Watching Skies: Star Wars, Spielberg and Us

Mark O'Connell (Author)


As Ready Player One and Stranger Things prove the retro might of VHS era cinema, Watching Skies: Star Wars, Spielberg and Us is a universal and affectionate tale about the pop cultural remembrances stuck in all our R2 unit's memory systems.

Like many a British kid in an '80s world of VCRs, Reagan and Atari, Mark O'Connell wanted to be one of the mop-haired kids on the Star Wars toy commercials. Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman, and of course Star Wars weren't just changing cinema--they were making lasting highways into our childhoods, toy boxes, and video stores like never before.

In this energetic and insightful memoir-through-cinema, O'Connell flies a gilded X-Wing through a universe of bedroom remakes of Return of the Jedi, close encounters with Christopher Reeve, sticker album swaps, a honeymoon on Amity Island, and the trauma of losing an entire Star Wars figure collection.

A unique study on how a rich galaxy of movies continue shaping big and vital cinema to this day, Watching Skies is for all Star Wars kids--whatever their era.

It is about how George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, a shark, two motherships, some gremlins, Ghostbusters, and a man of steel jumped a whole generation to hyperspace* (*action figures not included).

Product Details

History Press
Publish Date
September 01, 2018
6.1 X 1.2 X 9.1 inches | 1.32 pounds
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About the Author

Mark O'Connell is an award-winning writer and author. As a comedy writer he has written for a wide range of actors, performers, titles, and media. As a warm-witted pop culture pundit, he has written and guested for Variety, Sky Movies, The Times, The Guardian, OUT magazine, Channel Four, Five, Yahoo Movies and across BBC radio and television. He was one of the official storytellers of London 2012, owns one tenth of a BAFTA, once got praised by the Coen Brothers, and now travel writes. He is the author of Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan.


"A fantastic personal account of one of the greatest chapters in movie history. An unmitigated delight." --Mark Gatiss
"I thought I was the only person obsessed with every single thing written in this book, but fortunately for the rest of us Mark O'Connell is too. This is the ideal Christmas gift, even if you're browsing at Easter." --Mark Millar (X MEN, KINGSMAN, MILLARWORLD)
There's never been a more perfect storm in pop culture, and O'Connell encapsulates this beautifully in a book that is a love letter to the era, and a reminder of just how lucky we were to have lived through it. "β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…STARBURST

"This book is a terrific look at growing up geeky, with touchstones familiar to those of us of a certain age who grew up with the original Star Wars, Spielberg movies- you know. The good stuff. --REVOLUTION SF
"It's a wonderful rallying point for the Star Wars generation, a book dripping with nostalgia for a genuine golden age of movies. And Superman IV."--SFX

"Love the era of Jaws, Star Wars and Ghostbusters? This book is for you. Remember Look-In, CHiPS and the Why Don't You gang sitting awkwardly on hay bales? This book is so for you."--β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… TOTAL FILM

Watching Skies is another love letter to the cinema of the Seventies/Eighties, written with O'Connell's excellent command of the English language. --WE ARE CULT
"Mark O'Connell - whose first book, Catching Bullets, described his life as a James Bond superfan - revisits the other films and stories that so obsessed him during his childhood... tracing their impact not just on himself but on a whole generation of space-lovers and cinema-goers"--RADIO TIMES

"But what made me a lifelong fan of Mark and his wonderfully magical book down 1980s movie memory lane is that Mark gave me something no one except my wife has ever been able to give me before - the feeling of belonging."--MOVIES OVER THE RAINBOW

"This book is a finely researched and highly informative examination of Spielberg, Lucas and their associated projects.--5/5 GEEK SYNDICATE