Friday, May 25, 2007

30 Years Ago, In An America Far, Far, Away....

I wasn't a kid when Star Wars hit the big screen. I was a science fiction nut, clamoring to see what all the hubbub was about.

What people do not know, or disremember, is the fact that Star Wars was severely panned by the science fiction community. Because the science sucked. The howl went forth that should such a badly done effort become popular, it could very well herald the end of the thinking man's SF. The anti-Star Wars movie, Silent Running, was a quick attempt to bring science back to science fiction but the damage had been done and there WAS no turning back.

I was therefore a closet Star Wars fan. Impossible to openly admit such low standards because I was too old to proclaim innocence about the matter, I willingly disbelieved the schmaltz behind closed doors and so what if Darth was really Doctor Doom, and pretty much everything else of interest had been stolen from one SF or comic book offering or another. Lucas tossed together everything that had ever worked into one series of movies and while he may have been a thief, he was a thief who knew his stuff. Heroes, villains, babes and muppets. H. Beam Piper's estate went ballistic when the Ewoks were introduced, as they were nothing less than a direct rip-off of the late author's Little Fuzzies, and I doubt there's a man alive other than Lucas himself who knows just how many folks were paid off to drop one law suit or another. The polite way to say it is that they settled out of court.

A lot. By then Lucas could afford it, and soon even the outrage from betrayed adult SF fans began to dwindle because fighting wasn't working so perhaps the kids could be drawn to science fiction then told the sad facts of life after they'd become hooked. You can't hear explosions in space. Rifles and handguns firing light-particle munitions can't be ducked by anyone with human reflexes. The Flash could, Superman could too. But that's another story.

May 26th marks the 30th anniversary of the Star Wars franchise. Beginning tomorrow, it has been 30 years since most kids knew a damned thing about real science and who doubts that the country as a whole isn't a helluva lot dumber. We might even be able to blame it for todays liberals. But I'm certainly no lefty and heaven help me I enjoyed it. Well, I didn't enjoy the young Vader, that's for sure. I'm stupid but not dumb. Maybe even the other way around but even since we're worse off because of Star Wars, it had to happen and it did and that's that.

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