Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Loneliness Of The Science Fiction Writer [Review: Martian Child]

Martian Child is a film, based on a semi-autobiographical novel, about the relationship between a science fiction writer and his adopted child who believes he is from Mars. It’s a nice gentle but sincere drama, a kind of mixture of K-PAX and E.T. with some occasional silliness. It's reviewed on Mish Sci Fi Musings here – I’m glad I followed up the recommendation and have nothing more to add either about the film as a whole or the adaptations made by the novelist when writing the screenplay.

Two thoughts, though: firstly, science fiction writers are always portrayed as loners in fiction, with Tony Leung in 2046 playing perhaps the loneliest of all. Here John Cusack’s character is doubly alone, having spent his own childhood inventing fantasies, and more recently become a widower. I don’t think this reflects real life, the few sci-fi authors I know or have met seem to be pretty gregarious types.

Secondly, where did all that Polaroid film come from? If I’ve read one blog about the artistic merits of this obsolete photographic format I’ve read about a billion, and every single one bemoans the difficulty in obtaining film stock. There’s even an open-source style project by Polaroiders to invent an alternative. Yet a child in a care home is apparently able to score an unlimited supply: someone should check out that child’s eBay account.


Joanna said...

The movie sounds pretty good, I think I'll give it a go, I sort of like Sci Fi. But the main character sounds a bit overmuch and theatrically built. Another lonely science fiction writer seems a bit too much. After all, the human contact and the sharing of experiences can help a writer's fantasy much more than loneliness

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Hi Joanna, hope you enjoy the movie. I think you're right - luckily in the real world there are plenty of writers who have these experiences to share.