This book is the kind of thing with which I’d like to accost people.
Not in a violent way. In more of a, “READ THIS FOR MY CAMERA!” kind of way. Then my victim would begin stumbling over the Shakespearean text and I’d keep filming until our gentle reader realized he/she was reading The Empire Strikes Back.
Then I’d make a super-cut of people going, “What? Why?”
Because, “What? Why?”, indeed.
Sure, Star Wars has name recognition and an army of fans who will buy anything Star Wars related. But, there are many other sci-fi classics studying the nature of humanity and the search for identity that would translate nicely into passionate iambic pentameter. For instance, Blade Runner. Or Soylent Green. Or RoboCop.
Oh, god. I would love a Shakespearean adaptation of RoboCop.
And therein lies the fun of The Empire Striketh Back. There is no need for a book like this. It’s a exercise in exploiting fandom. But, it’s fun to take out when everyone has been drinking and could use a good laugh.
HOWEVER…..it’s not a pointless literary exercise.
I actually think William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back would be a fantastic tool to use with students who are about to embark on their first Shakespeare play. Have them read selections from The Empire Stiketh Back and match them to scenes from the movie in order to get the students used to the language in the context of a story they already understand.
That’s often the scariest part of reading Shakespeare’s plays. Newbies go in knowing that the language is difficult and that creates a self-fulfilling prophecy; if readers assume they won’t understand from the start, it’s really hard to get them past that. Using The Empire Striketh Back as a pre-reading exercise may not only soften the intimidation factor of Shakespearean language, but also be useful in teaching its conventions.
Of course, I’m still going to take it to the comic shop and make my friends read it out loud.