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Lit Can Star Wars learn anything from Star Trek?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Darth_Duck, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. Duguay

    Duguay Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2002
    The coming of a new movie bringing a resurgence of interest in a book that was published in the 1960's has recently come to fore in my mind, and although there are superficial connections to the Star Trek franchise, I think it could suggest a potentially fun one-off story that gives us a very broad view of the Star Wars galaxy.

    Very superficially, we have Chris Pine who plays Captain Kirk, and now is going to appear in the film version of A Wrinkle in Time. The other superficial connection is the old ST novel The Wounded Sky. I have no idea if Diane Duane's thought processes were completely uninfluenced by the original A Wrinkle in Time novel, but that's what The Wounded Sky feels like in some sense: ST meets AWiT.

    I don't say that with the intent to diminish The Wounded Sky. Just that both novels are exploring levels of reality, unrestricted by the boundaries of science fiction or hard science fiction. Philosphy, mathematics, and poetry are all thrown into a blender (there aren't any poems in TWS, but the prose has poetic descriptions and moments). TWS attaches a drive system that harnesses something called "creative physics" but it's high science that blurs that line between science and magic. TWS and the ST:TNG television episode adapted from it explore the idea of thought, energy, and reality blurring and result in a wild exploratory adventure. The Enterprise crew even visit another universe or realm which they accidentally jumpstart into a new phase of existence, and leave an impression of themselves behind (implying that they will manifest in that universe in some form or another). Basically, they visit the genesis of an entire universe. For a brief period of time, they travel without any kind of boundary of time or space. A Wrinkle in Time is like that too.

    I'm not suggesting that SW should do a novel or movie that is the equivalent of SW meets AWiT. But a rare moment of truly stepping beyond the "mundane" world/galaxy of SW, beyond the veil without limitations. SW has sometimes been good with exploring philosphy, a novel can sometimes have poetic prose. Doctor Who under Steven Moffat gave us some intriguing, dark and haunting bits of poetry. What about SW science that is so alien to us, to the point of blurring the line between science and magic. AWiT and TWS give us living, sentient Stars; and so has Doctor Who. Sentient stars is a romanticized concept, but hey, ST tried it with at least this one novel.

    In TLJ we see force-users connect from distances far away across the galaxy. Luke does something impressive, but with serious consequences. But where are the Stars and other celestial beings that can do this kind of thing everyday, like Mrs. Whatsit, or the crystal spider from ST: The Wounded Sky. Sure we've seen some sentient beings that are on another level...in The Clone Wars and maybe Rebels (haven't seen that far with Rebels) but some fans hand wave those shows as exaggerated, so maybe we need to see it in a live action film. What happens to the Tree-temple on Ahch-To seems like a good start, I think SW could push that kind of thing further.
     
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  2. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Yeah but I think that the AU question certainly is interlinked with comics and the like. After all almost every people who I have heard say they don't want AUs and tome travel in SW has said it feels too comic book esq. Just wondering about why that split is there. A more specific "are time travel and AUs too far for the GFFA" would work fine IMHO
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  3. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 8, 2016
    AUs are something Trek did. TNG had them, DS9 has them, Enterprise had them, Voyager had them.

    Time travel and multiverse shenanigans have been a part of Trek since TOS.

    Time travel in Star Wars legends was always a far more rare phenomena IU and was largely irrelevant to the main stories.
     
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  4. comradepitrovsky

    comradepitrovsky Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Droid rights aren’t something that works in Wars, because droids are a stand in for serfs that let us as readers jump around the issue Kurosawa had.
     
  5. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 4, 1998
    What was Kurosawa's issue?
     
  6. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 8, 2016
    There was that one droid revolt in legends.

    I imagine droid revolts are largely prevented through the process of memory wipes.

    This means droids can be kept in a permanent state of servitude so long as the process of memory wipes remains widespread.
     
