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Splinter of the Minds Eye :Star Wars

Splinter of the Minds Eye :Star Wars (edition 1978)

Series: Star Wars

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The further adventures of Luke Skywalker as he fights for right and justice against the evil Imperial forces on the planet Mimbran.
Title:Splinter of the Minds Eye :Star Wars
Info:DEL REY BOOKS (1978), Edition: 3rd Printing
Collections:Your library

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Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster



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The Plot

Luke, Leia, C-3P0 and R2-D2 are en-route to meet up with a conclave of resistance movements in order to try to get them to join the Rebel Alliance. En Route Leia's Y-Wing runs into mechanical problems and is forced to set-down on a believed uninhabited planet, Minban, that turns out to be a covert mining colony run by the Empire. I'm not exactly sure why the Empire would need to run a mining colony "covertly". In the course of trying to find parts or transport, Leia and Luke encounter a strange old woman named Hettie, who has a shard of a crystal called the "Kaiburr Crystal", which has the ability to focus the perception of the force in those who can perceive it. Luke touches this shard and his perception is heightened, Leia senses nothing. Luke suspects that this "spike" in his awareness in the force could be perceived by other force sensitive people, at some distance, possibly even by The Emperor.

Luke & Leia, when roughhousing playfully (as part of their romantic tension), end up getting the attention of the local garrison and are arrested. Leia has her PTSD (caused by her torture on the Death Star) triggered at the mention of the Imperial Governor, and they're thrown in a cell with two large furry creatures called Yuzzum, which are basically Wookies - who are currently nursing really terrible hangovers. Hettie helps break out Luke & Leia, with Luke and Hettie pooling their force abilities to levitate a food tray to trigger the motion sensors for the door (not very secure), before they escape. The Yuzzum kill some troopers in very gruesome fashions (up to and including beating troopers to death with their own limbs, and the limbs of their comrades).

After travelling across country, they end up encountering some local wildlife, and end up with some of the natives who haven't gotten hooked on booze and drugs by the Empire to keep them docile. Luke succeeds in a trial by combat, just in time for some stormtroopers (and Darth Vader - who also triggers Leia's PTSD), show up and attack. They are pushed back, and our Heroes commandeer an Imperial Transport to reach the temple where the crystal is (with the Yuzzum again literally ripping troopers to shreds). Luke & Leia arrive, but as they're investigating the temple, Vader shows up at the transport and kills the Yuzzum. He arrives in the chamber with the crystal, right after Luke's party does. Leia ends up in a lightsaber duel with Vader, which she loses at, but she is not killed. Luke Force Pulls his lightsaber to him, and manages (with some force assistance by Obi-Wan) to knock Vader into a pit. This does not kill Vader, but he won't be getting out for quite some time - enough time for Leia and Hettie to grab the Kaiburr Crystal and our heroes to escape.

Character Development

Luke Skywalker: Is force sensitive, and has learned a new ability - Force Pull! Is also romantically interested in Princess Leia
Princess Leia Organa: Is not force sensitive. Has really bad PTSD from her time on the Death Star, caused by her torture (not by seeing her home world destroyed), and is triggered by mention of Imperial Governors, and by Darth Vader himself.
C3-P0 & R2-D2: Darth Vader knows the authentication codes to shut them down automatically.
The Emperor: Is Force Sensitive.
Darth Vader: Likes to play with his opponents before killing them - which allows him to be defeated by Luke. Is actively sadistic - gloating about spending a longer time torturing Leia this time. This is the first time we see him kill a subordinate who failed him (he was stopped in A New Hope)

World Building

  • The Empire has rules about the treatment of indigenous populations - rules that are ignored in the case of Minban, the planet in this book.

  • The Rebel Alliance is recruiting various other Resistance groups, particularly following their loss of manpower in the wake of the destruction of the Death Star.

  • Governors are responsible for whole systems, not just planets.

  • The senate being dissolved circa A New Hope has upped the bureaucratic headache of running a system (and the planets therein). Presumably the Death Star would not have included the ability to cut through red tape, so this still would have been a problem.

Other Notes
The book has a foreword by [a:George Lucas|3231|George Lucas|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1458677946p2/3231.jpg]George Lucas saying that he's at that time writing the story for the second film (which will be Empire Strikes Back, and he's planned to do 9 films total in the series. Also, both Luke andVader are using Blue lightsabers. I'm assuming that when this book was written, the re-release of the films, with the "Episode IV" in the opening crawl and the re-rotoscoped lightsaber blades hadn't been released yet.

My Thoughts
As stilted as the dialog is in A New Hope, Splinter of The Mind's Eye is soooo much worse. Several of the characters have straight up Silver Age Comics levels of verbosity. This isn't helped by the fact that this, basically, is the second Star Wars work at the time of publication (with the exception of the Marvel comics), so nobody really has anyone else's voice yet. That said, Vader in particular feels somewhat jarringly out of character. Yes, he has a flair for the dramatic, and he's certainly evil. However, his sense of cruelty here is so much more vicious. You know those characters in anime and manga who demonstrate their cruelty by licking the blood from the blade of their sword or knife? Vader, in this book, would be that, if he didn't need his helmet and you could safely lick a lightsaber.

