Under the Hood

Novelisations tend to be kind of crappy, but I quite liked this passage (well, apart from “That burns hotter than the lava had”):

This is how it feels to be Anakin Skywalker, forever:

The first dawn of light in your universe brings pain.

The light burns you. It will always burn you. Part of you will always lie upon black glass sand beside a lake of fire while flames chew upon your flesh.

You can hear yourself breathing. It comes hard, and harsh, and it scrapes nerves already raw, but you cannot stop it. You can never stop it. You cannot even slow it down.

early Vader sketch by Ralph McQuarrie

You don’t even have lungs anymore.

Mechanism hardwired into your chest breathe for you. They will pump oxygen into your bloodstream forever.

Lord Vader? Lord Vader, can you hear me?

And you can’t, not in the way you once did. Sensors in the shell that prisons your head trickle meaning directly into your brain.

You open your scorched-pale eyes; optical sensors integrate light and shadow into a hideous simulacrum of the world around you.

Or perhaps the simulacrum is perfect, and it is the world that is hideous.

Padmé? Are you here? Are you all right? you try to say, but another voice speaks for you, out from the vocabulator that serves you for burned-away lips and tongue and throat.

“Padmé? Are you here? Are you all right?

I’m very sorry, Lord Vader. I’m afraid she died. It seems in your anger, you killed her.

That burns hotter than the lava had.

“No … no, it is not possible!”

You loved her. You will always love her. You could never will her death.


But you remember ….


You did it.

You killed her.

You killed her because, finally, when you could have saved her, when you could have gone away with her, when you could have been thinking of her, you were thinking of yourself

It is this blazing moment that you finally understand the trap of the dark side, the final cruelty of the Sith —

Because now your self is all you will ever have.

And you rage and scream and reach through the Force to crush the shadow who has destroyed you, but you are so far less now than what you were, you are more than half machine, you are like a painter gone blind, a composer gone deaf, you can remember where the power was but the power you can touch is only a memory, and so with all your world-destroying fury it is only the droids around you that you implode, and equipment, and the table on which you were strapped shatters, and in the end, you cannot touch the shadow.

In the end, you do not even want to.

(from Matthew Stover’s novelisation of Revenge of the Sith)

11 Responses to Under the Hood

  1. Brandon September 2, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    There’s a good audio book version in which the reader performs all of the roles, sounding like the actors, and is accompanied by music and sound effects. The novel makes a whole lot more sense than the movie.

  2. dennis September 2, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    The novelization of Porky’s was pretty good.

  3. Roderick September 2, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

    That reminds me (sort of in reverse): when are they going to make a 3-D IMAX version of My Dinner with André? That would totally rock.

  4. dennis September 2, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    I actually think it would be incredible if a well regarded author (Susan Sontag, if she was still amongst the living) would do the novel for some mindless twaddle film.

    • Roderick September 2, 2010 at 6:46 pm #

      Perhaps Joyce Carol Oates will tackle Piranha 3-D.

      • dennis September 2, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

        Funny you should bring her up, I am currently reading a collection of Lovecraft stories which she edited, or to which she at least wrote the introduction.

    • Brandon September 2, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

      Sontag would have been a good choice. She wrote an article at one point called “The Imagination of Disaster”, which appears in Roger Ebert’s Book of Film. The article is a detailed dissection of the sci-fi genre ostensibly from a dismissive viewpoint. However she badmouths the movies in such specific and exacting detail that it’s clear she has sat through at least hundreds of them and, if she didn’t enjoy them, at least she has paid very close attention.

  5. Matt Flipago September 3, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    “That burns hotter than the lava had”
    This line lacks subtlety. You can’t just have people announce how they feel. It is ludicrous. THIS MAKES ME SO ANGRY!!

    • dennis September 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

      Extra extra, world’s greatest opera sucks.

  6. CK Dexter Haven September 8, 2010 at 7:24 am #

    That lava line is not quite as good as “This mystery was even greater than that of the teapot.”


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