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news, magazines, webzines

SF in film and TV
July 1999

The New Yorker August 2
Alex Ross parodies the Kubrick-memoir genre (page 37; not online).

Entertainment Weekly July 23
In addition to an article about the making of Eyes Wide Shut, the issue has a ranking of the 25 Scariest Movies of All Time, beginning with The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Alien, The Silence of the Lambs, and Halloween. Also: audiobook reviews including one of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Time Warner Audiobooks, 1994), read by Matthew Modine and Calista Flockhart; rating: B. [Not online]


Eyes on Kubrick

Brian Aldiss's 484-page autobiography The Twinkling of an Eye (St. Martin's) has a few pages about Stanley Kubrick; A.I. was inspired by Aldiss's short story ''Super-Toys Last All Summer Long'' and was to have been developed along the lines of Pinnochio.

As he had made a two-thousand-word story by Arthur C. Clarke, 'The Sentinel', into 2001: A Space Odyssey, so he hoped to achieve something similar with my 'Super-Toys', another two-thousand worder. At first, I was against the idea, preferring to keep my story as a vignette; but one fatal day, when Margaret and I were breakfasting in Woodlands, a sudden vision came to me of how it might be expanded. I rang Stanley. I went to work with him in his pad, which is approximately the size of Blenheim Palace. He did not accept my idea. [page 433]
Kubrick first contacted Aldiss in 1976; he contracted Aldiss beginning 1982.
A limousine arrived in our drive every morning to collect me. I worked alone or with Stanley in his house, lunched with him, worked until the limousine took me home. There I worked again on what we had discussed, finally faxing the results to him at about midnight.
The mode of work was exactly as described [see items below] by Watson and Raphael: developing ideas, receiving encouragement or rejection, until...
Stanley and I parted company in the end and my old friend Bob Shaw took over. ... Later, Arthur Clarke wrote Kubrick a concluding episode to 'Supertoys', taking the whole shebang into the galaxy and beyond. Even than seemed to gain no approval.

By the time I left Castle Kubrick, I had amassed 328 pages of notes, research items and storylines which were never used. ...

(Wed 21 Jul 1999)

§ The New York Times June 18
Gregory Feeley has a long article about Stanley Kubrick's last science fiction project: A.I., whose development involved writers Brian W. Aldiss, Bob Shaw, and Ian Watson.

...the work that was completed, including drawings, special-effects test sequences and hundreds of pages of story development, suggests that ''A.I.'' would have been Kubrick's most intense and definitive vision of humanity in the throes of becoming something other than human: a science-fiction epic of enormous ambition.

Playboy August
Ian Watson's ''My Adventures with Stanley Kubrick'' [not online] follows the author's involvement with the development of A.I. in the early 1990s. The article (a shorter version was published in March in The New Yorker, excerpted here) focuses as much on Kubrick's eccentricies as on the development of the original Aldiss short story.

Sometimes what I faxed to Stanley please him. ''You're on a roll, Ian. Carry on. God bless you.'' ... On other occasions he would chastise me over the phone. ''It's like you're writing a B movie for a moron'' was one of his pithier castigations. After a run of scenes he had savaged, he called and conceded, ''It happens to read well today.'' ''Maybe it isn't an accident that it reads well,'' I suggested. ''I know you're trying to befuddle me,'' came the reply. Ah, he had seen through me! As he said when I attmpted to defend a scene, ''The trouble with you writers is you think your words are immortal.''

Eyes Wide Open: A Memoir of Stanley Kubrick by Frederic Raphael (Ballantine 0-345-43776-4, $12.00, 190pp, tpb, July 1999)

Raphael, screenwriter for Eyes Wide Shut, expressed early disinterest if the project was to be science fiction [page 25]:

S.K. Do you want to work on it or not?
F.R. Of course I do. I was afraid it might be science fiction.
S.K. Don't you like science fiction?
F.R. I never read it. I never feel remotely interested in people who are going to be alive three centuries after I'm dead, do you?
S.K. I don't know about people. Situations, yes.
And on page 75:
..[Kubrick] could become impatient with the very experts on whom he had depended: Arthur C. Clarke, for instance, had become too regularly effusive in dispensing intelligence.

S.K. He keeps sending me all these faxes. Pretty well every day I get a shitload of stuff from him. Did you ever see the movie they made called 2010?
F.R. I did, as a matter of fact.
S.K. What did you think?
F.R. I didn't stay till the end. It... wasn't directed by Stanley Kubrick, was it?
S.K. Know what they did? They explained everything. they told you what everything meant. Killed it. You tell people what things mean, they don't mean anything anymore.

(Tue 20 Jul 1999)

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