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The Monster Ship Attacks!

by Nathan -June 27, 2003

Star Wars. Two words that, when combined, either mean nothing, or are deeply infused with your childhood. No, there's no middle ground!

Well, this article is for those who grew up on Star Wars. Ah hell, it's for everyone else too. Why not? Anyway, today I present to you a book report based on a Star Wars spinoff novel that hardly needs introduction (but here I go anyway) - Escape from the Monster Ship: A Droid Adventure, written by Bonnie Bogart and illustrated by AMADOR, CREATURE FROM THE BEYOND.

OMG WTF~!@~!1

A lot of people these days are upset about George Lucas' treatment of the Star Wars prequels. Many feel that their beloved memories are being tarnished by what appear to be childish, special-effects driven movies that exist only to sell more merchandise. Of course, they're right - but where those movies more or less unintentionally trampled on your Happy Feelings about the Star Wars universe, this book practically seems to have trampling as its goal - indeed, its very raison d'etre.

You don't get it, do you? YOU'RE FIRED, THREEPIO! Dammit!

So, the story. It starts off by telling us that R2-D2 and C-3PO are in the employ of a 'new master', Mungo Baobab, who was obviously named while one of his parents had a hot morsel of food in his or her mouth. I can only speculate as to when this is supposed to take place in the Star Wars timeline. It could be after Jedi, because, I dunno, Luke mighta died, or decided he just freakin' hates the droids.

Anyway, Mungo is a trader with a penchant for adventure, and hopefully a dark secret. He's just found a holomap to the legendary Roon system, which, as stories and rumors would have it, is loaded with treasure. All he has to do is follow the Rainbow Comet into the Cloack of the Sith, and it should lead them straight to Roon. Without explaining what the hell either of those things are, he decrees that they must go see the Merchant Council to approve of this hastily-constructed plan. Threepio, in the mean time, does a lot of whining, and R2 beeps once or twice, I think.

The Council, naturally, disapproves of the plan, much in the same way that they have disapproved of every plan that Mungo has ever presented them. Put yourself in their shoes for a second - are you, the High Council, really going to trust and/or approve of any plan presented by a guy named Mungo? He sounds awfully retarded, if you ask me. Mungo angrily proclaims that the whole Merchant's guild will suffer and die if this valuable trade route is not opened up, but he suddenly decides to go to some place named Hrill instead. Yikes. Mister Attention Deficit Disorder. "Let's go find secret treasure!" [a half-second elapses] "Let's go to the boring planet Hrill!" [a further half-second] "Wanna go microwave stuff?" And so on.

Let's play Spot the Gaywad!

Meanwhile, presumably evil forces are at work. Governor Koong, the fat dude on the left, schemes and plots and then commands Gaff, the freak thing on the right, to take over the Umboo lightstation. He demands that its beacon be extinguished, and Gaff replies that it won't be easy at it's vital to the Roon trade routes.

Uh, writers? "Trade routes"? Didn't we establish only pages ago that Roon was a 'legendary' score that people had only heard stories about?

Artoo secretly plots to destroy them all.

Leaping back to our heroes, we find Mungo looking astonishingly similar to Jonathan Frakes, and C-3PO being as effeminate as is phsyically possible. Mungo drops a bombshell and admits that he never intended to go to Hrill and they're all off to find Roon. Threepio shrieks like a little girl, and Artoo beeps happily, as he enjoys adventure.

As an aside, I have this theory about Artoo. People sometimes say that they'd like subtitles for the little guy, but you know what? I bet that behind all the cute beeps and whistles, he is the most vile and offensive little bastard in the universe. Subtitles would only make this fact public, and as such, much covering-up is done to ensure that Artoo remains the happy little adventure-droid that everyone thinks he is. But that's just my theory.

So Mungo and the gang blast off into space, and after briefly following the Rainbow Comet, they suddenly run into--


Uh oh. Wait. Continuity error. Take a look at this picture, and then scroll back up to the scan of the cover. Then scroll back down here. What's missing in this picture? The old man! Of course, at this point I have no idea who he's supposed to be, and he may in fact just be Doug, the Ship's Janitor, who at the time of this picture is quietly drinking in a corner and cursing the life he's led up to this point. He's a popular Star Wars character, I swear. Not like I just made that up or anything.

