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Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Mass Market Paperback – June 12, 1985

64 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Star Wars: Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Perhaps you think the Star Wars trilogy cannot be fully realized with audio alone. You think you'd miss the stunning visuals, the emotions of the actors, and the special effects. You think it would be a disappointment. As Yoda might say, "So impossible is it? So certain are you?" This production of The Empire Strikes Back was created by the same team that produced National Public Radio's amazingly successful presentation of Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama in 1981. Presented in 10 episodes, the longer format allows for a great expansion of the story and new scenes--though purists may be disappointed by the slight but significant change in the story line while the Rebels are on Hoth. Once again, Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels are on hand to reprise their roles as Luke Skywalker and C-3PO, and this time they are joined by Billy Dee Williams reprising his part as Lando Calrissian. A fine cast performs the rest of the roles, notably John Lithgow as Yoda and the very compelling Perry King as the "slimy, double-crossing, no good swindler" Han Solo. Sound effects and John Williams's score from the movie have been remixed to help create a convincing soundscape--so good, you can really "see" the movie by listening to it. The Empire Strikes Back: The Original Radio Drama will thrill all Star Wars fans, whether or not they enjoy audiobooks. (Running time: 5 hours, 5 cassettes) --C.B. Delaney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Empire Strikes Back [brought to you by HighBridge Audio] was recorded in 1983 for National Public Radio, once again utilizing Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Anthony Daniels C3PO, Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian and John Lithgow as Yoda. Including the stunning music of John Williams performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, the ten episodes on five cassettes will capture the listener's imagination. I defy anyone to strap on headphones, or go for a very long drive listening to this show, and not fall right into the story itself. Sound separation and fidelity is unsurpassed, and hey, the story's not too bad either. -- Baby Boomer Collectibles, August 1994 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: LucasBooks; Reissue edition (June 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345320220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345320223
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Crystal Starr Light VINE VOICE on July 20, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Adventure, excitement...A Jedi craves not these things"
Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia are on Hoth with the main Rebel base. But Vader's singular goal is to find Luke Skywalker. When the Imperials find the Rebel base on Hoth, the Rebels must flee the Empire. But the Falcon is damaged...and Luke has been called to train under the mysterious Jedi Master, Yoda.
NOTE: Based on novel and audiobook.

I Liked:
I really liked Glut's writing style. It's nice and clean, easy on the ears. Also, Glut does a great job describing the scenes we see in the movie and generally translating the movie script into book form. I wasn't confused at what he was talking about (of course, partly that is because I knew the movie...).
The characters are nicely done. Luke feels like the young, eager, beginning Jedi; Han is a perfect rogue; Leia is a really strong character (I really appreciate this, as women in science fiction get bad rap for being a sex object and not much else).
Glut also gives an idea of how much time transpires in The Empire Strikes Back. Luke's training takes quite some time and endures much more training than is seen in the movie.

I Didn't Like:
I complained about A New Hope for being a dressed up version of the movie. Well, this novel is even worse. Other than changing Yoda's color from green to blue, having Hobbie crash into General Veers' AT-AT, and giving a more specific timeline for Luke's training and Han and Leia's travails in the Falcon, there is no difference from the movie, no deleted scenes, nothing notable or outstanding.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DWD's Reviews VINE VOICE on August 9, 2010
Format: Audio CD
"Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (The Original Radio Drama)" was created for National Public Radio and originally broadcast in 1993. It features several members of the original movie cast including Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C3PO) and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian). John Lithgow steps in and does a strong job with Yoda. Vader suffers with Brock Peters as the voice - not because he did anything wrong, but because he is just not James Earl Jones.

George Lucas opened up the Star Wars vault and let NPR use the original soundtrack and original special effects - and they use them well. The soundtrack punches up the story and the special effects are used to move the story along as often as they are used to add a little detail to the experience.

The story is well told and has the added bonus of being able to take a little more time to expand certain scenes. For example, what do Luke and Han talk about after Han rescues him on Hoth and they wait for morning in an emergency tent? On the other hand, I don't know if anyone can really follow the radio drama if they have not seen the movie? In my mind, images from the movie were constantly being played - Lando's flowing cape, the bounty hunters all lined up before being sent out by Vader, the "cave" on the asteroid. I don't know if the radio drama would be able to create similar scenes in the mind's eye or not.

There is one major drawback - the are only 2 CD "chapters" or tracks on each CD. This is no big deal if you are listening in the car, but if you pull that CD out, you have got to do a lot of searching to find where you were. Each track is the complete drama as aired, including about 3 minutes of introduction, theme music and a reading of the cast members. It makes for slow listening when you've hear it for all 10 episodes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Pruette VINE VOICE on August 7, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
We all know the story that unfolds in The Empire Strikes Back, and many people consider it to be the best of the films. So what does an author do to make the story seem fresh to the reader? Add details? Change the story? Closely follow the film? In the case of this book, Mr. Glut has elected to follow the film. I think he made the right decision, and he describes the action very well. I was not distracted by being familiar with the story, and I think that the unique individual who has not seen the film would obtain a good grasp of the tale by reading this book. Just as in the film, it was great fun to follow our heroes from Hoth to Bespin and Dagobah. One can only wonder what happens next.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chad on January 12, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed the novelization of "The Empire Strikes Back" much more than the novelization of "A New Hope". I think it is mostly due to the writing of Donald Glut. It's unfortunate that he has not written other novels for the Star Wars Universe. While Foster's writing of "A New Hope" seemed dry and uninteresting, Glut's writing really brings "The Empire Strikes Back" to life. The characters and scenes are more vivid, and the book is simply more enjoyable to read.

This novelization also follows the film a lot more closely than the novelization for "A New Hope". There are only some minor differences, although there is more information in the book regarding Luke's training on Dagobah. It's mentioned that Yoda is a blue-skinned alien, and at the end Luke actually falls out of Cloud City and is still falling when the Millennium Falcon rescues him. There are other examples, but really they are just adjustments to scenes and nothing consequential.
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