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Old August 6 2011, 06:21 PM   #1
TremblingBluStar
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Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

(spoilers, obviously)

I just finished reading this novel, and am somewhat unsure of how I feel about it. For those who haven't heard of it, the book came out in 1978, right after Star Wars, written by Alan Dean Foster, and is based on an outline for a proposed Star Wars sequel Lucas had on hand if the original film were not a huge hit. The sequel was to be lower budget than the original, and it really shows in the book. When the first film became a hit, the story of Splinter was scrapped, and various ideas and scenarios from the story were moved to Empire and Jedi. For example:

- The story opens with Luke and Leia, on their way to recruit a group of aliens into the Rebel Alliance, crash landing on a swamp planet.
- After entering an underground cave system, Luke and Leia are captured by the Coway (because all primitive Star Wars aliens have to have a W and hard C sound), a primitive underground tribe who, after Luke defeats their champion, vow to help Luke and Leia fight Vader and his storm troopers. Shortly afterwards, there is a battle in the jungle between the Coway and storm troopers.
- At one point, the a large, Wookie-like alien accompanying Luke commandeers an Imperial crawler.
- There is a final light saber duel between Vader and Leia, and eventually Vader and Luke where Vader does little more than toy with the two (like in Empire) and make threatening comments.
- At one point, Luke is pinned beneath a piece of fallen wall, forcing Leia to confront Vader herself (like in Clones).
- Vader eventually has his arm chopped off by Luke, and falls into a bottomless pit.
- When Luke and Leia reach the temple, there is a battle with a large, Lizard-like alien (similar to the Rancor from Jedi). In fact, the book relishes in the deadly wildlife/animal attack theme that all SW films use.

Those are the similarities to other SW films I can find. I am sure there are quite a few. Now for the differences:

- The dialogue! Oh, God, the dialogue! I am a huge ADF fan, and he is a much better writer than this. I am assuming Lucas wrote much of what comes out of the character's mouths.

Some gems include:

Vader (to Leia): "Come little Princess. Now is the time for spirit. You still have a chance."
Luke (to Leia): "Leia, don't! It's a feint... he's daring you. Kill me, then yourself... it's hopeless now." - could you ever imagine Luke saying that?

I am sure there are others, but nearly everything the characters say simply feels wrong.

I understand that this was before Empire and Jedi, but the characters don't even fit in with what we see in the original film. For example, Leia spends much of the novel being nothing more than the damsel Luke must repeatedly rescue.

I was struck by the brutality and darkness of the story. For a supposed series for kids, this story is pretty child unfriendly. There is a point where Luke and Leia argue over whether to execute one of the Coway, for example. However, when the two are first attacked, Luke doesn't hesitate to slice one of the Coway in the back as he retreats!

When the crawler is captured, Luke and Leia are disgusted as Imperial body parts are tossed out of the cockpit. When they enter the cockpit, it is covered with "fluid". Yummy!

So in conclusion, would I recommend the book? If you are a SW fan, yes. It is a fascinating glimpse of where the story was in 1978. It also is another strike against the idea that Lucas had some grand master plan for the trilogy from the beginning.

If you don't have access to the book, or don't care about the little details, there is an excellent summary here:

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Splin...Mind's_Eye
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Old August 6 2011, 07:54 PM   #2
Whofan
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

There was a comic adaptation released by Dark Horse a few years ago, which features some good art and edits some of the weirder parts of the story.


ADF also wrote the original SW movie adaptation novel as a ghost writer, and also did the novel The Approaching Storm, set right before AOTC and dealing with the "border dispute on Ansion" mentioned in the film.
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Old August 6 2011, 08:08 PM   #3
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

This novel is still the only Star Wars novel I've ever read (the Thrawns are patiently waiting on my shelf ) I thought Luke and Leia were written convincingly. (And yes, the dialogue is corny, but that's in keeping with the throwback space-opera character of SW. For my money, all SW dialogue should be the kind of thing that wouldn't be out of place on title cards in a silent movie.)

The plotline was interesting, but there was something that didn't feel Star Wars-y about it. Maybe because at that time, the SW universe hadn't really been fleshed out. Or maybe it was the lack of Han (was he even in the story?)

The fact that it was planned to be a low-budget movie shouldn't have been an issue since that sort of thing isn't apparent in a novel. My imagination was pretty high-budget envisioning what was going on.

I'd love to read more novels within the OT timeline, especially between ESB and ROTJ, but as I understand it, they don't exist?

Has anyone written some really solid fanfics for this era?
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Old August 6 2011, 08:59 PM   #4
Stevil2001
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

Tim Zahn has two novels between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back: Allegiance and Choices of One.

Shadows of the Empire bridges the gap between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

There's a crapload of comics in this era, too.
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Old August 6 2011, 09:03 PM   #5
J.T.B.
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

I read this when I was young and have thought of reading it again, but it didn't really grab me at the time and my memory of it is "meh." Brian Daleys' Han Solo books, on the other hand, were a lot more entertaining to me. But I might give "Splinter" another shot.

