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Tales from the Empire: Star Wars Legends Mass Market Paperback – November 3, 1997
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From Library Journal
This collection of 13 short stories by nine authors is an outgrowth from the Star Wars Adventure Journal and the Star Wars role-playing games. Timothy Zahn, Michael A. Stackpole, Kathy Tyers, Patricia A. Jackson, Laurie Burns, Charlene Newcomb, Tony Russo, Angela Phillips, and Erin Endom have written engaging tales about the peripheral characters?rather than the stars Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker?who add to the rich tapestry of George Lucas's space opera. Recommended where demand for Star Wars material is high.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
Culled from the pages of the "Star Wars Adventure Journal, one of the most popular "Star Wars magazines in the field today, comes this exciting new short-story collection. Here are stories from such award-winning and "New York Times bestselling authors as Timothy Zahn, Michael A. Stackpole and Kathy Tyers as well as exciting newcomers, including Erin Endom, Laurie Burns, and Patricia A. Jackson. From the desperate flight of a civilian mail courier carrying vital Rebel intelligence through an Imperial blockade, to a suicidal commando raid on an impregnable Imperial prison, to a Corellian smuggler mysteriously hired by an actor turned Jedi Knight turned Imperial assassin for one final transformation, these tales capture all the high adventure, imaginative genius, and nonstop action that are the hallmarks of the "Star Wars saga.
What's more, the centerpiece of this magnificent collection is the short novel "Side Trip, the first-ever collaboration between Timothy Zahn and Michael A. Stackpole, in which a freighter smuggling arms for the Rebels is commandeered by an Imperial Star Destroyer led by a mysterious helmeted figure who claims to be the notorious bounty hunter Jodo Kast. It is all part of a devious plan that includes Hal and Corran Horn, who are working undercover to nail the infamous Corellian warlord Zekka Thyne. But one slip-up can get them all killed.
Collected for the first time, "Star Wars(r): Tales from the Empire is one book no fan will want to be without.
(r), TM and (c) 1997 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.
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Zahn's solo contribution "First Contact" tells us of how the former Emperor's Hand Mara Jade came to be in the service of rogue Talon Karrde. Talon is a well-written character and it's enjoyable to see him on one of his earlier adventures. Mara doesn't come into the story much but as always, Zahn provides an intriguing plotline, even in the brief length of this tale.
Stackpole's tale "Missed Chance" introduces former CorSec officer Corran Horn and his faithful astromech Whistler. Corran is stranded on the planet Garqi and is spearheading a scheme to simultaneously get away and damage the local representatives of the Empire. Tyers continues the saga of her character Tynian, introduced in Tales of the Bounty Hunters, with an origin story detailing the circumstances that led her to her life as a gun-for-hire and rogue.
The final story of the novel is an interesting collaboration between Stackpole and Zahn. Titled "Side Trip," the story is split into four parts (two for each author) and it more of a novella than a short story. Fan favorite Grand Admiral Thrawn is featured, along with Corran Horn once again. The labyrinthine plot has Zahn's stamp all over, and the twists and turns are good fun.
The other authors have a wide range of backgrounds and the quality of the stories is equally varied. Two that stood out are Laurie Burns' "Retreat from Coruscant" and "Do No Harm" by Erin Endom. Burns places her story right before the Empire's re-taking of Coruscant (the starting point of the famous Dark Horse comic saga Dark Empire). It involves two mail couriers swept up in the action as the New Republic attempts to evacuate the planet and move their operations to a new base. This time period would be fertile ground for a future novel. Endom's story is a first-person perspective of a medic sent along on a Rebel strike mission and learning of the horrors of warfare first-hand.
The other tales are largely solid and well-written. One which didn't hold up so well is Patricia Jackson's "The Final Exit," a story of a Dark Jedi's past which suffers from being severely over-written and a bit pretentious. It's OK to use the word "said" once in a while when a character speaks! In this story, everyone whispers, chuckles, grins, replies, demands, spits, blurts - there are so many descriptions it became a distraction to me. Using more neutral language allows the reader to interject some of their own interpretation of mood and tone, which makes for a more compelling reading experience.
Tales from the Empire is a solid if not particularly vital piece of the Expanded Universe; recommended for someone looking for a change of pace from the usual characters or someone wanting to learn more about Zahn and Stackpole's key characters.
Sure, some of the stories and characters were noteworthy, but a large disapointment to fans of Boba Fett, Grand Admiral Thrawn, other main characters and the ideology and structure of the Empire itself. Actually, a few stories had nothing to do with the Empire at all it seemed, maybe just a footnote, but nothing that compares to the grandeur of the Empire as depicted in the movies and some of the other recent novels.
I am a huge SW fan, and have read about 80% of 'all' novels set within the universe, and this by far is one I want to forget about.