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Book Review: Scum and Villainy

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4 Score
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Scum and Villainy: Case Files on the Galaxy's Most NotoriousTitle
Pablo HidalgoAuthor
23 October 2018Release date

Scum and Villainy is a collection of information and images of criminals and scoundrels from the Star Wars universe. The book is written (in the book) by Exantor Divo, a police commissioner in the New Republic. He is, just like his mother and grandfather were before him, in law enforcement. His grandfather, Tan Divo, was police inspector in the Republic before and during the Clone Wars, while his mother, Andressa Divo, was an agent in the Imperial Security Bureau during the time of the Galactic Empire. In this book Exantor has collected information and stories from records of both his family members and his own and we get a good picture of the criminal underworld during these three eras.

Hidalgo writes as Exantor and gives background information on criminals, gangs, rebels and bounty hunters. Names like Moralo Eval, Saw Gerrera, Grummgar, Boba Fett, Dengar and, because these are also compiled from Imperial documents, Leia Organa and Han Solo have been included. Hidalgo chose both well-known and lesser-known characters to highlight, like characters we only see in the background of the films or that have roles in the Clone Wars TV series. In addition to characters he also talkes about gangs and organizations like the Scrumrats of Corellia and the Hutts.

As far as the information goes, we do not get a lot of news bits, Hidalgo mostly seizes the opportunity to put characters and situations from books, comics and the Clone Wars in the spotlight again, which makes for a lot of 'Oh, right!' moments. Hidalgo talks about the evolution of Boba Fett, how he stood out as a teenager as a member of the Krayt's Claw Gang during the Clone Wars, but Tan Divo soon realized Fett was the leader of the gang and because we look at multiple eras we see Boba later coming back as a ruthless and extremely skilled Bounty Hunter. The situation with the Xrexus Cartel is partially described, the comic story in which a Jedi Padawan was captured and sold to the highest bidder on a black market auction. Obviously, Hondo Ohnaka could not be left out of a book like this and he shows up a number of times. A letter is included that he leaves behind on ships that his gang has plundered, in which he apologizes and hopes that the crew of the plundered ship understands the situation. He also indicates they should be proud to have been robbed by the great Weequay pirate.

What makes the book especially worthwhile is the artwork, almost every page has a large image that represents the character in question, these images are mostly stills from security holograms, but sometimes they are wanted posters. There are also letters, brochures or images of weapons or other equipment included.

The pieces of art are all breathtaking and definitely worth coming back to again and again. Artwork like the overview shot of a New Republic Patrol walking through a market or the lifelike portrait of Moloch are gems that would look great on any wall.

The book itself is also nicely designed. The book comes in a clear plastic slip case which has the title printed on it, so the cover, which consists of a cool image of some scum and villainy, is uncluttered by text once removed from the case.

All in all, Hidalgo delivered another great book that you can browse through on a rainy afternoon. Reading through all the information is fun and educational, but the artwork really steals the show and makes this a book that is perfect to leave on the coffee table so you can keep enjoying the artwork by artists like Raph Lomotan, Ronan Le Fur, Russell Walks, Will Biks, Gunship Revolution, Rodrigo Ramos, Alberto Rocha, Lucas Parolin, Fares Maese, Studio Hive and Chris Trevas.

Scrumrats attack surveillance cam by Lucas Parolin (link) Moloch of the White Worms by Lucas Parolin (right)

Scrumrats attack surveillance cam by Lucas Parolin (left)
Moloch of the White Worms by Lucas Parolin (right)

Wanted: Bom Vimdin by Raph Lomotan (left) Wanted: Chelli Lona Aphra by Lucas Parolin (right)

Wanted: Bom Vimdin by Raph Lomotan (left)
Wanted: Chelli Lona Aphra by Lucas Parolin (right)

Grumgar Holo Image by Fares Maese (left) Illegal hunting encoded advert by Gunship Revolution (right)

Grumgar Holo Image by Fares Maese (left)
Illegal hunting encoded advert by Gunship Revolution (right)

Thanks to Epic Ink for making available Star Wars: Scum and Villainy: Case Files on the Galaxy's Most Notorious for this review.

