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A Long Time Ago Essay Series Asks SF/F Writers How Star Wars Influenced Their Life and Work

Star Wars fandom is vast and varied, and the stories from the Star Wars universe mean different things to different people in different generations. For some, it’s all about the original trilogy now and forever. For others, the newer films offer a Star Wars they can relate to even better. And, of course, for those who create science-fiction and fantasy stories themselves, Star Wars takes on a different meaning entirely.

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Over at Unbound Worlds, the Penguin Random House website dedicated to science fiction and fantasy literature, they have an awesome feature this month called A Long Time Ago, an essay series that shares original pieces from 20 SF/F authors on how the Star Wars franchisefrom movies and TV, to books, games, and comicshas influenced their lives and writing.

There are a couple that are up so far that highlight appreciation for the franchise’s female characters and its characters of color. Check them out!

  • Martha Wells (Star Wars: Razor’s Edge) writes about fandom, crediting Star Wars films and books for helping her find a community of like-minded individuals, after being told that it was weird and bad for girls to like science fiction and fantasy.
  • Lara Elena Donnelly (the Amberlough Trilogy) writes about The Force Awakens: “The Force Awakens gave me– and, I think, my generation of nerds a feeling of ownership we had never had before. My mom had Harrison Ford, and I love Harrison Ford, but now I have Oscar Isaac. Rey is my Luke. Finn is my Leia. It’s our Star Wars, and even if it was pastiche, there were things about it that felt wholly new and wholly right: women piloting X-wings, people of all colors scattered across the stars. Things the original movies hadn’t given us, that perhaps we hadn’t known we needed until we saw them three stories tall.”
  • Gerald Brandt (The Operative – A San Angles Novel) writes about the importance of discovering strong female characters in Star Wars: “Finally, someone on the big screen that acted like the women in my life. Strong and not only able, but willing, to take control of the situation, to play an active role in their story… We need more movies and TV shows and books where women aren’t there just for decoration or to make the male lead look stronger and more capable, but actively move the plot forward and show all of us that women are as capable as men at every task.”

Unbound Worlds has been publishing a new essay from a different author every weekday this month, in conjunction with Star Wars Reads. Now, if you’re looking for something uplifting to read in between episodes of Stranger Things this weekend, definitely check out the A Long Time Ago series!

(via email tip, image: Lucasfilm/Disney/Teresa Jusino)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.

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