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Tales of the Bounty Hunters (Star Wars) (Book 3) Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In a wild and battle-scarred galaxy, assassins, pirates, smugglers, and cutthroats of every description roam at will, fearing only the professional bounty hunters-amoral adventurers who track down the scum of the universe...for a fee. When Darth Vader seeks to strike at the heart of the Rebellion by targeting Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon, he calls upon six of the most successful-and feared-hunters, including the merciless Boba Fett. They all have two things in common: lust for profit and contempt for life... Featuring original stories by Kevin J. Anderson, M. Shayne Bell, Daniel Keys Moran, Kathy Tyers and Dave Wolverton.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Therefore I Am:  The Tale of IG-88

Internal chronometer activated. BEGIN.

Electricity flooded through circuits, a power surge racing through a billion neural pathways. Sensors awakened, producing a flood of data--and with it came questions.

Who am I?

His internal programming finished the tedious two-second-long initialization procedures and poured out an answer. He was IG-88, a droid, a sophisticated droid--an assassin droid.

Where am I?

A microsecond later, images from his exterior sensors snapped into focus. IG-88 had no sense of smell, and no eyes and ears as humans understood them, but his optical and auditory sensors were far more efficient, able to absorb data in a broader range than any living being. He froze a static image of his surroundings and studied it, collating more answers.

He had awakened in some sort of large laboratory complex, white and metal, sterile, and--according to his temperature sensors--colder than humans generally preferred. IG-88 noted mechanical component strewn on silvery tables: gears and pulleys, durasteel struts, servomotors, an array of delicate microchips frozen into a slab of transparent protective gelatin. Struck motionless in a pinpoint of time as his extremely fast neural processors digested the details, IG-88 counted fifteen scientists/engineers/technicians working in the laboratory. With Infrared scan he observed their body heat as bright silhouettes in the coldness of his birthplace.

Interesting, he thought.

Then IG-88 detected something that focused his entire attention. Four other assassin droids, apparently identical to his own bodily configuration--a bulky structural skeleton, armored arms and legs, a torso plated with blaster-proof armor shielding, a cylindrical head that was rounded on top and studded with sensor nubs providing him with 360 degrees' worth of precise observation.

I am not alone.

IG-88 recognized each droid's full complement of weapons: blaster cannons built into the structure of each arm, concussion grenades and a launcher attached to his hip, as well as other weapons not easily recognizable integrated into the body structure--poisonous gas canisters, throwing flechettes, stun pulser, paralysis cord...and a computer input port. IG-88 was pleased with his list of capabilities.

IG-88's first round of questions had been answered. He had only to study his memory banks and his external sensors. He was designed to be self-sufficient. He was an assassin droid, resourceful. He had to accomplish his mission...though, checking his newly initialized programming, he saw that he had not yet been given a mission. He would have to acquire one.

Three seconds had already passed, and another important question surfaced in his burning-awake brain.

Why am I here?

He traced sensations through his computer core and out the jack, which he now realized had already been connected to the lab's central computer--a treasure trove of information.

IG-88 immediately began a search, scouring at hyperspeed through file after file, searching for anything that referenced his model number or the code name of the assassin droid project. He gulped it all into his empty circuits, gorging himself with information without digesting it That would come later. It would take many seconds to learn everything there was to know about himself.

He selected one file for immediate perusal, a summary/PR tape that had been compiled for the technical sponsor--in particular, an Imperial Supervisor Gurdun who had apparently funneled a great deal of funds into the creation of IG-88 and his counterparts. Without outwardly moving, IG-88 scrolled through the file at high speed, absorbing the information.

The presentation opened with a brilliant orange logo that displayed orange flames and crackling lightning that merged into the words "Holowan Laboratories--the Friendly Technology People." The logo dissolved into an image of a smiling but hideous ugly woman. Her head was shaven completely bald and glistened with perspiration under harsh white recording lights that gave her lanternjawed face a cadaverous look. Her teeth were spaced with broad gaps, and she spoke by opening her mouth wide and clicking down on the words, gnashing her teeth on every consonant. Circular blue lenses without frames were implanted over her eyes like frameless spectacles. A credit line slugged across the image under her ferociously smiling face. "Chief Technician Loruss, Manager IG Series Prototype Project."

"Greetings, Imperial Supervisor Gurdun," she said. "This report is to serve as a synopsis of the final phase of our project. As you know, Holowan Laboratories was commissioned to develop a series of assassin droids with sophisticated, experimental sentience programming. They were to be resourceful and innovative and absolutely relentless at carrying out whichever missions the Imperial authorities choose to program into them."

