Science Fiction Thursday, rock out with your grok out.
Thirty years ago Blade Runner was such a perfect replication of the vision William Gibson had in his head for his unpublished Neuromancer that it sent him into a tailspin, fleeing the theater. Ridley Scott, having clusterfucked one his of his great thirty year old creations with Prometheus has decided to do the same thing with Blade Runner 2: Electric Sheep Dreamaloo. Scott gave the following description of the opening scene of the movie.
“We decided to start the film off with the original starting block of the original film. We always loved the idea of a dystopian universe, and we start off at what I describe as a ‘factory farm’ - what would be a flat land with farming. Wyoming. Flat, not rolling - you can see for 20 miles. No fences, just plowed, dry dirt. Turn around and you see a massive tree, just dead, but the tree is being supported and kept alive by wires that are holding the tree up. It’s a bit like Grapes of Wrath, there’s dust, and the tree is still standing. By that tree is a traditional, Grapes of Wrath-type white cottage with a porch. Behind it at a distance of two miles, in the twilight, is this massive combine harvester that’s fertilizing this ground.
You’ve got 16 Klieg lights on the front, and this combine is four times the size of this cottage. And now a spinner [a flying car] comes flying in, creating dust. Of course, traditionally chased by a dog that barks, the doors open, a guy gets out and there you’ve got Rick Deckard. He walks in the cottage, opens the door, sits down, smells stew, sits down and waits for the guy to pull up to the house to arrive. The guy’s seen him, so the guy pulls the combine behind the cottage and it towers three stories above it, and the man climbs down from a ladder - a big man. He steps onto the balcony and he goes to Harrison’s side. The cottage actually [creaks]; this guy’s got to be 350 pounds. I’m not going to say anything else - you’ll have to go see the movie.”
Neat scene. What I’d love is if he actually had some story he wanted to tell rather than just some visuals he think would look neat. At least he’s not wavering about whether it’s a sequel, prequel, or Nyquil this time. Ryan Gosling has also been cast - I assume as the 350 pound gentleman - and filming starts next summer.
Are you absolutely sick of YA post-apocalyptic fiction and deeply happy that Hangry Games and Insurgent: Detergent are finally coming to an end? Well too bad. Now they want to reboot Logan’s Run as a YA franchise. Says writer/producer/eighties electronic light game Simon Kinberg:
“It’s something that potentially is (Warner Bros’) Hunger Games kind of franchise that is about a younger audience for a younger audience with a big idea. And Logan’s Run, as you know, is the granddaddy of Maze Runner and Hunger Games and so many of these books and movies now. So yeah, they’re seeing it as a potentially really big franchise.”
Yeah, I don’t agree with any of that. Not even the YA descriptor, what with the glorious gratuitous nudity of the original film.
Book and movie of the week! This week’s were The Grace of Kings and the film The One I Love. If you want to comment about either of these, put it in its own comment with the first line being either “The Grace of Kings Spoilers” or “The One I Love Spoilers”. Also: if you reply to a comment with one of these spoiler tags, you don’t need to bother putting the spoiler tag yourself. Everyone should just assume that if the top level comment is a spoiler, it’s spoilers all the way down.
The Grace of Kings Spoilers
I adored The Grace of Kings. It reminded me subtly of Kushiel’s Dart, another first time novel that featured a huge cast of characters that were all sympathetic in their own ways, such that all victories are melancholy ones. And also it was similar in that It is just so delightfully dense so that by the end of the novel you can’t quite believe that you didn’t just finish a trilogy.
Liu’s masterpiece tells of the rise and fall of empire, but does so without ever losing sight of the individual characters that make grand events happen. Characters that seem like they must be critical in the long run die suddenly and with little drama. Others rise suddenly from nowhere in the middle of the novel. It is a story that works the way history really works, with every figure firm in the belief of their own protagonism. It is an epic of bravery and love, of sacrifice and principle. It is a story of suffering and brothers turning on brothers with tears in their eyes and never a hint of melodrama or characters guided by plot needs instead of principle. And yet it’s also just damned fun at the same time, showing that the brutality of a Martinesque world can also be inhabited by jovial and clever genius.
The only regret that I have reading this novel, is that it is new, and that it is only his first so I must be patient to read more.
The One I Love Spoilers
The One I Love is one of those films that is good on first viewing, and then only gets better the more and more that you roll it around in your mind. Even the first glance flaws fade upon inspection. There’s a nuance to it, a layering of metaphor about what a relationship really is, covered up by a pseudo science fiction arrangement of plot. A husband and wife, both tempted by their own apparently perfect visions of their partners. We fall in love with an image, and only later if we are lucky learn to love the reality. And so it’s easy to fall in love with the same image, as the Gin Blossoms say “it’s not cheating because she reminds me of you.”
And of course there’s the perfect ending to the film, not giving us an easy or triumphant answer. Which version of his wife actually leaves with him? And does it actually matter if they are both happy?
Next week: My mind is blank at the moment. What do you want to read and watch for next week? Comment below (doesn’t matter if you’ve already read/seen your nominations) and I’ll pick the most salaciously satisfying sci-fi you want to talk about and comment as to what the final choices are down below. Next week is Thanksgiving, so this will pick up on December 3rd.