Friday, June 08, 2007

Ray Bradbury Theater

Not since my $5.80 DVD collection of "Ray Bradbury Theater" at Ross Dress for Less have I been so pleasantly surprised. An alert reader tells us that U.K. LeGuin's "Lathe of Heaven" is available. This got me thinking. I know, I know, it is dangerous for me to even try but sometimes near unavoidable. What other stories, (not necessarially sci-fi), are being ignored or have been made but butchered? Face it, like the 007 movies most sci-fi titles are not even remotely respectful of their origins. For instance, "I, Robot" with a socially functional and attractive Susan Calvin? NFW. Sure, a good movie and good sci-fi but not true to Asimovs' stories.

Me? I wish Disney would make TV and direct to DVD movies of all the Heinlein kid stories; Podkayne of Mars, Rolling Stones, etc. McCaffrey's Sassinak or Ship Who... series' could all make franchises. Why do we get Spi3, Shrek3, Oceans13? Have we run out of good ideas? Hey, it's Friday, just a little brain food instead of our usual diet of raw meat and eye candy.

71 comments:

NoVa Sideliner said...

First, murst, liverwurst?

First said...

First.

NoVa Sideliner said...

Where is everybody, out on a summer afternoon, I guess?

Stephanie J. said...

I, Robot was a commercial orgy.

It was disgusting.

Stephanie J. said...

Rob, I'm quite sure it's a problem with running out ideas, more than it's an issue of figuring out and over-exploiting the formulas that sell.

They're all the same shit wrapped in different glittery paper.

NoVa Sideliner said...

Meanwhile, some of us W-2 loosers are here in the office in what seems to be a half-abandoned building as of lunchtime. I bet rush hour is already underway.

On the topic of movies, I've just about given up on anything that Hollywood puts out, even their best efforts.

Some are really butchered. Take "Sum of All Fears" for instance. Good, engaging book. Then Hollywood mangles it up.

Not politically correct to have Arab Muslim terrorists blowing up a city, is it? Much less having a disguntled Indi... er, I mean, Native American helping them. So the movie execs fall back on the overworked, ueber-lame NeoNazi connection!

And of course it just WOULD NOT DO to have the bomb delivered in a media van disguised as equipment! No way! So another modern-day PC bogeyman is called in, a cigarette machine, if I remember correctly! I'm sure more than a few people involved in that were so proud of their cleverness. Ugh.

Even "Lord of the Rings" I thought was not so good. Though it started well, the emphasis on that ominuous, brooding fear that permeated so much of the books seemed to have instead given way to hours on end of screaming, fantastic hyperactive scenes of frenetic action and violence. Maybe I just need to read it again.

Me, I'll take a good book on a cold, rainy night anytime over almost any movie you can name.

Mouse And Pencil said...

I'd read that Tom Hanks currently owns the option on "Stranger In a Strange Land", and he'd intended to play the lead...not sure I like that idea. Starship Troopers, while a good movie, ignored the point of the book.

Personally, I'd like to see Heinlein's 'The Number Of the Beast" made into a movie.

I'd love to see John Varley's "Steel Beach", but it's too long - and many of his short stories would work very well (He's the guy who wrote the book the movie "Milleneum" was based on.)

I read that Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age" is being done, wich makes me very happy, it's one of my fave books.

Let's see. "The Difference Engine" would be fun.

Niven's Ringworld

Gibson's Neuromancer

Saberhagen's Beserkers

Pohl's Gateway/Heechee stories

In fantasy, the Belgariad by Eddings shoudl be done.

I've always hoped a George Lucas type would do ALL the Oz books, and do them CG.

MaCafferey's Dragonriders

And the movie would be fun but the insane number of literary references would be lost on the typical audience, I would love to see my all time favorite, bar none, best fantasy book ever written, "Silverlock" by John Meyers Meyers. (Yes, two Meyers).

Oh, Asprin's Myth series would be a BLAST. :)

Stephanie J. said...

...Another smorgasbord of billion-dollar CGI; action scenes, weak plots and even shakier character motivations with little to no substance.

Which movie of this summer does this describe?

Stephanie J. said...

Nightfall; by Asimov/Silverberg.

Loved that.

Rob Dawg said...

Niven(+) - "Footfall."
Clarke - "Rama."
Niven(+) - "Fallen Angels."

Pohl's "HeeChee" could be a great TV series in the mold of "Heroes" which has sadly traded dramatic arc for a fleeting longshot at longevity.

