SW Insider #67
The Trouble With Squibs
by Troy Denning
Published by Paizo Publishing
Scott's Rating: 2.5 out of 4
This story takes place a few months after Tatooine Ghost.
Han and Leia have heard about yet another sale of Alderaanian art, this time on the underwater gambling world of Pavo Prime. They take Chewie and C-3PO along to help get it back. Unfortunately, they run into their old Squib friends Emala and Sligh. The two need Han and Leia's help in retrieving another piece of artwork entitled Second Chance. In exchange for getting the artwork, the Squibs will hand over secret Imperial plans for a shield busting missile. Han and Leia agree, but little do they know that the Squibs have become entangled with New Republic Intelligence, the Imperials led by Grand Admiral Thrawn, and the gambling underworld of Pavo Prime led by Ludlo Lebauer. It will take all of their skills and luck to survive the encounter.
I like Troy Denning's Star Wars stories because he usually nails the film characters, gives a good blend of action and humor, and has a writing style that I like. Put all this together and he's a good short story writer for Star Wars.
I like the fact that this story ties in with Tatooine Ghost. Though the Insider fails to mention it anywhere, it is a brief sequel of sorts to the novel. I hope they'll occasionally continue this in the future. I don't want every short story to be a novel tie in, but it's a fun treat.
Denning always seems to keep one eye on Han Solo in the present and one eye on his past. In all his novels he does a good job reminding us of Han's shady past and his history with a whole lot of colorful characters. He does that in this story by talking about Han's gambling days and how he put the Millennium Falcon up for a bet and ended up breaking the casino. It's those brief little touches that make the story more enjoyable.
As much as I enjoy Denning's work, I felt this story was a rehash of the first part of Tatooine Ghost. Our heroes are again trying to win Alderaanian art away from an underworld character before Thrawn's representatives get it. Again, some secret documents are also involved. Again, the squibs are involved and cause problems. And again, Han and Leia are in disguise with Chewie and C-3PO there for backup. It's a similar story in a slightly different package. This made it a bit less entertaining for me.
Han and Leia also walk around in rather lame disguises as can be seen in the artwork. Han wears a goatee while Leia has white eyebrows and white contacts. As if nobody would recognize the heroes of the New Republic in these getups.
The story also gets a bit confusing at one point. When the Squibs finally reveal whom they're working for and what's going on, I got totally lost. There's a rather complicated paragraph or two explaining all the politics. It took me a while to regain my understanding of what was going on. I can't get into more detail without running parts of the plot, but you'll get the picture if you read it.
Princess Leia with white eyebrows and white eyes. Just look at the image above.