“What if Star Wars had been about Han and Chewie instead of Luke?”
This is the idea behind The Benevolence Archives, a collection of six short stories by Luther M. Siler–I found BA through his blog Infinitefreetime, which is a riot and a half. I enjoy his blog so much, I figured I’d give his actual writing a shot, and I must say I did not regret it.
The BA stories follow a team of spacers for hire: half-ogre Grond, whose murky backstory involves time spent in a brutal gladiator arena, and gnome Brazel, whose wife Rhundi acts as the team’s legit front and sometimes fence. These two have really fun chemistry; throw in a couple interesting side characters and a snarky ship and you have a really enjoyable cast.
You could basically imagine that these stories take place in the Star Wars universe, just with D&D races substituted for Wookies and Chadra-Fan. There are also some subtle Star Wars references in the text, especially in BA 1, “The Planet It’s Farthest From:” “I have a bad feeling about this,” etc.
Overall, the world-building is good in a subtle way; not much in the way of info dumps here. Interestingly, the Benevolence are just kinda hovering around the edges of the story–they are mentioned in passing, but we never actually see characters directly interact with them. It creates an ominous tone that I really liked.
If you like scifi or fantasy adventure, and find lots of swearing amusing, I would definitely recommend this collection.
Tl;dr A fun, humorous space adventure with Star Wars roots 5/5 stars