Literature / Tales from Jabba's Palace

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"If I told you half the things I've heard about Jabba the Hutt you'd probably short-circuit."

Tales From Jabbas Palace follows on from where Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina and Tales of the Bounty Hunters leave off, being an anthology of short stories by different writers edited by Kevin J. Anderson. This time around the action is focused on the ramshackle collection of thugs, murderers, plotters and luckless slaves that make up the court of Jabba the Hutt. Just as the stories from Mos Eisley Cantina revolve around the arrival of Luke and Obi-Wan in Episode IV and the Bounty Hunters tales centre around the pursuit of the Millennium Falcon in Episode V, this collection takes place around the delivery of Artoo and Threepio to Jabba's palace at the beginning of Episode VI.

Surprisingly the Bloated One himself is not the star of any of the stories, though he plays a big role in nearly all of them. As with the other volumes the quality of the stories varies greatly but for anyone who wants to know how Mara Jade infiltrated Jabba's mob or how Boba Fett got out of the Sarlacc this is your book.

Tropes:

  • A Boy and His X: Malakili's relationship with the rancor. His story is even called "A Boy And His Monster."
  • And I Must Scream: "A Barve Like That" details what it's like to be eaten by the Sarlacc. It's... not pleasant. Also, the fate of Bib Fortuna at the hands of the B'omarr Monks.
    • EV-9D9 built several droids in her 'workshop' for the sole purpose of torturing and experimenting on them.
  • Ascended Extra: Ephant Mon, Malakili, Tessek, the Max Rebo band, and so on and so forth.
  • Author Appeal: Timothy Zahn likes to write about Imperials who aren't pure evil.
  • Battle Butler: Ephant Mon, who holds the distinction of being Jabba's only true friend.
  • Big Eater: The bandleader Max Rebo arranges for his group to be paid in free food (later EU books explain that food is exceptionally scarce on his homeworld).
  • Brain in a Jar: The B'omarr monks, and the eventual fate of Bib Fortuna and several others. In the X-Wing Series comics we see that Bib got out of it eventually.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end of the band's tale, Droopy McCool declares that he's going into the desert to find other kitonaks and does so. According to the epilogue, he's never seen again, but some people hear sounds like flutes playing and assume it's Droopy and his 'brothers'.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: EV-9D9 loves doing this to her droid underlings. She even installed pain-sensors in herself and the other droids in the palace so she could analyze their pain.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Return of the Jedi novelization namedropped a 'birdlizard' named Ishi Tib. Ishi Tib wasn't mentioned in Tales From Jabba's Palace. Later, Ishi Tib was made into a species, with this being just one individual member.
  • Circus of Fear: Before entering Jabba's service Malakili was beast-tamer at the aptly named Circus Horrificus, which later showed up in the Republic comic series.
  • The Ditz: Gartogg the guard, who is moronic even by the standards of other Gamorreans.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: It does this to the original novelization of Return of the Jedi. In it, Ephant Mon is described as having Salacious Crumb riding around on his shoulder and repeating everything he says. Also, Ree Yees is able to punch Ephant Mon hard enough to send him flying backwards.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Sarlacc has traits of one, particularly in how it tortures its victims by forcing them to experience the memories of other victims, past and present. And then claims each victim's mind for itself.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Malakili the Rancor's keeper.
  • Gambit Pileup: Where to even begin?
    • Bib Fortuna is plotting to kill Jabba. Bib knows of a separate plot by Tessek, Ree-Yees, and Bubo, but just wants to let that progress to see if those three end up killing Jabba for him. In all, there are at least 14 assassination plots that Fortuna is aware of and 68 more plots to rob the palace.
    • Tessek has arranged to set Jabba up to be arrested in the middle of a drug buy by the Imperials... but he plans to double-cross the Imperial Prefect by arranging for everybody to be killed in the middle of the arrest, effectively removing both Jabba and the head of Imperial law enforcement on Tatooine.
    • J'Quille the Whiphid-on orders from Jabba's chief criminal rival, the Lady Valarian-has bribed the kitchen boy to put slow-acting poison in Jabba's food each day... However, the kitchen boy ends up getting murdered by Dannik Jerriko!
    • Dannik Jerriko does this because his species kills and feeds on other sentients' brains, and in Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina he had been eagerly anticipating doing this to Han Solo. With Solo in Jabba's captivity and soon to be executed, Jerriko is pissed at being denied his prey and has thus targeted Jabba. He wants to get Jabba good and scared by killing lots of people in his service before finally killing Jabba himself. The movie main cast throws a Spanner in the Works, obviously.
    • Multiple people finish their stories right before they hurry off to plant a bomb on Jabba's sail barge in an attempt to blow him up when he rides out to feed the heroes to the Sarlacc; only one bomb is found in one of the later tales, and it's disarmed, but that's moot because it happens moments before the barge gets blown up by the heroes anyway. This may explain why the barge blows up when the heroes hadn't actually done any serious damage to it in the movie other than pointing a rail gun (that had previously been shown hitting the skiffs and causing no damage whatsoever) at the deck.
    • As we know from the film, the Rebels infiltrate the palace to rescue Han and various hijinks ensue around them.
