Tales of the Bounty Hunters

June 13, 2018 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

talesTales of the Bounty Hunters, edited by Kevin J. Anderson

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Man, it feels like it’s been a couple of months since I’ve read anything for my Star Wars project. I got bogged down with a long, dense series of books that took a lot of time to read, so it was nice to return to the Expanded Universe, even if it was in a collection of shorter works, and not a full novel. I much prefer the novel-length stories, but I did commit to everything in the EU, so here we are.

The first story of the bunch is Therefore I Am: The Tale of IG-88 by Kevin J. Anderson, and it’s pretty stupid. Parts of the story don’t make much sense (for the arsenal Anderson builds in to it, along with its weight, it would have to be about twenty feet tall), and by the end, the assassin droid tries to implant itself into the central computer of the second Death Star. It’s not written well, either. It has lots of telling, and some of the dialogue is laughable.

Payback: The Tale of Dengar by Dave Wolverton follows, and is a better-told story, but it smacks of a juvenile story. This isn’t a surprise, since Wolverton has written a few juvenile books for the EU. I like how Wolverton develops the character, but his characterization isn’t the best. I didn’t feel any connection with any of his main characters, and given how he ends the story, that’s pretty critical. Speaking of the ending, it’s a little ridiculous.

The next novella is The Prize Pelt: The Tale of Bossk by Kathy Tyers, and I had a hard time following parts of the story. It doesn’t seem like a difficult story, but I kept checking out, so I lost some of the threads. Tyers telegraphs some details about the ending of the story by making some small parts of the story strangely significant when they’re revealed. It’s not the most gripping tale, but that could be due to the fact that Tyers doesn’t make Bossk at all likeable.

The best story in the collection is Of Possible Futures: The Tale of Zuckuss and 4-LOM by M. Shayne Bell. It’s a touching story of redemption, loyalty, and friendship, made effective by Bell’s characterization skills. He focuses on three characters, the titular bounty hunters and a Rebel commander, and even though the story is short, it resonates because of them. Some parts of the story were convenient, but the rest of it was so effective that I can overlook them.

The anthology wraps up with The Last One Standing: The Tale of Boba Fett by Daniel Keys Moran, featuring everyone’s favorite bounty hunter. Unfortunately, Moran doesn’t do much with the story. He attempts to, going further back into Fett’s life to establish an origin, and then takes him far beyond the events of Return of the Jedi to tell us about his end. This doesn’t work as well as Moran thinks it does, not just because the ending is a cop-out with no real conclusion. He spoils a lot of the later books in the chronology, since this story spans so much time. That’s on me, since I chose to read these in chronological order, but it still goes a lot further than expected. Plus, it’s hard reconciling this story with the canon Lucas established in the prequels (though I’ll admit, what Moran does with the character is far better than what Lucas did with it).

If I were to recommend this book, it would only be for Bell’s story. The rest don’t have enough OOMPH to make them stand out, despite having a lot of potential. As anthologies go, though, this isn’t a bad one, since the stories are longer than short stories, and allow for more development. It’s just a shame the authors couldn’t all make something better out of the source material.

Started: April 28, 2018
Finished: April 29, 2018

1 Comment

  1. pcochrun said,

    I’ve had this one on my shelf for years. Your review tells me I need to crack it open!

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