Stephanie J. said...

"Dies the Fire" by S.M. Stirling.
I *love* end of the world scenarios.

Mouse And Pencil said...

@Rob

Whoohoo!!

From Wikipedia:

Early in the millennium, actor Morgan Freeman expressed his desire to produce a film based on Arthur C. Clarke's novel Rendezvous with Rama. After a drawn-out development process - which Freeman states has been due to difficulties in procuring funding [1] - it now appears this will indeed be happening. IMDb, as of February 2007, upgraded the status of the project to announced in 2009. The film is to be produced by Freeman's production company, Revelations Entertainment. The website of this company [2] is still touting David Fincher, who had been named as far back as 2001, as director. [3]

Stephanie J. said...

@Rob
Awww... I love your new little dog logo! So cute.

Rob Dawg said...

Steph j.
"Nightfall" was originally a very short story that like the original (very baaad) Star Warts original 9 novels has disappeared as if they never existed.

If you want stuff like that who was Asimov's detective recluse who never travelled but was also an expert in xenobiology? He solved any number of future interplanetary crimes from his cramped study in remote New England. "Murder She Wrote" with tentacles.

Mouse And Pencil said...

Oh, add Harrison's "The Stainless Steel Rat" series.

Stephanie J. said...

Short story must have bit the big one, but the novel was very good.

Rob Dawg said...

Mouse,
Yes, of course. I feel remiss. "Stainless Steel Rats" and Asimov's "Gil the ARM" could almost coexist.

Stephanie J. said...

OMG... I read SSR books a while ago. I forgot about those.

I'm in my annual Jane Austen-attack right now; so no room for reading anything else or writing anything else until I work through all of her works.

I'm trying to think of other books I thought would make killer movies... but my brain needs sustenance. I'm off to go grab some food.

Soem dood said...

At 11:26 AM, Stephanie J. said...
" I *love* end of the world scenarios."

Hence, the Sara Conner signature edition Jeep.

Steph... So dark. So brooding....

Look, SJ, let's get down to cases: You just gotta leave the both popcorn guy and chaperone-man. You know there is Soem Dood out there just right for you.... ahem....

[laugh - wink]

Mouse And Pencil said...

I'm working my way through Gary Jennings right now, in the middle of Spangle and I'm gonna do Aztec next. I'm a few years from getting back into Michner, but I'm ready to go through Clavell.

Oh, just remembered a book, kinda fantasy but more horror, that would be a brilliant movie with the right director and actors - Shadowland by Peter Straub. Ghost Story was a brilliant book and okay movie, this one would be better. Floating Dragon is my favorite Straub, but it would be hard(er) to make it into a good movie.

Rob Dawg said...

Zelazny's "Amber" has been on/off for decades. A shame.

RL Forward's "Dragon Egg" could do at least as well as the "Red Planet" movie not to be confused with the book.

Property Flopper said...

I'd love to see Heinlein's Starship Troopers done RIGHT - watching cap troopers getting shot out of the ship would be glorious.

Can't believe the thing movie they did make of it - nice on it's own, but had little to do with the book other than some character names.

Stephanie J. - YES!!! Dies the Fire would be fantastic. Definitely more there than a single movie, they'd have to split it to a couple or risk hacking the down to nothing.

Potential there for quite a few follow-on stories.

Side note: Anyone else ever read Thomas Ryan's "Adolescence of P-1". Not likely to translate to a movie well (and the tech is WAY out of date - shows its age). Fun read, interesting ideas.

Property Flopper said...

Stephanie J.

I'll assume you've also read the Islands in the Sea of Time series?

Endgame said...

Lynch's Dune was a disaster. It might have made sense with the 1 hour worth of cuts restored.

Stranger In A Strange Land deserves to be on the big screen - but it's quite difficult to imagine Hollywood not butchering it.

As others have said Ringworld, Rama would be superb.

lurker said...

Running man could have been a good movie, but Arnold butchered it.

Northern Renter said...

Was the Foundation trilogy ever filmed?

NR

lurker said...

"Orcs" would make a great movie, though I can't see Hollywood making it.

LossMitPro said...

Of course (since its clear there are lots of Sci-Fi aficionados here), another remake of Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend” is due for release this December. The first two movies based on the story were: “The Last Man On Earth” (1964, Vincent Price), and “The Omega Man” (1971, Charlton Heston).
 
~Mark

Northern Renter said...

And now for something completely different.

