REVIEW: ‘Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Star Wars Insider The Fiction Collection Volume 1

Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 1 offers a collection of 19 short stores previously published in Star Wars Insider magazine issues between 2011 and 2017. They are written by a number of authors, including Christie Golden, Timothy Zahn, Matthew Stover, Jason Fry, and John Ostrander. They include illustrations from artists including The Brothers Hilderbrand, Jan Duursema, John Van Fleet, and Brian Rood. The book is published by Titan Comics.

Star Wars Legends enthusiasts and fans of the current continuity have a publication in common in Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 1. Containing short stories from both eras in Star Wars storytelling, this book is perfect for those who cannot get enough Star Wars lore, backstory, and character deep dives. Every story is focused, no more than ten or so pages long, with a quick burst of character to fill those pages to the seams. There’s no doubt that with this book’s sleek design and formatting if you’re somebody who loves everything Star Wars literature, you will love this book.

The accompanying artwork throughout the volume adds a dynamic to the short stories that I wish every piece of Star Wars literature could have. While we occasionally get concept art for Star Wars books, the art from the magazine really adds to the stories by giving visuals to characters who may never have been illustrated otherwise or gives new material for beloved characters like Vader, Lando, and many others.

However, it is very clearly a book for the most dedicated, especially in the Legends stories. Granted, the stories were originally published in a magazine designed for such a dedicated audience rather than newly minted Star Wars fans. But if you do not have at least a passing background in Legends stories, and in some cases a fairly deep one, many of the more subtle aspects of those stories may pass you by. They are all enjoyable in their own right, but many of the characters and their plots are original to Legends stories, never appearing in Star Wars films. An uninitiated reader such as myself can still enjoy the stories for what they are, but like any bonus content, the stories are far better enjoyed if you know the context of the stories.

Which really raises the question for me: why mix Legends and current canon in the same volumes? Yes, this book is labeled with the Legends banner on its cover. But nevertheless, it contains several non-Legends stories. There is already a second volume planned for release later in 2021, and there are more than enough stories from both prior and after the Disney acquisition of Star Wars that the two eras of storytelling could have been separated. Neither does it seem apparent that any thematic throughline inspired the selection in this volume. The volume would have been better served had it stuck exclusively with Legends material and perhaps collected the short stories in their totality in the order they were released, allowing the canon stories to hold their own volume or two. It is just an odd decision that can alienate audiences who have never read Legends or who are disinterested in canon. While I can imagine the intention may have been to draw readers into different stories they have not read before, given the nature of the stories and their connection to other media, it does not have that effect on me.

Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 1 is a great collection for dedicated Star Wars fans, especially fans of Legends stories and characters. For readers unfamiliar with Legends, it may offer some starting points on a few characters and stories, but they are fairly well-seeped in deep lore and might prove disinteresting.

Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 1 is available now wherever books are sold.

Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 1
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TL;DR

Star Wars Insider: The Fiction Collection Volume 1 is a great collection for dedicated Star Wars fans, especially fans of Legends stories and characters. For readers unfamiliar with Legends, it may offer some starting points on a few characters and stories, but they are fairly well-seeped in deep lore and might prove disinteresting.