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Book Review

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William Shakespeare's Star Wars
The Clone Army Attacketh (Hardback)


Author: Ian Doescher
Publisher: Quirk Books
RRP: £11.99, US $14.95, Cdn $15.95
ISBN: 978 1 59474 807 3
Publication Date: 07 July 2015

It is not often that one gets to combine two of their loves. In the case of writer Ian Doescher, this would be Shakespeare and Star Wars, subjects which, would not on the surface, be natural partners. Even so, he has ploughed his way through the original trilogy, turning them into faux plays and has reached the halfway of the prequels with William Shakespeare’s The Clone Army Attacketh (2015. 158 pages).

These are very clever books, on a number of levels. The most shallow being that there is a lot of amusement to be had, reading the lines which have been transposed into early 17th Century English, although Yoda comes over as the least changed, but let’s face it, he started off with unusual speech patterns, so was probably the hardest, next to the much reviled Binks, to adapt.

For the most part the story faithfully follows that of the film; however Doescher has chosen to add asides and even improve on the Padme/Anakin relationship, lifting his structure from Romeo and Juliet.

Attention to detail goes further than just creating the text and anyone who remembers reading Shakespeare in school will recognise the page layout, from the numbered lines to the scene identifier in the top corner. This all adds to the illusion that this is an actual play, as does the attention to structure, which for the most part will remain unseen by most readers.

Like a Shakespeare play, the story has been divided into a five act structure and Doescher has made some stylistic vocal choices when denoting how the characters speak, so that the majority of the characters speak in iambic pentameter, not including Fett who speaks in prose, Yoda who speaks in hiakus and the Kaminoan’s who get their own original structure. Doescher give his rational for this at the end of the play.

The book, from Quirk Books, has been artificially aged, the cover sporting a rather splendid woodcut of Jango Fett in Elizabethan armour. There are also a number of wood-cut illustrations throughout the play.

Although amusing in parts, this is no simple parody, but rather, a lovingly crafted, wonderful melding of two disparate subjects. If nothing else it succeeds in improving on the original script.


Charles Packer

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