The science fiction world lost two storytellers this summer, Ray Bradbury and Harry Harrison.
I never met Harry, but I felt like I got to know Ray a little bit, just from how much director Roger Lay, Jr had talked about him and about working with him while they were making the film Chrysalis several years ago. Seeing how Roger glowed every time he mentioned how much Ray enjoyed the finished movie and appreciated how it kept the feel of the original story made an impression. Big difference from A Sound of Thunder, I’d imagine.
I don’t know that anyone’s tried to make films out of Harrison’s stories, like Stainless Steel Rat or Bill the Galactic Hero (other than Soylent Green, of course), but we’ve all seen the end results of finished movies where storytelling took a back seat to special effects and spectacular stunts (or was left entirely on the cutting room floor)… the movie we see might be entertaining, but it doesn’t move you or leave you asking questions, or wanting to see it again and again and again.
Those are the types of stories we as humans need more of, and maybe that deep appreciation of the story is what’s missing from most major studio projects these days. The question is, how does the consumer convince the studios that more story and less boom could not only make us happier viewers, but also make them more money in the long run?
I don’t think they’re listening to us quite yet.