back to article Game of Thrones author's space horror Nightflyers hitting telly

HBO's epic Game of Thrones cycle may be coming to a close, but fans of the books the show is based on can take heart that author George R R Martin (GRRM) is sending another of his works to the tellybox. Variety reports that Nightflyers, GRRM's 1985 short story, has been picked up by the cable channel Syfy, which, in the UK at …

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  1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Trollface

    Prediction for this comment thread . . .

    . . . endless whingeing about GoT, little positivity or actual discussion of Nightflyers.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Prediction for this comment thread . . .

      Well, I'm doing my bit....

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        IT Angle

        Re: Prediction for this comment thread . . .

        Isn't GRRM the last active user of Wordstar?

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Prediction for this comment thread . . .

      Wasn't Nightflyers already a movie?

      I could swear I saw it once ...

      To be honest I'd rather someone made a movie from the GRRM short about the human crew who go chasing about creation using an alien star drive called a "Jump Gun". Can't remember the title but it has a great plot with terrifying implications. I believe the story is in the Sandkings collection.

      About the only Vampire story I'd get out of bed for today would be GRRM's Fevre Dream. That would be a nice costume spectacle too.

      1. Queeg

        Re: Prediction for this comment thread . . .

        @ Stevie

        Yup

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093626/

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: Prediction for this comment thread . . .

          At first I thought this was about that _other_ "Night Flyer" horror, by Stephen King...

        2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Prediction for this comment thread . . .

          Whoa, this will be hard to top! I mean, the 1980ies hairstyles alone...

          (Mine's the one with the copy of Halliwell's Filmgoer's and Video Viewer's Companion in the pocket.)

      2. John Gamble
        Alien

        Re: Prediction for this comment thread . . .

        Yes. In my town it came out the same week as Princess Bride. Princess Bride ran for a while, Nightflyers was one week and gone.

        I wonder if the channel is adapting that story only. GRRM has a lot of stories in that setting (called Thousand Worlds -- hmm, "Sandkings" is part of it, that would make an interesting episode), and I'd like to see a wider adaption.

      3. AndersBreiner

        Re: Prediction for this comment thread . . .

        It's called The Stone City.

        Audio

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMmrKeFTHzY

        Preston Jacobs analysis

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28zpZPTOv7o

        What do you mean by 'terrifying implications'?

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Prediction for this comment thread . . .

      At least you won’t get “WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO FINISH THE STORY?”

  2. Daedalus Silver badge

    Meh

    The only reason GOT got so much notoriety is that HBO is in a position to repeat episodes ad nauseam, just as they used to repeat Z-list movies back when that was their major output, and indeed as other "premium" channels continue to do. Looked at without context, episodes (like the books themselves) are major snoozes. On any other kind of TV outlet the series would have been one and done. The novels seem to appeal to those who confuse weight with worth. Roger Zelazny could get more in one page of narrative than GRRM puts into a chapter.

    1. User McUser
      WTF?

      Re: Meh

      Looked at without context, episodes (like the books themselves) are major snoozes.

      It's OK if you don't like the books and/or the TV show; not everyone has to like everything.

      But "Looked at without context" - what does that even mean?

      1. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: Meh

        > "Looked at without context" - what does that even mean?

        Well, there's this bunch of people going here, talking there, and occasionally seeing/doing something exciting. I suppose if you've followed the story lines you actually care what's going on, although the need to see the minutiae of riding north escapes me. It's a bit like soap opera: occasionally you come across one that is just so well done that you want to invest in it no matter where you come into the plot, but the average one relies on you knowing and caring about some of the characters, or (more typically) on presenting you with one so outrageous you can't look away.

        Kudos to HBO and Liam Cunningham for putting a Geordie character in (assuming anyone at HBO even knows what a Geordie is). Even if Mr. C is Irish.

        1. User McUser

          Re: Meh

          Well, there's this bunch of people going here, talking there, and occasionally seeing/doing something exciting. I suppose if you've followed the story lines you actually care what's going on, although the need to see the minutiae of riding north escapes me.

          I'm sorry but that's just silly - you can't start reading a book at the 6th chapter and then stop at the 7th chapter and then not like the book because you didn't know who any of the characters were and didn't understand what they were talking about. The same goes for a TV serial drama.

          You can say it's boring or not a genre you typically like or that the characters are uninspired or you can just not like it for non-specific reasons but this "without context" critique is just the weirdest thing I've ever heard.

    2. Not also known as SC

      Re: Meh

      The novels seem to appeal to those who confuse weight with worth.

      Have to partially disagree. The original three books were excellent. I saw the first episode of GoT on TV, enjoyed it, bought the book and found it far more satisfying the TV adaptation which, IMO, made unforgivable changes to some of the characters. Over the coming weeks I caught up with the series and felt the quality had dropped significantly by the fourth book followed by the release of the fifth book. GRRM had split the story into two parallel time lines in the fourth and fifth books based on geographical location and although I didn't personally have to wait six years to find out what was happening to my favourite characters other readers had to wait almost eleven years. It's now been another seven since the last instalment which ended on a cliff hanger.

