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Post #1403583

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Star Wars is Surrealism, not Science Fiction (essay)
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Date created
16-Jan-2021, 1:46 PM
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16-Jan-2021, 1:54 PM
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Shopping Maul said:

ZkinandBonez said:

screams in the void said:

also , Robert E. Howard deserves a mention in this discussion , he is regarded as the father of sword and sorcery and did a lot of world building for Conan’s world , as evidenced in his Hyborian age essay Many fantasy authors imitated him afterwards , but never quite captured his spirit . Then there were the many many fantasy film cash grabs that came in the wake of the 1982 Conan The Barbarian film …

Yes, Howard’s another one of those guys that no one has ever quite managed to imitate or adapt to film. Now I do really enjoy the John Milius Conan film, but it really has very little to do with Howard. Unlike Lovecraft though, and despite often borrowing a lot of his ideas, Howard did have a tendency to add a backstory to everything so I’d definitely say he has more in common with Tolkien in that regard then with OT SW. Then again characters/creatures like Yag-Kosha are quite abstract in concept.

Does anyone know if Lucas ever made any direct mention of Howard work as an influence? I would assume he at the very least knew of the character as SW was written right at the start of the Howard boom in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

As a side note: I find it fascinating that Tolkien’s first published book was only one year after Howard’s death. People often forget that Howard did the whole world-building thing before Tolkien, that is, as far as what was publicly available.

Actually, I think the real parallel here is between Lucas and Milius. The thought processes behind Star Wars and Conan are remarkably similar - Milius wanted to create a believable ‘lived-in’ universe in the same way George did, and both were going for a real mythic quality. The ‘father’s sword’ motifs, the aged wizard - Conan even has its villain (played by James Earl Jones) deliver a ‘I am your father’ speech! And both productions had run-ins with Gil Taylor…
Conan and SW have pretty much the same poster art as well…

That’s a really good point. I’d never thought about just how SW-like it actually is. And I do love the whole Riddle of Steel element of the film, it not only serves as a thematic through-line, but as you say, it gives it a mythic quality and makes the story feel like some ancient fable.

“An age undreamed of” is very much the sword and sorcery equivalent of “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” I really wish more storytellers would utilize this storytelling device to its full potential, rather than get bogged down in details like so many series often do. Comparing it to Tolkien again, I have a book from the early 70’s were someone tried to make Middle-Earth match up with a map of Europe, though thankfully people generally just accept it as a fantasy world nowadays. Of course Howard’s Hyborian age map did just that, and that’s fine, but there’s also so much potential in vague settings, like Samuel Butler’s Erewhon or Fritz Leiber’s Nehwhon (literally"nowhere" and “no-when” spelled backwards).