It bears mentioning that this book is also considerably more graphically violent than the films, with considerably more gore. Dismemberments abound, with more than a few people being beaten into unrecognizability as humanoids by the Yuzzum. While Dark Horse did not have to deal with the Comics Code Authority, this still probably would not have flown in much of their books. ( )
  Count_Zero | Jul 7, 2020 |
A great Star Wars story before Star Wars became great. Love the way Rogue One managed to reference it decades later. We need more of this from the Star Wars Cannon instead of useless and politically correct characters like Rose and Finn. ( )
1 vote Joe73 | Oct 23, 2019 |
Written right after A New Hope was released in theaters, Splinter of the Mind's Eye was meant to act as the framework for a cheap sequel. Set on a single planet with a limited cast of characters (not including Han Solo since it wasn't certain whether or not Harrison Ford was going to be coming back), it would have created a fairly generic (and yet really, really bad) sci-fi action/adventure story. If this book had been made into a movie, Star Wars would probably be a niche 70s thing rather than a decades-spanning, global phenomenon.

I know that a lot of fans have problems reading this book simply because there is some very unsubtle Luke/Leia lusting going on. Personally, I’m not too skeezed out because I am very aware of the fact that this book was published immediately after ANH, a movie which was advertised heavily as a romance between Luke and Leia. Of course we now know that Luke and Leia are twins but at the time there was literally no reason whatsoever to believe that ship couldn’t happen except for perhaps a few lines from Han that hinted at a future possibility of something between him and Leia. So while it is a bit creepy, Luke and Leia didn’t know, Alan Dean Foster didn’t know, and the fans didn’t know that Luke and Leia should never ever happen so I just let it slide for the most part. I am however hyper aware of those moments and read through them as fast as humanly possible because while I’ll let it slide it’s still creepy and I don’t want to think about it.

Another thing I’m hyper aware of throughout this book is that it was written in the 70s and it seems based off of the serials that George Lucas wanted to base his movies off of. Every single chapter ends in an ellipsis and a somewhat “forboding” statement about the current or future predicament of our heroes. The general narrative style definitely calls to mind a cheesy, over-dramatic narrator who likes to use metaphors and adjectives in incredibly….interesting ways. For the most part, the narrator annoys me. It’s just not a very well-written book for the most part. The plot is predictable (and not just because I already knew it from the comic; even the first time through you could very very easily guess how everything was going to end) and for the most part there wasn’t much to keep my attention. I kept reading because a few of the issues I’ll discuss below kept me morbidly fascinated.

One thing that drove me crazy throughout the book was poor characterization. Again, I can understand why it happened. Foster had one movie in which we are just being introduced not only to the characters but also to an entirely new galaxy that was completely and utterly different from anything that had been seen before. Foster used stereotypes heavily. Luke wasn’t the idealistic farmboy we know him to be but was instead the intrepid hero that could get he and Leia out of any sticky situation they had landed themselves in (sometimes literally). He studied languages when he was sitting at home, bored, and so can magically speak with this alien species that he has never met before! He can think on his feet and is a great liar! He reacts calmly to blowing the ever loving fuck out of a temple turned prison/office building! He’s strong enough to put aside his lusty feelings for Leia because she is his superior in a hell of a lot of ways! It’s all so unbelievable.

And then there’s Leia. The way he treats Leia makes me want to punch things repeatedly. Throughout the book Leia seems petrified of Imperials. She has a full on panic attack when the prospect of prison was presented to her. Now I’m not gonna say that her experience on the Death Star wouldn’t have had any effect on her because I’m sure it did. But I somehow doubt that effect was to turn her into a simpering damsel in distress. Leia should NEVER be simply a damsel in distress as she was for 90% of this novel. What’s more Leia is a princess, a senator, and a highly respected Rebellion leader. There is no way in hell that she would get into a mud fight with Luke that would draw attention to themselves when they’re supposed to remain incognito. Nor would she continually say the wrong thing and let her temper get the better of her. She would know exactly what was required of her to keep her and Luke out of trouble and have done it, whether she liked it or not. There was pretty much no point throughout the book that I felt like the Leia Foster wrote even remotely resembled the Leia in ANH. And that was incredibly disappointing.

Even more persistent than poor characterization was the incredibly speciest (because I’m going to maintain that’s a word) attitude that not only the Imperials but Luke and Leia as well portrayed. There were some moments where Leia seemed to be trying to get Luke to realize that not all cultures are the same but the way it was done was to imply that other cultures are simply barbaric and not yet mature enough to reach human’s level of civilization. There was also the problem of how the natives of Mimban were referred to. One species was simple called “greenies.” They were given no actual name and they are portrayed as a simpering, subservient race that would do anything, even lick the boots of miners, to get even a drop of alcohol. There is so much wrong there I can’t even begin to get into it. And there’s the fact that another species, the Conway, were occasionally referred to as “it.” THEY ARE A SENTIENT SPECIES WHO CAN AND WILL KICK YOUR FUCKING ASS YOU DO NOT REFER TO THEM AS “IT.” R2-D2 and C-3P0 even get referred to as “he” occasionally why would these people not be similarly designated? Because you don’t speak their language? Because they use spears instead of guns? Because they aren’t up to your level of “civilization” in general? Go fuck yourself, Luke, for that bullshit.

Overall, the book was pretty much awful in every way with no real redeeming factors and more than a few factors that made me want to pull my hair out. ( )
  irasobrietate | May 28, 2018 |
2014 re-read. A novel that did not pass the test of time. ( )
1 vote ConalO | Apr 23, 2018 |
I read this one back in the late 70's, when we all were very high on Star Wars episode IV and waiting patiently for the sequel. In the meantime, we had this novel to carry on with our favorite Jedi in-training and the fair Princess. I quite enjoyed this one as a teenager. ( )
1 vote Martin_Maenza | Apr 14, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alan Dean Fosterprimary authorall editionscalculated
McQuarrie,RalphCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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How beautiful was the universe, Luke thought.
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The further adventures of Luke Skywalker as he fights for right and justice against the evil Imperial forces on the planet Mimbran.

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