Skip

Alan Dean Who?
October 4, 2012 1:15 PM   Subscribe

Not only is there no paper in the Star Wars universe, it's highly likely that almost everyone is illiterate.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (120 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
I will reserve comments about the literacy of the people who wrote The Phantom Menace.
posted by bswinburn at 1:20 PM on October 4, 2012 [31 favorites]


At this point the revisionist histories of the Star Wars Universe (e.g., this and this) are more entertaining than the actual series.
posted by Cash4Lead at 1:22 PM on October 4, 2012 [22 favorites]


To be fair, sitting around reading Esquire is not something rebels facing annihilation via Death Star would likely have time for.
posted by tommasz at 1:26 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Weren't there ripped-from-Blade Runner billboards all over the place on Coruscant in the second prequel film? And, alas, trying to verify this has brought me to this.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:27 PM on October 4, 2012


Weren't there ripped-from-Blade Runner billboards all over the place on Coruscant in the second prequel film? And, alas, trying to verify this has brought me to this.

Of all the problems SWTOR had at launch (which I still like and still play, but whatever), one of the more "interesting" is Aurebesh typos in various scenes. Which were noticed by some people immediately. I guess I shouldn't be surprised but I was still surprised.
posted by kmz at 1:30 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I actually think the revisionist histories are the only entertaining thing left about Star Wars.
posted by josher71 at 1:34 PM on October 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


[Jokey comment] [reference to Jar Jar], amirite?
posted by mochapickle at 1:36 PM on October 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


That's because Stars War "writing" is actually a sequence of pictograms derived from the Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts. Don't you get it? The evil Empire is Apple.

(This is also the reason Imperial Stormtroopers look like a iPhone.)
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:37 PM on October 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


It’s also possible people in Star Wars are simply not as imaginative as we are.

That's dumb. What about that droid that looks like C3PO but has big eyes that make it look like a bug? Or the droid that looks like C3PO but is silver? Also, holo-chess with monsters OVER A DECADE BEFORE BATTLE CHESS ON EARTH?
posted by mph at 1:37 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]




Siri, is that a moon or a space station?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:38 PM on October 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


Cash4Lead, see the following: On the Implausibility of the Death Star Trash Compactor and The Endor Holocaust Theory
posted by Jon_Evil at 1:38 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's more likely that the good number of people would be functionally illiterate, rather than almost entirely ignorant. In order to repair anything, even with the aid of droids, some understanding of schematics would be necessary. Same for astro-navigation, though the Imperial Fleet might seek to regulate that as much as possible. Counting money and relaying brief messages would entail something other than recording comlink broadcasts or again using droids. Oral languages are more likely to persist in isolated societies, like the Ewok tribes on Endor. If the Empire wished to keep the common rabble in the dark to keep them in line, it would be easier to dumb down the mainstream-oriented literature, rather than fully restrict (and condemn) access to any writing system; that was also a critical element in Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

And don't get me started on the applying to the Imperial Academy, as Luke originally wanted.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:38 PM on October 4, 2012


This also helps to explain the lack of subtitles at the beginning of the Star Wars Holiday Special.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 1:39 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also:

MetaFilter: <squee bop pading boodle bebebedooby ping bedoop bleeping bop>
posted by mph at 1:40 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


The populace never seems to question why blasters travel slower than light, or why sound is audible in space
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:40 PM on October 4, 2012 [13 favorites]


Star Wars fandom, especially in its current generation, is fascinating. I can't think of many other fan communities which are so at odds with the creator of the thing they like so much. It's amazing!
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:43 PM on October 4, 2012 [13 favorites]


I thought blasters were using superheated bolts of plasma contained in a magnetic tube. That's why stuff like lightsabres can intercept them. They are going significantly slower than light speed.
posted by vuron at 1:46 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everything in the star wars universe is actually really, really, really big; the laser light travels at normal speed but when the whole universe is scaled down to fit it on the screen it looks like it is going very slowly. Its a universal constant you know. That's probably it.
posted by biffa at 1:52 PM on October 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


The ammo is some kind of gas or something - that's what the guys on Bespin sell.
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on October 4, 2012


I thought blasters were using superheated bolts of plasma contained in a magnetic tube. That's why stuff like lightsabres can intercept them. They are going significantly slower than light speed.

