Books on GIF #65 — 'Splinter of the Mind's Eye' by Alan Dean Foster
|Books on GIF||Dec 10, 2017|
This Sunday's book is 'Splinter of the Mind's Eye' by Alan Dean Foster.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am absolutely NUTS about all things 'Star Wars.' So when I unearthed this nearly forgotten 'Star Wars' novel, which belongs to Donna, from an old box of her books in the basement, I was like:
If you are not a 'Star Wars' fan and are not interested in geeking out with me, bail out of this review now, because we are going to go deep, DEEP into a galaxy far, far away. I mean, I am wearing the Kylo Ren T-shirt my mother gave me a few years back as I type this, so you have been warned:
'Splinter of the Mind's Eye' was written before 'Star Wars' became the cultural phenomenon that we all know and love today. According to the internet, the book was conceived as a possible treatment for a low-budget sequel if the original 'Star Wars' film was a flop. So there are no space battles, no extravagant locales and no Han Solo, should Harrison Ford have been too expensive to cast for a subsequent film. The book focuses on Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, accompanied by R2-D2 and C-3PO, as they go on a ho-hum adventure. I won't go step-by-step through the plot, because I didn't find it that engaging. (If you want a hilarious description of the full story, watch this video.) What interested me, however, were elements of the story lifted from this now-apocryphal novel and retooled for use elsewhere in what's in the current 'Star Wars' 'canon,' which includes the movies and animated TV series, as well as books produced after Disney bought Lucasfilm. Let's review these things, beginning with Luke and Leia's crash landing on a swampy jungle planet similar to Dagobah from 'The Empire Strikes Back.' But instead of finding this guy —
— Luke and Leia find an illegal Imperial mining colony where they encounter a Force-sensitive old woman named Halla, who reminds me of Maz Kanata. You remember Maz from 'The Force Awakens':
Halla convinces Luke and Leia to help her find the Kaiburr crystal, which has vague powers somehow attuned to The Force. In 'Rogue One,' respelled kyber crystals are revealed as the power source for Jedi lightsabers and were used as fuel for the Death Star. Jyn Erso wears one of the crystals around her neck under her awesome scarf:
On their search for the crystal, they are captured by the local Empire honcho named Captain-Supervisor Gremmel, who has a secretive henchman. The two of them seem to foreshadow Grand Admiral Thrawn and Rukh, who were introduced in Timothy Zahn's 'Star Wars' trilogy of books released in the early 1990s. I read those books back then, and they were great. Thrawn was amazing, so was Mara Jade, an apprentice to the Emperor who became Luke's love interest, and so was the evil CLONE OF LUKE MADE FROM HIS SEVERED HAND. (Is Rey Luke's daughter? Or his clone-daughter? We saw something similar in 'Logan,' so...) Unfortunately, all this was booted from the canon by Disney. Thrawn and Rukh are now back in the canon through the animated TV show 'Star Wars: Rebels,' which is awesome. Though he looks nothing like Gremmel, here is the brilliant and ruthless Thrawn:
Luke and Leia share a cell with friendly Wampa-like creatures who help them bust out of jail. After they escape from Gremmel, our heroes encounter a giant worm with many teeth like:
And a race of furry natives who help them defeat Stormtroopers like:
When Luke faces Darth Vader at the end, the Sith Lord uses The Force to hurl objects similarly to their duel in Cloud City. But unlike that battle, in 'Splinter of the Mind's Eye,' Vader, not Luke, ends up with a severed limb and falling into a big hole. But the thing I liked best about this climactic scene is that before Luke fights Vader, Leia grabs the lightsaber and takes on Vader herself. It reminded me of the best scene in 'The Force Awakens,' when Rey grabs the same lightsaber to fight Kylo Ren:
In the end, despite all these GIFs, this book is just sorta OK. It story is thin and not very interesting, and there were things I didn't like about it, including Luke slapping Leia twice because she was hysterical (unbelievable acts for either character) and Luke and Leia's creepy romance. But that's balanced somewhat by the geek factor. 'Star Wars' fans may get a kick out of it, but regular people can skip it. Even so, it's got me pumped for this week's 'The Last Jedi!'
'Splinter of the Mind's Eye' by Alan Dean Foster was published in 1978 by Del Rey Books. 199 pages.
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What's next? Next week, I'll ask you for some help prioritizing what books to read in 2018, before taking a short break for the holidays.
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Thanks for reading!*
* Thanks especially to Donna for copy editing this review! And for providing the book!