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Alien Screenwriter Dan O'Bannon, Dead At 63

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the fare-thee-well-nostromo dept.

Sci-Fi 139

Dave Knott writes "The notable science fiction screenwriter and director Dan O'Bannon has died at the age of 63. O'Bannon's career began with a writing credit for John Carpenter's Dark Star and he went on the write many enduring science fiction and horror films such as Blue Thunder, Lifeforce, Screamers and Total Recall. He was also an occasional director, whose credits include The Return Of The Living Dead, the campy horror film that made popular the zombie chant of 'braaiiiinnnsss.' However, he will be best remembered as the writer of Alien, one of the all-time classics of both the science fiction and horror genres. O'Bannon died after a 30 year battle with Crohn's disease and is survived by his wife, Diane, and son, Adam."

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Unfortunate (2, Insightful)

nerdtalker (1541099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30497666)

That's sad, I wonder whether he got to see Avatar. Alien is a masterwork of a sci-fi movie though. I almost put it on when I got home today.

Re:Unfortunate (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30498054)

Avatar? Pass, that movie looks like a bad video game. Cameron's Aliens and the original terminator and the only films of his I've willingly sat through twice.

I thought Dan O'Bannons PKD adaptations were okay, Total Recall made for entertaining mainstream fare and Screamers I enjoyed (although it's far from being a good film). Alien is an example of what a good script can become when it's given over to someone with talent. It wasn't until the studio saw some of Ridley Scotts pre-production art that they realised what they had. Most hack directors would have seen a bug-eyed monster B movie, Scott saw something else entirely.

The time was right for Alien, by way of the never-made '70s Dune movie that a few of the team, O'Bannon and Geiger included, had worked on. Not to discount the 'Star Beast' script but what you see on screen was a group effort. I don't want to give the impression I'm pissing on the guys grave, the studio execs and writers reponsible for Alien3 and onwards have been pissing in that hole for a very long time.

Alien was a small part of what O'Bannon was responsible for. [denofgeek.com]

Re:Unfortunate (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498328)

I agree. I think Avatar is going to be the most overrated movie for sometime. That happens with a lot of Cameron's movies.

Re:Unfortunate (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499096)

I saw the trailer and thought "Dances With Wolves" ...IN SPACE!

Re:Unfortunate (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499222)

Big deal. I saw Dance With Wolves as Little Big Man...DURING THE CIVIL WAR!

Avatar may not be a great movie, but using the "this story's been told before" argument is weak. There are only two types of stories in the world, anyway: Man Goes On A Journey, or A Stranger Comes To Town.

Sad. You'd think geeks would be a little more au fait with their storytelling tropes.

Re:Unfortunate (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30499400)

There are only two types of stories in the world, anyway: Man Goes On A Journey, or A Stranger Comes To Town.

That's the kind of fatuous crap that unimaginative Hollywood execs say at parties to try to sound clever. The only way you can say "there are only x type of stories" is to vastly oversimplify.
  Which of those two is Romeo and Juliet, hmmm?

  You'd think geeks would know better, with their predilection for speculative fiction, a group of genres that have a knack for breaking out unconventional storylines. What story type is Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker? How about Lovecraft's The Doom that Came to Sarnath?
  There are at least as many stories as there are good storytellers -- any good storyteller has one original story in him, at the bare minimum.

Re:Unfortunate (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499768)

There are only two types of stories in the world, anyway: Man Goes On A Journey, or A Stranger Comes To Town.

Which of those two is Romeo and Juliet, hmmm?

Its the first one, love is a journey.

O'Bannon was Pinback! (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#30501104)

"I do not like the men on this spaceship. They are uncouth and fail to appreciate my better qualities. I have something of value to contribute to this mission if they would only recognize it. Today over lunch I tried to improve morale and build a sense of camaraderie among the men by holding a humorous, round-robin discussion of the early days of the mission. My overtures were brutally rejected. These men do not want a happy ship. They are deeply sick and try to compensate by making me feel miserable. Last week was my birthday. Nobody even said "happy birthday" to me. Someday this tape will be played and then they'll feel sorry."

Re:Unfortunate (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30500060)

More like "Winds of Altair" but with humanoids instead of 6-legged lions and magic rocks instead of living space.

Re:Unfortunate (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498104)

I am with you. I was looking for something worthy of really testing out a new home theater system and that hits the mark perfectly.

in usa 95 years to get his works free (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498294)

yea whose the lazy inheritors of his stuff

P.S. whenever the work was created +50 years in Canada

its all still sick
good works crappy system for society to enjoy his stuff.

My heart goes out to him... (5, Informative)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30497674)

As a 32 year old fellow sufferer of an extremely serious case of Crohn's Disease, I can tell you that it is a terrible battle: every day I face large amounts of pain and feelings of illness (e.g. my hemoglobin is 70 due to internal bleeding and should be around 170, making it difficult for me to do anything without feeling exhausted - walking up a flight of stairs nearly makes me faint). Crohn's has stripped me of my quality of life: the limitations it places on me make every day a challenge and it has stripped me of many of my dreams. Indeed, it got so bad that, seeing it as my last option, I tried to kill myself last May to escape from the ravages of this disease (I would have been successful, but I was discovered before I died). Right now I wait for surgery to remove 1 m of my intestines, which should help the situation, but euthanasia is still an option I consider to continue and will pursue if the surgery does not improve my quality of life.

Crohn's research is seriously underfunded, and the cause of this disease or its sister disease, Ulcerative Colitis, is not known. Also, the incidence of Crohn's appears to be on the rise to the point where some countries (e.g. Scotland) have deemed it a near epidemic. I urge you, if you like O'Bannon's work, to make a donation to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation in your country:

USA: http://www.ccfa.org/ [ccfa.org]
Canada: http://www.ccfc.ca/ [www.ccfc.ca]

Re:My heart goes out to him... (-1, Troll)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30497756)

I tried to kill myself ... (I would have been successful, but I was discovered before I died).
euthanasia is still an option I consider to continue

I guess after an attempted suicide, "they" won't let you do buy a pistol and do it right. There's always the black market...

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1, Interesting)

Beve Jates (1393457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498312)

Actually that's not the "right" way to do it. There is too much of a chance that it won't kill you. Also, consider the poor people that have to clean up after you and consider the aftermath your family would have to be looking at.

There are painless, humane and 100% guaranteed ways to do it. I won't post the best method but there is a description on Wikipedia and I'm sure a simple search for assisted suicide will provide enough information.

Not that I in any way recommend this person kill themselves. Often it can be worth the suffering just for the benefit of your family and sometimes they have medical breakthroughs regarding whatever you are suffering from. With that said, I can see where suicide may be a viable option when all you experience is constant pain.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (-1, Troll)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498972)

There is too much of a chance that it won't kill you.

Ehh. Barrel in the mouth, aiming upwards.

I'd try a knife slit, though, to the side of the neck, to slit the jugular vein. Maybe some aspirin first, to thin the blood.

Also, consider the poor people that have to clean up after you

That's why you do it in the tub.

and consider the aftermath your family would have to be looking at.

He must have already considered that before his first attempt.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30497812)

A nasty illness to be sure


        * persistent diarrhoea
        * abdominal pain
        * cramping
        * rectal bleeding
        * fever
        * weight loss
        * skin or eye irritations
        * delayed growth in children.