R-Boy, I know you are not a big fan of Steven Levitt's research, but you (and others here) might be interested in a posting on the Freakonomics blog about their upcoming article in NY Times magazine. It's about cashback. I'm sure it will all be sweet.


NR

Stephanie J. said...

@Property Flopper
I like Stirling; but I get burnt out on him. He just can't edit himself. I'm reading Sky-people (and by reading I mean I started it, and it's been sitting there bookmarked for weeks)... I have to have to take breaks to accrue the energy it takes to get through his stuff sometimes.

I think the Tony Hillerman mysteries would make an excellent series or movie. Detective series on the reservation... very cool.

Bemused Guy said...

As a child I was mesmerized by When Worlds Collide. It was turned into an extremely disappointing b/w film but I always thought it would be a great re-make with today's technology.

Bemused Guy said...

And the People series by schoolmarm Zenna Henderson has some very nice themes without relying on sci-fi glitz & gadgets.

Bemused Guy said...

And I've been out of pocket for awhile. How nice to come back and find out I don't have to be hating right off the bat (since that's all we're good for right?). I do wish Hollywood would revive some thought-provoking sci fi films or mini-series.

Anonymous said...

At 12:20 PM, Bemused Guy:

When Worlds Collide set for 2008 , writer/director Stephen Sommers. (The Mummy, Catch Me if You Can, Van Helsing, The Scorpion King.

Anonymous said...

Post got lost in the ether....

somebody answer this question by Rob, so I don't have to spend the entire weekend reading wiki and amazon:

who was Asimov's detective recluse who never travelled but was also an expert in xenobiology? He solved any number of future interplanetary crimes from his cramped study in remote New England. "Murder She Wrote" with tentacles.

Property Flopper said...

Yes, Stirling does go on and on... he also has a nasty habit of plagiarizing. He lifts the ideas for the battle of "O'Rourkes Ford" directly from the events of the real battle of Rorke's Drift. No problem with that, but the -dialogue- is lifted word for word from the movie "Zulu". Very bad form.

Still like his stuff... and I think it would translate well to the big screen. Would DEFINIELY need a script doctor to do the treatment - I'd love to see what Joss Whedon could do with it.

Sprezzatura said...

There have been rumors on and off for years that Bill Gibson's "Neuromancer" would be made into a movie. So far no dice.

Property Flopper said...

Outside of the SciFi genre:
How about Preston's "Hot Zone". True story of the Ebola virus, its history and it's (thus far) only appearance in the US.

Scary reading, definite page turner.

Beats the heck out of the lame virus movies they turned out a couple years back.

Stephanie J. said...

:::::SWOOON::::: Joss Whedon. ::::SIGH::::

That man is a genius. ::::::swooning again::::

Kerriella said...

This has absolutely nothing to do with the topic, in fact I didn't even look at the topic...Sorry Rob. I am just so angry right now I have GOT to vent.

We had the bathroom counter tops replaced in the main bathroom and my daughter's bathroom today and the guys that did it were total jerks! They were rude, they wouldn't close the front door behind them in 90 degree weather, expected me to sign off on the job before I had even inspected their work, and then got pissed off because I wouldn't sign off until they reinstalled the sink in my daughter's bathroom. They slammed the sink in waited for my to sign, yanked the paper out of my hand and stormed out without even a goodbye or fuck you, slamming the front door behind them.

What the hell? I have never seen anything like it. I called the company and complained. They are discussing it with the supervisor and will get back to me.

Sorry, for the rant but I am so angry right now, this is my main place I visit online, and all my family and friends are working loser w-2 jobs and I will bitch to them later when they are off. LOL

Stephanie J. said...

...just another sign that the concept of 'Customer Service' is just a twitching, dying beast making a snow, agonizing death rattle.

Stephanie J. said...

"You should be kind enough to thank us for allowing you to do business with us. If you have any compliants please call our uncaring operator in Calcutta, and after 54 minutes on hold, you will be patronized and admonished, and then accidentally hung up on during call transfer."

Kerriella said...

Steph, We had the carpet replaced in my daughter's room Tues. and the guys that came and did it could not have been nicer. They were polite, friendly, and didn't even try to present me with paperwork until after they had invited me to come incpect their work. And they couldn't speak much English on top of it all! I couldn't have been more pleased but these counter top guys were just awful!

lawnmower man said...

Is Enders Game still in development hell? Could be a great movie, could also be a terrible one. But the one I'd really like to see filmed is Speaker For The Dead. (All downhill from there, though, as Card increasingly used the books as vehicles for his own religious and geopolitical viewpoints -- the Shadow series is awful for this...)