  7. JediBatman

    JediBatman Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    May 3, 2015
    I've been thinking about why "droid rights" or "droid sentience" doesn't come up in Star Wars, and I think I'm finally able to put it into words.

    There was a Linkara review of a Green Lantern comic that revealed the source of the Lanterns' powers was finite and could run out. He criticized this development and how it made the characters afraid to use their powers, and how without using their powers there is no story. He compared it to that episode of TNG (see, I brought it full circle) where warp travel was damaging space and they had to impose a warp speed limit that was never mentioned again. The words he used to describe this phenomenon were
    "destroying their own storytelling engine". And that's why I think droid rights have never been seriously brought up in Star Wars: the risk of destroying the storytelling engine.

    They may not be up there with the hyperdrive, but droids are a pretty important part of Star Wars. I mean that both in the in-universe sense in how they make galactic society function, and the out-of-universe sense in that the audience loves seeing droids as much as they love seeing aliens, space ships, and light sabers. Let's say a bunch of characters got together in-universe, and decided that (at least some) droids do have feelings. (Kind of hard to argue otherwise when C3PO and R2 are such well developed characters.) They decide that droids are indeed sentient beings that deserve the same rights and freedoms as others . . . now what? All the subtext about droids being oppressed has now become text. The heroic main characters who fight tyranny can't exactly continue to create and own sentient beings to be their servants without looking like massive hypocrites. This is further complicated by the fact that droids can develop intelligence unintentionally if they go without memory wipes. You can't just have the characters say "from now on we will only create droids that don't have feelings " when the droids might develop feelings anyways by accident. And if instead you have the characters say "We'll mind wipe them regularly to keep them from developing feelings" . . . then doesn't it just sound like they're lobotomizing potentially intelligent creatures to keep them in line?

    And it's not like the people in Star Wars can just stop using droids. As I said before, in universe, they're vital to galactic society. Out of universe, they're an important part of Star Wars that fans have come to expect and love. So we're stuck in this weird limbo were there's unvoiced implication that droids are basically slaves, but if they address it they risk "destroying their own storytelling engine".
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
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  8. Darth Invictus

    Darth Invictus Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 8, 2016
    It's basically IU fact though that memory wipes are used ultimately for the purpose of ensuring droids don't get any ideas above their station in society.

    It's also used when droids are bought and sold between different owners(as seen in the ANH)

    Droids I don't think are sentient but they can become so through accumulated experience-R2D2 is, C3PO is(though with a massive memory wipe to ensure he didn't say anything after ROTS).

    This does make the characters look hypocritical but it also adds context and nuance and makes the reader/watcher think of what life and attitudes in the GFFA are really like? By this I mean what other values might be different than in earth, what customs might be different, what moral ideas underpinning their society might be distinct from their own.

    How else for example might the denizens of the GFFA be different?

    It adds a sense of moral and thematic distance-that the GFFA is not just an upsized earth but a different Galaxy in a different time where values and morality in RL are not necessarily the same as in IU.

    This sort of thing is good for immersion.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
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  9. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Yeah but does that preclude those elements from working in the GFFA? I don't personally feel that it does


    That's a really good point, Also kudos on the Linkara reference. I feel like we have to say "droid personalities are just programming and not actual emotions and sentience" because otherwise they either have to "destroy their own storytelling engine" (lol just noticed that line is literal when talking about warp) or just let there be this lingering sense that our characters are freaking monsters.

    You make a solid point. I still lean towards the idea that it breaks my immersion, but that's more or less because I feel sometimes it is totally overlooked. I do 100% on your explanation of droid sentience. I was recently debating it with a friend and I made the same argument. Droids have to not be sentient yet. They can with prolonged memories, but our characters are not actively suppressing the rights of a living being.

    My friend said that he found the idea that they were holding back sentience to be just as evil as if they were oppressing sentient droids, but I said that it was more along the lines of if you could make siri self aware. Siri is not self aware, we are not oppressing her by using her the way we do. Even if we COULD make he sentient, that would not make us preventing her from gaining sentience oppression, because she cannot desire the state of freedom.

