The Star Wars galaxy is a big place with a lot of stories. There was a time when I could set myself to reading all of the novels in a matter of months, but that was before the explosion of publishing during the mid-Nineties. In this post, I'd like to look at some recommendations for those Star Wars books that are particularly relevant for an Edge of the Empire campaign. It's only fitting, for a number of reasons, that I start with the Han Solo Trilogy. For one thing, these three novels present the background story of Han Solo, the most famous smuggler and scoundrel in the galaxy. It also seems fitting, though, because Ann C. Crispin, the author of this trilogy, lost a lengthy battle to cancer just two days ago.
Thinking of those who haven't read the books, I don't want to give away too much of the plot. Suffice it to say that the books start with a young Han Solo being raised aboard a ship of scallywags, where he is taught how to lie, cheat and steal. Eventually he pursues a career in the Imperial Navy, but things go awry. What follows then is a burgeoning career working for the Hutts, and some entanglements with the up-and-coming Rebel Alliance. The story then sets the stage for the iconic scene from A New Hope when Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi walk into the cantina looking for passage to Alderaan.
For the GM and players in an Edge of the Empire campaign, the novels present lots of valuable details. The notion of a shipload of scoundrels a la the Trader's Luck is an interesting one, rife with plenty of possibilities for various schemes. There are many scenes on Nar Shadaa, the Smuggler's Moon, too, showing what life is like in that wretched hive of scum and villainy. These stories also present some interesting ways in which the Rebel Alliance can be worked into a campaign on the fringe, providing a chance for more heroic-minded characters to do some good. Finally, Han Solo's interactions with and participation in the machinations of the Hutts gives useful insight into how those nemeses can be incorporated into numerous plotlines.