I took this evening off and, during the general and delicious R&R, watched Quatermass and the Pit. What a fabulous movie, and so ahead of its time. What makes it especially brilliant is the script - Nigel Kneale, of course - written in the fifties, revised in the sixties for the film, and absolutely dead on the noughties zeitgeist. As a writer of sf (albeit of the combat variety), it’s humbling to see so many relevant and oh-so contemporary themes right there, in a 1967 film. And we think the new stuff is new. There are no new ideas. Well, there are, but they’re staggeringly scarce and none of us are having any of them. I advise you all to watch it, anyway. It so shockingly prefigures Who and so many genre moments (Carrie, the Fury, Test Match Special... and I could go on). And yes, I know Who predates 1967. But not the original version of QatP. It would not be a surprise to me to learn that Russell T. and many of the writers and producers in the long legacy of Who were inspired by Quatermass in general and QatP in particular.
In tone, if nothing else.
Moving swiftly along (yes, Test Match Special WAS a joke), I have been asked a number of times to share some writing tips (of which, of course, I must have many) with the world. So here goes, the first of an occasional series of writerist observations:
Dan’s Writing Tips #1
Sometimes, a project - a novel, a story, a script - is like a piñata. The plot just hangs there and wants you to take a smack at it. A couple of solid thwacks, maybe, just to open it up. Then you have to keep on smacking it to get at all its goodies. It may resist and require a lot of smacking. Some projects are tough like that. Legion is like that.
To sum up: keep swinging. You’ll break the bastard eventually.
Today, Nik referred to Laurence Fishburne as “Loren Finchperson”. Later (during QatP, actually) she called a belisha beacon a “Beleeka Beeshon”. I don’t mean to mock. I just think that today may be National Lexical Drop-Out Day.
And now, before we drift off into sunday-land, here’s the first in a string of short short stories, exclusive to this blog. Short short story one is called..
Quatermouse and the Writ
“But I wasn’t anywhere near the Ballspond Road that night!” complained Professor Bernard Quatermouse.
“Whatever,” said the server, “you’ve just been sued.’
Humm. Piñatas, like I said.