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Why I Drink (Happily): Sci-Fi Tidbits for the Day

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | July 30, 2012 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | July 30, 2012 |

I’m not usually presented with such a quandary, with multiple trade news items that spark my interest but not my ire. It’s frankly an experience so terrifying that it could inspire one to drink, had alcohol not already implicitly been on hand in order to read trade news in the first place. We have news this morniing, good news, science fiction related news even.

“Doctor Who” series seven is in the midst of filming and they’ve brought in Ben Browder as an American cowboy. Says Matt Smith about working with Browder:

He did really well. He’s great in it, actually. He brings that sort of American naturalism which we Brits just don’t have, however hard we try. Yeah, he was great. He makes a good cowboy. He has that great drawl.

It’s like Smith decided to demonstrate a British counterpoint of how to visit a foreign country after dear Romney’s stumbling through London last week: mild self-deprecation and praise that is absolutely meaningless when thought through. I don’t know what American naturalism is supposed to be, but I feel more patriotic just having read that.

Next, let’s serve up something that always works: a clip of Nazis from the moon invading New York City:

And last, we go to Letters of Note once again with a copy of the letter that Stanley Kubrick sent to Arthur C. Clarke to feel out the possibility of making a science fiction film together, the result being 2001 a few years later. Warning: Kubrick talks dirty about telescopes.


March 31, 1964

Mr. Arthur C. Clarke
[Address redacted]

Dear Mr Clarke:

It’s a very interesting coincidence that our mutual friend Caras mentioned you in a conversation we were having about a Questar telescope. I had been a great admirer of your books for quite a time and had always wanted to discuss with you the possibility of doing the proverbial “really good” science-fiction movie.

My main interest lies along these broad areas, naturally assuming great plot and character:

The reasons for believing in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life.
The impact (and perhaps even lack of impact in some quarters) such discovery would have on Earth in the near future.
A space probe with a landing and exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Roger tells me you are planning to come to New York this summer. Do you have an inflexible schedule? If not, would you consider coming sooner with a view to a meeting, the purpose of which would be to determine whether an idea might exist or arise which could sufficiently interest both of us enough to want to collaborate on a screenplay?

Incidentally, “Sky & Telescope” advertise a number of scopes. If one has the room for a medium size scope on a pedestal, say the size of a camera tripod, is there any particular model in a class by itself, as the Questar is for small portable scopes?

Best regards,


Stanley Kubrick

I’m sure by this afternoon we’ll learn that Alex Pettyfer is in a new “Star Trek” series or that the SyFy Channel has cancelled all original series in favor of wrestling and reality fare, but for now we can drink our spiked coffee with satisfaction.

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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