When I was in elementary school in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Star Wars was the biggest thing ever. Who had what Star Wars toys (that is a huge story on its own), what Star Wars was on the way, etc. Every boy had something Star Wars… show-and-tell was dominated by us bringing in our Star Wars toys to show off.
And in the school library, there was one single copy of Han Solo’s Revenge. Everybody would check it out, including myself, but I never read it. I find this hard to believe, since I was going through Hardy Boys books like crazy, but I just couldn’t get into it. I remember thinking about how many words there were in the thing. The Hobbit was the same way, except I did get through that, but stopped cold with the huge Fellowship of the Ring right after.
What is funny is that Han Solo’s Revenge is a really fast read now, it just isn’t that long. The Hobbit, that epic tome, is amazingly shorter than I remember. And the Hardy Boys? Those are nothing to go through now!
So, when I reached Junior High School, I was able to acquire the rest of the Han Solo Trilogy through flea markets, and I remember reading all three at least three times before I was out of Drake Junior High. They were so much fun!
I re-read them in High School, and a few years ago, I started again and am almost finished. Just great stuff.
Somewhere along the line, I was able to get (and I have no idea where I bought them) the hardback versions of these books, along with Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, (Which, if Star Wars didn’t do well, was going to be made into the sequel instead of Empire Strikes Back, and was specifically written with minimal characters and special effects for that reason) and the Alien and Aliens novelization. This makes for a really great set!
Now, these Star Wars books that I have are just four out of seven. There was a trilogy of Lando Calrissian books as well, in paperback. Of course, I now want the hardbacks to complete my set. But Lando’s books didn’t sell as well, and the hardbacks are incredibly hard to find. I’ve never actually seen any in real life before.
And so, this is one of my life-long quests… to get the final three. Tonight, on eBay, I found two options for one of the Lando books, and one option for another, and zero for the third book. All were over a hundred bucks.
And I haven’t even read the paperbacks (I have an omnibus reprint of the Lando trilogy, too) of Lando yet.
I did buy the Barnes & Noble leather-bound deluxe volume of the second Han Solo trilogy last year, this one written by A.C. Crispin, the author who did the V novelization that I read many times back in the 1980s (that one was enormous compared to books like The Hobbit! I haven’t read that, but apparently it is well regarded.
This, however, is as far as I go into Star Wars books. The Expanded Universe of Star Wars isn’t a place I have enough interest in going, for several reasons, but I really do enjoy this old-school stuff. The very first books in a very, very large fictional universe. It is also very nice to remember how tough Han Solo’s Revenge was to read in elementary school, and now easy it is to read now! As if I’m so much smarter than I was then!
Also, the above Alien and Aliens books, I actually read those before seeing the movies! The books were frightening on their own! In the early 1980s, there was a summer or two where every Saturday, we would go to the huge Mile High Flea Market, my dad would give me some money and we would just go buy stuff. If you scroll way down, you’ll see the antique World War I painting I bought for a dollar, that some guy tried to buy from me for two dollars. No way, bud!
I was always on the prowl for comic books… five cents per was ideal, ten cents was a lot, but a quarter for a comic book? You can keep it! I would sometimes come back with a stack of great Uncle Scrooge, Archie, or Richie Rich and would read them over and over, keeping a stack to read, and when I got to the bottom of the stack, I just started over. Good times. During the winter, I’d go into the bathroom with a blanket, sit on the floor over the heating vent, and read in the heat. I’d read the stack every day over cereal during breakfast.
Anyway, I would always see a lot of this Alien novelization, it was everywhere, and the cover and title were really intriguing. Eventually, I bought it, read it, and read it again. Then I got the Aliens novelization. Eventually, my sister and I rented both movies and watched them with the lights out, sitting in our recliners and as the movie went on, we were both rocking our respective recliners faster and faster out of nervousness as the movies played on, and if you’ve seen them, you know why!
It was so neat to just find some book that I didn’t know anything about, get it for next-to-nothing, and have it be one of the best books I’d ever enjoyed, leading to two of the best movies ever made, movies that I never, ever get tired of watching.
So, getting the hardback versions was a no-brainer, and there is no way I’d ever part with these books. Especially if I can land the Calrissian set at some point!