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‘Star Wars: Fascinating Facts’ (review)

Star Wars: Fascinating Facts
Written by Pablo Hidalgo
Published by Portable Press

 

The first question I had to ask myself before reading Pablo Hidalgo’s Star Wars: Fascinating Facts was; will these random Star Wars factoids truly be fascinating?

For some reason, the great Henry Silva’s Ripley’s Believe it or Not! spoof segments from the underappreciated film Amazon Women on the Moon bounce around in my head. Thus, the name of the piece.

Star Wars is such a pop culture juggernaut that any writer worth his or her Kessel spice must take into account that the Star Wars fanbase is a tough audience to please. It should be reasonably assumed that what might seem like esoteric anecdotes are in fact common knowledge, making Pablo Hidalgo’s job tougher than bulls-eyeing a two meter exhaust port without a targeting computer.

Case in point: most of my friends think I’m a walking Star Wars encyclopedia.

Also known as Pablo Hidalgo’s target audience.

Absolute fanatic when it comes to Star Wars toys? Guilty. Behind the scenes knowledge? That knowledge informed my career.

Walking encyclopedia?

Hardly. But, I’m no slouch. Even if you do consider yourself a walking, talking Star Wars Encyclopedia, with over 30 technical and dictionary books to his credit, Pablo Hidalgo has access to far greater resources than your above average Star Wars aficionado.

However, Hidalgo’s vast accumulation of knowledge is not what makes Star Wars: Fascinating Facts pop. It’s the variety and manner in which the facts are presented.

A large part of the charm of this book are the bite-sized factoids. With few exceptions, each page contains a single fact, no matter how brief. I could pick up this book throughout the day, read a few pages and set it down without my obsessive compulsiveness feeling the urge to complete a particular section.

What also keeps this collection of facts engaging are the various categories evenly spread throughout. In addition to the plethora of random standalone facts, we’re treated to character timelines, vehicle briefings, planet and moon statistics and script excepts being the afore mentioned exceptions to the one fact per page rule.

I was indeed exposed to many facts of which I was previously unaware.

Details in plain sight that I failed to connect. Behind the scenes entries that endear George Lucas to us and bring to our attention many items that are now cannon that were in fact created on the fly during development of the original film. Many names used across the entire saga were also conceived during those early days of the mid 70’s. On location production troubles that are just plain hard to believe and real-life humans that inspired certain Star Wars characters.

There’s even an entry that will make you never look at a tauntaun the same way again.

Arguably my favorite of all these facts is the connection between the very first ever Star Wars fan film, 1978’s Hardware Wars, Return of the Jedi and the Kenner action figure line.

So, in the end, did I find the fascinating facts contained within Star Wars: Fascinating Facts fascinating?

Yes.

 

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