Star Wars Speeder Bike is the Only Way to Get Around

P1020799, originally uploaded by dynamicsubspace.

I am in the process of uploading old photos to Flickr including my pictures from life in Liverpool. While I was there getting my MA in Science Fiction Studies, I had the opportunity to visit the Star Wars Exposition in London where I took many pictures and reveled in the artifacts from the six Star Wars films.

In the picture above, you can see an Imperial Speeder Bike. For those of you who have not seen Return of the Jedi, the speeder bike is a levitating mode of transportation that races along a few feet above the ground at an extremely high rate of speed following a rapid acceleration.

Since I first saw one in 1983, I have always wanted to ride something like a speeder bike. As you can see, it is a barebones system that relies on the reflexes and skill of its rider to successfully avoid obstacles and obstructions to your path. More importantly, it goes really fast. Speed is a central element to most of the Star Wars films, and I believe that this stems from George Lucas’ interest in hot rodding culture. The Imperial Speeder Bike is one extrapolation of hot rodding bike culture fused with military style.

I often thought about the Imperial speeder bike when I commuted to Georgia Tech from my house in Norcross. Many mornings and afternoons I found myself stuck in traffic. I dreamed of skirting past the hordes of vibrating yet immobile autos with a speeder bike. Unfortunately, I thought on to the point where I realized that I couldn’t be the only person with something like that. Others would have them–the same folks I would curse for cutting me off or causing accidents. Even if such an amazing transportation technology were possible, it would regrettably lead to problems that my fantasy cannot erase.

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Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.