And yes, I Robot was awful -- the Converse placement was the uh-oh moment for me.

Is there any chance of intelligent, rather than big-bang-bang, SF movies being made any more? Less Minority Report, more Cube? (and no, Serenity doesn't count: lots of fanboi noise, very little substance.)

Heinlein on the big screen: probably held back by Heinlein's more kooky views. Stranger In A Strange Land goes off the rails somewhat when the polysexuality begins... but Rob's right, the kids stories would make ripping movie yarns.

Surprised Hollywood doesn't use Bradbury stories more. I hated Something Wicked This Way Comes as a book, but given the right treatment it could be a terrific claustrophobic SF horror/thriller...

Anonymous said...

from imdb.com
Ender's Game (2008)

Director:
Wolfgang Petersen
Writers:
Orson Scott Card (novels)
Orson Scott Card (screenplay)
Release Date:
2008 (USA) more

Stephanie J. said...

Paris back in Jail for the original term! LOL!!

Stephanie J. said...

I'm interested to see how the bastardize Ender's Game.

Stephanie J. said...

Oh, OSC is doing the screenplay... maybe it won't be so horrible.

The Dude said...

"What other stories have been made but butchered?"

Answer: All of them

Every once in a blue moon, somebody actually writes a good story, filmed by a good director with decent actors. It becomes a "classic" because all the others are crap.

There's no "new" stories to be told.....each borrows from an earlier work.

Stephanie J. said...

I'm sorry The Dude, but I refuse to subscribe to that notion; being a writer. If I do, I may as well throw up my hands and give up what I love most.

Rob Dawg said...

Kerriella,
No problem. Your experiences are completly familiar both good and bad. Things like retrowork for baths or kitchens are the worst.

No excuse but I see a lot of financial pressure driving these broken contracts. Once it gets to the point that their costs go up but they are still held to your price things go bad.

I am almost always my own General Contractor. I work out the detals and any changes are at sub-contractor costs not contractors ransoms.

Carpeting is cheap, fast and carries little of the liability and need for highly paid and/or experienced employees. My kid's counter is 1962 vintage and I rue the day I need to replace. OTOH flooring is a constant cycle of replacement. Last was putting in freakin' travertine in the master bath. Did this myself for $168 versus $600+ had I delegated.

Kerriella said...

Rob, yeah I am looking at tackling my very first bathroom floor tiling job in the next few weeks (or once I get up the courage to jump in with both feet) because it was going to cost an additional $800 for them to install it.

Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated, by the way. LOL

Casey Fannnnn said...

Zelazny. LORD OF LIGHT. Greatest book ever. Almost certainly it would be poorly adapted. It was briefly in preproduction in the 1970s. Concept art was by...Jack Kirby. Damn, that would have been interesting. Zelazny is my favorite author.

Re:
>>"I, Robot" with a socially functional and attractive Susan Calvin? NFW. Sure, a good movie and good sci-fi but not true to Asimovs' stories<<

I thought I, ROBOT was a repulsive disaster, mostly because I can't tolerate Wil Smith, and I was offended that the movie was hardly based on Asimov at all, but was lifted, without attribution, from the killer Jack Williamson classic WITH FOLDED HANDS. I always wanted to see that faithfully adapted as a movie or OUTER LIMITS episode. Instead, it was ripped off and mangled.

It was pretty pissy of MSNBC to cut away from the Paris Hilton news a few minutes ago when we nuked Iran. I don't care about that! Fortunately, they're back to the Paris coverage now.

lurker said...

@Kerriella

Tiling is quite easy. My advise would be:

1) Make sure your floor is stiff. Most relatively modern houses are fine, but my current house was an 1890's stagecoach stop. There is enough spring in the floor that tile would never survive.

2) Use spacers, they make it easy to keep your tile lined up in straight rows.

3) You can find plenty of do it yourself help on the Internet or the home improvement shows.

lurker said...

More advise

Habitat for Humanity manages reuse stores that builders donate overstock stuff to. The reuse store near me has a lot of tile that can be purchased cheaply

Kerriella said...

Thanks for the advice lurker. I have the tile already though. Got a really good deal on it. Home Depot was having a flooring sale. Asian Black Ceramic tile, originally $6 a sq ft and I got it for $3.

I have the spacers, the grout, the trowels(?), and a home depot how to book on tiling. Still a laundry list of items to buy or rent once I feel confident enough to take on the job.

