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Star Wars on Trial: Science Fiction And Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Films of All Time (Smart Pop series) Paperback – May 11, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 1 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 12
  • Series: Smart Pop series
  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Smart Pop (May 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193210089X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932100891
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,001,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Brin is the author of 15 novels, including Earth, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War, and numerous short stories. He is the recipient of three Hugo Awards and one Nebula Award. He lives in Encinitas, CA. Matthew Woodring Stover is the author of the film novelization Stars Wars: Revenge of the Sith, as well as Blade of Tyshalle and Star Wars: Shatterpoint. He lives in Chicago, IL.

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Customer Reviews

This book is hard to describe, but worth reading.
T. Asbury
At one point Brin admits that his core problem is not with Star Wars itself, but with the entire mythic history of mankind, from Gilgamesh and the Odyssey on up!
Tevis Fen-Kortiay
Emotionally though, the Defense makes some very good points.
Christo Popov

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Daiho VINE VOICE on August 17, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Back in 1999, physics professor, NASA consultant, and science fiction writer David Brin contributed an essay to Salon.com highlighting the logical inconsistencies in the (up until then) four Star Wars films and pointing out what he saw as the darker philosophical and ethical underpinnings of the series - a feudal universe in which elite, super-powered beings control the fate of civilization, a galaxy where might is right, in which the life of the commoner is to be ruled by The Jedi or The Sith.

"'Star Wars' Despots vs. 'Star Trek' Populists" generated a tremendous amount of interest and feedback from Star Wars and science fiction fans and over the years on his own website Brin came back to the topic now and then, (often, he laments as an aside in "Star Wars on Trial," taking time away from his other writing projects). With the release last year of the final chapter in the Star Wars film series, Brin is back to update his arguments and lead the prosecution in "Star Wars on Trial," a book-length collection of critical essays on the six-film cycle and its relationship to film-making and science-fiction. The book is organized conceptually around a trial, with a prosecutor leveling charges and a defense counsel attempting to poke holes in the state's case.

The six charges brought to court are, in order: 1) The Politics of Star Wars Are Anti-Democratic and Elitist; 2) While Claiming Mythic Significance, Star Wars Portrays No Admirable Religious or Ethical Beliefs; 3) Star Wars Novels Are Poor Substitutes for Real Science Fiction and Are Driving Real SF off the Shelves; 4) Science Fiction Filmmaking Has Been Reduced by Star Wars to Poorly Written Special Effects Extravaganzas.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Blum on August 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
My two cents: Book = Good; Website = Disappointing.

Hidden benefit - introduction through these essays to the writing of around 20 authors!

I'm one of those people who both love Star Wars and hate it too. Okay, I don't hate Star Wars itself, but there are some things about it that just drive me batty. It's reassuring to know I'm not the only one.

This book is not a weighty philosophical treatise on the merits of Star Wars as art form, cultural phenomenon, etc. Instead it is a light but thoughtful exploration into some of the ideas floating through the SW fan community. I enjoyed it, but I think that, like the movies, if you take it too seriously, you are going to miss out.

This book is in the form of essays written on behalf of the prosecution and the defense, with some "cross-examinations" of witnesses in the "courtroom" conducted by Brin and Stover. Some of the essays are rather serious, and some entertaining. There is at least one that is just wacky. I read the table of contents at the bookstore, and had to buy it, and am glad I did.

Charge #1: The politics of Star Wars are anti-democratic and elitist.

Charge #2: While claiming mythic significance, Star Wars portrays no admirable religious or ethical beliefs.

Charge #3: Star Wars novels are poor substitutes for real science fiction and are driving real SF off the shelves.

Charge #4: Science fiction filmmaking has been reduced by Star Wars to poorly written special effects extravaganzas.

Charge #5: Star Wars has dumbed down the perception of science fiction in the popular imagination.

Charge #6: Star Wars pretends to be science fiction, but is really fantasy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christo Popov on April 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
Intellectually, the Prosecution wins the case with flying colors. Emotionally though, the Defense makes some very good points.

The book is written with humor and enthusiasm, all contributors from both sides are obviously having fun and it should be noted that everybody acknowledges the fun and entertainment value of Star Wars and its ability to make us dream. Including David Brin who gives praise and respect to George Lucas in his opening statement (p.47).

I think the book will appeal not only to Star Wars critics, but to its fans as well. An extremely entertaining read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Enjolras TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was excited for this book, but it ultimately promises more than it delivers. You'd think the authors would realize anybody who buys this book is interested in a serious debate. However, far too often the book descends into silliness, leading me to quit the book midway through.

I thought Brin for the Prosecution was generally intriguing but he doesn't take some of his points far enough. I love his clear writing style and ability to treat the subject seriously, but there are a lot of crucial points he just leaves hanging. For example, he never connects the Star Wars message of refusing attachments and belief in self to Eastern religions such as Buddhism - admittedly an important influence on Lucas.

Unfortunately, Stover for the Defense was almost a joke. As much as I like Stover's novels, he frustrated me. He spends half of his "debate time" calling the prosecution evil and hinting that they sympathize with the Sith. Moreover, his arguments about the moral arc of the Star Wars saga are interesting, but seem to come out of nowhere. Admittedly, he has the harder job of clarifying the prequels, but Stover spent more time making snide comments than explaining his comments.

All that said, all of the authors write in an engaging and humorous style that makes the book fun to read, despite its sometimes frustrating content. I keep the book on my iphone and might revisit it during my commute one day just because it is so lighthearted. However, I had been hoping for a more intellectually serious discussion of the Star Wars saga.

Given that the Kindle version of this book is so cheap, it's probably worth buying for any Star Wars fan, but be prepared to be frustrated at points. I'd give it 3.5 stars overall.
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