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The Lightsaber

It's an elegant weapon from a more civilized age.

Photo courtesy Lucasfilm Ltd.

Putting aside the legitimate argument that the "Star Wars" series is really more of a fantasy than science fiction, we come to the lightsaber. It's an elegant weapon from a more civilized age. The final part of a Jedi knight's training is the construction of his or her own personal lightsaber. The films taught us that these magical swords could cut through nearly anything and were capable of deflecting blaster fire. Plus they make that really cool voom-whoosh sound.

If you explore the expanded universe -- that includes the various novels, video games, comic books and other media that relate to Star Wars but aren't part of the official story -- you'll learn that a lightsaber consists of a handle, a power source and some crystals. The crystals give the lightsaber its color as well as other attributes. Those who use the light side of the force tend to rely on crystals they find in natural settings like caves and caverns. Dark side force users tend to use synthetic crystals, which always seem to give a lightsaber an ominous red glow.

While we don't foresee the need to put a lightsaber to any sort of combat use here at HowStuffWorks.com, we admit it would be really handy for yard work. With a couple of quick swipes, you could cut down trees, bushes and any plastic pink flamingoes that are between you and the perfectly manicured lawn.

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