To them [science fiction authors], "Star Wars" is nothing more than a space opera, and if the big guy in the black cloak is finally singing, that means the show is over. The saga continues no longer.
"That's the past of science fiction you're talking about," said Richard K. Morgan, the British cyberpunk-noir writer whose most recent novel is "Market Forces."
What Mr. Lucas may have seen as eternal, however, science fiction writers have tended to see as antique.
"It started out 30 years behind," said Ursula K. Le Guin. "Science fiction was doing all sorts of thinking and literary experiments on a totally different plane. 'Star Wars' was just sort of fun."
"It takes these very stock metaphors of empire in space and monstrously bad people and wonderfully good people and plays out a bunch of stock operatic themes in space suits," she said. "You can do it with cowboy suits as well."
Science fiction, on the other hand, "is a set of metaphors," Ms. Le Guin said. "It's useful for thinking about certain things in our lives - if society was different in some way, what would it be like?"
Way they're speaking, you'd almost be forgiven for thinking that science fiction weren't built and sustained on the back of novels and movies and tv just like Star Wars. Bad bad people and good good guys are the standard trade in sci-fi (and much of the other genres like fantasy).
But this is my favourite quote:
"Blade Runner." Many people, including Mr. Morgan, consider the film, directed by Ridley Scott, to be one of the best sci-fi movies ever made, because it was as much about what's inside as what's outside. It, not "Star Wars," was truly ahead of its time.
"You've got the gun battles and all that stuff," Mr. Morgan said, "but the movie is very much about internal factors, like robots yearning to be humans."
Yeah, man, robots yearning to be human. Fuck. How'd I ever think that wasn't brand spanking new and well thought out? It's like, Wow, I'm wanting to be someone else. Man. What a spin. Pass me the joint--this is great, isn't it? God. I want to be someone else. I want to be a chick... not, fuck man, I wanna be Rutger Hauer!
In fairness, of course, the quote could be taken out of context, shifted round, done whatever, but lets for a moment assume that the idea of having a movie (or piece of fiction) structured around the question of wanting to be someone different, about wanting to change your life... lets just pause and think that this might be something unique.
Did you pause?
Did the countless novels and films and even goddamn pop songs that focused on the desire to be someone different and escape your shitty life just cause your skull to explode?