The old Star Wars Expanded Universe (or EU), which existed before the Disney purchase, was notorious for digging deep into obscurity and giving a detailed backstory to absolutely every character that appeared on screen for more than a microsecond. Seriously. Every alien in the Mos Eisley cantina – even those that we only glimpsed the backside of for a fraction of a second – got a full life history written at some point.
The Tales series of books that came out in the mid 90s are perfect examples of this. These were short story collections where each story focused on one character and provided either a rich backstory or a particularly intriguing adventure that revealed depth to the character. Since they jumped around and covered a lot of different random characters, these books were often quite fun. They were bright spots in an otherwise questionable Star Wars publishing schedule during the 90s.
Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, Tales from Jabba’s Palace, Tales of the Bounty Hunters, Tales from the Empire, and Tales from the New Republic are still great books full of fun stories worth checking out…even if they’re no longer considered “canon.” But they are one of the main reasons why the EU earned a somewhat controversial reputation of giving too much importance to characters that didn’t deserve it or hadn’t earned it.
So here we are at the relative ground floor of a new Star Wars canon, and we’re just now getting our first taste of a new EU. Books like Tarkin and Before the Awakening reveal and explore characters and events away from the films. And now, with the brand-new book by Landry Q. Walker, it seems as if they’re not shy about exploring even the most obscure of new characters.
Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens, Volume 1 may have an uwieldy title, but it reveals a couple of things right off the bat. First, since this is literally a Tales book, they’re not shy about outright referencing the earlier short story compilations as inspiration. Second, it would appear as if they have a plan in store for a whole series of these books.
But what of this book? What’s inside? Well, the book includes six short stories, each of which focuses on a background alien from The Force Awakens, and each of which was previously released as an e-book exclusive short. Even though they were all written by Landry Q. Walker, what’s fascinating is that each falls into a different genre bucket. For example, one resembles an old-fashioned Western, one is a cross between a mystery and a reality cooking show, one borders on horror, one is a classic high adventure…but all of them are loads of fun.
The characters Walker has chosen to highlight are Constable Zuvio, Unkar Plutt, Bobbajo the Crittermonger, Strono Tuggs, Crimson Corsair, Quiggold, and Frigosian cryptosurgeons. Any of those names ring a bell? Here they are…
If you still can’t get enough of Star Wars and all things The Force Awakens, you’ll definitely want to check this book out. None of the stories is very long; they’re a lot of fun; and since they span a range of genres, they provide a unique angle from which to view the Star Wars universe.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book (as I have most of the new Star Wars titles) and highly recommend it. I also can’t wait to see what other Tales books we have in store for us!
(Disclosure: GeekDad was provided with a review copy of this book. All opinions remain our own.)