The last two weeks have been a bit of a blur, so I’m pooling a few updates into a single post. First off, it was very sad to hear about Ray Bradbury’s passing, but at 91 years old and with over 500 published works, no one can accuse him of not living a very full and inspiring life. I always marvel at the fact that he credits most of his education (he did not attend college) to a decade of veracious reading at the library. I really enjoy the work he produced throughout his career and still count Fahrenheit 451 as my favorite book of all time. I know that his absence will be greatly missed within the literary community.
Consequently, Bradbury’s biographer, Sam Weller (I have met Mr. Weller a few times and must say he is a really nice guy), was already in the process of preparing an anthology of tribute stories to the late great author when he passed away. Although the collection won’t be out until July, sci-fi website io9 has posted an excerpt from the collection, which is entitled Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury. The sample story is written by none other than Neil Gaiman and is certainly worth checking out.
So, Prometheus. There has certainly been quite a bit of discussion about Ridley Scott’s recently released philosophical sci-fi film in the past few weeks. Some are labeling it as a masterpiece, others a misfire and yet another pocket of people who liked the movie but wonder why the supposedly intelligent characters haven’t mastered the ability to run sideways or diagonally when a large object is about to fall on them (I confess, I am in that pocket of people). Regardless of what you thought about Prometheus, I believe its release will be good for sci-fi as a whole, because of the sheer amount of attention that is being paid to the film.
For one thing, the buzz and opening week box office of Prometheus reaffirms that intelligent adult sci-fi still has a place on the big screen. As strange as it may sound, this is a necessary reminder. Every few years or so after a string of sci-fi inspired flops, Hollywood needs a reminder that it’s not just young adult sci-fi adaptations containing preexisting mobs of rapid preteen fans that have a place in movie theaters. Intelligent, philosophical and allegorical science fiction like 2001, Contact, or anything that doesn’t have a cast riddled with Disney channel graduates, still has a place in modern cinema.
I understand that science fiction is a gamble in Hollywood because it generally requires a larger budget to account for the special effects, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from making these movies altogether. It just means that when you do make these movies and invest a chunk of money into their production, you should take the time to make sure that they are well made. And while there are certainly some flaws to Prometheus, I would say that it is still a very well made sci-fi film. Certainly, it has inspired some polarizing perspectives, but through those disagreements, it has also produced some truly interesting ideas and interpretations about what the film is about (definitely check out Adrian Bott’s theories on the film). It is also an incredibly gorgeous movie to look at and is absolutely worth checking out despite its flaws.
On another note, I got a few emails about the availability of my book, The Exiles of the New World, as to when it will be on the Nook and some other e-readers outside of the Kindle. The update on that situation is that it should be expanding to the Nook and other e-readers by the end of the summer. Amazon has exclusive rights to the e-version which allows them to keep it limited for a couple of months. But for now, it is available in paperback and Kindle form. There might even be a soon-to-be-released audio book recording on the horizon, narrated by me, where I attempt to read the entire book in a different British accent for each character. But seeing as how none of the characters in my book are British and I only have one terrible British accent in my repertoire (cockney shoeshine boy), this may be a lie. Only time will tell.