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  • Anthony Fornof

1998: an EU fan's walk down memory lane

Today I was organizing and dusting my EU collection. I would catch glimpses of memories of where I was in life when I read each novel or comic for the first time. Most are recent as I am only 5 years into the Expanded Universe. I finished Revan the night before I walked my beautiful wife down the aisle. I was in the middle of reading Blood Ties when our youngest decided to jump off of the top bunk and break her ankle. Shadows of the Empire when I got the call my mother was in the hospital. Then, I came across Splinter of the Mind's Eye.

January 25th, 1998. Homeless. 20 years old. How I got there is irrelevant. Lets say a series of bad choices. I had very few possessions. A skateboard, a backpack, some clothes, and two novels. One was Ernest Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast" and the other was "Splinter of a Mind's Eye". The Hemingway novel my Dad gave to me the day after graduation and I decided to leave home and embark on an adventure of uncertainty and adulthood. He bought that exact book in '64. Splinter of the Mind's Eye I picked up at Bookman's in Mesa, AZ, selling some DVD's I came across to get some cheap food for the night. It had been a while since I thought about Star Wars.

Alan Dean Foster's "Splinter of the Mind's Eye" is about Luke and Leia racing against Imperial Stormtroopers to capture a gem that increase the power of the force. The Kaiburr Crystal. Not Kyber. This was meant to be a direct sequel to A New Hope as they did not know at the time that Star Wars would be what it is today. It had adventure and excitement and it got me through a few crazy nights on the street.

So there I was at Reed Park in Mesa, AZ. Now it's considered Mesa Skatepark. I remembered the smell of the grass that was cut earlier that day. Sirens off in the distance. The clamoring of fellow homeless folks throughout the park. Laying on "my bench" reading my coveted Star Wars novel before I went to sleep. As my eyes got heavy I tucked away Alan Dean Foster's thoughts into my backpack. I was missing my father that night so I decided to hold onto my Hemingway novel and took it out of my backpack. About 2am rolled around and I was woke up to being kicked in the ribs and rolled. To clarify, being "rolled" means to be mugged or robbed. I found myself trying my best to fight off these two guys not for my backpack, not for my clothes, but for my copy of Splinter of the Mind's Eye. I lost. In the end my backpack was gone, clothes were gone, skateboard was gone. Star Wars was gone. Luckily, Hemingway was kicked under the bench and I still have it on my bookshelf to this day.

Now that I am in my 40's and successful I have started to build my Expanded Universe collection. Splinter of the Mind's Eye first edition hard cover with the dust jacket sits on my EU bookshelves. The Hemingway novel sits on my other bookshelf that's cluttered with other old first editions. Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when you first read Shadow's of the Empire? Or the Thrawn trilogy?


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