Star Wars on Trial
by David Brin, Matthew Woodring Stover
Is Star Wars guilty of being anti-democratic and reinforcing negative female stereotypes? Has the epic series of films ruined both the esteemed arts of cinema and science fiction? Can George Lucas’s most popular creation even be considered science fiction? These are just a few of the head-scratchers tackled in Star Wars on Trial, a collaboration between authors David Brin and Matthew Woodring Stover.
Brin plays the part of the Prosecution, eager to put Star Wars in its place as nothing more than a confused string of popcorn movies that yielded a handful of interesting catchphrases. His case lacks venom, though; Brin admits almost immediately that he enjoys the first two Star Wars movies (Episodes IV and V, which will always technically be the first two Star Wars movies) and that “we are here to have fun, tossing around ideas, pretending that they matter.” Maybe this is a weekend stroll for you, Dave, but for some of us, it’s another run through the jungle.
Woodring, on the other hand, takes his role of Defense Attorney a bit more seriously (as he should – he did author the novelization of Revenge of the Sith). He is seemingly infuriated by Brin’s every accusation, tossing more than a few barbs at opposing counsel that would embarrass a fifth grader. Kudos for not taking the high road, Matt. However, if I were in your position, I would have worked a little harder to get some of the charges against your client dropped. I take particular offense to the second charge: while claiming mythic significance, Star Wars portrays no admirable religious or ethical beliefs. Last time I checked, it wasn’t the responsibility of fictional space movies co-starring robots and giant dogs to portray admirable religious or ethical beliefs.
Of course, this is just the sort of reaction and thought process that Star Wars on Trial is trying to drum up in the reader. Although the mock trial premise can be tiring, the topics explored and opinions expressed by Brin, Woodring and their panel of expert witnesses (re: other authors) are just as interesting and intriguing as any given message board argument on your pick of Star Wars websites. If you’re a fan of that galaxy far, far away, you’ll probably want to give Star Wars on Trial a read.
BenBella Books: www.smartpopbooks.com