Star Wars: Buyer's Market
Author: Timothy Zahn
Originally Published In: Star Wars Insider Magazine
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When the Star Wars Insider Magazine announced that they were bringing back the original short fiction stories they used to publish, I was thrilled. I had long enjoyed the tales and was sad to see them removed from the lineup. Thus far, Insider has featured three original stories from well-known Star Wars writers. This month’s issue featured Buyer’s Market, a new short story by Star Wars author extraordinaire Timothy Zahn.
When I heard that a short story by Zahn was to appear in this issue, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Timothy Zahn is the author whose trilogy of books began a new revolution in the world of Star Wars. Through the publication of Heir to the Empire in 1991, the Star Wars Universe was reborn and the Expanded Universe saw the introduction of some of the most intriguing Star Wars characters to date, specifically Mara Jade, Talon Karrde and Thrawn. So, when I turned to page 43, I was quite surprised to see a story that contained none of the characters Zahn had created, but a blast from the past. Buyer’s Market was a Lando Calrissian tale.
It all begins in Vorrnti City at a huge junkyard called Blackie’s. Lando is undercover, working with Lieutenant Judder Page and the New Republic’s Special Forces Unit known as the Katarn Commandos. Something highly illegal is going on at Blackie’s and Calrissian is helping the Commandos uncover just exactly what that is. Of course, he wouldn’t be Lando Calrissian if he didn’t have an ulterior motive. We soon learn that there is a price for Lando’s aid in bringing down criminals for the New Republic - one that will help him earn millions in credits.
Buyer’s Market tells us how Lando Calrissian was able to gather the materials he would need to create his mobile mining units on the planet Nkllon. This is the mining complex that Thrawn raids in Heir to the Empire. So, Buyer’s Market is somewhat of a prequel short story to that famed 1991 novel that started it all.
While it’s nice to learn some background as to how the Nkllon mining operation created by Lando Calrissian began, the story was somewhat stunted. We really never knew the whole purpose of the story until the last couple of paragraphs. The whole time I was reading this short tale, I kept thinking that something was missing. As with the last couple of stories I have read in Insider, this one seemed altogether too short. The shortness of the stories - three to four pages at most - doesn’t give the author enough time to add the meat to the potatoes of the tale. There is no fleshing out of characters.
Perhaps Insider should go back to the old short story format. These stories were anywhere from six to eight pages long and sometimes continued over two or three issues. This way, the stories aren’t capable of being categorized as novellas, but still contain a more satisfying story structure and building up of events. Otherwise, brilliant authors like Timothy Zahn can only produce works that elicit a tenth of the excitement and enjoyment they usually do.
For more about Star Wars stories written by Timothy Zahn, check out these links: