Celebrating 40 years of Star Wars
This is a collection of Short Stories from 40 authors to celebrate 40 years of Star Wars. The idea is to retell the story of Star Wars: A New Hope in a different way - from the perspectives of different people/creatures/droids/force etc. Virtually everyone has seen the film and knows the story, so a different approach was required to celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest film franchises of all time.
40 authors were asked to contribute. These range from writers who have written stories for the franchise in the past, to directors and writers of the films or series, to icons in the field of SciFi. I believe their only brief was to write a short story based on part of the film. This could have been the cantina scene, or a Jawa in the background doing something a little weird.
The book starts off with a bridge between Rogue One and A New Hope, and finishes with the medal ceremony (and the Whils, but we wont talk about that).
Like most anthologies, there are stories that work, and others that fall short of the mark. There are some stories that were mind 'blowingly' great, while others fell well short of the mark for me. As it is an anothology, stories that i found amazing will be terrible for others. I have listed all the titles and their rating out of five (as Goodreads uses a 5 star rating).
There are some issues with continuity in the stories. These are obvious in the Cantina scenes as well as the Trench Run. The Cantina section went on for too long, i think we had stories from every alien that was in there, and their stories never really matched up. The trench run had problems with the ground staff left on the planet - one story states there were too many pilots for the birds, the following story stated the total opposite.
This is a break down of the stories in the order they appear in the book. Most will have a little description, but i didn't want to give too much information out.
Raymus by Gary Whitta: This kicks off the anthology, and starts from the end of Rogue One, and finishes part way through the opening scene of Star Wars. This is the story of Captain Antilles, who Vader killed in Star Wars when the plans were not found. 5/5
The Bucket by Christie Golden: You know that Stormtrooper who says 'Inform Lord Vader we have a prisoner'. Well, this is all about him and his encounter when they stun the princess.
Enjoyed this story and brought a human aspect to the Stormtrooper. 4.5/5
The Sith of Datawork by Ken Liu: This is about the guy who decided to let the escape pod go, as there were no life signs in it. He thinks it may have been a mistake, and seeks help. The help comes in the form of burying it in red tape. A slightly humorous tale follows. 3.5/5
Stories in the Sand by Griffin McElroy: Jot is a small Jawa. He dreams of Starships. He has a device that decrypts and reads memories, and so reads R2's memory. This was OK, if a little off. 3/5
Reirin by Sabaa Tahir: Reirin is a female sand raider, except females can not be raiders. She wants off the planet, and needs to get a crystal from the Jawa's, as they sell R2 and 3PO. What and Why the crystal, we don't know. 3/5
The Red One by Rae Carson: R5D4 was the red droid with the bad motivator, when Luke bought him. Turns out he was actually playing dead for the Rebellion, so R2 would sat with 3PO. 3.5/5
Rites by John Jackson Miller: This is the story about the Tuskan raiders who attack Luke, and are scared away by Ben Kenobi. Nice little insight into their culture. 4/5
Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray: When Luke rushes back to discover the burnt bodies of his aunt and uncle, Ben communes with his master, Qui-Gon. A nice way to bring wisdom to Ben. 3.5/5
Beru Whitesun Lars by Meg Cabot: A nice little thought about being Luke's Aunt - from the deceased. A different take on how to get the story across. 4/5
The Luckless Rodian by Renee Ahdieh: The classic scene where Luke enters the Cantina with the Droids and Ben gets the ship while Greedo tries to 'off' Han. This story, Greedo did NOT shoot at all - so all is well with the world. Really enjoyed this little story. 5/5
Not for Nothing by Mur Lafferty: This is about the famous Bith band in the cantina - and how they got there. An okay story, if a little bland. 3/5
We don't serve their kind here by Chuck Wendig: The story of Wuher - the bar tender. This is a snap shot of his day, and an overview on the scene yet again.
