Splinter of the Mind's Eye
Splinter of the Mind's Eye
is a novel set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe
. Written by Alan Dean Foster
(who also ghost-wrote the novelization of A New Hope
), it is set chronologically between the events of A New Hope
and The Empire Strikes Back
On their way to a conference, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia R2-D2 and C-3PO crash-land on a swamp planet named Mimban, which is crawling with Imperial stormtroopers, unpleasant natives and wildlife out to have them for dinner. In their bid to get off the planet they enlist the aid of an old, marginally Force-sensitive woman named Halla. Her aid has a price, though: She wants them to assist her in acquiring the fabled Kaiburr Crystal
. They soon discover that they are in a race against Darth Vader who is out to claim the crystal for his own purposes. After putting Luke, Leia and the droids through a series of misadventures, the book climaxes with Luke and Leia dueling with Darth Vader for possession for the crystal.
Published in 1978, Splinter of the Mind's Eye
is notable for being the first novel set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe
and was to be the basis of a low-budget, made-for-TV sequel in the event that A New Hope
was not as successful as it ended up being. Splinter of the Mind's Eye
is controversial among many Star Wars
fans due to the confrontation between Luke and Vader chronologically set before The Empire Strikes Back
, as well as the romantic tension between Luke and Leia (it was written before George Lucas decided that they were brother and sister), resulting it becoming Fanon Discontinuity
among some fans later. However, a comic adaptation of Splinter of the Mind's Eye
was published in 1995 and the events and characters of the book have been frequently referenced in later official novels and in-universe reference works, leaving no doubt that it is considered to fall within official continuity.
Note that Lucas eventually revisited the idea of a daring adventurer
and the woman he's falling in love with battling a totalitarian regime for a powerful mystic artifact. That one did have Harrison Ford
Splinter of the Mind's Eye, novel and comic book adaptation, provide examples of:
- Action Girl: Leia
- Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Luke dislikes the Coway's "wailing rhythmic music", but enjoys their dancing, which shows off their leaping abilities. Leia, being more cosmopolitan, enjoys the performance without reservations.
- Pretty much any time they come in contact with a new set of social norms, Leia is the one who can interpret them and subtly guide Luke in not embarrassing himself. Justified, since a diplomat like Leia would have extensive training in exactly this sort of thing, and a princess would have to know basic relativism.
- Incest Subtext: Not intentional. When it was written, it was assumed that our heroes were not related and would hook up after long Will They or Won't They?. With that in mind, there is a lot of chemistry, informing virtually every interaction between them.
The Princess grew aware of how tightly she was clinging to him. Their proximity engendered a wash of confused emotion. It would be proper to disengage, to move away a little. Proper, but not nearly so satisfying.
- Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Mimban (a jungle planet with several intelligent races) is bizarrely ignored by the thirteen other inhabited planets in the Circarpous system. The book actually specifies that there has only been one (non-imperial) manned mission to the planet. Keep in mind that the Star Wars universe doesn't have any kind of Alien Non-Interference Clause.
- Intimate Healing: Sort of. Using hands, not mouth. Armed with the Kaiburr Crystal, Luke touches his fingers to all of Leia's wounds to make them close, then her forehead and heart to bring her back to consciousness.
- Jade-Colored Glasses: Luke is upset at the callous treatment miners give to natives who debase themselves for alcohol. Leia shrugs.
- No Ending: The book is about Luke and Leia stranded on a planet and trying to get off it. The book ends with them leaving the temple after fighting Darth Vader and not explaining how they get off the planet.
- No Name Given: The book contains one scene narrated from the perspective of a doctor who treats Grammel's wounds and another from the perspective of an Imperial soldier. Both characters remained unnamed within the book, but the former was later given a name in a sourcebook for West End Games' Star Wars roleplaying game.
- Purple Prose: From time to time.
"Besides, it takes many thousands of years of advanced technological development for a society to reduce honor to an abstract moral truism devoid of real meaning."
- Scary Black Man: Jake, in the comic.
- Self-Made Orphan: Leia nearly does this by trying to shoot Vader in the face, and later by fighting him with Luke's lightsaber.
- Shaggy Dog Story: The Kaiburr Crystal is real and does amplify the powers of Force-users, and Luke and Leia end up with it... but it only works in the vicinity of a certain place on the planet. Elsewhere, it's useless. Well, not completely useless. Kaiburr crystals and crystal shards make plenty of appearances in games, usually as lightsaber crystals. They just don't amplify the Force directly when used that way, instead increasing a stat or two.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Leia comes off as this for roughly the whole book, even asking Luke to kill her if she's captured at one point.
- Shock and Awe: When Vader is boosted by the Kaiburr Crystal, he is briefly able to use Force Lightning.
- Single-Biome Planet: Mimban is a Swamp Planet.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss : The scene where Leia and Luke wrestle in the mud, and later when they gleefully explore a cavern whose rocks make musical notes when struck, is the very G-rated version of this, as well as taking a breather from the dark and dramatic text of the rest of the book.
- Spirit Advisor: Obi-Wan actually takes it a step farther; when Luke fights Vader, it's not stated outright that Obi-Wan possesses his young pupil, but it's certainly implied. His dueling skills improved dramatically and he actually told Vader "I am Obi-Wan". Plus, in The Empire Strikes Back Vader tells Luke that Obi-Wan "can no longer help [him]", which implies that Vader knows that Obi-Wan's helped him before.
- Take My Hand: Leia once falls into a pit, and in dragging her out Luke slips, forcing her to instantly return the favor.
- Technology Marches On: The above-mentioned tapes.
- Tempting Fate: Luke and Leia cross an underground lake after getting a good twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep. "If this keeps up, I might even begin to feel cautiously optimistic about this little journey..." Cue Blob Monster.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Leia in the comic adaptation, which cuts a lot of material from the novel for space reasons. While this has the benefit of almost entirely elimitating her Jerkass moments it also means a lot of reactions like those listed under Alien Arts Are Appreciated are left on the cutting room floor. Since Luke is always coming up with the plan in the action scenes which almost all remain in the comic Leia comes across as frankly not very bright.
- Understatement: In a bad situation, Luke once tells Leia that he doesn't like this. Leia responds,
"You have this wonderfully evocative way about you, Luke, of reducing the most excruciatingly uncomfortable circumstances to the merely mundane."
Luke looked hurt.
- UST: Scads of it. Fortunately for their later peace of mind, whenever it comes to Will They or Won't They?, they won't.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Deep water. Having lived in a desert all his life Luke hates crossing it, but somehow, it's Leia who can't swim. This creates a kind of Continuity Snarl when you see this◊ bit from early Marvel Star Wars.
- Wicked Cultured: According to the narration Grammel's office hints at this, though he does tell Leia that he's no intellectual.
- Would Hit a Girl: Grammel. And, surprisingly, Luke. Also, Vader.