I liked it. It’s certainly from the original Star Wars universe. It feels like Star Wars. By that I mean it feels in line with Star Wars. The characters we already knew from the movie are directly continued in the book. No surprises, and some of their dialogue and responses are comfortably familiar. It differs, however, in that it’s not a deep, vast, outer space adventure. It’s a smaller, more intimate story and it takes place in one location. I can see where fans of Star Wars EU wouldn’t dig it if they were expecting an action-based, space battle adventure. It’s not like that at all. In fact, there’s almost no space travel. Just enough to start the story.
It was published in early 78, written in 77, before Star Wars became a summer blockbuster. Because it was written as the sequel to Star Wars, it should hold a position of importance in the Star Wars entity for at least one very important fact - it is proof there was never any grand vision or story beyond Star Wars. If Lucas really had 12\9\6 stories in the form of 1\2\3\4 trilogies, he would have certainly used one of them as the sequel and not commissioned someone else to come up with a story. He wrote A script and made a movie out of it. Period. No grand vision, no starting in the middle of the second trilogy, no saga, no 12 movie quadruple trilogy, nothing.
Splinter works because it’s written by someone other than Lucas – someone with imagination and the ability to move a story along without having to needlessly and poorly explain the back-story of every character involved just to come up with some sort of substance. It’s a second story about the characters we already knew – a farm boy who has matured somewhat, a beautiful princess he’s smitten with, and a bad guy that ranks fairly high in the military. They aren’t related to each other, nor were they ever (only when Lucas had writer’s block, did he sink to that level). If they had been, Lucas wouldn’t have Ok’d the story. Foster didn’t need that sort of cheesiness to create tension or suspense. He used story instead. I’m sorry it wasn’t used as the second film. It could have been done really well.
Anyway, it’s a good story, albeit a small one, and it’s worth reading if you dig Star Wars of the 70s and are interested in seeing what it could have been before Lucas started trying to get creative. There’s some interesting twists, tense moments, and a little expanding on the characters we already knew. It’s a Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia story only. You get a deeper look into her character too. I particularly liked the Temple of Pomojema portion of the book. It would have made for great stuff in a movie. I’ll read it again. Probably wait until my vacation next year – make it my annual summer adventure novel.
I found it very interesting how many things from Splinter made it into future Lucas films. Some vague and some blatant.
The crash landing onto the swamp planet of Mimban was almost completely duplicated as the crash landing onto the swamp planet of Degobah in Empire.
The Wandrella, a giant worm with several rows of teeth all around its circular mouth, makes an appearance in Return.
Vader falling backwards, out of sight, in a light-saber battle – Empire.
Luke in a jail cell with giant aliens – Return.
The princess as a servant girl – used as a cover in Splinter, becomes reality in Return.
The primitive Coway tribe surprising\ambushing the Imperial stormtroopers with crude weapons and nets is very similar to the Ewoks doing the same in Return.
The overall story of the book – good guys (man and woman with sexual tension) racing to get thing with special power before bad guys get it and use the power for evil – is Raiders Of The Lost Ark. The ark taking the place of the crystal, the Nazis taking the place of the Empire, and Indy & Marion taking the place of Luke and Leia.
I’m sure there are others I may have missed. These are not criticisms, by the way. I just found it interesting that Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye ended up scattered all over Lucas’ world for years afterward.
Anyway, like I said before, I enjoyed it and will read it again.
Next up – my review of the Star Wars radio drama. I’m one chapter into it and really liking it so far. Maybe a week from now.
"Why are you here, Rey from nowhere?”