Novel & Guide FAQ

Novels

What is the "correct" reading order for the Wing Commander novels?
The ideal option for first-time readers would be to read the novels as they were initially released:
  • Wing Commander Freedom Flight (1992)
  • Wing Commander End Run (1993)
  • Wing Commander Fleet Action (1994)
  • Wing Commander Heart of the Tiger (1995)
  • Wing Commander The Price of Freedom (1996)
  • Wing Commander Action Stations (1997)
  • Wing Commander False Colors (1998)
A second option would be to read the novels in timeline order:
  • Wing Commander Freedom Flight (2655)
  • Wing Commander End Run (2667)
  • Wing Commander Fleet Action (2668)
  • Wing Commander Heart of the Tiger (2669)
  • Wing Commander False Colors (2669-2672)
  • Wing Commander The Price of Freedom (2673)
  • Wing Commander Action Stations (2677/2634)
Note that Wing Commander Action Stations is largely set in 2634 and is written as a prequel to the other books. The prologue which sets up the story is in 2677 and spoils previous stories. Additionally, the entirety of the novel is written with the expectation that you are familiar with characters introduced in earlier books.
How would I integrate the novels in a playthrough of the games?

Wing Commander Freedom Flight adapts and continues the story of Wing Commander The Secret Missions 2: Crusade.

Wing Commander End Run takes place between Wing Commander II Special Operations 2 and the establishing lore for Wing Commander Academy.

Wing Commander Fleet Action takes place between the establishing lore for Wing Commander Academy and Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger.

Wing Commander Heart of the Tiger and Wing Commander The Price of Freedom adapt their respective games.

Wing Commander Action Stations' prologue takes place between Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom and Wing Commander Prophecy. The story itself is set twenty years before the first Wing Commander.

Wing Commander False Colors is set between Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger and Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom.

Why did the novels which adapted games make certain choices?
William Forstchen adapted the Heart of the Tiger and The Price of Freedom novelizations from the games' respective screenplays. His co-author (William Keith or Ben Ohlander) adapted that outline into the full novel. The authors were responsible for the initial choice of which paths were adapted but certain choices were countermanded by Origin during the editing phase.
Is there a novel of Wing Commander Prophecy?
No, an adaptation of Wing Commander Prophecy was never considered. A solicitation cover for Action Stations incorrectly listed it as being "From Wing Commander V, The New Release."
What the heck is going on in the Wing Commander Action Stations cover painting?
For years, there was a rumor that the Action Stations cover painting was slush art with a Kilrathi carefully added to the background. This is not the case! The Action Stations cover was painting by Paul Alexander, the same artist as the first three novels. It does not match the book because it was originally commissioned as the cover painting for the fourth novel, Wing Commander Heart of the Tiger. It was intended as a sort of 'Baen version' of the Wing Commander III key art. Baen decided to use the Origin artwork for the game adaptations and then recycled their previously commissioned Alexander painting for the sixth novel.
Were authors provided with specific information about the Wing Commander universe?
Yes. Baen's authors were given an initial version of Origin's Wing Commander series bible. (The version provided to the writers was put together shortly after Wing Commander II Special Operations 2 was finished. The version available online is from 1995 and has been significantly expanded to cover other games. You can get a sense for the original version by comparing fonts in the PDF.) Novelists charged with adapting full motion video productions were also given the shooting scripts for those projects.
Were the translated titles identical to their English versions or were they changed?
The majority of the translated titles are identical or very similar to the original English versions. Several of the German translations have more literal plot descriptions for titles: The Liberators (Freedom FLight), The Ambush (End Run), The Secret Fleet (Fleet Action) and The Threat (Action Stations.) The Russian version of End Run translates to 'The Reckoning.'
Is Andrew Keith related to William Keith?
Yes and no. Wing Commander Heart of the Tiger and Wing Commander False Colors were both written by Andrew Keith. The final cover for False Colors incorrectly lists his name as William Keith. Adding to this confusion, there is a William Keith who IS Andrew's brother and a fellow SF author but he did not write False Colors.
Why is the numbering off on the Wing Commander eBooks?
Because the ebook of Wing Commander End Run was released out-of-order books three through seven are often listed online with incorrect series numbers.
Why is it so hard to see the Wing Commander logo in pictures of the Baen novels?
Some covers feature a logo which was printed with a reflective material that does not scan well.
Did Origin edit the novels for continuity?
Yes, Origin's David Ladyman, then publications manager, was responsible for an editorial pass for this purpose.
What does it mean when a novel is credited to two authors? How were these books written?
The first author named (typically a bigger name who would catch the attention of book buyers) was responsible for the initial outline which the second author then adapted. The only exception is Wing Commander End Run, which contains two shorter stories written by the different authors (the novella Milk Run by Christopher Stasheff and the novel End Run by William Forstchen.)
Which Wing Commander novel was the best seller?
Sales numbers have not been published but anecdotally the adaptation of Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger was said to have significantly outsold the other books.
Why wasn't Freedom Flight released in the Czech Republic?
The six novels translated to Czech were licensed because of the popularity of Dr. William Forstchen's work in the region and not because of the popularity of the Wing Commander series.

Game Guides

Why does Wing Commander III have both an Official Guide and an Authorized Combat Guide?
The Official Guide was the initial release and was developed in house at Origin. The Authorized Combat Guide was developed under license and was released alongside the 3DO port of the game. There is a third Playstation-specific official guide which was released only in Japanese.

Series Background

PC Games

Expansion Packs

Bundles & Re-releases

Console Exclusives

Mass Media

Novels

Game Guides: Official

Game Guides: Unofficial

Unrealized Novels

Unrealized Game Guides

Rumors & Errors