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Reference works

Book Review: Star Wars Icons: Han Solo

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Star Wars Icons: Han Solo

Publisher: Insight Editions

Author: Gina McIntyre

Release: November 2019 (Hardcover)

Pages: 241

NB: This book is currently only available through Sideshow en Amazon UK. From April 2019 it will also be available through other stores and websites.

It is not often that a complete reference work is devoted to one Star Wars character. C-3PO (Tales of the Golden Droid, 1999) and Darth Vader (The Story of Darth Vader, 1998 and The Complete Father, 2009) were the first many years ago and now there is Star Wars Icons: Han Solo; a book about, you guessed it: perhaps the most popular Star Wars character ever.

To play the same open card: Harrison Ford's Han Solo is my favorite movie character ever and Ford is even my favorite actor. Add to that the fact that the author Gina McIntyre has made use of an interview that I have taken out of which I am mentioned in the credits and it is difficult to remain objective, but I am going to try.

When I opened the book I was genuinely impressed: where I mostly expected photos that had already been published in countless other reference works (such as the three Making Of's by JW Rinzler) showed that there is still enough to keep the fans in the Lucasfilm archives. to surprise. The book is packed with photographs, drawings and sketches of which more than enough are really new. Add to that that it is a nice size and has a hard cover, so it is absolutely good in terms of presentation.

But is the textual content also of the same level? The book describes the character Han Solo. Of course one starts with how George Lucas came up with this character and how he became the smuggler of Corellia from a green alien (the original idea). This also includes the entire casting process (among others Walken, Russell, Katt and Nolte were on the list of Lucas). Gina McIntyre then describes the role of both Solo and Ford in the original trilogy, which is done in a comprehensive manner, but unfortunately matters such as the alleged affair of Ford with Carrie 'Leia' Fisher or how Howard Kazanjian played a role in the return of Ford. in front of Return of the Jedi get no attention. 241 of the 115 pages are spent on 'Original Trilogy Han'.

What I did not follow on this scale from page 116: 26 pages dedicated to Legends / Expanded Universe Han; the Han Solo, which we stopped until Disney in 2014 stopped the Expanded Universe to come up with their own stories. Things like the Solo trilogies of both Brian Daley and AC Crispin are coming along just like the old Marvel and Dark Horse comics. This segment is really fantastic and I suspect the author is almost of himself an 'EU' fan.

After this, things like 'The Han Solo effect' (the character influences characters like Indiana Jones, Jack Burton, Malcolm Reynolds and Madmartigan) and 'Where's Han' (in which the Special Editions, art, merchandise, the radio plays and West End) Games are discussed) discussed.

The last 73 pages are then before The Force Awakens en Solo: A Star Wars Story where Disney's version of Han is highlighted as well as the new canon books and comics.

I think no one can deny that this is just an excellent book that Ford / Solo fans love. On the other hand, it must be said that if you have very little with the character you can logically get bored.

I at least certainly express my hope that this will grow into a series and in the future more 'Star Wars Icons: ...' books will appear. Leia, Luke, C-3PO, Obi-Wan and Yoda like to be first.

Special thanks go to Chris van Insight Editions and to author Gina McIntyre.

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Reference works

Book Review: Women of the Galaxy

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4.5 Score
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Women of the GalaxyTitle
Amy RatcliffeAuthor
30 October 2018Release date

Women of the Galaxy CoverWomen of the Galaxy by Amy Ratcliffe is a collection of summaries of the lives and adventures of 75 female Star Wars characters. In alphabetical order Ratcliffe discusses well-known characters like Leia Organa, Rey and Hera Syndulla as well as lesser known characters like Kaydel Ko Connix, Derla Pidys and the Tonnika sisters. Each character gets at least a two page spread on which her life and adventures are summarized, making the book more or less an encyclopedia and an excellent reference work to look up various things about these characters. In addition to the information Ratcliffe shares in a very understandable and fun way, each character also gets at least one full page piece of art by a female or non-binary artist. Some of these characters have never been depicted before.

