Thursday, 20 March 2008
When reading (and reviewing for Starburst #171), Odyssey, Neil McAleer's authorised biography of Clarke, I noted that it presented an essentially positive view of Clarke, without any muck-raking (Clarke's autobiography Astounding Days paints a similarly rosy picture), but that did not - and still doesn't - suggest that any negative comments were due, anyway. And it's worth remembering it was Clarke who attained a "cosmic eloquence" in his SF books and lectures that still remains unequalled in the field and the genre canon. With that in mind, I think that any number of human flaws and character faults should be overlooked. Clarke's single-volume Collected Stories is a treasure house of imaginative SF lore and it's changing focus over decades, and it reveals much about the genre's development as fantastic literature.
I've always found it fascinating to compare the film 2001 with the novel version, one being a genuine work of art by Stanley Kubrick (see here), and the other being a kind of distillation of Clarke's views on some of the big questions (about life-as-we-know-it, the ever-surprising universe, and everything..?), some of which remain unanswered in 21st century. Although it's obviously a great shame that so little of Clarke's boundless optimism has survived the various social changes of the millennium, there can be no doubt that his visionary input into SF is a vital guiding light as we lurch towards whatever future state (or complete mess?) the world gets into next.
Saturday, 8 March 2008
Adapted from William Scheinman’s novel White Light, this is a double-sleaze Hellraiser dish with a side order of Society madness. Cronenberg weirdness? Ah, yes, old Crony might well be proud of his obvious influence here. He might even drool. Not too many horror films are daring enough to prompt fans to wonder, however briefly, about the sanity of the filmmakers. Even fewer new auteurs manage to hit the ground running with only their second feature. Writer-director Pratten allows his imagination free rein here (breaking with good taste like a bulldozer in a china shop), and the mature cast play along, bravely.
If you want to experience a raft of darkly whimsical surprises, acid-head flavoured grotesquery and perversion, in a mere 75 minutes of jaw-dropping fun and crazy sense-twisting games, here’s a 21st century brand of SF atrocity exhibit X that contrasts pretence with honesty, balances delight and disgust, exposes the shadowy aspects of human souls, and opens up the head of its main character with unflinching surgical precision.
Checkout the maker's website at zenfilms.com for more info, trailer, and latest updates.