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Star Wars: The Approaching Storm
Alan Dean Foster
Lucas Books, Del Rey, 344 pages

Star Wars: The Approaching Storm
Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster was born in New York City in 1946 and was raised in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema from UCLA in 1968-69 and then spent two years as a copywriter for an advertising and public relations firm in Studio City, CA.

His first sale as a writer was a long Lovecraftian letter, purchased by August Derleth for the bi-annual magazine The Arkham Collector. His first novel, The Tar-Aiym Krang, was published by Ballantine Books in 1972. Many, many novels followed. Alan Dean Foster's correspondence and manuscripts are in the Special Collection of the Hayden Library of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Foster and his wife live in Prescott, Arizona.

Alan Dean Foster Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Interlopers
SF Site Review: Phylogenesis
SF Site Review: Into the Thinking Kingdoms
SF Site Review: Carnivores of Light and Darkness
Alan Dean Foster Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

Anticipation. It reached unfathomable levels in 1999 when Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace premiered. Three years have passed and, in less than a month, Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones will be unleashed on the big screen. This time the anticipation is different, a little more subdued. But LucasFilm is doing their best to keep fans' interest piqued with the release of Star Wars: The Approaching Storm.

As Episode II begins, Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker have just returned from a mission. The Approaching Storm chronicles just what that mission was. Separatist elements within the Republic are trying to set-up the backwater world Ansion as the next Naboo, hoping that its cessation from the Republic will cause enough turmoil to bring down the Senate, which itself is so mired in bureaucracy that very little is actually accomplished anymore.

To try and make peace on this outlying world, Jedi Knight Luminara Unduli and her Padawan Barriss Offee join Obi-Wan and Anakin in an effort to calm the flustered officials. The problem: they must not only convince the governing body of Ansion to remain part of the Republic, but the free tribes that roam the plains of this meadow-like planet as well. To add to their dilemma, sinister forces are working behind the scenes to prevent any success.

Alan Dean Foster is no stranger to the Star Wars Universe. In fact he wrote the very first Star Wars sequel back in 1978, the acclaimed Splinter of the Mind's Eye. He's also responsible for the novelisation of The Black Hole and The Icerigger Trilogy just to name a few.

The adventure starts off with an exciting ambush, an ensuing lightsabers battle and a botched kidnapping. But the book hits an obvious lull through the middle as our heroes search for the powerful Overclan Borokii tribe. There's a lot of riding, camping, more riding, meeting smaller tribes, getting to know them, getting directions, even more riding, yet more camping as well as picking up an Ewok-like creature named Tooqui.

The book does suffer from an lack of villains. True, there is a scheming Hutt by the name of Soergg who is responsible for most of the trouble the Jedi encounter, but there's a plethora of plotting politicians of Coruscant as well, who are really pretty forgettable.

Two supplementary characters, Kyakhta and Bulgan, begin as mindless servants of Soergg and are miraculously cured by Barriss' Jedi healing powers. Becoming guides in the quest for the Overclan, the two are at first incredibly grateful. But Bulgan genuinely feels appreciation, while Kyakhta seems to be considering the monetary gains of their trip. It's an interesting sub-plot twist that is never fully developed.

There are some very nice moments that hint at Anakin's eventual fall to the Dark Side, what with his toying with enemies in battle and his brooding nature. Some elements sure to be in the next film are presented, such as Anakin's disbelief that Yoda can use a lightsaber and a possible relationship between Obi-Wan and Luminara. Plus, Anakin keeps claiming he "misses someone" quite a bit. Could it be his mother... or a former Queen turned Senator?

While not a rip-roaring adventure, Star Wars: The Approaching Storm is certainly a nice set-up for the film and serves its purpose, whetting fan's appetites.

Copyright © 2002 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. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories as well as acting in any venue he can. Residing in Los Angeles, he continues to be part of this wacky business called show.

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