Follow-up gifts can be tough.
That’s especially true if you know someone who got a YT-1300 Corellian Freighter for Life Day – or any similar celebratory occasion.
Fortunately, there’s the forthcoming Del Rey / Haynes Hardcover Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual for DIY starship owners – and possibly a few Star Wars fans who’ve imagined crawling around the Falcon tinkering with the horizontal boosters and alluvial dampers. (It’s not the first time UK publishing house Haynes has had some fun banking on its technical expertise: you can also pick up Haynes Manuals for Thomas the Tank Engine, the U.S.S. Enterprise, and Apollo 11.)
Created by Star Wars tie-in veterans Ryder Windham, Chris Reiff, and Chris Trevas, the Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual is a 125-page look at the Fastest Hunk of Junk in the Galaxy, from the history of its fictitious manufacturer to the place where Han Solo stows his spacesuit.
Given that Windham has written more than 50 Star Wars books, including Millennium Falcon: A 3-D Owner’s Guide, Reiff’s illustration credits included Jedi Path and Book of Sith, and Trevas has illustrated Windham’s Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force, it’s no surprise to find this book jammed with all sorts of Expanded Universe details and meticulously-labled diagrams.
That said, I have to admit that I was a little taken aback when I opened it and found something a little less no-nonsense than the Haynes cover would imply.
Yes, I’m aware this is a work of fiction, but hear me out.
When I was a kid, my grandma gave me a copy of the first Star Fleet Technical Manual. And while the removable vinyl jacket carried the Star Trek label, nowhere in the book itself or on its plain red-and-black softcover was the TV show mentioned. The effect was a completely immersive — if somewhat dry — peek “behind the scenes” of the fictional Trek universe, and I loved it for that reason.
In contrast, the Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual is loaded with Star Wars backstory and photos and screen captures and artwork which, while entertaining, don’t really fit within the framework of an “owner’s manual.” Am I quibbling? Maybe — but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a fun book to read in its own right.
The opening chapter on the Corellian Engineering Corporation, for instance, not only explains some of the design elements of the YT-1300, but provides a ton of real-world inspiration for Star Wars kit-bashers and customizers, with its diagrams of different ship configurations and optional extras.
Beyond that, the book becomes an exploration of the Falcon itself, beginning with a look at the ship’s ownership history, then delving into the craft itself, with floor plans and console details and component cross sections. (Windham notes in the acknowledgements that some details about the ship which can be found in James Luceno’s novel Millennium Falcon were deliberately left out of this book so as not to spoil some details in Luceno’s work.)
You want technobabble? This book’s got it where it counts, kid:
Before Lando Calrissian acquired the Falcon, a previous owner had replaced the Avatar-10 with an Isu-Sim SSPO5 hyperdrive, which was augmented with numerous parts stolen from a Sienar Fleet Systems prototype Imperial Interdictor cruiser. The stolen parts included a hyperdrive motivator, Rendili transpacitors, paralight relays, and a null quantum field stabilizer.
The major strike against the Manual is that as enjoyable as it is exploring the Falcon through the in-depth text and technical illustrations, it’s not a hefty volume, despite being overly padded with familiar stock Star Wars images.
Still, for fans who revel in the details of that made-up galaxy, The Millennium Falcon Owner’s Workshop Manual is pure interstellar smuggler daydream fuel.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of the book for this review.