Today is the 30th anniversary of the release of The Empire Strikes Back. To mark the occasion, ArsTechnica published this article about The Empire Strikes Back and how it holds up against the other Star Wars films after 30 years.
Except for one small problem. The author calls it science fiction. Ugh. I hate it so much when people label Star Wars as “science fiction”. So much that I wrote a comment on the article:
…And now a silly quibble. I wholeheartedly agree that Empire is a hell of a good flick, and clearly towers over the other five episodes as a dramatic film. But it is not one of the best science fiction films ever made. Because it is not science fiction. Call Star Wars “space opera” or “space fantasy” (Lucas has been using that term since 1977), but don’t call it science fiction.
Isaac Asimov said that science fiction is “that branch of literature which is concerned with the impact of scientific advance upon human beings.” Star Wars, on the other hand, is concerned with knights, princesses, hokey religions and ancient weapons. Yes, all of these things exist in a universe with space travel and wondrous technology. But Lucas’ theme is morality, not science. I don’t want to segregate Star Wars from science fiction because I think one genre is better than another. For me, it’s just a matter of consistency and understanding. You see, I am a huge nerd with no life and I obsess over the correctness of unimportant minutiae, like when people spell it wookie instead of the correct wookiee. Sad, I know.
OK, that is the end of my silly quibble. I really enjoyed the article. Happy anniversary.
Biggest loser geek in the world. That’s me.