FSFH Book Review

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Abnett, Dan
Adams, Douglas
Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto
Allen, Roger MacBride
Allie, Scott
Allston, Aaron
Anderson, Kevin J.
Barclay, James
Barnes, Steven
Baum, L. Frank
Bear, Greg
Bendis, Brian Michael
Bischoff, David
Bisson, Terry
Blackman, Haden
Bova, Ben
Bowen, Carl
Brooks, Terry
Canavan, Trudi
Card, Orson Scott
Chadwick, Paul
Clarke, Arthur C.
Clarke, Susanna
Clemens, James
Collins, Paul
Crichton, Michael
Crispin, A. C.
Cunningham, Elaine
Daley, Brian
David, Peter
DeMatteis, J. M.
Denning, Troy
Dick, Philip K.
Dickens, Charles
Dietz, William C.
Dixon, Chuck
Donaldson, Stephen
Eddings, David
Edginton, Ian
Elrod, P. N.
Erikson, Steven
Feist, Raymond E.
Foster, Alan Dean
Fraction, Matt
Furman, Simon
Gaiman, Neil
Gemmell, David A.
Gerber, Michael
Gibbons, Dave
Golden, Christopher
Goodkind, Terry
Goodwin, Archie
Graham, Mitchell
Grant, Alan
Green, Jonathan
Green, Laurence
Guggenheim, Marc
Hagberg, David
Hambly, Barbara
Hamilton, Laurell K.
Hand, Elizabeth
Harras, Bob
Harrison, Mick
Heinlein, Robert A.
Herbert, Frank
Herbert, James
Hine, David
Hobb, Robin
Howard, Robert E.
Jacques, Brian
James, Charlie Hamilton
Jenkins, Paul
Jeter, K. W.
Johns, Geoff
Jones, J. V.
Jordan, Robert
Jurgens, Dan
Karpyshyn, Drew
Kennedy, Mike
Kerr, Katharine
Keyes, Greg
King, Stephen
King, William
Knaak, Richard A.
Kube-McDowell, Michael P.
Lawhead, Stephen
Layman, John
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Lewis, C. S.
Lieberman, A. J.
Loeb, Jeph
Lorey, Dean
Lowder, James
Luceno, James
Lumley, Brian
Macan, Darko
Manning, Russ
Martin, George R. R.
Marz, Ron
Matheson, Richard
McCaffrey, Anne
McIntosh, Neil
McIntyre, Vonda
Michelinie, David
Millar, Mark
Miller, John Jackson
Miller, Karen
Milligan, Peter
Moench, Doug
Moesta, Rebecca
Moore, Alan
Nicholls, Stan
Nicieza, Fabian
Nylund, Eric
O'Neil, Dennis
Ostrander, John
Paolini, Christopher
Perry, S. D.
Perry, Steve
Pratchett, Terry
Pullman, Philip
Quinn, David
Reaves, Michael
Reed, A. W.
Reed, Brian
Rice, Anne
Richardson, Nancy
Roberts, Adam
Rowe, Matthew
Rowling, J. K.
Rubio, Kevin
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn
Salvatore, R.A.
Shelley, Mary
Shultz, Mark
Simone, Gail
Simonson, Louise
Simonson, Walter
Smith, L. Neil
Spurrier, Simon
Stackpole, Michael A.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stewart, Sean
Stoker, Bram
Stover, Matthew
Straczynski, J. Michael
Stradley, Randy
Strnad, Jan
Sutcliff, Rosemary
Tolkien, J.R.R.
Traviss, Karen
Truman, Tim
Turtledove, Harry
Tyers, Kathy
van Belkom, Edo
Veitch, Tom
Wagner, John
Watson, Jude
Whitman, John
Williams, Sean
Williams, Tad
Williams, Walter Jon
Windham, Ryder
Wolverton, Dave
Woodring, Jim
Wurts, Janny
Yeovil, Jack
Zahn, Timothy
Collaborations A - F
Collaborations G - M
Collaborations N - R
Collaborations S
Collaborations T - Z
Anthologies A - R
Anthologies S
Anthologies T - Z
Still to come
Reviewing Literature

Short Story Anthologies Titled S

More than any other genre, short stories form the backbone of fantasy, SF and horror.  Be they the basis of later novels, additions to established series, short morality tales or the classic pulp fiction of early genre magazines.

Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... - Doomworld
featuring Roy Thomas, Don Glut, Archie Goodwin and Chris Claremont
(Graphic Novel with art by Howard Chaykin, Steve Leialoha, Rick Hoberg, Bill Wray, Frank Springer, Tom Palmer, Alan Kupperberg, Carmine Infantino, Terry Austin, Walt Simonson, Bob Wiacek, Herb Trimpe, Allen Milgrom and Gene Day)
The first collection of Marvel Star Wars stories from the 70s, reprinted by Dark Horse.  This book begins with a six-part adaption of the original Star Wars film, 'Episode IV: A New Hope', by Roy Thomas.  Among the other stories offered here are a great 'Magnificent Seven'/'Seven Samurai' story starring Han and Chewie (and featuring a man-sized green carnivorous rabbit called Jaxxon - I kid you not!) and a classic story of Luke's life on Tatooine, before he met R2-D2 and C-3PO, showing his friendship with Biggs and his piloting through Beggar's Canyon.  I did feel that the book was let down by the rather tedious story arc which has the so-called star warriors trapped on a waterworld, facing pirates and sea serpents.  Approach this book with an open mind (it was the seventies, after all!) and you should enjoy it.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... - Dark Encounters
featuring Archie Goodwin, Mary Jo Duffy, Chris Claremont and Michael Golden
(Graphic Novel with art by Carmine Infantino, Gene Day, Bob Wiacek, Mike Vosburg, Steve Leialoha, Michael Golden and Terry Austin)
The second in the series of books reprinting the original Marvel Star Wars comics.  Straight off I'll say that I'm not a big fan of Goodwin and most of the stories here are written by him.  However, his is one of the best on offer here, 'Dark Encounter', in which Darth Vader battles the cyborg bounty hunter Valance.  Ultimately though I enjoyed the stories by the other writers more than the majority of Goodwin's.  Among the others are a very early tale of Obi-Wan in the days of the Old Republic and Luke battling both a winged Dark Jedi and the legacy left behind by Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.  This brings me to one of the most interesting elements of this collection; how it reflects the fact that Episodes V and VI had yet to appear.  Anakin and Vader are described as two separate apprentices of Obi-Wan, Jabba the Hutt is a humanoid and, most amusingly, Luke is still madly in love with his sister (cue the incestuous kissing!).  Overall, this isn't the best of these collections by far ('Wookiee World' and 'Far, Far Away' are my favourites).
3 out of 5
Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... - Resurrection Of Evil
featuring Archie Goodwin, Wally Lombego, Larry Hama, Mike W. Barr, David Michelinie and Chris Claremont
(Graphic Novel with art by Al Williamson, Carlos Garzon, Carmine Infantino, Day, Stone, Thomas Palmer, Gene Day, Walter Simonson and Kupperberg)
The third book of the series isn't my favourite.  Much of the book is made up of short (often bizarre) adventures intended to be brief crowd pleasers (much like the 'Classic Star Wars' books).  However, I prefer a bit more depth to my stories, even short ones, and was therefore largely unimpressed by this book.  It does, however, have two redeeming features.  The first of these is a full adaption of 'The Empire Strikes Back', inarguably the best of the Star Wars films.  The other is the 'Resurrection of Evil' storyline itself, in which the Empire has constructed a scaled-down but nonetheless powerful version of the Death Star, called the Tarkin.  Despite these two great stories, this book is unremarkable overall.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... - Screams In The Void
featuring Chris Claremont, David Michelinie, Louise Jones, Michael Fleisher and Walt Simonson
(Graphic Novel with art by Carmine Infantino, Walt Simonson, Tom Palmer, Giacioa, Al Milgrom, Joe Brozowski, Vince Colletta, Rudi Nebres and Ron Frenz)
The fourth book of Marvel reprints by Dark Horse.  Set between 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return of the Jedi', the majority of the stories here are short adventures of varying quality, depth and credibility.  Most are a bit unremarkable and too familiar, but there are a few elements to this book that do make it stand out.  The first is one discussed in the book's introduction; the establishment of Lando Calrissian as a major character.  This book reveals how he goes from being the self-centred money-grubbing pseudo-villain of Episode V to being the heroic Rebel leader who suddenly turns up in Episode VI.  It also shows how he earns the trust of those people who haven't yet forgotten what he did to Han.  Another great element to this book is the storylines involving Shira Brie, which are particularly interesting since her later incarnation, Lumiya, is the main villain of the new Legacy of the Force novels.  Finally, this book contains a story which is very dear to me; 'Shadeshine' by Michelinie.  I've had the original version of this story since I was a tiny wee nipper and continue to get enjoyment out of it, featuring as it does a solo (pardon the pun) adventure for Han involving shootouts, treachery and beautiful love interest.  So, a mixed bag, but which is worth picking up for those parts that are good.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... - Fool's Bounty
featuring David Michelinie, Jo Duffy, Ron Frenz and Bob Layton
(Graphic Novel with art by Gene Day, Tom Palmer, Kerry Gammill, Ron Frenz, Bob Layton, Luke McDonnell, Klaus Janson and Tom Mandrake)
The fifth book of Dark Horse's reprints of the Marvel Comics originals.  Like most geeks, I'm a bit of a stickler for continuity, so for a long time I religiously avoided the old Marvel Star Wars comics from the times of the films themselves.  Recently, however, they have been largely accepted into the official continuity and I decided to take the plunge.  I was far from disappointed.  The stories here are a series of adventures featuring Luke, Leia, Lando, Chewie and the droids as they try to catch up to the carbon frozen Han Solo between Episodes V and VI.  One of the stories, 'Hoth Stuff' is way off continuity-wise, however, and should be viewed as a so-called 'Infinities' story.  There were three things in particular that I really enjoyed about this book, the first of which is it's sheer size; a whopping 380 pages!  The second is that one of Leia's missions takes her to Mandalore, where she becomes allies with Fenn Shysa and Tobbi Dala, the only two Mandalorian warriors (other than Boba Fett) to survive the Clone Wars.  The third and final element I enjoyed was the surprisingly regular and adult sexual references throughout the stories (particularly where the very horny Zeltrons come into it!).
