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Posted May 29, 2002
Writers and critics discuss the influence of Star Wars
Glenn Kenny, ed. A Galaxy Not So Far Away: Writers and Artists on 25 Years of Star Wars. Holt. Sep. 2002. C.288p. ISBN 0-8050-7074-5 pap. $15. ¿May the Force be with you¿ has been the mantra of 'Star Wars' fans world wide for a quarter century. In honor of the silver anniversary of 'Star Wars'¿technically 'Episode IV, A New Hope'¿16 novelists (Jonathan Letham), journalists (Tod Hanson), filmmakers (Kevin Smith), and film critics (Elvis Mitchell) offer personal reminiscences on the influence of the series on their own lives and society. Like the Force itself, there is a light and a dark side to these essays ranging from 'The Onion' scribe Hanson¿s hilarious and quite adroit defense of 'The Phantom Menace' to Lydia Millet¿s use of Darth Vader as a metaphor for the loss of humanity. Rather than a ¿'Star Wars' is cool¿ fan fest, the pieces are serious. In fact, they¿re too serious: what sorely is lacking is the voice of a die-hard geek fanboy soberly explaining why legions of people of all ages are stark raving bonkers over these B movies; why they dress up in costumes and replicate props; why they set their alarms for 4 a.m. to snipe Graflex lightsaber flashguns on eBay; why they spend all their spare cash on toys and paraphernalia, and why they queue up in front of movie theaters months before the films actually open, not to mention the countless hours spent in chat rooms theorizing endlessly on every imaginable facet of all things that transpired a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Regardless, what is here is very entertaining, and 'Star Wars' junkies will love it. Recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2002
All right, I just had the pleasure of finishing a pre-publication galley of this book, and I have to say--it's great. It's just great. It's probably the funnest book I've ever read. I almost wet my pants laughing at Todd Hanson's piece defending The Phantom Menace. (Hanson writes for The Onion, surprise surprise.) Glenn Kenny has probably written the only introduction in the history of serious anthologies than turns on a love of Bugs Bunny. Joe Queenan's essay about why the Imperial Empire is to be admired and the Rebels are losers ('when Luke and Leia visit the planet inhabited by the Ewoks, they wear ridiculous helmets that look like toilet seats with Rolodexes glued on top of them') is all the funnier for actually being true. Tom Bissell's weird, long, and finally sort of brilliant essay about Boba Fett is probably the last word on the subject anyone needs to have. And Erika Krouse writes an unexpectedly sad and touching memoir about the Force and karate. Can you tell that I love this book? It's such a good idea, and so awesomely pulled off, that I can't believe no one thought of it before. (Bissell, it seems, is the guy who did. His bio also says he covered the war in Afghanistan. I think that's what you call range.) If you have any feelings for Star Wars, you will read AGNSFA again and again. And then you'll watch the movies, and then you'll read the book again. George Lucas will probably hate it (Tom Carson's essay does a real number on him) but he shouldn't. He should be flattered. Buy this and put it next to your lightsaber.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.