This new novel isn’t just for Sci-Fi fans, but it should also appeal to lovers of Western movies and novels too. It is set on the desert planet of Tatooine and features the struggles of a loner outcast as he tries to live peacefully and quietly on the fringe of a ranch town. His plans go awry as he becomes involved with the lives of the townspeople and the man who wants to lead them. Obi Wan Kenobi was an inter-galactic hero during the Clone Wars, but now that The Republic is controlled by Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, Kenobi must go into hiding and change himself into a recluse. The story is reminiscent of classics Westerns, such as Shane.
Kenobi occupies an abandoned home out in the Judland wastes of the desert so that he will be able to keep an eye on the infant Luke Skywalker living with his aunt and uncle. One day he ends up rescuing a mother and her daughter from a crazed runaway Dewback (a lizard about the size of a steer). Shortly after that he comes to “the Oasis” for supplies, where the mother Annileen Calwell (everyone calls her Annie) runs the store. Strangers are not a common sight in this small town where sand is everywhere and moisture farming is one of the main occupations, so naturally the townspeople are very curious about Ben. Try as he might to keep a low profile, Kenobi is slowly drawn into helping Annileen and her family.
This Western / Sci-Fi story also answers some questions that fans may have about the years in between the more recent prequel trilogy and the original films. What happened to Obi Wan Kenobi after Anakin became Darth Vader at the end of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith? How did the forty-ish Jedi Obi Wan (played by Ewan McGregor at 34) age to become the seventy-something “crazy old Ben” Kenobi (played by Sir Alec Guinness at 62) in just nineteen years? I, for one, enjoyed learning the answer to a question I hadn’t even realized I was wondering about.
In addition to a great story in the Western style, Miller also explores a bit more about the Tusken Raiders and gives readers insight into a bit of their history and religious beliefs about life on this desert planet with two suns. The author also shares Kenobi’s Jedi meditations directed toward his former master Qui Gon Jinn, an excellent technique for letting the reader in on Ben’s private thoughts and worries. Other Star Wars inhabitants of Tatooine also make appearances, such as Jawas, Banthas, and Hutts – and we even get a trip to the big city of Mos Eisley. Hey, if a Western / Sci-Fi crossover could work for Joss Whedon’s Firefly, why not for Star Wars too?
P.S. Did you know that Saturday, October 5 is Star Wars Reads Day?