Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Han Solo Adventures (1979)

I've recently re-read author Brian Daley's "Han Solo Adventures" novels, originally published in 1979, and have started on A.C. Crsipin's "Han Solo Trilogy," published almost 20 years later.

Daley's novels are set in the Star Wars universe just two years before the events of Star Wars (1977 - I refuse to call it "A New Hope"). The trilogy follows the smuggling days of Han Solo and Chewbacca as they ply their trade in an area of the Empire known as the Corporate Sector, accompanied by a droid named Bollux. The books were released April, June and August 1979 respectively. They also were published as an omnibus edition in 1992.

When these came out, licensed Star Wars continuations were still a rarity outside of the Marvel comic book, and it was almost as big a deal as Alan Dean Foster's Splinter Of the Mind's Eye. I bought all three books as soon as I could - the first in paperback and the other two in hardcover through the Science fiction Book Club - and read and re-read them dozens of times. Han Solo was pretty much my favorite character in the movie - still is - and although I wasn't a big fan of Bollux (or his companion Blue Max), and didn't quite grasp the concept of the "Corporate Sector," I was just thrilled to have new Solo adventures to read.

In Han Solo At Star's End, our favorite Corellian smuggler has to break Chewbacca and some other allies out of the Corporate Sector Authority's covert prison facility, the titular "Star's End." In Han Solo's Revenge, Han and Chewie break up a slavery operation, and in Han Solo And The Lost Legacy, they go off in search of a legendary lost treasure ship, Queen of Ranroon.

These books were a big part of my adolescence, so I was pleased (and surprised) to discover from Wikipedia that events of these books have been incorporated into the official timeline of the Star Wars universe by "being contextualized in interludes in Rebel Dawn, the final book of Ann C. Crispin's Han Solo Trilogy."

Which is a book I haven't yet read, although I expect to shortly. I did buy a copy of Crispin's first Han Solo novel, The Paradise Snare, back when it first came out in '98, but never got around to reading it until about a week or so ago, when I finished re-reading the Daley trilogy. I actually rather enjoyed it - The Paradise Snare is a chronicle of Solo's early years up until he enrolls in the Imperial Academy - and ordered the other two books through an online dealer who had used copies for a penny apiece. I expect them to show up any day now.

After that, I'll probably try and get my hands on the "The Adventures of Lando Calrissian" novels by L. Neil Smith, which were published way back in the early 80s. I've always been curious about Lando's adventures as master of the Millennium Falcon... although I doubt they'll be as much fun as THIS.


  1. Hey Chris! I can't believe I have only just come across this blog. I too am from the 'born 1965' generation, and this blog really does mirror my own preferences to 60s and 70s Sci-Fi.
    Great stuff! Keep up the fantastic work...If I find anything that is relevant or particular to this part of the world (Australia) I'll send it your way.
    Oh, by the way, I too call it the first 'Star Wars' movie. None of this 'New Hope' crap.

  2. I've always thought that there was a LOT more to tell about Lando. I'll be watching for your review of those books, maybe I'll beat you to it. :)

    Now, about this on line dealer that can sell you books at a penny a piece? Are you going to share the love here? :)

  3. "Now, about this on line dealer that can sell you books at a penny a piece? Are you going to share the love here?"

    Just one of the second-party dealers on Amazon. Lots of good deals there, if you're willing to buy used and can handle the postage.

  4. I really loved those Daley books, they were just so much fun. I got a copy of the entire trilogy in, oh, '80 or '81 I guess, and read them until they fell apart!

  5. I enjoyed the Daley Solo books. However, I gave up on the Lando ones after reading the first one. Weak plot and poor writing as far as I remember. It just felt like the had copy/replace to switch Solo for Lando.

    I am not really a huge fan of the SW universe stuff. I only read Splinter in the Mind's Eye and the Daley books before loosing interest.

    Still I may try to get copies of these again as you have rekindled my interest in them.

  6. Splinter and the Solo books were the only Star Wars novels (other than the Star Wars and Empire novelizations) I read for decades. When Ballantine launched the "Expanded Universe" fiction line with the Timothy Zahn trilogy in the early 90s, I picked those up and enjoyed them, but they didn't spark any interest in reading any more. Same with all the Dark Horse comics. The only SW comics I like are the fun old Marvel books.

    I picked up the A.C. Crispin Han Solo book back in '98, simply out of nostalgia for the Daley novels; but as I said above, I never actually read it until a week or so ago. And while I am planning to read the other two books in that trilogy, I'm not going to run out and buy any more Star Wars stuff.

  7. I never got around to reading the Marvel Star Wars books. I read a few of the Dark Horse ones, but enjoyed the Al Williams books quite a bit, and those called Star Wars Tales (short stories set in that universe).

  8. Just started rereading these myself, and the Lando Calrissian adventures (VERY different from the Solo books, but enjoyable on their own merits, a little more flashy and surreal would be my take). You should also check out Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, it's more recent but the author stated that it was an attempt to "get Star Wars stories back to their pulp roots, like the Han Solo novels", and it is a lot of fun, even throws in comic book continuity with Fenn Shysa. Oh wow, geeking out quite a bit here.
    Also, love this blog, I really do, and am glad to finally drop a line, so to speak. All the best,

  9. Christopher, I see you kept to your promise, back in the comments of your previous ADF post, and *did* give us your Daley/Solo take. Cool.

    These were some of my faves from back then. There are a very select few books that really hit my "remember when" nerve. And *Han Solo's Revenge* is one of those. I still have these, and actually thought about buying a 2nd copy, only because they were in the cardboard bookcase thingamajig, and also because I'm dorky like that. In fact, I just might still go snag that collection. LOL

    I have picked up, and then put back, the Lando books numerous times. They look like they would be GREAT, but I have read several BAD reviews of them. Still, they are cheap ($1 around these parts) so maybe I should try them myself.

    I've been on a real SW kick lately myself... again. Been introducing my kiddos (6 and 4 y.o.) to the *real* deal.

    Anyway, great post, per usual. Thanks!

  10. I'm re-reading them, too. I think you may find the latter two books far less enjoyable than Paradise Snare (I am)... but I'm just reaching the Corporate Sector section, and I'll be interested in seeing how they tie things in (since I haven't picked up these books in about 20 years).