Reply to post: "meta"

Are meta, self-referential or recursive science-fiction films doomed?

Milton Silver badge


israel_hands: 'What fuck is this "meta" shit? Do you just mean a film adaption? Is that not just called an adaptation?'

No, the author doesn't; no, it isn't; and yes, you could simply have looked up a word you don't understand before suggesting that others are talking shit. They weren't.

Wikipedia starts by explaining: "Meta (from the Greek preposition and prefix meta- (μετά-) meaning "after", or "beyond") is a prefix used in English to indicate a concept which is an abstraction behind another concept, used to complete or add to the latter." —and I'm sure you can take it from there.

That said, you're not entirely wrong about Seveneves

'Oh and I really hope they don't bother turning SevenEves into a film. That was the most interminable piece of shit I've had the misfortune to try and read. A pity as Stephenson used to be quite good before he disappeared up his own arse'

—yeah, it is nearly as bad as Anathem for the self-indulgence of a writer who's had enough success to publish whatever he likes. Stephenson is one of those rare writers who can be entertainingly verbose, but Anathem was a deeply unedifying and ultimately boring spectacle of intellectual wanking.

Seveneves was apparently the first novel in history hidden under an endless lecture about orbital mechanics and genetics, and worse, Stephenson's writing betrayed inauthentic characters and shoddy contrivance. Whereas Anathem was unsalvageable, Seveneves might have been rescued with ruthless editing ... as for the idea that either one of them should be filmed: for heaven's sake, put down the camera and run—don't walk, run—for the chopper.

Stephenson's latest effort, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O, might have done well to attract the phrase "welcome return to form" from a kind reviewer, except it was only about 25% of a "welcome return". The concept and basic plot are bursting with potential for a writer with Stephenson's intelligence, who could have turned out one of his signature meaty 1,000-plus-page monsters of wit, insight, humour, commentary, smarts, reflection, wry observation and all the good stuff that we've seen from Diamond Age through Cryptonomicon to Reamde ... instead he outsourced a sizeable chunk of the prose to someone called Nicole Galland, and it is almost embarassingly weak. The whole thing is just one big, fat, tragically missed opportunity: "Hey, I got this idea—here's a napkin with some notes—I can't be arsed to write it ... hey you, over there! Why don't you have a go."

I mean: damn.

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