Book Report: Tales from Jabba’s Palace

talesjabba

Tales from Jabba’s Palace – Edited by Kevin J. Anderson

Book Report By Vincent

The feature that nobody cares about is back! I’ve got another book report for you and this time I read another Star Wars expanded universe book, Tales from Jabba’s Palace! Was it good or was it a steaming pile of crap like almost all Star Wars Expanded Universe books?

You can best sum up my thoughts on the Star Wars Expanded Universe in two words, “it’s shit”, but there are a few bright spots in all the garbage. I was surprised that I enjoyed Tales of the Empire and Tales of the New Republic much more than I thought I would have, so I made the mistake of reading Tales from Jabba’s Palace.

Tales from Jabba’s Palace is set up a bit differently than the other two Tales books I previously mentioned. Instead of just being a collection of short stories, this book is set around the time of Return of the Jedi and the short stories are fairly well connected with each other, despite being written by a variety of authors. It was an interesting concept that kept me reading, but it wasn’t enough to save the overall novel. Tales from Jabba’s Palace encompasses everything that’s wrong with the Star Wars Expanded Universe, in particular everything that went wrong with it right after the amazing Thrawn Trilogy, which pretty much brought back Star Wars. That is, the Expanded Universe got fucking ridiculous. Mainly this book helped solidify the idea that every god damned background character has an elaborate backstory. For example, the weird lipped alien singer? Oh she’s not just some lounge act, she’s being paid as a spy.

I’ll save everyone a lot of time and not list everything that’s beyond stupid in Tales from Jabba’s Palace by just going with perhaps the most idiotic: The frog that is outside of Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi, you know the one that burps after eating a creature and is on screen for about two seconds, well he’s actually an intelligent spy. I was about ready to put the book down when I read that, but I kept going only because I had to write this article and share how incredibly dumb that is. There’s lots of other cringe worthy items that pop up, but I’m going to save my brain power. You’re going to have to trust me on this one, folks.

Not everything in Tales from Jabba’s Palace is a complete waste. The best story in the book is hands down “A Barve Like That: The Tale of Boba Fett”, which details Boba Fett’s time in the Sarlacc and how exactly he escapes. Not only does it have Boba Fett in it (awesome), but it’s well written. It also shows a vunrubliity in the character that you don’t see in terrible Expanded Universe works he stars in.

I was also suprised at how entertaining the story was that featured the really fat and ugly dancer in Jabba’s palace, even that too had believably stretching issues. For example, her warts were fake and she wasn’t obese, she just comes from a desert environment where she balloons out when she stores water. Yeah, like I haven’t heard that one before.

My recommendation is to pick this up at the used book store, read the Boba Fett story, tear that out and then recycle the rest of the book. That way you may safe future generations from the horror of the really bad parts.

  • Nick

    I’m going to be at odds with you here because I love the EU – well almost everything post-Battle of Yavin at any rate. Whilst I’m not a big fan of the short story compilations I always enjoy getting to know more about the bit part players that you only glimpse in the films. Whilst it may be unrealistic to give so many small characters such important back stories, it does give the impression of the importance of Jabba as one of the major criminals in the known universe, and how allies and enemies gravitate towards him. Maybe it’s just because I played a Jabba’s Palace/Tatooine deck in SWCCG.

    I’m wondering now whether you enjoyed “The Bounty Hunter Wars” trilogy about Bobba Fett? I felt that they fleshed out his character well and gave him a good backstory – certainly better than in Episode II or in the depictions of him as an aging man in the late series books.

    I’d also be interested to get your opinion on the books featuring Corran Horn (my personal favourite character) and whether you see the EU as canon or not (despite what George Lucas has to say) as I prefer its depiction of the universe to that of the prequel films.

  • Oh man. I read this back when it came out and it was pretty much what ended my giving EU books a chance. Every minor character had a back story as a spy. It was so repetitious. And dull. And unbelievable.

  • lamartherevenger

    I enjoyed the Mara Jade story. Bib Fortuna’s had me quoting “All of the day’s annoyances” when something went wrong. But my personal instincts say only the Thrawn series felt like Star Wars. Everything else is crap.

  • Wallace

    OK, EU has saved Star Wars where the prequels have obviously failed. The WORST story in the novel is where Boba Fett “escapes” from the sarlaac. Idiotic. While I will admit that they may give too many bit characters major back story, I agree with Nick that Jabba was supposed to be a pretty major crimelord, and this helps back that up. In contrast though, having read every book after a New Hope except about 5 (on my to-read list), the Bounty Hunters trilogy was by far the worst books written for the EU. The author spends more time recapping in the 2nd and 3rd books than he does on new content, and it was not a particularly interesting story, IMO. I hated the Bounty Hunters trilogy.

  • I don’t know where you got this impression about Jabba. Everyone was afraid of him, yes, but they were all trying to kill him and plotting against him. And it was MORE than hinted at that many of these plots would have succeeded regardless of what Luke and friends did. That made Jabba that much weaker in my opinion and it also lessened what the heroes did in the film.

  • And for those of you defending EU over prequels, you can’t get any more stupid than that toad thing being a spy. It’s EXACTLY on par with the prequels.

  • The prequels are worse because they were actual movies made by the creator of Star Wars and foisted on the mainstream. At least only a few people read the bad books. I still love Star Wars for some reason but the only stuff I’ve liked since the original trilogy was the Thrawn trilogy of books, some of the original Dark Horse comics, and the Lego stuff (including the Lego video games).

  • Hdawger

    Jar Jar Binks FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111!!one!!

  • monkey boy

    NERD ALERT! i’m here to point out that the frog creature you describe OUTSIDE jabba’s palace is worrt, a non-sentient example of tattoine wildlife. the frog creature you describe is bubo, who is seen INSIDE jabba’s palace “barking” at one point in the movie. two distinct creatures.

  • Jesus Christ.