Sterling on Star Wars

Bruce Sterling on Star Wars in the NYT:

And yet, the story of “Star Wars” makes surprisingly little sense, even for a sci-fi narrative. It hangs together superbly, however, on the technical level of set design. Mr. Lucas intuits, with native cinematic genius, that this is the very crux of his art. “Star Wars” is thrillingly detached from the contaminations of real history. We’re told at the beginning that it all happened “long long ago.” Suddenly spaceships and robots are no longer ahead of us but behind us. They’re weird antiques devoid of practical use, kid-toys to be marveled over.

Science fiction writers, myself included, marveled to see levitating hover cars rendered as rusty, dust-covered relics. It seemed so true, so right. Mr. Lucas’s wondrous acumen hits even harder now, when the high-tech of his 1970’s is the low-tech of our 00’s. The robots are cobbled together from Kaypros and Commodores.

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