Star Wars On Trial: Are Star Wars Novels Driving “Real” Sci-Fi Off the Shelves?

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As someone who once devoured Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Wars novelizations like a starving man at a feast, one section in the new book Star Wars on Trial: The Force Awakens Edition: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Films of All Time (Smart Pop)
really stood out.  This collection from SmartPop Books offers the following charge:

Star Wars novels are poor substitutes for real science fiction and are driving real SF off the shelves.

Like any good courtroom drama, this section of the book includes suspense, intrigue and expert witnesses. In this case, the expert witnesses just so happen to be real writers and editors from the Science Fiction genre. David Brin, Lou Anders, Laura Resnick, Karen Traviss and Kristine Katherine Rusch all provide their points of view on what Star Wars novels really are and if they hurt or help the genre.

Lou Anders writes that he doesn’t believe that a Star Wars novel is “Real Science Fiction” but rather associates the genre with “childish escapism.” He discusses how he feels that these books ruin the genre for everyone.

Then we have Laura Resnick, as she beautifully describes the “Write for Hire” realm, in which authors take the characters of others and keep the franchise going with novelizations. Think D&D novels, the novel version of a movie where there was no novel before, or even my beloved Star Wars novels. There is great debate in the writing community as to whether or not these books have literary value.

Karen Traviss discusses what it’s like to actually write the books, their challenges and that it’s actually a great deal of work wrapped in a good time. She made me not just want to read her Star Wars books, but her original series as well.

Kristine Katherine Rusch discusses the fact that it might not be Star Wars that’s driving Sci-Fi books off shelves, but perhaps the sudden wealth of books regarding the deep dark realms of end of the world dramas that leave readers feeling scared for their future, and with a less magical picture of the world to come.

As a Fangirl, I personally have to side with the Defense on this one. Star Wars books and novelizations actually prepared me for other types of Science Fiction. They were a “gateway drug” so to speak that lead me into other genres, and I’d argue they’ve done the same for quite a few of  my friends.

What do you think? SmartPop Books want to know, and they are giving you a chance to vote here: http://www.smartpopbooks.com/star-wars-verdict/ or you can share your thoughts with #SWOTVerdict on Twitter.

You can also purchase Star Wars on Trial: The Force Awakens Edition: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Debate the Most Popular Science Fiction Films of All Time (Smart Pop)
and judge the evidence for yourself.

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