The Last Transmission From an Old Friend I Never Had

Discussion in 'Santa Cruz, CA' started by Kai_Vandekar, Jun 29, 2006.

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  1. Kai_Vandekar Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    Brian Daley is an author I?ve mentioned before on the boards. I'm sure most of us know about him. But I wanted to share a personal story about my "friendship" with him.

    -----------------------------------

    Brian Daley wrote science fiction in the 70s and 80s. He had his own series of books, but he also wrote the Han Solo trilogy. These three slim novels, along with Alan Dean Foster?s Splinter of the Mind?s Eye were IT. If you wanted more Star Wars beyond the movies and the movie novelizations, they were your only options. A little later, a trilogy about Lando showed up. But between those novels and the ?Expanded Universe? of Star Wars, kicked off by Timothy Zahn, gaped a chasm of years.

    The Han Solo trilogy: Han Solo at Star's End, Han Solo's Revenge, Han Solo and the Lost Legacy. I adored it. I read it, and I reread it. I learned of the Corporate Sector Authority. I discovered that once there was a warlord named Xim the Despot, who surrounded himself with battle droids long before they marched in CGI renditions across movie screens. I figured out that to "bollux" something was to make a mess of it, and that Han once knew a droid by that name. I found out who Han had been before he was a smuggler, why he became one, how he met his shaggy copilot, and his favorite barroom pick-up lines: Let's dance. Let's snuggle up. Let's get GRAFTED together! Maybe later...

    Eventually, I put the books away. I moved on to other things. I grew up. Some would say, not so that anybody would notice, but I did. And for a long time my path steered me away from Han Solo and his best author. When I picked the books up again, in 1997 for the re-release of the original trilogy, I approached with some trepidation. After all, way back when, that Han Solo trilogy was about all there was. I very nearly HAD to like it. What if it didn?t hold up? What if it wasn?t any fun any more?

    But it was.

    In three short novels, Daley captured the romping exuberance of Star Wars better than any author before or since. Other, more recent EU writers have done capable jobs (and some not-so-capable)?some have even been excellent, but nobody has ever caught that particular spark that was Star Wars in quite the same way.

    Back in the early 80s, Brian Daley also wrote the scripts for the radio dramas that greatly expanded the stories of the original three movies. Star Wars went from a feature length film to 13 half hour radio episodes, Empire to ten. And, while there were a few cheesy notes here and there - mostly due to the rather bold move Brian made of never using a narrator save for the beginning ?crawl? and requiring the characters and sound effects to deliver the entire universe, exposition and all - it was a delight. In 1981, I bought my first tape recorder with my carefully horded allowance so that I could listen to and tape the episodes off NPR every week when they aired. And I begged my mom to take me and my best friend to San Francisco, where a REAL LIVE Darth Vader in costume showed up to kick-off of the series. I remember whispering to my friend, ?You can even hear his RESPIRATOR.? There was no 501st in those days. This was magic.

    I couldn?t get enough of the radio series. As I mentioned above, for a long time, only the two existed - the radio series for Star Wars (not "A New Hope"...that name came later) and The Empire Strikes Back. Return of the Jedi looked like it would never be made. But then, much later, far after the point I?d given up years before, it was. It didn?t play on NPR. It showed up at Borders in a CD boxed set.

    When I bought it and listened to it, it seemed...rushed. In addition to the fact that Mark Hamill did not return to play Luke, there seemed a certain flatness to the narrative. It didn't expand on the story nearly as much as the first two series had with their respective films. I was, frankly, disappointed, even though I was happy it had been made and happy that Brian Daley had returned to write it. I knew he
  2. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    Heh, if you were a child and a teenager during the time when the Radio Drama came out, then I don't quite consider you to be middle aged yet. I was in my 20's when the first Radio Drama came out.

    I too, share the enjoyment of Brian Daley, I snapped up the Han Solo Trilogy when it came out, and when I heard that he would be writing the upcoming Radio Dramas, I was overjoyed, because I knew he would do a good job adapting them for radio.

    EDIT:
    I just remembered that they also did Han Solo at Stars End in newspaper comic form. I wish I had cut those out and saved them. I think I started to, but never kept up with it.

    I sat avidly by my stereo, listening and recording each episode, getting my brother to record it for me one day when I couldn't be home for some reason. My life would temporarily revolve around those Radio Dramas.

