#RRSciFiMonth Review & GIVEAWAY: Star Wars Psychology by Dr. Travis Langley

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi November is a month-long blog event hosted by Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow this year, created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction! From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it is intended to help science fiction lovers share their love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms.

***The giveaway is now over, thanks to everyone who entered!***

A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Star Wars PsychologyStar Wars Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind edited by Travis Langley

Genre: Psychology, Film & Entertainment

Publisher: Sterling Publishing (10/27/15)

Author/Editor Information: Website | Twitter

I know this is quite a departure from my usual reads, but for this book I clearly had to make an exception. Even though I hardly get the chance to read nonfiction anymore these days, when it comes to anything even remotely Star Wars related, I can’t help it, I just have to check it out.

Interestingly, and perhaps appropriate to my situation, Star Wars Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind seeks to examine the phenomenon that is Star Wars and explore what it is about this beloved franchise that appeals to millions of rabidly obsessed fans everywhere—by looking at it from a psychological perspective. We’ve all heard how George Lucas was influenced heavily by Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces and his concept of the monomyth, or “The Hero’s Journey”, which shaped early drafts of the first Star Wars movie. Using frequent references to classical motifs and archetypes drawn from Jungian analytical psychology, this collection of essays offers insights into why and how the Star Wars saga has managed to touch us all on a deeper level.

Written by a team of doctors, experts, and mega fans, Star Wars Psychology dissects the themes and topics of the movies while relating them back to scientific and social concepts. Many of the articles also use Star Wars to illustrate examples of psychological and sociological theory. This book is sure to appeal to people who love Star Wars and/or psychology buffs. While some of the theses proposed by some of these essays are those I’ve heard before or are obvious, others might make you see Star Wars in a whole new light.

From the dichotomy of good versus evil (the light side/Jedi Code versus the dark side/Sith Code) to discussions on what makes good people do bad things (Lando Calrissian and his fateful decision to betray Han Solo and the gang), Star Wars Psychology explores how elements in Star Wars relate to mental health, as well as how human beings think and feel. There is even an enthralling piece on the phenomenon of phantom limbs and speculation what multiple amputations at the end of Episode III would have done to Darth Vader’s brain.

Personally though, I was most fascinated by the chapters dealing with the “social side” of Star Wars, such as gender psychology or exploring the characters as role models. And even though this is nonfiction, some of the essay topics also relate back to speculative fiction, acknowledging that we create and enjoy fantasy worlds and stories as a way to ask probing questions about our own existence. Take the matter of droids, for example. Do C-3PO and R2-D2 have feelings? If so, to what extent? The matter is complicated by the fact we still don’t know enough about cognitive processes and human emotions to answer these questions once and for all. Think of all the sci-fi books you’ve read dealing with AIs and personhood, and how much psychology ends up being discussed in those stories.

I’m also impressed that we don’t look at just the movies. Many of the contributors reach into other media to make their points, citing Star Wars games, TV shows, books of the old Expanded Universe, and even in one case the soundtrack score featuring the inspiring music of John Williams. There are lots of other informational tidbits shown in textboxes, embedded in the chapters all throughout this book; here you might find little known details (my favorite was the little factoid about the Mark of Altruism from the now defunct Star Wars Galaxies MMO – how I miss that game) or more specific explanations into the theories and concepts within the field of Psychology.

Most would probably look at this book and categorize it as “pop psych”, a well-researched and professionally written book of essays intended to be devoured by the legions of Star Wars geeks everywhere, especially as the world prepares for the arrival of Star Wars: The Force Awakens this December. Nonetheless, it is an absorbing read, examining the ideas and core values of why we love Star Wars, encouraging us think about the movies and characters in new and unpredictable ways. There’s something for everyone in this fun and fascinating volume, a good addition to any Star Wars fan’s bookshelf.



Star Wars Psychology

Want Star Wars Psychology for your Star Wars bookshelf? Then this is most certainly the giveaway you’re looking for. The publisher has very generously offered The BiblioSanctum the opportunity to host a giveaway for one paperback copy of Star Wars Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind. This giveaway is open to residents in the US and Canada. To enter, all you have to do is send an email to bibliosanctum@gmail.com with your Name and valid Mailing Address using the subject line “STAR WARS PSYCHOLOGY” by 11:59pm Eastern time on Saturday, November 21, 2015.

Only one entry per household, please. Entrants must be 18 or older. The winners will be randomly selected when the giveaway ends and then be notified by email. All information will only be used for the purposes of contacting the winner and sending them their prize. Once the giveaway ends all entry emails will be deleted.

So what are you waiting for? Enter to win, you must! Good luck, and may the force be with you.


6 Comments on “#RRSciFiMonth Review & GIVEAWAY: Star Wars Psychology by Dr. Travis Langley

  1. I’m not a super fan of the the franchise, but I have watched all the movies. Can I just say how much my 7 year old nephew loves it? He wants all things SW for his birthday tomorrow and Christmas. I am going to be broke.


  2. Pingback: Star Wars Psychology Review Excerpts | Dr. Travis Langley - Dr. Travis Langley, Professor of Psychology, Henderson State University

  3. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves, NaNoWriMo, Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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