The Lando System

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I’d heard about the ‘80s Han Solo trilogy of books, but the existence of The Adventures of Lando Calrissian was news to me. I tracked these vintage paperbacks down the day I heard about them, and they’re basically worth it for the great pulp covers alone.

I finished the first installment, Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu, the other day. It reminded me of Splinter of the Mind’s Eye and the other great Expanded Universe novels from before they really nailed down the timelines and overall rules of the Star Wars universe. The book had a bunch of wonderfully out-there, even psychedelic sci-fi ideas, but the pacing was wonky and it ended very abruptly.

Starting the next book, Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon, I could practically see the list of notes author L. Neil Smith must’ve gotten from the publisher. This book, unlike the last, has multiple POVs, plays around with time in the narrative, and also incorporates more traditional Star Wars stuff, like the Empire, which was essentially absent in the first book.

What I enjoy most so far is Smith’s approach to Lando as a character – he’s far from the typical action-oriented lead. Besides his time at various gaming tables, he has terrible luck. He’s much more interested in being the best-dressed person on a planet than doing anything heroic.

Lando was always my favorite Star Wars character as a kid, largely due to his fantastic dress sense and swagger, so it’s great getting more of him. I’m hoping to get through the trilogy in time to see Donald Glover play the character in Solo: A Star Wars Story.


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