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 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.
- 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 Rentasians 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fantastic Honorifics: Ottdefa Osuno Whett, apparently an academic title of some prestige.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Finally, Lehesu the Oswaft is compared to a Portugese man-o'-war.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The Oswaft seem to simply disappear from the Star Wars universe after to 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.