On Star Wars

Closing Statement for the Defense

The Spirit of Play
By Matthew Woodring Stover

Ladies, gentlemen and otherwise, and Artificial Beings of the jury–I’ve been having a tough time throughout this trial. You’ve probably noticed.

I’ve been having a tough time keeping a straight face.

Probably because I haven’t really been trying.

Before I explain why I haven’t been trying–before I paste that cheerfully mocking grin back on my face–I want to ’fess up to something, in absolute honesty, without any mockery at all.

Sometimes, in the course of these proceedings, I’ve gotten the sneaking suspicion that the fundamental question actually under consideration is whether the Star Wars films might have been better movies if David Brin had written them.

Now, I know that sounds like a cheap dig. It isn’t. Because David Brin is a fantastic writer; I’ve enjoyed his novels for years, and if we had come right out and debated that point, I not only would have lost, I may well have surrendered without firing a shot.

So let’s imagine, for a moment, a world in which Learned Opposing Counsel and his Sith dupes–dammit, I was being serious–in which Mr. Brin and the Prosecution witnesses had their way. A world in which Luke Skywalker was not a Secret Prince, but just a farm boy with dreams of being a star pilot; in which starfighters were merely clouds of gnats wiped from existence by capital ships bombarding each other from distances so vast they’re visible only to each other’s instruments; in which spaceships spew reaction gases in absolute silence–

Ahh, you get  …

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