4 out of 5
Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... - Wookiee World
featuring Jo Duffy, Linda Grant, Roy Richardson, Randy Stradley and Ann Nocenti
(Graphic Novel with art by Ron Frenz, M. Hands, Bob McLeod, David Mazzucchelli, Tom Palmer, Bret Blevins, Tony Salmons, Jan Duursema, Tom Mandrake, Sal Buscema, Cynthia Martin and Steve Leialoha)
The sixth book of the series of Marvel collections (reprinted by Dark Horse) is set after the end of 'Return of the Jedi'.  Here we get fourteen tales of adventure as the Rebel heroes help to establish the new government that will replace the fallen Empire.  Two stories stand out as being something special in this book.  The first is Stradley's 'The Alderaan Factor', which deals with Leia encountering a Stormtrooper who also comes from Alderaan.  What makes this story special is that it's Stradley's first foray into the Expanded Universe that he is now so involved with at Dark Horse as an editor and writer ('Jedi Council: Acts of War', 'Crimson Empire' etc).  It's also the first appearance of Yinchorr and the Yinchorri, both of which play parts in Stradley's later Star Wars stories.  The other notable story Nocenti's 'I'll See You In The Throne Room', in which Luke struggles with the dark side and his desire for revenge.  There are two other very good reasons to get this book and the first is (as the title suggests) the inclusion of Wookiees and their homeworld (the improbably named Kashyyyk).  The other great element is the two Dark Jedi featured here.  Flint is a misguided youth with more power than sense, but Lumiya is a potent cyborg dark sider trained by both Darth Vader and the Emperor.  Lumiya is rumoured to be returning as the latest Sith Lord in the upcoming Legacy of the Force novel series, so read her backstory here now!
5 out of 5
Star Wars: A Long Time Ago... - Far, Far Away
featuring Jo Duffy and Archie Goodwin
(Graphic Novel with art by Cynthia Martin, Bob Wiacek, Art Nichols, Al Williamson, Ron Frenz, Sam De Le Rosa, Sal Buscema, Steve Leialoha, Ken Steacy and Whilce Portacio)
The seventh and final book of the Marvel collections by Dark Horse.  This book tells the stories of the war between the Alliance of Free Planets (the Rebels, basically) and the cruel Nagai.  Later in the book, things become even more interesting as we discover that the Nagai's invasion is the result of them fleeing the far more cruel and brutal Tofs (oddly designed creatures they are too; think the Incredible Hulk in a dodgy pirate outfit!).  As before, I was impressed by the depth and maturity of the issues dealt with here, especially the relationship between Dani and Den Siva, and don't understand why these stories are dismissed as crazy and kitch even on their own back cover.  I don't usually like comic relief characters in Star Wars (C-3PO and Jar Jar Binks . . . *shudder*) but I was actually amused by the antics of the Hiromi, a race of cowardly would-be conquerors.  Comic book officionados may be dismayed when I say that the only thing I didn't like about this book is 'Supply and Demand' by the Goodwin/Williamson team.  Despite the fact that they are touted as 'comic book legends', I've never much liked their Star Wars work and that holds true with this story (which you may otherwise know as 'The Vandelhelm Mission').  The rest of the book, however, is by turns tragic, exciting, funny and insightful.
