Archive for August, 2013

The Drowned World

Back in March news emerged that Brad Anderson and Christian Bale were working on a film adaptation of JG Ballard’s Concrete Island. Hope then, that we’d see a return to the visceral oddities of Crash, and the lesser known filmic versions of Low Flying Aircraft and Home. Now, further good, no, fantastic news for all Ballard fans. Ben Wheatley – fresh from the monotone psychedelia of A Field in England – is to adapt Ballard’s novel High Rise. On the evidence of Kill List and Sight Seers, the stylised ultra-violence as the super tower descends from consumerist utopia to tribal warfare is in safe hands. Hopefully, both adaptations will be successful which, in turn, will drive further interest in the writer’s back catalogue. Warner’s have already optioned the rights to The Drowned World, so a posthumous revival of the man’s work appears to be on route.

Looking Landwards

It’s been a while since I posted any creative writing on Drozbot, but that isn’t an indication that my laurels have been crushed through inaction. No, the truth is that most of my finished stories are tied up with other publications or competitions. Which is a
good thing.

One that can be read now is Indetermination – an entry to the Quantum Shorts flash fiction competition being run by the Centre for Quantum Technologies. It’s initially a vote based system over there, so do feel free to have a read and then cast your opinion in the time-honoured tradition of the five start slider! The story had to be radically edited to fit the 1000 word limit, but I’ve included the long edit here in Drozbot’s Creative section for those interested. (See? Over to the right there. No, up a bit, right a little bit more… There you go.)

Some very welcome news also arrived from Ian Whates over at Newcon Press. Another story, entitled ‘Cellular Level’ is to be included in the ‘Looking Landwards’ anthology – commissioned by the Institute of Agricultural Engineers to celebrate their 75th anniversary (see image above). It’s a great honour to be selected, and my thanks to Storm Constantine – founder of Immanion Press – for her invaluable work on the edit.

Away from this success, three other stories still languish in the quantum uncertainty of various selection piles. ‘Multiplayer’ and ‘The Trip’ have been submitted to the Bridport Prize while ‘Voyeur-ger 1’ has been passed on to Interzone. Dependent on the outcome, you should be able to read all three ‘somewhere’ soon.

And finally, a friendly nod to John Houlihan who is about to summon up eldritch forces for an anthology stemming from his work on Achtung! Cthulhu published by Modiphius Entertainment. All the best with the project and thanks for the invite to contribute.

Science has fared better in theatrical acceptance than Sci-Fi of late, but perhaps this bias is beginning to shift. Sign up for the trip that is Grid Iron Theatre Company’s Leaving Planet Earth – currently being staged at the Edinburgh International Festival – and you’ll find a physically spectacular event based around classic SF themes. It’s sad to think that we really don’t have to look back that far to discover a more close-knit affinity between the genre and the stage – take the theatrical heritage of George Méliès, or perhaps our contemporary ease with the word ‘robot’ thanks to Josef and Karel Čapek’s play RUR, not forgetting Ken Campbell’s audacious staging of the Illuminatus Trilogy of course.

So it’s with a sense of hope and reassurance that I’ve collated a series of SF-based events gathered from some fairly recent listings. Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris was given an operatic treatment at Bregenz Festival 2012, meanwhile Terry Gilliam’s influential Brazil was turned into an excellent piece of installation art by the London-based Secret Cinema. Also, returning to the Edinburgh Festival, it’s great to see The Alchemist Theatre Company combining SF and puppetry in their fringe show Humans Inc.

Still a way to for those wanting a speculative West End experience that doesn’t begin and end with We Will Rock You, but look to the sold out run of Leaving Planet Earth and you’ll find a valid argument that there is an audience for this type of theatrical experience.