, now’s the perfect time. Reading like The Hunger Games by way of Ender Wiggin, Red Rising centers on Darrow, a red and member of the lowest caste of a color-coded society. He and his kind have spent generations toiling underground to make the surface of Mars livable for those remaining. When tragedy strikes, Darrow discovers that the world he has long known is built on a lie and he sacrifices everything to infiltrate the dominant Gold caste and exact his brutal revenge.
Jyn Erso’s story may have come to a heroic, if tragic, end in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” but there were a lot of questions about the pivotal Rebel hero left unanswered in the film. Thankfully for Star Wars fans, Rebel Rising fills in those gaps. The novel takes place in the years between the moment a five year-old Jyn saw her mother murdered and her father taken away and the events of “Rogue One,” including Erso’s years with the infamous outlaw Saw Gerrera.