      So yes, the later books are appalling snooze fests but to give GRRM his due the first three were excellent and I think GoT was commissioned based upon these three. Because Nightfliers was written when GRRM was at his peak it stands every chance of being a good story and most definitely worth giving the first episode (at least) a viewing.

      1. Blank Reg

        Re: Meh

        @Not also known as SC

        I read the books before the show and agree the first books were better.

        I think part of the problem was that GRRM painted himself into a corner. He had so many characters and plotlines going that after the first few books he figured the only way out was to kill off a character every other chapter. Otherwise, it would have ballooned out to an even bigger mess that it is.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh

      I enjoyed the shows and the books. But thanks for the Roger Zelazny mention - I'll check him out for my reading list.

      1. Jeremy Allison

        Re: Meh

        Roger Zelazny's "Lord of Light" is my favourite Science Fiction/Fantasy novel. Don't read the blurb on the back (that will ruin it :-), just dive in and enjoy !

        1. Daedalus Silver badge

          Re: Meh

          "Lord of Light" has been optioned for films and TV several times, but I don't see anything happening in these PC times. Look what happened to "Gods of Egypt". "Nine Princes in Amber" is supposed to be on the brink of production, mainly due to the success of GoT and the "need" for a new major fantasy series. I'll believe it when I see it.

        2. johndrake7

          Re: Meh

          Followed closely by Creatures of Light and Darkness. How much more intense is it even possible to be than Typhon and the Skagganauk Abyss? Damn fine stuff.

    4. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      Amongst my peer group only one friend admits to having seen GOT. Amongst my children's friends none have seen it.

      There are advantages to not living in a city I guess.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meh

        I like GoT for all the smug twats it pulls out of the woodwork who can't wait to proudly tell you that they don't watch rubbish like that! Oh dear no!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          they don't watch rubbish like that!

          I used to ask myself "What kind of moron watches this shite?" Until I realized I was watching it. My New Years resolution is to try and cut down on the self-awareness.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meh

        @Tom 7

        Lack of electricity will put a dampener on the number of viewers to be fair.

    5. johndrake7

      Re: Meh

      Technically the mix of upvotes and downvotes here is confusing but accurate. GRR himself would likely acknowledge more briliance and talent in 1965/66 Dilvish through 1978 Amber (Corwin series) works of Zelazny than the rest of the top 5, hell, top 10 in the genres he covered put together, not excluding GRR himself in his prime. Sadly, post-Amber/Corwin, his output paled in comparison, not just to himself but to any number of others.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've been on the Midnight Meat Train many a time after a few pints.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fans of the books the show is based on can take heart that author George R R Martin (GRRM) is sending another of his works to the tellybox.

    It would be more heartwarming if he'd just finish the GoT books, which are now lagging well behind the TV shows.

    1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

      "It would be more heartwarming if he'd just finish the GoT books, which are now lagging well behind the TV shows."

      At this point I'm hoping he has some kind of contingency plan in place, a la Robert Jordan with The Wheel of Time, should the common fate of his GoT characters befall him before he finishes the books.

  5. jockbroon

    What do you mean, "Buffy and other trash"? Implying that Buffy isn't one of the best shows to ever grace our screens.

  6. Not also known as SC

    The Orville

    Quite a statement – it has to be better than Seth MacFarlane's The Orville and Black Mirror's dorky Star-Trek-in-a-computer homage, right?

    Never seen Black Mirror but The Orville is just dreadful. I've given up on it after just three episodes (in the UK). Can someone in the USA who has seen more episodes tell me if I should make the effort to watch more or have I made the right decision?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Orville

      I liked it, it's a bit of a misnomer. You're expecting Seth laughs which you do get but then it has a serious Star Trek type side.

      1. Not also known as SC
        Pint

        Re: The Orville

        @AC

        I'll give it another few episodes then. I can see the sci-fi side (which works well) but the 'comedy' aspect - divorced couple arguing loudly while the crew listens, or some reality TV programme to represent 'human' culture in an alien zoo - just falls flat for me. Maybe I'm expecting more traditional Seth?

        1. Daedalus Silver badge

          Re: The Orville

          "The Orville" would have been better with her as the skipper and him as the unreliable subordinate. Adrienne Palicki kicks butt, as they say here. She's wasted as Seth's sidekick.

          1. Phil W

            Re: The Orville

            "She's wasted as Seth's sidekick"

            Having watched all the episodes so far I'm not seeing her as a sidekick anymore, just because he's the captain doesn't mean he's the key to the show. It's even been clearly introduced that he wouldn't be captain if it wasn't for her.

