Superweapon VII said:
The EU leaning too far into pure science fiction is one of my biggest criticisms with it. It’s interesting because the issue usually doesn’t come up in conversations.
As someone who’s come to prefer hard(er) sci-fi to soft sci-fi, the physics of space travel/battle in SW began to rankle me. Then I came upon this thread, which allowed me to view the series from a whole different perspective.
I have the same preference, but arrived at the opposite conclusion. I would prefer if the sci-fi aspect of Star Wars was emphasized a bit more. I don’t want it to be hard sci-fi, of course, but just maybe like 20% more sci-fi. I think the original Star Wars (Episode IV) was like 15-20% more sci-fi than ESB and ROTJ. And I think Zahn’s original Thrawn Trilogy is probably like 15% more sci-fi than Episode IV - which I appreciated.
I can accept that certain physics-violating elements of Star Wars space combat are likely too cemented into our aesthetic expectations about what Star Wars should be at this point, so I don’t expect to see an X-wing rotating about its vertical axis to blow up a TIE fighter approaching from behind any time soon - although that would be cool if it happened.
The biggest elephant in the room for me is the presence of AI. If the peoples of the SW Universe can build thinking machines, then battle droids and droid starfighters should be the norm, not an outlier. If they’re concerned about a possible Skynet situation, then remote-controlled drones are a reasonable alternative. There’s no reason the Republic/Empire should default to clone/stormtroopers, and absolutely no reason they or the Rebels should use organic pilots. And just saying droids are inferior to organics doesn’t cut it, not when we’ve seen they’re capable enough in a warzone to get the job done.
As sci-fi, this bothers me. As fantasy, it doesn’t.
But I think that “Star Wars is Surrealism” essay is very misguided. Maybe one day I’ll have the time to write up a proper response to it.
I’d like to see that.
I definitely think the actual fantasy elements of Star Wars should be kept strictly fantasy/supernatural. So stuff like midichlorians, or really any exploration of “how the Force works” beyond the vague mysticism conveyed by Yoda in ESB, is a really bad move. I also dislike the idea of any technology or physical mechanism that somehow affects, counteracts or manipulates the Force (e.g. ysalamiri, Jedi clones, etc.), because it implies the Force can be controlled and manipulated using predictable physical laws.
I think the ysalamari would’ve been more palatable if Zahn had described their powers differently, less “negate the Force”, more “negate Force-users’ ability to feel the Force”.
I’m with you vis-à-vis Force-sensitive clones. Perhaps if Zahn had established that Force-sensitive clones are extensions of their genetic templates, sharing memories, linked telepathically, etc., a mystical angle could’ve been retained, but Zahn didn’t do this, and none of the authors following him did either (as far as I know).