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More Old Sci-fi & Nothing But the Tooth

July 17, 2015

Just started the rewatch of Altered States. Had to pause to see who this Paddy Chayefsky fellow was. Another Polish Sci-fi writer like Stanisław Lem, author of Solaris?

No. Turns out he’s from the Bronx. Notable for winning three academy awards solo for Best Screenplay.

Looking for more, I ran across this:

invisibleinkblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/lesson-from-paddy-chayefsky.html

Brief but some fun ideas thrown around in there. Pollack’s quote reminded me of Alan Moore’s mini book on how to write comics. There’s the plot and then there’s what the story is about. Frequently, a viewer of a film isn’t going to have the slightest idea about the latter. Watchmen, for example, is a treatise on power of all kinds: anonymity, political, weapons, wealth, intelligence and super powers.

The comment about Jaws actually being about a man facing his fear is intriguing. While true, I wonder though if it isn’t a bit too close to the plot to be what it is really about. There is certainly an ironic twist or two that a NY cop decides to move to an island in order to get away from gang violence, doesn’t know how to swim, and winds up facing off against an aquatic serial killer.

But then there is the famous Quint speech regarding the USS Indianapolis, and I wonder if the answer doesn’t really lay closer to that. I rewatched Jaws as well, though it’s probably only been seven years or so since I saw it last. It struck me that it seems today to be about climate change {keep the “beaches” open rather than pause and deal with a problem due to short term financial concerns}. But I think that might be a little too specific.

The power of nature, though, whethe the atom, animals, the oceans, or our internal fears, I think works. I think that gets closer to the heart of it. Man’s attempts to harness, control, ignore, and even kill it and how that seems to get him into trouble.

“We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

That got me thinking about what some other stories are about. Some of my own even.

Infernis – Maybe that intelligence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, that man’s creations will inevitably contain his own biases. Maybe, really not sure. It is also, in a strange way, a love story.

Inthrallis – I think this is easier. It is how incredibly distant or opposite our public face can be, often is, from our private one.

Which in turn got me thinking about the Rifters trilogy and how I don’t really know–which may be part of the reason why I read them two to three times–what they are “about.” Being so chock-full of ideas, it becomes difficult to pinpoint. In Starfish, it’s likely something to do with the source of human strength/survival coming from real and perceived trauma. Maelstrom probably continuing that a bit, adding how we create our own monsters way too often and rarely see it coming. Behemoth maybe that even when faced with extinction, there will still be infighting and emotion or primal instincts will prevail.

Maybe. I think those could be way off base.

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From → Notes, Review

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