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Star Wars on Trial: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Debate the Most…

par David Brin (Directeur de publication), Matthew Woodring Stover (Directeur de publication)

Autres auteurs: Lou Anders (Contributeur), Bruce Bethke (Contributeur), Jenne Cavelos (Contributeur), Don DeBrandt (Contributeur), Keith R.A. DeCandido (Contributeur)13 plus, Richard Garfinkle (Contributeur), John G Hemry (Contributeur), Tanya Huff (Contributeur), Scott Lynch (Contributeur), Nick Mamatas (Contributeur), Robert A Metzger (Contributeur), Laura Resnick (Contributeur), Adam Roberts (Contributeur), Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Collaborator), Bill Spangler (Contributeur), Karen Traviss (Contributeur), Ken Wharton (Contributeur), John C Wright (Contributeur)

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Debates on the authenticity of the Star Wars franchise and the hero-or-villain status of George Lucas are at the heart of these essays by bestselling science-fiction authors. The incredible popularity of the movies has led to the formation of strong emotions within the science fiction community on the strengths and flaws of the films, exemplified here by David Brin's attacks and Matthew Woodring Stover's defense of the movies. This intense examination of the epic works addresses a broad range of issues--from politics, religion, and the saga's overall logic to the impact of the series on bookshelf space as well as science-fiction film. The question Is George Lucas a hero for bringing science fiction to a mass audience or a villain who doesn't understand the genre he's working for? is discussed before a final "Judge's Verdict" on the greatness--or weakness--of the franchise is reached.… (plus d'informations)
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I've really been enjoying SmartPop's anthologies, and this is one of the most entertaining. I am certainly part of the target audience: a life-long, passionate Star Wars fan whose love is tempered by feelings of frustration -- and even betrayal -- by Lucas's handling of the prequels and my favorite character.

It was great to read essays by smart, talented people taking the saga so passionately, seriously, and yet with a sense of fun. Whether testifying for the prosecution or the defense, virtually all of them could clearly recall what it was like to see "Star Wars" for the first time and how it impacted them. They agreed to participate in this project not just for the money, but because they *care* about the movies and the strengths and flaws they see in them.

My favorite section was Charge #7 - "Women in Star Wars are Portrayed as Fundamentally Weak." I've written at length about the deterioration of the status and strength of both Princess Leia and Amidala, but prosecution witness Janne Cavelos went further than I ever have -- with the same sense of having been betrayed. She too had been a young teenage girl excited to see a female "action hero" in a science fiction advture, only to see that character systematically undermined in the sequels.

My other favorite essay was by defense witness Karen Traviss, who addressed Charge #3 - "Star Wars Novels Are Poor Substitutes for Real Science Fiction and are Driving Real SF Off The Shelves." She described her experience of being recruited to write a Clone Wars novel and how, despite being set in someone else's creative landscape, the experience engaged her at a deep level and helped her produce some of her best SF writing ever. (Okay, she has a direct personal interest in defending Star Wars novels, but the essay was terrific, and I've ordered the first of her books from the library because I became intrigued by an aspect of the Star Wars universe that had never interested me before.)

Kudos to the editors for keeping the tone light. For all the passion in the writing, the entire book is liberally laced with humor, and both Brin and Stover remind themselves, each other, the witnesses, and the reader that this is all in good fun. Ultimately, everyone is united in their love for Star Wars and respect for its impact -- even if some wish that George Lucas had made some different choices along the way. ( )
  jsabrina | Jul 13, 2021 |
Thanks to Netgalley!

I'm not normally a reader of non-fiction unless I'm in a hardcore research mode, but I wanted this solely because I'm a fan of both David Brin and Matthew Woodring Stover. It really had nothing at all to do with the arguments one can fling at the SW universe, whether to attack or defend.

To do so is a very deep rabbit hole, indeed.

Fortunately, it turned out to be rather amusing to hear Stover intimate that Brin was a Sith Lord in disguise and to show that Stover is an unabashed apologist because he got paid for the novelization of Ep 6. (As well as a number of EU novels.)

But that isn't all! I genuinely enjoyed most of the coherent arguments and definitely enjoyed the incoherent ones. I think I'll always enjoy the reading of the movies as the revelation that we live in a real holographic universe and Lucas is just trying to show us the path, and that the Jedi are just exploiting the bugs in the software universe to hack and exploit it. Bingo! I can't enjoy the movies more than THAT interpretation. :)

But really, seeing the movies as a comedy in the old sense, that we enjoy them because it evokes a real sense of JOY? That resonates with me, too.

