Thursday, October 07, 2010

100 Days of Fantasy: Day 58

This is an ongoing series looking at books that affected me as a fantasy author.

Han Solo at Stars' End
by Brian Daley

Han Solo at Stars' End (Classic Star Wars)As a kid in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was eaten up with the Star Wars fever at the time. I was such a fanboy at the age of 10, I remember getting in a fist fight with my best friend after we saw The Empire Strikes Back for the First Time. Why did we fight? Because my friend kept saying that Darth Vader really was Luke Skywalker's father, and I kept saying "Nuh uh! Vader is a liar!"

If memory serves, I got the worst of that fight. And three years later I was proven wrong when Return of the Jedi hit the big screens.

But back in those days, Star Wars fans didn't have the plethora of Star Wars novels and other literature to pick from as we have today. The first novel to contain a story that went beyond the tales in the movies was Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster, but soon afterward author Brian Daley had a novel released about everyone's favorite space smuggler, the book titled Han Solo at Stars' End.

A subtitle on the book mentioned that this novel was the further adventures of Luke Skywalker, which was nice because it let fans know for sure that Luke was the main character in the original series, but Luke never actually appears in Han Solo at Stars' End.

Nope, this book was all about Han and his sidekick wookie pal, Chewbacca. The story takes place before the events in Star Wars: A New Hope, and has Han and Chewie infiltrating a prison to save a friend. The tale is kind of goofy and disjointed, but it was the best we had back then and was kind of fun.

At the time, I was young and just beginning to work at writing, but this novel solidified for me the importance of characters and characterization. Technically, I guess George Lucas did that with A New Hope, but Daley's novel of Han and Chewie convinced me that great character could continue outside their original tales and still be fun and interesting for the reader.

So, even if Han Solo at Stars' End wasn't great literature, it still had its lessons for me as a beginning writer.

And it was a lot of fun to read, as were its sequels, Han Solo's Revenge and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy.

Up next: Cyteen


David Barron said...

Esp. memorable for the space dogfight where the woefully untrained techs are led into combat by the ace Han Solo. It was burned into my memory as how I should approach writing Fight Scenes.

Charles Gramlich said...

I haven't read that one. I've seen some Daley I'd like to read though. Will have to keep my eyes open.