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Star Wars Books

Coincidentally, around the end of the first three "Star Wars" movies the time of my high school days begun. That meant, among other things, that the distance from my home to the new school building drastically increased, along with my everyday's commute time back and forth. If I decided to avoid the bus in the morning, it would take me about 30 minutes of leisurely walking to get there. In regards to today's story, it was half an hour of one of the kind entertainment I was enjoying on more than several occasions. Walking toward the school, I was mounting my state of the art Sony Walkman on my belt loaded with one of my favorite cassettes and listening audio recordings from "Star Wars" trilogy.

I am not talking about official movie soundtrack - it was the audio cassette of the entire film only without acting and dialogues. Just two hours of background orchestra coverage created by John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. I wrote more about those days in post Science Fiction and even though it sounded nerdy and strange from today's perspective, it was one of those happy memories from my teenage days.

Anyway, just couple of weeks ago, with "The Rise of Skywalker", the final episode of the nine-part Star Wars saga, the main story concluded with the last mystery explained which I hope would bring new era of peace to the galaxy far far away in both space and time. However, with the story of nine films told in the long period started way back in the year of 1977 and their irregular time frame, many gaps in the story was created for more standalone stories to occupy various media and not just theatrical movies.

In order to assure the characters and galaxy systems, the spaceships and technology and pretty much everything in the franchise is consistent and believable, Lucasfilm Ltd. founded in 2013 the Lucasfilm Story Group that is responsible for keeping track of Star Wars canon with the development of new stories that should fit in all the gaps. To me, perhaps the most interesting period in those gaps is the time of Imperial rule just after Palpatine overthrowed the Republic and ruled the Empire for couple of decades until "A New Hope" came.

In the aftermath, following the success of the main movies, other media jumped in and the galaxy far away is now also hosted by comics, television animated series, regular books and by the 21st century newcomer in the face of streaming media service. In the realm of classic novels and within the Darth Sidious and Darth Vader imperial period, the best written prose I decided to read were John Jackson Miller's books 'Kenobi' and 'A New Dawn' following Obi-Wan Kenobi's life on Tatooine just after the six's movie ended and a prequel to the adventures of Kanan Jarrus, a human Jedi Padawan student and Hera Syndulla, a Twi'lek from the planet Ryloth, a pilot of outstanding skill and owner of the Ghost, heavily modified and augmented light freighter.

It's hard to say which one had bigger impact to my wits and nerdiness of my Star Wars inner-being. While 'Kenobi' is the real Star Wars Western in its best representation of the genre, 'A New Dawn' is more like 'Rogue One', the standalone movie from the saga which is on my list rated very high among all the films from the beginning. They are very different in their core but the common spirit in both of them is the media and similar time frame in both stories. Reading the words instead of just spending hours in front of various screens added one more dimension to the entire entertainment and by that I mean more details and descriptions of the entire universe and characters. They are more believable and I have to say I enjoyed them lots more than just watching the movies with most of them lacking the colorful background and explanation of simple things, like science involved and better description of what was happening in between the action. Books, in general, by their very nature, manage to show much more, compared to what films cannot.

To conclude, John Jackson Miller did something extraordinary and to describe it with as less words possible was that, with his books, he managed to extend the very Star Wars universe. In famous Yoda's word: 'No more, no less'. Just perfect. I'd add.

John Jackson Miller


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