REVISITING MY FAVORITES STORIES: FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW (2017)
Bringing together 40 authors in celebration of the first entry in the Star Wars saga was no easy feat, and it has been wonderful to read these stories and see the movie in a new light. As with any anthology, From a Certain Point of View has some hits and some misses, but there's something for absolutely everyone.
To coincide with our coverage of From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back on the Friends of the Force podcast, it felt like a great opportunity to revisit some of my favorite stories in the 2017 anthology!
5. The Red One by Rae Carson — R4-D5
What I love about this story is that it feels perfectly compatible with the movie. When I watch A New Hope, I look at R4 and wonder why? Why did he combust when he seemed in good shape? Why was there such perfect timing? While you could answer these questions with something along the lines of, “Well that’s what was needed for the plot,” there is value in giving R4 a story and motivation to act in the way that he did when he was sold by the Jawas. In giving R4 a voice, Rae Carson has given readers a hopeful tale that reminds us, sometimes, it’s the smallest acts of kindness that make the biggest difference.
In addition to her R4 story, you can find more of Rae's fantastic short fiction in Canto Bight. She has also written Most Wanted and The Rise of Skywalker novelization.
4. Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray — Qui-Gon Jinn
This story begins with a sentence about not judging a place based on its appearance, which feels apt when thinking about a Qui-Gon story set during the Original Trilogy. What is so wonderful about this story is that is about the uncertainty around Obi-Wan's journey watching over Luke, even though he's been on it for quite some time. Obi-Wan clearly still feels pain at what happened throughout his young life, but, in speaking with Qui-Gon, he is able to reflect upon it meaningfully.
Claudia has written a number of Star Wars novels, including Master and Apprentice, which is about the same duo, Lost Stars, Leia: Princess of Alderaan, and Bloodline. Her next book, Into the Dark, releases in February 2021 as part of the High Republic series.
3. Whills by Tom Angleberger — The Whills
What can I say about this story?! It is simply hilarious. The audiobook version is narrated by Jonathan Davis (as the serious Whill) and Marc Thompson (as the critical Whill), who create a funny and fast paced banter together. This story is the most meta out of anything we've gotten in Star Wars since the all-knowing Whills exist outside of the saga's timeline. They read as fans with information about the story's entirety, which makes it fun for fans of the franchise who also know all the things they’re skipping. This story is light and provides a big laugh to close out the anthology, which feels like the right note to go out on.
Tom has contributed an equally hilarious sequel story "The Whills Strike Back" in From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back. Additionally, he is the author of The Mighty Chewbacca in the Forest of Fear and The Origami Yoda series.
2. Of MSE-6 and Men by Glen Weldon — MSE-6-G735Y
This story is an audiobook gem, translating wonderfully to the medium by giving MSE-6 a voice that is chaotic and mechanical. Of MSE-6 travels at a fast pace, just like the mouse droids on the Death Star, and shows readers what’s it like as a droid who eavesdrops and keeps many secrets. This story also has an inclusion of an LGBTQ+ character in the Empire with the stormtrooper that follows the droid.
Glen can most often be found lending his voice and thoughts on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, and he is also the author of Superman and The Caped Crusader, both discussing some of the world’s most popular superheroes.
1. Eclipse by Madeleine Roux — Breha Organa
If you’re anything like me—a huge Bail and Breha Organa fan who has demanded a more deserved ending than the destruction of Alderaan—then you probably also loved this story and cried at the end.
This story is SAD, leaving no doubts over the Organa's fate when all is said and done. Despite that, Madeleine Roux does a fantastic job showing the love that the Organas have for one another and how they still maintain hope in their final minutes, knowing that the Rebellion's mission will continue through Leia. While tragic, the story is authentic in Breha’s emotions about the galaxy's dismantling at the hands of the Empire as well as the fear she holds for the future. This story is a standout, and I’m grateful for its existence in this anthology.
Madeleine is the author of Salvaged, the Asylum series, and two books in the World of Warcraft franchise.
Revisiting these stories reminds me of how grateful I am to now have 80 new perspectives on the Original Trilogy, with it probable that there will be another 40 to fall in love with in another few years with Return of the Jedi. As a fan who grew up with Prequel Trilogy, I find that these stories grow my appreciation for the saga as a whole and give me new reasons to return to the trilogy that started it all.
For more on the newest anthology From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back, stay tuned for our three-part discussion covering all 40 stories featuring guests Amy Richau, Maggie Lovitt, and Brandon Wainerdi. Make sure you're subscribed to the Friends of the Force podcast feed so you're up to date on the latest episodes!
Sarah Hass is a frequent co-host on the Friends of the Force main show and Resistance series Bibo's Book Report. She is also a co-creator of #RememberingResistance Day. When she's not annoying Brad by keeping him on the Zoom meeting longer than either of them intended, you can find her nonsensical ramblings on her twitter @seh221.