LIKE virtually everyone of my age, I love Star Wars and have done since I first saw it.
So when young me saw in the late 1970s that a trilogy of Han Solo novels had been brought out, telling of his early adventures, I got my mum to snap them up.
I was not disappointed. Written by American author Brian Daley, Han Solo at Stars’ End, Han Solo’s Revenge and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy saw Han and Chewie get into scrape after scrape in the Corporate Sector (note, not the established Star Wars universe, as he was not allowed to use any of that in his stories)
While there, they battled against the lethal gunslinger Gallandro (a wonderful character if the books were about nothing else), the Authority and their thuggish police force the Espos, pirate gangs, slavers and other thugs and villains.
Han and Chewie, in the Millenium Falcon of course, were helped a huge cast of characters, but mainly by two robots – Zollux, a service droid, and Blue Max, who lived in a cavity inside his chest.
Fulfilling the R2D2 and C3Po roles, the futuristic-sounding pair were great value and perfectly played off against our heroes as an alternative double act.
So imagine my surprise a few years ago when I was casually glancing through a copy of the Star Wars encyclopedia (geeks do that).
There was not a mention of Zollux, but under B I did find an entry for an antique service droid who accompanied Han Solo on several adventures called …. Bollux!
Yes, you read that right, Bollux. Apparently that word doesn’t mean the same in America as it does over here, and was changed for the British edition of the books.
Which brings a whole new meaning to the famous Solo line ‘great kid, don’t get cocky!’
As funny as that is – and it still makes me laugh out loud – those novels were absolute gold dust for the younger me and introduced some ideas that would influence the films and become central tenets of the Star Wars universe in the future.
Bedrock ideals like the Wookie life debt and tipping the Falcon on its side to squeeze through a canyon would not exist without Daley. Indeed some of the characters and situations drawn up so memorably by him are still referenced in the current collection of Star Wars expanded universe novels.
Brian – who sadly died in 1996 from pancreatic cancer – also captured the essence of Han Solo and Chewbacca perfectly. When you think he was writing after the first film, his Han and Chewie are so well crafted that you expect them to swagger off the page. Hell, as a child I wanted them to because they were exactly as I hoped they would be.
If you haven’t read the books, they are well worth a look and if you have, I hope you still follow my lead by travelling back to the Corporate Sector again from time to time.
And if anyone asks why you’re reading Star Wars books as a grown man, you can always tell them they are just a load of Bollux.