Through the magic power of Tractor Beams they are quickly and efficiently captured. Governor Koong, who just happens to be aboard this particular vessel, sentences Mungo to imprisonment, Artoo to work detail, and Threepio to reprogramming. (Yes!!)

I am dA biZomB, niGgA! BlING bLiNg

Governor Koong uses this capture as an example of how much of a badass he is, and through a nicely expository conversation with Admiral Screed on the right, we learn that they have not only taken out the lightstation thing - but they will use the beacon from the Monster Ship to lure other unsuspecting trade ships in and steal their cargo! Cargo, it is assumed, from the Roon system that nobody was supposed to know about. I'm now confused about whether or not people are supposed to know about this Roon system thing. Is it a secret? Isn't it? DAMN YOU, BONNIE BOGART!!

Interestingly, Admiral Screed, who seems like he would be an important character, appears on two pages and is never mentioned again. He is evidently so important that they couldn't even be bothered to draw him front the front either time.

What the hell is this, some kinda tube?

Mungo is tossed into a container full of something that is seriously going to rough him up in many unimaginable, nasty ways. No, not the old man, those furry things in the other one. The old man, who we might recall from the continuity error on the book's cover, has finally arrived in the story, and as the furry creatures (referred to as "Mupples") start crawling all over Mungo the old geezer whistles a tune that makes them fall asleep.

I'm completely mystified as to how the writer of this novel felt they were introducing an element of danger with the Mupples. Aside from being completely fluffy-wuffy-cute, their method of attack when Mungo is dropped into their container is baffling. I quote the book "The guards put Mungo in the cage, and the mupples immediately surrounded him and began to snuggle and lick him." (emphasis mine) Aside from being entirely un-dangerous, that even sounds like it'd be slightly arousing to the right kind of person.

The old man dashes my hopes of being Doug by introducing himself as Noop "Stupidest Damn Name in the Galaxy" Yeldarb (editor's note - internym added for effect), who was imprisoned when Gaff and his cronies took over the lightstation. Threepio is then dramatically brought in while strapped to an operating table, and Mungo apologizes, but kind of in a half-assed way, because he's secretly happy that Threepio's going to get it.

Artoo busts in dragging a hoverdolly, and then suddenly he farts or something and the place is flooded with smoke.


The wily little robot uses this opportunity to break everyone else out and the gang makes a run for it. Oh, and did I mention that there's Stormtroopers on the Monster Ship? Well, there's Stormtroopers on the Monster Ship. But as usual, they're pretty useless.

Gaff quickly realizes that something rather bad is going on, so he steals one of those oddly-shaped flashlights that the Stormtroopers have and starts firing wildly in their general direction. The escapees continue bookin' it out of there while the bookin's good, except, of course, those lazy androids--

*cue wacky saxophone music*

I can see that Threepio might have trouble running, and as such he seems to be forced into the leisurely pace he has. But Why Oh Why is Artoo trying to run? Le'ts all thank AMADOR, HARBRINGER OF DOOM for that little artistic gaffe, I suppose.

The gang hops into Mungo's ship and manages to flee the Monster Ship just in time, because it is suddenly in danger from asteroids. Just as they leave, however...


...the thing goes Kablooey, and all that precious cargo is destroyed. Additionally, three key characters, several dozen Mupples, and a full squadron of Stormtroopers are killed in the blast. Pretty good deathtoll for a children's book, eh?

They swing by the lightstation to drop Noop off, and he reactivates it, showing them that Roon is, like, thirty feet away. All that adventuring has seemingly paid off, and the crew is ecstatic. So ecstatic, in fact, that they celebrate the end of their adventure by engaging in illicit sexual acts!

Believe me, you do not want to see what I cropped out.

And so, this particular droid adventure comes to a close. On the one hand, it was a reasonably decent story, because it fulfilled the basic rule of nearly every Star Wars story, which is that something big must be destroyed. But on the other hand, it had unthreatening villains, shitty torture chambers, and nasty robot sex at the end. So all in all, I can't say I could recommend this book to everyone, especially not children. I don't think I can recommend this to anyone else, either - it has even more disposable villains and useless characters than the prequels. Overall, then, stay away! Or AMADOR SHALL CONSUME THEE!!

E-Mail/MSN: monster-0@alucentral.ca

Go look at Magic Story Time. Your eyeballs will leap out of their sockets to thank you!

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