5 out of 5
Star Wars: Boba Fett - Man With A Mission
featuring John Wagner, Ron Marz, Thomas Andrews and John Ostrander
(Graphic Novel with art by Cam Kennedy, Adrianna Melo and Francisco Ruiz Velasco)
Four stories featuring the second coolest villain of the Star Wars saga (the first being Darth Vader, of course).  In the first story Fett is hired to hunt down the leader of a Rebel cell on a planet wracked by the Galactic Civil War.  Next Fett infiltrates the wreck of an Imperial warship to retrieve a precious hologram.  The third story sees Fett being hired by an ambitious Imperial officer.  Finally, in 'Agent of Doom' the last member of a dying species hires Fett to take revenge on the deranged Imperial officers who drove them to the brink of extinction.  Contained in these four stories there is no great revelation about Fett's character and no events which will change the Star Wars galaxy.  However, what these stories do have is Boba Fett kicking ass!  So, whilst not the deepest of graphic novels, this book is fun to read and is substantially buoyed-up by the cool factor of it's protagonist.  One complaint I will make is the way Fett's speech is written in 'Agent of Doom'.  For some reason he seems to have temporarily lost the ability to talk in complete sentences.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars - The Best Blades
featuring John Ostrander, Haden Blackman and Jeremy Barlow
(Graphic Novel with art by Brandon Badeaux, Armando Durruthy, Tomas Giorello, HOON, Ramiro Montanez and Stacy Michalcewicz)
Four stories of the Clone Wars.  The first is a bit dull because it deals with the politics of the war in the Senate, although it was nice to see former-Chancellor Valorum's fate.  Ostrander's 'Bloodlines' is very cleverly written and plays with time in an interesting way, starting at the end and then telling the backstory.  There's the continuation of the story of 'Last Stand On Jabiim' as Obi-Wan and Anakin are reunited.  The best offering here though is 'The Best Blades' itself, a story about how Yoda himself is drawn into the murky combat and politics on the world of Thustra.
5 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars - On The Fields Of Battle
featuring John Ostrander and Randy Stradley
(Graphic Novel with art by Jan Duursema, Dan Parsons and Brandon Badeaux)
Four more stories of the Clone Wars.  One features Mace Windu and a team of Jedi taking on a bounty hunting guild and is worth reading for the way the Jedi infiltrate the guild headquarters.  Stradley's addition is a slightly disappointing interlude that's only notable feature is to link one of the planets from his (and Mike Richardson's) 'Crimson Empire' to the Clone Wars.  The last two stories are the best.  One tells of how Aayla Secura (who Lucasfilm seem to be trying to use as sex appeal - she's always half-naked) encounters Quinlan Vos, who's fallen to the dark side.  This story is made even better by the fact it features the Noghri and is told from the perspective of Clone Commander Bly (who, incidentally, kills Aayla in Episode III!).  The final story, 'The Dreadnaughts Of Rendili' has two plots.  The first features the stand-off and battle above Rendili and the second has Obi-Wan bringing Quinlan back into the fold of the Jedi Order.  I was hoping for a bit more of the Battle of Rendili but my disappointment was more than offset by Anakin's subsequent lightsaber duel with Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress on Coruscant.  There's also a brief appearance by General Grievous.
5 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures - Volume 2
featuring Haden Blackman, Welles Hartley and the Fillbach Brothers
(Graphic Novel with art by the Fillbach Brothers)
Three stories told in the wonderfully dynamic visual style of the Clone Wars cartoon series.  Blackman's, 'Skywalkers' is the best offering, showing exactly what Obi-Wan was thinking of in 'A New Hope' when he tells Luke "He was the best star-pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior".  The book is let down by the third story, 'Run Mace Run' which basically just features Mace Windu . . . er . . . running.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures - Volume 3
featuring Haden Blackman, Ryan Kaufman, the Fillbach Brothers and Tim Mucci
(Graphic Novel with art by the Fillbach Brothers)
Another collection of short stories, four this time, depicted in the style of the Clone Wars cartoon series.  There's an amusing Western-style story featuring Yoda here, but it is far outshone by 'Rogue Gallery' in which villains Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress and bounty hunter Durge find themselves confronting their most deadly foe ever; General Grievous (who kicks ass here, but was disappointly feeble in Episode III).  I was overjoyed when I realised there was a story here featuring the Republic's Clone Commandos but was severely let down by two things; 1) they look crap in this visual style and 2) they get a whupping!
