For fans of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, a new anthology celebrates the 40th anniversary of the movie. The Empire Strikes Back: From a Certain Point of View (ESB:FACPOV) compiles forty stories to celebrate the forty years since the fan-favorite movie premiered. In addition to the hefty print version, the book is available in audio format.
Anthologies are not for everyone, but here are some reasons you may want to check out ESB:FACPOV. If you enjoy seeing iconic stories revisited from other perspectives, this book gives it to you in spades. Who was the guy skirting past Han and Leia as the duo bantered in the corridors of Hoth? Who takes care of the tauntauns? How did the medical droid attaching Luke’s synthetic new hand deal with his patient? Is a creature just a creature or something more?
Plenty of established Star Wars franchise writers, including John Jackson Miller, Martha Wells, Zoraida Córdova, and Cavan Scott, contributed to the anthology. For people excited by new voices, ESB:FACPOV introduces several science fiction fantasy authors to the Star Wars audience, such as Tracy Deonn (Legendborn), Sarwat Chadda (City of the Plague God), and S. A. Chakraborty (The Daevabad Trilogy). The author lineup is so diverse!
While everyone’s mileage will vary on books like these, here are some other things we really enjoyed:
- On the audiobook side, Sam Witwer, who voiced Darth Maul, the Son, and Emperor Palpatine for animation, tackles Mike Chen’s “Disturbance”, a deliciously dark side tale and reason alone to pick up the audio version.
- Katie Cook has some fun with Artoo getting eaten on Dagobah with the comic strip, “The Dragonsnake Saves R2.” (Audio’s take on this is a delight!)
- “This Is No Cave” by Catherynne M. Valenti digs into the mind of the spaceworm that nearly ended the Millennium Falcon’s storied life in the asteroid field. You will never look at mynocks the same way.
- Tracy Deonn’s “Vergence” explores concepts of the Force from the perspective of the very scary tree cave on Dagobah. This story also ties into The Clone Wars animated television show. More Star Wars short stories that think outside the box like this one, please.
- “But What Does It Eat?” by S.A. Chakraborty features behind-the-scenes preparation for the fateful dinner on Cloud City where Darth Vader captures Leia, Chewie, and Han. What’s a purple-pants-wearing Devaronian chef supposed to feed Darth Vader?
- Jason Fry’s “Rendezvous Point” is an homage to the X-Wing series, a popular Expanded Universe series that included books and comics. The story features Wedge Antilles and Wes Janson and harkens back to Aaron Allston’s humorous take on the fighter pilots’ relationship.
- Allowing for more voices to write their Star Wars story, the anthology provides more opportunities for fans to feel seen in the galaxy far far away. A good example is C.B. Lee’s “A Good Kiss.” Chase Wilsorr wants to do more for the Rebellion. When he saves tauntaun caretaker Jordan Smythe during the Imperial assault on Echo Base, Chase finds a purpose and new love.
Copies of the print book and audiobook were provided to FANgirl Blog by the publisher in exchange for a review.
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