Friday, November 14, 2008

David's Review of Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu


2/5 Rancors - The first tale in The Lando Calrissian Adventures was written in 1983 and apparently is intended to give us an idea of Lando's background and one of his adventures that helped to make him what he turns out to be later on in the Star Wars films. Unfortunately, I don't feel that Mr. Smith did a very good job of handling the adventure. Lando is a wonderful character in the films- charming, clever, resourceful, and a good hand in a fight. Not all of this comes through in this tale.

As usual with Lando stories, this tale is set into motion by a sabacc game that leads Lando to go on a treasure-hunting mission to Rafa, a system that is covered with colossal pyramids built by the ancient Sharu. These pyramids were impregnable and had never been opened or explored. The present natives of the Rafa system were the Toka, who appeared to be primitive and simpleminded. The Sharu seemed to have gone into hiding centuries earlier in cities beneath the giant pyramids, and rumor had it that they had left behind a fabulous treasure, the Mindharp of Sharu. Lando is joined in this quest by the droid Vuffi Raa, an extremely interesting character who plays a valuable role throughout the adventure.

Lando is arrested on trumped-up charges by the colonial governor of Rafa. His only way to escape time in prison is to search for the Mindharp on behalf of Rokur Gepta, the Sorcerer of Tund. Lando and Vuffi eventually reach Rafa V where they unlock the largest Sharu pyramid with a transdimensional key given to them by the sorcerer. There they find the Mindharp. Then they return to the governor and find they have been scammed. The governor only wants the Mindharp for his own greedy purposes. However, when he activates it he sets off a chain of events that leads to a complete reversal of the social order on Rafa.


Mr. Smith uses unusual phrases in places that just did not seem to fit. Plus, he repeats over and over a statement that was amusing the first few times but becomes really tiresome pretty quickly. Lando continually tells his droid not to call him Master. Just tell him two or three times, not twenty. The story also feels very isolated. Nobody else from the Expanded Universe turns up. It's just Lando. I miss the interaction with some of our other favorite characters.

Read the story for a decent adventure and to learn about Lando's early days. Just don't set your expectations too high.

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