Queries about film or media rights to any of my books or stories can be addressed to my film agent:
Sandbar Productions has bought an option to develop my short story "Detritus Affected" about archaeologists digging in a landfill in LA.
We are negotiating rights to my short story "Dr. Pak's Preschool" for a small foreign production.
As for other film possibilities, discussions also continue regarding Earth, Glory Season and The Uplift War. ("Discussions" in Hollywood are always "preliminary"... until suddenly things happen. We can hope for the best!)
As many of you know, a movie version of The Postman premiered December 1997, and was promptly killed by both Titanic and attacks by cynical critics. If you missed it, do see the flick in video. It's a flawed and uneven but ambitious rendition of my story, with some stirring moments and wonderful visual imagery that make it well worth looking at.
Though I could complain about lots of things, it's far better than the critics said... though not what it could have been if Costner had stayed closer to the book. (For more on my personal reaction to Kevin Costner's production, see my The Postman, the Movie article.)
I'm also asked to pen a few comments about other movies, particularly science fiction and fantasy movies. The most infamous of these was the series I wrote about Star Wars for Salon Magazine. I've posted a page on this site which links to the Salon articles and comments on the heated response.
Other articles I've written about movies (and the books that inspired them) include:
When I go to a flick, or rent one, I try to adjust my expectations beforehand, in order to minimize disappointment. Think of it as fine tuning a stereo system. I may crank down my controls for logic and plot consistency, for example, and thereby manage to enjoy films that make no sense, but have high quality in other ways. From time to time, I may even recommend one or two:
The Fifth Element is a film that not only had to be zeroed in both of those categories... I had to reach inside and rip out the wires! No matter, though. The movie was a positive pleasure throughout. True, not a single scene made any sense, even in its own context. But the director's sheer joy poured from the screen. He was so bloody happy to be doing this flick, and the fizzing thrill that he felt was utterly contagious. Like when he interrupts the frenetic action to bring us... an aria.
Some movies need more drastic surgery. The visually hilarious Mars Attacks! had such horrible dialogue that it is best watched with the sound off. Or even better, with satiric background commentary, like provided by Mystery Science Theater 3000. (It's sad when a satirical film is only funny when satirized.)
Of course when a film appeals to the adult within, never requiring a single dial to be turned down, that's best of all. It doesn't happen often. My latest recommendation is a sterling example. Frequency, starring Dennis Quaid, is about a father and son who communicate across a time gap of 30 years by ham radio, changing history and their lives. The temporal paradoxes -- while not completely solved -- are approached with deeply earnest attentiveness and real storytelling sincerity. Something for grownups.
Greg Bear suggests two others: "I'll also recommend Dark City -- the only sf noir film that explains why it's dark all the time. It's a dynamic, beautifully structured film with a great score. And of course Gattaca."
I especially liked the fact that Gattaca lets you add a layer of story in your own mind. The society portrayed is not an evil one, it is simply trying its best to deal with a really tough technological problem of genetic predetermination. In the background, bright and hard working people are trying to adjust the law and education to deal with the problem, which ultimately will depend on improving public compassion. The hero is not helping in this struggle. His great talents are being applied solely toward a selfish end. You cheer for his success and hope that he returns safely (in which case his success may help solve the social problem). Still, he is selfish. He may endanger his crew. It's a tasty moral quandary.
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I still do science, but civilization seems more interested in my perspectives on the future. (Who am I to argue with civilization?) Let's face change with agility and hope, and meet the challenges ahead.