More links

Ireland: http://www.iscc.ie/
Europe: http://www.efcca.org/

p.s Alien is easily one of the best Sci-Fi movies of all time if not the best. Like Yorkie, it's not for girls! (except bad-ass girls)

Re:My heart goes out to him... (2, Informative)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498260)

Should anyone be curious, here's a link to a LiveJournal post where I ask my fellow members of one of LJ's more prominent IBD (inflammatory bowel disease, a collective term for Crohn's, colitis, and a couple other conditions) communities how they describe their Crohn's Disease to other people. I found the answers quite interesting:

http://community.livejournal.com/we_got_guts/569491.html [livejournal.com]

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | more than 4 years ago | (#30497870)

My sympathies go out to his family as this hit close to home for me for different reasons.
My father also just died (Nov 25th)at 63 in a car accident, my brother also in the same crash. I miss them both
pretty badly. Especially my brother as he was my best friend also.
    It's something you more get used to than over as the pain becomes a reminder of the love in your heart and the good memories allow you to cope more as time goes on.
    My advice is to say the things you'd regret not saying to those you care about NOW, my brother was only 35 and you just don't know when someones number is up. My dad's house and my brother's room in our apartment look like they just stepped out for a couple hours and indeed they had. Don't wait for tomorrow or next week, it might be to late then.
      I hope his family can find solace in one another and the knowledge that he left good works that will persist in the memories of so many fans.
      No comfort can equal the pain, but I wish them all they can find. And the fewer that truly understand this, the better.


Re:My heart goes out to him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30497926)

I have Crohns as well, but due to a strict low residue and bland diet along with the drug Infliximab [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infliximab] which I have been getting for the last two years my quality of life has improved dramatically from where it was.

As for O'Bannon, Alien is a classic that helped bring Sci-Fi to the masses imho.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (4, Interesting)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498074)

I'm also on Remicade (infliximab), at a much higher than standard dosage (700 mg / 6 weeks). It has made a huge difference in my life: prior to starting it, I spent six months in bed with a near constant fever of 102-104F, weight loss of 60 lbs, night sweats, severe malnutrition, 20-30 bowel movements per day, vomiting, etc. About ten minutes after my first administration, for the first time in six months, I didn't have a fever.

Unfortunately, though, my Crohn's is very aggressive, and Remicade just isn't enough: colonoscopies demonstrate significant areas of active disease throughout my intestines. I'm still substantially ill and my quality of life, while much better, is still extremely low compared to a normal person. Part of the issue is that I have extreme thickening of 60 cm of small intestine just above the terminal ileum, and 30 cm of large intestine in the descending / sigmoid colon, so I get a lot of intestinal blockages (usually one partial blockage per day, sometimes more). Because of this, food is quite terrifying for me, and there are few foods I can eat that don't seem to affect me (right now my diet is limited to four foods that seem to be completely safe). This sucks, because I'm actually a huge foodie and absolutely adore food: it's my main passion in life and has been for many years. Indeed, at one point, I nearly left my PhD CS program to pursue culinary school. Thank goodness I didn't, as someone with a bowel disease like Crohn's would have many challenges in such a career.

Right now I'm receiving monthly blood transfusions to try to increase my hemoglobin levels and general nutrition, and waiting for surgery. Unfortunately, the wait time for my surgeon is 6-9 months (*sigh*... Canadian health care system is just too slow). My blockages have been getting progressively worse, so I'm not sure that I will be able to make it that long.

Thank goodness I was able to find a family doctor willing to prescribe pain medication. I would most certainly have killed myself by now had it not been for that. This seems to be a huge problem, though, for Crohn's sufferers: many people simply can't find doctors willing to help them manage their pain. When I moved a year ago, one of the GPs I visited in my attempts to find a new doctor, upon hearing my list of medications (which is extensive: I also take Cipro, Pentasa, Oxycontin, and Percocet for my Crohn's in addition to other medications for other health problems), basically spent 15 minutes telling me off and accusing me of being a junky who was trying to use him to feed my addiction. I was too sick at the time to argue or fight back, but I left in tears (and I'm not known to have a propensity for crying), and it was a terrible experience and made me feel absolutely horrible.

The demonization of opioids and the stigmas attached to them make it extremely difficult for one to seek adequate pain management. This is even more troubling because when one is in pain, it is already difficult to muster up the strength to perform basic daily tasks, let alone go through the process of interviewing doctors and advocating for yourself to find someone who will treat you properly. It seems that O'Bannon was well acquainted with this, based on the fact that, according to the article, he was working on a screenplay called "The Pain Clinic".

I'm so glad to hear that Remicade is working well for you, and I hope that that continues! Best of luck!

Re:My heart goes out to him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30499292)

There is a new drug called Humira (brand name) that is fully humanised and what my specialist told me can be administered in a insulin pen like form (thus self administering).

It's not NICE approved yet in the UK meaning you can't get it on the NHS just yet, that is unless you have a reaction to Remicade in which case you can.

Must say the NHS has been a godsend for me, MRI scans (all 6 of them) within a week or even just a day later (yes I was gob-smacked, this is supposed to be the NHS! ;p), no problems with specialists, surgeries etc and been taken really good care of. I only shudder at having to do private medical cover and costs for what I have had. (BUPA won't cover me for anything to do with my illness or even possibly related unless I pay for those treatments :( )

An interesting article I read a while ago was that Crohns and certain types of Diabetes share a common gene, makes sense, the body attacking itself.

Crohns is one of those things you find people suffer in silence with, or get funny looks when you order food at a restaurant without x,y,z, no alcohol etc. Although I have make some people squirm when describing what it actually is!

Anyhow I hope you improve and find something to help you.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30501102)

The demonization of opioids and the stigmas attached to them make it extremely difficult for one to seek adequate pain management. This is even more troubling because when one is in pain, it is already difficult to muster up the strength to perform basic daily tasks, let alone go through the process of interviewing doctors and advocating for yourself to find someone who will treat you properly. It seems that O'Bannon was well acquainted with this, based on the fact that, according to the article, he was working on a screenplay called "The Pain Clinic".

There was an article in the New York Times magazine about this -- link here. [nytimes.com] If you have personal experience, maybe you're already familiar with it; I only mention it because I read it recently and thought it raised really important and interesting issues. Maybe it could be useful for people who are struggling with this problem.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499036)

My doctor currently has me on a different immune suppressor as well as collazide and a small dose (30mg or so a week) of prednisolone for my relatively mild case (thank your deity of choice) of crohns, its dealing with it quite well, however the main side effect of the damn steroid is rapid weight gain, I am struggling constantly to maintain my body weight (without that particular drug I would be dropping about a kilo a fortnight).

Might ask my specialist if he could consider that drug in my case, would be damn good to be able to eat a regular amount of food again.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499638)

Remicade (infliximab) and Humira (adalimumab) are specific immunosuppressants: they only inhibit TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha). For this reason, they're better than the traditional immunosuppressants in the treatment of Crohn's, and tend to have fewer side effects. The problem is that they do have some possible side effects that are quite terrifying (highly increased risk of some types of cancer, for example), and given that Remicade is made from mouse proteins, it can cause severe allergic reactions in some people.

Still, for Crohn's, I highly recommend trying Remicade. It's a miracle drug for many people, and not only puts Crohn's into remission, but begins to heal the damage that was caused by Crohn's itself. The only other problem is cost: a typical treatment schedule runs about $50,000 - $100,000 / year. It's administered in the hospital every eight weeks via IV over a period of three hours or so.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30500132)

Wow, $50k-100k, my Specialist said it costs the NHS in the UK £17,000, (that's about $27,000). Maybe the NHS gets a better deal buying in bulk? *shrugs*

But yes it really kicked my Crohns into touch and so far been flare free for near 3 years and put on weight! :)

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

IllForgetMyNickSoonA (748496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498036)

Man, that sucks, sorry to hear that. I most sincerely hope the surgery will improve your condition!

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498140)

Thank you for the kind words. They're very much appreciated. I feel confident that the surgery will help - I just have my fingers crossed that the difference will be enough!

