Wars. Two words that, when combined, either mean nothing,
or are deeply infused with your childhood. No, there's no
this article is for those who grew up on Star Wars. Ah hell,
it's for everyone else too. Why not? Anyway, today I present
to you a book report based on a Star Wars spinoff novel that
hardly needs introduction (but here I go anyway) - Escape
from the Monster Ship: A Droid Adventure, written by Bonnie
Bogart and illustrated by AMADOR, CREATURE FROM THE BEYOND.
lot of people these days are upset about George Lucas' treatment
of the Star Wars prequels. Many feel that their beloved memories
are being tarnished by what appear to be childish, special-effects
driven movies that exist only to sell more merchandise. Of
course, they're right - but where those movies more or less
unintentionally trampled on your Happy Feelings about the
Star Wars universe, this book practically seems to have trampling
as its goal - indeed, its very raison d'etre.
You don't get it, do you? YOU'RE FIRED,
the story. It starts off by telling us that R2-D2 and C-3PO
are in the employ of a 'new master', Mungo Baobab, who was
obviously named while one of his parents had a hot morsel
of food in his or her mouth. I can only speculate as to when
this is supposed to take place in the Star Wars timeline.
It could be after Jedi, because, I dunno, Luke mighta died,
or decided he just freakin' hates the droids.
Mungo is a trader with a penchant for adventure, and hopefully
a dark secret. He's just found a holomap to the legendary
Roon system, which, as stories and rumors would have it, is
loaded with treasure. All he has to do is follow the Rainbow
Comet into the Cloack of the Sith, and it should lead them
straight to Roon. Without explaining what the hell either
of those things are, he decrees that they must go see the
Merchant Council to approve of this hastily-constructed plan.
Threepio, in the mean time, does a lot of whining,
and R2 beeps once or twice, I think.
Council, naturally, disapproves of the plan, much in the same
way that they have disapproved of every plan that Mungo has
ever presented them. Put yourself in their shoes for a second
- are you, the High Council, really going to trust and/or
approve of any plan presented by a guy named Mungo?
He sounds awfully retarded, if you ask me. Mungo angrily proclaims
that the whole Merchant's guild will suffer and die if this
valuable trade route is not opened up, but he suddenly decides
to go to some place named Hrill instead. Yikes. Mister Attention
Deficit Disorder. "Let's go find secret treasure!"
[a half-second elapses] "Let's go to the boring planet
Hrill!" [a further half-second] "Wanna go microwave
stuff?" And so on.
Let's play Spot the Gaywad!
presumably evil forces are at work. Governor Koong, the fat
dude on the left, schemes and plots and then commands Gaff,
the freak thing on the right, to take over the Umboo lightstation.
He demands that its beacon be extinguished, and Gaff replies
that it won't be easy at it's vital to the Roon trade routes.
writers? "Trade routes"? Didn't we establish only
pages ago that Roon was a 'legendary' score that people had
only heard stories about?
Artoo secretly plots to destroy them all.
back to our heroes, we find Mungo looking astonishingly similar
to Jonathan Frakes, and C-3PO being as effeminate as is phsyically
possible. Mungo drops a bombshell and admits that he never
intended to go to Hrill and they're all off to find Roon.
Threepio shrieks like a little girl, and Artoo beeps happily,
as he enjoys adventure.
an aside, I have this theory about Artoo. People sometimes
say that they'd like subtitles for the little guy, but you
know what? I bet that behind all the cute beeps and whistles,
he is the most vile and offensive little bastard in the universe.
Subtitles would only make this fact public, and as such, much
covering-up is done to ensure that Artoo remains the happy
little adventure-droid that everyone thinks he is. But that's
just my theory.
Mungo and the gang blast off into space, and after briefly
following the Rainbow Comet, they suddenly run into--
THE MONSTER SHIP!!!
oh. Wait. Continuity error. Take a look at this picture, and
then scroll back up to the scan of the cover. Then scroll
back down here. What's missing in this picture? The old man!
Of course, at this point I have no idea who he's supposed
to be, and he may in fact just be Doug, the Ship's Janitor,
who at the time of this picture is quietly drinking in a corner
and cursing the life he's led up to this point. He's a popular
Star Wars character, I swear. Not like I just made that up
the magic power of Tractor Beams they are quickly and efficiently
captured. Governor Koong, who just happens to be aboard this
particular vessel, sentences Mungo to imprisonment, Artoo
to work detail, and Threepio to reprogramming. (Yes!!)
