What would have happened if William Shakespeare had written Star Wars? Ian Doescher attempts to answer this question in his trilogy of plays written in the style of Shakespeare that recount the classic adventures of Star Wars (Episodes IV, V, and VI). The titles alone--Verily, a New Hope, The Empire Striketh Back, and The Jedi Doth Return--provide an accurate idea of the merriment to be found within these tomes, which are anything but hefty. In fact, they read quickly and easily, as Doescher's verse feels natural and flows almost as well as the Bard's. It helps, perhaps, that the story of Star Wars is replete with Shakespearean themes, as Doescher notes in the afterword to Verily, a New Hope. The afterwords to each volume are a pleasant surprise: they are short and insightful, well worth reading as a complement to the text and as food for further thought about both Star Wars and the works of Shakespeare. These books will definitely please Star Wars fans because of Doescher's faithfulness to George Lucas's films and are likely to please Shakespeare enthusiasts because of Doescher's fluid use of iambic pentameter, Shakespearean language, and a healthy sprinkling of nods to some of the Bard's most famous lines, with a Star Wars twist, of course. Adding to the Shakespearean feel, the layout of the text is presented in the style of a typical Shakespearean play, divided into acts and scenes, the lines numbered, the stage directions in italics and character names in all caps. Unlike a Shakespeare, these plays are illustrated, and Nicolas Delort's charming pen and ink drawings only add to the fun of the text. These books are a delightful diversion, well worth the little time it takes to read them.
Other Literary Mash-Ups: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (Doescher mentions this as an inspiration for William Shakespeare's Star Wars), Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Horses by Ben H. Winters