Re:My heart goes out to him... (0, Offtopic)

sbbshoe058 (1703986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498144)

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Re:My heart goes out to him... (3, Insightful)

g253 (855070) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498288)

Hey, I know this is just an online forum, but I feel I gotta say what I'm suprised noone else has said yet : don't kill yourself!
Seriously, I won't claim I know how you feel because I can't possibly fathom what it must be like to suffer that much. But I know there are some people who carry on despite terrible diseases and constant pain, so I know it must be possible somehow. Adaptation takes time, I guess, but I think it's possible.

The point is, you can never know for sure what life has in store. It may seem completely hopeless now, but what if six months after you kill yourself some researcher stumbles entirely by chance upon a new drug that works wonders for Crohn's? You won't be able to feel silly, because you'll be dead. Besides, you never know what an individual can bring to others, or just how important he can be. What if you turn out to have a child that becomes the new Gandhi? What if your friendship and example of courage prevents someone else from comitting suicide, and that person goes on help thousands of others somehow?

I don't want to appear to give you lessons, but I genuinely believe that struglling for survival is always the most logical option. Sometimes you have no power to improve your situation at all, but that possibility may come later. To take advantage of it, you have to survive long enough. You want to get rid of your suffering, and suicide will do that. But it will also rid you of the enjoyment of not suffering, making the whole thing pointless.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30498446)

Great post and you're right that people should not kill themselves but I have to say that it sounds like you have never experienced real chronic pain.

It's real easy to say "get over it" when you have never experienced it at its worst (whether it be depression, anxiety, any other chronic pain, etc). I used to think I was open minded but it wasn't until I truly experienced something like this that I realized why people sometimes feel the way they do and make the choices they do.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498544)

Everyone should make that decision for himself. Time will certainly bring additional suffering to each one of us, and the majority of people do end up outliving themselves. It is something of a miracle to continue, and not to be discouraged, but it is hardly "most logical."

Re:My heart goes out to him... (5, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498574)

But I know there are some people who carry on despite terrible diseases and constant pain, so I know it must be possible somehow.

I can't say I know how he feels. Or you feel. Obviously you feel that taking your own life is a bad idea, but - why make the choice illegal? Or rather, why make aiding it illegal.

My dad watched his dad lie hooked up to machines for about a month before passing away. Then a few years later he watched his mom in the same situation. This October he saw his youngest daughter pass away after having spent almost two weeks in an induced coma, hooked up to an ECMO [wikipedia.org] as doctors worked frantically to try to save her from dying of complications from Sharp's Syndrome [wikipedia.org] , with I think ten IV-tubes running into her, breathing tube in her mouth, two massively thick tubes handling the blood flow in and out of her body as well as dialysis apparatus.

Sadly I wasn't there when she was finally let go. And my mom is pissed that the first thing my dad said after she was declared dead, was that if he ever ended up in a situation like that, he didn't want to be saved. That's where euthanasia comes into play. Even before then.

Euthanasia can be done in really simple ways as well. Doesn't even have to be expensive, messy or painful. You could go out with a huge sense of euphoria on your lips. I present to you: Nitrogen asphyxiation [wikipedia.org] . All you really need is a tight fitting face mask for ventilation and pure nitrogen. Essentially a slightly modified SCUBA kit.

It takes about 15 seconds for someone to lose conciousness and about 7 minutes until brain death sets in. The organs are, I believe, unharmed, which is a good thing if you plan on being a donor. There is a very minute risk (I think I read 1:1,000,000) of painful side effects, but these will only last until the person is unconscious, again no more than 15 to 20 seconds, and then they'll be at peace.

As for the "what ifs", they're just silly.

What if you turn out to have a child that becomes the new Gandhi?

What if you turn out to have a child that becomes the new Hitler? Are those two lives (yours and your child's) really worth the lives and suffering of millions? If we just go by 'what if', we should never have children, as for every Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, we also end up with a Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot [wikipedia.org] and Papa Doc [wikipedia.org] . For every Norman Borlaug [wikipedia.org] , the agronomist and humanitarian who essentially saved a billion people from starvation, we also end up with a Thomas Midgley [wikipedia.org] , the man behind such wonderful innovations as leaded engines and CFCs. Both were effective at what they were designed for, sure, but the man essentially made a hole in the ozone layer the size of Antarctica and gave every single child in the world lead poisoning - by himself.

Do you really want to be responsible for the next Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Papa Doc or Thomas Midgley? Those are the risk we take when we think we might be the proud parents of the next Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela or Norman Borlaug.

My point still stands. Euthanasia needs to be legal, and it needs to be a cheap and simple one at that. I'd go for nitrogen asphyxiation.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (2, Insightful)

g253 (855070) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499302)

But I never said it should be illegal, where did you get that from? I think everyone should be free do end their life whenever they want, and should be helped if they're unable to do it for themselves. I'm only saying it's very often a bad idea, and suggesting that there may be some hope. Is that so crazy?

Beyond our purely thoeretical discussion about philosophy and politics, there's someone talking seriously about suicide. For real. I just don't feel like joining the apathetic lack of reaction, the "meh, whatever, he's free to do it" attitude.
Sure he's free to do it, and he should definitely be allowed to make that decision. I am merely suggesting he doesn't.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499922)

I didn't mean to imply that you thought it should be illegal (euthanasia, not suicide). I apologize if I came across like that.

And while you're right - someone's contemplating suicide, and a lot of people are going to go "meh" and shrug or yell "jump you bastard". That's how we humans are.

Sometimes a plea to their future possibilities (like children) are a good way to sway the argument in favour of living. But if they're involuntarily sterile, want kids but aren't allowed to adopt for whatever reasons (money, sexuality, health issues etc.), talking about kids is likely to be a bad direction to go at it.

Talk about how they'll miss out on the beauty of sunrises and sunsets, and you're going to piss off someone who's blind. Not hearing symphonies and you'll piss off the deaf people.

Without knowing the person, we cannot really counsel them properly. I imagine that the biggest nightmare for someone like the original poster is pain. Pain makes us do all kinds of really irrational things. If not that, then it's probably the nightmare of having to live every single day, not knowing if your next breath will come easily, gasping or at all. Every single breath being quite literally a life or death struggle. It is to all of us - but we don't know what it feels like to face it constantly.

Often when I'm in my dark places (which happens quite often), someone talking to me about how things can be better will push me further down into the depression. Oh, sure, life can be oh so good. Why not just dangle a bottle of 25-year-old scotch in front of a recovering alcoholic? A huge bag of narcotics in front of a recovering addict?

Ever seen The Gift [imdb.com] ? In it, Giovanni Ribisi's says: "If I look into a blue diamond, and I think a negative thought, am I gonna die?" and keeps talking about that blue diamond, and even what appears to be the person closest and most intimate with him thinks that blue diamond is a happy place. Except it's not. That's a tattoo his dad has just below the belly button.

That's just mental stress. That can be worked out in therapy. Lots and lots of therapy. But now imagine him standing on the top of a building, contemplating jumping off, and someone tries to talk him down, talking about all the beautiful things in the world and mentions the beauty of blue diamonds, and him getting all his memories of the abuse back at that particular point in time?

Mental stress is bad enough as it is. But here we're talking about someone who has a disease, whose primary symptoms [wikipedia.org] are pain, and without even looking at the charts, a trained medical professional sends him/her away in tears, because obviously he's a drug addict looking to score.

Not only does he have chronic pain, difficulties breathing to the point of being bedridden for half a year at a time, I'm assuming living in the US so bills are going to be piling up, probably unable to do any kind of regular work (you try working with 20+ bowel movements a day), and now the people who are supposed to help him, supposed to turn his life around from a daily scary as hell nightmare into a manageable bad dream, are calling him a big, fat liar who, I suspect, they could probably have arrested for trying to scam drugs from a doctor.