    When I moved to central Cali, in the early 90s I misplaced or lost my tapes of the Radio Dramas and was heart broken, till I stumbled across the first 2 on tape at a book store in the mall in Tracy. Joy! Then I found out that ROTJ had also been made, which I hadn't known till then. It wasn't out on tape, yet, so I reserved my copy, eager with anticipation.

    I was also disappointed that Mark Hamill didn't reprise his role as Luke, but that didn't bother me too much, I was just happy that the saga had been completed. I loved hearing how Luke built his second lightsaber.

    I have since moved back to So. Cal and my tapes are still packed. Now I want to find them!



    It's too bad that Brian Daley is gone, I'm sure he would have made many more great contributions to the Star Wars Universe, had he been able.

    The legacy he has left though, is unforgettable.
  3. Kai_Vandekar Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    Those are great memories. I agree that having Hamill not reprise the role was too bad, but still it was wonderful just to have the last series completed! And TECHNICALLY, I qualify as middle-aged...according to the Kaiser charts.

    Besides, it read better that way.

    ;)
  4. DarkLordSid Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2004
    star 4
    I've never heard the radio dramas, but I'll probably give them a listen to now.

    Touching story.
  5. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    Geez, when does middle age start, now? With the increase in life span, it should be going up!

    You really should get a hold of the copies of the Radio Drama. With the extra time they have, they were able to get into some of the character's backgrounds more. You see Leia on Alderaan with her father, and you see Luke with his friends at Toshe Station, for 2 examples.
  6. DarkLordSid Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2004
    star 4
    *mutters oaths about his recently being offered a "senior discount" about 15 years EARLY*

    It was a reeeely tiresome day, and apparently it showed when I pulled up to Arby's...

    Of course Mrs. Sid got carded just five years ago at Reno, so she thinks it just tooo funny.





  7. TionneHawk Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 5
    That's the Dark side for you. Makes men look older and women look younger. ;)
  8. Kai_Vandekar Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    I very much recommend them. Besides, Han really gets his snark on in them, and that's always fun. Even if he is played by Perry King!
  9. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    Ever since this thread was started, I've been wanting to listen to the Radio Dramas again, but I wanted them on CD.

    I was pricing the CDs last night, to see what they went for.

    This afternoon, at my Fan Force meeting, one of the guys said he had something for me. He had copied his CD set for me. I totally forgot he even had it. What timing!
    :D

    JOY!
  10. Master--Kenobi Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2003
    star 4
    I loved Brian Daley's works. They were just wonderful. However, I couldn't get into the radio dramas.. and all because of Perry King whos portrayal of Han just struck me as wrong. (LOL) and being the stubborn little git than I can be.. I refused to listen to them. However, now.. I would really like to sit down and hear all the extras that are talked about.

    (Brian I really miss you and your work). :_|
  11. Kai_Vandekar Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    Actually, Perry King really grew on me. His interpretation of Han is quite different, but it worked. Don't get me wrong, I love Harrison Ford, but Perry King's Han also has a very special place in my heart. :)
  12. Jedi-Loreen Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 4
    I liked Perry King's interpretation of Han.
  13. LadyCieone Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    I remember Splinter of the Mind's Eye (written by Alan Dean Foster), and the Han Solo trilogy. They came out at a time when those of us who had fallen under the spell of the original Star Wars were totally jonesing (no pun intended) for something, ANYTHING Star Wars related. Remember, at this point we didn't know there were going to be any sequels (OR prequels).

    And then there were the books, like a cool drink of water to someone who had been traipsing the desert for too long. I remember walking into a bookstore and seeing Darth Vader on the front of SoTME. I grabbed it, paid for it, and probably read it in less than a day. And then the Han Solo books followed not to far behind. I was in heaven; here was a chance to continue living vicariously through the lives of the people I felt I knew so well after A New Hope.

    I remember the radio dramas as well, though it was hard for me to get into them because they weren't the original voices and it was hard to disassociate the original actors with the characters (sorry, but Harrison Ford IS Han Solo, etc.) But the writing was fun and once again, it was the chance to spend a little more time with the characters who had become such a part of my world.

    Brian Daley was a great writer who always infused his writing with humor and had a wonderful grasp of the characters. He is missed.

    And on a related (somewhat) note, I certainly hope that if any more novelizations are done they aren't written by the person who wrote the novelization of The Revenge of the Sith. I felt like I was reading an elementary school primer: This is Anakin. This is Obi-Wan. See Obi-Wan run. Run, Obi-Wan, run. See Anakin whine. Whine, Anakin, whine.

    Sheesh.



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