SF Writers On SF Films: From Akira To Zardoz
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.