Britt's essays are interesting forays into certain corners of science fiction fandom that I've, surprisingly, not already ventured, but while I would not pretend to challenge his geek cred or doubt that he likes science fiction, it seems, at times, to me that he likes it the wrong way. I've never been a fan of the over-analysis of literature, where people strive to classify every element of every story as some well-defined trope. I prefer to enjoy the story for its own merit, rather than tear it down into recycled iconoclastic building blocks. If someone wants to make an entertaining story that recycles various tropes into a new invention, I'm all for it, if you can make it entertaining and not tell me where you found the pieces.
|Set off in its own section, an aside is typically a secondary thought or anecdote that, while related to the topic at hand, doesn't easily flow or really "fit" in the normal paragraph. Often, these fit into the "today I learned" or "so now you know" category of interesting things the author wants to mention. Luke Skywalker Can't Read would have benefited much from using these, but didn't.|
The various essays in Ryan Britt's Luke Skywalker Can't Read and Other Geeky Truths are entertaining and interesting, but I found his use of footnotes to be a bit tiring. Instead of using them for citations or very brief clarifications, he often simply takes the conversation in a different direction, in a fairly lengthy aside that would have been better if treated as an *aside, in its own box, allowing the reader to select when they want to read that bit, rather than following an asterisk in the middle of a sentence, then following a completely different train of thought in a footnote that continues to the next page, leaving the reader to turn back a page and try to find where, exactly, they had diverted from the original train of thought.
Within the pages of Luke Skywalker Can't Read, Ryan Britt waxes poetic about everything from Barbarella to the latest Star Wars movies, Shakespeare to Sherlock Holmes, and from Hill Valley to Bag End. He'll have interesting things to say about regenerators, such as Dr. Who, and revisionists from George Lucas to J.R.R. Tolkien. If you haven't pondered over science fiction topics, Britt could open up a new world to you. If you have, you're still likely to find something within that you hadn't considered before that you can discuss on that next long distance trip you take with your geeky friend.
*Set off in its own section, an aside is typically a secondary thought or anecdote that, while related to the topic at hand, doesn't easily flow or really "fit" in the normal paragraph. Often, these fit into the "today I learned" or "so now you know" category of interesting things the author wants to mention. As an example, this really shouldn't be down here in a footnote, but makes more sense in a box of its own. Note how you now have to search back in the review to find where you left to read this and you'll probably need to re-read the sentence or so to remember the original idea in progress. Sorry about that, but this is what happens too much in Luke Skywalker Can't Read and Other Geeky Truths. (See the aside.)