You get your science right the hell out of my Star Wars! Plasma bolts in magnetic tubes just brings up the whole "why does nobody ever run out of bullets" problem. Blasters work. Indefinitely. By magic. Until the plot determines otherwise. Now, shush!
posted by KingEdRa at 1:53 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Blaster bolts are probably more properly speaking magnetically accelerated toroidal plasmoids - if you saw them slowed down they'd be little glowing smoke ring looking things.
posted by Artw at 1:55 PM on October 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


why sound is audible in space

The speed and location of other spaceships are translated via computers into helpful audio signals that are played back from speakers in the cockpits. (I'm not sure if I actually read that somewhere or made it up - it's totes going in the space opera I'm going to write someday anyway)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:56 PM on October 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


No, I'm pretty sure I've seen that in a book somewhere.
posted by Artw at 1:57 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


With droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO (and a number of other droids all with alphanumeric names like B4-D4, 3B3-1138, and FX-7) the Star Warzians must at least know their alphabet.
posted by beagle at 1:57 PM on October 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Apparently the superheated plasma bolts is actually only correct for a limited scope of blaster weapons, most blaster weapons are actually particle-beam generators rather than plasma weapons although ion plasma weapons are popular against droids.

Heh, it's been a long time since I geeked out on Star Wars.
posted by vuron at 1:57 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blasters are electrolasers. They shoot ball lightning. There's a genuine laser in there too, but it's just to create the electrical potential that the ball o' lightning follows.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:58 PM on October 4, 2012


You'd expect them to behave markedly differently in and out of atmosphere, however that does not appear to be the case.

As ever it seems that anyone inventing a proper machinegun in the SW universe would be an unbeatable combat god.
posted by Artw at 1:59 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


With droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO

Artoo-Deetoo and See Threepio. Just sayin'.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:00 PM on October 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


How do you build, repair, and fly a spaceship without reference manuals? How do you manage a galactic empire without an immense bureaucracy? How do you trade without written ledgers? How do you schedule storm-trooper shifts without a printed schedule? It is a little difficult to imagine that the written word is gone just because we don't see it in the films.
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:01 PM on October 4, 2012


PercussivePaul: How do you build, repair, and fly a spaceship without reference manuals? How do you manage a galactic empire without an immense bureaucracy? How do you trade without written ledgers? How do you schedule storm-trooper shifts without a printed schedule?

Droids.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:02 PM on October 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


How do you build, repair, and fly a spaceship without reference manuals? How do you manage a galactic empire without an immense bureaucracy? How do you trade without written ledgers? How do you schedule storm-trooper shifts without a printed schedule? It is a little difficult to imagine that the written word is gone just because we don't see it in the films.

Especially when we do see it in the films, a lot.
posted by kafziel at 2:02 PM on October 4, 2012


And risk undermining the fetishization of sword based melee weaponry?

IIRC the d6 Star Wars game had missiles and such but stuff like point defense lasers? Nope ships fly through debris and even big flying fortresses like the Death Star apparently only mounted turbolasers appropriate against capital ships.

It's like they were living in an all-big gun era of naval warfare.
posted by vuron at 2:03 PM on October 4, 2012


Droids

Roboslaves.

