Posts by Heather

Star Wars on Trial: Charge #9

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Considering All the Factors Above, Overall, Star Wars Has Been Damaging to Science Fiction Readers, Writers, and Moviegoers

You’ve seen the films, read the charges, and carefully analyzed the arguments on both sides. Now it’s up to you to determine the overall impact of Star Wars on science fiction culture.

Discuss this charge in the comments below by drawing from your own Star Wars expertise and utilizing new evidence from The Force Awakens. And be sure to always be respectful of your fellow Star Wars fans!…

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Star Wars on Trial: Charge #8

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The Plot Holes and Logical Gaps in Star Wars Make It Ill-Suited for an Intelligent Viewer

For the Prosecution: Nick Mamatas
For the Defense: Don DeBrandt

Nick Mamatas begins his essay with a few specific complaints: each episode after Episode IV “renders the previous films increasingly nonsensical,” the prequel trilogy makes the original trilogy “entirely incoherent,” and lastly, in general, “science fiction and fantasy films are unbearably stupid.”

Don DeBrandt argues that while Star Wars may be filled to the brim with gaping plot holes, in the end “it doesn’t matter.” He instead says that the real significance Star Wars has is its impact on the “imagination . . . not on intellect.”

Now it’s your turn—discuss this charge in the comments …

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Star Wars on Trial: Charge #7

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Women in Star Wars Are Portrayed as Fundamentally Weak

For the Prosecution: Jeanne Cavelos
For the Defense: Bill Spangler

Jeanne Cavelos writes that both Princess Leia and Queen Amidala initially appear to be heroic, compelling characters, however throughout their respective trilogies their power slips away in favor of the male characters’ development. She also writes that many elements of the female characters’ plots are “told, not shown,” as their stories were believed to be “unimportant to the larger plot.”

Bill Spangler makes the point that in A New Hope, the male characters simply “tag along on [Leia’s] adventure.” He also believes that Amidala’s “fallibility adds depth to her character.”

Now it’s your turn—discuss this charge in the comments below by drawing …

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Star Wars on Trial: Charge #6

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Charge Six

Star Wars Pretends to Be Science Fiction, but Is Really Fantasy

For the Prosecution: Ken Wharton
For the Defense: Robert A. Metzger
For the Prosecution: Bruce Bethke
For the Defense: Adam Roberts

Ken Wharton begins his essay by distinguishing between fantasy and science fiction. He claims that in real science fiction, asking a series of “whys” will eventually “lead to something we know about the real world.” He then puts forward the idea that the Force (an undefined, magical “energy field,” distinct from the “life-forms” that are midichlorians) is what truly makes Star Wars a fantasy film. Bruce Bethke adds in that the films (at least the three prequels) seem more like classic anime, where the human characters are simply “not …

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Star Wars on Trial: Charge #5

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Charge Five

Star Wars Has Dumbed Down the Perception of Science Fiction in the Popular Imagination

For the Prosecution: Tanya Huff
For the Defense: Richard Garfinkle

Tanya Huff claims that Star Wars has inaccurately become “a shorthand definition for science fiction.” She states that the movie tie-ins have “wiped out any literary merit science fiction had gained in the minds of the general public” and reminds us there are now “adults, with children of their own, who have never lived in a world where science fiction wasn’t reeling under the weight of Star Wars.”

Richard Garfinkle counters that “Star Wars has given [SF writers] useful shorthand,” making their books more accessible to the wider public and allowing the authors more “room to work” beyond basic …

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Star Wars on Trial:Charge #4

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Charge Four

Science Fiction Filmmaking Has Been Reduced by Star Wars to Poorly Written Special Effects Extravaganzas

For the Prosecution: John G. Hemry
For the Defense: Bruce Bethke

John G. Hemry‘s thoughts on Star Wars’ impact on filmmaking can be easily summed up by the title of his essay, “Millions for Special Effects, Not One Cent for Writers.” In particular, Hemry attacks the prequel trilogy, alleging that through all the “wooden acting and clichéd dialogue” the only thing that holds the audience’s interest is special effects.

Bruce Bethke counters that after Star Wars was released in 1977 “science fiction experienced a great renaissance” and the genre finally received the recognition it deserved. Bethke also commends Lucas for reintroducing the hero, following a period of …

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Star Wars on Trial: Charge #3

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Charge Three

Star Wars Novels Are Poor Substitutes for Real Science Fiction and Are Driving Real SF off the Shelves

For the Prosecution: Lou Anders
For the Defense: Laura Resnick
For the Defense: Karen Traviss
For the Defense: Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Lou Anders argues for the prosecution that popular Star Wars novels are being mislabeled in bookstores everywhere as “science fiction,” when in fact they’re actually just fantasy stories set in space. He argues that the “serious” SF literature is often ignored and over-looked, as the public associates SF with “childish escapism,” and that publishers are less and less inclined to give promising new authors the time to develop their audiences. Lastly, he claims that the novelizations teach other writers to be lazy …

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Star Wars on Trial:Charge #2

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Charge Two

While Claiming Mythic Significance, Star Wars Portrays No Admirable Religious or Ethical Beliefs

For the Prosecution: John C. Wright
For the Defense: Scott Lynch

John C. Wright asserts that the films make no efforts to address “metaphysics, spiritual powers, martyrdom, ethics, fate, salvation miracles, and life after death,” which thereby means that there is no “real religion” in Star Wars. He also claims that the so-called “ethics” of the Force in Star Wars are simply “what the script forces,” and have no significance beyond moving the plot.

Scott Lynch makes no claims about the “religiosity” of Star Wars, but instead focuses his argument on ethics. He argues that the original and prequel trilogies show two parallel paths of corruption and redemption, with …

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Star Wars on Trial: Charge #1

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Charge One Test

The Politics of Star Wars Are Anti-Democratic and Elitist

For the Prosecution: David Brin
For the Defense: Keith R. A. DeCandido

David Brin challenges whether Star Wars promotes anything resembling democracy, given that a chosen few are left to decide what’s right under both the Rebellion and the Empire. He declares that, in the Star Wars universe, “the right to rule is inherited” and that those “elites have an inherent right to arbitrary rule.”

Keith R.A. DeCandido claims that Star Wars is about fighting the elites rather than trying to uphold them, and that the real message preached is “light side, dark side, it doesn’t matter: power corrupts.” He ends his testimony by stating that “George Lucas has shown us that the elites …

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We Can’t Get Enough of Fifty Shades of Grey

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FiftyWritersonFiftyShadesofGrey_Revised_FrontCoverThe movie may have been released in February, but we still can’t get over Fifty Shades of Grey.

Our examination of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy in Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey has been an invaluable resource for us when diving into the (unavoidable) conversations surrounding the trilogy and the movie’s release.

BDSM, erotic fiction, sexual empowerment, oh my! Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey discusses both the sexy and cultural sides of the Fifty Shades trilogy and is broken down into seven sections: Fifty Shades of Erotic Fiction, Fifty Shades of Writing, Fifty Shades of Romance, Fifty Shades of Fanfiction, Fifty Shades of Sex, Fifty Shades of Pop Culture, and Fifty Shades of BDSM.

Within the Fifty Shades of Pop …

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  • No. It's just a series of films. It's captured imaginations. It's fun. It's got huge plot holes and terrible science.…
    Posted By Ben | 
  • Yes it is Sci Fi - it has space, aliens, robots, whacky costumes, improbable technology. But it doesn't have to…
    Posted By Ben | 
  • What a silly charge. It implies that Star Wars has had a massive influence on Sci Fi films, and then…
    Posted By Ben | 

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