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Last Starfighter Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1991
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The Last Starfighter is about a high school senior named Alex who sees his life fast approaching a dead end and who's only shining moment of glory is mastering a video game. Turns out that video game was a combat simulator secretly placed to find skilled star fighters to help in a war against an encroaching alien force taking place many light years away. Now Alex has to prepare himself to... as the video game states... defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada. Alan Dean Foster is one of the better sci-fi writers out there, and is best known for his Star Wars book Splinter in the Mind's Eye. Foster has also made a few movie novelizations as well. This one seems to have been taken from early scripts, as some minor references seemed to have changed in the film. Either way I got what I asked for.
This novel gives a whole host of additional dialog that really fleshes out the movie for me. Alien conversations that were unknown to us in the film are now translated and we get to know what everybody was saying. Technologies only touched upon in the movie are given a chance to be showcased just enough so we can learn more. Even the plot gets a bit more refinement with the additional dialog from the bad guys. The book actually makes those bad guys sound a good deal smarter than they did in the film.
I love how the little details of this science fiction universe come out. Did you know the Gunstars in the movie were retrofitted fighters hundreds of years old (except for the prototype of course)? Did you know Beta Units take on some of their copied subject's brain wave patterns when they simulate their subject? Did you know the Star League is in such an enlightened period that starfighters would have been considered outcasts for their violent tendencies if it weren't for the fact their skills were needed? Lots of little details help make this story more satisfying... and this is coming from somebody who loves the movie.
If you are looking for a full reveal of the world of The Last Starfighter in this book you won't get everything. No real information on the different alien species will be found on this book... at least not much more than you can surmise already. Technical details on the Gunstars or any other spaceship is sparse at best (was really hoping to find out the difference between the lasers and particle canons that are mentioned in the movie and book). And while you get a good introduction to the history and state of the Star League it doesn't go much further than that. All of this is rather nitpicking on my part. However they were things I was particularly interested in learning more about. Still the book does provide a wealth of info that the movie doesn't cover.
The Last Starfighter is a fun and enjoyable story. It's an easy read that should catch the attention of young adults as well as older readers. If you have seen the movie and are a reader do yourself a favor and pick this one up.
If you've never read or seen the movie, I would recommend it for any true Si-FY person! It's good for about 7yrs and Up (for understanding only), to either listen to, or read. It's a wonderful story about dreams, and not letting go of them. Also, we are not trapped in the station we are born into if we work hard. All in all a great read!