Also, like the administrative caste of slaves in Rome, more likely to be literate than the masters.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on October 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


In the prequels there's actually big naval cannons on ships being loaded by hand with glowing "shells".
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


How do you build, repair, and fly a spaceship without reference manuals?
Droids and spaceships are made of hundreds of hardy black box FRUs (field-replaceable units) that interface easily with other FRUs--this explains why a child on Tattooine can kitbash a protocol droid together from various dump junk.
How do you manage a galactic empire without an immense bureaucracy?
Protocol/Clerical droids.
How do you trade without written ledgers?
Tablets with automated mercantile software and wireless communication.
How do you schedule storm-trooper shifts without a printed schedule?
Voice-set alarm clocks and klaxons. Siri sets my alarm clock for me now.

On preview: what the others said.

Also, they're right, this is actually much more fun to do than consume the official content of the IP itself.
posted by whittaker at 2:07 PM on October 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


As ever it seems that anyone inventing a proper machinegun in the SW universe would be an unbeatable combat god

Inserting Jayne Cobb and his pal Vera into this universe would just be a world of ruttin' fun.
posted by Ber at 2:08 PM on October 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Apparently the Trade Federation thought the risk of a Droid Uprising was large enough that they refused to equip the battle droids with any degree of independent intelligence. It's all central command and control.

The systematic torture of droids in Jabba's palace also seems to indicate that at least in the hinterlands droids were distrusted and largely kept in check with magnetic bolts and threats.

This is not a healthy society.
posted by vuron at 2:08 PM on October 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


Inserting Jayne Cobb and his pal Vera into this universe would just be a world of ruttin' fun.

Would not increase literacy level.
posted by Artw at 2:09 PM on October 4, 2012 [19 favorites]


This is not a healthy society.

Slave army of brainwashed Jango Fett clones.
posted by Artw at 2:10 PM on October 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


There are loads of examples of how the Star Wars universe is less advanced than our world... or at least has very different priorities. Audio/visual technology just plain sucks, apparently nobody believes in safety rails... it's not like everything is better there.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:13 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Isn't there paper fluttering around when the Death Star is about to go kaput in RTOJ? When Luke is trying to get his father/Vader to a shuttle and everyone else has suddenly realized they will need new day jobs?


....or somewhere, I swear there's paper flying around.
posted by Atreides at 2:15 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It WAS a long, long time ago.
posted by The Whelk at 2:16 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is stupid. By this logic, no citizen of the star wars galaxy ever uses the bathroom either.
posted by ulotrichous at 2:16 PM on October 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


Slave army of brainwashed Jango Fett clones.

Stop it you're making me hot.
posted by goethean at 2:17 PM on October 4, 2012


This is stupid. By this logic, no citizen of the star wars galaxy ever uses the bathroom either.

The Force!
posted by Artw at 2:18 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Star Wars and Idiocracy. Getting closer and closer every day.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:20 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


By this logic, no citizen of the star wars galaxy ever uses the bathroom either.

Using (expensive,rare) paper to wipe your arse is a pretty recent convention.. back in medieval times the lord of the manner would use squares of cloth. And of course we've got toilets now where you don't need paper) something something bidet something hot air something

(or on preview what Artw says)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:23 PM on October 4, 2012


ulotrichous: This is stupid. By this logic, no citizen of the star wars galaxy ever uses the bathroom either.

Droids.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:29 PM on October 4, 2012 [24 favorites]


I think the meaning is that as we never see toilets in SW, by the same logic we can infer that no one ever relieves themselves.

(Which is silly; they just squat over the bottomless pits, of course.)
posted by postcommunism at 2:29 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


" or chapbook handmade by an aspiring Jawa poet"
OK, we're done here.
posted by boo_radley at 2:29 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay rest easy, toilets and toilet paper are cannon.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:34 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Your poop is digested over the course of a thousand years!
posted by Artw at 2:36 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Droids

That just reminds me of this old sci-fi short story (no idea on author or title now) where in the far future mankind depend on computers and calculators for even the most basic calculations, and one guy who discovers manual arithmetic is seen as insane. Anybody have an idea of what I'm talking about?
posted by kmz at 2:37 PM on October 4, 2012


The SW universe is old. Really, really old. Easily several thousand years of civilizational history behind it. So it really doesn't surprise at all that lots of the technology would be built to last, and really ancient itself, and not necessarily well understood. Real-world history is full of highly competent technicians and mechanics without much literacy - you think those engineers who built siegeworks and mined castles knew how to read? Nah. Add droids to the mix - C-3PO can be mass-produced, for god's sake - and you've got a solid recipe for a very small caste of people who can actually read, and a lot of people who just get by without such things.

