Fantasy & Beyond

A Book Forum for Speculative Fiction

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#1714
I don't read a lot of science fiction, but I do love Star Wars (it is debatable, though how much of Star Wars crosses into fantasy territory). Back in 1977 when the first film came out, I was far from alone in this love affair. So, in 1978 when a book called Splinter of the Mind's Eye came out billed as a sequel to Star Wars (as best I can remember the film was still called Star Wars then. The whole thing about it being Episode IV and renamed to A New Hope didn't come about until later), I and my friends were very interested.

The story of Splinter of the Mind's Eye actually started in 1976 when Alan Dean Foster, already a successful science fiction writer, was contracted to ghost write the novelisation of Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, the contract also included the requirement to write a second novel, which could be used as the basis for a low budget sequence in case the film didn't work. Of course, as we all know, the film was a massive blockbusting success and so the lower key sequel wasn't necessary.

It was probably just as well that Splinter of the Mind's Eye didn't become the filmed sequel. It is for much lower stakes and it doesn't feature a number of key characters from the film. Han Solo and Chewbacca were left out, largely because Harrison Ford hadn't contracted on for any sequels at that stage. Dean Foster made up for the absence of everyone's favourite Wookiee by including the brothers Hin and Kee, large, hairy, strong creatures known as Yuzzem (they are remarkably Wookieelike).

Luke and Leia following an off page dogfight (this was cut because it would have been expensive to film) are forced to crash land on a swamp planet called Mimban along with R2D2 and C3PO (I keep forgetting 3PO was in this. I find him a remarkably tedious character after the first film). Circumstances see them searching for a mystical artefact called the Kaiburr crystal, it's something that focuses the Force (I didn't heard of it again until it was mentioned in some of the more recent films and TV shows).

Due to the crystal being Force sensitive, of course Vader and his Imperial troops are also after it, so it becomes a classic quest adventure with the hopelessly outgunned Luke and Leia along with their two droids, the Yuzzem and a dodgy old woman called Halla, who first told Luke about the crystal, trying to get to the crystal before Vader and then having to try and fight him off while retaining their artefact.

12 year old me absolutely loved this. That may have been because back in 1978 we were desperate for any new Star Wars material. It was also influenced by Dean Foster's skill as an author. It was helped by him having largely created the characters of Luke and Leia in his novelisation of the film. He was eventually credited as the co author of that along with Lucas. He was given little to work with, so he did have to do a lot of the work of building the characters to work into Lucas' story.

It's a real rollicking space opera tinged with fantasy, and it features some much loved characters. Admittedly if it hadn't been for Star Wars and the impact that made on a pre teen me, I never would have read this. I have read a few Dean Foster's since this, and I'm a big fan of his Spellsinger series, the opener which may also find its way into one of these entries.

Although its a fun book, it is lower key and unlike the other entries in the franchise isn't for all the marbles, those factors would have made it an underwhelming sequel. I did also enjoy Brian Daley's Han Solo prequels, too. Interestingly enough a lot of what has made it into the more official Star Wars EU hasn't really done it for me, and I did lose touch with those a long time ago. This could be the difference between me then and now, although I did reread Splinter of the Mind's Eye a few years back, and while I was certainly more critical of it than before it hadn't been totally trashed by the 'suck fairy'. It also in my mind has an absolute killer title that just begs the reader to find out what it's about.
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#1716
This “approved sequel” is the thing I think of ss the proof that Lucas didn’t have the whole Skywalker family backstory worked out before Star Wars like he later claimed :lol:

It’s been a long time since I read it, but I don’t think it would have made a particularly interesting film.

I’ve read a good chunk of what’s now considered non-canon books and enjoyed most of them. Favourite series are the X-Wing series, and the Zahn trilogy about Thrawn.
#1717
I bought this from a charity shop a few years ago (hmm, pre-pandemic, probably more years than I think), but haven't actually read it yet. I was aware of it at the time but never read it. I did read at least one of the Brian Daley Han Solo Adventures, and although I enjoyed it, I found it didn't really fit with my idea of the setting. It might show up in my Lifetime if I get around to it. I also read the actual Star Wars novelisation.

Tie-in fiction was reasonably important to me as a youngster, but I''ve had a pretty low opinion of it since I grew out of it. I will still read the odd Warhammer, D&D or recently Battletech book, but I recognise that they are guilty pleasures at best. It will be interesting to revisit some of the old stuff.
#1731
DrNefario wrote: June 27th, 2024, 11:45 I bought this from a charity shop a few years ago (hmm, pre-pandemic, probably more years than I think), but haven't actually read it yet. I was aware of it at the time but never read it. I did read at least one of the Brian Daley Han Solo Adventures, and although I enjoyed it, I found it didn't really fit with my idea of the setting. It might show up in my Lifetime if I get around to it. I also read the actual Star Wars novelisation.

Tie-in fiction was reasonably important to me as a youngster, but I''ve had a pretty low opinion of it since I grew out of it. I will still read the odd Warhammer, D&D or recently Battletech book, but I recognise that they are guilty pleasures at best. It will be interesting to revisit some of the old stuff.
Thanks Dr N. I read a bit of tie-in fic when I was young, but like grew out of it and don't look at it much now. I rarely read novelisations or even the books movies and TV shows are based on. I find if I see the show/movie and then read the book I'm waiting for stuff to happen. Different if it's the other way around. I felt with both Splinter of the Mind's Eye and the Daley's that they nailed the characters. The final Han Solo book ends with Han suggesting that he and Chewbacca try the Kessel Spice Run, which places it just before the first film.