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Magnus O'Mallon

Magnus is an Australian writer currently working on a first novel. Besides fiction, he also writes social commentary and has a keen interest in the interaction between philosophy, culture and politics. He has also written for Quadrant, Spectator Australia and other magazines.

Why I Choose Star Wars Over “Real” Life

Recently I had to choose which movie I was going to see. There was a variety of choices—war, a sex scandal, a generic action movie. Let me tell you what I seek from art: an experience of the ideal, a feeling of spiritual replenishment through the sight of human greatness. Now you know why I chose Star Wars. I will elaborate, quickly mentioning that, throughout this article, I’m drawing heavily on the aesthetic philosophy of Ayn Rand.

I do not seek out characters I can “relate to”, but I do seek out characters I understand, with the heroes’ greatness or the evil they vanquish on full, naked display. I do not seek out the everyday world, I see that every day. What I seek is Romanticism.

Do not tell me that the art of something like Star Wars is silly because “real life isn’t like that”. What Star Warsrepresents is real life, in essence. Star Wars represents the essential differences between good and evil, and does it with great consistency through each aspect of the film: in terms of the characters’ goals and actions, in terms of the characters’ looks, in terms of the characters’ dialogue, in terms of the music. Notice the colours of the villains: black suits and masks, fiery red lightsabers, the sterile uniformity of the stormtroopers or the lifeless grey of the Starkiller base. Notice the colours of the heroes: beautiful people wearing brighter and varicoloured clothing, blue lightsabers, their base amidst a lush forest. This is not a blind resort to a cliché; it is a subconscious pull towards one of the most important functions of art: to present the essentials of existence through a recreation of reality.

New Fiction: The First in the Darkness

He was still for a moment. Coming through the open manhole, the deep twilight served to light the immediate space around him. The tunnel went off into darkness ahead of him and behind him. He had not turned on his torch. He suddenly realised the madness of what he was engaging in. The grey stone of the tunnel, the festering smell of underground and the stale cold had made the reality of his choice clear to him. The tunnel walls fell in and out of lighter shades in patches like peeling skin. The dark lines indenting the stone on the low-hanging roof seemed to reveal fragility, as if these cracks would break apart any moment, the roof would fall, and he would be crushed. The light from where he was standing faded quickly into shadow, and then gradient by gradient the darkness took over until it was complete. His heart was racing. This was it.