Reply to post: The thing is..

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

juice Bronze badge

The thing is..

I am the target audience for RP1. I was born in the late 70s and spent my formative years immersed in video games, comics and sci-fi books from the local library, before magically transforming into an adult and spending a measurable percentage of my wages on more video games, comics, books and pop-culture memorabilia.

And for better or worse, I already knew pretty much every piece of pop-culture trivia in RP1 - I've even managed to get an article published in Retrogamer, as well as running a vanity video-game review site for a few years.

However, I absolutely hated the book. It's clunky and blatant wish-fulfillment by a middle-aged man who a) wishes the rest of the world thought his OCD hobbies were important and b) wants an attractive teenage girl to fall in love with him.

I'm sure Earnest is a nice person, but I do think he was just in the right place at the right time; it's perhaps telling that Armada (the successor to RP1) has received much more of a critical mauling, even by people who loved his first book.

Admittedly, I'll still watch the film, because it's got the Iron Giant in, and you can never have too much of that ;)

Beyond that...

"The cult classic movie Fanboys": I've never seen it, and only had a vague memory about it's existence, despite the fact that I have many friends who are obsessed with Star Wars and discuss it frequently when down the local cantina. Looking at the Wikipedia article, it absolutely pancaked at the box office and has been heavily savaged on Rottten Tomatoes. So I'm not sure it really counts as a cult classic ;)

"Wachowskis, who polarised opinion with their fragmented, bloated cinematic adaptation of David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas,"

To be fair, it was always going to be tricky following up on the Matrix. It's a shame they never got around to making any sequels ;)

Though if they had, I'm guessing they would have been just as fragmented and bloated...

"Starship Troopers. Critics slammed it on release, but this film is now considered, in retrospect, a satirical and comedic sci-fi masterpiece."

No, it's still shite. I absolutely love Robocop, but ST just felt clumsy by comparison. This may be because the script for ST was pretty much finished before they slapped the name on it (http://starshiptroopers.wikia.com/wiki/Starship_Troopers_(film)#Comparison_with_the_original_novel) and the director didn't read the book. What a great combination...

"Verhoeven [...] amplified the disturbing propaganda and brutal militarism of Heinlein's novel, resulting in a self-aware satire where shallow characters still uncomfortably defy cinematic convention"

He amplified things from a book he hadn't read? That's a good trick - especially since I'm struggling to think of examples of "brutal militarism" in the book. There's some instances of military discipline - the hanging of a rapist and a whipping for disobeying orders, but they're not excessive within the context.

(As regards "disturbing propaganda": the entire book is fairly right wing and revolves around the idea that society would work better if everyone had to do military service. But even then, Heinlein provided reasoned arguments and debates within the book; it's nowhere near something as polemic as Ayn Rands writings, for example.)

Still, the thing which annoys me most about the ST film is that it butchered the key concepts in the book. Both technologically - Heinlein was talking about orbital insertions of soldiers in mecha-suits, a concept gleefully picked up by Games Workshop a few decades later for Wh40k - and philosphically; whatever other faults the society in the novel has, it pretty much epitomises the "no man left behind" creed exposed by the US Marines and other military groups.

Anyhow. Rant over ;)

"Dune's sequels are equally dense, but have never been tackled – maybe their time is now"

The SyFy tv series attempted to cram all three of the original books into two miniseries, though as other people have noted, the results can politely be described as varied. And I'm not sure the later books would work well at all - at that point, Frank's writing was getting further out there.

"There is hope and the future of the meta sci-fi movie seems hopeful with Neal Stephenson's Seveneves"

I've not read Stephenson for a while; after bouncing off the Baroque cycle, it felt like his writing had become too self indulgent. Still, the Wikipedia summary for Seveneves looks reasonably interesting, so I may dip in again.

TBH, it'd be more interesting to see Charles Stross's Accelerando (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerando) being made. Admittedlly, it'd be nigh-on impossible to fit in even a fraction of the high-speed BOFH and IT in-jokes, but it's a scarily plausible view of the next X thousand years of human civilisation, and Manfred's family provides continuity across the entire arc. Plus, there's a cat. Well, a robot cat. Well, a weakly godlike AI in a robotic cat's body...

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