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129 comments

Awesome! (2, Insightful)

MrP- (45616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621574)

This is awesome.. I was just thinking about re-reading the book recently after talking with someone abount nanotech.

Now if only someone would make a movie/tv series based on Snow Crash, my life will be complete!

Re:Awesome! (1)

p0ss (998301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621658)

Now if only someone would make a movie/tv series based on Snow Crash

Surely you mean an MMORPG of Snow Crash :P

Re:Awesome! (2, Insightful)

nixkuroi (569546) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621776)

Just play Second Life. Except for teleportation and the two dimensionality of the "Street", you're 95% there.

Re:Awesome! (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622348)

i'm not a gamer and if i was second life doesnt work on my pc (although i suppose if i was a gamer i'd have a pc that could play it..)

i love movies/tv so i still stick with my original post =P

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17628406)

That's okay... Second Life isn't really a game.

Re:Awesome! (5, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621830)

Yes, watch the screen closely. You'll like this next bit...

Re:Awesome! (4, Insightful)

Snad (719864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621856)

Now if only someone would make a movie/tv series based on Snow Crash, my life will be complete!

Snow Crash would make for an awful movie. There's far too much expositionary material regarding namshubs and so forth that would be interminable on the screen and couldn't be cut without rendering much of the story incomprehensible. It (largely) works in book form, but its density would make it impossible to bring to the screen.

Zodiac, whilst perhaps not as good a novel, would make for a far better screen translation than Snow Crash.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Calroth (310516) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622718)

Zodiac, whilst perhaps not as good a novel, would make for a far better screen translation than Snow Crash.

+1 to that.

Zodiac is probably the best Neal Stephenson novel for translation into film. It's got everything Hollywood needs - helicopters, guns, explosions, sex, biological terrorism, an asshole protagonist, and sweeping views of Boston Harbor. Plus it's around the right scope (read: it's short and simple enough) for a 90-minute film.

Re:Awesome! (1)

caffeinatedOnline (926067) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628196)

Yeah, we all should know how well great sci-fi authors works translate to the big (or little in this case) screen.... William Gibson [imdb.com] for example.

Re:Awesome! (1)

chrish (4714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628862)

Not to mention a proper ending...

Re:Awesome! (1)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622724)

Zodiac? Perhaps, although it's political enough that I worry they might mess it up to get it made.

What I'd really like to see is The Big U on the big screen. It'd be like Real Genius, only with railguns, computer worms, neon signs, pipe organs, and radioactive rats instead of a mere laser for the mcguffin.

Re:Awesome! (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623336)

Snow Crash was a wonderfully flawed book. There were problems with it all over place. Thing was, there were also such delightful concepts thrown so fast, that you forgave the flaws, and just enjoyed it.

Lends a different meaning to, "to Reason with someone."

Re:Awesome! (1)

jonskerr (217459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623646)

True! My favorite was the bit where "let's develop really really detailed faces for online avatars so we can conduct business online in virtual reality. That way my facial expressions can by read by the other party...which won't be a disadvantage in negotiations at all!"

That and "okay, I'm swinging my real samurai sword around in a 20x30 at the UStorIt by the airport, but I'm wearing my VR goggles and somehow don't kill anyone or crash into anything."

Super fun book though. Love the SmartWheels and anything from Ng Security Industries, especially the SemiAutonomous Guard Units.

Re:Awesome! (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17625402)

Snow Crash would make for an awful movie. There's far too much expositionary material regarding namshubs and so forth that would be interminable on the screen and couldn't be cut without rendering much of the story incomprehensible. It (largely) works in book form, but its density would make it impossible to bring to the screen.

Right. It's much like Lord of the Rings in that way.

It could never work.

Cryptonomicon (2, Insightful)

DieNadel (550271) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627834)

I think Cryptonomicon would result in a wonderful movie. Parts of it take place in breath-taking locations and it's full of history trivia and important facts.

Also, the story is thrilling and more in touch with a regular audience, since it connects more cleanly with reality.

Seconded! (1)

PseudoThink (576121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17624110)

Toner wars > Clone wars

Bring it on!

Posted to IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17621586)

Great News!
But, ummm....
Why is this posted to IT?

Re:Posted to IT (2, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622580)


Why is this posted to IT?


      If we're very, VERY lucky, that's the Editors making a really clever point about the information technology discussed in the book. I've got $20 on "no, it's just a fuck-up".

Who's going to play Hackworth? (1)

!ramirez (106823) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621594)

I can't help but wonder what the casting is going to be like.

Chow-Yun Fat should play Alexander Chung-Sik Finkle-McGraw.

Re:Who's going to play Hackworth? (1)

Protonk (599901) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623440)

As much as I hate to say it, the casting will probably be terrible. It's a SCI-FI channel miniseries, so they've almost completely threatened it with irrelavence. I'm not saying it needs to be a movie (it's a little too long and/or anti-climactic for that), but the record of the sci-fi channel is not that sterling. I appreciate when that accept orphaned shows from other networks, but thier original miniseries are normally plagued by production issues, terrible direction, and bad casting.

