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Illustrated Star Wars Universe Paperback – Sep 2 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: LucasBooks; Reprint edition (Sept. 2 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553374842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553374841
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 1.2 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Publisher

A stunning journey, in words and pictures, to eight of the fantastic worlds in the Star Wars(r) universe.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Sergeant Pfilbee Jhorn:

Sergeant Pfilbee Jhorn served as records officer for the Emperor's second expeditionary force to the Forest Moon of Endor.  Displeased with the superficial reports of the first scouting team, the Emperor requested a detailed summary.  Sergeant Jhorn filed several memos before his departure, insisting that he was not qualified for the job, but these memos were misfiled and never delivered to Sergeant Jhorn's superiors.  Such circumstances account for the rather bitter and resentful tone of this report.

Imperial military records show that shortly after Sergeant Pfilbee Jhorn filed this report, he was transferred to a lengthy tour of duty alone riding the solar focusing mirrors in orbit around Coruscant.  Following this assignment, he was sent to Tatooine, where he served as a custodian in the Imperial desert garrison.

The Forest Moon of Endor
by Sgt. Philbee Jhorn

Though my superiors have not seen fit to give me full details as to the Emperor's purpose in seeking further information on the Forest Moon of Endor, I am filing this report as requested.  I will state up front that, since I was never given specifics as to the information of interest, this report will perforce be broad and general.  As I have had no training in planetary survey techniques, I have avoided details of a technical nature.

The trip out here was horrendous.  Endor itself is a silvery gas-giant that is difficult to reach even by convoluted hyperspace paths.  As shown in the attachments, the huge planet is encircled by banded high clouds and orbited by nine moons of varying sizes.  The largest moon, called the Forest Moon of Endor, is the size of a small, rocky planet.  As the Forest Moon is the focus of this report, I have designated it Endor for simplicity.

The Endor system is extremely remote, not just from the Core systems but also from other Imperial bases, common trade routes, and other inhabited worlds.  The captain of our transport claimed that simply reaching Endor involves half a dozen tricky hyperspace maneuvers (something to do with the enormous gravity of the gas-giant and the uncharted space in the sector).  The captain rather snappishly told me to leave him alone, even after I informed him that I was on a fact-finding mission for the Emperor.  (His name and service number are on file, should anyone wish to initiate formal disciplinary action.)  These navigational uncertainties may rule out the establishment of an important base in this system.

Given such circumstances, it is no surprise that numerous ships have crash-landed on the Forest Moon, making it something of a "desert island" in space.  The lush and wild environment provides resourceful victims the opportunity to eke out an existence, but I would envy no one the job of living under these primitive conditions.  Give me Coruscant any day.

However, I do not know the Emperor's purposes here.  Given that Endor is isolated, yet able to support human life without expensive and difficult environment systems, this large moon mav be an ideal place.  My job is only to provide information, add recommendations if I feel they are relevant, and correct the numerous sketchy errors made by the initial survey team.  If only they had done their job well enough in the first place, I would not have been given this redundant assignment.

(For example, the report of the first survey team stated that the only significant life-forms inhabiting the moon were the fuzzy and annoying Ewoks, who were presumed to be harmless.  Not only did the survey team entirely miss the deadly giant Gorax, but also bloodthirsty condor dragons, packs of tall and timid yuzzums, and an entire settlement of off-planet marauders.  The members of this first team are a disgrace to Imperial military service.  Practically their only useful bit of information is that the furry Ewoks pose no serious threat and should be exterminated strictly because of their nuisance value.)

Of course, the first team's lack of thoroughness may be understandable if they were as poorly equipped as my team proved to be.  When the transport ship dropped us off and shuttled our supplies down, we were appalled to find that only a group of two-rider AT-ST scout transports had been assigned to the entire task of covering a world.  The food packs contained only the worst sorts of rations, leftovers from the Clone Wars, no doubt!  The garment bins contained ice-assault suits decommissioned after the raid on Hoth!  I had heard grumblings about incompetence, nepotism, and corruption in the Imperial Navy, and now I had no doubt.

Sworn to duty, though, my team and I set to work.  We consisted of four scientifically trained troopers plus five stormtrooper escorts.  We climbed aboard several jerky scout transports and clomped off through the undergrowth.  I believe the AT-STs were in need of serious maintenance.  The other members of my team performed the required duties, while I sat back and observed (as was my job).  I took copious notes.

Much of the surface is densely covered with legendary tall trees, giving it the name of Forest Moon; but other parts of Endor are rocky savannas and snow-topped mountains.  Badlands to the south are dotted with sulfur springs and perilous pools.  Bleak, rocky highlands are inhabited by the giant Gorax.  The low gravity of the Endor moon encourages living things to become large, not just the mammoth conifer trees, but also many indigenous species.

