A brief one today because this week is kicking my ass and I have two reviews to write and a beta read that I need to finish, among other things.
I started Re-reading the A. C. Crispin Han Solo Trilogy with The Paradise Snare. The trilogy is, at its core, an origin story for Han Solo that ties together the various fragments of Expanded Universe material that accrued around him into something coherent.
“But Han Solo doesn't need an origin story!”
Indeed. Neither does Indiana Jones or other characters that draw from broad heroic archetypes.
But, there is this one passage in the first chapter of the book that is outstanding.
“He'd learned long ago that showing fear of any sort was a swift guarantee of a beating—or worse. The only thing bullies and fools respected was courage—or, at least, bravado. So Han Solo had learned never to allow fear to surface in his mind or heart. There were times when he was dimly aware that it was there, deep down, buried under layers of street toughness, but anytime he recognized it for what it was, Han resolutely buried it even deeper.”
This is on page 8 and it cuts to the quick of Han's character. He's about 19 years old at this point and already we have a character portrait that is true to his presentation in the movies and gives him a deeper layer of complexity without undermining his heroism.
Its also bittersweet. He's had a rough childhood, and his recklessness is his coping mechanism.
It manages to tell you all of that within four sentences so that the real story can begin.
That's good writing.