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Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
W. Haden Blackman, Illustrations by Ian Fullwood
Del Rey, 198 pages

Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
W. Haden Blackman
W. Haden Blackman is a corporeal spirit haunting portions of San Francisco, where he manifests to serve a prominent computer game company. He rarely appears during the day, cannot be photographed, and is easily repelled by the sight of religious artifacts.

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A review by David Maddox

Lightsabers, Ion Cannons and Wookie bow casters may be second nature to Star Wars fans, but what about Plasma Cannons, Amphistaffs and Vonduun-Crab-Shell-Plated Armor? All these bizarre pieces of technology and more are there for the learning in Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology.

Updated to include information from The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and the New Jedi Order novel series, this technical manual is more than just a list of specs and jargon. It features full-color computer generated artwork and some never-before-seen renditions of technology.

Author W. Haden Blackman's credits include The Field Guide to North American Monsters as well as Dark Horse Comics' Jango Fett: Open Season, so he's well familiar with the Star Wars Universe and does a very nice job of explaining even the simplest thing, like a SoroSuub Hush-98 Comlink.

The book is incredibly detailed and jam-packed with tons of information. The graphics are presented in beautiful color, rendered on computer. They almost look real, but there's still a hint on CGI to everything. English Illustrator Ian Fullwood has fifteen years in commercial art and his work gives impressive depth to items from Clone Trooper armor to light sabers.

Many of the weapons and devices seen in the first two prequels are brought to life in these pages. The book also gives details on all technological advancements during the New Jedi Order. Many of these weapons and ships only exist in the imagination of the readers, so it's nice of LucasFilm to bring them to image.

One main drawback is that, while this edition of the book covers much more than any previous version, it will be quickly become outdated in May when Episode III hits the screens. Of course that's good marketing, but somewhat depressing looking at how much time and energy went into this edition.

Overall, The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology is a must-have for any hardcore Star Wars fan. If you're interested in becoming such a fan, it's a good starting point. It's a nice coffee-table addition to any collection.

Copyright © 2005 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, acting on stage and screen and giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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