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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
Sean Williams (Based on a story by Haden Blackman)
Del Rey, 323 pages

Sean Williams
Sean Williams was born in Whyalla, South Australia, in 1967. He has been writing full-time since 1990. His short fiction has appeared in magazines such as Aboriginal SF and Eidolon as well as anthologies such as Alien Shores, Intimate Armageddons, The Oxford Book of Australian Ghost Stories, The Year's Best Australian SF & Fantasy 1996, Terror Australis and the World Fantasy Award-winning Dreaming Down-Under. His story, "Evermore," was selected to appear in The Year's Best Science Fiction: 17th Annual Collection. Metal Fatigue is the winner of the 1996 Aurealis award for best science fiction novel. New Adventures in Sci-Fi won the Ditmar award for best collection in 1999. In his spare time, he likes to DJ and cook curries.

Sean Williams Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Resurrected Man
SF Site Review: Echoes of Earth
SF Site Interview: Sean Williams and Shane Dix
SF Site Review: The Stone Mage and the Sea
SF Site Review: The Prodigal Sun
SF Site Review: Metal Fatigue
SF Site Review: A View Before Dying

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed The Sith Rule of two is widely known in the Star Wars Universe. Darth Bane set it down millennia ago, a master and an apprentice, one to embody the power, the other to crave it. But the greatest treachery and deceit are also part of the Dark Side's path. Even the Greatest Sith Lord in history, Darth Vader, follows this code as he plots to seize Emperor Palpatine's throne by training his own, secret apprentice.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a major multi-media event spanning from game to action figures. But unlike Shadows of the Empire over a decade ago, The Force Unleashed is far more focused on the gaming element as it becomes part of the ever-growing Star Wars Expanded Universe as well, and canon for more history revealed between Episode III and Episode IV. This makes the novelization of this video game a rather unusual subject, but relatively worthwhile.

Darth Vader happens upon a child strong in the Force and raises him as his apprentice, initially using the nameless child as a weapon against the enemies of the Empire. Whilst the video game involves using Dark Side powers to make your way through levels and planets in the SW Universe, destroying StormTroopers and surviving Jedi alike, the novel focuses on the internal struggle of the enigmatic man known only as The Apprentice.

Since Vader didn't give the child a name, the Apprentice goes under the identity of Starkiller for a time (a nice homage to George Lucas' original character name in early Star Wars drafts) and part of the overall story is his quest for his own identity. He also faces growing feelings for his pilot, the spunky Juno Eclipse and a strange mentorship with blind Jedi Rahm Kota. Many cameos from Qui-Gon Jinn to Darth Maul are envisioned through the Apprentice's training droid PROXY, a very likable addition in the droid realm. The story spans roughly a year and there are some nice Prequel callbacks as well as glimpses into the Original Trilogy with a battle on the still-under-construction Death Star.

If you're a fan of the game, the novel adds to the background of the characters even though the story is rather simple. If this is your introduction to The Force Unleashed, it gives the reader a strong desire to run out and grab a copy of the game and fight the Apprentice's battles from the fungus world of Fecunda to a creepy robot Jedi Counsel recreation (reviews say the Nintendo Wii version boasts the best user interface). As new layers are revealed in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, fans can definitely expect more multi-media events like this one.

Copyright © 2009 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories while acting on stage, screen and television. He can sometimes be seen giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood and occasionally playing Norman Bates. Really.

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