This is an ongoing series looking at books that have influenced one fantasy author.
Splinter of the Mind’s Eye
by Alan Dean Foster
As a kid in the late 1970s, I was blown away by the original Star Wars movie. But what kid wasn’t? The whole world seemed to go crazy for Star Wars, and to some extent has been ever since.
At that point, there was no The Empire Strikes Back. There weren’t the tons upon tons of Star Wars book there are nowadays. There were no Clone Wars shows on TV. Nothing. Just the original movie, Star Wars.
But fans were clamoring for more.
That’s where science fiction author Alan Dean Foster comes in. He wrote the original novelization for the Star Wars movie. At the time, no one knew if Star Wars would be a hit or a flop, so George Lucas and 20th Century Fox went ahead and signed Foster up to create a sequel for Star Wars, a novel that would come to be known as Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.
I first spotted this book in one of those revolving racks at a gift shop in a small town in Kentucky. I was 8 years old and traveling with my parents to visit some relatives. What caught my attention about the paperback was the image of Darth Vader on the cover.
Darth Vader! What’s he doing on a book cover?!? I had to investigate. I had to find out. And that’s when I discovered Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, the very first sequel to anything Star Wars.
I talked and talked and talked at my parents until they bought me the book. My mom gave me the cash to buy the book, and it turned out to be the very first book I’d buy for myself. The rest of that trip, I had my nose stuck in a book, where it’s been ever since.
The plot concerns Luke, Leia, R2-D2 and C-3PO being forced to crash land their spaceships on a swamp-like planet. While there, they discover an Imperial presence in stormtroopers and something called a Kaiburrcrystal, which allows the Force to be magnified in those sensitive to the Force. And, of course, Lord Darth Vader shows up wanting the crystal. Action and antics ensue.
The Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was a decent book, and it fed Star Wars fans hungry for more of their favorite science fiction universe. For me, it is fondly remembered as being that first Star Wars sequel and for being the first book I actually bought with my own hands (despite the fact that mom technically paid for it). As a writer, this novel introduced me to author Alan Dean Foster, and I would read more of his books in coming years, and it taught me the importance of sequels to fans.
Because I was one of them.
Up next: Another Fine Myth, by Robert Lynn Asprin