5 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures - Volume 4
featuring The Fillbach Brothers, Justin Lambros, Ryan Kaufman and Haden Blackman
(Graphic Novel with art by The Fillbach Brothers and Rick Lacy)
The fourth book in this series based on the Clone Wars cartoon consists of four stories set just before and during 'Revenge Of The Sith'.  The first story, 'Another Fine Mess' features R2-D2 and C-3PO foiling an assassination attempt on Senator Amidala.  I stopped finding the slapstick antics of the two gay droids amusing when I was about ten and nothing has changed since then.  This story lets the book down, to my mind.  'The Brink' has Anakin coming to the rescue of a feisty female Jedi Knight called Serra Keto.  This story poignant because in it Anakin pretty much flirts with Serra but in the computer game of Episode III he kills her in the Jedi Temple.  The third story, Kaufman's 'Orders' is the real gem of this book.  Lacy's cartoony Clone Commandos look much better than the Fillbach Brothers' version in the previous volume (from which the character Sarge is carried over).  We get a bit of an idea of why the clones so happily 'Execute Order 66' (the Jedi killed here, Traavis, is named after Kaufman's friend and fellow Star Wars writer Karen Traviss).  Finally, 'Descent' tells of Tarfful and Chewbacca defending a Wookiee village against a squad of Clone Troopers.  Frankly, any story with Wookiees in gets my seal of approval.  Overall, not the best book of the series, but still great fun to read.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures - Volume 5
featuring the Fillbach Brothers, Justin Lambros, Chris Avellone and Matt Jacobs
(Graphic Novel with art by the Fillbach Brothers and Stewart McKenney)
Four more adventures set just before and during Episode III.  The first, featuring Aayla Secura, is fairly standard by brings two things that are worthwhile.  The first is a Battle Droid with some character, continuing the humanisation of the soldiers of the war that has already been done with the clones.  The second is the fact that the story is set on Endor and I'm a little ashamed to admit that I was happy to see the Ewoks again.  The next story deals with a rescue mission undertaken by Bail Organa and the famous starship Tantive IV (the first one you see in 'A New Hope' and rumoured to be the focus of the forthcoming Star Wars TV show).  The fourth story has a Clone and a Separatist mirroring one another's actions as each tries to save a planet.  The good thing about this one was the fact that it is the clone who proves the callous killer and the Sep who is the hero.  Finally, we get something that I want more and more of; a story of Order 66.  Taking everything into account this is a good collection, but not a great one.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures - Volume 6
featuring the Fillbach Brothers, Mike Kennedy and Haden Blackman
(Graphic Novel with art by the Fillbach Brothers, Stewart McKenney and Rick Lacy)
I was quite disappointed by this collection.  I had been hoping for more Order 66 stories like we had in the last volume, but sadly that wasn't the case.  The first story features Saesee Tiin  stealing a Confederacy starfighter and is pretty unremarkable.  Next is a story featuring the ever-cool Clone Commandos, but once again I was disappointed as it lacked the poignance of the previous offerings.  The third story was the best and features Ki-Adi-Mundi and several young Jedi fighting on Mygeeto.  What I liked about this story was that it recaptures the wonderful over-the-top dynamic nature of the TV series, represented here by a Jedi holding up a Star Destroyer with one hand (and the Force, of course).  The final story has Kit Fisto and Plo Koon investigating a prison break.  The art here, by Rick Lacy, is a radical and interesting departure from that seen previously, but ultimately wasn't to my tastes.  Also, the depiction of Plo Koon as violent and callous seemed off to me.  It does have the redeeming feature of including the double-hard bounty hunter Durge.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures - Volume 7
featuring the Fillbach brothers, Ryan Kaufman, Chris Avellone and Jeremy Barlow
(Graphic Novel with art by the Fillbach brothers, Stewart McKenny and Ethen Beavers)
This series is really starting to lose it's appeal for me.  The novelty of it's unusual art style and kinetic scripting has definitely worn off, leaving these four vignettes of Clone Wars action to stand entirely on their stories.  That's a problem for 'Creature Comforts', which is nothing but Anakin and Obi-Wan hopping from the jaws of one wild beast to another.  'Spy Girls' is much better and features Padme and Sheltay Retrac (Bail Organa's aide) making like a couple of female James Bonds.  The only thing really remarkable about the third story, 'Impregnable' is the fact it stars the underused Jedi Bultar Swan.  The final story of the anthology, 'This Precious Shining' is the most disappointing because it had the most promise.  It's the story of three Separatist soldiers who decide to disguise themselves as Clone Troopers to rob a Republic bank.  I loved this concept, but due to the nature of this book, that concept could not be developed in any great detail and the story is left wanting.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures - Volume 8
featuring the Fillbach Brothers, Chris Avellone, Jason Hall and Jeremy Barlow
(Graphic Novel with art by the Fillbach Brothers and Ethen Beavers)
