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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great novelization
First, let's dispense with the myth that Lucas wrote this himself. It was fully written by noted sci-fi/fantasy author Alan Dean Foster (who also wrote the novelizations for Alien, Aliens, Alien3, Krull, Black Hole, Alien Nation and although credited to Gene Roddenberry, he also wrote Star Trek The Motion Picture) Lucas was busy actually making the movie while ADF was...
Published on January 25, 2001 by Désirée Greverud

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid adaptation of a classic story
This novelization of the first Star Wars film is the alpha ancestor of the entire Star Wars universe. Published several months before the release of the film (which was simply titled "Star Wars" in 1977, picking up the "A New Hope" signifier in the 1979 theatrical re-release), the book was a success on a small scale but did not take off until the film became a phenomenon...
Published on March 26, 2007 by Andrew Pruette


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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great novelization, January 25, 2001
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This review is from: Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (Mass Market Paperback)
First, let's dispense with the myth that Lucas wrote this himself. It was fully written by noted sci-fi/fantasy author Alan Dean Foster (who also wrote the novelizations for Alien, Aliens, Alien3, Krull, Black Hole, Alien Nation and although credited to Gene Roddenberry, he also wrote Star Trek The Motion Picture) Lucas was busy actually making the movie while ADF was writing this novel based on Lucas's working script. This accounts for some of the differences in the story.
ADF is a great writer, with a good voice and a great use of brevity to convey details. This is a quick read and a real treat for star wars fans. When this was first released it was called "Star Wars: From the adventures of Luke Skywalker" and was released before the movie even came out. ADF was already contracted to write a sequel since no one had any idea how the film would do, thus "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" makes a wonderful companion piece (the similar style between the two should be a dead giveaway that Foster wrote both).
This where it all began. If you want to read the SW books, make sure you start here.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid adaptation of a classic story, March 26, 2007
This review is from: Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (Mass Market Paperback)
This novelization of the first Star Wars film is the alpha ancestor of the entire Star Wars universe. Published several months before the release of the film (which was simply titled "Star Wars" in 1977, picking up the "A New Hope" signifier in the 1979 theatrical re-release), the book was a success on a small scale but did not take off until the film became a phenomenon. George Lucas is credited with authoring this novel, but as he acknowledges in his introduction, the book was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster based on Lucas' screenplay. Foster went on to write two more Star Wars novels, Splinter of the Mind's Eye in the late 70's and The Approaching Storm in 2002.

Credit must be given to Foster for capturing a Star Wars "feel" in this novel without any preceding Star Wars material to work from and without knowledge of the scrutiny every scrap of Star Wars literature would eventually be subjected to. He follows the screenplay quite faithfully, and except for the inclusion of a sequence on Tatooine that was shot but cut from the film late in the editing process, his novel follows the film's sequence of scenes exactly. He does toy with the dialogue to an extent, re-writing lines throughout. To a modern-day Star Wars nut, this can sometimes be jarring, as everything about this story is so familiar. It's interesting in movie novelizations how the authors often change dialogue but nothing else: I like seeing a little more experimentation, such as that in Matthew Stover's superb novelization of Revenge of the Sith.

Foster is a descriptive writer and this story flows along briskly. One quirk that happens multiple times is he often uses comparisons rooted in our own mundane Earth to describe something, such as "like a dog padding on plastic," "like an Oriental poppy in a sea of oats, " and "like the damping rods in a nuclear reactor." Foster definitely had his work cut out for him in trying to describe such a visual universe before any visual media had been released to the public, but the dozen or so Earth allusions often shatter the otherworldly feel of the story.

As I mentioned earlier, the book contains a sequence set on Tatooine that did not make the final cut of the movie. It occurs early in the story with Luke observing the capture of the Tantive IV in orbit and rushing off to Anchorhead to tell his friends about the battle. When he arrives at Tosche Station, he has an unexpected joyful reunion with his old friend Biggs Darklighter. This segment with Biggs plants the seeds of sympathy toward the Rebellion in Luke's mind and also heightens the impact of Biggs' death during the Death Star attack at the end of the story.

The novelization of Episode IV is a serviceable rendition that does not add too much to the film. It would be interesting to see a new interpretation, either by Foster or another author, written in the modern day that could incorporate material from the prequels and the Expanded Universe material that has been released since 1977.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Hope - The Literary Version, June 13, 2007
This review is from: Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (Mass Market Paperback)
Reading and reviewing the book of A New Hope is impossible without using the film as a frame of reference. For most of us, the film was our introduction to the amazing new world of Star Wars. This is when we first met Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, Obi-Wan, R2-D2, and C-3PO. We all know how the story goes and that is my only problem with the book. It is still great fun to read, but it is so much like the film that it is almost too familiar. It is not precisely like the film, but it is extremely close. The book was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster in late 1976 based on the George Lucas screenplay. Considering that Mr. Foster did not have the visual benefit of seeing what Star Wars looked like on screen, I think he did a remarkable job.

