Luke Skywalker was a twenty-year-old who lived and worked on his uncle's farm on the remote planet of Tatooine...and he was bored beyond belief. He yearned for adventures that would take him beyond the farthest galaxies. But he got much more than he bargained for....
Features a bonus section following the novel that includes a primer on the Star Wars expanded universe, and over half a dozen excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years!
I really like this book!!!!!!! One of the best that I have read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I recommend it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One would expect a novel that is a companion to a major hit motion picture to add depth and color, to flesh out scenes with hidden detail. That may have been the goal for this offering, but it fails miserably.
The expanded dialogue is simple to the point of being fluff. The feel is shallow, like that of a 6th grader’s epic tomb.
Disappointing at best. Unreadable at worst.
On November 12, 1976, the unsuspecting world was introduced to Star Wars. It didn't come in a grand movie, but in the form of a paperback novel published by Ballantine Books, claiming to be written by a man named George Lucas. This book was called Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker. This novel was actually ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster and based on the screenplay for what is now known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
It is interesting to read this, understanding that the Star Wars galaxy as we've come to know it did not yet exist. This is a fresh introduction to Star Wars, and it lays down some parameters. I really think that a good novelization of a film should show the background, the history, the thought processes of the characters, and the general milieu of the story as a whole. There has to be a reason for the novel to exist, or else the movie is all we would need. This novel does a pretty great job of establishing the mindset of the characters and the physics of the world they live in.
1. The writing is brilliant. I felt like I was reading the work of a master storyteller. The sentences and phrasing were fluid without being too simplistic. There were a couple of instances where the writing took me out of the book--is "oldster" actually a word?--but overall I think Alan Dean Foster did an incredible job with this.
2. The pacing for this really works. The novel includes a few scenes that didn't make the movie, most notably with Luke and Biggs on Tatooine. This, in addition to changed dialogue, really make the beginning of the novel important to the finale. The fact that I see this as a strength surprised me, because in the modern era of movies, I see the pacing of the movie as one of its biggest flaws. The movie seems to start really slowly, but the pacing works well for the book.
3. The world building established by this glimpse at the galaxy is impressive. Not all of it is used in later works, though. For instance, Ben explains to Luke that the Force is unexplainable and that to access it he has to basically be in a trance, which is not what we see later. However, we see reasons why things like Darth Vader facing Obi-Wan alone has to happen. Also, Vader uses the Force for telekinesis in this book, which we don't see in the film unless you include the crushing of windpipes. In the book, he moves a cup as an indication of his power.
4. I really enjoyed everything written from the perspective of the droids. Foster consistently calls them robots or 'droids, but he captures the essence of who they are.
What doesn't work:
1. There are constant references to Earth-things in this book. Ben talks about a duck, Luke had owned a dog earlier in his life, and I think I even saw a reference to the Roman Empire. I know that Alan Dean Foster is trying to make things understandable for us, and that he didn't have the luxury of matching styles to previous works, but it took me out of the novel every time.
2. Everyone in this novel, including the omniscient narrator, thinks very little of non-humans. Aliens are disparaged, especially in the cantina scene. Maybe equality was less prominent in the 70s, but it seems strange to me that only one species would be worthwhile when there are clearly so many sentient beings of different species in this galaxy.