Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

SF Writers On SF Films: From Akira To Zardoz

with 6 comments

I know, I know, it is a bit of a cheesy and obvious title but it does capture both the essential nature of this project and the eclectic results it has produced.

A couple of years ago, PS Publishing put out a book edited by Mark Morris called Cinema Macabre. The idea was simple but brilliant: get a bunch of horror writers to write about horror films. In fact, this was such a good idea that I have ripped it off for this booklet by simply substituting SF for horror.

When I started approaching writers, I knew that I didn’t necessarily want this to end up as a best of list, rather I wanted a bunch of films people loved. Ian Watson opens his piece by saying “Dark City is the only film which has caused me to build a garden feature”. That is exactly what I was after. This means that in this pamphlet you will find people writing about such diverse films as Lilo & Stitch, Robocop 2 and yes, Zardoz.

This isn’t just an exercise in contrarianism though. Adam Roberts and Paul McAuley – writing about Blade Runner and 2001, respectively – show that some films are loved precisely because they are the real deal. Sometimes the canon is there for a reason.

There was only room for sixteen contributions to this supplement but it is still interesting to see what the gaps are. Star Wars and The Matrix are referenced but not chosen. Perhaps surprisingly no one picked Alien but we have two views of Aliens, both with testicles (Neal Asher) and without (Jaine Fenn).

Hopefully the passion for science fiction cinema on display here will rub off on the reader. Certainly I don’t see how Gwyneth Jones’s gleeful exegesis for The Fifth Element could fail to fire your enthusiasm. And Philip Palmer has even persuaded me to watch Robocop 2 again, which is something I never thought I would say.

Written by Martin

10 August 2009 at 14:52

Posted in criticism, films, sf

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6 Responses

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  1. This is the introduction to SF Writers On SF Films: From Akira To Zardoz, the fifth in a series of special pamphlets produced by the BSFA. It was published in Summer 2009, alongside Vector #260.


    10 August 2009 at 15:00

  2. Got mine this morning. Good work Sir.

    There are some interesting and unexpected choices in there. This is precisely the kind of thing that the BSFA should be doing with their chapbooks.

    Jonathan M

    10 August 2009 at 16:18

  3. […] The latest mailing from the BSFA has arrived. It includes a special pamphlet edited by me called SF Writers On SF Films: From Akira To Zardoz. It does exactly what it says on the tin. As I said, Matrix has relaunched (although the whole site […]

  4. I’m looking forward to reading this. Cinema Macabre was sent out free to BFS members during the year I was with them, and I liked the concept but was only familiar with a few of the films. I’m sure I’ll fare better with this chapbook!


    11 August 2009 at 10:10

  5. […] writers on SF film: from Akira to Zardoz, edited by Martin Lewis, who has posted about the booklet here. Adam Roberts has posted his contribution, on Blade Runner, […]

  6. […] to put up or shut up and get involved with the organisation. The result was a special BSFA booklet, SF Writers On SF Films: From Akira To Zardoz (remember that?). The experience was obviously a good one as I came back for more when the role of […]

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