Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fear for 'The Stars My Destination'

Alfred Bester's classic "The Stars My Destination" is headed for film, kicking and screaming no doubt. This is a great novel, one which I will have to reread before the movie is released. It has plenty of amazing visuals that would be amazing on film with today's technology. But this is Hollywood we're talking about, and no doubt they'll screw up the story so much the visuals won't matter. I hope I'm wrong about that.

1 comment:

writerfella said...

Hello --
writerfella here. Um, yes, Bester's THE STARS MY DESTINATION is one of my favorites, as well. But having worked in film and TV, I have to say that novels and films adapted from novels are two differing quantities. A writer has all the time and space and freedom to develop his plot and story and characters in a novel. A teleplay or a screenplay is a finite matter, roughly 66 - 75 pgs. and 90 minutes of time for a two-hour TV movie spot, or 100 - 125 pgs. and 105 - 120 minutes of time for the usual theater movie length. I have done a few originals but only adapted my own material twice. There still are numerous accommodations that have to be made because of the very restricted format. Readers of novels always have the 'theater of the mind' but writers of films only have 'the theater of time,' the room afforded by the running clock. Add in that both TV and film are collaborative media, and even more restrictions come into play. One may write, but unless they're Barbra Streisand, one can't produce or direct or shoot or act out the writing one's self.
Thus, the audience comes to a film or TV show strictly as a consumer, with no control over what has become of the material, no matter if they have encountered it before in another medium.
A viewer may complain, but are they complaining informedly or even meaningfully?
Now, if the original writer complains, as did Ursula K. LeGuin (Mama Buntho to us Clarionites) about the SCI-FI Channel's version of her WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, that is another matter entirely...
-- writerfella