We're treating this VERY cautiously right now, but the British, Japanese and German Amazon sites are claiming that there's a new Star Wars novel due out in September 2008.
The first, really striking, thing about it is that it's supposedly going to be written by Carrie Fisher, the Rebel Princess herself. She's written four semi-autobiographical novels and she has a reputation as a punchy script doctor, quietly improving other people's screenplays in Holywood.
The second interesting thing about this is that it's being advertised as coming from Simon & Schuster, NOT from DelRey, the current licensee for Star Wars novels. But the license is currently up for renewal, with the final volumes appearing in late 2008, and this could MAYBE be the first solid indication of the new direction of the contract. S&S already do the Star Trek novels, for what it's worth.
Of course, this could be complete nonsense that's escaped into the wild from some fanboy's basement. The supposed release-date, 1st September 2008, pre-dates at least two DelRey novels, Matt Stover's hotly-awaited Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, and the final volume of the Coruscant Nights trilogy; but these are both delayed from intended earlier release-dates -- remember that the last Bantam book, Tales from the New Republic appeared after Vector Prime, the first of the new DelRey novels?
Then there's the question of how this information is appearing. It's on three international Amazon sites, which may suggest that it's coming from a central source within Amazon, strengthening the chance that it's genuine. The UK site has been the first place to release accurate information in the past. Also, the novel is given ISBN numbers, both in the traditional ISBN-10 format (1847370322) and in the new ISBN-13 style (978-1847370327).
On the other hand... all of this remains speculation, working off nothing more than the web pages you can see yourself.
So, could this be the shape of things to come? We're not sure, but we'll keep you posted on more news as we get it.
Kudos to TF.N message-boards user snooty30, who first spotted this story, and who thus holds the distinction of having started the thread in which you can discuss the news, and see what other fans are thinking.
UPDATE: well, it seems that caution was the right reaction, and whatever this is, it's probably nothing to do with the upcoming renewal of the novel license.
Various people over in the message-board thread have linked this to a book that Carrie Fisher has been writing for a couple of years, based on the diaries she kept during the making of the films.
I was holding off on an update until I could confirm the connection, but in the meantime, Sue Rostoni from LucasBooks, has posted over in the StarWars.com forums. She's confirmed that it's not a Star Wars novel, nor are S&S getting the license for the new novels.
So it's probably a memoir or semi-autobiographical novel by Carrie, based around her experiences filming Star Wars. Still relatively big news, then, but not entirely new news -- and by the look of things, this book's been pushed back more than once already, and may be delayed again in future....