Nautilus

Yoda Is Dead but Star Wars’ Dubious Lessons Live On

We didn’t say “break the Internet” back in 1999, but if we did we could certainly say that science-fiction author David Brin broke the Internet when he wrote in Salon that “Stars Wars belongs to our dark past. A long, tyrannical epoch of fear, illogic, despotism and demagoguery that our ancestors struggled desperately to overcome, and that we are at last starting to emerge from, aided by the scientific and egalitarian spirit that [George] Lucas openly despises.” According to Brin, whose best-selling novels include The Postman, Earth, and the Hugo Award-winning Startide Rising, he received 900 emails on the first day his article appeared, many of which “had (ahem) very little good to say.”

Since then Brin has published a steady stream of critically praised novels, including his most recent, Existence. He is also a planetary astronomer who serves on the advisory council of NASA’s Innovative and Advanced Concepts group. He has remained an ardent observer of the Star Wars films—he is the “prosecuting attorney” in the book Star Wars on Trial, a mock court case about the pros and cons of the films, featuring other writers—and so we couldn’t resist checking in with

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus5 min readScience
In Brain’s Electrical Ripples, Markers for Memories Appear
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. It’s very easy to break things in biology,” said Loren Frank, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. “It’s really hard to make them work better.” Yet agains
Nautilus17 min readTech
Who Will Design the Future?: AI will be staggeringly diverse. Its developers should be, too.
Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician who lived in the first half of the 19th century. (She was also the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, who invited Mary Shelley to his house in Geneva for a weekend of merriment and a challenge to write a ghost
Nautilus11 min readScience
A Novelist Teaches Herself Physics: To explore loss and mystery, Nell Freudenberger journeyed into the atomic world.
Helen Clapp, a professor of theoretical physics at MIT, recounted the biggest news of 21st century physics, the detection of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), an international collaboration of scie