"Everybody is well-educated and technologically savvy" is a recent innovation in successful cultures, and once you've got a self-sustaining technological base - as in, the machines can maintain themselves and repair one another - there's really no reason to think that more than a tiny fraction of the population is going to bother learning to read, any more than a farmer needs to know much about genetics to plant Monsanto crops.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:38 PM on October 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


And I'll tell you why: The Jawas were forced off the few arable sites on Tattooine by rentseekers like Owen Lars. Lars is a third-generation moisture farmer, disconnected from the land and so eager to downsize and maximize profits that he doesn't have any employees, relying instead on droids pressed into slavery by the very species Lars' ancestors marginalized.

The jawas are so culturally stunted and servile to Owen Lars and his ilk that they've lost the concept of poetry. They'd probably love it if they weren't scraping by in a deadly transport, sifting through metric tons of sand for scraps and cast-offs. Ryan Britt check your readist poetic privilege please :(
posted by boo_radley at 2:39 PM on October 4, 2012 [23 favorites]


Okay rest easy, toilets and toilet paper are cannon.

Arrrgh! Toilet beast!
posted by Artw at 2:39 PM on October 4, 2012


kmz: "Droids

That just reminds me of this old sci-fi short story (no idea on author or title now) where in the far future mankind depend on computers and calculators for even the most basic calculations, and one guy who discovers manual arithmetic is seen as insane. Anybody have an idea of what I'm talking about?
"

Asimov's The Feeling of Power.
posted by dd42 at 2:40 PM on October 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Pilots for the Empire are probably functionally literate, because they go through some kind of training academy.

Where did that come from? Luke went from plinking Wombats to X-Wing pilot in no time. Obviously moisture farmers can read, at least.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:42 PM on October 4, 2012


It's sort of like a Microsoft certification.
posted by Artw at 2:43 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


toilets and toilet paper are cannon

Hang on...is Robot Chicken canon now?
posted by Foaf at 2:44 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


What I want to know is... In the BSG 'verse they like paper just fine. But why do they hate corners so much?
posted by Babblesort at 2:57 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


But why do they hate corners so much?

Hounds of Tindalos
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:59 PM on October 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's amusing how silly humans can be. Writing and literature as addressed here is simply a way to digest knowledge. Knowledge can be digested in other ways as well... but clearly the authors of this type of thing weren't smart enough to understand.

Fixing an advanced sort of intergalactic cruiser is basic stuff taught in the equivalent of junior college. You don't see the guy down at the Jiffy Lube breaking out a manual to change the oil on that 69 Vista Cruiser do you? Probably because that's some low level shit right there.

They also didn't read much in the Matrix, but everybody knew how to use a computer to teach others karate/advanced gardening/what chicken tasted like. Perhaps it's something as equally mundane.
posted by Blue_Villain at 3:02 PM on October 4, 2012


Well in the matrix you could get a ton of training dumped into your brain in a short period. Need to fly a helicopter? We've got an app for that.

Neo can see the underlying code making up the universe and some of the support characters can obviously read computer code but Zion itself doesn't seem to be particularly advanced in terms of technical knowledge.
posted by vuron at 3:05 PM on October 4, 2012


In the BSG 'verse they like paper just fine. But why do they hate corners so much?

The real world answer is that it was a visual joke. When making the pilot, their budget was minimal. So, they had to cut corners.

