I brought this subject up in that thread that's not fit for mention in polite company, and because I think I've been pretty good about resisting that shiny "create thread" button for every little thought that comes into my head (they're rare enough for them to be a joyous occurrence), I think I've earned a freebie. One "debate", if you can truly call it that, that has interested me ever since I first heard about it is the old classic "hot chocolate" debate. A segment of the fanbase read Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire, were enjoying the ride, until out of nowhere they were ripped from the experience and presumably scarred for life. The cause of this tragedy, of course, is Luke drinking the new exotic beverage, "hot chocolate". To clarify, I count myself among those who didn't bat an eye at its inclusion, so I can only speak from that perspective. I do know, however, that the most common accusation against hot chocolate is that it's "too Earth". I, personally, have always found this a bit silly. After all, Earth is all over the Star Wars saga, even if we forget for a moment that both the GFFA and the third stone from the sun are populated by very similar fleshy meatbags. The bigger objects and concepts, of course, receive a name change, aside from Luke using the word "robot" in A New Hope. Blaster instead of gun. Landspeeder instead of car. The aforementioned droid instead of robot (most of the time). Hydrospanner instead of wrench. And so on and so on. The EU takes this idea and runs with it to what I feel is pretty ridiculous and occasionally stunningly uncreative levels. 'Fresher instead of toilet. Caf instead of coffee. Holo instead of picture (this led to some supremely awkward phrasing in the X-Wing series). Cigarra instead of cigar (give the genius who came up with that one a raise). Jizz music instead of jazz (no, really, please don't put any effort into this, I don't mind). It gets to the point where I have to wonder if these simple name changes are actually doing anything to help immersion, or to only draw attention to the fact that they're thinly disguising the fact that they're disguises in the first place. You could argue, of course, that these objects just need better names. But I have to wonder if it's even worth the effort. I can read a science fiction novel and not be taken out of the story is the main character drinks a beer or watches a television. I can't truly say that I would have felt more immersed if Luke was drinking a Durese [insert analogue for chocolate] caf, though who knows, others might. Beyond the simple matter of names, I believe most of us can agree that the GFFA should be regularly portrayed as a place where people live: the "worn universe" approach that the Original Trilogy exhibited. The world shouldn't be treated as an RPG, where everyone can neatly fall into a category. It needs to be a place where people can believably live their lives. To that degree, a certain amount of real-world influence has to take place- the creation of the holonet to mirror the rise of the internet is a good example- and can be used to enrich the universe and add depth. On the other hand, if done poorly, it can come across as a clumsy attempt to draw a parallel to real life: see James Luceno's "Triad of Evil". In my mind, a well done parallel with real life should only be evident upon contemplation. If you read something set in the Star Wars universe and are forced to compare it to the real world, it probably was not implemented well. I recognize that everyone has a different tolerance level, and different things that will take them out of a story. These lines are often indefinable. For many, the hot chocolate just doesn't "feel" like Star Wars, and for them, this feeling cannot and does not need to be backed up with anything else. For others, Troy Denning's gratuitous violence may not "feel" like Star Wars. One of both the greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses of a shared universe is that it is not under the control of one creative mind; multiple writers will inevitably bring multiple interpretations, and different ideas on what's appropriate for the setting and what's not. Still, if you ask me, creating a fictional universe completely divorced from reality is simply not possible. I actually don't believe in the term "escapism", but that's another thread entirely. So I ask: should the GFFA be treated as a similar yet alien place, where objects that we clearly possess version of in our reality go by a different moniker? Would the appearance of coffee take you out of a story where caf would not? Is the word "toilet" not cool and alien enough for Star Wars? Should creators simply be more, well, creative about how they choose to disguise real-world influence, or should that effort be better spent in other areas? Should Star Wars make an effort to distance itself as much as possible from real-world influences, or do you believe that's as futile as I do? Discuss, puppets, discuss.