Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by various authors
An anthology of short stories focusing on obscure tertiary characters, or unseen background events involving the major characters, from the first Star Wars movie.
- Claudia Gray’s story about Obi-Wan being visited by Qui-Gon Jinn’s ghost was really good, making the implicit story of his exile on Tatooine seem less lonely
- Glen Weldon’s story about a gay hook-up on the Death Star was a weird swing in Star Wars terms but totally in line with what you’d expect from Weldon’s work, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it
- A story told from the perspective the dianoga in the trash compactor was another weird idea that shouldn’t have worked but ended up being an interesting take on the Star Wars universe
- Most of the stories feel as if they were written by fans of Star Wars eager to work within the universe, instead of being from writers just cranking out licensed content
- The stories involving established characters work pretty well, adding depth to familiar characters instead of trying to invent an inner world for a character that was only on screen for a few seconds
- As with many anthologies, the quality of the writing is vary uneven. Here, though, some of the stories varied from over-written to completely insufferable, sometimes from writers whose work I tend to like elsewhere
- Goes hard on fitting Rogue One into the timeline, which bugs me not just because I’m not a fan of that movie, but because it undercuts the significance of both the destruction of Alderaan and the attack on the Death Star
- Some of the stories, even though they’re written by talented writers, just reveal the limitations of trying to get too much depth out of characters who are best left as visual designs or archetypes
The premise seems like it’d be quad-laser-focused on me and exactly what I’d like, from subject material down to the choice of writers. But the end result has me even more convinced that so much of what made the first Star Wars so impactful wasn’t its exhaustive world-building, but in knowing what to leave implicit, letting the audience infer all the details about people and places we’re only seeing a glimpse of.