With your sources for a story, it ain't where you start, it's where you end up, and how you get there.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/08/08 17:00
Sorry, busy week, hence the silence. In re a discussion of Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation:
... the film’s ending isn’t so much a mockery of subservience to an audience’s expectations, but rather a depiction of how a skilled writer can construct meaningful purpose from even the most banal expectations and formulae.
It ain't where you start, it's where you end up, and how you get there. I had the lowest possible expectations for the likes of John Wick, and not only did I get rocked back on my psychic heels three times in a row (and soon it'll be #4 and #5), but I ended up taking inspiration from it for at least one, possibly two, other works. But I suspect people would struggle to connect the finished work with the inspiration, and that's fine — that's the sign the inspiration is working as fuel and not as a template.
How to seek out stories that intelligently confront the moral complexity of the 21st century.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/30 17:00
Good essay, great closing lines:
Narrative is not the power to choose outcomes, but it is often the power to tip the scales when someone is hovering between action and despair. You can find hundreds of images of protest signs with lines from Orwell, but a few years ago when Japan hosted a world peace summit, the organizers hung a very different sign in the main hall: “We Must Make a Future That Would Not Make Astro Boy Cry.” So many tools that galvanize resistance come from fantasy and science fiction. We who, with Tezuka and with Le Guin, explore imagined worlds, alternatives, and other ways of being must not narrow that larger reality, not when it has so much power to shape action, hope, or surrender. So let’s keep broadening our broader reality, so we can also broaden the possibilities of this one.
Sometimes adapting something, as one form of remaking it, can do it a favor.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/29 17:00
The other day we got to talking about when remaking something actually does it a favor. I deviated from the original ideal a little and thought about how adapting something, as one form of remaking it, can do it a favor.
Many mediocre books can be turned into good-to-great movies, for instance, by stripping away everything that doesn't need to be there (turgid prose, irrelevant "atmosphere", nonsensical convolution) and replacing them with the directness and elegance of visual storytelling. I'd rather see a good movie version of a bad book than a bad adaptation of a good one. But that doesn't mean I'd rather see people never attempt to adapt a good book into a great movie, and only go for the low-hanging fruit.
In a conversation with a friend, about the way our crazy moment in time is shaping our creative decisions, I kept coming back to a phrase I've said to myself before: "Let's not try to understand all this too quickly."By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/26 17:00
In a conversation with a friend, about the way our crazy moment in time is shaping our creative decisions, I kept coming back to a phrase I've said to myself before: "Let's not try to understand all this too quickly."
Much hard work ensuing here at Chez Infinimata, and on multiple fronts: current book, new book, software.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/24 17:00
Much hard work ensuing here at Chez Infinimata, and on multiple fronts:
No, I'm not a workaholic, why do you ask?
How much of a debt I owe not to science fiction or fantasy, but another genre: the hard-boiled noir.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/20 08:00
Looking over what I have so far for my most recent work, and the notes I assembled for Fall Of The Hammer and especially Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, it hits me how much of a debt I owe not to science fiction or fantasy, but another genre: the hard-boiled noir, or the crime drama generally. (I pitched AONO to some folks as "GoodFellas meets Strange Days".)
The problem with much criticism: it proceeds from the flawed premise that art is hierarchical.By Serdar Yegulalp on 2020/07/19 17:00
On a whim I checked out a compendium of Stanley Kauffmann's writing on film. Most of the reason I bothered with it was to find out about movies from his time that I might have missed, not because I like Kauffmann's criticism as such. The experience ended up being more of a window into certain attitudes held by cinematic tastemakers of his day, most of which have dated poorly.
Science fiction, rebooted.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind