Sunday, 22 January 2012

‘Millennium Falcon: Owner’s Workshop Manual’ – Ryder Windham, Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas (Del Rey)

Now I’m sure you’ve all been reading the blog long enough to know that I cover genre fiction here and not really anything that’s non-fiction. That’s just the way my preferences lie I guess, I want to lose myself in worlds of speculative fiction not have them stripped down and opened up for inspection. With this in mind then, why am I talking about the ‘Millennium Falcon Haynes Manual’…? A work of non-fiction arising from a fictional universe, that counts as non-fiction for me!

Star Wars and the Haynes Manual… An unlikely combination that has somehow awakened a severe bout of nostalgia in me. The ‘Star Wars’ element pretty much speaks for itself, I challenge anyone my age not to feel just a little bit nostalgic about the original trilogy (notice the important distinction there…) The Haynes Manual though… Well, that brings back memories of my very first car, a Mini that was older than I was, and the Haynes Manual that came with it. I’ve got to admit that I barely looked inside said manual (the stuff that happened to that car couldn’t be fixed by a mere manual!) but it was very much part of the whole ‘rites of passage, I don’t have to walk anywhere now that I have a car’ thing that crops up in everyone’s life. Two nostalgic things then, what happens when you put the two together? Put it this way, I wasn’t rushing to watch the films so I could see the Falcon in action. It wasn’t a bad read though, it made for a interesting hour or two.

If you’ve owned or read a Haynes Manual in your time then you’ll know the format which is basically an in depth look at where all the bits in your car are meant to go if they are to work properly. That’s what you’ve got here with the Millennium Falcon manual, a detailed guide to what is what and how it all works together to keep the ship moving. It’s not a hard format to stick to and the end result was that I felt like I was holding a proper manual instead of something based on a spaceship in a film. I couldn’t ask for a lot more than that and the authors take things a step further by going into a lot of detail, not only about the craft itself (I never realised that the Falcon had its own tractor beam projector…) but about the Corellian Engineering Corporation, the company that originally built the YT-1300 freighter. That’s a lot of information for fans, all accompanied by detailed schematics of the Falcon and its component parts.

The book definitely looks very good and there’s a lot of information inside for fans. The thing is though; it’s a tough one to get through, very tough in fact. You see, the thing about manuals is that they’re not really there to be enjoyed, a manual is there to give you information in order to get things working again. The authors succeed in adopting this tone, for the most part, although I did find myself wondering why the manual needed to include information on previous and current owners. What does that have to do with how the ship itself works? Sometimes though, the authors succeed in adopting this tone a little too well and the resulting material makes for dry reading to say the least. It’s the kind of book that a die-hard fan would love but a more casual fan might put down, after a while, because it’s so heavy going.

Having said that though, the ‘Millennium Falcon: Owner’s Workshop Manual’ did make for some nice nostalgic reading even if it ultimately wasn’t entirely for me. Before you pick this book up just ask yourself, ‘how much of a fan are you?’

Seven and a Half out of Ten

1 comment:

Nibbles said...

Personally I'm not fan enough for this one, but Mr FantasyNibbles is, and he has a birthday just around the corner too, thanks! :)