Book Review: Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka


We now conclude Lando’s own solo miniseries set prior to the events of the original Star Wars trilogy.

Writer: L. Neil Smith
Publication Date: November 12, 1983

Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka is available as part of the Lando Calrissian Adventures collection on Amazon.com

Plot Notes

Lando and Vuffi Raa have basically come to the aid of a group of space whales called the Oswaft. Their home habitat, a nebula called ThonBoka (or StarCave, making the title of the book somewhat redundant), is threatened by the Empire. Lando and Vuffi Raa decide to help, particularly once Lando realizes that the ThonBoka can basically poop precious stones and minerals (over a game of Sabacc, naturally). Lando cons his way through the Imperial blockade fleet before faking their destruction to get the rest of the way there.

Meanwhile, Rokur Gepta is putting together an alliance of Imperial ships, mercenaries, and the pirates from the last book to take down Lando – and the Oswaft. Ultimately, the Oswaft, Lando, and Gepta are forced into one final confrontation.

After Gepta is defeated at last, the race of massive alien mechanisms that birthed Vuffi Raa arrive, revealing that Raa is actually from a race of alien mechanisms, sent out to spend time among sentients. Raa leaves Lando, who sets off to try to go legit with his cargo of Oswaft gemstone poop (which he will likely not sell using that description).

Worldbuilding

  • Rokur Gepta is from a race of small crustaceans who can use The Force to create projections that make them look like full-sized humanoids – clearly the author is taking a cue from Yoda’s line “Judge me by my size, will you.”
  • The Space Slug are not the only massive space fauna in the Star Wars universe.

Characterization

Lando: In spite of Lando deciding to set off to enjoy his wealth instead of helping the Rentasians (the race of aliens who was conquered by the Empire using Vuffi Raa as a catspaw), Lando is all about saving the Space Whales in this book, establishing that Lando’s better nature can absolutely come his greed as needed, and if he can get his greed and better nature to work in concert, than even better.

My Thoughts

This book is actually not as good as the first two. The book spends a massive chunk in the middle of the book with Lando missing, presumed dead, and has interludes with some unnamed space aliens who are only revealed to be Vuffi Raa’s parent race at the very end of the book.

That said, the image of Lando teaching Giant Space Whales to play Sabacc is an amusing image, and there are plenty other great moments like that throughout the book.The first installment of the series, and the Lando focused stories in Marvel’s Star Wars series have made it clear to me that Lando works best in con artist and grifter stories, and less in action thriller stories. He’s not hard boiled, and trying to write him that way doesn’t work.

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