If I were in the shoes of the original poster, a post talking about how sweet the future could be wouldn't make me go "yes, you're right, I should keep on living and hope for the one in a trillion chance that it'll be alright". If anything it'd push me closer to suicide, because it'd be reminding me of all the things I can't hope to achieve. It'd make me realise that even if I would be able to father children, I wouldn't want to - why would I put any child through the nightmare of watching me going through that kind of nightmare?

Will there be a cure or even something that'll turn if from a daily living nightmare into something that makes it completely manageable on the lines of a broken leg? Maybe. But cancer in general is probably the biggest thing we've worked on with regards to similar diseases - and we're not even close to curing it. People who end up with cancer in remission still have to go in for constant check-ups, and they're eternally worried that any little lump, cough, wound etc. is a sign that it's back.

And to be honest, just reading through the stuff you go through with Chron's Disease or Sharp's Syndrome, I'd much rather end up with a nice bout of testicular or lung cancer. At least with those two I have a moderate fighting chance of surviving the disease.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (4, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498626)

Sorry, but that ‘don’t kill yourself” usually comes from people who can’t imagine a situation, where killing yourself actually is the best option.
Yes, this is very hard to swallow for everyone of us. Because these situations are very rare. And that’s why we say “don’t kill yourself” in the first place, and why it’s a good idea to use that mindset in general. :)

But, man. There are things that are so horrible, that forcing someone who is in that situation, to live anyway, is just being a heartless selfish bastard, and also is torture.
(Please don’t think I’d say that you are like that. I think not “walking past” by closing the window, is a wonderful character trait.)

As someone who already was in situations worse than dead (Not your emo “worse than dead”. Horrible nightmarish seemingly never ending “worse than dead”), I can tell you that the only reason I still exist, is that I KNEW... NOT guessed... KNEW, that this would end some day.
If it would be without end, then from a rational standpoint of a healthy thinking human, I would be dead already. And I would be happy with it. I don’t see death as something bad. In many cultures it is celebrated as something good. And we’re just bio-mass with ideas anyway. If we pass those on to *anyone*, then we *literally* continue to exist. Only a part went away. And that’s not bad at all, is it?

But no, please do not misunderstand this as me advocating death (I know you did ;). As I said, in general, I fully agree with you and the “don’t kill yourself’.

I just learned, that there are (rare) situations, where that would be delusional, irrational, cruel, and all around bad. Therefore I can’t be that generalizing in my views anymore. :)
Hey, I seriously wish that you will never know such situations for yourself. :)
And I wish that if you face such a situation, that you aren’t irrationally cruel too.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499304)

Sorry, but that ‘don’t kill yourself” usually comes from people who can’t imagine a situation, where killing yourself actually is the best option.

The majority of them can: ask them about what child molesters should do.

Does anyone know.. (1)

drewsup (990717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498646)

Is he related to Rockne S. O'Bannon of Farscape fame??? Can't find any links between them online.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30500548)

I would recommend not having children. If you have it and refuse to spread the genes, you're accelerating the disease's eventual extinction.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30498300)

Nice work hijacking this article. I am glad I get to read all about you and your life. Good work!

Re:My heart goes out to him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30498532)

I was going to make a wise-crack comment based on the juxtaposition of the words in the headline, but after reading your post, I think I will make a donation to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation as suggested.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498546)

Yeah my friend, people fear death. But that’s because they don’t know how bad “life” can be.

Choose the way that, all things considered, is the best for you.
When I get in such situations, I stop caring for all the stupid pointless rules of society. Wich at least makes life great in every aspect that’s not wrecked by that big problem. :)

I just wonder, what the cause is, in your case. I looked at the Wikipedia page, and it listed a lot of (to me) unrelated environmental causes. If it’s not a genetic problem (dunno), then how about a complete difference analysis?
You know. Change *everything* in your life (even do the complete opposite), and look what that changes. (If it doesn’t change a noticeable thing after half a year, you can still switch back. But if it *does*...)

Sometimes, and especially when doctors tell you there is no cure (which just means that they do not know a cure, not that it’s incurable, which would be silly), the solutions are simpler than one thinks.

You know how autoimmune diseases are said to be incurable? Well, I stopped believing that, when I saw them vanish with my own eyes. The only change? A change in diet. (In this case, a friend of mine just stopped eating any animal-based proteins. Especially heated ones. And started eating more whole-grain-based long carbohydrates. He went from suffocating without his medicine, to not ever needing it again.)
Very often, in a cascade over decades, tiny things throw the whole natural system of cycles out of balance.

Now I’m not saying that it’s food in your case. You know that I don’t know much about your case.
But I just could not close this window, without at least offering what I know about serious “incurable” diseases, that strangely disappear after small changes in lifestyle.

Please try to change as much in your life as possible. Go caveman and eat what you think is most species-appropriate, live that way (if possible), do things that way. I think it’s really worth a try.
(Just my best shot... from my experience.)

I wish you luck, but that you don’t even need it. :D

Re:My heart goes out to him... (3, Interesting)

Polybius (743489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498600)

If it doesn't gross you out too much you may want to find and take part in a controlled study like this: http://www.drugs.com/forum/alternative-medicine/worms-crohns-disease-23351.html [drugs.com]
Purposely infecting oneself with parasitic worms (helminths) and reaping the benefits of their immunosuppression. The results look promising.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498900)

I've absolutely considered helminthic therapy, but after investigating, realized that there was no way that I could afford it: the little buggers are freakishly expensive! Given that you have to administer them repeatedly, too, it just wasn't possible for now.

Being a graduate student has certainly been a mixed blessing in terms of my disease: I get the luxury of working from home and setting my hours depending on my health, but the low income certainly affects what treatment options are feasible for me to try.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30500130)

You could instead take a trip to someplace that it is endemic and stomp around barefoot.

I read a story about a guy that did that, then re-infected himself with a sandbox device. Since the eggs only hatch after exiting the body, it makes a self-limiting treatment as long as you work up to the effective dose and don't "OD" the first time around and take some iron supplements.

http://www.asthmahookworm.com/ [asthmahookworm.com]

If hanging around 3rd world latrines isn't your thing, maybe you could get the first go-around of the treatment, then "make your own".

Getting enough Vitamin D? (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499282)

Here are science papers on Vitamin D and Inflammatory Bowel Disease:
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/science/research/vitamin-d-and-inflammatory-bowel-disease.shtml [vitamindcouncil.org]

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19269107 [nih.gov]
The peculiar geographic distribution of inflammatory bowel disease is a puzzle for researchers. A low vitamin D status has now been linked to several Th1-mediated autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, with the strongest evidence for the vitamin's protective role in multiple sclerosis. Sunlight and vitamin D may be potent immunomodulatory agents by down-regulating Th1-driven immune responses and inducing the synthesis of antimicrobial peptides considered as natural antibiotics of the immune system. Similarly to multiple sclerosis, we propose in CD the so-called north-south gradient may be partly explained by variations in the degree of sun exposure, with vitamin D being a "seasonal stimulus". These observations may yield a better understanding of the pathophysiology of Crohn's disease and pave the way for developing new therapeutic approaches for an incurable disease. Whether a low vitamin D status is associated with an increased risk of Crohn's disease in the general population and whether vitamin D and heliotherapy may be effective in treating Crohn's disease will require additional investigations.

