From a Certain Point of View by Elizabeth Schaefer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Star Wars fiction has always been a mixed bag, and the same is true of this collection. The concept behind From a Certain Point of View is wonderful: iconic moments from A New Hope, told from the eyes of ancillary characters. But, as it turns out, there are only so many times one can listen to a new perspective on the iconic Mos Eisley cantina scene before it gets played out. When I got to the fifth story talking about Ponda Baba or the cantina’s tender, I was over it. The problem is, not all of the stories in this collection are created equal, and I would have much rather had a single, well-written perspective on that scene, rather than several with drastic ranges in quality.
The stories in this collection shine when they get farther away from the main action of the films and weave narratives about characters you wouldn’t expect. The Sith of Datawork, by Ken Liu, tells the story of the data fixer who helped cover for the storm trooper that didn’t fire on R2 and C-3P0’s pod, and it’s amazing. Born in the Storm is written in the form of an imperial incident report from a storm trooper who watched his commander get mind tricked and loves dewbacks. It’s these wacky asides that are the best content in this book and I would have been happy with nothing else.
Most of the book’s stumbles come from writers trying to take the subject matter too seriously. I love A New Hope, but it’s full of plot holes, and that can make it hard to weave a serious narrative around it. There are a few notable exceptions, mainly related to the battle at the Death Star, but for the most part, the serious stories were the ones I enjoyed the least.
My advice, pick and choose which stories sound interesting to you and skip the rest! If you’re not a Star Wars fan, it’s not the book for you.
Are you a fan of adventure, drunk anti-heroes, or adventuring drunk anti-heroes? Maybe you should check out my books! Whiteout is the first in a planned trilogy, starring Nick Ventner, drunk monster hunter extraordinaire. Whiteout sees Nick pitted against the mythical yeti and a merciless mountain in a race against time with enemies hot on his heels.
More info on Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15019448.Ashton_Macaulay