by Steve Davidson – The Crotchety Old Fan
Can’t you just see the marquee?
THE BALLAD OF LOST C’MELL
THE GAME OF RAT AND DRAGON
although, given Hollywood’s penchant for stepping on things, that story would probably be entitled The Rat Game by the time it finally made it to the theaters.
Complaining about Hollywood’s treatment of well-known SF works has become a pretty common hobby on the internet: if you want to start a riot, all you have to do is mention I, Robot – the MOVIE, or Starship Troopers – the MOVIE and disappointed fans will make it their sworn duty to let you know just exactly how they feel.
The complaints, however, still don’t stop anyone from wishing that their favorite story or novel will someday get the Hollywood treatment.
I’m no different than anyone else. I’ve often wondered if Smith’s stories, like Ballad or Game or Littul Kittons could be adapted for the screen, let alone survive the experience. I alternate between thinking that it might be very interesting to watch a movie audience as it gets dropped right into the middle of the Instrumentality of Mankind, and thinking that there’s so much back-story that would need to be front-story that it would be impossible to translate successfully.
But on the other hand, there’s always Norstrilia. I imagine the promo for that movie sounding something like ‘A Boy, A Cat and a Computer conquer the Earth – to buy a postage stamp!’
A lot of the tropes found in Norstrilia have already made it up onto the screen – think girly-girls, then think ‘furniture’ from Soylent Green or the immortal line from Alien:Resurrection – “Yeah, like you’ve never ****** a robot!”, or even Woody Allen’s Orgasmotron from Sleeper. Replicants in revolt from Blade Runner, mile-high cities from The Fifth Element, politicians controlling unimaginable power like the Emporer in Star Wars.
It certainly wouldn’t be difficult these days to replicate the imagery from Smith’s stories: I’d be particularly interested in getting a look at those giant sheep making stroon or watching the bullman B’Dank jump off the tower, or taking a visit to the underground realms of the Underpeople.
But I think what I’d most like to see would be C’Mell in all her red-haired, glory. I just can’t imagine who they’d cast to play the part of the courtesan’s courtesan, the geisha’s geisha, the woman who’s job it is to make off-world VIPS happy with unrequited love.
She’s worked her magic on me. Maybe, given Hollywood’s relatively poor track record, my desire to see C’Mell in the flesh ought to remain unrequited. But there’s still a part of me that really wants to see Smith’s universe up there on the screen.
What do you all think? Would it be a good idea to see C’Mell up there on the screen, or should we all just leave well enough alone?
I dream about a long play movie made of little saynettes that would render all the chronology, from ROGOV till DOWN TO A SUNLESS SEA. There would be no need to play dialogs, just a succession of silent ambient sights that would depict that huge future history along…
We have an agent so I don’t do this part.
everybody seems to be talking about a movie which would not come anywhere near doing justice to the realm of “The instrumentality of Man. What you would nee is a mini-series like GOT. The first season could take us up to about year 9000 with the last episode being “The Game of Rat and Dragon”.
The second season would continue up until about year 16,000 with “The Ballad of Lost C’Mell” as the last episode. The final season would be mostly devoted to “Norstrilia” and then “A Planet Named Shayol” as the last episode.