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  • 'Star Wars' books for the holidays

    From art based on the series, to 'Star Wars' history compendiums, fans have many choices
  • If you have a "Star Wars" fan in your family, you may end up wondering what to get them.
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  • If you have a "Star Wars" fan in your family, you may end up wondering what to get them.
    Don't worry — Lucasfilm has got you covered. It's intent on providing all your book needs this Christmas season.
    There is a new edition of the art book "Star Wars Art: Illustrations," where artists interpret the universe through a myriad of different techniques — ink, paint, graphics. Included are pieces from Dark Horse Comics, the Topps "Star Wars Galaxy" trading cards appear as watercolors, pen and ink and book covers selected from the over 145 novels. Some of the pictures expand on the movies — Hugh Fleming's "Dewback Attack" shows Luke Skywalker escaping a nasty reptile on Tatooine. There are eight with Princess Leia in her slave girl outfit.
    Tsuneo Sanda's "Congratulations!" created for the mega "Star Wars" convention Celebration V in 2010 has all the characters you probably know, and many that only in-depth fans can name.
    For compulsive readers and trivia fans, you have Pablo Hidalgo's "Star Wars: The Essential Reader's Companion," which covers the professionally written novels, short stories and others that really started with "a seismic event for readers," says Hidalgo — the 1991 "Heir to the Empire" by Timothy Zahn.
    Hidalgo says that the "Companion" is "an attempt to summarize every piece of prose 'Star Wars' fiction out there." Graphic novels, game books for the various videogames and "stories with multiple endings" are not included. This is generally known as the "Expanded Universe," and are not considered canon by most fans. "The most definitive canon of the "Star Wars" universe is encompassed by the feature films and television productions in which George Lucas was directly involved," says Hidalgo.
    "The Companion" includes plot summaries with character listings, fiction timeline placement by BBY — the battle of Yavin (where the original Death Star was destroyed,) and indexes. He has read all the fiction that has appeared in the novels, short stories, the "Star Wars Insider" magazine, Dark Horse Comics as well as the Scholastic juvenile fiction. There are book covers, a variety of paintings, and useful various indexes. This is an excellent guide to the Expanded Universe, useful to those who might want to make sure they've read it all.
    For the players of "Star Wars: The Old Republic" videogame, the "Star Wars" universe extends back 25,000 years into the days of the Old Republic.
    The new "Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to the Epic Conflict" covers the history created by the game, a history that covers thousands of years. It's rich with illustrations from the game, and extensive background minutia.
    Familiar names, from the movies, do appear. For example, in the "Encyclopedia" the planet Hoth was the scene of an epic battle thousands of years ago with "dozen of starships."
    By the time of "The Empire Strikes Back," movie, Hoth is just another icy rock with smelly native fauna such as Tauntauns and Whampas.
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