At tonight's BSFA meeting
Christopher Priest was talking on some of the differences between the Prestige film and his book. One of which I was going to ask him about but owlfish
's friend got to first, and phrased better than me.
IIRC in the book, things are going very badly wrong for one of the Magicians, and his female assistant decides to help him by going to find out what his rival is up to.
Whereas in the film, things go slightly wrong, and the Magician tells her to go find out what's going on, so off she goes.
Priest felt that this was a weak motivation, but hadn't seen that it removed the power of the decision from the women. In fact due to this sort of thing the film fails to pass the Bechdel test
, as at no point do two women talk to each other about anything other than men.
On Writing Techniques:
As it says in my profile I usually have at least 4 half written posts on the go at any one time. So the idea of someone completing a novel, let alone multiple ones, always intrigues me. I often ask authors about how they write novels.
One author (whose name temporarily escapes me) said that he works out the structure with post it notes, which he can shuffle around until he has the scaffolding on which to hang the story on.
On the other end of the scale was Diana Wynne Jones, who said when visualises a scene in the middle of the novel, and tries to write towards it, and is then surprised by whatever comes next. In fact she has to abandon many draft novels as it they don't turn into stories worth telling.
I asked Christopher Priest how he handles it, since his novels are often convoluted to put it simply. With events preceding causes, and causes being unclear, and ambiguous. I assumed he must have to do some heavy plotting before hand to get it all together. In fact he referred to his own work to a tesseract, or an Escher drawing. With impossibilities, and ambiguities being inherent in it. Saying that each one is just written in an organic manor, welcoming mistakes, and incorporating them into the flow.
On Fandom Origin Stories:
Fandom/BSFA origin stories interest me at the moment. Have done for a while. I keep meaning to write mine up. Here are some of the reasons why:
- I spent Sunday trying to sell the concept of Fandom to comic and film fans.
- I read Farah's Origin story recently and am fascinated by the differences, and similarities with my own.
- I was chatting about the work that goes into a World Con, and realised that the lead times can be longer than the entire life of essentially fannish organisations!
- I have a set of notes I jotted down from a conversation with Jonathan Cowie on how to recruit new fans, that I keep meaning to have a better look at.
So Christopher Priest's Origin story is really amazing. He had an anthology Penguin Science Fiction anthology edited by Brian Aldis and the introduction mentioned that he was president of the BSFA.
He thought nothing of it until he saw a review in newspaper which gave a typically offhand dismissive comment on SF
. The next day the published a letter from Brian Aldis correcting the reviewers remarks, which included his address. So Christopher Priest wrote to him, and asked if the BSFA was for published authors only, or if fans could join. Brian Aldis wrote back, and Christopher Priest has been a member ever since.
I may start collecting these properly for a fanzine.