Review of The Empire Striketh Back, by Ian Doescher

empire_striketh_back_largeWilliam Shakespeare’s

The Empire Striketh Back

by Ian Doescher

Quirk Books, Philadelphia, 2014. 172 pages.
Starred Review

‘Tis here! The sequel to Verily, a New Hope. Here we have the second volume, Part the Fifth, in the Star Wars saga, as Shakespeare himself would surely have written it.

This one includes Yoda, who already sounded Shakespearean, now speaking in haiku.

Nay, nay! Try thou not.
But do thou or do thou not,
For there is no “try.”

And we’ve got Han and Leia’s love story:

A cloth of fiction thou dost weave, yet I
Have found the fatal error in thy stitch:
For I believe thou wouldst not let a man
So beautiful as I depart from thee.

The only stitch I know is in my side,
From laughing at thy pride most heartily.
Thou mayst attempt to needle at my heart,
But I am sewn of stronger thread than this.
To say I would not let thee go – pish, pish!
I know not whence thy great delusions come,
Thou laser brain.

I especially like the Ugnaughts on Lando’s planet of Bespin. The Dramatis Personae list calls them “merry dwarves of Bespin,” and they go about their work singing:

Enter UGNAUGHTS 1, 2, and 3, singing.
UGN. 3 The time is ripe!
UGN. 1 His time is nigh!
UGN. 2 And soon he will be frozen!
UGN. 1 We’ve never done –
UGN. 2 This on a man –
UGN. 3 But someone’s now been chosen!
UGN. 2 A merry prank!
UGN. 3 O shall it work?
UGN. 1 Or will the man be dying?
UGN. 3 What’er befall –
UGN. 1 One thing is sure –
UGN. 2 The pleasure’s in the trying!
[Exeunt Ugnaughts.

That Ian Doescher has put a lot of thought into making these authentic is expressed in his Afterword. He explains his choice of haiku for Yoda, as well as other choices like having Boba Fett speak in prose rather than iambic pentameter.

These books are far too much fun. I’d be willing to bet that no one’s ever read one of the volumes all the way through without bursting out and reading sections aloud.

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