    • Finally, after Jabba dies and some of the plotters return to the palace with the intent of taking his place, they fall victim to the B'omarr monks; the monks used to own the palace before Jabba forcibly took it from them. They aren't very pleased about this, and so once Jabba's gone and his surviving minions start fighting among themselves, the B'omarr monks make their move and retake the palace.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: "A Time to Mourn, a Time to Dance: Oola's Tale" fades out right before Oola gets dropped into the rancor pit.
  • It's Personal: "I am Wuntoo Forcee Forwun. Traffic controller. Second class. You deactivated my manufacturing lot-mates. Now the equation must be balanced."
  • Jedi Mind Trick
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ortugg the Gamorrean guard finally becomes so disgusted with Gartogg's stupidity that not only does he not allow Gartogg to come on the sail barge when Jabba and his gang take the Rebels out to be fed to the Sarlacc (something that Gartogg has been constantly begging him for), but he announces that when he gets back he is going to kill Gartogg and have him ground up into rancor meat. And what happens to Ortugg? Like nearly everyone else in the gang, he gets killed when the sail barge he had prevented Gartogg from boarding blows up, purging that Jerkass from existence and finally freeing Gartogg (who gets a happy ending of sorts) from Ortugg's bullying.
    • EV-9D9 is attacked and disabled by a droid survivor of her previous killing spree on Cloud City. The droid paralyses her, then leaves her at the mercy of the droids she tortured and experimented on in Jabba's basement. For added irony, he also rips out her custom pain-sensor, so she can't even enjoy the sensations of her own dismantling.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The anthology has 19 short stories and all contain at least one main character and often several supporting characters unique to that story.
  • Magic 8 Ball: In George Alec Effinger's story "The Great God Quay", the Weequays have one they use to seek wisdom from their god. Its responses are surprisingly accurate.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: "A Bad Feeling" has a bit where Artoo cusses out EV-9D9 in such a dense stream of machine language that she actually rewinds it and slows it down inside her head so she can process all the nuances.
  • Out-Gambitted: Bib Fortuna spends much of his story believing that he has the B'Omarr monks under his thumb, and that they'll help him take control of Jabba's organization. Once Jabba is dead, he learns that he's the Unwitting Pawn to the monks, and they've decided he's enlightened enough to become a brain spider.
  • Pen Name: Daniel Keys Moran had the story "A Barve Like That" published under the name "J. D. Montgomery" after some Executive Meddling. It's not a pure case of Alan Smithee because Moran says 80% of the story was left intact.
  • Planet of Hats: Exploited. The Max Rebo Band gets stuck working for Jabba in "And the Band Played On" because Sy Snootles made the mistake of letting Max handle the contract negotiations. Max is an Ortolan, whose Hat is Big Eater,note  and Jabba offered to pay them in food.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Certain of Jabba's minions (Tessek, Barada, Porcellus) are otherwise lawful beings who happen to work for a gangster, and they can be quite friendly when they're not in shootouts or carrying out executions and the like.
  • Ragtag Band of Misfits: The Rebels that infiltrate the palace, as observed by Tessek. The Quarren, upon realizing that Jabba has captured leaders of the Rebel Alliance, believes that the Bloated One has turned the palace into a target and spends the trip to the Sarlacc watching the skies for the rebel fleet to come to the rescue. He's rather stunned to see that the people Jabba's gang has already captured (a man who's half-blind, a Wookie, a kid with a lightsaber, and a woman in chains, along with a so-called guard) are doing a pretty good job of fighting off the thugs.
  • Remember the New Guy: Apparently, Mara Jade was in the palace at the time Luke Skywalker launched his rescue mission, we just never happened to catch a glimpse of her (because, of course, as a fictional character she wasn't created until nearly a decade after Return of the Jedi). This was originally established in her first appearance in The Thrawn Trilogy, where the fact she never managed to actually interact with the main characters there despite her best efforts was a major part of her backstory.
  • Retirony: It turns out the Rancor (mistreated into it's vicious behavior in the same way as fighting dogs are) and it's keeper would have escaped Jabba's clutches later that day if it hadn't been killed by Luke.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Gartogg concludes that the person committing the murders must be Dannik Jerriko because there is no evidence left behind and only a snot vampire can kill people and not leave any evidence. His superiors dismiss his theory and threaten to grind him up for Jabba's dinner. Turns out he was right all along.
  • Robotic Psychopath: EV-9D9 runs Jabba's droid pool and tortures droids who fail in their duty. The film shows her burning the feet of a droid, but the book details much more horrifying things in her secret lair.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: While some members of Jabba's gang stick around to try and take over, others grab whatever they can and leave after Jabba's death.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Oola's story.
  • Smug Snake: Bib Fortuna. In fairness he comes across as reasonably cunning (even if he is a "weak-minded fool") but he definitely isn't the Magnificent Bastard he sees himself as.
  • The Starscream: Bib Fortuna. Actually a lot of people are trying to bump off Jabba, but Fortuna fits the trope closest.
  • Supreme Chef: Porcellus.
  • Villain Protagonist: At least half the stories.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Since most of the characters in this book never really figured heavily in future stories, one of these was included where it had been absent from the other books.

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