From SG Glossary's "Space Opera" entry:

The Star Wars movies themselves owe much to Edmond Hamilton's 1949 novel The Star Kings and its sequel Return to the Stars.

However, having read Star Kings, I'm at a bit of a loss as to why that would be true. Leaving aside the fact that both works have a "princess" and a war in space, I'm unable to come up with SPECIFIC things linking the two. So, what I'm looking for is either:

  1. Specific acknowledgement by Lucas or whoever that Star Wars was in some ways influenced by The Star Kings.

  2. Or a good example of some Star Wars detail/idea that seems to be borrowed from/heavily influenced by The Star Kings (and is not widespread enough that it could equally have come from a bunch of other space operas / other sources). E.g. having a princess is kind of non-unique.

  3. Or, a statement from Lucas to the effect that the influence was more that The Star Kings helped promote/popularize idea of "space opera".

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The Star Kings heavily influenced other novels because it was the first novel that described war on an Intergalactic scale.

If you look for other pioneers in American sci-fi, as E. E. "Doc" Smith or British H. G. Wells, actions take place in our solar system or near it, or exactly on Earth. This is the most important feature, scale of action, not princesses or other races. As I understand the idea was based on WW2, where almost all the world trying to be taken by some evil.

If we look into the Lensman saga it's frankly naïve, Star Kings is more confident, but doesn't have as much detail. As I see it, Lucas takes ideas and makes them more specific, creates a special clan of warriors, the Force, different plot details, etc.

So SW is more a unification of the best ideas from sci-fi pioneers.

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