Thursday, May 10, 2007

Star Wars 30th Anniversary Special - part 10

The first version of the "Star Wars" novel (really, novelization) appeared on November 12, 1976, and featured a cover by "Star Wars" concept artist, Ralph McQuarrie.

It wasn't until the next printing that I came across it, with the John Berkey cover art, in a department store in March 1977. The advantage that the second printing had over the first, was that it included a center insert of photos from the upcoming movie, with character descriptions, and studio hyperboly. Looking at the photos now, with the exception of the sandtrooper astride the dewback lizard, they seem like pretty bland choices that didn't really suggest "exotic worlds uniquely different from our own." Most of these pictures could be of anything. It didn't matter though. I was hooked.

Oddly, I have no recollection of first reading the novel. I find it difficult to believe that I waited until after I saw the movie before reading it, but I don't recollect having any discrepencies between how I imagined things and how they appeared in the movie. Except for a few other magazines like People and Famous Monsters, I don't remember seeing any other pictures at all before I saw the movie, and those publications would have been closer to the May release, most likely coming out after the movie, since its success was a complete surprise.

One thing I do notice about the photos included in the novel, in reference to my previous post, is that all of the initial 12 "Star Wars" action figures also appear in these pictures. Only Grand Moff Tarkin was passed over, which is pretty perplexing.

At any rate, despite my lack of memory in regards to my initial reading of this novel, I know I read it numerous times in the years since then.

As everyone knows by now, the book was actually ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster, who has got to be one of the most prolific science fiction writers of all time, and also happened to be one of my favorites from the late 70s-mid 1980s, when I was reading a lot of science fiction.


Robert Pope said...

Hah! I got the second printing too-actually, my Mom, who had me on a pretty short leash at 10, wouldn't let me see the movie until I read the book! (she was worried it was some sort of gorefest...ya know, it had WAR in the title and all...) Of course, she ended up going to see it on one of my many repeat screenings, and turned into a colossal fan. So much so that in Empire when Vader kneels before the Emperor's (sp?) hologram, my Mom leaned over and said "I didn't think Darth Vader would do that for anybody." Hyuk.

Lacey said...

A few years ago, when I was at the San Diego Comic-con, I talked with a lady who had a 1974, red cover edition of Star Wars. The cover art featured a group of X-Wings diving upper left to lower right over a large background of Darth Vader. I have never seen this since, and everyone else, like you, says the first priniting was after this date.
I din't think it was a foreign print as it had a copyright.