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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: 0.8 x 6.3 x 8.4 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: #1,396,520 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

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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

56 of 59 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julie W. Capell on July 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm writing this review quite a few years after I read the book, but I remember it was extremely well-received by my sci-fi book club, giving us many topics to talk about. The book is comprised of a series of essays by many well-known sci-fi authors, organized around the conceit that they are arguing either for or against a particular charge that has been leveled against that most beloved of sci-fi franchises, Star Wars. Some of the authors present arguments that are just plain silly (yes, I'm talking about you, Robert Metzger) but most of them understand that the topics they have been given are bigger than Star Wars, existing as indictments of sci-fi as a genre. The charge that Star Wars is anti-Democractic and elitist had actually never occurred to me before reading this book, but once I read Keith R A DeCandido's argument I found myself reassessing much of sci-fi through this lens and realizing he had a very valid point.

The essays on women in Star Wars were another high point. The essay by Jeanne Cavelos,"How the Rebel Princess and the Virgin Queen became Marginalized and Powerless" was the best in the book. In it, Cavelos makes a convincing case that Leia, who starts out as a powerful leader of the rebellion, very quickly is relegated to the submissive and powerless role of victim while the men are cast as her rescuers. This is a perennial problem, not just in science fiction, but in most Western literature and cinema and is a point worth discussing. This essay changed the way I read most books and should be required reading in every women's literature class.

But I don't want to give the impression that this book was a serious, hard slog through the marsh of literary criticism.
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