The size of the book, the beautiful page lay-out, the short and clear text and the over XNUMX pieces of amazing art make Women of the Galaxy not just a decent reference book, but it is also very suitable for having lie around the house so it can be opened up to enjoy the art whenever you feel like it. The eighteen artists each have their own style, from somewhat realistic to rather cartoony, but each of them was able to represent the characters in a way that suits them very well. From the static portrait of Rae Sloane, in uniform with two Stormtroopers behind her (from the hand of Cryssy Cheung) to the dynamic shot of Sabine Wren jumping away from a colorful explosion (by Sara Alfageeh) or the helmet/mask-less Phasma with her home world of Parnassos in the background (by Annie Stoll). Each and every one of them is masterpiece. The artwork alone is worth the price for the book. Fans of Star Wars related art will enjoy the book and maybe find new artists whose work they can start following.

Ratcliffe rotes about all of the chosen characters to get the reader acquainted with her. The character’s life and personality are summarized and here and there Ratcliffe shares a quote from a (voice) actor or author to give the character a bit more depth and to show what makes these characters unique and recognizable. We don’t really learn any new facts in this book but Ratcliffe shares the information with humor and a in a friendly style. Ratcliffe seems to be talking to the reader, it is not like the reader is reading a Wookipedia article. Nothing wrong with Wookiepedia of course, that is still the best place to get as complete a picture as possible of a character. But Ratcliffe makes the lives of these 75 characters accessible and fun for readers of all ages, where it is irrelevant whether the reader has a lot or very little prior knowledge.

The only drawback of a book like Women of the Galaxy is that it can never be complete, although there are certainly characters that we will probably never hear about again and the summary in this book will be adequate, think of characters such as Oola and Camie Marstrap. For others such as Rey, Leia and Ahsoka there are so many more stories ahead pf us that it is a shame that their complete story can not be told here. On the other hand, the book is currently so complete and up to date that Ratcliffe even shares information about Star Wars Resistance characters like Aunt Z and Torra Doza. But if we are honest, a reference book in the Star Wars world can never be complete, it is clear that we can look forward to new stories for many years and years to come. Perhaps we will see a sequel or an updated edition of Women of the Galaxy in the future.

The design and content of the book is so good that I would love to see more books like it with various themes in the future.

Women of the Galaxy is definitely recommended for fans of good characters or great artwork. Or for fans who just want to have a good overview of life stories and adventures of these characters on their shelf.

Sana Starros by Jennifer Aberin Johnson

Sana Starros by Jennifer Aberin Johnson

Coat Emari by Eli Baumgartner

Coat Emari by Eli Baumgartner

Padmé Amidala by Geneva Bowers

Padmé Amidala by Geneva Bowers

With thanks to Chronicle Books for making available Women of the Galaxy for this review.

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Reference works

Book Review: The Star Wars Historical Sourcebook: Volume One: 1971-1976

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4.5 Score
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The Star Wars Historical Sourcebook: Volume One: 1971-1976Title
WR MillerAuthor
396Number of pages
Pulp Hero PressPublishing
July 2018Release date
$ 29,95 (Amazon.com)Recommended retail price

In recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that the end was in sight in terms of good 'original trilogy' reference works. Almost everything has been lit up and if something came out it was often gimmicks that had to sell the 'old wine in new bags'.

How different is this The Star Wars Historical Sourcebook: Volume One: 1971-1976 WR (Bob) Miller, a sober book with a chronological overview of what happened from 1971 to 1976 on Star Wars area.

I hear you now think: "1971? But is Star Wars out of 1977? "Yes, but in 1971 radio host Terry McGovern (who can be heard in A New Hope as the voice of a Stormtrooper) came up with the term" Wooky ", something that was later distorted by George Lucas into Wookiee . This is just one of many facts that the reader will discover.

