I found these digital short stories on my Kindle, released on December 1, 2015.
All five are part of "Journey to: Star Wars: the Force Awakens", the top four have a sub-title of "Tales From a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens".
They are mostly enjoyable sci fi stories, but they don't, in my opinion, feel much like Star Wars. They are about characters we might meet in the upcoming movie, especially "All Creatures Great and Small", which features a new alien story teller, Bobbajo (a member of the new species called Nu-Cosians). Bobbajo was the first Force Awakens character I ever saw, appearing very early on behind J. J. Abrams in a teaser video. The other story with an obvious tie-in would be "High Noon on Jakku", with Constable Zuvio (of the alien species called Kyuzo). He'll likely be in the movie, as he has an action figure for sale.
The other stories are about various ne'er do wells across the galaxy. Small time crooks, pirates, and mad scientists. Nothing really heroic, no characters we really know (yet).
One item I found interesting has to do with this aforementioned storyteller character of Bobbajo, a kind of Yoda-like being. He re-tells a classic tale, known to all familiar with Star Wars, inserting himself and his collection of animal companions into key roles in the very heart of the story. When asked by other incredulous characters if what he's telling them is the truth, he answers in his slow, halting way: "History...is an interesting thing. We only know...the versions we are told. It does not mean...that there are not...other truths."
I choose to take this wise advice to heart as we prepare to meet a new generation of Star Wars lore, setting forth on a new journey together, defining new canon but remaining open to the call of the past and the allure of the "Legends" material.
My next post will be a review of the new movie. Don't worry, I won't include spoilers!