The Diamond Age deserves a careful treatment, eager to blend ractive fiction with the world, but soft on glossy CGI and eye-candy. I'm afraid it won't quite get it here.

Re:Who's going to play Hackworth? (1)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17624762)

They got William Hurt for Dune.

Re:Who's going to play Hackworth? (1)

The Wicked Priest (632846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629652)

Their record for miniseries is somewhat better than for "SciFi Original Movies". While I wasn't personally a huge fan of their Dune, it was very well-received. "Battlestar Galactica" 2.0 also started as a miniseries.

cool (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17621600)

COOOOL

This isn't (4, Funny)

Renstar (142001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621628)

This isn't going to end well..

Re:This isn't (5, Funny)

taniwha (70410) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621974)

It's a Stephenson novel ... it isn't going to end at all

Re:This isn't (1)

Satorian (902590) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623898)

It is going to end. Very suddenly and chaotic, leaving you to wonder what happened at the end.

Re:This isn't (1)

Max von H. (19283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627698)

In the end, everybody listens to Reason.

Re:This isn't (1)

ThePyro (645161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627828)

LOL! My sentiments exactly.

Wonderful news :-) (2, Funny)

steinnes (774991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621654)

I can't wait! Also, I am curious how they will treat the "Drummers" part, for example the way Hackworth "acquired" certain information, he ended up carrying in his body ;-)

Re:Wonderful news :-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17621792)

Mod parent up for subtle snarkiness. :-)

No thanks (3, Insightful)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621694)

I'll pass on the miniseries, thanks. I'm waiting for the ractive.

Fantastic! (5, Funny)

toddt (731370) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621720)

This will give Stephenson a chance to write the ending he accidentally forgot to write for the novel!

Re:Fantastic! (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622150)

Hehe, probably not going to happen. I figure all of the television audience (that hasn't read the book) will be convinced that the last episode is actually a huge cliffhanger/teaser for the next season and be dissapointed when it never comes, and if the series was popular enough, SciFi will eventually decide to create a second season, probably without Stephenson involved other than to sign rights in exchange for a pile of money, which will be craptacular and make you hate the first season. Either way, it's going to end with pitchforks and torches outside SciFi headquarters.

Re:Fantastic! (1)

JohnNevets (924868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623498)

Na, Its going to end with gram crackers, and adds in Variety.

Re:Fantastic! (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623516)

I figure all of the television audience (that hasn't read the book) will be convinced that the last episode is actually a huge cliffhanger/teaser for the next season and be dissapointed when it never comes, and if the series was popular enough, SciFi will eventually decide to create a second season, probably without Stephenson involved other than to sign rights in exchange for a pile of money, which will be craptacular and make you hate the first season. Either way, it's going to end with pitchforks and torches outside SciFi headquarters.

They haven't so far, even though SciFi shows wrestling.

I STILL haven't figured out what wrestling has to do with science fiction, unless they're talking about the wrestlers' tax returns...

Re:Fantastic! (2, Funny)

LoveGoblin (972821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622194)

Nah, never happen. If The Diamond Age suddenly gets an ending, then all his other books are gonna want one, too.

'The Diamond Age' is Stephenson's /best/ ending! (5, Interesting)

dupper (470576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622556)

Something I wrote way back when I'd first finished reading it:

'The Diamond Age' is Neal Stephenson's best ending. Anyone who says he can't write endings should be immediately pointed in this direction. Of course, this ending is probably detractors' biggest criticism, but I don't think any further denoument was necessary, and would probably have even greatly detracted from the emotional and powerful ending there was.

Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash could have used some [denoument], to the point where their endings even gave a bit of an impression of a "fuck it" or a deadline rush, so abruptly departing from the wonderful depth of the preceeding several hundred pages of those books. But the abrupt end here was utterly perfect and perfectly excecuted, and left me euphorically dazed for hours after reading it. I haven't been brought so close to tears by literature since Of Mice And Men, or maybe Charlotte's Web. This ending, in my opinion, truly solidified Neal Stephenson as a great Author of Literature, and not just brilliant, witty Geek.

Sure it leaves open ends (Hackworth, especially), but even with, perhaps even partially because of, that, it works. People hate it because it breaks the traditional form -- doesn't tie up every little loose, nitpicky plot end -- but seem to overlook the fact that, in this case, it was far more literarily effective than structural orthodoxy. It has /character/. A lot of people, many Geeks especially, don't seem to understand that novels, as art and beauty, are not a perfect and coherent system. Sometimes it's more meaningful and important to make that master stroke than fill in all the details.

I'll also go out on a limb and say The Diamond Age was not about Hackworth, at any point. It was about Neal's intricate thematic and philosophic exploration on Confucianism and Victorianism, and it was also a mother-daughter story about Nell and Miranda. Hackworth moved these things along, but to close his personal story neatly would have felt tacked on and barely emotionally or thematically relevant, and probably /ruined/ the ending.

