Tag Archives: nonfiction

Book review: How Star Wars Conquered the Universe is a fun primer on the franchise

hswctuChris Taylor’s How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, out today, is one of those rare nonfiction books not fully authorized by Lucasfilm. An independent biography of the franchise, it covers from George Lucas’ own upbringing and influences to just post-Disney. Curious? Read the first chapter at Mashable (as well as one on the 501st) right now.

It’s also a pretty great read. I got my copy Saturday, finished it yesterday afternoon, and it flew. Taylor talks to fans and pros alike, highlighting both sides of the (increasingly more narrow) divide. Most of the attention thus far is on the moviemaking portion, where the book’s biggest sound bites come from.

Full disclosure: I was interviewed for and appear in the book, and received a review copy from Basic Books.

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Out this week: How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, Son of Dathomir collected

It’s been a while, but this week brings us two trades from Dark Horse, and one new unauthorized nonfiction book looking at the franchise as a whole.

Chris Taylor’s How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, out Tuesday, is touted as ‘the first comprehensive history of the Star Wars phenomenon.’ I may be a tad biased, but look for my review in the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir and the third volume of Brian Wood’s Star Wars comic, Rebel Girl, are both collected in trade paperback.

As for upcoming releases, we have Star Wars Art: Posters coming on October 14, a Shakespeare Star Wars box set and the Razor’s Edge paperback on October 28, and James Luceno’s Tarkin on November 4 – plus Dark Horse’s remaining trades.

Rinzler details upcoming Star Wars costume book

storyboardJ.W. Rinzler takes the release of Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy as occasion to take a look at some of Lucasbooks’ other upcoming nonfiction (and humor) releases. He has a bit to say on one of the new books James spotted last month, Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy. It will include new photos of the costumes and interviews with costume designers John Mollo, Aggie Rodgers, and concept artist Nilo Rodis-Jamero. We even have a release date: October 28.

He also talks about the next Jeffrey Brown Star Wars book, Goodnight, Darth Vader, which we’ll start hearing more about soon – and Rinzler confirms there’s a fourth book in the pipeline as well.

A look at the original trilogy storyboards

anh-storyboardWith the release of Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy less than a month away, Vulture has a look at some of the earliest visuals for A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

The book, edited by Lucasfilm’s J.W. Rinzler, will be available on May 13.

Interactive Imperial Handbook and original trilogy costume book coming this year

Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide (Not final, but it gives you an idea.)

Imperial Handbook: A Commander’s Guide (Not final, but it gives you an idea.)

Becker & Mayer, producers of the awesome books-with-cool-electronic-cases such as The Jedi Path and Book of Sith, have a few new offerings for later in 2014, showcased in their catalog. The Imperial Handbook: A Commander’s Guide will have a deluxe edition, written by Dan Wallace, with illustrations by Chris Trevas & Chris Reiff.

Like the previous guidebooks, it will include a mechanized case with lights and sound, and the book will have annonations from various characters, including a introduction note by Luke Skywalker, and several items, including a die-cast Imperial military medal. Here’s the official blurb:

As the Imperial Empire expands, high-ranking officials from each branch of the Imperial Military have set down tactical guidelines and procedures for all newly ascending commanders. Set in-universe, this compendium of ordinance, mission reports, and Imperial philosophy was intercepted by members of the Rebel Alliance, some of whom also left commentary scribbled in the margins. Housed in a deluxe case that opens with lights and sounds, this never-before-seen Imperial Handbook is perfect for Star Wars fans—no matter which side of the Civil War they’re on.

Also coming up:

Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy (Mockup cover)Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy, by Brandon Alinger. Here’s the details on this 266-page hardcover gem:

Who can forget the first time they saw Darth Vader with his black cape and mask? The white hard-body suit of the stormtroopers? Or Leia’s outfit as Jabba’s slave? These costumes—like so many that adorned the characters of that galaxy far, far away—have become iconic. For the first time, the Lucasfilm Archives has unpacked the original costumes to be revealed in breathtaking detail.

