From A Certain Point of View
review by Michael Fraley
Forty years ago, a little movie called Star Wars premiered and lost out to Smokey and the Bandit in it's opening weekend. Of course, it went on to become the top grossing film of all time, until a boat sank and some overgrown Smurfs saw their tree get blown up. If you're reading this, you've most likely seen Star Wars, or A New Hope as it's now known, multiple times. You probably know every scene and line by heart, but have you ever wondered what was going on around our intrepid heroes?
Like the now Legend series Tales From compilations, From a Certain Point of View tells the stories of those side characters, some seen, some not, as they live out their lives in a galaxy at war. Unlike the Tales books, this volume follows the chronological order of A New Hope from Captain Antilles asking Leia about the plans she just received, to a rebel pilot’s view of the Yavin IV awards ceremony. Some are sad, some are fun, some are pointless, and some are great, but all add another small layer to our favorite galaxy far, far away.
From a Certain Point of View contains 40 stories, to celebrate the 40th anniversary, written by well known authors and a few by people who just wanted to be involved. Wil Wheaton, of Star Trek fame no less, offers up one of saddest stories you'll find in a Star Wars book. Claudia Gray, who hasn't missed yet in the new EU, offers up a conversation between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon that will undoubtedly be a favorite of most readers. There’s a nice Shakespearean soliloquy by Ian Doescher, of Shakespeare does Star Wars
fame, as Palpatine learns of Obi-Wan’s death. My favorite is a toss up between finding out R5-D4 is a true hero of the Rebellion and reading Admiral Motti’s official Incident Report of his confrontation with Vader in the conference room.
I love these types of books. I truly enjoy finding out more about the characters outside the Skywalker clan, and this book does not disappoint. It does make changes to some of the stories from Tales from the Cantina, which I'll admit it bothered me more than I want to admit, but all of the names and places stayed intact.
Since nothing can be perfect, I will point out a couple of flaws. The first is one of the earlier stories just seems absolutely pointless. I know one out of forty is a pretty good percentage, but it's a glaring hole as far as I was concerned. Secondly, and I'll be the first to admit that this is knitpicky, it could have been edited a little better. It would of course be impossible to take 40 stories from 40 different authors and have them mesh perfectly, but there are pretty big contradictions in some of the stories, particularly those in the cantina.
Buy this book. It's honestly a must-have for any true fan of Star Wars. The tales are well written and will add another layer of joy to your love of Star Wars. An added bonus is that no author was paid for their contribution. Instead their proceeds go to First Book which supplies books and materials to children in need.
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View is published by Del Rey Books and is available now.