On Star Wars

On Not Flying Solo in Hyperspace

By Richard Garfinkle

We all knows the scene. The Millennium Falcon fleeing pursuit jumps into hyperspace. For a moment the stars become lines and the audience cheers. At least that’s what happened the far too many times I saw the original Star Wars at the age of fifteen (this was before it was A New Hope). I’m putting in the biographical information because it should be held against me in making this strangely slanted defense. I was at the right age to have my head blown off by the visuals of Star Wars.

Don’t get me wrong, this was not by any stretch of the imagination my first exposure to SF. I was a science fiction fan long before I saw the movie. I had read my way through most of the major writers of the time and several from before that time, and had watched Star Trek and 2001 and all the other required viewing for a fan of that era. Everything that showed up on the screen in that initial viewing of Star Wars I had already read from one author or another: hyperspace from Niven, robots from Asimov, an order of psychic good guys from E. E. “Doc” Smith. Even at the overly impressionable age I then was, I knew that I was watching fun sci-fi, not original science fiction.

At the time I had no ambitions to be a science fiction writer, nor were my friends proto-writers. We did not discuss the movie in terms of its place in  …

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