The story begins on Tatooine as Luke acquires R2 and 3PO and our favorite little droid is bound and determined to deliver a mysterious message to some one named Obi-Wan Kenobi. The adventures that follow lead us through the cantina at Mos Eisley where we meet Han and Chewie and on to Luke's destruction of the Death Star. You undoubtedly know how it goes.

If by some fluke of nature you actually have not seen the film, then you definitely should read the book. It is a rousing adventure story and leaves you wanting to read more. The edition I read was the very nice trade paperback version of the Star Wars Trilogy that was published in 2004. Having all three of the trilogy books in one volume is a good feeling.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellently written novelization of the movie, February 21, 2001
This review is from: Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (Mass Market Paperback)
I had planned to read this book for a while, and I was looking forward to it a lot, since the kids' one was way to short and boring even when I was ten years old. So, as you can probably guess my expectations were rather high, too high perhaps, but even so I was not disapointed. George Lucas has proved himself not only an excellent filmmaker, but also a great author as well. This book, while a bit dry at times, illustrates the movie in a spectacular fashion, and breathes new life into it, so that it seems interesting all over again. I read it one day when I was stuck in a hotel room, but this book was so interesting I litterally could not put it down. Every true Star Wars fan should read this, since it completly tells the story with a bunch of added stuff, that truly flesh out the story and that were completly missing from the movie. One thing that surprised me was the occasional small details that were changed. Such as Threepio being described as bronze instead of gold, and Luke being Blue 5 instead of Red 5. Another thing that struck me as odd was the slight differences in characters, Luke and Ben most noticably. Ben is less wise, more mischevious, and at times even funny, a previously unheard of thing! Luke also is slightly different. He seems, well, less innocent, more stupid, and even acts like somewhat of a jerk at times, and is all around more heroic and self centered, and generaly less cute. This was both interesting and annoying, since Luke was always my favorite character and to be honest I liked him better the other way. Leia is also noticably different, she being somewhat less strong, which annoyed me somewhat. Anyway, this was an excellent book, that deserved an honest four stars.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long time ago...I bought this book!, September 4, 2000
This review is from: Star Wars (Hardcover)
If you love the movie, you will most definitely love this book! Everything that was in the movie is here plus much more! The prologue is great. It explains about the Senate and how Emperor Palpatine used to be a good guy. This was very valuable information for people who saw the movie when it first came out and it is still very interesting today. On a curious note, C3-PO was originally meant to be a greasy used car salesman type of character and reading this book, you will see how that is true. He is almost surly at times! There is also some very good dialogue in this which expands a lot on what was said in the movie. It is also interesting to note how the sequence of events is quite a bit different in the book. It jumps around quite a bit more.
In conclusion, if you are a fan of the movie, buy this book! You will not be disappointed! If you are a sci-fi fan in general, read this book to see why so many love these classic adventures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Retroactive Gold!, September 20, 2013
This review is from: Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (Mass Market Paperback)
Although George Lucas's name is on the cover, this novelization was actually ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster and published months before the movie was released, but it was of course based on Lucas's screenplay. ADF did a superb job at making the Star Wars universe come alive with only what George provided, which is not often suited to print works and is something taken for granted these days considering all that is now available. While the story is largely verbatim of the screenplay there are certinaly some subtle differences in dialog, 'deleted scenes', and other additions that SW fans can still enjoy, even after having seen the movie dozens of times as I have. I'm surprised to say that I now have a greater appreciation of 3PO and that this book is notably more violent than the film. The novelization is also quite short, so the average reader can probably finish it over a weekend.

I rated this five stars primarily due to the genuine enjoyment of reading it, despite typically reserving that position for more than just one characteristic; what can I say, I'm a nitpicker. I do have some criticisms; however, but they are relatively minor and may be easily explained away. I can't say if this was the case in the 70s or before but usually people read novelizations to glean more than what was presented on film, and for the most part that isn't the case here. I don't hold that against the author, after all he did take on the difficult task of changing mediums, but since Lucas's name is on it George may have given ADF instructions to not deviate much, which if true would be unfortunate because ADF is an accomplished writer (including the very first two SW books), and the story definitely could've benefitted from more exposition. We do learn a bit more about the characters but that's about the extent of depth in comparison.

I recommend reading this book to both SW fans and those interested in science fiction history alike. The book may not be wholly different from the movie, unlike the phenomenal Revenge of the Sith novelization by Matthew Stover, but it's simply a must read that will not disappoint in brining you back to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is it, baby., July 21, 2011
This review is from: Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (Mass Market Paperback)
What can I say? This is it, baby. The Holy Grail of the Star Wars universe.