How to get adequate vitamin D:
    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/treatment.shtml [vitamindcouncil.org]

You could try a blood test for vitamin D right now as recommended there to see if you are deficient in vitamin D, and, if you are seriously deficient, you might talk with your doctors about trying vitamin D3 supplements first (or maybe even an injection of a megadose by a doctor in your situation) before trying surgery (or maybe a UV-B lamp if you can't absorb vitamin D supplements well right now). Have you noticed any correlation with the seasons? Is it a little better in summer? A little worse in winter?

Do you avoid the sun? I would think it would be common in writer types like Dan O'Bannon, or some other media people who work indoors a lot. Vitamin D deficiency is at epidemic levels across the USA and may be linked to a host of issues from cancer through autism to depression. Even if adequate vitamin D did not help with Crohn's, it might at least help with other issues that stem from it.

Obviously, there may be other factors as well (other vitamins -- vitamin A relates to membrane health but every one might be an issue, or other environmental issues). Best of luck finding something that works for you, and then afterwards in rebuilding strong roots in your life whatever they may be, relationships, hobbies, philosophies, laughter, helping others, enjoying time in nature, and so on, to help you weather the storms of life and Crohn's disease.

Re:Getting enough Vitamin D? (1)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499684)

I'm going to read your post in more detail in a moment (and thank you for taking the time and effort to put all of that information together for me - it's very much appreciated), but having skimmed it, I just wanted to point out that some researchers now are actually hypothesizing that Crohn's may be caused or exacerbated by an excess of Vitamin D, or an inability to eliminate it, or something along those lines (I can't recall exactly).

In any case, my Crohn's is almost always much worse in the summer, usually by several orders of magnitude, and it tapers in the winter. Having spoken to many other Crohnsies, this is not at all uncommon, either. Seasons definitely seem to affect it on some level.

Re:Getting enough Vitamin D? (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30500034)

Dr. John Cannell, MD, who runs the Vitamin D web site, talks about how having just a little vitamin D can allow you immune system to get going, but you need enough vitamin D for your immune system to be able to shut itself down properly. For example:
    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/newsletter/h1n1-flu-and-vitamin-d.shtml [vitamindcouncil.org]
"In the macrophage, the presence of vitamin D also appears to suppress the pro-inflammatory cytokines. Thus, vitamin D appears to both enhance the local capacity of the epithelium to produce endogenous antibiotics and at the same time dampen certain destructive arms of the immune response, especially those responsible for the signs and symptoms of acute inflammation, such as the cytokine storms operative when influenza kills quickly."

He hypothesizes, that in the great Spanish Flu pandemic around WWII, given troops in the troop ships tended to die of it, but not the sailors on the ships, that it might also have been a case where adults had enough vitamin D to get an immune response going, but not enough to shut it down.

It is possible you are so deficient that getting just a little in the summer leads to this effect? So, would there be a transition phase where things mike get worse until they get better with more vitamin D? Or would things just get worse? Something to think through with your doctors, and referring to the scientific literature linked on that site.

You would need a blood test for 25(OH)D as mentioned here to begin to figure that out, to see if your levels in the summer were in the range he recommends here (50-80 ng/mL) or low.
    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/treatment.shtml [vitamindcouncil.org]

The other obvious hypothesis might be that adequate vitamin D in the summer is causing your immune system to function normally, but it is hyper-agressive for some reason. This may be connected to why some Crohn's researchers might say that -- basically if you disable a person's immune system, it might reduce the problem? So, you may well be right about Crohn's researchers in general, I don't know.

There is one person (I forget his name, an electrical engineer?) who has treatments for issues involving reducing people's vitamin D level to zero in a variety of ways using vitamin D antagonists and inhibitors, and then using lots of some antibiotics or something. Dr. John Cannell comments negatively on that person's work on his site. I can wonder if that is who you are referring to, and it if might be this issue, that too little may create some problems? Normally, human beings who live outdoors in the sun would always have plenty of vitamin D in their system.

More scientific studies on Vitamin D and autoimmune illness:
  http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/researchAutoimmune.shtml [vitamindcouncil.org]

So, there could well be various sets of issues on a path back to health. The typical human body has, until the last century, never spend that much time indoors year round, so it is not adapted for that. For example, Dr. Cannell suggests people who are vitamin D deficient tend to sunburn more easily -- it is just not normal for the human body to be vitamin D deficient.

Also, historically, skin color has reflected latitude, and a balance of minimizing the risk of skin cancer with dark skin vs. maximizing vitamin D production in extreme latitudes with light skin. Now that everyone moves around so much, it's especially important for people with darker skins to check their vitamin D level and supplement as needed if they live far North or South from the equator -- so a dark skinned urban professional linking someplace like Maine with indoor hobbies and not eating much fish might be most at risk of vitamin D deficiency. If you have an indoor job, indoor hobbies, or darker skin, you would be more at risk of this issue.

Dr. Cannell talks about vitamin D sensitivity here:
    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/vitaminDToxicity.shtml [vitamindcouncil.org]

Re:Getting enough Vitamin D? (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30500470)

BTW, a post from someone else on a Crohn's forum on vitamin D:
    http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=4951 [crohnsforum.com]
This video talks about the importance of vitamin D (which is best absorbed by humans from sunlight) for health.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/12/16/my-one-hour-vitamin-d-lecture-to-clear-up-all-your-confusion-on-this-vital-nutrient.aspx [mercola.com]
The video mentions how it is thought that a vitamin D deficiency is thought to lead to more autoimmune diseases (like Inflammatory Bowel Disease). They showed how more northern climates (which have colder climates/less sun) often have greater occurences of things like colon cancer and MS than southern climates. Vitamin D was also explained to be anti-inflammatory.
    This was something new to me. It makes some sense to me as it seems that Canada has one of the world's highest rates of IBD. It may have a higher rate than the US due to a colder climate and less sunlight, even though the diets are fairly similar.
    While vitamin D needs differs, the video said that we should all be trying to get something like 5,000 IUs a day, but some people may need double that or more. The daily recommended intake though is currently like 400 IUs. It recommends sunlight as the best source of this (and says that as long as exposure is not excessive, it is safe for you) or that if you take a vitamin make sure you are taking it in the form of D3 (cholecalciferol). D2 is another form that is synthetic and an inferior form.
    Has anyone else heard anything about this before?

I have not watched the video. That post is just a top match on a Google search on "vitamin+D"+Crohn's.

Posts in that thread then link to:
    "Vitamin D deficiency tied to increased IBD activity, reduced quality of life"
    http://ccfa.org/reuters/vitaminD [ccfa.org]
"Vitamin D deficiency is common in patients with IBD (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), but whether vitamin D deficiency parallels disease activity or adversely impacts quality of life is not known, Dr. Alex Ulitsky and colleagues at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee point out in a meeting abstract."

Colectomy (1)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499472)

What part of your intestines is malfunctioning? A person can lead a nearly normal life without a colon (large intestines). They just have to go to the bathroom in a special way. But that's better than being tethered to a bathroom by a tantrum-throwing colon. I suspect a person can also lose a big chunk of small intestine before they're any worse than having that chunk misbehaving.

I went for six months without using my colon after surgery for colon cancer. After healing it was reconnected minus eighteen inches of colon and a foot or two of small intestine (about a meter total). My digestive function is pretty normal now and I don't have any of the pain, bleeding, and unpredictable bowel movements that the tumors caused.

So I'd be hopeful that the surgery to remove part of your intestines could lead to a big improvement in quality of life. As much as I dislike the plumbing modifications that I've had to make, it's vastly better than suffering with malfunctioning plumbing.

Re:Colectomy (1)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499664)

Unfortunately, it's throughout my intestines: right now the problem is predominantly in the small intestine just above the terminal ileum, so I"m looking at resections (60 cm of small intestine need to be removed, and 30 cm of the colon).