    Or to use a Trek example, Maddox's attempt to dismantle Data is morally wrong, but that does not by extension mean that Data's argument in Measure of a Man also applies to the Enterprise's computer.

    It reminds me of SF Debris' video on Trek holograms. Withholding freedom from the Doctor, Vic, or Moriarty would be wrong, but the other holograms are only simulations of people; therefore that does not apply to them.

    http://sfdebris.com/videos/startrek/v931.php
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
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  10. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    dp
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  11. Havoc123

    Havoc123 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 26, 2013
    C3PO and R2-D2 are droids with personality quirks who simply haven't be erased. I'm gonna be a William from Westworld and say it, machines aren't sentient, people. Doesn't matter how well they look and feel sentient, at the end of the day they're still just machines, created by others. They don't have 'souls'. Even if you mention the Iron Knight Shards, they're sentient crystals stuck in a droid body. They're not machines, unlike your regular droids ranging from C3PO to Guri, which most certainly are simply machines that fake human emotions really well.

     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
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  12. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Agreed. "Souls" are a red herring - not really important to the question of "do droids deserve to be treated kindly".
     
  13. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    I wonder if in universe, part of why people are less inclined to think about droid rights is because of the force existing., Like whether they mean to or not, they see droids as less valid than beings that are connected to the force
     
  14. Havoc123

    Havoc123 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 26, 2013
    Depends on if their owner is smart. You don't punch your computer and expect it to function properly when you need it to.
     
  15. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    To quote C'baoth

    "Droids are an abomination - things that reason, yet are not genuinely part of the Force"

    While he's extreme - Obi-Wan represents the milder end of the same scale.
     
  16. Ulicus

    Ulicus Lapsed Moderator star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Obi-Wan represents what the overwhelming majority of the galaxy believes, or else they'd have to accept they were slavers.
     
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  17. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    As early as the ANH novel, Luke is annoyed when his droids are ordered to wait outside the cantina, but thinks to himself "Now is not the time to get into the issue of droid rights".

    Droid rights in Star Wars may be like animal rights in our world - something that's pretty divisive, rather than having overwhelming opinion on one side or the other.
     
  18. Havoc123

    Havoc123 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 26, 2013
  19. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Oooh yeah I forgot about that line, good call

    That's a good comparison. If droids do feel pain or fear on some level, then using them for testing weapons or equipment would be akin to animal testing in our world.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  20. Havoc123

    Havoc123 Jedi Master star 4

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    Jun 26, 2013
    I don't know, does Microsoft Cortana feel pain?
     
  21. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    They certainly did a good impression of feeling pain in ROTJ.

    As a robot in the Simpsons put it "Why?? Why was I programmed to feel pain?!"

     
  22. vncredleader

    vncredleader Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Oh yeah. That's really depressing then. Like even if they have feelings, it's unfair to make them have pain receptors unless they want them. Data does not feel physical pain after all. Maybe Jabba turned on that feature just for fun, or his torture droid did.
     
  23. Ulicus

    Ulicus Lapsed Moderator star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2005
    His droids.

    Yeah.

    If Luke thinks droids are real people then he's a "kind" slave owner at best. If he thinks they're p-zombies he's tragically ignorant at worst.

    I'll take option B.
     
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  24. Iron_lord

    Iron_lord Force Ghost star 9

    Registered:
    Sep 2, 2012
    And if he thinks of droids as "highly intelligent talking animals"?
     
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  25. Ulicus

    Ulicus Lapsed Moderator star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Then he thinks they're real people. That's what people are.

    And, to be clear, my suspicion is that it is tragic ignorance. While I don't think the average person going about their business knows or cares about the Force or "souls", I would imagine that early attitudes towards "droid rights" in the Republic were , indeed, largely informed by the Jedi perspective that the Force encompasses all life.
     
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