One of the topics I'm thinking about for my Film Studies final paper is how sf is treated differently in books vs. movies. I remember reading something by OSC that I feel would be useful. It was about why sf and fantasy aren't taken seriously as liturature, and also about what makes "hard" sf, but I can't remeber what exactly he said or where/what it was. Maybe it was an introduction to something... or possibly Characters and Viewpoint.
Well, I read something on SF by OSC in one of his books : Children of the mind but I really don't know if he says exactly what you remember. As it was in the french translation, I don't know if this text is in the english book, but you can try...
Posts: 28 | Registered: Dec 2004
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I say this all the time. It's hard to think of an audience I haven't said it to. Don't I say it in every conversation? I think I say it in tithing settlement with my bishop.
But to answer your direct question - the difference between movie sf and sf literature:
Movie sf has basically been stuck in the age of adventure science fiction - the 1930s. Star Wars is based, for instance, on the kind of sci-fi movie that was based on the kind of sci-fi written by E.E. Doc Smith, dosed with the mysticism of "The Face in the Abyss" and H. Rider Haggard.
Some sci-fi movies tried to do later writers, like Blade Runner as an expression of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep" - but they kept being pushed backward into eye-candy - the spectacle - and adventure.
Why is that? It's not a conspiracy. It's just that adventure and spectacle are what movies do really really well - but serious analysis of deep ideas or even FUN ideas is not something movies do well at all. The Day the Earth Stood Still is still at a very trivial level of analysis, rather like the average Miss America contestant (in jokes, anyway). The movie tried to make it feel deep, but please.
So books were able to get really strange and sometimes wonderful stories, with deep characterization, siginificant exploration of moral and scientific and cosmological issues. But what movie gets made? Contact, for pete's sake, a giant stap backward (as well as an example of PC "thinking" getting credit for dealing with religion while slandering religious people).
Not till Charlie Kaufman's two works of sci-fi filmmaking, Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This great sci-fi writer was able to create scripts that were every bit as innovative, rich, real, and moving as the best of post 1960 science fiction literature. He was actually able to deal with complicated storytelling, idea explanation, and world creation IN TWO HOURS.
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I loved Eternal Sunshine. And it's one movie where Jim Carrey gave a really good performance without being over-the-top. I've yet to see Being John Malkovich, but I intend to.
Have you seen Vanilla Sky? I thought the movie was good, not great. But I really like the theme (for lack of a better word) of lucid dreams an such. Very interesting.
Posts: 5 | Registered: Apr 2005
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