Picked this up at the Hartville Flea Market a few weeks ago, and bought it pretty much on the cover image alone:
FANTASTIC. Definitely-not-Luke-Skywalker-in-Bespin-outfit and certainly-not-Princess-Leia and possibly-not-C-3PO beneath absolutely-not-a-Colonial-Viper-Cylon-Raider-dogfight.
Screams “shameless unlicensed late 1970s ripoff,” no?
But there’s the kicker: This is from nineteen eighty-four, and its contents mirror a British edition published just a year earlier. So this book is, in fact, five years past the close of the original Battlestar Galactica series, and a year removed from the conclusion of the original Star Wars trilogy.
What’s inside? Let’s ask the back cover blurb:
Seventeen stories from the exciting world of science fiction, including Star Wars and Doctor Who and tales by Jules Verne, Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke.
Excellent! Without further delay, then, here are the contents:
- Escape From the Death Star – from Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker, by George Lucas
- Trial by Combat, by Jay Williams
- The Lights of the City by Garry Kilworth
- Through the Moons of Mowl – from Dragonfall 5 and the Super Horse, by Brian Earnshaw
- The Star, by H.G. Wells
- Johnson, by Guy Weiner (I did not make this up. – JB)
- The Smallest Dragonboy, by Anne McCaffrey
- The First Half-hour – from Round the Moon, by Jules Verne
- A Walk in the Woods, by David Campton
- Summertime on Icarus, by Arthur C. Clarke
- Baptism of Fire – from Citizen of the Galaxy, by Robert A. Heinlein
- Collecting Team, by Robert Silverberg
- Marooned on Splatterbang – from Escape from Splatterbang, by Nicholas Fisk
- Terrafied, by Arthur Tofte
- Planet-fall on Isis – from The Keeper of the Isis Light, by Monica Hughes
- Half Life, by Rachel Cosgrove Payes
- Return to Peladon – from Doctor Who and the Monster of Peladon, by Terrance Dicks
Interesting mix, and I look forward to reading them.
(Digression: The text of Escape from the Death Star seems to be reprinted faithfully from chapter 10 and part of chapter 11 of the Star Wars novelization, although it does open with an original two-sentence setup: Luke Skywalker, the old Jedi warrior Ben Kenobi, Han Solo and their companions are deep in the heart of the enemy battle station, the Death Star. Danger threatens on all sides as they struggle to free the young and beautiful Princess Leia from the clutches of the evil dark warlord, Darth Vader…)
Here’s what else the back cover promises, though:
This spectacular collection is illustrated throughout with specially commissioned drawings.
And, oh, the treasures here. All the drawings are black-and-white and in the margins either alongside or beneath the text, and feel like they belong in a much earlier science fiction era.
Now, to be fair, I’m really only focused on the illustrations accompanying the Star Wars excerpt, because again, this was a full seven years after the movie’s debut, and we all knew full well what things looked like in that galaxy far, far away. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that at this point, some characters and ships were already considered iconic.
Here’s this edition’s illustration of R2-D2 and C-3PO:
…and here are Han and Chewbacca:
More? OK. Our heroes heading for the Millennium Falcon:
…and blasting their way past the TIE fighters:
And maybe my favorite: Darth Vader vs. Ben Kenobi.
Several of these are highly reminiscent of pre-production Star Wars art, which is also interesting.
As a bonus, here’s an illustration from the Doctor Who excerpt, including the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith.
The artwork and the typeface and the page layouts all combine to remind me an awful lot of the kid-focused science fiction books I loved when I was in elementary school.
It’s been a long time since I stumbled on anything this unexpected and fun at the flea market – and for less than a handful of change.
…and part 2:
Love the Sherlock scarf and Frodo’s hairy feet.
Also, when I got up for the marathon this morning, I found an incredibly nice and encouraging note from her.
And it came with a lucky mustache.
(Also, Jenn got me some cool shorts and a new swimsuit for an awesome family vacation that’s coming up. The excellence of the day will continue with vindaloo, which Jenn excels at making. The mustache: It is lucky!)
And finally, here’s a silly picture of me and my dad.
In addition to the reviews and interviews I did for GeekDad this year, I also wrote a half-dozen posts about things like discovering the TV show Eureka, spooky Ray Bradbury stories, and attending the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 with my daughter. I loved writing these.
Harry Potter and the Nostalgic GeekDad (Probably my favorite GeekDad contribution this year.)
