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Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Droids
text by Daniel Wallace, schematics by Troy Vigel, original illustrations by Bill Hughes
Del Rey Books, 206 pages

Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Droids
Additional Information
Droids are an integral and indispensable part of the Star Wars universe. And this comprehensive guide surveys all the myriad models and classes -- from the lowliest drones to the most sophisticated humanoid automatons:

- Discover the evolution of the R-series droids, whose members include lumbering technicians and skilled X-wing navigators such as R2-D2
- Learn the curious history of the MSE-6 "mouse" droids employed exclusively in the bases and on Imperial starships of the Empire
- Explore the workings of the malevolent Shadow Droids: machines with living, organic brains
- Uncover how the Rebel's fearsome FIDO (Foreign Intruder Defense Organism) carries out its duties.

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Jonathan Fesmire

After reading Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Droids, I almost wish these droids were real. Not all of them, just some. The assassin droids can remain fictional.

When watching the Star Wars movies, I get the sense that there's a rich background behind all the cultures, the people, the technology, and the situations. We get only a glimpse of many things as we're swept through the saga.

The first major section of Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Droids is A Guide to Major Manufacturers. This shows a seldom seen side to the Star Wars universe, the large and small galactic businesses. Reading straight through this section is rather dull, while I enjoyed reading about each droid. Still, it provides an excellent reference.

Next comes the meat of the book: the descriptions of the droids. It shows just how diverse the types of droids are, detailing models for industry, communication, household duties (including child care), the military, security, and more.

The droids all seem very real, with their own functions, personalities, and often strange quirks. The Essential Guide to Droids divulges the details of about 100 of the most used, and most interesting, droids in the Star Wars universe.

It answers questions that may have occurred to you while watching the original trilogy. For example, why did the R5 unit that Uncle Owen almost bought in A New Hope short out? What made it inferior to the older R2-D2? What was the ultimate fate of the Tattletale (TT-8L) droid guarding the door to Jaba's palace? (The Tattletale was the mechanical eyeball that answered when R2 and 3PO went there in Return of the Jedi.)

However, only about a quarter of the droids are from the movies. The rest come from the authorized books, most of which take place after the original trilogy.

For each droid are basic schematics showing its major parts, and an illustration of the droid in action. Bill Hughes' art captures the personalities of these mechanical beings in true Star Wars style: as though they were truly alive.

Some of my favourite include the Human Replica Droid, a mechanical person with a good deal of organically synthesized parts that looks and acts exactly like a human, and is difficult to peg as a droid, even when scanned. There's the R7, which looks fancier than the R2, and is in many ways superior, but doesn't quite have the R2 unit's loyal personality. Perhaps the most frightening droid is the C2-R4 unit, a robot put together by a small company from various Droid parts. They wanted it to do so much that it ended up virtually useless, and frightening as well, a bit like a moving junk heap with steel fangs.

If you're looking for the droids of Episode I, you won't find them here; this book came out before the release of Episode I merchandise.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of the Star Wars universe, or who simply loves droids.

Copyright © 1999 by Jonathan Fesmire

Jonathan Fesmire has travelled to France, Germany, Estonia, Finland, and Ireland. He enjoys speaking French and learning bits of other foreign languages, but most of all, he loves writing, and has sold fiction to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, SpaceWays Weekly, Jackhammer, and others.

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