Sci-Fi Book Club
Greetings, pilots. Here's something a little different, which I thought would provide a fun yet informative diversion. On an infrequent basis, I'll review an old Sci-Fi book from my dusty collection. Being an avid reader (it helps make hyperspace travel bearable) these titles have inspired and shaped my love of science fiction and act as a precursor to my passion for space based video games.
Before I get started, it's worth mentioning that these reviews are of course just my opinion as a grizzled space Captain. Plus, in a break from convention, I won't be awarding a score for each book's content, rather my words themselves will serve as an indication of my enjoyment. I will however rate each title's cover art, as I feel strongly that a book's artwork is incredibly important and oft-overlooked.
Far far away
So, let's get started and what better way than with a saga that is seeing a new entry appearing in cinemas soon. This book however came out a very long time ago indeed, 1978 in fact, Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster. The book was apparently written even before Star Wars came out and was intended to provide a framework for a possible sequel. Therefore, it again involves the lead characters of that film, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia (plus two well known droids..) and places them in the midst of a brand new adventure.
The story opens as Luke is accompanying Leia to a secret mission on a far away planet. Unfortunately, before they can arrive, their two craft end up crash landing on a different planet, one which appears at first glance, to be deserted. During the course of the book however, we find out that Luke and Leia may not be as alone as they first thought..
What starts out as a simple enough setup, quickly opens up into a pleasingly expansive tale. We meet plenty of new and intriguing characters, placed within a believable setting. Luke and Leia's romantic hopes are touched upon (remember this is BEFORE Jedi!) and gently handled.
The new characters and situations are all well developed and paced and provide moments of genuine interest and world building, even at this fledgling stage of the saga's life. On this subject, particular mention should be made of the book's numerous action scenes, which are extremely well realised.
One disappointment I encountered was the book's ending, which I felt was rather rushed. Although a high point is still achieved via another well written action scene. It's likely that if a screenplay (which this roughly serves as) ever reached fruition, then steps would have been taken to incorporate the action sequence better, thus giving the ending more substance.
Cover art rating: ACE
It's a straight ACE rating here. The artist, Ralph Mcquarrie, is without equal so it could only ever be top marks. It's a cracking composition, which immediately draws you in with its foreboding atmosphere and intriguing setup. The only annoyance is that the British publisher decided it would be a good idea to shrink the artwork around a huge white border! I believe lucky Americans' got a full cover image.
I hope you enjoyed this little diversion. Look out for more in the coming weeks. If you have any questions or comments, please use the section below. Perhaps you've read the book yourself, if so what did you think? I'd love to know!
All Rights of their respective owners. Images posted as fair use for educational and review purposes only.