GeekDad also featured my Delving Into Dungeons & Dragons As A Family post – originally from summer 2010 – as a “wayback machine” post this July. Since this is one of my other favorites, I was glad to see it up there again.
I reviewed some awfully fun stuff this year for GeekDad – a dozen books and a couple TV shows, most of which are well worth checking out:
Over at GeekDad I reviewed the DVD set of the amazing Sixth Series of Doctor Who, from “The Impossible Astronaut” to “The Wedding of River Song” and a ton of extras to boot.
And if that alone isn’t enough to encourage you to click over and read it, how about this: GeekDad has three sets of the series to give away to lucky readers – so seriously, if you’re a Doctor Who fan, or you know someone who’s a Doctor Who fan, and you want a chance to maybe get a very cool present for someone (or yourself!), click through and register for the drawing: You have until 11:59 p.m. EST, Monday Nov. 28, but you’re online now, so why wait?
1 ) Super 8 with Jenn & Kelsey Friday night. (Separate blog entry on the movie forthcoming.)
2) Completion of writing and editing duties for a soon-to-be-unveiled project.
3) Saturday: Summerish evening spent taking Kels to drive-in dinner at Sonic, then an hour or so just driving around some of the rural roads and talking. Also – at her request – introduced her to an off-the-beaten-path cemetery where there’s a statue that still kind of spooks me a little. (And yes, Weeping Angels references were made.)
4) North Coast Comic Con: My friend Bryan and I talked about his Giant Monsters Fighting A Lot miniatures game, Kaiju Kaos – which I’m looking forward to playing at GenCon in August – and I caught up with Sean Forney and talked about conventions and other assorted nerditry.
5) Kels & I made a frozen lasagna and Texas toast garlic bread for dinner, watched some Doctor Who while we ate, and followed up with fresh brownies she made as a surprise while I was at the convention.
I watched my first pre-2005 Doctor Who episodes over the weekend. Not only did they more than make up for my perception of the show as a kid, they inspired a GeekDad post:
So, this was my first Star Wars Celebration in five years, and my daughter’s first ever, as well as her first really humongous-scale convention, and we just had a spectacularly awesome day.
Kelsey and Jim and I arrived shortly after 10 a.m., and once inside the Orange County Convention Center, we made a beeline for an exhibit of Ralph McQuarrie original art, a good portion of which had only recently been rediscovered, and some of which hadn’t been viewed in decades. Seriously neat stuff, from the most bare-bones concept sketches to fully-realized designs that were just never used, like this one:
Then we visited the 501st costuming room –
– and the TK Helmet Project display:
…and then the R2-D2 Builders’ room (about which I wrote at GeekDad):
Jim went off to a photo shoot while Kelsey and I went with Adam & family to visit the exhibitors’ hall and take part in the construction of a giant Lego mural.
Off, then, to a Bonnie Burton talk about Star Wars crafts, after which we met Bonnie face-to-face and she presented Kelsey with a signed copy of her Girls Against Girls book, which was an awfully generous and most-appreciated gesture. (Yeah, Bonnie kind of rocks.)
We hit the showroom floor again for a longer stretch, and then took in a panel about model-building and The Empire Strikes Back presented by Lorne Peterson and Jon Berg – Jim rolled for initiative and caught Lorne’s attention afterward, so we talked for a moment and planned to meet up again over the next few days.
After that, Kelsey and I relaxed for a good long while over a Dr. Pepper and some french fries, and I talked to people I knew as they passed by.
Just before the main hall closed for the day, she and Jim and I popped in to take our turns posing in the giant Boba Fett action figure package.
We spent our last half-hour or so of the day hanging out at a collectors’ social, talking to friends, then called it a day and grabbed pizza on the way back to Jim’s.
Other super highlights: Jim surprising Kelsey with an original Katie Cook sketch of a Yellow Submarine; finally getting to chat with Steve Sansweet and having him sign my beat-up copy of his Star Wars: From Concept to Screen to Collectible, which played a hugely inspirational role in reinvigorating my love for the saga in the early ’90s (my Dark Times), and also giving him a copy of Collect All 21, which he asked me to sign; watching my daughter emerge from changing into her brand-new TARDIS-emblazoned Doctor Who shirt.
This was Kelsey’s only day here, and while she was exhausted at its close, she also had an awesome time, and no matter what else, that alone means I did, too.