It is a well told story, but we have already had it from other perspectives already in this anthology. 3/5
Kloo Horn Cantina Caper : Slogged my way through this. I can see what they were trying to achieve, but it didn't hit the mark for me. 1/5
Added Muscle by Paul Dini: Short story from the eyes of Boba, as the gang arrive at the falcon. Enjoyed it. 3/5
You owe me a ride by Zoraida Cordova: The Tonnika sisters story. Basic story and added nothing to the world. 2/5
The Secrets of Long Snoot by Delilah S Dawson: The spy who tells the empire where the droids are. Good story overall, 3.5/5
Born in the Storm by Daniel Jose Older: Stormtrooper story. Not that enjoyable. 2.5/5
Laina by Wil Wheaton: Father records message to their young child as he fears he will not be around. 3.5/5
Fully Operational by Beth Revis: The meeting on board the Death Star. From Tagge's point of view. 3/5
An Incident Report by Mallory Ortberg: Motti raising a complaint about being force choked. I really liked this. 5/5
Change of Heart by Elizabeth Wein: From the perspective of the Stormtrooper when Leia is being interrogated. Finally joins the rebellion. 4/5
Eclipse by Madeleine Roux: This story concentrates around Breha Organa, the mother of Leia. It is about her concerns for her daughter, her people and her husband. It is just before the Death Star destroys the planet. 4/5
Verge of Greatness by Pablo Hidalgo: Tarkin reflects a little on his role with the Death Star. It also has the pleasantries between him and Leia. Also has some moments with Krennic, before his death. 3.5/5
Far too Remote by Jeffrey Brown: A one page cartoon that is set on Dantooine. It's ok, but not as a 'short' story in an anthology like this. 2/5
The Trigger by Kieron Gillen: This has Doctor Aphra in it, who is a fairly recent character to the canon. It takes place on Dantooine, near the rebel base. Revolves around her being captured and about to be executed - and talking about the trigger puller on the Death Star. 4/5
Of MSE-6 and Men by Glen Wilson: From the point of view of a Mouse Droid. A frustrating story to read due to all the fluff regarding the commands etc. Not my thing at all. 1/5
Bump by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker: This is about a Stormtrooper having a bad day. First he let the droids go past without checking them, and then he smacks his head when entering the room with R2 and C3PO - again letting them go. 4/5
End of Watch by Adam Christopher: This is the control room that speaks to Han when they bust Leia out of the Prison. A nice take on it and linking two scenes together. 4.5/5
The Baptist by Nnedi Okorafor: Remember the trash compactor monster? Well, it turns out it was force sensitive and was helping Luke. Great story, one of the best in the anthology so far. 5/5
Time of Death by Cavan Scott: Tough part of the film to work with - the death of Obi-Wan. This came across as messy, with flashbacks to when Luke was a child. It tried to give some meaning/background to the sacrifice. Not sure it worked. 2/5
There is Another by Gary D Schmidt: With Yoda on Dagobah at the same time Obi Wan is killed by Vader. He wants to train Leia, not Luke. A nice insight to the life on the planet, and a background on why Yoda doesn't want to train Luke. 3/5
Palpatine by Ian Doescher: Vader reports back to Palpatine. Written in verse of some description. Clever, but really not my cup of tea at all. 2/5
Sparks by Paul S Kemp: Dex is a bomber in Gold Squadron. This is the lead up to the battle with the Death Star. It also includes the trench run, where he doesn't make it. 3/5
Duty Roster by Jason Fry: Col looks like Wedge, and thus has the nickname, Fake Wedge. He is not picked as part of Red Squadron, and instead has to listen to it from the command room. A classic scene from the movie in a different light. 4.5/5
Desert Son by Pierce Brown: The trench run from Biggs. Nothing new has been added here: 3/5
Grounded by Gregg Rucka: Another battle for the Death Star from the ground crew. I preferred the other one, as this contradicted the other (that stated there were no ships left, this there were 3 x-wings, but no pilots). The ending was good. 4/5
Contingency Plan by Alexander Freed: Mon Mothma leaves before the battle of Yavin. She is preparing for the worse. 3/5
The Angle by Charles Soule: This takes us away from Yavin and to Lando. His gamble game is interrupted as the Imperials react to the Death Star's destruction. Lando sees that Holovid, and doesn't understand what Han is doing helping the rebellion. 3/5
By Whatever Sun by E.K. Johnson: The medal ceremony, from the point of someone in the crowd. Why celebrate after a planet destroyed, and many pilots lost. 3/5
Whills by Tom Angleberger: Hmm, what to say about this? I believe it should not have been included. I think it was supposed to be funny, but missed that mark. 1/5
Overall i loved this book. No major surprise, after all i am a Star Wars fan. Would i like to see something similar for the next films in the series. Yes, i would. Would be nice if they were edited a little better to mirror up the minor characters for continuity, but i would absolutely love to read another 40 short stories based on Empire Strikes Back.