Is it any wonder the original Star Wars movies included space dogfights, battleship-style ship-to-ship combat, and laser sword fights in a universe dominated by guns?
Some types of combat stand the test of time. Not because they’re better – each of these have been supplanted by superior technologies in real life – but because they call to us. They’re more dramatic, satisfying, fair, and interesting…in a word, they make for better stories.
Aerial dogfights – Where once you had to get up close and vie against your opponent in a test of skill, now aerial combat is fought with missiles fired from many miles away, when it’s fought at all.
Battleships – Some of the most fascinating naval battles of all time happened during WWI and WWII, when fleets of battleships hammered each other with massive guns. Then the aircraft carrier came along, with its ability to project power and sink ships before they ever got into range.
Sword fights – This one hardly needs explaining. Next to guns, the up-close-and-personal dynamic of a sword fight is much more exciting. Its also a realm where skill and mastery are rewarded, rather than a gun which can easily allow an amateur to kill a master.
So don’t be surprised if these styles of combat keep popping up in your fiction. They might not make sense in our world, but if a good writer can make them work – if she can create her own lightsaber – then they’ll give us a much better tale than watching your enemy disappear on a fighter jet’s computer screen.