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Title: Thunderbolt!
Publisher: D'Ego-Boo Press
Author(s): Christine Jeffords
Cover Artist(s): eluki bes shahar
Illustrator(s): eluki bes shahar
Date(s): 1982
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Wars
Language: English
External Links:
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Thunderbolt! is a 72-page gen novel by Christine Jeffords. The zine has the subtitle: "The Adventures of Young Han Solo."

front cover, Bernie del Khobar
back cover, eluki bes shahar

The editor was Jani Hicks.

It has art work by eluki bes shahar (interior) and Bernie del Khobar (front cover and inside back cover aka "all the neat mingy mechanical bits ").

Further stories in this 'verse appear in Outland Chronicles #4 (1987).

Interesting side note: this zine was advertised in the first issue of Jundland Wastes and said Linda Stoops would be the illustrator.

The First Edition's Typos

Apologies are due to those of you bought Thunderbolt!, because of the number of typographical errors in it. The truth is, I contracted the typing out to a professional, and didn't find out until too late that she thought I was doing the corrections, and I thought she was doing them. I didn't know or appreciate the extent of the foul up until after the zine was back from the printer. If there is a reprint, I promise, the ed beforehand.[1]


From Agent With Style:

These three tales show how a young Han Solo grows up to be the man we know and love: tough, cynical, cocky, often reckless, sometimes abrasive or intolerant, yet clever, canny, a good man in a fight, an expert pilot, gambler, gunfighter, smuggler and mechanic, with a keen instinct for and understanding of people and a deep capacity for warmth, loyalty and caring.

From the Editor: Jani Hicks

From the lengthy editor's preface by Jani Hicks:

This started out to be a little, unobtrusive, cheap one-shot 'zine. It turned into a pearl-handled son of a clone mother's vat. Real fast. *Sigh* Would you like to hear the story?

I suspect you would, since y'all have been waiting FOREVER for this sucker. Originally, "Imperial Charter", the third of the stories here, was going into TWIN SUNS 3, and "Initiation", the first, was going into ReVISIONS. Then RV died.

I asked Chris what she wanted to do, and she offered me "Jubilee's Daughter", the middle piece, which had been previously submitted elsewhere; I said, "Why don't we put them together and make it a little one-author one- shot?" She agreed.

It took us about three months of wrangling to edit them (we're both very exacting, very certain, and very much — occasionally -- convinced We're Right, and not necessarily in agreement about the Right).

Then, in the middle of this process, I lost the original illustrator for the pieces, and had to hunt up another one. I thought of the lovely lady who was at that time Chris's-Friend-Eluki, and she graciously agreed to do them, with almost no notice, on a short deadline. After much sweat, the ms. were ready for typing last September. I was going to get them to the printer's by the end of the month.

[personal info snipped]

So I didn't have time to type, and neither did I have anybody to do it for me. It's a long story, but after three futile attempts to find a commercial typist, the ms. finally got done thanks to Ronni Sacksteder and Ann Cecil, who ramrodded it through to finish with the woman who finally did type it. And the cost of typing added to the cost of printing ... Suffice it to say that this was originally going to be a gorgeous little 'zine, all of a piece, saddle-stapled... and the typing budget ate up almost all the discretionary fund I was going to do the fancy work with. Oh well. It doesn't look too bad, all things considered.

You wouldn't believe how glad I am that this is finished. And it's almost sold out as I read this. I am printing 250 copies, and the response has been phenomenal. I have 150 presales, and the 'zine is going to MediaWest*Con II, where the remaining 90 will probably be sold. If you're reading a borrowed copy of this, and would like your own, SASE me and I'll query Chris about reprint rights. Or better yet, write to her and get her to bring it up.

I apologize for the cost of this baby-zine. It's not much to get for the $4.25 it costs; but you can see from the above narrative that a) it's a year later than promised, with a year's inflation to contend with, and b) I had to pay to have this ?#*(&$*# typed, and I couldn't afford to absorb that expense on a student's income. Again, my apologies. I hope it's worth it.

From the Author: Christine Jeffords

From the author's preface:

The Chronicles of the Good Ship Thunderbolt comprise, at this writing, a total of six works: one in first draft, two in the nebulous pre-plotting state, and three between the present covers. Though interrelated and sharing many of the same characters, they can be read separately or together, in any order or lack thereof.

Taken together, they form a biography of Han Solo -- or at least the "Brightstar Universe" version of Han Solo ~ from age 15 to almost-27. I consider them to be, after the rather lengthier Exploits of Mori Sevenstars, ray most important fannish work to date. They also may be the only "Brightstar" fiction that will (probably) not be rendered obsolete by any further incidents or revelations in the STAR WARS saga. We know that the first trilogy of films will concentrate on the Jedi, the rise of the Empire, the turning of Darth Vader, and so on — but never a word has been said of the possibility that Han's background will be exposed in it too.

