Star Wars: "Labor Pains"
My first Star Wars prose story, originally published on Hyperspace, set between issues #12 and #13 of the Knights of the Old Republic comics series. Read it for free!
The genesis of "Labor Pains," a short story available here, actually began earlier in 2006, the year of the Knights of the Old Republic comics series launch. Looking at additional promotional opportunities, I suggested a short story using the comics characters for Star Wars Insider, as the magazine had begun running fiction again. The idea never advanced in that form, but I did still have an idea file with snippets of dialogue from a presumed entry in Gryph's memoirs — and when, near the end of 2007, I heard from Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo about plans to bring more original fiction to StarWars.com in the form of short stories, "Labor Pains" took shape.
The story is set between issues #12 and #13 of the comics series — which is about where we were in series production when I first came up with the idea. It was a good place for the story, as the whole original cast was together, and there was a spot for it in the timeline.
There isn't a huge amount of first-person storytelling in Star Wars fiction; there's some, but a lot of it's in the various short story collections. Gryph is fun to write in the comics, for his dialogue alone; here, we got his internal dialogue, too, although filtered a bit, since it's in the form of a memoir. He's always posturing for his imagined audience, and some of the more embarrassing moments get retold in a more favorable fashion. So, too, is his speechifying here a little more genteel than his normal dialogue. This is a KOTOR adventure as a business self-help book. Pablo provided the illustrations for the story.
It was a fun piece to write, particularly as Camper, who appears in it, was gone from the scene of the series by the time I wrote the finished story. It is now available again here.
- Gryph's memoir-writing is later established in the comics, in the Dark Times portion of Vector.
- Several continuity additions first appear in this story, including the mention of Gryph's brother and Camper's former work for Vanjervalis.
- I read a bit of Gryph's dialogue from this story alongside the Gryph puppet at Midsouthcon 2009. Stormtroopers arrived while I was speaking — not to arrest Gryph, but to induct me into the 501st.
- This story was unavailable for a while after the reorganization of StarWars.com. It was rereleased by Del Rey on the Suvudu website on Oct. 2, 2012, to coincide with the release of the Essential Reader's Companion.