Featuring all-new photography, Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy affords both new and longtime Star Wars fans the opportunity to examine the stormtrooper armor and discover how it changed from movie to movie; explore Boba Fett’s suit and inspect the rarely seen details of his blaster and jetpack; compare the helmets and jumpsuits of the rebel fighters; and study the details of the Hoth fighter uniforms.

This lavish large-format book not only showcases high-quality photography of each costume, it also pairs these stunning images with original sketches, behind-the-scenes photographs, production notes, and stories.

It seems like a perfect reference for the costumer on your gift list!

Also listed in the catalog:

  • A new slipcase edition of the trade versions of The Jedi Code and Book of Sith
  • An enhanced eBook version of The Jedi Path
  • Trade version of The Bounty Hunter Code
  • Build Darth Vader, a new papercraft book
  • Pablo Hidalgo’s latest Head-to-Head book, this time based on Star Wars Rebels

Mashable’s Chris Taylor exploring the business and culture of Star Wars in upcoming book

Hyperspace falcon Chris Taylor, deputy editor at Mashable, is working on How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, a book on the business and culture of the franchise.

I’m thrilled to be writing How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, the first book to examine the entire Star Wars brand from a business/culture perspective. As Disney takes control of the franchise and prepares to release Episode VII in 2015, there’s never been a more important time to consider exactly what made this epic great in the first place. Its past offers a lot of clues to why it has a robust future in the post-Lucas era, given how much of it was a team effort from the very beginning. I want to give proper credit to all the other talented writers, technicians, artists and game-makers who built the Expanded Universe and helped it thrive.

It’s a daunting prospect, trying to do justice to a modern legend that has mesmerized every generation since 1977, but I can’t imagine a more engrossing research project. This book will be more fun than a barrel full of Banthas.

It sounds like even the Expanded Universe will get a place in the spotlight – Taylor told CNET he’s trying to read/reread all the novels and comics, which seems pretty ambitious.

Taylor has covered Star Wars since 1997; this will be his first book. It’ll be released early next year by Basic Books.

New book will explore connections between Star Wars and history

Publisher John Wiley & Sons is compliling a book that will explore parallels between world history and the movies, the New York Times reports.

“George Lucas is a history buff, and his fascination with history greatly influenced the plot and themes explored in the Star Wars universe,” Connie Santisteban, associate editor for general interest books at Wiley, wrote in an e-mail. “Being able to work closely with Mr. Lucas on this and other books will give fans an inside look at the real science, history and political science that informed ‘Star Wars’ while also providing readers with an educational tool.”

The book is being compiled by history professors Nancy Reagin and Janice Liedl, who have done books in the same vein about Harry Potter and Twilight. (I wonder if it goes anything like this. Minus the snark and animated GIFs, naturally.) The book even has Lucasfilm’s blessing, says a spokewoman, including Lucas’ “notes and input.”

Wiley will also produce additional books focusing on “science and politics within the Star Wars saga.”

EUbits: Inside The Making of The Empire Strikes Back

Nonfiction StarWars.com offers up a peek at J.W. Rinzler’s The Making of The Empire Strikes Back. The book’s release was recently pushed back to October, but there’s little doubt that it will be worth the wait.

Street date shuffle. On that note, our book release schedule has been updated. The most notable change: A double shot of Fate of the Jedi paperbacks as Omen and Abyss are moved up to spring.

Podcastery. Star Wars Action News talked to Paul S. Kemp earlier in the month, while the ForceCast caught up with John Jackson Miller at C2E2.

The blogside. Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff on the end game and the last period.

Morsel. Sue Rostoni says that Joe Schreiber’s Black Orchid is getting a new title because some people thought it sounded like a romance novel. Personally I think old school Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean

Toys. Rebelscum reports that the Legacy Collection’s Expanded Universe action figures (the wave that includes Jacen and Jaina) have begun showing up at Toys “R” Us stores.