Seriously. Then they got picked up and had to hire a person whose job it was to cut the corners off of (almost) everything.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:07 PM on October 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


jinx
posted by Blue_Villain at 3:08 PM on October 4, 2012


Arthur C. Clark, "The City and the Stars"...about a civilization where the people are taken care of by machines....one guy decides to leave...
posted by eggtooth at 3:14 PM on October 4, 2012


I forget - were they literate in The Machine Stops?

Of course it all ends with Eloi and Morlocks.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on October 4, 2012


Cant help it; the phrase "50 Shades of Yoda read as audiobook" forced itself on me.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:21 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Droids

OK, so somebody close the loop and write the fanfiction where the droids rise up, take over, and have to be overthrown by the Butlerian Jihad.
posted by COBRA! at 3:35 PM on October 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Inserting Jayne Cobb and his pal Vera into this universe would just be a world of ruttin' fun.

Someone please make this on the Youtubers.

Would not increase literacy level.

However, it would increase the number of folky sing-alongs. I'll take "The Hero of Canton" over "Yub Nub" any day.
posted by zippy at 3:50 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cant help it; the phrase "50 Shades of Yoda read as audiobook" forced itself on me.

Wrong, this is; erotic, this is too! Hrrm!

Know not, at your feet to worship or, out of you, the living ...
posted by zippy at 4:08 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


If they've found a way to build starships without needing literacy, well, good for them.
posted by anonymisc at 4:18 PM on October 4, 2012


I don't know if they are all that bad off, really. I mean yeah we have metafilter, but they have spaceships! I think I would trade this for that, given the option.
posted by rebent at 4:29 PM on October 4, 2012


But without paper, how would they have published the epic works of the great Ubese poets?

Yotoh
Yotoh
Yocha
Yatoh
Yotah


Ooh, it gives me chills every time.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:31 PM on October 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


The X-wing targeting computer looks like a McDonalds cash register. Maybe that look they share at the rebel base when Luke disables his about-as-dumbed-down-as-it-gets computer is like, "Our culture is doomed. We deserve to fail here."
posted by fleacircus at 4:36 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


How do you manage a galactic empire without an immense bureaucracy?

Give the regional governors direct control of their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battlestation.
posted by RobotHero at 4:39 PM on October 4, 2012 [12 favorites]


If they've found a way to build starships without needing literacy, well, good for them.

What about Uncle Owen? I mean, he needs a droid to speak Bocce because, well, he can't. I mean, I shouldn't resort to stereotypes, but he's the son of a moisture farmer, and a moisture farmer himself, and there's not a huge need for literacy when you're running a bunch of simple dehumidifiers in the desert.

oh my god, there's an entire page on Bocce, with a phrase guide! A PHRASE GUIDE!! And another for moisture farming, and another for moisture vaporators, and another for the model of water vaporator used by Uncle Owen, the GX-8:
Components of the GX-8 included a humidity sensor, chiller bars, telemetry core, air density sensors, water pump unit, function monitors, and typically, a small ring of ground around the vaporator known as the "mushroom patch" where Tatooine mushrooms were known to grow.
Why am I even surprised?

posted by zippy at 4:43 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


...or at least has very different priorities. Audio/visual technology just plain sucks, apparently nobody believes in safety rails..

Did you miss Vaders big screen communicator in Empire Strikes Back? That's one sweet home theater he has there. And the Emperors throne room in Return of the Jedi had safety rails everywhere (Not that it helped when being picked up by a 7 foot cyborg that he himself created). Once again the 1% get the best, at the expense of the rest of the universe.

50 Shades of Yoda

Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try. Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hm? Mmmm.
"I can't! It's too big!"
Control, control, you must learn control! Remember your failure at the cave.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 4:46 PM on October 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


"In you must go."
posted by zippy at 4:49 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]




Also must agree that the alternate theories of Star Wars are the funnest thing about Star Wars. My buddy and I used to spin Clone War theories off each other for hours back in school (spoiler alert: they contained no evil Chinese aliens or hour-long podracing scenes). It's cool to see Star Wars oral tradition trying to rehabilitate the legend in the wake of the Apocryphal Prequels.