I'm glad to hear that a colectomy worked for you. I wish that my Crohn's wasn't so all over the place so that that would be an option. I'd even consider total parenteral nutrition if my doctor would go for it, but he's quite against it.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30499796)

Er, maybe you should check where you are storing your sword.

Re:My heart goes out to him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30500070)

My little sister had her large intestine removed due to Chrons disease. It didn't help immediately due to complications like infections, etc. But she's doing much better now. She used to get very frequent blood transfusions, and she was frequently spending long periods of time in the hospital. She was 10 when it started and now she's 16.
Just don't give up hope if everything isn't great after your surgery, it may take some time.

Stephen King dies also... (-1, Flamebait)

scum-e-bag (211846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30497676)

New is appearing that Stephen King has passed away also.

Re:Stephen King dies also... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30497746)

Fuck you

Re:Stephen King dies also... (0, Offtopic)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30497748)

Ok, that one post of news years in advance makes up for all the two days late news on Slashdot, right?

Re:Stephen King dies also... (1, Insightful)

calzakk (1455889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30497766)

New is appearing that Stephen King has passed away also.

Come on, what's the point in posting something like this? You're just wasting our time making us read this crap. I'm wasting my time replying. And others will waste their time reading my reply. And so on...

Re:Stephen King dies also... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30497834)

New is appearing that Stephen King has passed away also.

Come on, what's the point in posting something like this? You're just wasting our time making us read this crap. I'm wasting my time replying. And others will waste their time reading my reply. And so on...

Welcome to /.

Re:Stephen King dies also... (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499964)

This is a reference to an ancient Slashdot meme that was probably well before your time.

Rockne S. (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30497724)

I always wondered if he was related to Rockne S. O'Bannon (apparently not, despite the same name and field of work).

Re:Rockne S. (1)

CelticWhisper (601755) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498748)

I wondered the same thing. Alien is by far my favourite sci-fi movie series, and Farscape is by far my favourite sci-fi TV series, and it would make perfect sense for the two of them to be tied together in such a way.

Will be watching Dark Star again (4, Interesting)

gzunk (242371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30497738)

I shall watch Dark Star again today, one of my favourite films, in his memory.

Re:Will be watching Dark Star again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30497792)

me too : )

Re:Will be watching Dark Star again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30497816)

It is pretty much my favorite film of all time. There are many which come close, but NOTHING has EVER made me laugh as hard as that damn beachball the first time I saw it. :D

I shall watch it again later today myself.

Thank you, Dan. I so wanted to meet you someday and thank you in person; I guess that will have to wait for when I catch up with you after the Grand Movie.

Re:Will be watching Dark Star again (5, Informative)

S-100 (1295224) | more than 4 years ago | (#30497802)

O'Bannon not only wrote Dark Star, he plays Sgt. Pinback in the movie.

Re:Will be watching Dark Star again (4, Informative)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498326)

O'Bannon not only wrote Dark Star, he plays Sgt. Pinback in the movie.

Co-wrote. With John Carpenter.

O'Bannon also was film editor. And production designer. And supervisor of visual special effects, for which he got a first place award in 1975 from the forerunner of the Saturn Awards.

Looks like a lot of work for one person, and perhaps it was. But keep in mind this was two guys working on a 45 minute student project up until someone paid them US$60k to expand it out to feature length. And as far as I can tell (and I'm another who watches this movie yearly or so) the difference between the original feature length and the much later 'dirctor's cut' is Doolittle's little musical bottle recital.

The focus of the student version was on the 'beach ball' alien sequence, which was comedic. Changing the theme of it to horror for the feature length without losing the impact showed a great deal of talent in both writers. A fellow USC grad's student film helped launch is career also, the final escape sequence of George Lucas's THX 1138. And just to help differentiate between success and academic success, Stephen Spielberg was also a USC grad school student, but didn't finish there due to a C average. (In fact he didn't finish until 2002 at California State University, Long Beach, having received an honorary degree from USC in 1994 and becoming a trustee there in 1996).

Just guessing based on the preponderance of SF work in O'Bannon's IMDB entry, I suspect he rather than Carpenter was the one who adapted Ray Bradbury's short story Kaleidoscope from The Illustrated Man as the ending sequence, with one astronaut carried off by some semi-mystical asteroids, the other ending in a firey re-entry. That adaptation is referenced in the Dark Star Wikipedia entry. Not mentioned anywhere but of too great similarity to ignore are Bomb 20's final act, having determined that he is alone in the universe to exclaim "Let there be light" (vs. Asimov's "The Last Question") and the post-mortem consciousness of the commander afforded by his cryogenic preservation (vs. Larry Niven's "Wait It Out"). I also used to think Talby's obsession with staying in the observation chair wasn't a phobia having to do with the commander's death, but was taken from another story which included mental changes verging on madness if one watched too much empty space, but I can't recall which one, and there's an awful lot of those.

BTW, Benson Arizona MP3 and lyrics are available at SF author Robert Sawyer's web site.

Re:Will be watching Dark Star again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30499698)

I don't believe Spielberg was ever admitted to USC.

Re:Will be watching Dark Star again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30500346)

Good god, that guy was talented. The way he delivered his lines as Pinback had me rolling. Like when he recounted how he wanted to be an astronaut, but you had to get above 700-something on a standardized test to get past the first round, and he scored "58". Something about the way he delivered that shockingly low number just had me howling with laughter. RIP, dude.

Re:Will be watching Dark Star again (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498158)

Since I heard about this yesterday, the song "Benson, Arizona" has been going through my head continuously...


from the film "Dark Star"

The rays of sun shine down,
But I see only one.
Try to think I'm over you,
I find I've just begun.

The years move faster than the days.
There's no warmth in the light.
And how I miss those desert skies,
Your cool touch in the night.

Benson Arizona, blew warm wind through your hair,
My body flies the galaxy, my heart longs to be there.
Benson Arizona, the same stars in the sky,
The days seemed so much kinder,
When we watched them,
You and I.

Benson Arizona, blew warm wind through your hair,
My body flies the galaxy, my heart longs to be there.
Benson Arizona, the same stars in the sky,
The days seemed so much kinder,
When we watched them,
You and I.

Now the years pull us apart,
I'm young and now you're old.
But you're still in my heart
And the memory won't go cold.

I dream of times and spaces
I left far behind
Where we spent our last few days
Benson's on my mind.

Benson Arizona, blew warm wind through your hair,
My body flies the galaxy, my heart longs to be there.
Benson Arizona, the same stars in the sky,
The days seemed so much kinder,
When we watched them,
You and I.

(This following verse is used as the ending of the film before the 1983 director's cut.)

Benson Arizona, blew warm wind through your hair,
My body flies the galaxy, my heart longs to be there.
Benson Arizona, the same stars in the sky,
The days seem so much kinder,
When we watched them,
You and I.

(The above verse and the and following three are used as the ending for the 1983 diector's cut.)

Now the years pull us apart,
I'm young and now you're old.
But you're still in my heart
And the memory won't go cold.

I dream of times and spaces
I left far behind
Where we spent our last few days
Benson's on my mind.

Benson Arizona, blew warm wind through your hair,
My body flies the galaxies, my heart longs to be there.
Benson Arizona, the same stars in the sky,
The days seemed so much kinder,
When we watched them,
You and I.

Re:Will be watching Dark Star again (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498382)

His work was awesome and it will be a shame that he's gone. I've just watched Alien the other night.

Unfortunately I watched the rest of the Quadrilogy, including resurrection for the first time. I think my brain melted half way through that one.

Merchandising (0)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#30497780)

Alien Memorial Collection Box Set in 5.... 4.... 3.... 2....

two months later..

Alien Memorial Collection Box Set - Director's Cut

two months later..