Luckily we have a concrete slab foundation so once I pull up the carpet and 2 layers of cheap linolium tile and make sure it's level I should be good to go, right? Maybe? lol

Rob Dawg said...

Kerriella,
My advice is not "modern." It won't sit well. Here goes:

Kitchens need the very best top of the line sheet vinyl. Yeah, cheap and easy. What does cheap and easy have to do with it? I said "best." Barefoot at 3AM, dog/cat spew doesn't embed, dishes don't break.

Same for kid bathrooms. No Slipping, no $300 nail polish accidents. No dropped iPod replacements.

Should you take on the tiling: First if it is on beams or second floor lay down a subfloor. Even if you pick the alternatives, put on the subfloor. Second, used plastic grout and then seal. Then seal again. Make sure your floor is a flat as possible before and after laying. Third, throw rugs. Cheap, easy and replaceable.

Support "Habitat."

East Coast Boomer said...

@StephanieJ

PBS made several videos from Tony Hillerman's Navajo novels. A Thief of Time, Skinwalkers and Coyote Waits are available. Joe Leaphorn is played by Wes Studi and Jim Chee is played by Adam Beach.

I haven't seen them yet, but one of these days (when I get a break from my w-2 job), I'll borrow them from the library.

WeWantTheFunk said...

I once worked at a movie company that was offered the rights to Mona Lisa Overdrive, but passed on it. This is a Good Thing™ because they would have done a horrible job.

How about a good, reasonably faithful screen adaptation of Lovecraft's The Colour Out Of Space? That story creeped me out for years after reading it as a kid, and it'd translate well to a movie.

Dolph said...

I wish somebody would make a competent version of I Am Legend. I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic survival tales.

As for a non-fiction book, I've been after a producer friend of mine to make Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase For Lincoln's Killer by James Swanson. Not only have I long had a fascination with the Lincoln Conspiracy (being a Lincoln fan and all) and all it's players but I have been fascinated by the zealot-like behavior of Booth, coming from one of the most beloved acting families of their day, being an accomplished actor himself and deciding to first kidnap the Prez and then turning it into a strike against Lincoln and his cabinet.

The last days before the assassination as well as the chase would make a great movie.

East Coast Boomer said...

@ Kerriella

If you really want to know how to do tile right go to

John Bridge Ceramic Tile Forums

They are the nicest, most helpful people on the net when it comes to anything tiled.

Stephanie J. said...

@EastCoast Boomer
I did not know that. I wonder if Netflix has 'em. I'm going to go check. Thanks!

@Dolph
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories RULE!

Kerriella said...

Wow thanks for the link, East Coast Boomer. I put in right in my favorites for closer perusal later.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

I am back from the pool and my tan lines are coming along nicely.

@ Mouse and P.
Clear and Present Danger was also butchered. The movie was a complete different story.
I am really glad Enders Game is going to the big screen, but as we know the book is always better than the movie.
It is time for a great sci-fi story.
A Prayer for Owen Meanie
(the movie)was also a train wreck, imo.

Sprezzatura said...

Zelazny's "Lord of Light" == GREAT book, but would need to be a miniseries to do it right. Way too much plot for one movie.

@Keriella -- sorry for the crappy service!!! Vent away.

Lurker Fantasy said...

More in the Fantasy genre, but I heard that the Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin will be a miniseries on HBO.

Might actually make me spend the bucks to get HBO.

BTW, longtime lurker that's been interested in hearing about Casey, the housing market, and the economy.

Anonymous said...

There's one bit of Lathe Of Heaven that does strike a chord here. The protagonist's dreams literally come true.

"You were supposed to dream that LA real estate went up 20% a year!"

"Oh sorry. I dreamed that there were aliens on the moon."

Big Cheese said...

Maybe Peter Jackson can re-write a script for Steven King's 'The Stand' since the previous Movie / TV Movie was so awful. There is so much in the story that a movie may have to have a sequel or cut to a smaller story.

Big Cheese

diemos said...

I've come to the opinion that the golden age of scifi in the movies died when Star Wars came out. At that point all thoughtful scifi ended and afterward all hollywood would give us is what I call "Errol Flynn in outer space." Lot's of swashbuckling and spaceships and lasers.

Counter examples are few and far between. Gattaca would be one. Anyone want to nominate any others?

Orson Buggy said...

I'd like to see Pixar cut loose on the Discworld Novels. Or at least the Tiffany Aching trilogy (so far).