I couldn't care less that the movies are monsters of science inaccuracy. Even if I understand science, and I do, it doesn't always make for stories that resonate, and often put too much burden on any tale to make anyone want to read it, let alone watch a movie about it. Did anyone see Gravity? Did anyone see anything other than a bunch of action sequences and silence? Yeah, that's because it was scientifically accurate, and to bring anyone's attention to that fact would kill the tension. :)

But when it comes to the argument that women are consistently stripped of agency through the story arcs, I have to agree. Simply. Easily. Leia was treated poorly as a character, but Amadala's treatment was deplorable.

Fortunately for the rest of us who have actually seen the new movie, I rejoice in the new direction, and pray that Rey continues to be badass throughout the next two movies. Prove that the valid complaint had taken root and will grow into something truly marvellous. :)

This book came out right after Ep 6, and was given only a minor update *before* the release of Ep 7, so don't expect an cogent and relevant arguments either way that includes the new movie.

I would have LOVED that, but timing is everything, and this was aimed primarily at the fanboys and fangirls who love to think about the franchise, and the best time to capitalize on that is in the tension before the film.

Of course, now that the new movie is such a success, I hope to see more. :)

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Not as funny as it thinks it is especially Stover. Although there is a need for soem humour, otherwise it would be just acollection of po-faced writers poking holes in a film, when everybody already knows that books are always better.

David brin leads the prosecution with a series of charges that amount to - SW was the best film, and that Lucas could have done a much better job than he did, especially with the rest of them. The Defense basically amounts to stop being so stuffy they are fun films that inspired generations of people. Neither of these sides are sufficeint to fill 395 pages of waffle. Stovers intended to be comic interuptions don't work, and the Droid Judge is equally dull.

Various other authors (18 of them, ranging from the just about famous like Tanya Huff, and Scott Lynch to the obscure) offer evidence one way or the other for the various charges, with more or less persuaive voices. None of them rise above the summary presented above. Noe of the short essays was sufficiently inpsiring for me to seek out more of their work or even remember what they said. Likewise none was that badly written that I made a note to avoid their work.

I'm not really siure who the target audience was concieved to be for this book. Die hard fans won't agree witht eh Defense's reasoning, and can't support hte prosecution, noone else will really care or be inspired to pick up the book. I thought it might be funny, but there was no corss examination, no rebuttal, just assertions. The prosecution cases don't include any evidence that Lucas could have done things a different way - all the suggested changes wuld cost more, make already long films even longer or more complicated.

Readable if you're doing a project on the Star Wars universe (or seeking inspiration as a spin-off writer), but no-one else should bother. ( )
  reading_fox | Apr 13, 2013 |
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Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Brin, DavidDirecteur de publicationauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionsconfirmé
Stover, Matthew WoodringDirecteur de publicationauteur principaltoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Anders, LouContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Bethke, BruceContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Cavelos, JenneContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
DeBrandt, DonContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
DeCandido, Keith R.A.Contributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Garfinkle, RichardContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Hemry, John GContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Huff, TanyaContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Lynch, ScottContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Mamatas, NickContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Metzger, Robert AContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Resnick, LauraContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Roberts, AdamContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Rusch, Kristine KathrynCollaboratorauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Spangler, BillContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Traviss, KarenContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Wharton, KenContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé
Wright, John CContributeurauteur secondairetoutes les éditionsconfirmé

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Debates on the authenticity of the Star Wars franchise and the hero-or-villain status of George Lucas are at the heart of these essays by bestselling science-fiction authors. The incredible popularity of the movies has led to the formation of strong emotions within the science fiction community on the strengths and flaws of the films, exemplified here by David Brin's attacks and Matthew Woodring Stover's defense of the movies. This intense examination of the epic works addresses a broad range of issues--from politics, religion, and the saga's overall logic to the impact of the series on bookshelf space as well as science-fiction film. The question Is George Lucas a hero for bringing science fiction to a mass audience or a villain who doesn't understand the genre he's working for? is discussed before a final "Judge's Verdict" on the greatness--or weakness--of the franchise is reached.

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