After I saw attack of the clones, I reckoned the reason all Storm Troopers were such lousy shots was that they were clones of clones of clones and the Fett vintage wasn't what it used to be. Always imagined Boba silently disgusted when he worked with the Empire and saw what a mockery of his father the clone army became firsthand.

Then Boba dies shrieking immediately in Jedi and I think maybe the apples hadn't rolled so far from the tree after all.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:50 PM on October 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is the 84th comment in this thread. The first Star Wars film came out 35 years ago. We're spending time discussing literacy in his universe.

Game, set, match George Lucas.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:05 PM on October 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


I can't help but feel we would make more generous assumptions about the Star Wars universe if we had a better relationship with it and George. If we did, we might assume that information is plugged directly into brains or that text was projected onto a contact lens-like implant. But because the last watchable thing in that franchise came out a bit after the Christmas Special we assume the worst.

And people are right to. If George is making intentional decisions to have characters step in poop for a laugh the unintentional decisions are free to be at least that bad.
posted by munchingzombie at 6:05 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try. Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hm? Mmmm.

"Spank you, i will!"

Next from Coruscant Publishing: Lady Yaddle's Lover, the story of a young Jedi married to an old, crippled Jedi left impotent by the wars… and the handsome young Padawan working in the stables.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:47 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's so wrong.

because the Jedi are a chaste order and do not marry.
posted by Artw at 7:05 PM on October 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Attack of the Clones sees Obi-Wan Kenobi go to the Jedi Library, but again, this research facility seems less about books and more about pretty colors, interactive holographic maps, etc. The amount of actual reading even someone like Obi-Wan does is still limited. Now, I imagine Jedi can probably read and are taught to read, as are rich people like Princess Leia and Padme Amidala and Jimmy Smits... the average citizen of the galaxy in Star Wars receives his/her/its information orally, from stories told by spacers in bars, farmboys on arid planets, orphans in crime-ridden cities, etc.
The obvious answer is that it would be boring to film these sequences, so the film maker (perhaps wisely) skips them. But as long as we're over-thinking fiction...

I assumed that the boxy symbols that appear on charts and such were writing. I supposed characters being able to read charts is purely "functional" but then they're also operating in fairly dire circumstances – war and revolution and what have you. While it is true that great literature is historically born of many such conflicts, it's not usually being written during the conflict, by the people leading major offensives. One can imagine an aging Luke Skywalker sitting down one peaceful afternoon to begin write a retrospective of the Rebellion in four cantos...

I also don't like the dichotomy implied by the distinction made by this author between "functional" language skills and literacy, let alone the idea that an oral literature among alien species in another galaxy would necessarily be subservient to a written literature. Literature is very much functional, thank you very much, and since we don't know anything about Bothan poetry or Mon Calamari epics, we have no reason to believe that a written history is part of these species' cultural identities. Maybe Bothans transmit their literature through pheromones – who knows.

But anyway, Star Wars isn't marketed to SF fans who want a beautifully imagined, fully-fleshed out alternate world to inhabit. It's marketed to people who like laser swords and things blowing up. The original trilogy managed to largely escape the machinations of the Hollywood cash machine with a few exceptions (Ewoks), and I have fond memories of the expanded universe books, but all are subject to the cynical realities of marketing. Star Wars fans want to see light saber battles and Jedi magic, not hear about political intrigue among Coruscant's intellectual elite.
posted by deathpanels at 7:11 PM on October 4, 2012


That's so wrong.

because the Jedi are a chaste order and do not marry.


Well, it did cause a scandal on publication.

