By Ryan Britt
Plume, 2015. 224 pages. Nonfiction
Ryan Britt is more than a geek or a hipster; he was both before it was cool (and if you asked him, he’d say it still isn’t). Raised on Barbarella and Star Trek, Britt discusses a lifetime of study of pop culture and what science fiction means to the real world. Half memoir and half analytical essay, Luke Skywalker Can’t Read asserts, among other observations, that the Skywalkers are illiterate, Sherlock Holmes is science fiction, and that monster movies are romantic comedies.
Written in the comedic style of Klosterman and Rooney, Luke Skywalker… demonstrates the benefit of not taking culture too seriously. Though he tackles topics like literacy and religion, he does so light heartedly, not as an expert. My favorite essay was about Back to The Future, where Britt discusses why BTTF is riddled with paradoxes and how this makes it universally loved. Though his understanding of some of the heavier topics is a little light, his wit is not, nor is his research; Britt goes to great lengths to prove his points, though without delving into the overly academic. Luke Skywalker is a great read for nostalgic adults or for older teens curious about why all robots in movies are murderous.