Author Joe Schreiber took the “Star Wars” universe into a whole new direction in 2009 with his novel “Death Troopers.” He successfully combined George Lucas’s space saga with zombies in a genre mix-up one could give the logline “‘Night of the Living Dead’ in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.”
Schreiber’s latest novel, “Red Harvest,” just hit bookshelves in a mass market paperback form and serves as a prequel to “Death Troopers.” Schreiber took some time out from his vacation to talk to me about the novel.
Your “Death Troopers” book was well-received by most “Star Wars” fans. I guess it was a no-brainer you would do a follow-up. What led to you doing “Red Harvest?”
Lucasfilm actually asked me to do another book even before the first one was released, mainly on the basis of people’s reaction to the cover art of “Death Troopers.” People were pretty excited about a “Star Wars” horror novel and they asked if I could come up with another one, maybe a prequel, explaining where the virus came from. I said, absolutely.
Give us a synopsis of the story of “Red Harvest.”
“Red Harvest” takes place in a Sith Academy on a frozen planet, where a brilliant and deranged Sith Lord is in the process of trying to create a serum for immortality. His experiment backfires badly, and soon we find out there’s far worse in the galaxy than Sith acolytes when the students at the academy first start attacking one another and then coming back with an appetite for flesh.
What is it about the combination of horror and “Star Wars” that appeals to fans of “Star Wars” and the horror genre?
I really think it’s a no-brainer. There’s such a huge love among “Star Wars” fans for horror and vice-versa. Fans love dressing up like zombified stormtroopers and Imperial officers. One of the most fun book signings that I did was in a Barnes & Noble in Indianapolis, where literally dozens of members of the 501st, the massive international “Star Wars” fanbase who makes their own costumes and volunteers for events and signings, turned up in zombie “Star Wars” costumes. Getting a chance to hang out with them was one of the coolest parts of writing these books.
Who came up with the story and concept of “Red Harvest?” Did you bring the initial idea to the table or was it a concept you picked to expand on?
The folks at Del Rey and Lucasfilm suggested maybe we do a prequel set in the time of the Knights of the Old Republic, which would allow me to take advantage of the Sith and Jedi activity going on at the time. Right away I knew it was right, and I came back to them with the idea of a Sith Academy. If “Death Troopers” was my “haunted house” book, then “Red Harvest” is definitely more of the “teenagers at camp” genre. Sith teenagers, but still…
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Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Kenneth Branagh, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.