The dense, primeval forest is the most striking feature of Endor, and most likely to cause serious difficulties for Imperial construction projects.  Overhead, through the tapering treetops, the bright planet Endor fills much of the sky like a mirror, breaking through the blue of daylight or shining down like a spotlight in the night.  (One side benefit of this would be the reduced cost of illumination for a security perimeter on any proposed base.)

Flowers grow high above the ground, sprouting from wind-borne seeds that have lodged in damp crevices in the enormous tree limbs.  Their colors are so bright and so varied as to give one a headache, and even with my facemask filters toggled to their densest settings, the disgusting pollens still managed to penetrate, making me miserable with extraterrestrial allergies.

The thickly overgrown forest floor, with its groves of free-palms and ferns, proved extremely hazardous even for the flexible capabilities of our scout transport.  If Imperial engineers think they can simply land on the moon, ignore the indigenous life-forms, and set up their base of operations without difficulty, they're in for a large, unpleasant surprise.

While our AT-STs could maneuver through some of the thickest foliage, I'd consider it impossible for a larger AT-AT to make its way beyond the largest clearings.  This does not preclude, however, the use of such armored walkers for intimidation around, say, a big landing platform in the depths of the forest.

Still, even our smaller scout walker suffered several mishaps on our plodding journey through the forest: I can't begin to list all the times we stumbled in treacherous and hidden gullies concealed by the underbrush.  We wasted many hours disassembling twisted metal knee joints and repairing them, occasionally even battering bent components with rocks just to make them fit back into their appropriate sockets.  Naturally, our AT-ST repair kits contained none of the spare parts we needed.

The Forest Moon of Endor orbits a silvery gas giant--called Endor, for you dim-witted readers--which rises high and bright every day.

The animal life on Endor is none too friendly.  (I couldn't begin to say whether any of the game is edible; our old military rations were tasteless, but even that seemed preferable to eating some stringy, musty rodent grubbing in the underbrush.)

While our scout walker was being repaired-- again--several of us explored the perimeter and encountered a dangerous decoy creature, which we named a tempter.  The tempter lives inside a dark, hollow stump, waiting for other predators to pass by.  The tempter apparently exudes a provocative smell that makes predators salivate.  From the shadows of its tree den, it opens its yawning black mouth, using its articulated tongue as a lure.

The tempter's tongue is an astonishing piece of camouflage, with a small and furry appendage that looks just like a particularly stupid rodent.  The tongue appendage has its own muscles and even a dense nerve cluster that may act as a primitive secondary brain.  The decoy appendage moves, making strange and tempting sounds, then ducks back into the blackness of the hollow tree.

The open skies of Endor, showing only primitive trees and dirty "natural" beauty, are ripe for exploitation by anyone who can stomach this primeval world.

When one of our scouts reached into the hollow trunk to secure the rodent specimen, the tempter nearly bit his entire hand off.  As we struggled to free him, the gray, serpentine form lunged out of its hiding place in the trunk, hoping to finish off the wounded prey.  We blasted it, then dissected the remains of the carcass.

The tempter looks like a long, blunt eel, with pale, fleshy skin covered with a thick mucus that allows it to slither into tight spots and also to strike outward, freeing itself in a flash.  Apparently once it has had its meal, the tempter cleans blood and debris from the area, then lies in wait again.  Once the lair in the hollow trunk is filled with bones and refuse, the tempter must move out--probably at night, under the silvery light of the gas-giant, slithering among the free-palms to find a new place to set up a trap.

We tended our wounded comrade and bandaged his arm, but his injury greatly diminished his use to us for the rest of the survey operation.

The most common creatures on Endor are the obnoxious Ewoks, feral and deceptively cute hairy things that seem to consider themselves our equals.  Ewoks practically infest the forests with their tree villages.  It would give me no greater pleasure than to burn down these clumsy and primitive structures, but the task is far too great for our small party.  I would suggest, though, that if the Emperor intends to make any substantial use of this Forest Moon, he see to it that the Ewoks are exterminated before they can cause significant damage with their ignorant meddling.

One member of our team unwisely became enamored of the Ewok society and culture.  He squandered valuable time studying them and wrote copious descriptions of his impressions, though he did not bother to do a single dissection to add to our real knowledge of these. . . these creatures.  I have reprimanded him severely for his misplaced priorities, but I include his observations here for completeness, though I have rewritten some of the insipid and overblown prose.

