March 03, 1997 12:00 PM

by Deborah Fine and Aeon Inc

First, a pop quiz: Mos Eisley is the name of (a) an NBA draft pick or (b) a spaceport on the planet Tatooine. Ishi Tib is (a) a Catskills comic or (b) a henchman of Jabba the Hut. Nick Nolte is (a) one of the reptilian species known as the Nikto or (b) one of the actors considered for the role of Han Solo, the swashbuckling space jockey played by Harrison Ford.

If you answered (b) to all three questions—and queued up for two hours to catch Star Wars: The Special Edition—then you, my Wookiee friend, are a prime candidate to plunk down $150 for this oversize, lushly illustrated, trivia-laden tome—the Imperial Star Destroyer of coffee-table books.

At times the minutiae in this official guide to the Star Wars universe seem as thorough as a Christie’s catalog: The imperious droid C3PO is resplendent in his gold-plated armor suit (front and back views). The intricately detailed space frigates, X-wing Star-fighters and AT-ATs (walking tanks) are master works of model-making. Halfway through Chronicles’ 315 pages, however, a certain overkill sets in. The Death Star and Death Star II (the Empire’s moon-size space stations) look as intriguingly dissimilar as the ’84 and ’85 Taurus, yet each occupies a full page. And do we really need mug shots—and IDs—for the 30-odd aliens who populated Star Wars’ famous cantina scene? The answer is either (a) no, and wait until this book is discounted for $75; or (b) yes, and where do I stand in line to buy it? (Chronicle)

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