War is returning to the galaxy…
“Emerging from the endless sands is Canto Bight, a city of excess and indulgence. In this luxurious escape for the wealthy and unscrupulous, dreams and made reality, and the prospect of war brings only the opportunity for profit…”
Rules of the Game by Saladin Ahmed, read by Sean Kenin
Canto Bight is a collection of novellas released just in time to fuel the hype for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It is honestly one of the things I have been most anticipating this winter because ever since the Vanity Fair spread in May of this year, I have been obsessed with this glitzy looking city and its lush visitors.
The book is composed of four stories by four different authors. The first of these is “Rules of the Game” by Saladin Ahmed. Sean Kenin reads the audiobook version, which is how I consumed it. And consume I did! This story has everything- humour, suspense, and more alien species than you can shake a lightsaber at, including the star of the piece, who is a Wermal. A heated Wookieepedia search told me that this species, unfamiliar to me, is first introduced here. The author describes him as having one eye, three hearts, nose slits, ear holes, and pink skin. He requires humidification, so I think he might be rocking reptilian-chic. You can see my fan art doodle above, which I drew while listening to this delightful story.
We first meet Kedpin Shoklop as he is landing in the dazzling city of Canto Bight, which is perched like a glittering jewel beside a man-made sea on an otherwise colourless desert planet. This is his first vacation in over a hundred standard years (Kedpin is 150) and he intends to make the most of it. All this time, he has been toiling away at VaporTech, and this year has seen him named their top Salesbeing, for which he was awarded this trip. A kind and trusting person, Kedpin is wide-eyed (that’s one wide eye, in his case) and quite excited to rub elbows (he has two) with the galaxy’s elite. But right from the start, things start going wrong. It isn’t long until he meets up with another major player in the adventure: Anglang Lehet, just another alien just trying to make a living in a world that’s so corrupt, even the mob has moved out. He’s a criminal on the one-last-job-and-I-can-get-out trajectory and we know right away that things are not going to go as planned for him or for our pink VaporTech company man.
Without giving away the plot, there is nothing more I can say about this story except that it is a joy to read. This is my kind of Star Wars– underdogs, aliens, intrigue, and laughs. The narrator has fantastic range and gives a ton of personality to the characters, making the audiobook version a worthwhile experience, too.
The Scale: DEFINITELY READ THIS– READ THIS– PROBABLY READ THIS– MAYBE DON’T READ THIS– WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU READ THIS
The Canto Bight story “Rules of the Game” is a DEFINITELY READ THIS experience