Tag Archives: star wars

REVIEW: ΤΙ ΘΑ ΣΥΝΕΒΑΙΝΕ ΑΝ…

Τι θα συνέβαινε αν... : Επιστημονικές απαντήσεις σε εξωφρενικές ερωτήσειςΤι θα συνέβαινε αν… : Επιστημονικές απαντήσεις σε εξωφρενικές ερωτήσεις by Randall Munroe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Αν είστε έστω και λίγο σαν εμένα, πιστεύω όλο και κάποια στιγμή θα έχετε αναρωτηθεί για πράγματα όπως τι θα συνέβαινε αν ξαφνικά η Γη σταμάταγε να γυρίζει, πώς θα ήταν η πτήση με αεροπλάνο πάνω από άλλα ουράνια σώματα του ηλιακού μας συστήματος, τι επίπτωση θα είχε η αφαίρεση του DNA απ’ όλα τα κύτταρα ενός ανθρωπίνου σώματος, ή πώς θα ήταν να έχουμε μικρές ποσότητες από κάθε στοιχείο στον περιοδικό πίνακα στοιβαγμένες σε σειρά.

Αυτό που δεν είχα αναρωτηθεί, ομολογώ, είναι μεταξύ άλλων τι ισχύ θα μπορούσε να παράξει ο Γιόντα χρησιμοποιόντας τη Δύναμη. Η απάντηση του Randall Munroe, αγνοόντας -«φυσικά!»- τα prequel και με βάση το ρυθμό ανύψωσης του X-Wing στην ατμόσφαιρα του Dagobah: 19,2 kW περίπου,

«ωστόσο, με την παγκόσμια κατανάλωση ηλεκτρικού ρεύματος να πλησιάζει τα 2 terrawatt, θα χρειαζόμασταν εκατό εκατόμμυρια κλώνους του Γιόντα για να ικανοποιήσουμε τις ανάγκες μας. Λαμβάνοντας υπόψη όλες τις παραμέτρους, η μετάβαση σε ένα σύστημα παραγωγής ηλεκτρικής ενέργειας τύπου Γιόντα δεν αξίζει τον κόπο – αν και σίγουρα θα μπορούσε να προωθηθεί ως «πράσινη ενέργεια».

Αν αυτή η απάντηση πατάει όλα τα σωστά κουμπιά για εσάς, έχετε μπόλικο πράμα να απολαύσετε στο Τι Θα Συνέβαινε Αν. Δεν ξέρω τι γίνεται το xkcd -έχω καιρό να το διαβάσω- αλλά σίγουρα με αυτή τη δεύτερη διαδικτυακή σειρά του που καταλήγει στα βιβλιοπωλεία, o Rundall Munroe συνεχίζει να δίνει ρεσιτάλ εκλαΐκευσης της επιστήμης με τον καλύτερο τρόπο που μπορώ να φανταστώ: το χιούμορ.

Τα εύσημα μου στον μεταφραστή Γιώργο Στάμου για την έκδοση στα ελληνικά: κράτησε μια απολαυστική ισορροπία μεταξύ ενός ορθού επιστημονικού λόγου με σωστή ορολογία και πολλές επεξηγηματικές υποσημειώσεις, αλλά και της κατάλληλης καφρίλας. Πρέπει να ήταν μια δύσκολη αλλά πολύ ικανοποιητική δουλειά.
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REVIEW: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S STAR WARS

 

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope (William Shakespeare's Star Wars, #4)William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

HAN: —Nay, not that:
The day when Jabba taketh my dear ship
Shall be the day you find me a grave man.

GREEDO: Nay oo’chlay nooma. Chespeka noofa
Na cringko kaynko, a nachoskanya!

HAN: Aye, true, I’ll warrant thou has wish’d this day.
[They shoot, Greedo dies.]
[To bartender:] Pray, goodly Sir, forgive me for the mess.
[Aside:] And whether I shot first, I’ll ne’er confess!


 

I’m not a fan of Shakespeare. I don’t think I’ve never seen or read any of his plays. Since forever I’d thought that I would find the language or the story boring or something. You know how it is with some things; they rub you the wrong way once and you keep having an unexplainable prejudice against them for years thereafter.

Verily, I stumbled across this work while looking for Expanded Universe publications. At first I was skeptical for the reasons above but it didn’t take me long to discover the brilliance of this here tome. By the way, I read/listened to it in audiobook form, which felt much more like watching the play with the script at hand.