Alien Memorial Collection Box Set - Deluxe Edition with Bonus DVD!

two months later..

Alien - The Original Films Special Collectors Edition Deluxe Super Tribute

two months later..

Black hole created by writer spinning in grave consumes the known universe

Alien Influence (4, Insightful)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30497898)

I just did a rewatch of Alien last week. It's one of those movies I revisit once every year or so, like Bladerunner. Bladerunner was said even by W. Gibson to be widely influential across a swath of cultural fields, but I think the artwork in Alien to have had a more lasting cultural wide influence. The artwork in Alien underlies and embues the artwork of almost every FPS game with a science fiction setting. The narrow, steam filled, water dripping innards of a space ship's mechanical works and bays hiding the alien threat was done best in Alien.

Re:Alien Influence (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30498246)

You understand that Dan O'Bannon wrote the movie, right? He was the writer, not the art director. This article is about Dan O'Bannon, not your thoughts about the lasting appeal of the art direction in Alien.

Re:Alien Influence (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498250)

The artwork in Alien underlies and embues the artwork of almost every FPS game with a science fiction setting. The narrow, steam filled, water dripping innards of a space ship's mechanical works and bays hiding the alien threat was done best in Alien.

Indeed, the AvP series of games uses that artwork almost exclusively. It's like he was prescient.

Re:Alien Influence (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30499476)

It works the other way, too. Alien shows clear signs of influence by the Ixtl sequence in A.E. Van Vogt's classic "Voyage of the Space Beagle." A book that also presaged Star Trek -- being an episodic novel about a crew of humans on board an exploratory vessel, travelling out into the stars for the first time and facing strange alien worlds and civilizations.

  It also has the two greatest Bug-Eyed-Monsters in SF history, the aforementioned Ixtl, and the panther-like Coeurl.
  Highly recommended. Van Vogt was one of the best SF writers of his era, at least until he got involved with Scientology in the 60's, when his writing turned to utter crap thanks to e-brainwashing.

  - mantar

Re:Alien Influence (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 4 years ago | (#30500640)

Sounds like you appreciate the work of one Sir Ridley Scott more than Dan O'Bannon.

UN Global WarmingSummit also dead... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30497970)

as Obamapelosi races home to beat the snowstorm hammering Washington DC. In other news, Global Warming Zombies lack sense of irony.

Lord Monckton reports on Pachauri’s eye opening Copenhagen presentation
From The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley in Copenhagen

In the Grand Ceremonial Hall of the University of Copenhagen, a splendid Nordic classical space overlooking the Church of our Lady in the heart of the old city, rows of repellent, blue plastic chairs surrounded the podium from which no less a personage than Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, was to speak.

I had arrived in good time to take my seat among the dignitaries in the front row. Rapidly, the room filled with enthusiastic Greenies and enviro-zombs waiting to hear the latest from ye Holy Bookes of Ipecac, yea verily.

The official party shambled in and perched on the blue plastic chairs next to me. Pachauri was just a couple of seats away, so I gave him a letter from me and Senator Fielding of Australia, pointing out that the headline graph in the IPCC’s 2007 report, purporting to show that the rate of warming over the past 150 years had itself accelerated, was fraudulent.

Would he use the bogus graph in his lecture? I had seen him do so when he received an honorary doctorate from the University of New South Wales. I watched and waited.

Sure enough, he used the bogus graph. I decided to wait until he had finished, and ask a question then.

Pachauri then produced the now wearisome list of lies, fibs, fabrications and exaggerations that comprise the entire case for alarm about “global warming”. He delivered it in a tired, unenthusiastic voice, knowing that a growing majority of the world’s peoples – particularly in those countries where comment is free – no longer believe a word the IPCC says.

They are right not to believe. Science is not a belief system. But here is what Pachauri invited the audience in Copenhagen to believe.

1. Pachauri asked us to believe that the IPCC’s documents were “peer-reviewed”. Then he revealed the truth by saying that it was the authors of the IPCC’s climate assessments who decided whether the reviewers’ comments were acceptable. That – whatever else it is – is not peer review.

2. Pachauri said that greenhouse gases had increased by 70% between 1970 and 2004. This figure was simply nonsense. I have seen this technique used time and again by climate liars. They insert an outrageous statement early in their presentations, see whether anyone reacts and, if no one reacts, they know they will get away with the rest of the lies. I did my best not to react. I wanted to hear, and write down, the rest of the lies.

3. Next came the bogus graph, which is featured three times, large and in full color, in the IPCC’s 2007 climate assessment report. The graph is bogus not only because it relies on the made-up data from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia but also because it is overlain by four separate trend-lines, each with a start-date carefully selected to give the entirely false impression that the rate of warming over the past 150 years has itself been accelerating, especially between 1975 and 1998. The truth, however – neatly obscured by an ingenious rescaling of the graph and the superimposition of the four bogus trend lines on it – is that from 1860-1880 and again from 1910-1940 the warming rate was exactly the same as the warming rate from 1975-1998.

click to enlarge
4. Pachauri said that there had been an “acceleration” in sea-level rise from 1993. He did not say, however, that in 1993 the method of measuring sea-level rise had switched from tide-gages to satellite altimetry against a reference geoid. The apparent increase in the rate of sea-level rise is purely an artefact of this change in the method of measurement.

5. Pachauri said that Arctic temperatures would rise twice as fast as global temperatures over the next 100 years. However, he failed to point out that the Arctic was actually 1-2 Celsius degrees warmer than the present in the 1930s and early 1940s. It has become substantially cooler than it was then.

6. Pachauri said the frequency of heavy rainfall had increased. The evidence for this proposition is largely anecdotal. Since there has been no statistically-significant “global warming” for 15 years, there is no reason to suppose that any increased rainfall in recent years is attributable to “global warming”.

7. Pachauri said that the proportion of tropical cyclones that are high-intensity storms has increased in the past three decades. However, he was very careful not to point out that the total number of intense tropical cyclones has actually fallen sharply throughout the period.

8. Pachauri said that the activity of intense Atlantic hurricanes had increased since 1970. This is simply not true, but it appears to be true if – as one very bad scientific paper in 2006 did – one takes the data back only as far as that year. Take the data over the whole century, as one should, and no trend whatsoever is evident. Here, Pachauri is again using the same statistical dodge he used with the UN’s bogus “warming-is-getting-worse” graph: he is choosing a short run of data and picking his start-date with care so as falsely to show a trend that, over a longer period, is not significant.

9. Pachauri said small islands like the Maldives were vulnerable to sea-level rise. Not if they’re made of coral, which is more than capable of outgrowing any sea-level rise. Besides, as Professor Morner has established, sea level in the Maldives is no higher now than it was 1250 years ago, and has not risen for half a century.

10. Pachauri said that if the ice-sheets of Greenland or West Antarctica were to melt there would be “meters of sea-level rise”. Yes, but his own climate panel has said that that could not happen for thousands of years, and only then if global mean surface temperatures stayed at least 2 C (3.5 F) warmer than today’s.

11. Pachauri said that if temperatures rose 2 C (3.5 F) 20-30% of all species would become extinct. This, too, is simply nonsense. For most of the past 600 million years, global temperatures have been 7 C (13.5 F) warmer than today, and yet here we all are. One has only to look at the number of species living in the tropics and the number living at the Poles to work out that warmer weather will if anything increase the number and diversity of species on the planet. There is no scientific basis whatsoever for Pachauri’s assertion about mass extinctions. It is simply made up.

12. Pachauri said that “global warming” would mean “lower quantities of water”. Not so. It would mean larger quantities of water vapor in the atmosphere, hence more rain. This is long-settled science – but, then, Pachauri is a railroad engineer.

