Back in 1979 there wasn’t a lot in the way of Star Wars stories, there definitely wasn’t the Expanded Universe (now the Legends series) or the new canon series of novels. There were Marvel comics which were hokey but still fun, and before The Empire Strikes Back came along we had to use our imagination and our toys to create our own stories.
In 1978 Alan Dean Foster had written Splinter of the Mind’s Eye (that definitely has some problems when read after watching Empire, and Return of the Jedi), and then Brian Daley released the first of his Han Solo novels. He’d eventually pen a trilogy of them.
Han Solo, and his wookie co-pilot Chewbacca are living on the ragged edge, taking on jobs and paying off their debts as best as they can while eluding dangers in the Millennium Falcon.
When their beloved freighter is damaged, they seek out repairs from a group of outlaw techs, and find themselves plunged into an adventure at the end of the galaxy and a prison known as Star’s End.
When mechanic Jessa, agrees to repair their ship in exchange for the pair to ferry a pair of droids (one of them with the unfortunate name Bollux) on an information gathering mission they get caught up in a prison break, subterfuge, fights and chases.
It’s easy to see this adventure fitting in to the new canon universe. It posits that out on the edges of the galaxy The Corporate Sector is buying up planets and solar systems, making a profit from it while in the Core, the Empire continues to extend its grip.
Daley doesn’t quite have Solo’s speech down, you can hear most of it in your mind, but some of it jars. Still, for the most part, the story (despite being dreadfully short) fits nicely into he universe, and has a sense of fun to it.
I hadn’t read this one in over thirty years, but when I was blazing my way through it, it was amazing how much of it I began to recall. It was a delight to recall a time when the Star Wars universe was new, largely unexplored, and each story that came along blazed an exploratory trail through our imaginations.
Han Solo, Chewie and the Falcon were a huge part of not only my childhood but my entire life, and going back to visit this one was a lot of fun as my favorite smuggling duo took me on an adventure that is fun, flawed and still undeniably a Star Wars adventure.
And there’s still two more books in this little trilogy to get through!!!
May the force be with you.