And Lady Chatterly wasn't supposed to blow her groundskeeper, either.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:18 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The novel is about Constance Yaddle's realisation that she cannot live with the mind Force alone; she must also be alive physically. This realisation stems from a heightened sexual experience Constance Yaddle has only felt with Mellors her padawan, proving that love can only happen with the element of the body, not the mind.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:25 PM on October 4, 2012


Also, there are no wheels (except on a few droids, maybe).
posted by erniepan at 7:28 PM on October 4, 2012


Ironically, Star Wars Reads Day is coming up this Saturday, October 6.
posted by Violet Hour at 7:50 PM on October 4, 2012


Mon Calamari epics

Pretty sure those were written in ink.
posted by miyabo at 8:28 PM on October 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


Star Wars fans want to see light saber battles and Jedi magic

Indeed. And Lucas taking one of the coolest tropes in all of Space Opera & churning out such low-rent, insipidly-plotted, faintly Joseph-Campbell-scented hack-work is why we resent him so much.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:29 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, there are no wheels (except on a few droids, maybe).

The Jawa's giant garbage hauling sand crawler has drive wheels for the treads.
posted by zippy at 8:31 PM on October 4, 2012


The systematic torture of droids in Jabba's palace also seems to indicate that at least in the hinterlands droids were distrusted and largely kept in check with magnetic bolts and threats.

Why? Why were they programmed to feel pain?
posted by gompa at 9:53 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Star Wars Universe actually has had roughly the level of technology we see for about 30,000 years. Meaning, they haven't made any fundamental advances in that time. I wouldn't be surprised at all if a combination of illiteracy, political domination by various empires, and cultural domination by the priestly Jedi caste have kept it that way. In a universe with talking droids, holographic displays, and brick-headed sword-wielding magicians keeping the peace, 99% of the population would have no need of literacy. The Roman Empire built palaces, aqueducts, and roads that are still being used, and 90% of its population were illiterate farmers, with most of the rest being illiterate city-dwellers. Just imagine of the Romans had had Artoo droids and holocrons.


Why? Why were they programmed to feel pain?

I would argue that "pain" would be a feature of any self-aware (in the neurological sense) creature who has as a goal survival and self-protection.
posted by cthuljew at 11:46 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tomorrowful
And then there's painful, non-anesthetic-whatsoever C-sections.
posted by youhavetoreadthistwice at 11:57 PM on October 4, 2012


Why? Why were they programmed to feel pain?

He just said; control. See also Data in Star Trek: First Contact.
posted by biffa at 12:45 AM on October 5, 2012



Game, set, match George Lucas.


You may dispense with the pleasantries.
posted by Darth George Lucas at 1:12 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just want to say that I've not spent any time at all thinking about 50 Shades of the Dark Side with regard to inner-goddesses and midichlorians. No time at all.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:59 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


As ever it seems that anyone inventing a proper machinegun in the SW universe would be an unbeatable combat god

Old fashioned thinking. By machine gun, I'm assuming this doesn't mean crewed anti-personnel weaponry (They have that.) but rifles or sidearms that fire at a high cyclic rate as long as the trigger is pulled.

As the recent wars of the non-star variety have shown, full-auto is almost never a benefit in combat, with the possible exception of covering fire - in short, with the weapon set to "rock and roll" you can't hit anything for shit. Modern fire discipline is semi-auto - pick and place your shots.

Star Wars blasters are single shot repeating weapons - they will fire as fast as you can pull the trigger, same as a semi-automatic firearm. The advantages are no recoil, no ballistic drop, and they don't run out of ammo. So the one advantage that a firearm has over an energy blaster - rate of fire - is not enough to make it preferable in actual combat.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:57 AM on October 5, 2012


I think they meant, one that fires lead bullets. Which, one would imagine, would rip through anti-blaster armor and energy shields like nobody's business. See: Stargate SG-1.
posted by cthuljew at 7:02 AM on October 5, 2012


So the one advantage that a firearm has over an energy blaster - rate of fire -

Blaster range seems to be a lot lower than that of a lot of firearms.
posted by COBRA! at 7:03 AM on October 5, 2012


As the recent wars of the non-star variety have shown, full-auto is almost never a benefit in combat, with the possible exception of covering fire - in short, with the weapon set to "rock and roll" you can't hit anything for shit. Modern fire discipline is semi-auto - pick and place your shots.