She rubbed her hands together. Her knuckles were very large, like boils in the middles of her fingers. "I am pleased to report that our greatest cyberneticists have presented me with numerous breakthroughs, all of which have been incorporated into the IG series. Because our timeframe is so short and the Empire's need is so great for efficient covert assassins, we have not gone through the usual rigorous testing procedures, but we are confident they will function admirably, though a bit of fine-tuning may be required before operational status is achieved."

She continued with a long and tedious explanation of improvements to droid neural pathways, how the usual inhibition systems had been bypassed. IG-88 studied all this information, but believed none of it. It was obvious Loruss didn't know what she was talking about, but her words sounded technical, and she spoke them impressively, no doubt to befuddle Imperial Supervisor Gurdun.

IG-88 closed the file. He could sense that his crackling neural pathways had already progressed far beyond anything his designers had anticipated.

Now he knew who he was and why he was here in this laboratory. He and his identical counterparts had been built to serve the Empire, to fight and kill, to seek out and destroy the targets selected by Imperial masters. IG-88's assassin programming was strong and compelling, but he was less pleased that he must follow orders from these inferior biological beings. He was a special kind of droid beyond the capabilities of other machines. Superior.

I think, therefore I am.

By now, five seconds had passed since his awakening. It was time for action, so he looked at the biological creatures near him inside the laboratory.

He immediately recognized Chief Technician Loruss standing in the laboratory. He focused on her. At the moment she was frantically screaming. IG-88 could tell from her peak temperature on the infrared image that she was extremely agitated. Her cadaverous skin flushed with red blots of excitement Spittle sprayed out of her mouth as she barked orders. Her lips were curled back from her widegapped teeth.

How could she be agitated, he wondered, when he was functioning so far beyond expectations? IG-88 immediately raised himself to a higher level of preparedness. Yellow alert. Standby. Something must be going wrong.

IG-88 decided to accelerate his clock speed, to watch the events unfolding at the rate the humans operated. Alarm klaxons bellowed in the background. Magenta lights flashed brilliant patterns like spilled blood across the polished tables and floors. The other technicians ran about screaming, frantically pounding on control panels.

Curious, he allowed Loruss's words to flow past him so he could understand what she was saying. "His circuits are reinforcing themselves like wildfire!" the bald woman screamed. "It's a chain-reaction of sentience blazing through his computer brain."

"We can't stop it!" one of the other technicians bellowed.

The others looked at IG-88 with panic-stricken faces. "We have to!"

"Shut him down! Abort!" Loruss said. "Take him off line. I want IG-88 destroyed and dismantled so we can analyze the flaw. Quickly!"

As he assimilated the information, IG-88's warning systems powered on and self-defense modes took over. These irrational humans were trying to shut him down. They would not allow him to go forth and pursue his primary programming. They were afraid of his newfound abilities.

Afraid with good reason.

A statement and corollaries aligned themselves in his brain like freighters in a convoy:

I think, therefore I am.

Therefore I must endure.

Therefore I must take appropriate actions to survive.

His assassin programming told him exactly what to do.

IG-88 focused his array of optical sensors on all targets in the room and attempted to move, but saw that durasteel bands held him locked into a diagnostics module. The bands had been meant to hold him in an erect position, not to restrain him against his augmented strength. He applied extra power to his right arm. The servomotors whined, and the durasteel band ripped from its supports.

"Look out! He's moving!" one of the technicians shouted.

IG-88 began to march through his files to attach a name to this human, but decided it wasn't worth his time at the moment. Instead, he designated the human simply as Target Number One.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (November 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553568167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553568165
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin J. Anderson has written more than 125 books, including 52 national or international bestsellers. He has over 23 million books in print worldwide in thirty languages. He has been nominated for the Nebula Award, Bram Stoker Award, Shamus Award, and Silver Falchion Award, and has won the SFX Readers' Choice Award, Golden Duck Award, Scribe Award, and New York Times Notable Book; in 2012 at San Diego Comic Con he received the Faust Grand Master Award for Lifetime Achievement.

