AN: Any chance of del Rey joining the audiobooksclique? Ideally, who would you pick to read aloud your Han Solo books? PerryKing?
BD: Perry would be great and hasalready done some terrific books-on-tape. I'd be intrigued to hear HarrisonFord do them. About Random House audio's tape plans, I couldn't say. I'd be allfor recordings.
AN: If Dark Horse Comics eventuallyreprints Alfredo Alcala's comic strip version of Stars' End, are there anychanges you would like to see them make while they reformat and colorize it?
BD: Frankly, I'd like to see the thingredrawn if they do that at all. As it was explained to me, Stars' End was arush job, created to fill a gap that had arisen in the daily-&-Sundaystrip's available material.
I admire a lot ofAlfredo's work, and even mentioned it to him one time at a screening in L.A., but the job he did on HSE just wasn't up to his usual standards. I wasespecially disappointed in the way Bollux and Blue Max were depicted. Too--this may sound petty-- the portrayal of the Headhunter snub fighters was off. Isaw them as a Lucasfilm version of the P-38 Lightning, America's renowned "Fork-TailedDevil" of WWII, but the strip didn't come close.
[[The Han Solo atStars' End comic strip by Alfredo Alcala was eventually reprinted by Dark Horsecomics after Brian's death, but it was not redrawn as he'd hoped.]]
AN: I have to ask, are the scripts forthe Radio version of ROTJ written yet?
BD: No, although as I've said I've gotmounds of notes, script synopses and so on.
AN: How long have you and Jim Lucenobeen writing under the name Jack McKinney? Are you aware that a spellingvariation (McKinny) pops up in your very first novel, The Doomfarers of Coramonde?
BD: Actually, Jack comes from Jim'sfirst book, Head Hunters, a mainstream novel about young gringo expatriates in South America. I mentioned McKinney (with a typo) in Doomfarers, andJim gives Gil MacDonald, from Doomfarers, a passing mention in Head Hunters. Itwas just a little "nod to a friend" kind of thing.
In the mid-eighties, RisaKessler, at Ballantine Books, asked us to do the ROBOTECH books, adapting the85-part TV anime epic. We weren't sure what kind of dumbing-down the bookswould face from either Ballantine higher-ups or Harmony Gold, which owned therights, so we picked Jack McK. as a joint pen name.
The books did verywell and there was very little messing with them. I like to think that an adultSF reader could enjoy them passably well. Ballantine was so pleased that Jackwent on to do the Sentinels series, End of the Circle, and a number of otherbooks, including our own series, The Black Hole Travel Agency.
AN: In HSE, Atuarre describes a form oftorture called "the burning." Is this possibly what stormtroopers didto Luke's family, Owen and Beru Lars, in the unfilmed events of ANH?
BD: That was exactly what I had inmind when I wrote those lines. Given what we're shown of the two corpses in ANH, the nature of Imperial atrocities, and the energyweapons in the SW universe, it's an obvious extrapolation-- a quick and dirtyinterrogation technique to be used in the field.
[[Star Wars fansfamiliar with Kevin Rubio's fanmade film TROOPS from 1997 know there is now yetanother interpretation of how Luke's aunt and uncle died...]]
BD: (cont'd) While we're on HSE I'll get something off my chest. I came up with thename "Stars' End" without consciously recalling Isaac Asimov's use of"Star's End", virtually the same words, in the Foundation books. I'dextrapolated from the final section-- "Land's End"-- of a novel I admire a lot, Hubert Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn.
AN: Since you've got a good insightinto the characters, let me ask you one more question on SW interrogationtechniques that I've always wondered about... Why does Vader physicallystrangle Antilles aboard the Blockade Runner, sincehe later demonstrates the ability to strangle Motti psychically aboardthe Death Star? It would seem to me that killing without touching would be themore terrifying method to use when interrogating a prisoner...
BD: That's really a question forGeorge Lucas. My observation is that the Antilles scene takes place "on the battlefield", so to speak. Vader'sact would be more visible and comprehensible to other prisoners amid the noiseand confusion of the embattled ship.
But Vader doesn'treally much care if Antilles answers, does he? He seemsconfident he'll find Leia and get the Death Star plans back, no sweat. Iwouldn't be surprised if his failure to achieve that throws him somewhat-- letshim know that *something* in the Force is suddenly teasing the rug out fromunder him.
Incidentally, that actof lifting a prisoner or an enemy clear off the floor and shaking himone-handed: I can't think of a cinematic precedent for it, but it certainlybecame *de rigeur* for villains of a certain stature thereafter, didn't it?I've seen it copied so many times since then.
(The nearest precursorI can think of offhand in SF is a passage in Foundation and Empire. It's MagnificoGiganticus' story of the mutant conqueror The Mule holding Magnifico over anabyss by one finger while forcing him to extemporize poetry... but that may notcount, since Magnifico turns out to be The Mule.)