Do you remember the movie Galaxy Quest? That’s the one where the science fiction show inspires a race of aliens to create a real version of their starship, and then there are some fans of the show who have memorized in painstaking detail the blueprints for the same ship. I’ve never really been that kind of fan of any show (and I’m a crossover fan of both Star Wars, Star Trek and just about any scifi series I could get my hands on) so the appeal of technical manuals for me has always been pretty limited. Apparently Haynes (which does many real world workshop manuals for repairing cars and such) has done this kind of thing before, as when I looked it up on Amazon I found a similar book for the starship Enterprise.
Last year, for NJOE, I reviewed the Scholastic Millennium Falcon 3D Owners Guide, which already skirted the edge between something for kids and the kind of details that an adult might be interested in. So, how does this Haynes Manual compare and what does it give you?
This book is laid out by categories, like propulsion, as opposed to the 3D Guide, which took slices out of the ship and then explained what parts had now been revealed. This already reveals one difference between the two books, and when coupled with the fact that there is much more text in this Manual, you’re going to wind up with far more detailed descriptions than the 3D Guide revealed.
Despite the fact that Ryder Windham (the author) mentioned somewhere that this book tried to avoid spoiling the plot details of James Luceno’s Millennium Falcon novel, I did notice some of the history of the Falcon (like how it was cobbled together from two prior ships, as well as it’s first flight) within – which would probably make for some nice tidbits for those who are more into these kind of manuals than reading the fiction of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. I also absolutely loved the introductions to each chapter, some of which are like the text out of a marketing catalog as if you were going to purchase a Millennium Falcon of your own (This ship has the greatest speed per engine that you’ve ever seen!). It’s all played as if this were a book being read by someone in that universe, as if you live there.
You’ll also get a history of the line of spacecraft that the Millennium Falcon comes from, as well as all the optional equipment and different configurations this type of craft comes in. I would suspect that this would be a fantastic help for any Star Wars RPG players who are looking to use these ships as locales in their games. I should also note that my kids really like looking through the book, with its peeks behind the panels (so to speak) of the interior of the Falcon, as well as the many movie pictures featuring the ship in action. It might not be the kind of book I’d recommend for any fan (like The Complete Darth Vader or Star Wars: Year by Year), if there’s one ship in the saga that all fans love it’s the Falcon, and this is probably the best book devoted to the ship that I’ve yet seen.