Star Wars and the Human Wave

I’ve been watching the new Star Wars trailers. I remain cautiously optimistic, hoping, praying (to whatever gods might listen to an agnostics prayers) that the movie lives up to the trailers.

(Here’s a combined trailer of all the footage from the official trailers)

Back in the mid to late 70’s the “New Wave” was in full force. Downbeat endings, “black and gray morality” (which can be good if handled well, at least as a change-up from more clear cut items) or worse “black and black.” Those were the tone of Science Fiction.

Then, fairly close to each other, two movies came out which took an entirely different approach: Lucas’ “Star Wars” and Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The rogue was given back his heart of gold. The callow youth could be the hero of the piece, not ground down by the world weary cynics. Heroes who are actually heroes fighting bad guys who weren’t so “sympathetic” that you couldn’t tell hero from villain.

It was a refreshing change. And the result was that, for a time, it became OK to have good guys who were good guys. Bad guys who were actually bad and not just “oppressed” or “victims of their backgrounds”. You didn’t have to wonder who to root for.

Today we’re kind of in a similar position. One of the best selling series, for young people is The Hunger Games. Black and Very-Dark-Gray morality, little really to choose from in the sides, and (no spoilers) that’s shown pretty clearly in the ending. And in printed SF? So much “humanity is a plague” stuff. Bleah.

Sarah A. Hoyt started the “Human Wave” movement as a counter to that. I joined in full fervor because that’s the kind of fiction I like to write. That’s the kind of fiction I like to read.

What I’m hoping is that maybe the new Star Wars will be able to do it again.

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16 thoughts on “Star Wars and the Human Wave”

  1. According to Wookipedia, Alan Dean Foster has been tapped to write the novelization. I found his “Splinter of the Mind's Eye”, back before anyone knew there were going to be more sequels and that whole expanded universe thing, pretty good. So even there, I remain cautiously optimistic.

    When frustration and fear threaten to overtake me about the new Star Wars movie, I remind myself that Disney owns Marvel and, therefore, has given us the Marvel Cinematic Universe (although the new comic book version of Captain America…).

    So I remain cautiously optimistic. I'll probably wait till second or third week to see it and avoid the opening weekend crowds (although I expect crowds will still be big). But see it I will unless something happens between now and then to change my mind.

  2. Chuck Wendig (the guy who wrote the novel Aftermath, which is the first new-continuity book set between Return of the Jedi and this movie) didn't have anything to do with writing the new movie.

    And yes, the novelization of the movie is indeed being handled by Alan Dean Foster, who did both the novelization of the original movie (ghosting for Lucas) and wrote Splinter of the Mind's Eye.

  3. I suspect TPTB at Disney looked at Wendig's resume and thought “award winning author, he should be able to handle this” without really knowing what the “big” SF/F awards have become. I suspect they're very unhappy with the result which is “tone deaf” in ways that Disney generally is not.

    We'll see how things go.

  4. Some of the ancients believed that of all the worlds God had created the only creature that was the same on all of them is man. Made in his own image and everything.

  5. I don't think they're the bad guys… they're the *enablers* of the bad guys. They're clueless, arrogant idiots who can't figure out that they're walking into a trap, one that would be the end of the Republic.

  6. I have been a fan of Fosters since I was a teenager. There is no disguising of a political tract in his writing. Instead alot of his work fits very smoothly into Human Wave, even stuff written more than 30 years ago. I realize he might have less leeway doing a novelization, but nothing the man has written is remotely nihlistic

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