13. Pachauri said that by 2100 100 million people would be displaced by rising sea levels. Now, where did we hear that figure before? Ah, yes, from the ludicrous Al Gore and his sidekick Bob Corell. There is no truth in it at all. Pachauri said he was presenting the results of the IPCC’s fourth assessment report. It is quite plain: the maximum possible rate of sea-level rise is put at just 2 ft, with a best estimate of 1 ft 5 in. Sea level is actually rising at around 1 ft/century. That is all.

14. Pachauri said that he had seen for himself the damage done in Bangladesh by sea-level rise. Just one problem with that. There has been no sea-level rise in Bangladesh. At all. In fact, according to Professor Moerner, who visited it recently and was the only scientist on the trip to calibrate his GPS altimeter properly by taking readings at two elevations at least 10 meters apart, sea level in Bangladesh has actually fallen a little, which is why satellite images show 70,000 sq. km more land area there than 30 years ago. Pachauri may well have seen some coastal erosion: but that was caused by the imprudent removal of nine-tenths of the mangroves in the Sunderban archipelago to make way for shrimp-farms.

15. Pachauri said we could not afford to delay reducing carbon emissions even by a year, or disaster would result. So here’s the math. There are 388 ppmv of CO2 in the air today, rising at 2 ppmv/year over the past decade. So an extra year with no action at all would warm the world by just 4.7 ln(390/388) = 0.024 C, or less than a twentieth of a Fahrenheit degree. And only that much on the assumption that the UN’s sixfold exaggeration of CO2’s true warming potential is accurate, which it is not. Either way, we can afford to wait a couple of decades to see whether anything like the rate of warming predicted by the UN’s climate panel actually occurs.

16. Pachauri said that the cost of mitigating carbon emissions would be less than 3% of gross domestic product by 2030. The only economist who thinks that is Lord Stern, whose laughable report on the economics of climate change, produced for the British Government, used a near-zero discount rate so as artificially to depress the true cost of trying to mitigate “global warming”. To reduce “global warming” to nothing, one must close down the entire global economy. Any lesser reduction is a simple fraction of the entire economy. So cutting back, say, 50% of carbon emissions by 2030, which is what various extremist groups here are advocating, would cost around 50% of GDP, not 3%.

17. Pachauri said that solar and wind power provided more jobs per $1 million invested than coal. Maybe they do, but that is a measure of their relative inefficiency. The correct policy would be to raise the standard of living of the poorest by letting them burn as much fossil fuels as they need to lift them from poverty. Anything else is organized cruelty.

18. Pachauri said we could all demonstrate our commitment to Saving The Planet by eating less meat. The Catholic Church has long extolled the virtues of mortification of the flesh: we generally ate fish on Fridays in the UK, until the European Common Fisheries Policy meant there were no more fish. But the notion that going vegan will make any measurable impact on global temperatures is simply fatuous.

It is time for Railroad Engineer Pachauri to get back to his signal-box. About the climate, as they say in New York’s Jewish quarter, he knows from nothing.

not "just" a screenwriter (3, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498062)

The work he did on Alien is amazing. I think it remains the best-written screenplay I've ever seen. Not so much about the story, but the way in which it is written.

If anyone out there is interested in writing for the screen, find a copy of Alien and study it. It's a minimalist masterpiece, only the absolutely necessary words are there to describe scenes. That sounds simple and obvious, but it's really very rare indeed. Most screenwriters tend to add too much description and direction.

Not just scripts (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498188)

Damn, that's a great shame. Wasn't he also responsible for the special effects in Dark Star and parts of Star Wars?

Re:Not just scripts (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499916)

Wasn't he also responsible for the special effects in Dark Star and parts of Star Wars?

Yes. AIUI, he did all the effects for Dark Star, and designed the computer graphic sequences for Star Wars.

Return of the Living Dead = Best B Movie EVER (3, Informative)

Vu1turEMaN (1270774) | more than 4 years ago | (#30498286)

I've got alot of love for Return of the Living Dead. If you read the IMDB for it, it actually gets good ratings, despite being campy.

First Movie with Running Zombies? Check

Tarman? Check

Running around naked in a cemetary? Check

BBBRRRRAAAAAAIIIINNNNSSSSS and zombies that eat them? Check

A movie where every line is a memorable quote? Check

Character names like Trash, Scuz and Suicide? Check

Go BUY it from FYE, Amazon, or KMart now. It's more funny than it is scary, but that doesn't detract from it still being a good movie. Alot of zombie movie lovers keep a place in their heart for this movie, even though it isn't a true George Romero movie.

Credit where due (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30498462)

The Alien screenplay was based on O'Bannon's and Ronald Shusett's story.

I had Christmas dinner at his house once (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30498728)

A good friend did a Christmas dinner with O'Bannon and his wife. They invited a few friends to join them. James Karen from Return of the Living Dead was there. Sadly my friend died a year or two later from a drunk driver so I never saw O'Bannon again. He was quiet and kept to himself. He seemed to like having the people around but he kept disappearing into the kitchen while everyone else sat around and talked. I still remember a story my friend told me back in the late 70s. He said Dan was around when they put the actor in the Alien suit the first time. Geiger hadn't built a rubber suit before and Dan said he bet it would rip in three steps. He later admitted he was wrong, it ripped in two steps. My friend used to tell me about the lawsuit Dan had with 20th over alien. They were claiming Alien lost money. He finally won and received a settlement but it was better than ten years later. I think he largely retired after that. Probably due to health. I tried back in the 80s to get Vestron, long dead company, to produce his script "They Bite". A fun little script and a favorite among animators. Ask any old time animation fan about the Collie Beetles. I got Vestron in touch with O'Bannon but I think they had a string of flops by then and they weren't willing to risk the money on a big stop motion film. The script never did get produced although I take it he retitled it "Omnivore" years ago. I'm not sure how many unproduced scripts he had but that one dated to the late 70s.

I just realized another O'Bannon story. I can actually tell this one now. Anyone hear of Dead and Buried? O'Bannon's name was on it with Ron Shussett for screenplay. Well the first time O'Bannon heard about it was when he opened a newspaper and saw the ad for the film with his name on it. He calls up Ron saying, Ron what's up with this Dead and Buried film? Ron says I'll give you 20 grand, I can't remember the actual amount, if you don't say anything. Dan just says "Okay" and that was the last they said of it. Ron had been adding Dan's name to scripts to give them more weight but it was the first one he sold. Both my friend and Dan are gone now so it's safe to tell. Just a little Hollywood backstory.

Alien plagiarist Dan O'Bannon Dead at 63 (0, Troll)

heptapod (243146) | more than 4 years ago | (#30499416)

What? The guy who ripped off A.E. van Vogt's Voyage of the Space Beagle is dead?
Man, I'm glad that the studio settled out of court making them technically correct to dismiss the charges but who settles out of court when they are innocent in the first place?

Mod parent down (-1 snide) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30499842)

who settles out of court when they are innocent in the first place?

Innocence is no defense against infringement in cases like this (see Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music) and settlement is usually the cheaper option. With plot points even making such an accusation was an abuse of copyright -- copyright was intended to protect the expression of an idea. Obviously van Vogt never read the works that Dan O'Bannon (and later James Cameron) did tip their hats to! [wikipedia.org]

Gifted Writer and Director will be missed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30499620)

Thanks for all your efforts and insights Dan, you will be missed and remembered
for your innovative and clever work.


The Long Tomorrow - scifi comic story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30500120)

Dan O'Bannon wrote this far future noir detective short story illustrated by Moebius. It was in Metal Hurlant and Heavy Metal magazine in the late 70s, and both William Gibson creator of 'Neuromancer', and Ridley Scott, director of 'Blade Runner', site it as a seminal influence in their works.

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