Thursday, October 30, 2008

A New Hope

No, this is not some review of the Star Wars movie franchise; rather it is a review of the novelization of the first Star Wars Episode IV movie: A New Hope.

While the book has its author line as George Lucas (who should need no introduction if you're a SF fan), it is in fact "ghost written" by Alan Dean Foster. Foster was also responsible for the sequel Splinter of the Mind's Eye, as well as the story for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (still one of my favorites; the director's cut really makes it a great film). While Foster of course has his own fiction, he has been prolific in the genre and adaption market, writing quite a few movie adaptions.

Reading the novelization is definitely a different experience. Coming out before the movie (but largely following the script) there are quite a few differences, from Luke's callsign (Blue 5 instead of Red 5), to more significant variations (Artoo was for example a tripedal droid, rather than using wheels for locomotion). That being said, the book certainly captured the feel and spirit of the movie, helped by Foster's wordsmithing.

That being said, its rather thin (not quite 200 pages), and felt quite a bit rushed. In many respects, it was a faithful scene by scene adaption, but it suffers compared to other movie-to-book adaptions in that it didn't expand much compared to the movie. A novel gives the reader the chance to get more detail than is presented in the movie. Part of this might be the limitations the author was put under (there were, for example, no really detailed descriptions of characters, ships, and the like), but it would have certainly helped a fan to be offered something the movies do not.

In the end its a very quick read, and works on a level in which a fan can almost hear the dialouge from the movie cheweing through the mind. But in no way was this either high literature, or one of the best Star Wars novels...

1 comment:

Lance said...

Damon, you may want to check out Foster's novelization of Alien if you like that property. Although it's been several decades (scary) since I read it, I remember really enjoying it.