I have come to a conclusion that is important to me. I no longer believe that the momentum of a life headed in a worthwhile direction ends when that life does.
Jesmin Ackbar shot down five enemies, all of whom served evil men. Had she not done so, their actions would have led to further evil, but her actions take their place instead, broadening like a firebreak into the future theirs would have occupied.
Jesmin Ackbar saved hundreds of lives at Folor. Had she not done so, a bow wave of suffering would have rippled out from Folor, scarring survivors, leaving behind nothing but loss.
… I will never know how much good surrounding me is a legacy of Jesmin’s life. Her future will be invisible to me. But invisible is not the same as nonexistent.
-Aaron Allston, Wraith Squadron
Aaron Allston, author of the above words (and many more), died last week. The news hit me hard, especially coming as it did on the heels of a more personal, but equally unexpected, loss.
I loved Allston’s Star Wars X-Wing novels. I still love them. I sold the majority of my Star Wars novels several years ago, but I kept the ones by Allston, Michael Stackpole, and Timothy Zahn. Not only were they happy reminders of my younger days and my first genuine fandom, they were just really excellent books, Star Wars or no.
I had recently started following Allston on Twitter. He proved to be just as warm, funny, and engaging on social media as he appeared through his books, with pithy insights delivered as a rapier strike of wit, not a bludgeon of dogma.
I had so much respect for him, as a man and as an author, and his books did and do mean so much to me. I have been mourning him deeply, but today, reading his own words in Wraith Squadron, the pain eases slightly.
The good that he did is not finished. His life is ended but not over. His legacy continues in the countless lives he and his writing touched and will continue to touch. Because of that, he will never really be gone.