Timothy Zahn

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Author Review: Timothy Zahn (1951 Present)
Review Written By: Alan


Writing Style 

Body of Work 

Timothy Zahn Links 


Zahn was born and raised in the Chicago area.  He earned a B.S. in Physics from the University of Michigan in 1973 and an M.S. in Physics from the University of Illinois in 1975.  Zahn began writing science fiction in 1975 as a hobby.  As he worked towards his doctorate in physics, he began to devote more of his time to writing.  In 1978, he sold his first short story to Analog.  He was considering taking a year off to write after his doctorate when his thesis advisor died suddenly in mid-1979 (coincidentally, the same day he sold his second story).

In 1980, he left the university to begin his year of full-time writing.  His wife Anna was working full-time to support him during this endeavor.  He wrote 18 stories in that year and brought in $2,000 (doubling the goal he had set of $1,000).  He knew he could earn a living at writing eventually, but it took him until 1984 to achieve that goal.

His best known work is The Thrawn Trilogy, the Star Wars novels that actually revived flagging interest in the Star Wars universe.  He won a Hugo award in 1984 for the novella Cascade Point and has been nominated for Hugos on two other occasions.  He currently lives with his family on the Oregon Coast.

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Writing Style

Zahn's books are known primarily for two things: 1) Zippy, well constructed plots and 2) believable technology.

Zahn's plots are very well paced.  They never feel hurried, yet they never drag either.  His characters are carefully thought out and compliment each other.  He doesn't tend to use extraneous characters either.  The characters he creates, for the most part, all contribute to the development of the main plot.  The Star Wars characters he introduced in The Thrawn Trilogy are fascinating, as evidenced by their inclusion in Star Wars novels written by other authors.

Obviously, his physics background helped him in creating appropriate technologies for his novels.  The technologies found in his novels are plausible for the setting and explained so a layman can understand it.

He writing style is very reminiscent of Kevin J. Anderson, whose books I also enjoy reading.  If you are just starting out in the Star Wars genre, read Zahn's books first.  You'll definitely get hooked on the Star Wars universe if you do.

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Body of Work

Star Wars Novels

The Thrawn Trilogy

Heir to the Empire 

Dark Force Rising 

The Last Command 

The Hand of Thrawn Duology

Specter of the Past 

Vision of the Future 

Mara Jade: By the Emperor's Hand

Conqueror's Series

Conqueror's Pride

Conqueror's Heritage

Conqueror's Legacy

Cobra Series


Cobra Strike

Cobra Bargain

Blackcollar Series

The Blackcollar

The Backlash Mission

Collections of Stories

Cascade Point and Other Stories

Time Bomb and Zahndry Others

Distant Friends and Others

Stand-Alone Novels

A Coming of Age



Deadman Switch

War Horse

The Icarus Hunt


For a listing of all Timothy Zahn books available at Amazon.com, click go in the box below.

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The Timothy Zahn Page - I'm not sure if this is an official web site, but it is the best Zahn site that I have been able to find.

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