by Michael Brown, staff writer
Popular Star Wars author and veteran role playing game designer Aaron Allston passed away yesterday, February 27, from massive heart failure while attending VisionCon in Branson, Missouri. The news first broke on Facebook from a colleague of Allston’s, Sean Patrick Fannon. A native of Texas, Allston suffered an earlier heart attack in 2009 while on a book signing tour for the Star Wars novel Outcast that required a quadruple bypass. Loyal and sympathetic fans sent money to help with Allston’s medical bills, which served as a testament to his popularity. Allston began his career at Space Gamer magazine and was a roleplaying game designer for many years, his work including the Ghostbusters RPG from West End Games in 1986, which won the H.G. Wells Award for Best Roleplaying Rules, and Pyramid magazine called it one of the Millennium’s Most Underrated Games, and was noted by Pyramid as being “the first game to use the dice pool mechanic.” He wrote The Dungeons and Dragons Rule Cyclopedia, a special hardback compilation of the basic D&D rules, in 1991, as well as numerous other D&D supplements including The Complete Fighter’s Handbook, The Complete Priest’s Handbook, Poor Wizard’s Almanac & Book of Facts and the Complete Ninja’s Handbook, and the roleplaying game Strike Force.
He turned to fiction writing in the 1990’s with his Doc Sidhe series, and joined the ranks of popular Star Wars authors with Wraith Squadron in 1998, as part of the X-Wing novel series, when long-time friend, colleague, and primary writer on the series Michael Stackpole couldn’t handle the workload. Allston would go on to write 13 more Star Wars novels that were hailed as some of the best written in the Expanded Universe. Allston’s love of Star Wars and the sometimes hysterical wit he injected into his books made them always eagerly awaited fan favorites. Allston even managed to turn minor character and Rogue Squadron pilot Wes Janson (The Empire Strikes Back) into a “flesh and blood” character, given such character development that he would remain a popular and beloved character in the Expanded Universe. Allston’s last book would be Mercy Kill in 2012, another entry in the X-Wing series.
Fellow Star Wars novelist Timothy Zahn wrote in a Facebook post that Allston was “a wonderful author, a devastating punster, an erudite teacher, and… a wonderful friend.”
Aaron Allston was 53.
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Michael Brown is a comics nerd and a father who lives in small town Tennessee. When he’s not making his players mad in his “Shadowrun” RPG or experimenting with new and inventive uses of duct tape on his children, you can find him checking out the latest comics and movies for SCIFI.radio!