The recent arguments over the merits of Interstellar (is it good SF, is it crappy, is it too serious, is the science BS, etc, etc) has been ringing in my ears this week. One poster even tried to label Interstellar as space opera. Which reminded me of a post in IO9 a few months back about space opera and its merits. Part of the discussion revolved around what, exactly, is considered space opera.
Syfy is gearing up to produce Arthur C. Clarke’s science fiction classic Childhood’s End.
According to Deadline, Syfy’s ordering Childhood’s End to production as a six hour miniseries. Producing the project are Michael De Luca (The Social Network) and Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind). Writing the script is Matthew Graham (Life on Mars and Doctor Who) and just hired to direct is Nick Hurran (Doctor Who and Sherlock‘s “His Last Vow”). If nothing else, this line-up certainly suggests that Syfy is serious about doing this and doing it right.
Science fiction fans love to debate about which beloved SF books would make good movies… or which would make bad movies. Among the books that fans usually seem to agree could not be made into good movies, two of my favorites inevitably come up, both by Arthur C. Clarke: Childhood’s End; and Rendezvous with Rama. Whenever I hear this, I have to laugh. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was developed from a “one-gag” short story (a weird monolith found on the Moon sends a message to the stars), but look what Stanley Kubrick did with that. And no, we don’t need another Kubrick to do justice with Rama and Childhood. All we need is a bit of imagination.
So, without further ado, here are some notes on how both books could be turned into fantastic movies.
The list of novels he’s written, or edited, or presented in his magazine Galaxy, that I have not read, is too long to enumerate here. Pohl was the very definition of prolific in his writing and editing. Most importantly to me, his style and sensibilities helped to inspire me in many of my own writings.
Man Plus is a perfect example of this. In Man Plus, scientists planning the first manned mission to Mars decide that a human needs to be “augmented” to properly survive on the Martian surface, and thereby to ensure the success of the mission.
I hope someone enjoys reading about how I put a book together; I know, when I read it, it sounds pretty simple. I’ve never been one to make lofty statements about my “muse,” or having to attain some zen-like state in order to wrest carefully-crafted prose onto paper, etc. My writing style is pretty much a clockwork machine that always works the same way… but it does work.
And readers don’t often have to pull out a dictionary to figure out what I’m talking about… but they enjoy the stories I concoct, the characters I create, and the worlds I build. My interview is featured in BookChums’ “toast to sci-fi fiction” newsletter, and my name appears on the same page as that of Valmiki, Shakespeare, Ovid, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, J.G. Ballard, Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov… good company when you can get it.