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Literature / The Lando Calrissian Adventures

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The Lando Calrissian Adventures.

A trilogy of Star Wars prequel books by L. Neil Smith, now a part of the Star Wars Legends canon, relating... the adventures of Lando Calrissian. The three books, all following the Character Name and the Noun Phrase convention, are:

  • Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu
  • Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon
  • Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka

All three were published in 1983, one to five months after Return of the Jedi.

Lando Calrissian is a gambler, con artist and all-around rogue who has recently become the sole owner and captain of the Millennium Falcon. Which he has no idea how to pilot, or even maintain, so when he wins a piloting droid called Vuffi Raa in a card game, he leaps at the chance. There's only one problem: Vuffi Raa is in the Rafa system, a brutal penal colony where prisoners have their intellect and vitality sucked out and transferred into life-crystals, which quadruple human life expectancy when worn regularly. Rafa is also home to the ruins of an ancient and vanished civilization advanced far beyond the Republic/Empire, the Sharu. It is whispered that the Sharu hid a great treasure in Rafa, a mystery Lando must solve when he comes to the attention of the system governor and a terrifying sorcerer.

So begins another Star Wars adventure.

The Lando Calrissian Adventures contain examples of:

  • Actual Pacifist: Vuffi Raa, who is programmed not to harm any life.
  • Advanced Ancient Humans: The Sharu, apparently. Or human enough, considering the setting.
  • Alien Geometries: The inside of a Sharu pyramid is something of a trip; entering it causes Lando to grow to enormous size, hundreds of meters tall, without realizing. The key to the pyramid alone, which has two or three prongs depending on how you look at it, gives Lando a headache if he stares at it too long.
  • Armored Coffins: The Rentasian fighters are a hodgepodge mix of whatever they could afford, and in combat, it shows.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Vuffi Raa hits Lando with one the morning after they meet. It cuts right through his anger and seems to be the start of their friendship.
    "You are saying, then," the robot's voice inquired, very small, at the captain's rapidly receding back, "that violence is the only solution to this problem, the only capability that is useful or desirable to you in a friend or companion?"
  • Ascended Extra: Lando himself has a bit role in the films, and a central one here.
  • Author Appeal: L. Neil Smith is quite famous in libertarian circles, so it's little surprise when the Renatasians turn up: a group of rugged starfighter aces, beaten in war but never defeated, who are all too happy to break into speeches about the self-defeating nature of large bureaucracies.
  • Big Bad: Rokur Gepta, the Sorcerer of Tund.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Everyone having to go their own separate ways.
  • Boxed Crook: In both of the first two books Lando gets arrested for breaking some local law and forced to do a corrupt governorís dirty work.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Bassi Vobah is largely law abiding and unhappy about the situation she's thrust into and working with Lando.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Lob Doluff is unhappy with the weight of corrupt demands from superiors outside the sector he governs, as well as the need to put people like Lando in danger and takes a drug sometimes to deal with this.
They were wrong, those "experts". Lesai didn't stop you from caring. Lob Doluff wished it did.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Gepta prefers "torture by chagrin." Forcing people to relive their most terrifying and humiliating memories with their feelings increased until they snap.
  • Conscription: The empire drafted Wyola Fybot, a culinary student, as a result of a treaty causing his home world to be required to give them a certain number of people.
  • Cool Spaceship: The Millennium Falcon, of course.
  • Corrupt Politician: Technically appears in every book, but sort of downplayed in the last one. Duttes Mer and Lob Doluff definitely count though.
  • Crime of Self-Defense: It turns out that in Oseon killing in self-defense is justifiable, but carrying a lethal weapon merits death by airlocking.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Klyn Shanga constantly speaks frankly and insultingly towards Gepta during their Enemy Mine situation to the point where Gepta is imagining ways to spend centuries torturing him to death.
  • Disintegration Chamber: Mentioned in Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu, along with various other implements of execution ("...guillotines, disintegration chambers, nerve racks, and electric chairs").
  • The Dutiful Son:
    • Gender Flipped with Bassi Vobah, who first joined the police force for the income to pay her parents debts but later liked the work and stayed when they died.
    • During a hallucination it's revealed Fybot also sends checks to his parents.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The books are fairly vague on the greater setting, presumably deliberately, so as not to prejudice future developments in the main series. It's not really made clear how Gepta and his followers relate to the Empire, for example, and some of the concepts the books develop (such as the Oswaft space whales) also don't really fit into the subsequent continuity as it turned out.
  • Fair Cop: Near-human Bassi Vobah in the second book.
  • Fantastic Drug: Lesai, a drug extracted from the skin fungus of a rare lizard which removes the need for sleep but eventually turns the user into an unfeeling automaton who canít take pleasure from anything but the drug.
  • Fantastic Honorifics: Ottdefa Osuno Whett, apparently an academic title of some prestige.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The Renatasian pilots have a close bond and are from scattered areas, with Shanga observing that one of them has an accent that once would have made him an enemy when they were fighting each other.
  • Full-Name Basis: Lando befriends some very large intelligent aliens, the Oswaft, who live in the vacuum of space, and whose names are descriptions of who they are and what they've experienced. The full names of the Elders can take days to speak. Thus, Lando gradually gets more titles added to the name by which they refer to him, e.g. "Captain-Master-Lando-Calrissian-Sir", all said as though it were one word.
  • Guile Hero: Lando, who carries only a weak, five-shot holdout blaster, because while he wants to be able to defend himself, he prefers to use his wits and fast-talking to get out of trouble.
  • Humble Goal: Dirty Cop Fybto merely wishes to become a chef.
  • Human Aliens: The Toka appear human, save for looking extremely elderly from birth and their apparent feeble-mindedness, but Lando is still surprised to hear that they're "as human as you or me" from Governor Mer. And their ancestors were Sufficiently Advanced Aliens eons ago.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Only rarely are Vuffi Raa or his mechanical ilk referred to as "droids," the preferred nomenclature seeming to be "robot." Lando notes to himself that "droid," being short for "android," should really only apply to humanoid robots, and Vuffi Raa is a Starfish Robot.
    • Vuffi Raa's absolute insistence on calling Lando "Master."
  • Internal Reveal: Fybot being The Mole for Gepta is implied quite quickly given how a cloaked figure meeting one of Gepta's men leaves behind a feather, but from Lando's point of view abrupt and sudden when Fybot turns on him and Bassi.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lando is selfish, greedy, reflexively disrespectful and an accomplished liar... and is personally courageous, occasionally self-sacrificing, and a true friend.
  • Large and in Charge: A literal version with the Oswaft, as they make their eldest numbers their leaders and the older an Oswaft is the bigger they get in size.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Vuffi Raa's earliest memory is waking in a cargo hold during a pirate attack. Apparently he was so damaged he has no memory of his creators or purpose. This is later revealed to have been entirely deliberate on the part of his makers.
  • Life Saving Misfortune:
    • Gepta seeks revenge on Lando due to blaming him for Gepta's failure to take the Mindharp of Sharu for himself and use it, never mind that doing so would have killed him.
    • When Zero Squadron pursues Lando, Shanga observes many fighters were lost in the stellar void and quite probably some are still alive but simply turned around and "some of them might even live past this adventure because they'd lost touch with their comrades.
  • Master of Illusion: Rokur Gepta, particularly in the last two books.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Rokur Gepta is a powerful illusionist and Force-wielder, who also dresses up his abilities with technology and legerdemain. For instance, he tortures one of his subordinates by making him relive his worst memories, then thinks anyone could do the same with the right machinery, which he uses later to do the same to Lando. Or take his intro when he appears as a thundering voice in a great pillar of smoke, and Lando reflects that he probably tossed a smoke bomb into the room.
  • Metal-Poor Planet: In the second book Lando visits a low metal agricultural planet, unfortunately the locals are acclimated to a diet low in trace metals and the jelly he's hauling is toxic to them.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Deliberately invoked. Vuffi was dressed up in an alien suit when his old master Osuno Whett took him to Renatasia to survey it for an Imperial invasion, while posing as a lowly secretary. This caused Vuffi to be mistaken for the traitor and war criminal by the populace while Whett (initially) escaped notice.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: It's heavily implied at the end of the trilogy that Lando bought (or built) Cloud City with the fortune he amassed from working with the Oswaft. According to all the other authors in the Legends canon he won it in a game of cards. Strangely enough, both can be seen as in-character.
  • Nano Machines: Vuffi Raa's lubricant contains nanobots for self-repairs, and his tentacles end in fractal digits that get down to microscopic scales.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Lob Doluff is one of the richest people in his system but still chooses to work in an administrative job. The narrative (which had just described Bassi Vobah's feelings of being one of the many who serves the few) calls Doluff one of the few who serves the other few, while making "an unusually honest" effort to serve the many as well.
  • Number Two: Bern Nuladeg to Zero Squadron and the Renatasian Confederation in the third book, being the last of Shanga's pilots who knew him in the wars prior to the Empire attacking their homeworld.
  • Orphaned Etymology:
    • In the first book, an anthropologist remarks that the Toka natives of Rafa claim in legend to have served the Sharu, but the two coexisting would be like humans and dinosaurs. Another character immediately comments that they've seen dinosaurs, on Trammis III.
    • Lando comments when meeting Vuffi Raa that someone has clearly forgotten that 'droid' is short for 'android' meaning 'man-like' despite the lack of Greek.
    • Lehesu the Oswaft is compared to a Portuguese man-o'-war.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Gepta's blockade of the Oswaft is shrouded with secrecy, with the vast majority of the Punch-Clock Villain crewmen aboard the ships not knowing that Lando is a person of interest or about the Oswaft in general, and thus Lando is able to pass through almost the whole blockade, playing cards, selling luxury goods, making friends among the lower-ranking crewmen, and with plenty of garbage for the Oswaft to convert to valuables that none of the Imperials outside the command circle have any reason to be suspicious of.