Where once these little Clone Wars vignettes were very appealing to me, I now find them a little tedious.  I would much rather that these books featured a single story told in the style of the cartoon, than have four stories which never get chance to develop their potential.  The first story here is a pretty boring affair featuring the smug and self-righteous Jedi Master Luminara Unduli.  The second story has a better concept (and starring character), featuring Dark Jedi/bounty hunter Aurra Sing returning to Nar Shaddaa to undertake a hunt.  However, as I say above, due to the short length of the story, the potential here is never fully exploited.  Jason Hall's 'One of a kind' was my favourite story in this book, having a certain amount of emotional depth as well as the obligatory action.  It features Obi-Wan battling the bounty hunter Vianna D'pow on Kamino in scenes pleasantly reminiscant of the Obi-Wan/Jango Fett fight in Episode II.  The fourth and final story here features a Battle Droid which decides to break it's programming and live in peace.  Again, this idea never gets chance to fully develop, but the story has a poignant ending in which the droid just sits down under a tree and quietly lets it's batteries run down.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures - Volume 9
featuring the Fillbach Brothers
(Graphic Novel with art by the Fillbach Brothers)
As you can see above, the Fillbach Brothers fully take the helm for the penultimate book of the series.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the stories aren't all the low-script high-action pap which the brothers have contributed to the other books of the series.  The first story, however, is.  It features Dexter Jettster (the fat four-armed alien from Episode II) having a series of slapstick encounters on the planet Dractu.  The second story is the best one here, featuring a Clone Trooper who is rescued from a drifting starfighter to find that, in his absence, the war has ended and Order 66 has been issued.  This already intriguing idea is made better by the fact that the ship which rescues him is packed with fugitive Jedi children.  The third story has Jedi Quinlan Vos battling a gang of thugs in Coruscant's sewers.  The fourth and final story of the book features Mace Windu battling a city full of zombies.  I kid you not.  Overall, a slightly better offering than the last few of these books, but only by the smallest margin.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures - Volume 10
featuring Chris Avellone, the Fillbach Brothers and Jason Hall
(Graphic Novel with art by Stewart McKenny, the Fillbach Brothers and Ethen Beavers)
The last in the current run of Clone Wars Adventures, and not before time if you ask me.  The stories in these books have long since stopped being a novelty, becoming repetetive and boring.  The first of the four stories here is about a group of young Jedi living as farmers on Dantooine, the second features Anakin and Obi-Wan in their usual high-speed low-wit antics, the third is about a young Jedi Knight undertaking a secret mission and the last story is about a lone Clone Trooper and his psuedo-comical dealings with mischievous natives.  Only the third story, Jason Hall's 'Chain Of Command' stood out for me here and that was largely because it introduces an interesting new Jedi, Anise I'zak, who's headstrong and outspoken.  Overall this book is a disappointing end to a series which was just dragged out too long.
2 out of 5
Star Wars: Empire - The Imperial Perspective
featuring Paul Alden, Jeremy Barlow, Welles Hartley and Ron Marz
(Graphic Novel with art by Patrick Blaine, Brian Ching, Davide Fabbri, Christain Dalla Vecchia and Raul Trevino)
Four stories told, as you can probably guess, from the perspective of the Empire.  I really enjoyed 'To The Last Man', which is basically 'Zulu' but with Stormtroopers instead of Michael Caine!  However, unsurprisingly, this book's best features are the two tales of Darth Vader.  In one he is lost in the wilderness with only his rage to sustain him and in the other he is faced by the consequences of a past atrocity.  An interesting collection of stories, but nothing that'll change the Star Wars galaxy forever.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Empire - The Heart Of The Rebellion
featuring Welles Hartley, Ron Marz, Randy Stradley and Judd Winick
(Graphic Novel with art by Paul Chadwick, Davide Fabbri, Christian Dalla Vecchia, Tomas Giorello and Adriana Melo)
Four stories telling stories of Princess Leia.  The first is the best, showing Leia before 'A New Hope' as she becomes a leader of the Rebellion (and meets a certain heavy-breathing dark sider!).  I also liked the fourth story, a Valentine special which plays to the hopeless romantic in me.  Set just before 'The Empire Strikes Back' it features Han and Leia as they become trapped in a Hoth snowstorm and are forced to consider their feelings for one another.  It's got some great dialogue too . . . Leia: "Could you possibly be any more repugnant?!"  Han: "Another hour with you sister, and I'm sure I'll be setting records!"  Generally speaking I've never liked Leia much (well, except for when she was in that gold bikini...), which detracted from this book for me.  I somewhat suspect that the female Star Wars fans will prefer this one.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Empire - Allies And Adversaries
featuring Ron Marz and Jeremy Barlow
(Graphic Novel with art by Nicola Scott, Brandon Badeaux, Jeff Johnson, Joe Corroney and Adriana Melo)
