The Science of Star Wars by Jeanne Cavelos
I was interested when I saw there was another book by a scientist discussing the scientific content of science fiction. When I went to see what was available at Amazon, I saw other books listed for the author (or at least the same name and it's not a common name). I hesitated - there were books related to the Babylon 5 series*. I can't say that I'm really familiar with Babylon 5, but what clues I've seen about it have not left the impression science was its strong point.
I did get the book and don't regret doing so. My impression is that the author is more inclined to take an “optimistic view” of what is plausible than Lawrence Krauss in The Physics Of Star Trek. To some degree this can be explained by the titles of the books. Krauss' book is more heavily dealing with PHYSICS and other matters that leave less room for opinion. A substantial amount of the Science Of Star Wars deals with less cut and dried areas of science. For instance, what might extraterrestrial beings and planets in other star systems be like? Science can put some boundaries around the possibilities, but there's not one definitive answer.
We end up with discussions of, for example, animals in the Star Wars movies that are shown in desert environments. This leads to discussions of what Earth animals live in desert environments and what traits they tend to have or not have that relate to adapting to desert life. The book then considers the traits of the animals in Star Wars and how that compares to the Earth animals. When there seems to be an inconsistency, the book speculates on what sort of environment the Star Wars animal may have evolved in and how it might have ended up in the desert. Depending on the reader this may be fascinating insights into life and adaptation, or guess work trying to apply terrestrial experiences to hypothetical non-terrestrial situations we don't know enough about. You will not find it explicitly stating "This Star Wars animal is not plausible" or giving a blueprint for extraterrestrial desert animals.
It is somewhat similar in the discussion of the intelligence of Star Wars droids. The author discusses the three approaches humans have so far used to try to develop artificial intelligence. The strengths and weaknesses of human-built systems based on the three approaches are compared to examples of what the Star Wars droids do in the movies. This gives a reader an introduction to efforts by humans to develop AI's. As a computer programmer I'm used to thinking there are many ways to design a program to accomplish the same objective. I would not want to assume that the three approaches used on Earth so far are the only possibilities or necessarily the best. Consider, for instance, the fact the most recent of the three approaches is neural networks, which is an attempt to simulate the interconnectivity between human brain cells. In a galactic civilization with a variety of intelligent species there is likely to be a few different kinds of "brains" AI's could be modeled after. But the scope of this book is to go over our existing three approaches.
So, some sections of the book turn out to be discussions of the state of our science with Star Wars more as something that has stimulated readers' interest to learn about what we know now. There are other sections that deal more practically with the scientific issues of an element of Star Wars, such as interstellar travel.
The last section of the book deals with "The Force". This discussion, like that about possible extraterrestrial life, can introduce readers to aspects of current sciences. For instance, this section includes bits about virtual particles, neutrinos and fields. Eventually, we come to a discussion of scientific debates and experiments related to claims of "paranormal" phenomena on Earth. It quotes people from both sides of the issue, and readers should stay aware of what is being said by whom. Readers may be interested in the discussion of experiments on the subject, but you should not expect a decisive statement on the matter.
Lawrence Krauss' Physics Of Star Trek expresses an enjoyment of Star Trek as fiction and an appreciation of efforts to stay consistent with science more often than most pop SF. In Science Of Star Wars, I'm left with more of an impression that Cavelos sees each case where science can't conclusively prove something in Star Wars is impossible as a ray of hope that Star Wars will one day come true.
Jeanne Cavelos has also published a book "The Science Of The X-Files".
* Regarding her novels: When I put in "Jeanne Cavelos" at Amazon, the first book it lists is Summoning Light, a book related to Babylon 5. The description of this refers to "techno-mages" and their "ruling Circle" opposing evil beings called "Shadows". The mages are bound by "the Circle's sacred code". This sort of talk does not encourage me to delve into Babylon 5.