Universal Day of the Jedi: 10 Star Wars Novels Worth Checking Out

May the Force be with you all! Geeks of Doom will be posting a couple of Star Wars articles today, May 25, for Universal Day of the Jedi, which celebrates the anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie.

This year, Universal Day of the Jedi also celebrates the anniversary of Timothy Zahn‘s novel, Heir to the Empire. The initial release of this novel 20 years ago this month is significant, because it was quite literally groundbreaking: its impact would open the floodgates for an amazing deluge of Star Wars novels and comics – turning the Expanded Universe into an EXPANDING Universe.

Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, of which Heir to the Empire is the first part, is widely regarded by many fans as one of the best series of Star Wars books to ever have been released. Some fans even consider the trilogy to be the equivalent of the closest we may ever get to a Star Wars Sequel Trilogy. Timothy Zahn has continued his journeys into the Expanded Star Wars Universe through the years – exploring deeper into the history and legacy of Grand Admiral Thrawn, the continual growing relationship between Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade, and also the mysteries behind the enigmatic Outbound Flight.

I figured with this month being the anniversary of Zahn’s masterpiece, and also with today being Universal Day of the Jedi, it would be a good opportunity to take a look back at some of the finer examples of Star Wars novels over the years.

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This Weapon Is Your Life: The Evolution of the Lightsaber

May 2010 has undoubtedly turned out to be Star Wars month. With the 30th anniversary of the release of The Empire Strikes Back and Universal Day of the Jedi on May 25 (tomorrow!), we also had “May the 4th be with you,” “Revenge of the 5th” (wished-for by ThinkGeek.com), and George Lucas’ birthday. It’s been a big month of celebration for Star Wars fans around the world.

The Star Wars saga has developed a prosperous history over its 33 years of integration into the consciousness of pop culture, including the ever-developing Expanded Universe; which, through novels, games, comics, and more, has fleshed out an in-universe chronicle stretching from thousands of years before the life of Luke Skywalker, to hundreds of years after his death.

Arguably, one of the most unique aspects of the Star Wars saga is the lightsaber. The preferred weapon of the Jedi and the Sith, it is representation of, in the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, “a more civilized age.” Since the release of the first Star Wars film on May 25, 1977, fans have embraced the lightsaber as a representation of the Jedi, as have the creators of the Expanded Universe.

Within the Expanded Universe of the Star Wars saga, we can find a historic view of how the lightsaber came to be — its advancement and chronology. So, in-universe, how did the symbolic weapon of the Jedi come into being?

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