William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher

Source: Quirk Books
Hardcover, 174 pages
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William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher is another entertaining mix of classics and modern pop culture, combining the iambic pentameter and language of Shakespeare with the modern pomp of science fiction movies by George Lucas.  Doescher uses the plot and characters of the original Star Wars movie with an inventive and lyrical play format from Shakespeare.  He combines his knowledge of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and other plays with the pop culture of space travel.

“”O gods above, why have I once again
Been short with R2, sending him away?
I trust he knoweth well I hold him dear,
Though in his presence oft my speech is cruel.
‘Tis words that do betray my better self
When harshly they express my droidly rage.'” (page 21)

What’s most interesting is how he translates R2-D2’s beeps and ticks into thoughts and statements to C-3PO and the other characters.  These droids garner more human-like qualities through the Shakespearean language. Complete with asides and soliloquy, Doescher clearly has studied not only Star Wars but also Shakespeare’s plays and methods. In the back of the book, he talks about the similarities between the two greats and the influence of classic myths and archetypes that came before them.  And like any mesh of pop culture and classics, this novel includes more modern language and drawings to illustrate what would occur on stage.  In some cases, a Greek play-like chorus is used to narrate the action.  One of the best scenes happens when Luke Skywalker, like Hamlet, speaks to the helmet of a stormtrooper as if it were Poor Yorick.

“Forsooth, a great disturbance in the Force
Have I just felt. ‘Twas like a million mouths
Cried out in fear at once, and then were gone,
All hush’d and quiet–silent to the last.
I fear a stroke of evil hath occurr’d.” (page 88-9)

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher is just the first installment in another line of Quirk Books that is bound to find a willing audience.  This action-packed retelling does not stray far from George Lucas’ creation, but what’s intriguing is how Doescher uses Shakespearean language to spice up the drama.  It’s witty and fun, though the term “verily” seems a bit overused.  At any rate, an entertaining novel to spend a rainy afternoon or snowed in evening with.

About the Author:

Ian Doescher has loved Shakespeare since eighth grade and was born 45 days after Star Wars Episode IV was released. He has a B.A. in Music from Yale University, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Ethics from Union Theological Seminary. Ian lives in Portland, Oregon, with his spouse Jennifer and two sons. William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is his first book. Visit Ian online at www.iandoescher.com. [Photo by Shan Applegate]

8th book for 2014 New Author Challenge.

Mailbox Monday #257

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has gone through a few incarnations from a permanent home with Marcia to a tour of other blogs.

Now, it has its own permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope by Ian Doescher from Quirk Books for review.

Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations–William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.

2.  The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith from TLC Book Tours and Random House for a tour in March.

A beautiful young woman appears fully dressed in an overflowing bathtub at the Frangipani Hotel in Hanoi. A jaded teenage girl in Houston befriends an older Vietnamese gentleman she discovers naked behind a dumpster. A trucker in Saigon is asked to drive a dying young man home to his village. A plump Vietnamese-American teenager is sent to her elderly grandmother in Ho Chi Minh City to lose weight, only to be lured out of the house by the wafting aroma of freshly baked bread. In these evocative and always surprising stories, the supernatural coexists with the mundane lives of characters who struggle against the burdens of the past.

Based on traditional Vietnamese folk tales told to Kupersmith by her grandmother, these fantastical, chilling, and thoroughly contemporary stories are a boldly original exploration of Vietnamese culture, addressing both the immigrant experience and the lives of those who remained behind. Lurking in the background of them all is a larger ghost—that of the Vietnam War, whose legacy continues to haunt us.

3.  Nothing Personal by Mike Offit, unexpectedly from Meryl Moss Media, which I donated to the library sale.

Warren Hament is a bright young man who wanders into a career in finance in the early 1980s. Nothing Personal is the extraordinary story of his rapid ascent toward success, painted against a landscape of temptation and personal discovery. Introduced to the seductive, elite bastions of wealth and privilege, and joined by his gorgeous and ambitious girlfriend, he gets a career boost when his mentor is found dead.

Warren soon finds himself at the center of two murder investigations as a crime spree seemingly focused on powerful finance wizards plagues Wall Street. The blood-soaked trail leads to vast wealth and limitless risk as Warren uncovers unexpected opportunity and unknown dangers at every turn and must face moral dilemmas for which he is wholly unprepared.

4. Bosley Builds a Tree House: Portuguese-English by Tim Johnson for review.

Bosley Bear teams up with his forest friends on this heart-warming adventure of helping each other build an incredible tree house. Encourage themes of teamwork, success and friendship as you teach your child new Portuguese words and phrases and enjoy a beautifully illustrated, fun, wholesome bedtime story with characters that any child will love.

5. Words Are Fun A to I (Sesame Street), which we got from the library sale.

6.  The Tale of Peter Rabbit board book, which we got from the library sale.

7.  What’s up There? (Muppet Babies), which we got from the library sale.

8.  Picture Perfect (Disney Fairies), which we got from the library sale.

What did you receive?