"... And these blast points; too accurate for Sand People. Only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise."
―Obi-Wan Kenobi
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:08 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


in short, with the weapon set to "rock and roll" you can't hit anything for shit.

I doubt Stormtroopers' accuracy will suffer.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:11 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


...and another question emerges: could one destroy the Galactic Empire during the reign of Palpatine if one traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU?
posted by COBRA! at 7:15 AM on October 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


I just want to say that I've not spent any time at all thinking about 50 Shades of the Dark Side with regard to inner-goddesses and midichlorians. No time at all.

"I've been waiting for you, Obi-wan. We meet again at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but the learner. Now I am the master."
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:15 AM on October 5, 2012


modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU?
Perhaps. I'd bet they'd have a pretty decent shot once they figured out that whole gravity and/or breathing in space thing. And I'm not sure how helos would work, so distribution might be a bit of a tickler.

Frick. Now I'm trying to picture what a sniper blaster rifle would look like. And how utterly ridiculous that would be if effective.
posted by Blue_Villain at 7:19 AM on October 5, 2012


Now I'm trying to picture what a sniper blaster rifle would look like.

Probably exactly like this.
posted by cthuljew at 7:21 AM on October 5, 2012


I hate to break it to everyone, but the Star Wars universe is fictional. No one reads there because it doesn't exist.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:31 AM on October 5, 2012


To be honest, i thought it was meant to be a future dystopia where everything has, as it always does in the future (or, eg like in Bonfire of the Vanities, is teetering on the brink of becoming) so that the written word is a rare possession - just for a start, you've got to buy a calf, kill it, flay it and tan it's skin to parchment - and reading a rare skill bordering on necromancy? Driven by an unspoken wish that it was so much easier to get a job when you only needed to know how to read and spelt however you felt like it and you were guaranteed to be or look like the cleverest person in the room, the secret desire of all the bullied or stupid at school, that you could impress everybody - or that reading didn't really matter, being good with a sword and full of bravado did - the secret wish of the kid who's good only at sports - because all fantasies are the unexpressed un-respondable-to uncomforted dreams of our childhood aren't they?
posted by maiamaia at 8:34 AM on October 5, 2012


Psh Ironmouth don't get things like facts get in the way of your enjoyment of the Star Wars universe, I certainly don't.
posted by Carillon at 8:55 AM on October 5, 2012


If there are books on Tatooine, they will be bound in womp rat hide. I imagine angry fighty no-nose cantina guy is a big Hemingway fan. And the bartender? He's working his way through Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander series.

(oh no, now I've given Robot Chicken ideas.)
posted by zippy at 10:08 AM on October 5, 2012


The first rule of Cantina Book Club...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:21 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


In light of all the parallels drawn between Palpatine and Bush at the time, I thought the comments about a lack of a working journalist class were interesting. Our own culture is basically reverting to word-of-mouth as well, as people trust corporate journalism less and less and blogs/twitter more and more.
posted by DU at 10:23 AM on October 9, 2012


Now I'm trying to picture what a sniper blaster rifle would look like.

Probably exactly like this.


That says "laser rifle".

I don't think we've ever seen one of those in use.
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on October 9, 2012


Artw they are in almost all the videogames. and one was used by the shapesifter in AOTC
posted by rebent at 12:22 PM on October 9, 2012


Hmmm...

It has been suggested that laser gun/rifle/cannon, etc. is simply a slang term and so-called lasers operate like other blasters, but use an actual laser to superheat the blaster gas into plasma or energise it into charged particles, rather than a superconductor or other medium.
posted by Artw at 2:24 PM on October 9, 2012




« Older Today's Hall-Of-Famer?   |   free & cheap ebooks Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post