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Audiobook Review: From A Certain Point Of View: The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars)
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Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back by Various Authors

From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View: Book 2 of 2
Multiple Authors and Narrators
Publisher: Del Rey | Random House Audio
Release date: November 11, 2020

Just in time for the 40th anniversary of the greatest science fiction film ever made (sure, that’s arguable, but I’ll gladly argue it) and the greatest sequel ever made (again, arguable, but I’ll still argue it), The Empire Strikes Back, comes a collection of stories of those characters who either never saw any screen time, saw so little that few remember them, or, as you’ll see in this book and review, couldn’t communicate their stories in Earth-bound languages until now. That book? From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars), the companion book to that which was written with the same purpose for the previous film.

The anthology contains 40 stories each written by a different contributing author and, for the purpose of the audiobook version, voiced by different narrators. Although there is some narrator overlap, I don’t recall any of those being in back-to-back stories so there is little chance for confusion. As you might expect, especially if you read the previous collection based on the first Star Wars film, there is a wide ranging mix of story quality here. Some are really good, some not so. Some stories offer a very unique perspective, while others just seem to provide a different point of view of a scene to which we are all very accustomed given our multiple viewings of the film dating back to a very young age.

Some of the more unique contributions include Mark Oshiro’s “Hunger” from the Wampa’s point of view in its fight with Luke Skywalker, as well as Delilah S. Dawson’s “She Will Keep Them Warm” featuring Murra, one of the Tauntauns, er, conscripted by the Rebel Alliance as transportation on Hoth. Now you understand my comment about those who “couldn’t communicate their stories in Earth-bound languages until now.”

Other notable stories include one about a character who once had a voice, but no longer does in the traditional sense… L3-37, Lando’s co-pilot in the Millennium Falcon prior to her losing physical sentience and being uploaded into the ship’s nav computer in Solo: A Star Wars Story. I enjoyed that one in addition to Lydia Kang’s “Right-Hand Man” about 2-1B, the medical droid that gave Luke Skywalker his, heh heh, prosthetic right hand at the end of the movie.

Unfortunately, these were the few stories that truly held my interest. Is it wrong that I was mostly interested in stories about creatures and droids and not the more humanoid characters? That’s how it seemed to pan out. Many of the remainders were ones that I had built myself up for a bit too much (the bounty hunters) and was summarily let down or were for such minor characters that I really had difficulty gaining a vested interest. In some cases, I can blame burnout. 40 stories is a lot to slog through, especially with many of them clocking in at a half hour minimum and some feeling closer to the hour mark, although the 17:59 total runtime might argue against that. It’s a lot of Star Wars to handle, even for a lifelong fan like myself.

Maybe I’m just suffering from Star Wars overload like so many others. Perhaps it’s best to listen to these tales in small doses over time, as opposed to trying to get through it before moving to your next reading/listening selection.

From the publisher:

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Celebrate the legacy of The Empire Strikes Back with this exciting reimagining of the timeless film featuring new perspectives from forty acclaimed authors.

On May 21, 1980, Star Wars became a true saga with the release of The Empire Strikes Back. In honor of the fortieth anniversary, forty storytellers re-create an iconic scene from The Empire Strikes Back through the eyes of a supporting character, from heroes and villains, to droids and creatures. From a Certain Point of View features contributions by bestselling authors and trendsetting artists:

• Austin Walker explores the unlikely partnership of bounty hunters Dengar and IG-88 as they pursue Han Solo.
• Hank Green chronicles the life of a naturalist caring for tauntauns on the frozen world of Hoth.
• Tracy Deonn delves into the dark heart of the Dagobah cave where Luke confronts a terrifying vision.
• Martha Wells reveals the world of the Ugnaught clans who dwell in the depths of Cloud City.
• Mark Oshiro recounts the wampa’s tragic tale of loss and survival.
• Seth Dickinson interrogates the cost of serving a ruthless empire aboard the bridge of a doomed Imperial starship.

Plus more hilarious, heartbreaking, and astonishing tales from:
Tom Angleberger, Sarwat Chadda, S.A. Chakraborty, Mike Chen, Adam Christopher, Katie Cook, Zoraida Córdova, Delilah S. Dawson, Alexander Freed, Jason Fry, Christie Golden, Rob Hart, Lydia Kang, Michael Kogge, R. F. Kuang, C. B. Lee, Mackenzi Lee, John Jackson Miller, Michael Moreci, Daniel José Older, Amy Ratcliffe, Beth Revis, Lilliam Rivera, Cavan Scott, Emily Skrutskie, Karen Strong, Anne Toole, Catherynne M. Valente, Django Wexler, Kiersten White, Gary Whitta, Brittany N. Williams, Charles Yu, Jim Zub

All participating authors have generously forgone any compensation for their stories. Instead, their proceeds will be donated to First Book—a leading nonprofit that provides new books, learning materials, and other essentials to educators and organizations serving children in need. To further celebrate the launch of this book and both companies’ longstanding relationships with First Book, Penguin Random House will donate $100,000 to First Book and Disney/Lucasfilm will donate 100,000 children’s books—valued at $1,000,000—to support First Book and their mission of providing equal access to quality education.

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