01/12/2008. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Del Rey/Ballantine Books/Lucas Books. 1224 page illustrated hardback boxset in three volumes. Price: $125.00 (US), $34.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-477630-7.
check out website: www.delreydigital.com and www.starwars.com
released: 09 December 2008
One rule here at SFCrowsnest I don't like breaking is not reading the entire book for review. After all, as a reviewer we're representing you reading this and how we react will in someway sway you to go off and get your own copy.
With 'The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia', we only had the first volume and I suspect Del Rey would like to ensure you folks know about it in case you want to buy it for or get for yourself to be read over Yuletide. If you want the boxset in the UK, from the looks at Amazon, Titan Books will be distributing it over here in a few more weeks so there's no need to go into panic mode that you might miss the first edition.
Considering that the first volume is some 379 pages long for letters A-G set in three columns per page, I had the choice of reading it all and you waiting a month or scattershot the various entries and glean enough to tell if it's a worthwhile purchase.
Something that is very obvious, even from the good quality photographs and illustrations, that it isn't just the six films and the CGI 'Clone Wars' that are included here but also the Dark Horse material and the recent novels. With the first volume, outside of C-P30 and Chewbacca, most of the bigger named cast are obviously in the latter volumes. However, the entries here are rather complete. If you're looking for a reference for where all the events listed originally appeared then this won't really work for you as I think its assumed you might already have some working knowledge of this.
Likewise, no words are italicised to point you to the other entries for further information but as this is a set of books that you're likely to cross-reference yourself anyway I can see their point in not needing to do that. The only time it does refer to other entries is when there is an abbreviated title and points to the fuller entry which must be a great relief when you're tracking down droid and tech names and not wanting duplicate entries. Before you ask, the paper quality is thick and not likely to crinkle from quick-referencing and I suspect any 'Star Wars' fan is going to treat this boxset with respect anyway.
I should point out that the illustration that's accompanying this review looks a little compressed by about a quarter as these are normal sized hardbacks. Considering that this was considered a revision of the 1998 single volume and now you have three volumes sounds more like a work in progress, especially when there's a TV series in the works. However, I doubt if there will be an update from this one until its complete so you'd better grab this one while you can.
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