Finding Depth in Unexpected Places and Matthew Stover

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The things we read as preteens are not the same things we read as adults. Thank God. As for me, I read “Star Wars” novels. A lot of them.

I didn’t realize until recently how formative this had been. Right at the time when my notions of what is just–what is meaningful–were being formed, I read “Shatterpoint” by Matthew Stover. When I was fascinated by the interconnected nature of good and evil, I read “Traitor” by Matthew Stover. In these books, Stover takes complicated philosophical and ethical concepts and puts them into the Star Wars universe. How do we face existential crises? What do we do when good and evil become hard to distinguish from one another? When all there is in the world is darkness, and we are alone, what decisions might we make?

These two books–and, to a lesser extent, Stover’s other Star Wars novels–formed my mind in ways I was not expecting. There is, reading them now, unexpected depth to them. They were powerful then, and they are powerful now.

Not that all Star Wars novels are up to Stover’s standard. Nonetheless, I can’t help but be hurt every time someone dismisses “Star Wars” as silly, or meaningless. There is the surface…and then there is the depth. Not everyone sees the depths, and that’s just fine. There’s nothing wrong with not going deeper. Everyone has to find the stories that work for them, that resonate with their own beliefs. But let’s try not to judge one another so hard.

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