I shall try to be brief. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars not only is a masterpiece of genre mash-up, being something more than the sum of its parts. It made me laugh out loud (for real) with its deliciously tongue-in-cheek yet very serious and perfectly executed Shakespearean interpretation of the story we know and love: for instance, it’s written exactly like the script for something that would be put up in the Globe Theatre, with acts, scenes, entrances, exits, monologues — even Chewbacca and R2-D2 get a few [!!], plus it’s completely written in iamblic pentameter — quite an achievement in itself — and follows various classical drama tropes sublimely. It gave me new insight to the motivations of Han, Luke or Darth Vader; it even made me stop and think why I haven’t read Shakespeare before. In fact, the epilogue by writer Ian Doescher made me realise just to what extent good story-telling has been based on what Joseph Campbell’s introduced and explained in his work
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
, and how a cross between Star Wars and Shakespeare ultimately makes a lot of sense and can prove thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating.

If you like Star Wars, the English language or simply seeing how far-fetched yet creative ideas can strike gold when done right, I cannot recommend this audiobook enough, although apparently the printed edition comes with some clever and beautiful illustrations (check the cover).

Here’s a little snippet I’m posting here I couldn’t post on Goodreads. Just listen to Vader sharing his inner thoughts and motivations with the audience.


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REVIEW: DUNE

Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1)Dune by Frank Herbert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Unique among SF novels… I know nothing comparable to it except The Lord of the Rings.” ~Arthur C. Clarke

I’ll begin with what I saw when I first checked what my Goodreads friends had to say about their experience with Dune:

Thank the gods it was Kivayan, my friend Kuba from Poland, who first made it clear to me how important it was that I read Dune, and not just the first book, no, the whole original series, because only then would I be able to witness the genius of Frank Herbert’s grand image (that there was my attempt to express “big picture” in a more fittingly epic way). Thank the gods it was him and not someone else’s opinion which would have left this book under my personal radar, where it had been for many years.

Scratch that. It hadn’t been under my radar. I’d been aware of it since I was little, mainly from video games or perhaps Karina—I just didn’t know exactly what it was about. All this desert, the sandworms… It looked boring. Like something too slow, deep or intricate for me to enjoy. And let me tell you, I wasn’t wrong: if I had dipped my toes in the spicy sand before I’d reached a certain point in my life, I’m confident I wouldn’t have enjoyed it at all. If I had to say, I’d place the point in question around the time I started watching Game of Thrones, playing alt-history games and reading books like The World Without Us or The Dark Tower.

I had started being able to enjoy books like Dune, only I couldn’t make the connection in my head and notice the switch. There was nobody to suddenly come up to me and tell me that the famous, apparently super-influential old SF book I’ve always thought I wouldn’t enjoy, actually involves loads of topics I’d find very appealing: religion, feudal politics, anthropology, psychology, history, ecology and many others, creating a narrative about how narratives, and historical narratives in particular, work, which I expect to discover further in the next books. Well, there was someone: it was Kuba. But if it hadn’t been for him and a few other people like Amberclock who told me about Jodorowsky’s Dune or JMG who often mentions Dune in his Archdruid Report posts, I’d still have the impression that the book is a boring classic, that it’s to SF what perhaps Proust is to modern literature: supremely influential and important, but not enjoyable.

Of course, I was wrong. I may be wrong about Proust, too. But that’s the point: we’re talking about preconceptions here.

What surprises me is that, for it’s alleged importance, very few people I talked to about Dune while reading it even knew of it. For a book that supposedly played an important role in the popularisation of ecology as a word as well as a term and for one which is among the all-time bestsellers of the genre, it is forgotten today by most. I’ll go down a path I don’t think it’s fair to go down on, but how many people know of Tatooine and how many of Arrakis, Dune, the Desert Planet that surely inspired it?

Nevertheless, I found its ambience as a contemporary read very comfortable, even if 50 years have passed since it was written. Water as a super-valuable commodity (with all related cultural conventions) feels right and is played perfectly. Arrakis is majestic. Reading about the Fremen was very interesting and convincing, and I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the book’s unknown world by looking up the juicy neologisms in the appendix (every book like this should have one!)

Not all’s perfect with Dune, don’t get me wrong. Its characters can feel one-sided or shallow, even Paul, who at times comes off superhumany… but then, hey, he’s supposed to be the one, isn’t he? The various political actors and the role of spice in all of this aren’t very clear, but you know, it’s one of these books you’ll read again and next time it’ll make more sense.

But the weak points don’t matter. Dune is a classic, period, and I’m happy for once to have truly enjoyed a classic because it’s a classic, not despite the fact. What can I say? Herbert’s foreword to the book reads:

“to the people whose labors go beyond ideas into the realm of “real materials” — to the dry-land ecologists, wherever they may be, in whatever time they work, this effort at prediction is dedicated in humility and admiration.”

Good man.

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