July 02, 2005

Better dead than read.

I'm trying to work my way through the sci-fi movie canon, or if there is no such thing, then at least the vast category of Major Sci-Fi Movies I Haven't Yet Seen. Greencine is helping with this; in the last two weeks we've rented and watched Dune and Blade Runner. That's one faithful adaptation of a book I vaguely remember liking, and one extremely loose adaptation of a book I adored and continue to adore.

We watched Blade Runner first. It was nice to look at, and they got some important things right (for instance, there was no way Deckard could win a hand-to-hand fight against Roy Baty). Other than that, I hated it. It wasn't Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and while I realize it wasn't supposed to be, I think the parts they skipped were the best things in the book. The desperate, reflexive protection of living things, the ravaged emptiness of the post-war world, and the cult--Mercerism--that sprang up to offer what people needed most in that time and place, which was empathy. It's such a tremendously intriguing setup that some of the best scenes in the book are the ones that just set up the background. And then there's my favorite hardly-fictional science fiction invention ever, the creepy, invasive Penfield mood organ. They tossed all that out the window and made it a find-the-monster-outside find-the-monster-inside story. But at least it was attractive, right?

Then we watched Dune, and I dearly wished to be back watching Blade Runner again. I blame that squarely on David Lynch. He has an incomprehensible passion for casting Kyle McLachlan as mysteriously important and importantly mysterious characters who muse repeatedly over things until you're sick of hearing their voices. No, I wasn't turned off by Twin Peaks; why do you ask? It's been probably eight years since I read Dune, so I don't honestly remember if it was as self-important and tried as desperately to be eerie as the movie did. I suspect it wasn't and didn't. I might have to read it again to be sure. At the very least I know it had fewer shots of Sting making weird faces, and that's got to be good.

So far the Sci-Fi Canon Project has done little except convince me that sci-fi is better read than viewed. That's partly inherent in the genre; visions of the future, when made into film, are usually terminally tied to the era in which they were created instead of the era they're trying to evoke. Sometimes the books are too, but lucky and gifted authors can escape it. Somehow the movie directors don't seem to manage as well, or at least, when they're weird masturbatory bastards like David Lynch, they don't manage as well.

I'm posting this from the safety and comfort of my own home, thanks to a cheap-as-sin used monitor and two helpful men named Jacob (the other one was the clerk at Computer Renaissance in Pleasant Hill). It's spectacularly awesome not to have to share a computer, particularly when the person whose computer you're sharing is more of a computer geek than you are. It makes for not too much computer time.

Fun activity, relevant to the above entry: Google shai hulud. Then Google shai hulud dune. That's right, it's a horrendous aggro screamy band named after a sci-fi monster. I have a small handful of mp3s of their songs (acquired in a period of "oh hell my boyfriend listens to this stuff I have to at least try it"), and I must tell you that merely reading about the hilarity doesn't do it justice. Notable song titles include "The Bonds Of Those Who Have No Understanding Of Consequence" and "Eating Bullets of Acceptance". But now you know the secret: they're even bigger dorks than you or I.

Posted by dianna at July 2, 2005 06:12 PM

There was this guy in college that nobody really like who had a band called Gom Jabar. Isn't that a character in Dune? I think it is.
I've been working my way slowly through the sci-fi canon myself lately. I just saw the first two Alien movies the other day.

Posted by: jason s at July 3, 2005 02:39 PM

A reference to a different bent of "sci-fi", but I think one of the greatest unused band names is "The Howling Fantods".

Also, I've always found it really fun -- when you're in the right company -- to suddently shout out "Muad'Dib!" as a completely random non-sequitur.

Posted by: Chester at July 5, 2005 10:25 AM

the howling fantods is a fantastic name. i do not know you, chester, but i salute you.

Posted by: didofoot at July 5, 2005 11:22 AM

ps i also like the froods, though possibly that's in use.

Posted by: didofoot at July 5, 2005 11:22 AM

yeah shai hulud is a hardcore band that i think is on trustkill records. lots of hardcore music is crappy but there are some good ones in the lot. shai hulud isn't one of them in my opinion though. a good screamy band? check out the bronx

Posted by: max at July 6, 2005 09:10 AM

The Bronx. Noted.

I'll admit to liking Converge and (oh god) Saetia, also courtesy of the aforementioned ex-boyfriend. But Shai Hulud I keep in a separate folder labelled "don't ever listen to this".

Posted by: Dianna at July 6, 2005 09:50 AM

u all suck

Posted by: boobzilla at December 31, 2005 06:36 PM

i like ur mother...but it might be used

Posted by: thomas at December 31, 2005 06:37 PM