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Hollywood and SF

CNN (of all places), has joined the ranks of podcasting. Which would earn a ‘meh’ from me, except! they have a program entitle Hollywood’s Sci-Fi Summer. It examines Hollywood’s use of SF in summer movies and they interview Harlan ‘I’m a bit on the crotchety side’ Ellison and Bruce Sterling, among others. Check it out!

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About JP Frantz (2322 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

3 Comments on Hollywood and SF

  1. Heh. Harlison is as fiesty as ever. A couple of notes:

    Ellison points out something similar to what Robert Silverberg also notes: The perfect story size is short (a novelette or novella). Although, Silverberg is talking about literature and Ellison is talking about big-screen adaptations.

    Also, he says that calling sience fiction “sci-fi” is an insult akin to calling a lady a “broad”. [I guess that’s why there’s no site called Scifi Ranter Broad.]

  2. At the risk of being “spirited,” Hollywood needs to be destroyed in the major earthquake we all grew up hearing about. Movies have become a drug, with big flashy ‘splosions providing the fix. It is all well and good to say “oh, but it is only eye-candy” and “just enjoy the ride,” except that there is no alternative. We occasionally get a decent independant or foriegn SF film, but each throbbing monstrosity that the Big Studios squeeze out lessens the chance that we’ll ever see another decent SF film.

    And I dismiss any arguement that blame falls on the audience because it is what they want. Look at TV. Amidst all the Desperate Housewives and American Idols, it is still stuff like Deadwood and the new Galactica that turns heads and triggers heavy fan loyalty.

    The good news is that we are seeing some refreshing material. The easily downloaded new Dr. Who and Captain Scarlet series were both excellent. The current run of Justice League has taken the very concept of Superman into areas never seen on TV before. Galactica returns this month, as does Tripping he Rift (the first season of which had more laughs per episode then the abysmal Hitchhikers movie).

    Rationalizing shit genre movies as “guilty pleasures” or going to see them “just for the effects” is a big part of the problem. It sanctions the production of more shit. I wish instead of people boycotting movies because their offended by the content, they’d boycott them because they are offended by the idea. Taking the name of a great SF book and tacking it onto a shit film needs to be identified for what it is, loudly.

  3. I think everyone would agree that more quality sf would be a welcome change. The problem is that not many people know how to make it. What’s the ratio of good to bad sf movies? My guess is it’s quite small.

    I’ve been thinking more about the Ellison (and the Silverberg) comment and I agree; the best stories are short. Books can easily become too bloated. (There are exceptions of course. Not all books – even “big” books – are bloated.) A short story doesn’t have time to expand too much on periphery minutia. Shorts stories (which includes novelettes and novellas) have to focus on strengthening the story and that’s why they are often effective.

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