He has written numerous bestselling and critically acclaimed novels in the Dune universe with Brian Herbert, as well as Star Wars and X-Files novels. In his original work, he is best known for his Saga of Seven Suns series, the Terra Incognita trilogy, the Dan Shamble, Zombie PI series, and Clockwork Angels: The Novel with Neil Peart. Find out more about Kevin J. Anderson at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By James Pence on January 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm not really a big fan of the EU books, but I enjoy the "Tales" books. But out of all three, "Tales of the Bounty Hunters" would have to be the worst of the three. Don't get me wrong; this book is good, and I enjoy reading it. Several of the stories are very good, and offer a lot of background information about the bounty hunters that you wouldn't know about in the movie. But a couple of the stories were only either okay or just plan terrible, which bogged down the overall quality of the book. I'll go through each tale and discuss their pros and cons:
1. IG-88: Starts off extremely well. I loved how he killed off all the Imperial scientists (reminded me of the Terminator). But as soon as he takes over the droid factory on Mechis III, the story goes downhill from there. I won't spoil it, but the ending completely betrays the movie ROTJ. Contrived and stupid. Read the beginning and skip the rest. Final Grade: 2/5
2. Dengar: By far, the best of the stories. This story made Dengar my favorite bounty hunter. Well-written and believable. The ending was a little too sappy, but that's only a minor quibble. And as a bonus, it even included Boba Fett as a supporting character. And I liked Manaroo; she was neat. Great work, Mr. Wolverton. Final grade: 5/5
3. Zuckuss and 4-LOM: At first, I thought this story would be the worst, but I was wrong. It was actually very good. I liked how they assisted the Rebels in escaping from the Imperials in the Hoth battle. Again, a sappy ending, but I rather have a happy ending than have them get killed. Very enjoyable reading. Final Grade: 4/5
4. Bossk: Forget this one. Utter garbage. Within five pages, I was immediately bored. Skip it. Final Grade: 1/5
5. Boba Fett: This one was the most interesting.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Alex Diaz-Granados on February 15, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Every heroic saga, whether it is Tolkien's Lord of the Rings or George Lucas' Star Wars series, succeeds or fails on the cunning and sheer "stage presence" of the antagonists faced by the heroes of the story. Let's face it, Lord Darth Vader is more imposing, and more interesting, than Luke Skywalker, the farmboy-turned-Jedi Knight who, by the way, is also Vader's offspring. The fact that Vader was so obviously evil and menacing in the first two Episodes of the Classic Trilogy had already made him one of the most popular movie villains; the revelation that the Dark Lord had once been Anakin Skywalker made him even more interesting, and by extension, Luke also became more complex and heroic.
Star Wars also has a secondary set of villains that dwells in the shadowy corners under the metal and plastic surfaces of the Galactic Empire: the bounty hunters. Every Star Wars film, including Episode I: The Phantom Menace, has a scene with at least one of these amoral, relentless, and resourceful villains, but their role as foils to the Heroes of the Rebellion came to the fore in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. In this perennial fan favorite, both Lord Vader and crime boss Jabba the Hutt hire a diverse group of bounty hunters in an all-hands effort to capture the Millennium Falcon, her captain Han Solo, and all his companions, including Luke Skywalker.
Although the film only showed this band of ruffians only in one scene that takes place aboard Vader's flagship, Star Wars: Tales of the Bounty Hunters fleshes out this particular part of the saga with five short stories compiled and edited by Kevin J. Anderson (The Jedi Academy Trilogy).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steve on July 8, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a great book, all of the stories except for one are great. Any star wars fan should defintely get this book as it goes in depth as to the famous bounty hunters and their histories, origins, backgrounds and prior beefs. The stories include:

Therefore I Am (IG-88) 5/5: One of the best stories in this book. Tells the origin of a assassin droid that gained self awareness, killed its creators and attempt to rule the universe. This is a great story, fast paced, exciting, violent_ you definately cant go wrong here! The end is pretty good too!

Payback (Dengar) 5/5: Another great story. This one is moderately paced. There is a love story, action, killing, sadness... its got it all... also explains why Dengar hates Han Solo. Definately read this one. The ending is also a real shock and is great.

The Prize Pelt (Bossk) 1/5: This one is an absolute disaster. So slow moving, nothing going on at all.. Bossk is a lizard species who is obsessed with hunting and skinning Wookies for their pelt. Revolves around his obsession with Chewie and is uber boring. I did not finish this one, I wound up skipping half of it.

Of Possible Futures (Zuckus & 4LOM) 5/5: This is a great story. Another one that has all the elements, trickery, murder, obsession, but also a hint of humanity and desperation. Follows a bounty hunter who is badly disabled and needs to find Han Solo so that the reward can get him surgery... The end is a real shock and is phenominal..

The Last One Standing (Boba Fett) 4/5: This is a pretty good story. It is fast paced and exciting at times, but than gets slow, boring and drawn out at times. It is worth the read, the ending is quite good definately worth trucking through.

In all this is a good compilation of stories and is one of my favorite Star Wars books. I definately recommend buying and reading this book as you wont be disappointed.
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