I don’t recall where I first heard the statement that in Hollywood, people fail upward, but it’s especially appropriate given the recent news that Kathleen Kennedy’s contract with Lucasfilm has been extended by three years—despite the sorry state of what was formerly one of the most powerful, sure-fire franchises in existence. Under her tenure, The Last Jedi completely split the fanbase in two, and Solo: A Star Wars Story was an abject failure. And the reactions to everything related to the upcoming Resistance TV show are extremely negative. At a time where change was desperately needed, they’ve doubled down. As SJWs always do.
It’s time to face facts: As much as it might pain us to admit it, Star Wars is dead, or at least on the brink of death. The new Clone Wars episodes and any future Timothy Zahn books might cause a blip on the heart monitor of this comatose patient, but it’s not coming out of it. It’s time to move on. And I am ready.
I’ve been contemplating a post on my long-term vision and plans for the Galaxy Ascendant series for some time now, and this seems like as good a time as any to talk about that a bit.
When I first conceived of, and began writing, what has become the Galaxy Ascendant series, it was in large part an act of love to the space opera genre, which I have always been more drawn to than anything else. My favorite fiction franchises all fall under that umbrella; Star Wars, Mass Effect, StarCraft, and even Star Trek (this one is certainly more borderline, but I think the films as well as the DS9 series fall more under the definition.) I wanted to create my own, fun series, where I could also improve on what I saw as shortcomings in those; most obviously, the lack of non-human main characters—or even when there are great non-human characters, an over-emphasis on the humans.
However, as I wrote, and worked to get the series truly moving, practically all of these inspirational franchises began to self-destruct. Star Wars, as mentioned above, is for all intents and purposes dead now, and while I did like the Kelvin Timeline Star Trek films (while acknowledging their flaws), they are failing, and Star Trek: Discovery took things to new, disappointing lows. StarCraft fared a bit better, though the story in Legacy of the Void was certainly not their strongest—though since then, there has been nothing new from the franchise. And Mass Effect… poor, poor Mass Effect. What was briefly my favorite sci-fi setting is now a husk (pun intended for those who’ve played the games) of both its former self, and the infinite potential it had.
That brings us to where we are now. One completely dead franchise, one that appears essentially over, one that is dredging up every single piece of nostalgia, and likely going into rated-R territory in an attempt to stay afloat, while being outdone at every turn by, essentially, a knockoff made by the man best known for Family Guy. And Star Wars… well, I don’t think I need to keep beating that dead horse.
But amid all of this crashing and burning, the Galaxy Ascendant is rising. There are two books out, and while, due to limited but continuously improving marketing skills, they are gradually building an audience, all reactions I have received are positive, and those who have given me feedback on book 2 agree with my assessment that it is even better than the first. (And book 3 is even better, by the way). Multiple people have deemed the series an auto-buy now.
So, that all being said, where do I plan to take this?
Short answer: Everywhere
It’s open season in the space opera market write now, especially for Star Wars alternatives. Nick Cole and Jason Anspach’s Galaxy’s Edge series is doing gangbusters, and I am seeing more and more writers, such as Bradford Walker, getting into the game. Each of our successes will help others.
The Galaxy Ascendant series is planned to be seven books, but that will only be the beginning. There is a whole galaxy to explore, events past and future to experience, and stories large and small to tell.
While I do not think Star Wars can, or will, every be supplanted as a cultural icon, it very much can be supplanted as a popular franchise, just as popular franchises like Flash Gordon were supplanted before it. One day, the Galaxy Ascendant franchise will be listed among the great, expansive space opera universes. There will be many, many books, all written with the same care and joy that those written so far have been. There will be audiobooks. There will be comics, of both the adaptation and original story sort. And, at risk of getting ahead of myself, there will be far more than that. Games, both physical and digital, and… other visual and tactile mediums, G-d willing. We are living in an age where the gatekeepers and channels one had to go through in the past are eroding. The only limits are the ones we set for ourselves. If we don’t aim high, we can never expect to get there.
Do you love epic, grand-scope stories? The Galaxy Ascendant has it. Do you love space battles? The Galaxy Ascendant has perhaps the grandest space battles in the genre. Do you want cool, interesting aliens, and cool tech? We have that too. Great, virtuous characters? We have those too. Name it, and I can point you to where the Galaxy Ascendant has it, or where it will have it (there are plans upon plans already in motion, even as I do also work on other, not directly connected settings (and yes, that wording is very deliberately chosen.)
As one of the spiritual fathers of the modern State of Israel, Theodore Herzl, once famously said, “If you will it, it is no dream.”
Never let it be said I am not ambitious. Books one and two came out in the same year. Book 3 was written in just 3 months while I’ve been on active duty in the IDF. I intend to write books 4 and 5 while in the army as well, and, G-d willing, to release them, if not more, while still in the service.
It may take a while (I’m just a one man operation, after all, in addition to my editor & artist), but I am not going anywhere, and my eye is on the prize. Am I getting ahead of myself? Perhaps. But at least I have a clear, focused vision. At a time when so many storied franchises are failing, the Galaxy Ascendant is rising.
Get in now, so you can say you were here at the beginning. The Galaxy Ascendant awaits!