I am dA biZomB, niGgA! BlING bLiNg
Koong uses this capture as an example of how much of a badass
he is, and through a nicely expository conversation with Admiral
Screed on the right, we learn that they have not only taken
out the lightstation thing - but they will use the beacon
from the Monster Ship to lure other unsuspecting trade ships
in and steal their cargo! Cargo, it is assumed, from the Roon
system that nobody was supposed to know about. I'm now confused
about whether or not people are supposed to know about this
Roon system thing. Is it a secret? Isn't it? DAMN YOU, BONNIE
Admiral Screed, who seems like he would be an important character,
appears on two pages and is never mentioned again. He is evidently
so important that they couldn't even be bothered to draw him
front the front either time.
What the hell is this, some kinda tube?
is tossed into a container full of something that is seriously
going to rough him up in many unimaginable, nasty ways. No,
not the old man, those furry things in the other one. The
old man, who we might recall from the continuity error on
the book's cover, has finally arrived in the story, and as
the furry creatures (referred to as "Mupples") start
crawling all over Mungo the old geezer whistles a tune that
makes them fall asleep.
completely mystified as to how the writer of this novel felt
they were introducing an element of danger with the Mupples.
Aside from being completely fluffy-wuffy-cute, their method
of attack when Mungo is dropped into their container is baffling.
I quote the book "The guards put Mungo in the cage, and
the mupples immediately surrounded him and began to snuggle
and lick him." (emphasis mine) Aside from being
entirely un-dangerous, that even sounds like it'd be slightly
arousing to the right kind of person.
old man dashes my hopes of being Doug by introducing himself
as Noop "Stupidest Damn Name in the Galaxy" Yeldarb
(editor's note - internym added for effect), who was imprisoned
when Gaff and his cronies took over the lightstation. Threepio
is then dramatically brought in while strapped to an operating
table, and Mungo apologizes, but kind of in a half-assed way,
because he's secretly happy that Threepio's going to get it.
busts in dragging a hoverdolly, and then suddenly he farts
or something and the place is flooded with smoke.
MY EYES! THE FUMES ARE EATING MY EYES!
wily little robot uses this opportunity to break everyone
else out and the gang makes a run for it. Oh, and did I mention
that there's Stormtroopers on the Monster Ship? Well, there's
Stormtroopers on the Monster Ship. But as usual, they're pretty
quickly realizes that something rather bad is going on, so
he steals one of those oddly-shaped flashlights that the Stormtroopers
have and starts firing wildly in their general direction.
The escapees continue bookin' it out of there while the bookin's
good, except, of course, those lazy androids--
*cue wacky saxophone music*
can see that Threepio might have trouble running, and as such
he seems to be forced into the leisurely pace he has. But
Why Oh Why is Artoo trying to run? Le'ts all thank AMADOR,
HARBRINGER OF DOOM for that little artistic gaffe, I suppose.
gang hops into Mungo's ship and manages to flee the Monster
Ship just in time, because it is suddenly in danger from asteroids.
Just as they leave, however...
thing goes Kablooey, and all that precious cargo is destroyed.
Additionally, three key characters, several dozen Mupples,
and a full squadron of Stormtroopers are killed in the blast.
Pretty good deathtoll for a children's book, eh?
swing by the lightstation to drop Noop off, and he reactivates
it, showing them that Roon is, like, thirty feet away. All
that adventuring has seemingly paid off, and the crew is ecstatic.
So ecstatic, in fact, that they celebrate the end of their
adventure by engaging in illicit sexual acts!
Believe me, you do not want to see what
I cropped out.
so, this particular droid adventure comes to a close. On the
one hand, it was a reasonably decent story, because it fulfilled
the basic rule of nearly every Star Wars story, which is that
something big must be destroyed. But on the other hand, it
had unthreatening villains, shitty torture chambers, and nasty
robot sex at the end. So all in all, I can't say I could recommend
this book to everyone, especially not children. I don't think
I can recommend this to anyone else, either - it has even
more disposable villains and useless characters than the prequels.
Overall, then, stay away! Or AMADOR SHALL CONSUME THEE!!