On December 1st, Del Rey released 4 short stories written by Landry Q. Walker within the canon Star Wars universe as we know it, as tie-ins to the Force Awakens. These four shorts will be collected, along with two others, in an anthology called ‘Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens’. These stories, written for a targeted age of 8-12, are still enjoyable little snippets for ravenous fans of the Star Wars book range, as they tell tales of some of the alien creatures we’ve seen in the trailers and other media. Some spoilers from here on out.
The Face of Evil, the second short story I read from the anthology, takes a more classic horror approach than the others. Ryn Biggleston, a female human and master thief, leaves her longtime accomplice BeeLee Amdas to die. In BeeLee’s last moments she betrays the double-crossing Ryn by putting a sizable bounty on her head, making her the 6th most-wanted person in the galaxy. She takes refuge on the planet Takodana, in Maz Kanata’s castle. There she meets the three creatures on the cover, two Frigosians and a Snivvian, who offer her a way out.
Now it must be said that the two furry and eccentric Frigosians are crafted and written to be, essentially, like Doctor Frankenstein. They spend all their time experimenting on different species, morphing them into monstrosities. I quite like them, but as background characters. Thromba and Laparo, their names, are actually ridiculously freaky creatures considering their pastime, albeit looking so cute. They’re called cryptosurgeons, but for the sake of this tale they’re basically plastic surgeons. I’m curious as to what purpose they serve under Maz Kanata.
Maz, the pirate queen herself, is not featured in this story, which is a shame. I’m dying to meet her. The way this short was written gives the impression that her castle is very ominous, spooky, with plenty of passages to lose yourself in. Actually, it fits pretty well with the Frankenstein-castle mold that the story plays around with.
Ryn Biggleston submits to a full reshaping of her face and torso, to avoid being captured. Several pages go to great lengths in describing the process the two cryptosurgeons take in making Ryn a different person. It’s really quite strange. I understand plastic surgery to ‘better’ or ‘upgrade ones self or appearance. I can even understand the desire to look unrecognizable. But the lengths to which Ryn is willing to subject herself to, on a whim, are extraordinary. Sure, she’s on the run, but she doesn’t even give it any real thought. Perhaps, within the realm of Star Wars, it’s far more normal of a procedure that she wasn’t particularly worried about her final outcome? I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is a ‘plastic positive’ story, as the cryptosurgeons are the last individuals you’d ever want as surgeons, but it certainly gives off a scarily blasé mentality. But then again, our main character doesn’t seem to care much about anything or anyone, no less her own state of mind.
Of course, as a no-good criminal, Ryn has to get caught eventually. There is an interesting twist that I’ll let you discover, as its a worthwhile reveal. Interestingly there are no protagonists in this story. Either they’re creepy aliens, or they’re criminals who’ll do anything to save their own backs. This works as a short story, and it doesn’t even need to take place in the galaxy far, far away to be enjoyable, but that added background stages it so well.
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2 thoughts on “Star Wars: The Face of Evil (SHORT STORY REVIEW)”
Any intentional reference to the 1970s’ “Doctor Who” episode title of the same name?
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Quite possibly… You know what. I bet there is a hidden Doctor Who meaning in each short story title. The first I read was All Creatures Great and Small, the show Peter Davison starred in before becoming the Doctor. The Face of Evil goes without saying. The next story I’ll read is called the Crimson Corsair – the Corsair being one of the few Time Lords named. And lastly High Noon on Jakku… Could be a reference to A Town Called Mercy, when they had the showdown at high noon.