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Timothy Zahn
Born September 1, 1951
Occupation Author
Nationality United States
Genres Science fiction, fantasy

Timothy Zahn (born September 1, 1951 Chicago, Illinois) is a writer of science fiction short stories and novels. His novella Cascade Point won the 1984 Hugo award.[1] He is known for three Star Wars Expanded Universe novels, called the Thrawn Trilogy, which takes place after Return of the Jedi. He also wrote the young adult Dragonback series and the popular Conquerors' Trilogy.



Timothy Zahn was born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Michigan State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1973. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and achieved an M.S. degree in physics in 1975. While he was pursuing a doctorate in physics, his thesis adviser quite suddenly died, leaving Zahn with three years of thesis work down the drain. Zahn never completed the doctorate. In 1975 he had begun writing science fiction as a hobby, and later he became a professional writer. He and his wife Anna live in Bandon, Oregon. They have a son, Corwin Zahn.

Writing style

Zahn's characters are noteworthy for taking various pieces of information, putting together a picture of events, and planning a course of action around it. Grand Admiral Thrawn is a character that reflects this. Zahn's Star Wars books also usually focus on a certain core group. Throughout these books, he often makes references to other characters or events that were created by him in previous works. As with the original Star Wars trilogy, all books in both The Thrawn Trilogy and The Hand of Thrawn Duology begin with an "exterior shot" of a Star Destroyer. Zahn tends to focus more on the logic of his characters (as with Thrawn) rather than their feelings and has characters from the original trilogy re-use some of their distinctive dialogue. Timothy Zahn is also acredited with naming the galactic hub of the Star Wars universe, Coruscant.

Zahn's books are often described as "fast-paced". For example, he tends to develop settings only as necessary to advance the plot.

A distinguishing mark of his work is his fondness for obliquely referential wordplay. For instance, in the Thrawn trilogy, the name "Thrawn" comes from a word meaning "twisted", while the names of two pets—"Sturm" and "Drang"—are actually the real-world German words for "Storm" and "Urge", and seem to nod directly toward the "Sturm und Drang" writing style born out of the German Romantic movement. Given that the Star Wars science-fantasy saga is overtly rooted in Romanticism, Zahn's arcane referencing here would seem appropriate.

The names of characters, planets, and solar systems seem to betray a certain acquaintance with both ancient Norse and Semitic (Hebrew, Arabic) lexic and morphology. Note, for instance, the mysterious planet Myrkr with its near-impenetrable forests and utter "darkness" in the Force (cf. Old Norse myrkr "darkness"), or the literally-minded species Elomin, sg. Elom (cf. the Hebrew suffix -im). There are numerous instances of both medieval literature/saga and Old Testament references in his Star Wars novels. However, it is uncertain whether the linguistic patterns (associated with these sources) are intentional or simply a side-effect of said familiarity.


Blackcollar Series

  • The Blackcollar (1983)
  • The Backlash Mission (1986)
  • The Judas Solution (2006)

Both The Blackcollar and The Backlash Mission were released in one joint novel titled Blackcollar in 2006.

Cobra Series

  • Cobra (1985)
  • Cobra Strike (1986)
  • Cobra Bargain (1988)

The first two were also released in one compilation called Cobras Two in 1992. A complete compilation was released as the Cobra Trilogy in 2004. See COBRA (science fiction novels) for more detail.

Cobra War Series

  • Cobra Alliance (2009)

Conquerors Trilogy

Star Wars

Thrawn trilogy

Hand of Thrawn series

Other Star Wars novels

Graphic novels

Shorter works

Dragonback series

  • Dragon and Thief (2003)
  • Dragon and Soldier (2004)
  • Dragon and Slave (2005)
  • Dragon and Herdsman (2006)
  • Dragon and Judge (2007)
  • Dragon and Liberator (2008)

Quadrail or Frank Compton series

Other novels

  • Spinneret (1985)
  • A Coming of Age (1985)
  • Triplet (1987)
  • Deadman Switch (1988)
  • War Horse (1990)
  • The Icarus Hunt (1999)
  • Angelmass (2001)
  • Manta's Gift (2002)
  • Green and the Gray (2004)
  • Terminator Salvation: From the Ashes (2009)


  • Cascade Point and Other Stories (1986)
  • Time Bomb and Zahndry Others (1988)
  • Distant Friends and Other Stories (1992)
  • Star Song and Other Stories (2002)


  1. ^ 1984 Hugo Awards. Accessed August 29, 2008.

See also

External links

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