            I'm genuinely surprised by how good the plot and character development is, it's not a patch on Discovery of course but it's not trying to be the same kind of show.

            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

              Re: The Orville

              Heh, the officers may be "in command", but the NCOs run the unit.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The Orville

              , it's not a patch on Discovery of course

              It's been decreed that we'll refer to that show as "ST: STD"

              1. Phil W

                Re: The Orville

                I believe it's officially Discotrek. Let's go Discotrek.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The Orville

            Adrienne Palicki kicks butt, as they say here.

            Yep. Watch the Wonder Woman pilot (2011).

            Also, wondering if the costume designer for The Orville has ever worked with women before.

        2. HereIAmJH

          Re: The Orville

          The problem with The Orville is they can't decide what direction they want to go. Sci-Fi takes a little immersion in the story, and just as they get a good story going they drop into campy sitcom. Like a practical joke of cutting off someone's leg. I suspect that is how it was pitched, to grab the sci-fi audience along with Seth's following. But it seems to fail both genres. Pick a direction and dial the other one back a little. If it wasn't available through streaming I'd have already given up on it.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The Orville

      It depends on who's directing, if it's Jonathan Frakes or Brannon Braga you get something which might not be too dissimilar to a TNG episode, otherwise you could end up with something more like a sitcom.

      But the jokes seem to have been toned down as the series progressed. Stick with it.

  7. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    Sounds interesting

    although if only available through Netflix I might not be able to see it. Will definitely give it a view if I can.

    As for SyFy, not everything on there is "assorted trash." 'The Expanse' is incredible, as was their first big space epic 'Farscape.' It's the other 99% of content that give SyFy a bad name...

    1. Excellentsword

      Re: Sounds interesting

      Writer here (badge doesn't work). The Expanse is amazing, granted, but I watched it on Netflix. Farscape was good too, but I watched it on BBC 2 as a young'un. I associate Syfy with Xena: Warrior Princess-tier stuff, but know that I write these things with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: Sounds interesting

        One recent gem from SyFy was Dark Matter - which I've only just watched - but the feckers have cancelled it.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Dark Matter cancelled

          Cancelling something is how they advertise the good stuff to non-mainstream audiences. I only found out about Wonderfalls (Pushing Daisies with fewer zombies and more weird) because I searched for things that got cancelled early.

          1. VinceH Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Dark Matter cancelled

            Yes - on a usenet group I inhabit*, we made that observation a long time ago - and whenever something good appeared, we'd therefore anticipate early cancellation.

            There are, of course, exceptions that somehow last the distance, but science fiction TV history is littered with good stuff (or stuff that showed a lot of potential) that didn't last.

            I hereby raise a glass to some of that stuff.

            * I nearly said "used to inhabit" - but I am still subscribed. It's just there are almost never any posts these days.

            1. 's water music Silver badge
              Windows

              Re: early cancellation - selection bias

              Yes - on a usenet group I inhabit*, we made that observation a long time ago - and whenever something good appeared, we'd therefore anticipate early cancellation.

              They say only the good die young but perhaps what they really mean is if you don't die young you risk growing up into, say, Bono or somesuch horror

              What I grew up into-->

            2. DF118

              Re: Dark Matter cancelled

              science fiction TV history is littered with good stuff (or stuff that showed a lot of potential) that didn't last

              Amen to that. 'The 4400' and 'Being Human' are the two that spring immediately to mind whose cancellation saddened me. It's almost not worth mentioning Firefly which is practically a byword for the whole phenomenon.

          2. Daedalus Silver badge

            Re: Dark Matter cancelled

            You should get the box set of "Wonderfalls". The last episode is intense in ways that you can't possibly expect. It was never shown on TV.

            1. John Gamble

              Re: Dark Matter cancelled

              Exactly four episodes were shown (on an irregular schedule, of course), then the series was cancelled. I used to show the four episodes to my friends via that modern device called the VCR player.

              When the boxed set of Wonderfalls came out I was amazed, and bought it immediately.

              1. DougS Silver badge

                Syfy's moves are what gives it the bad rep

                The weekly Syfy produced movie like Sharknado are what do. And as far as Sharknado, at least it and none of the actors in it take it seriously, making it far better than most of their movies with plots like "a comet knocked the earth's core out of alignment which will cause all life to end in a week, but this group of four intrepid people who include the one person on earth who foresaw it have a plan to re-align it and save everyone".

                Sharknado is camp, or at least an attempt at camp, while most of those movies are attempts at actual movies which is frightening. MST3K wouldn't have to look at the back catalog of 50s B movies to return, they could just do an episode every Sunday making fun of whatever Syfy showed the previous night.

                The series Syfy develops usually aren't that bad. I only watch a handful of them of course, some fit my taste and some don't, and some are produced on a shoestring budget, but none of them are remotely as terrible as the average made-for-Syfy movie.

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