--Justin
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Old August 6 2011, 09:35 PM   #6
Admiral James Kirk
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

Splinter has a nice gritty, dirt under the fingernails feel to it that none of the other books come close to. I can feel the dirt and the grime of Minban when I'm reading the book. Besides it's pretty neat to read a prototype for ESB. So many of the elements are in that book in rough form. It's amazing to read Splinter and imagine what might have been had SW tanked.
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Old August 7 2011, 12:55 AM   #7
Kegg
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
This novel is still the only Star Wars novel I've ever read (the Thrawns are patiently waiting on my shelf ) I thought Luke and Leia were written convincingly. (And yes, the dialogue is corny, but that's in keeping with the throwback space-opera character of SW. For my money, all SW dialogue should be the kind of thing that wouldn't be out of place on title cards in a silent movie.)
Good point.

Speaking of, enjoy the use of the phrase "Good point" in the Thrawn trilogy.
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Old August 7 2011, 01:29 AM   #8
Iamnotspock
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

Whofan wrote: View Post
There was a comic adaptation released by Dark Horse a few years ago, which features some good art and edits some of the weirder parts of the story.
Not to mention the romantic tension between Luke and Leia.
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Old August 7 2011, 01:35 AM   #9
DWF
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

I read it when it came out and I loved it, the book was written in more or less the same style as the novel of the movie and it was Star Wars and I gobbled it because of that fact alone.
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Old August 7 2011, 02:11 AM   #10
TremblingBluStar
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
The plotline was interesting, but there was something that didn't feel Star Wars-y about it. Maybe because at that time, the SW universe hadn't really been fleshed out. Or maybe it was the lack of Han (was he even in the story?)
Or because there were no space battles to speak of. A reviewer on Amazon summed it nicely in saying the novel feels more like an Indiana Jones adventure than Star Wars. I know plenty of the EU books and video games deal with plundering ancient ruins for a supernatural Mcguffin, but there are no SW films even remotely similar.

Another couple of things in the novel that stood out which I did not mention above:
- I was surprised that the Luke/Leia possible romance was more implied than anything in the novel. There was more sexual tension between the two in Empire than this novel, where they at least kissed.
- I was also surprised that Luke's light saber was described as blue. I know it was blue in Empire and Jedi, but in the first film it always looked white to me. Hell, it's white on the movie poster!
- During the final battle with Vader, it is implied that Obi Wan controls Luke, or is telepathically linked to him and gave him the skill to battle Vader. This obviously did not happen in any of the films.
- For some reason, not only is Han not in the novel, he isn't mentioned at all. Vader tells Luke that it was Luke who shot at his Tie fighter, and near the end Luke mentions knowing "a scoundrel" that one of the other characters would like, but he is not named. Does Harrison get paid every time Han Solo is printed?
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Old August 7 2011, 02:18 AM   #11
Admiral James Kirk
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

Han wasn't included in the novel because he wasn't contracted to do any Star Wars sequels at the time, unlike Hamill and Fisher. However I thought the vague mention was sufficient. I was eight years old when I read that book and I knew exactly who Foster was talking about.
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Old August 7 2011, 02:25 AM   #12
DWF
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

TremblingBluStar wrote: View Post
- I was also surprised that Luke's light saber was described as blue. I know it was blue in Empire and Jedi, but in the first film it always looked white to me. Hell, it's white on the movie poster!
Luke's lightsaber was green in Jedi since he had to make a new after losing the blue one when e lost his hand on Besbin.
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Old August 7 2011, 02:36 AM   #13
TremblingBluStar
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

DWF wrote: View Post
Luke's lightsaber was green in Jedi since he had to make a new after losing the blue one when e lost his hand on Besbin.
I know. My point was, I thought it was white in the first film, and changed to blue in Empire. However, the book establishes that the light saber was meant to be blue all along, since the novel came out two years before Empire (though it is possible it was filming at the time).


Admiral James Kirk wrote: View Post
Han wasn't included in the novel because he wasn't contracted to do any Star Wars sequels at the time, unlike Hamill and Fisher. However I thought the vague mention was sufficient. I was eight years old when I read that book and I knew exactly who Foster was talking about.
Just found it odd that his name wasn't even mentioned. Most sequels where an important character doesn't show up because the actor wasn't available at least get dialogue explaining what they are up to (the character, not the actor).
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Old August 7 2011, 02:47 AM   #14
Procutus
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

Man, I haven't thought about this book in years. I think there's still an original copy on my wife's bookcase. I don't remember much about it, other than the fact it definitely went off in a different direction than the subsequent films did.

The cover art was cool, though.
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Old August 7 2011, 03:02 AM   #15
Admiral James Kirk
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Re: Star Wars - Splinter of the Mind's Eye

It was a Ralph McQuarrie cover.
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