In Pursuit of Infinity

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Morton, Oliver. "In Pursuit of Infinity." A Critic at Large section, The New Yorker, 17 May 1999: 84-89.

On the occasion of the release of STAR WARS: EPISODE I—THE PHANTOM MENACE, The New Yorker published this background piece on galactic empires somewhat generally and I. Asimov's Foundation series[1] as the "prototypical Galactic Empire" that "set the rules for all Galactic Empires to come, even though Asimov kept the Empire itself very much in the background" (84, 86). On the Star Wars series, notes that "spirit triumphs over technology" and holds usefully that the series "treats technology as essentially malign, inhuman, and untrustworthy," with the exception of "machines that malfunction," such as The Millennium Falcon or "the comic droids" (88). We would delete the "essentially" before the "malign" and substitute "mostly" or some other more cautious adverb: low-tech or relatively low-tech devices can be neutral (e.g., light-sabers) or good as used (e.g., the catapults used against Imperial or protoImperial forces in RETURN OF THE JEDI, PHANTOM MENACE).

RDE, Title, 28Aug19