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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


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Product Details

  • Series: Smart Pop series
  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Smart Pop (May 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193210089X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932100891
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #990,227 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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An extremely entertaining read.
Christo Popov
Many of these arguments are like really good fanfic - they stretch the limits of that universe and make may out of the holes and bugs they find there.
Jessica KrucekAllronix the Fanfic Mistress
Charge# 6: Star Wars pretends to be science fiction, but is really fantasy.
Bernard Finnigan

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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26 of 30 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark Lillibridge on December 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just a quick note that the Star Wars on trial website is no longer available (per the publisher) so you will be unable to participate in the jury or look at what other people's opinions were.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jessica KrucekAllronix the Fanfic Mistress on July 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you like the SW universe and think it's fine as-is, don't get this. If you dislike the SW universe and share the opinions Dr. Brin expressed in his salon.com article - take a pass here.

If you like the SW universe, but ever found yourself feeling a little disturbed by the implications of certain scenes or events in the movies, GET THIS. Brin gets WAY too caught up in delivering his panegyric about American society and humanist values, but that doesn't mean the man can't make a few valid shots.

The grousing about whether SW belongs on the fantasy or SF shelf is ridiculous. It's like trying to argue if Firefly belongs on the SF or Western shelf. Ditto with the usual "death of the midlist" argument and "dumbing down SF" arguments that also undercut their argument they're populists who trust the common man (after all, the common man isn't paying attention to the REAL story. Furthermore, they read THOSE books, and not the ones who will Uplift - pun intentional - them). The upside is that Karen Traviss's essay is one of several hilarious rebuttals.

Many of these arguments are like really good fanfic - they stretch the limits of that universe and make may out of the holes and bugs they find there. Some get really creative in explaining certain things - I'm thinking Brin's take on Yoda and Metzger's idea of the Jedi as more or less like Neo from the Matrix - exploiters of the universe's programming bugs.

These guys don't go far into the Expanded U, so don't expect any debate on the Vong or the Ruusan events. If you wanted to pass this along to your fellow SW fans, though, I'm sure they'd love to expand it to those.
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