It's the story that changed Hollywood in less than one summer.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "If not stopped soon enough, evil eventually reaches out to engulf all men.", July 19, 2010
This review is from: Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (Mass Market Paperback)
"If not stopped soon enough, evil eventually reaches out to engulf all men."
Luke Skywalker, a young farm lad on the remote world of Tatooine, discovers two mysterious droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO. R2-D2 contains a message of a beautiful woman, Princess Leia, who is in danger and requires the aid of Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi. Now, Luke journeys with Obi-Wan, in his quest for adventure and to take up his father's mantle of being a Jedi.

I Liked:
Ghost written by Alan Dean Foster, this little book is a well-written account of the 1977 classic movie. Foster writes in a clean fashion, with a good amount of description. His portrayal of the characters was very close to the movie (considering he was only working off a script). Luke is a wide-eyed, eager, yet obnoxious teenager. Obi-Wan is wise and very relaxed (the quote I use for my review is one he said in the book, one of the few deviations from the movie), at times almost crazy. Han is a world-weary pilot. Vader is burning with anger. Leia is brave and stalwart. Tarkin is cutthroat and evil.
The book also includes deleted scenes such as Biggs and Luke on Tatooine, Luke going to Anchorhead, and Luke viewing the spacefight while near the vaporators. These scenes add much to the background of Luke; however...

I Didn't Like:
...most of the deleted scenes remain deleted in the audiobook (quite a ripoff if you ask me). If I hadn't read the book ages ago, I wouldn't have known they were gone (the audiobook is basically a dressed up version of the movie).
And this leads to my biggest complaints about this book: One of the reasons people even read novelizations is to learn more about the characters and movie events. In the book of this movie, there is almost nothing new learned about the movie. Sure, there is an insightful section at the beginning, taken from the enigmatic "Journal of the Whills", a quote from Leia, some changes from the movie (Red Squadron is Blue Squadron, Vader has red eyes, etc.), and a lot of Earth references to ducks, smoking pipes, and dogs and the like. But this is nothing like the far superior Revenge of the Sith, which actually surpasses its source material. It's just a fleshed out version of the script: adjectives, adverbs and complete sentences.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
In the book, quite a few d***s and he***s.
Luke is awed by Leia's hologram and becomes jealous when Han shows interest in her.
Luke's aunt and uncle are brutally murdered, along with Jawas.

Overall:
The very first Star Wars book, this book marks the beginning of an age. It has some interesting differences from the movie, but other than that, it isn't enough different from the movie, nor is it brilliantly well-written to recommend reading over watching the movie for the average person. As for Star Wars fans, I recommend they read it once; after that, just watch the movie instead.

Brought to you by:
*C.S. Light*
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, December 18, 2014
This review is from: Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope (Mass Market Paperback)
Star Wars a new hope written by George Lucas is one the most riveting books I have read in a while. The amazing dialog and exciting action kept me hooked on this book until the very last page. With the release of the first of the great star wars saga, this book is packed full of insight and dark history of some characters. The main character in this story is Luke Skywalker, he is accompanied by his two droids c-threepio and artoo detoo. Farm chores sure could be dull, and Luke Skywalker was a 20 year old who lived on his uncle’s farm on the remote planet of tatooine and was bored beyond belief. He yearned for adventures out among the stars adventures that would take him beyond the furthest galaxies to distant and alien worlds.
But Luke got more than he bargained for when he intercepted a cryptic message from a beautiful princess held captive by a dark and powerful warlord. Luke didn't know who she was, but he knew he had to save her—and soon, because time was running out.
Armed only with courage and with the light saber that had been his father’s, Luke was catapulted into the middle of the most savage space war ever...and he was headed straight for a desperate encounter on the enemy battle station known as the Death Star!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Movie -> Book, December 23, 2010
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This review is from: Star Wars (Hardcover)
I've been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember.
When I say fan, I mean I have watched and grown up with the movies - the prequels mind you - but have loved both trilogies in their own ways.

Therefore, I recently purchased this book with high hopes and expectations.
This is one of those deals where the book was ALMOST as good as the movie. I would not say it was better.
It was nice to have viewed the movie first because it allowed me to picture the characters and know exactly what was going on. The nice thing about the book, however, was the different perspective and dimension from the movie, in that you can see into the character's heads and know what they are thinking.

The novel, like the movie, follows the adventures of the protagonist, Luke Skywalker. It is a fairly accurate representation of the movie, however, having been written before the finalized movie, has some discrepancies in details.
It is an incredibly easy read, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and wouldn't mind reading it again and again for years to come.
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Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope by John Whitman (Mass Market Paperback - September 12, 1986)
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