Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tales from the GFFA: Aliens (Book Review)

Just prior to the release of The Force Awakens, a series of eBook short stories were published. These stories are part of an anthology called Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens. Each book was $2-3 dollars, so this was an obvious marketing ploy to make a lot of money off the publishing hype machine that was the Journey To The Force Awakens. That being said, I was one of the voluntary suckers who bought all the stories and read them prior to the movie. I must say they are entertaining!

Below are my notes on each of these stories. Please note that like all my book reviews, this blog post will be filled with SPOILERS!

The Face of Evil

This story is set on Maz Kanada's resident world of Takodana. The tale features two creatures of the Frigosian race: Thromba and Laparo. They are covered in yellow fur, wear breathing apparatuses, and remind me of characters from the imaginations of Sid & Marty Krofft. Their homeworld is Tansyl 5. The live in in the highest tower of Maz's castle where they do experimental surgery, modifying creatures in ways that would turn Dr. Frankenstein green with envy. Their occupation is called cryptosurgery. They have a hunchbacked Snivvian called Drix Gil.

The criminal Balosar, BeeLee Amdas, betrayed and killed her partner Biggleston (cringe!). She agreed to have her appearnace altered, which the Frigosians made into Biggleston. She tried to escape at the nearest trading post, the town of Andui, before being captured by Republic authorities.

All Creatures Great and Small

This is the story of the first practical effect creature we saw, as unveiled by J J Abrams himself. He is a Crittermonger/Storyteller by the name of Bobbajo. He is a long-necked and wizened member of the Nu-Cosian race. Most of the creatures he carried were actually pets:

  • gwerps - lean frog-like creatures with protruding tusks and horns
  • pishnes - long-necked, soft-mouthed, generously feathered creatures that were an odd combination of avian and mollusk.
  • lonlan - a bulbous mammal of a sort that resembled a large, semi-inflated, mud-colored balloon
  • zhhee - a brilliantly colored and especially boisterous species of winged lizard.
  • worrt - named J’Rrosch that seemed to travel everywhere with the wizened old wanderer.
  • thwip - a tiny six-legged mouselike mammal

The story is set in a town called Reestkii—a word that, loosely translated into Basic, meant “the leftover". Reestkii was located near the equator of the desert world, and the only settlement on the planet worth noting—Niima Outpost—was over four hundred kilometers away.

High Noon on Jakku

This is a western style story featuring the gray-skinned Kyuzo known as Constable Zuvio. It takes place in Niima Outpost, which sits near the equator of Jakku, not far from the mountain ridge known as the Fallen Teeth, to the south. At Fallen Teeh, there was an abandoned attempt at a settlement out there that pirates sometimes used to hide smuggling ships when they didn’t want to pay docking fees.

For Jakku, it was a relatively comfortable and temperate zone, with conditions that were mostly survivable.

Zuvio was a stern-looking individual, with most of his features perpetually covered by bandages that helped his sensitive respiration system cope with the climate. The secret truth of the matter was that Zuvio suffered from vision problems, common in Kyuzos, and his expression was formed from years of squinting slightly to see better. He was a Kyuzo, a species that originated from a gravity-heavy world. That meant his muscles were more developed than those of the average bipedal species

Zuvio was permitted part-time use of Niima’s lone secretary droid, CZ-1G5. The droid was over three hundred years old. CZ had served the town since the first colonists landed.

Zuvio had an archaic preference for paper when reading. He had two cousins, Drego and Streehn.

Lovas owed gambling debts to the Irving Boys.

CZ said, his left eye twitching. The other eye had been destroyed in the standoff and was now roughly patched over with metal until a suitable replacement optical sensor could be found. Come along, Bee-Thirty-Three. We have work to do.” So CZ and his new assistant embarked on their rounds to help the citizens of Niima.

The Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku

This story I found to be the most interesting. It is a swashbuckling pirate tale involving the following characters:

  • Sidon Ithano - A tall and thin cloaked figure who wears a red Kaleesh mask. Also known as the Crimson Corsair. (He appears in The Force Awakens) He has a nasty habit of making things personal. "...the most dangerous pirate ever to sail the Lost Clusters beyond the Outer Rim, the most feared fighter of the skirmish of Adratharpe 7, the most notorious thief of his species...."
  • Quiggold - a Gabdorin pirate (He appears in The Force Awakens). The first mate. He always carries prayer beads
  • Pendewqell - an Ishi Tib
  • Reeg Brosna - An Arcona
  • Reveth - a red-skinned female Twi'lek
  • Squeaky - an axe-weilding but surprisingly friendly Gamorrean

The pirates are on the planet Ponemah


“Lightsaber crystals. Ripped from the weapons of the fallen Jedi during the wars. Even one is worth a fortune, and Count Dooku is said to have collected them"

The missle the Shrike had fired wasn’t just any missile; it was a rare and highly illegal piece of hardware known as a kinetic disruptor.

I love this dialogue:

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this…” muttered the Ishi Tib. Quiggold glared at Pendewqell. “You have a bad feeling? Really? Now of all times you suddenly have ‘a bad feeling’?” The Ishi Tib looked a bit defensive. “It’s just a figure of speech….” “Well it’s stupid! Of course you have a bad feeling! We’re in the middle of a derelict warship that’s half-buried at the heart of a sand maelstrom, filled with droids programmed to kill intruders! We all have a bad feeling about this!"

Quotes about clone trooper Kix:

Apparently, the clone had been the last being to speak to a well-known Republic traitor and was believed to be in possession of vital information—not that he had been willing to confess said information to his droid interrogators. So under strict orders from Count Dooku, the clone had been frozen in stasis, and no one else, not even the droids, were to speak with him further. Not until Dooku himself could question the clone directly.

“I’m a medic,” he said between gasps of air. “And I…I learned something…something horrible. Fives knew….He’s the one who figured it all out after Tup…and it got him killed. But I kept investigating. They said it was a virus... A chip in our heads. In all the clones’ heads! And an order. A command to betray…kill…and it comes from the Chancellor!”

“Get me General Skywalker! He’ll help. We can save…save the Jedi…save the Republic!” “What’s your ID, trooper?” Quiggold asked the recently unfrozen soldier. “CT-6116.” The trooper coughed. “Kix. They call me."

“It’s…it’s a Separatist cruiser’s memory core,” answered Kix. “These were designed to self-destruct. But this one…it must have malfunctioned.” The clone looked up. “This cube carries a complete map to every hidden droid factory ever built by the Separatists. Secret bases. Weapons warehouses...and we just happen to have an expert in Clone Wars–era military installations and their security systems on hand. Welcome aboard, Kix."

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