Presented here, in the fifth book of the Empire series, are three stories set about six months after 'A New Hope'.  The first features BoShek, the smuggler in that movie who points Obi-Wan in Chewbacca's direction in the cantina.  BoShek finds himself helping a beautiful and charismatic woman escape her enemies, only to discover that she isn't what she seems to be.  This is a nice little story about an underused character which packs a good twist at the end.  The second story is about Han and Chewie reentering the treacherous criminal underworld to secure supplies for the Rebels.  This story is an antidote to the previous volume in which we see Leia getting amourous with an old flame.  It's good to see that the man who uttered the immortal line "I know" when Leia says she loves him, isn't the lovesick puppy that some of these comics have portrayed him as.  The final story is by far the best.  Luke and Red Squadron (the precursor to Rogue Squadron) find themselves confronting Imperial forces on a jungle world.  Out of the jungle comes Able, a Clone Trooper trapped there since the Clone Wars.  I don't know what I loved more; seeing a Clone Trooper battle Stormtroopers or the irony that Able becomes a Rebel when it was his brothers that helped raise the Empire in the first place.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Empire - The Wrong Side Of The War
featuring Welles Hartley and John Jackson Miller
(Graphic Novel with art by Davide Fabbri, Brian Chin and Christian Dalla Vecchia)
The seventh and final book in the Empire series contains two stories about individuals questioning their loyalty to the Empire.  In the first, by Miller, none other than Darth Vader has to root out a traitor aboard his own Star Destroyer.  I liked this story because it showed a more calculating side to Vader's ruthlessness.  The second story, by Hartley and which gives this book it's name, takes up the majority of the book and provides a great conclusion to the Empire stories.  In it a team of Rebel have to infiltrate an Imperial base to rescue one of their own (captured in 'Star Wars: Empire - In The Shadows Of Their Fathers').  Among the Rebels are familiar faces from elsewhere in the series including Basso, Able, Narra, Deena Shan and someone named Luke Skywalker.  However, what made this story stand out for me is the fact that it continues the story of Janek Sunber, who proved to be a heroic Imperial in 'Star Wars: Empire - The Imperial Perspective'.  The plot thickens further when it turns out that Janek and Luke are old friends (Sunber turns out to be the 'Tank' mentioned in the Episode IV line "That's what you said when Biggs and Tank left").  By bringing together so many characters from other stories in the series, 'The Wrong Side Of The War' makes a great bookend.  As you can imagine, themes of trust, loyalty and duty are prevalent throughout the book.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Tales - Volume 6
featuring Joshua Ortega, Chris Avellone, Rob Williams, Ian Edginton, Kevin Rubio, Shane McCarthy, Thomas Andrews, Lucas Marangon and Nathan P. Butler
(Graphic Novel with art by Dustin Weaver, Cully Hamner, Brandon Badeaux, Steve Pugh, Roger Langridge, Michael Lacome, Serge LaPointe, Lucas Marangon and James Raiz)
The previous five collected volumes of 'Star Wars: Tales' were what's known to us fans (geeks) as 'Infinities', meaning that they are not considered part of the official continuity.  That's all different here, with only one of the ten stories falling into that catagory ('Fett Club' which is mildly amusing but detracts from the book as a whole).  The entire Star Wars saga is covered here, beginning with two stories that link into the events of the 'Knights of the Old Republic' computer games.  The first of these, 'Shadows And Light', tells about the Great Hunt for the terentatek monsters and is my favourite story of the book.  Other stories highlight such characters as Darth Maul, a Clone Commando, Wedge Antilles and an Imperial pilot.  The longest and most intelligent story is the four part 'Nomad' which tells the story of a suspect Jedi and an amnesiac dark sider and is all about perception.  A final mention goes to 'Equals And Oposites' (written by fan-turned-Star Wars VIP, Nathan Butler) which features the hero of the Dark Force and Jedi Knight games, Kyle Katarn as he fights the menace of the Yuuzhan Vong.  This is a great anthology and it's just a shame that after 'Tales' became in-continuity, the series was ended so there won't be any more like this.
5 out of 5
Star Wars: Tales From Jabba's Palace
featuring Kevin J. Anderson, Barbara Hambly, Esther M. Friesner, Kathy Tyers, Marina Fitch, Mark Budz, Timothy Zahn, William F. Wu, Kenneth C. Flint, Deborah Wheeler, John Gregory Betancourt, M. Shayne Bell, George Alec Effinger, Judith Reeves-Stevens, Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Dave Wolverton, Daryl F. Mallett, Jennifer Roberson, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes, J. D. Montgomery and A. C. Crispin
Whereas 'Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina' had stories which merely shared a single common event (Luke and Obi-Wan entering the cantina), this anthology's stories slowly develop an overall story, each answering questions or revealing clues featured in the others.  The main threads of this story follow a plot to assassinate Jabba, a murder in the palace and, of course, the arrival of a certain group of Rebels.  The two best reasons to buy this anthology are the story of Mara Jade's infiltration of the palace, written by her creator Tim Zahn, and also the story of how Boba Fett survives being slowly digested by the Sarlacc.  Another good addition is a 'what ever happened to...' epilogue in which the later lives of the main protagonists are summed up (Gartogg's is hilarious).
