Title: Star Wars
Author: George Lucas (ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster)
I've made a couple of previous attempts at reading the novelization of the original Star Wars movie. I first checked the book out of the library as a small child for my mother to read to me. She had really enjoyed the movie but thought the book was terrible so she gave up. I was too young to tackle it on my own. I tried again as a young man but didn't make it much further.
I'm not sure what was different this time but I breezed right through it. Perhaps it was a matter of expectations. Knowing the books don't exactly measure up to the sci-fi classics, I read as a curious, lifelong Star Wars fan. At this point, I feel I know the story backwards and forwards. In addition to watching the movie dozens, if not hundreds, of times, I've also listened to the radio drama multiple times and read the comic book adaptation. As such, there wasn't much in the way of new material. There's one scene with Luke and his Tatooine pals that was cut from the movie but does appear in other renditions of the story. The character of Biggs, almost entirely cut out of the 1977 film, plays quite an important role in the novelization. There are other, more subtle changes here and there. Basically, it's close enough to the movie to bring plenty of smiles to the long-devoted fan but also different enough to keep things interesting.
The novel was published several months before the film release, in December 1976. The book reads more like storyboard plotting than a polished novel. Setting descriptions of Tatooine and Yavin are quite thorough. Characters, on the other hand, are not nearly as engaging as they are in the film. Narrative tone changes are abrupt and awkward - editing clearly wasn't a high priority. Most of the dialogue is at least recognizable to the devotee. The "Let the Wookiee win" line, however, is nowhere to be seen.
In short, if one is expecting a satisfying science fiction novel, probably best to give this one a pass. But if you're looking for new perspective on an old favorite, the Star Wars novelization is a pleasant romp.
Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month. This month's link list is below. I'll keep it open until the end of the day. I'll post December's tomorrow. Meetings are the last Friday of each month. Next gathering is December 27th.