The Thunderbolt! stories are intended to fill that gap, and to try to explain something of how Han Solo might have come to be what he is: tough, cynical, cocky, often reckless, sometimes abrasive or intolerant, yet clever, canny, a good man in a fight, an expert pilot, gambler, gunfighter, smuggler, mechanic, with obviously a keen instinct for and understanding of people and a deep capacity for warmth, loyalty, caring. In my opinion, Han is one of the most complex and fascinating of the Saga characters: like Darth Vader or Princess Leia, there's more to him than meets the eye. 1 began writing the Chronicles because 1 wanted to get to know him better.

The fact that you've bought this 'zine and are reading this Preface proves that you do too.

Of the three Chronicles you're about to read, the first, "The Initiation", tells how Han first went to space and proved himself a valuable crewmeber; in the Brightstar chronology it begins in the sixth month

(of 10) of the Galactic Standard Year 6001 (Old Republican Calendar) — two years after the founding of the Empire, and twenty previous to the events of STAR WARS. "Jubilee's Daughter," a planet-bound tale of a holiday, a hunt, and a one-night stand that got slightly out of hand, takes place three and a half years later. And "Imperial Charter," the title of which is pretty well self-explanatory, follows another three and three-quarters years after that.


  • Initiation (4)
  • Jubilee's Daughter (25)
  • Imperial Charter (45)

Interior Gallery

Reactions and Reviews

This publication is a trilogy of short stories chronicling the of Han Solo when he first goes space. The name of the zine refers to the ship he stows away on, eventually, of course, becoming full crew.

Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to see the likeable rogue of the movies in the stiff creation of Jeffords' stories. Part of the stiffness and slow-moving quality of the stories is due to Ms. Jeffords' writing of complicated, multi-claused sentences. One is not quite sure whether to blame the writer entirely or the editor in on the carpet as well for some of the absurd sentence structure. For example, in the first story we are introduced to the crew of the Thunderbolt. All in one fell swoop of a paragraph. Confusion reigned in my mind until I sat down to make a list of each with their various differentiating traits. That the reader should have to do this just to keep the characters straight is absurd. The entire paragraph could easily have been broken into 3 or more paragraphs. With such multiple paragraphs, it would have been easier for the reader to assimilate the information. And on a purely technical level, One should keep in mind that reduced type is hard enough to read without making the sentences each a paragraph long. Even further along this line, I found the descriptions of each crewmember to be far too long and far too detailed for the point of view (ie. Han's) through which the reader sees these people. For example, "Chax Abnem was a Holam from Yorwar, bright blue with red eyes, and bulbous nose, and fleshy at the corners of his mouth; his arms were thick and heavy, and he favored bright clothing with accents of purple; yet he was in fact, a quiet being with a definite mystical bent. " How does Han know that Chax is of a mystical bent upon first meeting? This sentence also reminded me that the problem of names in science fiction and/or fantasy is very important and that struggling writers would do well to study some of the ground rules established in many of the handbooks now on the market. J.R.R. Tolkien and Ursula Leguin have also written helpful essays on the subject of names. I would recommend these to Ms. Jeffords as I felt like Demosthenes with his mouth full of pebbles when I attempted to speak the names of her aliens aloud.

And on a very practical grammatical basis, it was pointed out to me by a professional editor that if a sentence requires more than two to properly punctuate it, the sentence should properly be broken down into 2 or three sentences for easier reading comprehension. Unfortunately, such sentences are not uncommon in Thunderbolt. One is introduced to this crew in "Initiation", actual story of how Solo joins the crew of the Thunderbolt. I found the entire premise of this story to be absurd. On the ship for only a brief period and the lowest position on the crew, the young Han Solo manages to fend off the pirates of the space lane all himself, aided only by the ship's mascots and the ship's navigational computer. Where, you may ask, is the rest of the Thunderbolt's crew? All the rest of the crew (six different species) have been put out of commission by a virus. Logic forces me to question the existence of a virus that can take out the inhabitants of six different environments and/or planets, unless one assumes that the old Star Trek doctrine of parallel planet development applies to life-forms. By way of we are given to understand that the virus only attacks warm-blooded sapient creatures. I can only assume that the writer actually meant "sentient" (meaning responsive to or conscious of sense impressions) as opposed to "sapient" (which means possessing or expressing great sagacity or discernment). Such careless usage of vocabulary occurs elsewhere as well. Again, does one blame the writer or the editor? The second story in the trilogy is "Jubilee's Daughter", a rather pointless story of Han and a waitress he meets in the space-age equivalent of a greasy spoon. This was singularly unsatisfying as either a love story or an action tale for much the same reasons noted in the discussion of "Initiation".

The end tale, "Imperial Charter", is a little better than its companion pieces as far as plot is concerned. However, the action dragged due to the slow chronological telling of the events. I feel the story could have been much stronger had the writer begun in the midst of the action and flashed back occasionally where it was absolutely necessary to the story. Even more interesting, perhaps she might have considered telling the story through the eyes of another crewmember since this is really where we can see Han developing as an independent thinker. I hesitate to completely condemn another fan's hard work in a zine publication, but I did not enjoy any of these short stories. The cover art is nice and the diagrams for the ship are interesting but hardly worth the price of $7.00. [2]


  1. ^ from Jundland Wastes #10, 1982
  2. ^ from Jundland Wastes #11