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Tales From The Empire
featuring Timothy Zahn, Kathy Tyers, Patricia A. Jackson, Michael A. Stackpole, Laurie Burns, Charlene Newcomb, Tony Russo, Angela Phillips and Erin Endom
A series of short stories taken from the 'Star Wars Adventure Journal'.  They are a mixture of styles and quality and lack the common themes of the other 'Tales from...' books.  Jackson's story of a troubled Dark Jedi and Burns' tale set during the evacuation of Coruscant (set shortly before the 'Dark Empire' comic series) are the best of the lesser known writers.  However, the separate stories by Zahn and Stackpole are brilliant, giving us a 'before they were famous' view of Talon Karrde, Mara Jade and Corran Horn.  The icing on the cake is the all-new novella by Zahn and Stackpole, 'Side Trip', in which a group of Rebels and CorSec officers are dragged into a plot against Black Sun hatched by Admiral Thrawn and Darth Vader.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Tales From The Mos Eisley Cantina
featuring Kathy Tyers, Tom Veitch, Martha Veitch, Timothy Zahn, A. C. Crispin, Dave Wolverton, David Bischoff, Barbara Hambly, Daniel Keys Moran, Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Doug Beason, Jennifer Roberson, Jerry Oltion, Kenneth C. Flint, M. Shayne Bell, Judith Reeves-Stevens and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
The first Star Wars anthology, this book has several stories linked together by the moment in 'A New Hope' when Luke and Obi-Wan meet Han and Chewbacca in the Mos Eisely cantina.  The tales vary greatly in quality and in their importance to the Star Wars universe, but the best are Zahn's story of two Mistryl warrior women, Tom and Martha's story of Greedo, which features background characters from Tom's 'Dark Empire' comics, and Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens' tale of epic romance beginning in the cantina and ending in the battle above Endor.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Tales From The New Republic
featuring Timothy Zahn, Michael A. Stackpole, Kathy Burdette, Chris Cassidy, Tish Pahl, Patricia A. Jackson, Laurie Burns, Paul Danner and Jean Rabe
The sister book to 'Tales from the Empire', this book seems a little lacklustre compared to it's predecessor.  The Zahn and Stackpole novella, 'Interlude at Darkknell' is an interesting story about Garm Bel Iblis, Moranda Savich, Hal Horn and Ysanne Isard, but doesn't have a patch on 'Side Trip'.  Zahn's other addition to the anthology is of better standard, centring on Mara Jade and acting as a prelude to his Hand of Thrawn duology.  Jackson brings another worthwhile story about the Dark Jedi Adalric Brandl and the best of the rest is two stories by Chris Cassidy and Tish Pahl, the second of which involves a guilt-wracked Kyp Durron.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Tales Of The Bounty Hunters
featuring Kevin J. Anderson, Dave Wolverton, Kathy Tyers, M. Shayne Bell and Daniel Keys Moran
The best Star Wars anthology and one of the best books of the franchise all together.  Each of the stories here is of novella length and tells in depth the origins of the hunters (the six seen in 'The Empire Strikes Back'), how they fit into the films and what they went on to do afterward.  The best offering is IG-88's tale by Anderson which is a delight to read and will leave you awestruck to see just how far the droid's ambitions take him (that's no moon, that's an assassin droid - that was a plot clue by the way!).  Boba Fett's tale is also of considerable worth as we get a glimpse of the character's strict code of ethics when Jabba the Hutt offers him Princess Leia - in that bikini - as a sex toy.  Dengar's tale by Wolverton involves the best character development as Dengar is diverted from his hate-driven killing spree by the woman he falls in love with.  The other two stories aren't quite so good, but are still very much worth reading.  My final recommendation of this book is the character whose presence is felt throughout the stories, giving them a touch of menace, Darth Vader.
5 out of 5
Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron - Battleground: Tatooine
featuring Michael A. Stackpole, Jan Strnad and Ryder Windham
(Graphic Novel with art by John Nadeau, Jordi Ensign and Monty Sheldon)
Two stories, with one taking up most of the book.  Like every other character in the Star Wars universe, the Rogues find themselves on Tatooine.  There they have to secure a large cache of Imperial weapons before the Empire reclaims it itself.  This is a good little story that's very well written and is a perfect tie-in to Stackpole's 'The Bacta War'.  The other story was one that was originally released as a free gift in cereal boxes.  So, as you can expect, it's nothing terribly ground shaking.
4 out of 5

"Why us, sarge?  Why has it got to be us?"
"Because we're 'ere lad.  No one else, just us."

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