The best books that defined great storytelling for me as a kid

Aer-ki Jyr Author Of Star Force: Origin Series (1-4)
By Aer-ki Jyr

Who am I?

My name is Aer-ki Jyr and I’m the creator of the Star Force Universe. I started writing because most of the new books coming out just plain sucked, so I figured if I could do better, then I should…and I did. What people only partially realize is that Star Force is filled with references and homages to the past great works. There’s far more in there than they realize, but those who have also read them will know when they see them. This list gives you the biggest influences that shaped my childhood mind, and why there are literally statues in the Star Force Universe to a lot of this stuff. 

I wrote...

Star Force: Origin Series (1-4)

By Aer-ki Jyr,

Book cover of Star Force: Origin Series (1-4)

What is my book about?

One of the longest-running science fiction series of all time, Star Force begins in near future Earth with a new space corporation not that different from Elon Musk's, but the difference is this one is being fueled by alien technology secretly discovered under the ice of Antarctica that begins to take you down the rabbit hole and see present day gradually transition into a wildly fantastic future beyond imagination.

But like The Matrix, this story is not one that can be explained. It must be experienced. Quoted by many as addictive, the story starts slow and builds following a core group of individuals chosen from across the planet to lead Humanity via Star Force into the future.

The books I picked & why

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Heir to the Empire

By Timothy Zahn,

Book cover of Heir to the Empire

Why this book?

Heir to the Empire was the foundational book in my childhood. I lived and breathed the Star Wars movies, and this book was essentially another movie continuing the story rather than some authors’ fanfic projects (too many to name). Reading about Luke, Han, and Leia doing new things was a breath of fresh air after watching the movies 50 times each, but that’s not why this book is so important. I can sum it up in one word…


He is a character unlike any other I’ve ever encountered and is the benchmark for me when it comes to a mastermind. He’s evil, but not completely, and you find you almost want him to win as you read through it. Not because he’s evil, but because he’s professional, motivated, and immensely skilled…as opposed to the Rebel Alliance that can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. 

Grand Admiral Thrawn is a bad guy you want to become a good guy because he is that awesome. 

Halo: The Fall of Reach

By Eric Nylund,

Book cover of Halo: The Fall of Reach

Why this book?

I’m a fan of the original Halo games, and this book gives the Master Chief a backstory that’s really impressive…and it’s not just his. There’s a bunch of other Spartans just like him, and it’s somewhat sad as they die off, but it explains who he is and who they are.

A lot of what you read in Fall of Reach was the inspiration for me to create the Archons. It’s also why they use the same numbering system. 

Way of the Clans

By Robert W. Thurston,

Book cover of Way of the Clans

Why this book?

When I read this book, it was the full Jade Phoenix trilogy put into one paperback, so for me it was a really long book that showed someone completely fail in life, then drag himself back up and crawl his way to the top. It also exposed me to the ‘Clans’ and what they meant. 

Position by merit. Earning your place through combat. A desire to prove yourself and gain power, but not by sucking up or backstabbing. Imagine a nation led by warriors instead of politicians. Even though the Clans aren’t the ‘good guys,’ there’s a huge difference between this book and all others. Enough that it stuck with me and the concept was reused in my own book as an homage to these Battletech books.

Rogue Squadron: Star Wars Legends

By Michael A. Stackpole,

Book cover of Rogue Squadron: Star Wars Legends

Why this book?

Just as the Jade Phoenix Trilogy introduced me to mechs, Rogue Squadron is the book to explain starfighter combat. It’s the first of a long series that literally writes the book on the subject, and the tactics used actually make sense as opposed to books where they just fly around and shoot stuff. 

But more than that, it’s about a squadron, a team that works inside the cockpit and outside to have an impact on a galactic war. They don’t win it themselves, but you can see the impact of a few people at the right time and with the right motivation and gear can do a lot of good. They also show how Jedi do not just come from a Temple as kids. Sometimes adults, who had no idea of their potential, rise to great things. 

Potential isn’t just for kids, after all.

Sherlock Holmes Complete Works - Volume 1/2: A Study In Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,

Book cover of Sherlock Holmes Complete Works - Volume 1/2: A Study In Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes

Why this book?

This was one giant book I got as a gift and thought I’d never read, but when I started I couldn’t stop. These are old stories, and arguably the oldest I have ever read that ring true today. Holmes is like Thrawn, a mastermind, but he doesn’t rule Empires or command armies. Holmes works in isolation with only his trusted assistant Watson. He follows mysteries wherever they present themselves and is bored by anything else.

It’s the keen intellect that draws me to this book. The kind of stuff most people wouldn’t waste their time on because it goes over their heads. This is not the new Hollywood version of Holmes, this is much more potent. Older movies of Holmes do much better, but none match the caliber that is in these original stories. 

I can’t fully explain, but there is a magic to them that rejects the ‘mundane’ world and suggests there is more staring you in the face if you just had the intellect to recognize it.

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