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book cover of The Science of Star Wars

The Science of Star Wars

(1999)
An Astrophysicist's Independent Examination of Space Travel, Aliens, Planets, and Robots As Portrayed in the Star Wars Film
A non fiction book by

 
 
The Barnes & Noble Review
Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away
Even though I was only 11 years old when I first saw Star Wars, I had two reactions to the scene of Luke Skywalker zipping across the Tatooine desert in his land speeder. I first thought, "Cool! I want one of those." My next thought was, "How does that work? Every hovercraft I've ever seen creates a seal between the craft and the ground to contain the air." I was a precocious child.

Silly me. It wasn't hovering at all. It was defying gravity - a significantly more complicated feat, but one that easily explains the lack of a hovercraft skirt. And according to Jeanne Cavelos in The Science of Star Wars , such an antigravity vehicle would need only to carry around a cargo of "exotic matter" equal to its own mass to counteract the planet's gravity. "Exotic matter" - the real term for "any material that pushes objects apart, that has in essence repulsive gravity or antigravity" - it turns out, is a theoretical probability. Sure, science has never detected, let alone seen or confined, any of this negative matter (not to be confused with antimatter), but on paper, it's out there. So while on earth we are a long, long way from flying without worrying about Bernoulli's principle, maybe a more technologically advanced civilization millions of light years away has mastered antigravity.

The possibility of worlds as fantastical as Tatooine, of ships like the Millennium Falcon hitting light speed, of light sabers, truly intelligent robots, and socially evolved alien species is the beauty of books like The Science ofStarWars . Adding even a hint of science fact to the far-out science fiction of George Lucas makes it all that much more magical.

And as she did in The Science of the X-Files , Cavelos packs a lot of facts into The Science of Star Wars . Breaking down the fictional Star Wars realm into chapters on "Planetary Environments," "Aliens," "Droids," "Spaceships and Weapons," and "The Force," Cavelos draws on geology, astronomy, cosmology, ecology, biology, computer science, physics, astrophysics, and psychology (to name just a few) to apply the latest scientific thinking to topics as diverse as the Jawas' glowing eyes and the gait of C-3PO.

Star Wars is escapist mythology. But after decades of development, it is also a well-thought-out and rich alternative universe. The Science of Star Wars makes the details of that unreal world more real than you may have imagined.

-Greg Sewell

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Used availability for Jeanne Cavelos's The Science of Star Wars

Hardback Editions

May 2000 : USA Library Binding
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Title: Science of Star Wars: An Astrophysicist's Independent Examination of Space Trave
Author(s): Jeanne Cavelos
ISBN: 0-613-26848-2 / 978-0-613-26848-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: San Val
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


April 1999 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Science of Star Wars: An Astrophysicist's Independent Examination of Space Travel, Aliens, Planets, and Robots as Portrayed in the Star Wars Films and Books
Author(s): Jeanne Cavelos
ISBN: 0-312-20958-4 / 978-0-312-20958-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

May 2000 : USA Paperback
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Title: The Science of Star Wars: An Astrophysicist's Independent Examination of Space Travel, Aliens, Planets, and Robots as Portrayed in the Star Wars Films and Books
Author(s): Jeanne Cavelos
ISBN: 0-312-26387-2 / 978-0-312-26387-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

July 1999 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: The Science of Star Wars: An Astrophysicist's Independent Examination of Space Travel, Aliens, Planets and Robots As Portrayed in the Star Wars Films and Books
Author(s): Jeanne Cavelos
ISBN: 0-7366-4519-5 / 978-0-7366-4519-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Books on Tape
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


March 1999 : USA Audio Cassette
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Title: The Science Of Star Wars: An Astrophysicist's Independent Examination Of
Author(s): Jeanne Cavelos
ISBN: 0-7366-4515-2 / 978-0-7366-4515-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Books on Tape
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

April 2007 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The Science of Star Wars: An Astrophysicist's Independent Examination of Space Travel, Aliens, Planets, and Robots as Portrayed in the Star Wars Films and Books
Author(s): Jeanne Cavelos
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA