Saturday, December 15, 2012


This week I've been reading Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others. Chiang is an unusual writer in contemporary science fiction. He's so far been exclusively a short fiction writer, and not a very prolific one. Also whatever out-there ideas he writes about, his prose remains measured and balanced, having the feel of fifties fiction from the slicks.

From my perspective it was coincidental to find out that his novella "Story of Your Life" had been optioned by Hollywood. The story is about a linguist whose contact with an alien race who experience time non-linearly affects her own perception of time. Being unusually structured and largely made up of conversations, it's an odd fit for a sci-fi movie. And if this one gets made there's a good chance it will be awful. CGI will make it easier than ever to visualize the Heptapods, but that's arguably the least important part.

"Hell is the Absence of God" could make a good movie. I don't know if there's a market for Christian fundamentalist fantasy noir, but it seems like there should be.


susan said...

I hadn't heard of Ted Chiang before but you've piqued my curiosity enough that I'm putting the book on my order list. The idea of a race of beings who experience time that way sounds fascinating. I'm pretty sure there'd be a market for Cffnoir but not likely in the heartland of America.

Ben said...

Despite hearing the name a while ago I had only read anything by him very recently. I really doubt he's a fundaentalist himself, but he's willing to explore all sorts of ideas in a fictional context. As for the movie, you'd probably want to keep it low budget.