Star Wars Novels Are Poor Substitutes for Real Science Fiction and Are Driving Real SF off the Shelves
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 in their descriptions and character development.
Laura Resnick, though not a fan of the novels herself, reminds us that “all art is subjective.” Karen Traviss, an original SF author turned Star Wars writer, describes her transformation as something like “moving from doing technical drawings to creating impressionist paintings with vivid colors.” Rather than restricting her, she said, writing tie-ins actually challenged her to expand her thinking and skill set. Finally, Kristine Kathryn Rusch argues that all SF should take a note from the adventure-filled fantasy of Star Wars and perhaps move away from more traditional “realism,” which she claims is “murdering the genre.”
Now it’s your turn—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!