THE WORLD AC­CORD­ING TO STAR WARS A bit Forced

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Sam Ashurst

Ru­mour has it that Star Wars: A New Hope was ter­ri­ble on the first draft. Un­for­tu­nately for fans, this aca­demic ex­plo­ration of what makes the se­ries spe­cial feels very much still in the first draft phase.

Es­sen­tially a se­ries of es­says ex­plor­ing top­ics as var­ied as the politics of re­bel­lion, what so­cial me­dia can tell us about the fran­chise’s suc­cess, and the sig­nif­i­cance of choice vs des­tiny, there’s po­ten­tial here. Sadly, it’s smoth­ered by bad writ­ing.

Clunky sen­tences, repet­i­tive ex­am­ples and cringey in­ter­jec­tions tar­nish ev­ery chap­ter. A straight ex­plo­ration of the top­ics cov­ered could be com­pelling, but Cass Sun­stein is too in­tent on telling us how “ter­rific” Tay­lor Swift is to stay on tar­get. The tone feels off, with sev­eral jokes fail­ing to land. And any book dis­miss­ing 2001: A Space Odyssey as “in­suf­fer­able” and “pseu­do­pro­found'” while in­tro­duc­ing a chap­ter of­fer­ing 13 philo­soph­i­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tions of Star Wars’ mean­ing doesn’t have a Force-choke grasp of irony.

Per­haps the per­sonal touch was in­tended to make this book stand-out from the rest. It works, in that we want to aim a Death Star at it.

An em­i­nent le­gal scholar, Cass Sun­stein worked as a cam­paign ad­vi­sor for Barack Obama.

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