The Ewok civilization is extremely primitive and simple, with little of unique interest to warrant study by already overworked Imperial exoanthropologists.  Somehow, by sheer accident, the Ewoks have performed many spectacular engineering feats, including catapults, waterwheels, and skin gliders that allow them to soar on the winds and remain aloft for a long time in the small moon's low gravity.  Even the gmff engineer on our team admitted his grudging admiration for their discoveries.

It is humorous to watch the Ewoks attempt to create weapons from the crudest raw materials: stone knives, spears, bows and arrows, nets, clumsy animal traps, even catapults.  Nothing the Ewoks invent would have a chance of even scratching our Imperial weaponry, though the contest (and resulting Ewok slaughter!) might be amusing to watch.

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on Sept. 29 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. Beautiful and informative.
I bought it originally for the incredible artwork, but I was pleasantly surprised to find lots of great information on some of the worlds in Star Wars. The text is written by Kevin J. Anderson, but he did a pretty good job on this book.
Still, the crowning glory of this book is the collection of astounding artwork by Ralph McQuarrie. Lots of full-page color paintings with remarkable detail. McQuarrie is the king of SW art, and this is him at his best!
This is a must have for any Star Wars fan, or even one of great artwork, and would make a great present for any Star Wars fan.
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Format: Paperback
Take the artistic talents of acclaimed production artist Ralph McQuarrie and the writing skills of prolific author Kevin J. Anderson (The Jedi Academy Trilogy) and you get The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, a coffee table book that gives readers a glimpse of the various planets showcased in George Lucas' original Star Wars Trilogy (1977-83).
Using McQuarrie's production sketches and paintings for A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and other Lucasfilm projects (including the Endor-based television specials of the mid-1980s plus preliminary sketches for the 1997 Special Edition updates), Anderson takes readers on a grand tour of the most important planets seen in the Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader half of the Star Wars Saga. Starting with Tatooine, the desert world that is the home world to both Anakin Skywalker and his son Luke and ending with Alderaan, the planet where Princess Leia was hidden from her father and was doomed to be destroyed by the Death Star, eight planets are described in individual chapters, each told not by one omniscient narrator but by eight different observers, each with his or her point of view and/or political agenda.
For instance, while the chapter on Tatooine is an anthropologist's dispassionate and scientific report on the desert planet's hostile environment and its hardy inhabitants (ranging from the nomadic and hostile Tusken Raiders and scavenging Jawas to the resilient human moisture farmers and their homesteads), the description of Coruscant, the massive city-planet which was once the seat of power of the Old Republic and is the capital of Emperor Palpatine's Galactic Empire, is a pro-Imperial propaganda article authored by Pollus Hax, the Emperor's chief public relations expert and "spin doctor.
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Format: Paperback
The Illustrated Star Wars Universe is unlike other Star Wars books because its purpose is not to entertain by way of action or plot and not to inform like a reference book. Its purpose is to show the various places in the universe that were and might not have been shown in the movies. The illustrations were excellent, and it was especially good to see some of the earlier versions of some places we got to know in the movies. I ask that you understand this before buying so that you don't buy it and think it was bad because you thought it is something other than what it is, a collection of depicting artwork.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very good and complete collection of art, great print quality. It goes in depth significantly, most images have writing to explain them. Very fun to look at the original concepts of the original trilogy.
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Format: Paperback
This book really showcases the beautiful artwork of Ralph McQuarrie, who helped establish the look of the Star Wars films way back at the dawn of the story as we know it. In this book we see fascinating early visual drafts of things that we would later see in the movies. Most of it was impossibly fantastic to ever get filmed at the time but maybe we'll see some of it in the next two movies.
The chapters on Alderan and Bespin are particular fascinating and beautiful.
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Format: Hardcover
This book fleshes out all of the worlds featured in the STAR WARS TRILOGY, Episodes 4-6, from Dagobah and Tatooine to Coruscant and Alderaan! Each world has its own chapter, which has a splendid and detailed narrative. To illustrate the narratives a wealth of Ralph McQuarrie's exquisite paintings (created for the production of the Trilogy) are featured. A well-done book and a must-have for any STAR WARS fan or sci-fi art buff.
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By Mike on March 28 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the must haves for a true Star Wars fan. It is a coffee table book, like Dinotopia. Its stunning illustrations follow the reader through the Star Wars Universe, earning points for believability, and romanticism along the way. Though not a true novel, the text is good for guiding one through the drawings on the book. You have to know that you are not getting a novel, but for a Star Wars fan it hardly matters.
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Format: Hardcover
The story being wrapped together with Ralph and Kevin working in concert is spectacular I love both of there work and I would to tell you that is is a great thing to see the works of two men and other to collaborate together to put this book out. I commend them for there work! I can't wait to see what is store for us in the future. I have 45 novels,books,guides of Star Wars. This book is a great addition to my collection.
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