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Book Review

Book Cover

Star Wars
The Essential Atlas


Authors: Daniel Wallace and Jason Fry
Illustrators: Ian Fullwood, Modi, Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas
Titan Books
RRP: £19.99, US $30.00
ISBN: 978 1 8485 6276 9
Available 28 August 2009

You know the planets - from Alderaan and Corellia to Tatooine and Zonoma Sekot - and the star systems, from the Deep Core to the Outer Rim. But now, for the first time, you can pinpoint their locations and chart the travels of your favourite characters through the vast reaches of space. This book is a galaxy spanning trove of vital statistics and information ranging from the astronomical and geographical ("systems, sectors, oversectors and regions") to the historical and political ("The Sith Empire" and "The Great Hyperspace War"). Encompassing the entire Star Wars canon, including all the films and the Clone Wars television series, plus the novels, comic books, video games, and more...

Star Wars: The Essential Atlas is - and I doubt this will come as a shock to anyone - only going to appeal to the hardest of hardcore Star Wars fans. For the sort of person who spends their weekends trying to chart Luke's voyage across the galaxy throughout his life, this is an essential read. Everyone else should, however, move along. This isn't the book you're looking for.

With that in mind (mainly because I doubt a casual book browser will pick this up accidentally) I'm reviewing this from the point of view of hardcore fans instead of moaning about how sad most people will find it.

The book is broken down into three parts: 'The Political Galaxy'; 'Planets of the Galaxy'; and 'The Atlas of Galactic History'.

Part I takes at a look at the various political bodies operating in the Star Wars universe. This encompasses things like the various trade routes, and the worlds that come under various organisations - for example there is a breakdown of the Hutt Space.

The layout for 'Part II: Planets of the Galaxy' is a little dry, mainly because each double page is identical in design. Here we get an illustration of planet on each page with some background text on the history of it. You also get facts like the planet's terrain, how long a year lasts, what the main language is and its grid reference.

Part III includes historical 'facts' regarding wars and buildings and structures of importance.

There's more than enough information to keep hardened fans engrossed for ages, and the whole thing is presented beautifully, like a proper atlas based on a factual topic.

I was a little surprised to see that although this is the UK edition of the book (or at the very least has a specially produced UK cover - as the only RRP displayed is for sterling) Americanised spellings are still used.

For those who want to put the movies, TV series and comics into their proper context this is an essential purchase.


Nick Smithson

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