I decided to leave it until late to write this post about the death of Aaron Allston as there are people far more qualified to reflect on his passing than I am, people with far more personal connections to the man. But I'd be remiss if I - we - didn't tip our hats to one of the pillars of Star Wars literature and say 'Thank you Aaron'.
I first dealt with Aaron back in 2000, when my previous site Lightsabre.co.uk was first doing interviews. Aaron was my 4th guest (after Kevin J Anderson, Dave Prowse and Mike Stackpole) and he couldn't have been more accommodating to me, a true newbie at interviews. Going backwards and forwards via email we put together the interview, first published on 11th December 2000, and in it Aaron discussed his writing career, influences and current projects (he'd just signed up to write two entries in the then-ongoing New Jedi Order series).
Six years passed before I interviewed Aaron, again for Lightsabre.co.uk and this time we discussed whether or not he would ever consider a return to the X-Wing series.
JN: Now, a number of years removed from the last book, would you enjoy the challenge of returning to the X-Wing novels, or are they ‘done’?
AA: The farther we get from them, the more it feels like they're done. I mean, to return to them, to pick up where they left off, would mean turning the calendar back nearly thirty years. If there were a call to do more X-Wing novels, it might be better to start with a whole new generation of X-wing pilots somewhere near the Legacy of the Force era, maybe after the main conflicts described in that series, and let Wedge Antilles enjoy retirement. However, it wouldn't take much arm-twisting to induce me to write for the series again - the original series or a heavily re-tooled one. I enjoyed it a lot.
Of course, the series wasn't done as he would return to the X-Wing books in 2012's Mercy Kill, and we would finally meet in 2011 at Fan Days in 2011 where myself and James would interview him for My Star Wars, an interview finally published in Star Wars Insider 146.
I don't know if he ever knew how well-liked and highly regarded he was in fandom - I hope he did - and I can only speak through my own experiences with him, but Aaron was a dry, witty and generous man, giving of his time and talent.
Star Wars still shines, but tonight it shines dimmer without him.
Aaron Allston 1960 - 2014