Miller's approach to this book is 'sickly good' and it is immediately clear why the publication of this publication took many years. The number of sources that he consulted is enormous (books, magazines, Facebook posts ... and I can proudly say that he also used a lot of interviewed interviews) and there is no fact lost in this book that the first in a series is.

As said before, the strength and uniqueness of this book is the fact that it is huge on details; 396 pages about the years before the very first Star Wars film is something that has never been shown before. This has two consequences: for the real Star Wars historian it is a big party with all these facts while for the casual fan it will feel like a dry fact book which also does not contain any photo or image (the reason is that it not released under the Disney license). As the following examples of a few pages show, it is purely a chronological exposition of facts and statements with reference to the source and not a fluent narrative whole.

The Star Wars Historical Sourcebook has become a serious, gimmickless book packed with unique, never before published information. I would like to say: it was time again.

Incidentally, leading people from the Star Wars history as Gary Kurtz (producer), Charles Lippincott (head of marketing), Craig Miller (editor-in-chief Bantha Tracks) and Lorne Peterson (ILM) have already expressed themselves in praise as a huge 'stamp of approval' given can become.

To conclude with the words of Gary Kurtz:

"This historical sourcebook is an extraordinarily complete work, annotating almost everything that has been written about the original Star Wars Trilogy (now called Episodes 4, 5, and 6). I have found this sourcebook very useful for my own research into questions I am asked in interviews. Bob Miller has done a monumental job on this sourcebook and any true Star Wars fan or scholar must have this work in their collection. "

The Star Wars Historical Sourcebook: Volume One: 1971-1976 is available on various Amazon sites:

Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk en Amazon.de

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Book reviews

Book Review: The Star Wars Sourcebook

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The Star Wars Sourcebook (Hardcover)

Publisher: West End Games

Authors: Curtis Smith & Bill Slavicsek

Pages: 142

Release: 1 October 1987

A long time ago ... to be exact in 1987, Star Wars was dying. After three cinema films, 2 spinoff films, 2 animated series and a Marvel comic series, it was over and over with the franchise ... that's how it seemed, because games manufacturer West End Games (WEG) launched the Star Wars Role playing game that year, that (as it turned out later) would play a very important role in the future of Star Wars ...

When I discovered this game (also a long time ago) at an Eindhoven games fair, I bought it directly ... not so much because of the game but about the many expansion books. Around this game, WEG released various sourcebooks and Galaxy guides. These editions contain information that was unique at that time (no internet, hardly Star Wars books). Where the Galaxy guides contain information about the characters from one of the three films or a planet, the sourcebooks were broader in nature: both the Rebels and the Imperials each had an edition and there was also a general: The Star Wars sourcebook, a real Star Wars bible in the end of the years 80 / early years 90. This 142 pages hardcover gave the reader for the first time detailed descriptions about things like ships (how long are they? What are they?), Weapons, characters, droids, aliens, bases (including floor plans) ... even a specified overview of Han Solos Debt at Jabba the Hutt is not lacking. All this information is accompanied by short stories and statistics that can be used for the game. 'Despite' these (not in abundance) statistics, the book does not feel like a part of a game but rather as an informative Star Wars book. In the late 80 / early years of 90 this was groundbreaking and opened the gates for even more Star Wars book releases. It will not be a coincidence that not many years after this release Timothy Zahn's The Thrawn trilogy appeared which was the beginning of the Expanded Universe renaissance.

I can hear you thinking now "Ok Dennis, you convinced me! But ... the book is more than 30 years old so it will not be easily available. "Good news: games manufacturer Fantasy Flight Games will be reprinted later this year with a special 30th anniversary from the sourcebook and the role playing game book! Can not you wait so long? Then you can here read the complete book online.

For me personally this book has a huge nostalgic value. As I said, I discovered it during the 'dark years of Star Wars' in which there was hardly anything to be found. The Special Editions and Prequels were light years away and this book was 'A New Hope' to stay in Star Wars terms. Even the paper still has that characteristic oldskool scent, so I can always imagine myself on the exhibition floor of the game spectacle in Eindhoven.

Final score:

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