Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Splinter of the Mind's Eye
by Alan Dean Foster

I wonder why i didn't read this as a kid? I remember seeing this and the Han Solo books, but didn't read them.

The copy i have says "copyright 1978 by The Star Wars Corporation." That puts it right after "Star Wars". So it's a more raw interpretation, without the further refinements of the later movies and novels.

Luke is a lot smarter here than he is in the movies. At times i wondered if this story wasn't intended for Han Solo at some point in its development. He not only seems more streetwise than his character on screen, but more than any farmboy ought to be. There's a scene in which Luke and Leia are trying to pass for manual laborers, and Luke knows exactly what parts of the Princess' demeanor to criticize. Sure growing up on a farm would give him appropriate mannerisms for such a task (speaking broadly), but it wouldn't make him conscious of those mannerisms, or teach him how to teach those mannerisms to someone else. (This is not a criticism of the book, just an observation.)

This resonates with the pulp sci-fi (space opera, planetary romance, etc.) that inspired the movies. That is very much a strength, IMO. That's where Star Wars gets the bulk of its appeal. That's where the fun and excitement come from. We could use more of that, done with honesty and joy.

On my goodreads pages, i put the Star Wars novels on my "fantasy" shelf b/c i think they're closer to heroic fantasy than science fiction, b/c there's loads of heroic fantasy stuff going on, and practically no science. Maybe instead i should make a shelf for things that use the trappings of sci-fi to tell fantastic stories? The Barsoom books would go there, too (big influence on SW)