Tales from the Empire
edited by Peter Schweighoffer
Published by Bantam Publishing
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
This is a collection of some of the stories written for the Star Wars Adventure Journal, a not widely published gaming handbook by West End Games. The paperback showcases the talents of fan writers like you and I as well as short stories written by Timothy Zahn, Michael Stackpole, and Kathy Tyers. The fan stories deal with sections of the Star Wars Universe far off of the beaten path while the stories written by Zahn and Stackpole are exciting prequels to fan favorites like the Heir to the Empire Trilogy, the X-Wing Rogue Squadron novels, and Shadows of the Empire. If you loved any of those books, this is a must read!!!
This is a great collection. I absolutely love the idea of fans having their stories become part of the official Star Wars Universe. I hope one of the publishers will figure out how to print stories like these instead of taking them out of the Adventure Journal. However, it is great to have them reprinted. This is because the Adventure Journal has an extremely low print run and each issue costs $12. This is the much more economical route to go if you love the stories, but don't want all the gaming extras.
The stories are fun. The authors are allowed to do much more daring things in the stroies since they are not messing with franchise characters. This allows them to be much more creative and still create a great Star Wars story. But don't think that some of your favorite characters don't show up! You'll see favorites like Darth Vader, Admiral Thrwan, Jodo Kast, Veers, Corran Horn, Mara Jade, and Talon Karrde. And if you don't like the style of the writer or the story you're reading, simply turn the page! That's the beauty of the short story collections. You'll find something you like.
There's very little to complain about with this book. At the very beginning, though, there's a very boring editorial by the Editor. It lasts for many pages and is rather boring. I would have preferred to have seen the pages used for another story. I guess the editor felt like he had to earn his money. But that's my next complaint. In some of the stories, they forgot to put spaces between the paragraphs! The scene would completely change with a whole new character talking, and you'd be totally thrown off because all of the text ran together. It rips you totally out of being immersed in the story. I also thought it was bogus to call it "Tales from the Empire". I was hoping they'd save that for a series of short stories based on Imperial Troops in the same spirit of the other "Tales of" books.
Finally, I hear from the fan authors of some of the stories that they though some of the choices of the stories were odd. For example, a couple of the stories published were from the middle of a series. That's kind of like seeing Empire before ANH. You're a bit confused. I hope Bantam prints some more so we can get the full story.
Slime trails. Read Zahn's first story and you'll see it's ugly.