Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina

Tales from Mos Eisley Cantina

I have spent far too long reading books that are not set in the Star Wars mythos. Far. Too. Long. Picking up this book was like opening up the universe all over again.

I don’t believe I’ve reviewed the other two “Tales of” Star Wars books that I own, so I’ll give you folks a brief description of how these work. There are plenty of scenes and locations within the Star Wars universe that are occupied by many varied and interesting-looking folk. Each one of these books chooses one of these locations. As you will have guessed from the title, this book focuses on stories about the sordid characters seen in the Mos Eisley cantina from Star Wars: A New Hope.

Each author writes about one (or two, depending on if they are a team or not) character from the scene. This character is given a name if it doesn’t have one, a species, a home planet, and a back story that lead it to be in the cantina at that time. Some of these characters are immediately recognizable, like the bartender, Greedo, and the cantina band, but others aren’t noticed until repeated viewings of the scenes.

Like all short story compilations, there are good stories and stories that may not be exactly your cup of tea. However, because these stories are all tied together by this one moment in time, and because often times the characters are familiar with each other, you get an overall sense of community with these stories. So, even if you don’t particularly like a story, chances are there are elements within that story that you liked in another; it’s just from a different point of view.

For example, every character in the cantina witnesses Greedo’s death. It’s very interesting to see who pitied him, who didn’t care, who thought they might make a profit off of this turn of events, and whatever other reactions the patrons had. It’s an awesome read.

If you are a Star Wars fan, I would recommend picking this up. I would also recommend picking up the other two “Tales of” books: Tales of the Bounty Hunters and Tales from Jabba’s Palace. If you have read either of those books (especially Jabba’s Palace), you’ll like this one, too.

If you have ever wanted to read a Star Wars book but didn’t know where to start, start with this one. The characters are recognizable, the scenes are familiar, it’s not asking you to be well versed in any kind of science fiction technology, and it’s not going to cause any conflicting stories for the main characters.1

1 Not all of the books agree on what happens before or after the original trilogy. Some have different stories taking place with the same characters at the same time. For example, Tales of the Bounty Hunters was written before the Prequels came out, so Boba Fett’s story doesn’t match up with what we’ve seen now. I have two or three different “origin stories” for Han and Chewie. It can be very confusing.

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