  • Pyramid Power: Played with. The Sharu did leave massive mysterious pyramids, and also cubes, spheres, cones, cylinders, and every other basic 3D shape. The important one they enter, though, is a pyramid, the largest in the system.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Empire's Renatasia Campaign. 93% of their first wave of Naval attackers died, along with 87% of the second wave, 73% of the third wave and unspecified losses in the following waves (in spite of how each new wave came prepared, and facing a further weakened enemy). The Empire killed 2/3rds of Renatasian people, but in the process they lost so many soldiers, and destroyed so much valuable infrastructure that they simply abandoned the planet and tried to pretend the whole affair never happened.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Vuffi Raa is eventually revealed to have been created a thousand years ago, though he can only recall the last couple of centuries.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Sen, the senior Oswaft elder enjoys playing sabaac with Lando and is willing to listen to his advice on dealing with the Imperials (while first trying to just peacefully talk to them) and then lead his people into battle.
    • Lob Doluff, surprisingly. He is being blackmailed and requires having his family threatened to stoop to the corruption he does. He feels unhappy about being in a position he may have to execute Lando, trying to come up with an alternative. He also sends Bassi to arrest Mutdah in defiance of unofficial orders to have him killed during an arrest.
    • Shanga cares about his fellow pilots, listens to their input and is ultimately able to accept that his real enemy is Whett, not Vuffi.
    • Local administrator Vett Fori and her assistant in the first book are quick to shut down another card player's attempts to frame Lando for cheating even after he took their money too.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves
  • Running Gag: Vuffi Raa's stubbornly calling Lando "Master" no matter how uncomfortable it makes him or how many times he asks the droid to stop. Interestingly, it's revealed that his former owner insisted on being called Master, and Vuffi Raa would say he wasn't programmed for that response. Perhaps he just enjoys being contrary.
  • Shout-Out: A constellation is described as having "raspberry red, lemon yellow, and orange orange" colours, named the "Silly Rabbit". This is all in reference to the breakfast cereal Trix and the infamous "silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!" line from the commercials.
  • The Snark Knight: Lando cheerfully lips off to police, politicians, powerful Dark Side sorcerers, soldiers and more.
  • Solid Gold Poop: Not merely gold, the Oswaft can excrete any manner of pure substance, including precious metals and gemstones of remarkable size and purity. That these have value to others is endlessly surprising to them.
  • Space Whale: The Oswaft, who look like a massive manta-ray meets a jellyfish and live in a nebula.
  • Starfish Aliens: Vuffi Raa's creators, presumably, on the logic that droids usually look something like their makers. Eventually revealed to have been a machine race, the Silentium, but their original organic creators did look a lot like Vuffi Raa.
  • Starfish Robots: Vuffi Raa is a flat pentagon about the size of a man's chest, with a single large red eye, and five tentacles, each a meter long, issuing from each point on the pentagon. Each tentacle splits into five "fingers" for fine manipulation, with another eye at the center of each "hand." As it turns out, each finger also splits into five at its tip for several fractal iterations, allowing for microscopic control. And, each tentacle can separate from Vuffi Raa's body and be controlled remotely, slithering under its own power like a snake. Vuffi Raa is fully capable of crewing an entire starship the size of the Falcon by himself, using two or three tentacles to pilot and navigate while sending the others out to do maintenance.
  • Tears of Remorse:
    • Lob Doluff as he watches the Calon depart and reflects on the danger, and the inner workings of the affair.
    • Osuno Whett during the very rare moments he allows himself to feel introspective about Renatasia.
  • Too Important to Walk: Trillionaire Bohhuah Mutdah is so rich that's he hasn't used his own hands in five years, instead having servants write for him, feed him etc.
  • Waking Non Sequitur: In the second book an unconscious Fybot (an avian alien) asks his mother for another centipede as he's roused.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Renatasian Confederation is a ragtag army of surviving soldiers from a planet the Empire hit hard whose quest for vengeance and to rebuild is perfectly justified. It just happens that they think Vuffi Raa is the target of their vengeance. The moment they don't, they turn on the Imperials and help win the final battle.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Oswaft seem to simply disappear from the Star Wars universe after this book, which seems rather absurd, particularly given they would come in handy during things like the Yuuzhan Vong war and you would think Lando would say something like "I know this race of creatures that live in outer space, grow as big as Star Destroyers, can naturally travel in hyperspace, and can blow up spaceships with their psychic powers, just thought you guys might want to know." And in the new canon they may not even exist at all.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Colonel Kenow is initially just a random assassin killed in an attempt on Lando's life. Then his friend Shanga gets an internal monologue about growing up with Kenow, enlisting in the military with him and surviving so many decades of conflict together only to have him shot by a man who he didn't (directly) bear any ill will towards. And that's before the revelations about the Renatasians as a whole.
  • World of Badass: Renatasia, partially due to its long states of war. The casualties the Imperial invasion force took were so high that they just called off the project and Whent recalls descriptions of hordes of people meeting them armed with anything from blasters to cleavers.

Alternative Title(s): Lando Calrissian And The Mindharp Of Sharu, Lando Calrissian And The Flamewind Of Oseon, Lando Calrissian And The Starcave Of Thon Boka