Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thanks for all the fish!

Thanks to all the commenters here and at The Valve for the suggestions and information about SF novels; I certainly have a reading list now. (And please keep the suggestions coming if you still have them!)

I think I'm going to get started with Solaris—I already have some familiarity with it through Tarkovsky's adaptation (but not, thankfully, Soderbergh's), and Rich's comments about it on The Valve make it seem like an important starting place: he says, "It’s just that if you’re going to try hard SF, I think you’re better off with Solaris first; if you don’t like it, you’re not going to like anything in the subgenre," and, "I was particularly struck by Solaris because I have a science background, and it’s one of the few SF books I’ve read that struck me as really having anything to do with actual science." That sounds very interesting to me. Octavia Butler's coming after that. And Adam Roberts's Land of the Headless is likely in flight somewhere from Amazon to me. Others will follow, no doubt.

I'll (of course) keep you all updated on my progress. Thanks again!

6 comments:

Richard said...

I have to defend Soderbergh's Solaris. It may or may not have much to do with Lem's novel, which I have yet to read, but I think it's an excellent, unfairly maligned film in its own right. I've seen the Tarkovsky film twice, and I'd say they are similar, obviously, but with different emphases.

Andrew Seal said...

Huh. I just feel like Soderbergh is generally on the high-concept/low-execution end of filmmaking, and that remaking a Tarkovsky film in that manner is particularly dangerous. But I guess I should probably see it to find out.

Have you seen Danny Boyle's Sunshine?

Richard said...

It never would have occurred to me to put Soderbergh in a "high concept/low execution" slot. If anything, it's too often the reverse. That is, assuming I mean the same thing you do!

Andrew Seal said...

I feel like "Bubble" would definitely fit in that category, as well as the new film, The Girlfriend Experience. His commercial stuff, of course, different story.

Richard said...

Naturally, I haven't seen either Bubble or The Girlfriend Experience. But I was thinking on the one hand of The Limey and Sex, Lies, and Videotape, and on the other, stuff like Out of Sight and the Ocean's movies. All are very well executed, but the first two are more high concept than the last group. (Though, given the apparent lack of coherence of the plot in the second and third Ocean movies, I'm inclined to think those films had some other conceptual organizing principle than "heist flick".)

I've read some interesting reviews of both of the movies you mentioned, so I'm curious...

Richard said...

But we were talking about Solaris... you might be interested in this discussion about the film over at The House Next Door film blog. It's quite long, but even if you skim it, there's much to consider.