Of course, Neal Stephenson reads Slashdot, and will definately read a story about his own work, and he'd probably be insulted by my dumb interpretation, so please mod me into unread oblivion.

/Neal Stephenson has been my absolute, uncontested favourite fiction (and among my favourite nonfiction) author in the world since the first chapter of Cryptonomicon. Which I picked up after hearing endless praise about it, mostly on Slashdot.

I also have no fucking clue why he's disowned The Big U, which was a wonderful novel.

Re:'The Diamond Age' is Stephenson's /best/ ending (5, Insightful)

Valar (167606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622742)

Thank god somebody finally said it. Upon reflecting upon the criticism that Stephenson and several other writers with similar style have received (about endings, exposition, etc) I've realized something. A lot of geeks don't want a novel, they want a mythology. They want a complete, well-fleshed out, extensive universe for a setting. As a result, they want to know what happens to every character, start to finish. Think about it-- star wars, star trek, and LoTR all have extensive backstory. It is basically posible to know what happens to every character, and every legendary sword/ship from birth to death. Tolkien, for example, had notebooks and notebooks of unpublished stories to flesh out his universe and even invented languages.

You're wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17624052)

Having a large complex universe is totally at odds with knowing everything about it.

Re:'The Diamond Age' is Stephenson's /best/ ending (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628956)

Whatever happened to the Golden Age of scifi, where what happened "afterwards" was left to the imagination more often than not?

Re:'The Diamond Age' is Stephenson's /best/ ending (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630060)

Think about it-- star wars, star trek, and LoTR all have extensive backstory. It is basically posible to know what happens to every character, and every legendary sword/ship from birth to death. Tolkien, for example, had notebooks and notebooks of unpublished stories to flesh out his universe and even invented languages.

I never really got the whole LoTR bit. I've read and like the four books, but I hate the poems/songs. I view all of the author's unpublished info as not really part of the known universe. LoTR may have a huge backstory that only Tolkien and his family knew about, but he didn't publish it so it's not part of my LoTR experience. Star Wars and Star Trek are very different. They have entire series of books and backstory so you can find out everything if you want to buy all the books. My main dislike about Diamond Age is that it stands as an extremely well intro into the universe and then stops. I wanted to read more stories about a different set of characters set there or I wanted to see them struggle to make a new social unit. I could easily see every one of those Chinese girls not wanting a tradional Chinese male and then all those girls will be going after the men that they find desirable. I'm happy that everything wasn't tied up, but unhappy that's it. I wanted to find out so much more about the world. I wanted to see how different social blocks would react to the book raised girls and their Queen. I wanted to see the next generation and want the books would show.

Re:'The Diamond Age' is Stephenson's /best/ ending (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17622878)

intricate thematic and philosophic exploration on Confucianism and Victorianism, and it was also a mother-daughter story about Nell and Miranda.

Don't forget the rather insightful look at the weaknesses and strengths of The Seed and The Feed, which you can look at as distributed anything versus anything with a fixed monolithic source. It's valid for more than comparisons to distributed computing ;)

Re:'The Diamond Age' is Stephenson's /best/ ending (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629730)

. But the abrupt end here was utterly perfect and perfectly excecuted, and left me euphorically dazed for hours after reading it. I haven't been brought so close to tears by literature since Of Mice And Men, or maybe Charlotte's Web. This ending, in my opinion, truly solidified Neal Stephenson as a great Author of Literature, and not just brilliant, witty Geek.

I was brought to tears after finding out that it was a one off single book by the author. Sorry, I'm used to reading David Weber, I actually liked most of the Wheel of Time, or my most liked universe that I read the disc world. I'd love to read an entire series of books set in the Diamond Age universe. It saddened me to find that was it.

It really felt like an intro/prehistory for the next big set. I was all ready to read another 4-5 books and well nothing.

Re:Fantastic! (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622656)

This will give Stephenson a chance to write the ending he accidentally forgot to write for the novel!


Trying to tie a complicated story like Diamond Age into a neat, TV-friendly ending could be one of the worst things that could happen.

Either way, I'm glad to hear that some filmmakers are turning to good sci-fi literature for source material again. I can stand a break from sci-fi movies all being based on comic books.

Although I have to say the Russian Night Watch films were quite impressive.

Now that I think about it, as long as we're mining Stephenson, I could stand to play a good FPS or RPG based on the Baroque Cycle.

Re:Fantastic! (1)

gaijin99 (143693) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622872)

*** SPOILERS ****
If you haven't read Cryptonomicon or The Diamond Age be aware that I discuss the endings here.
*** SPOILERS ****

I never understood the people who claimed that Stephenson's novels don't have endings. Sure, he doesn't take you by the hand and guide you ste-by-step through everything that will happen, but that just means he isn't writing endings for children. He takes you to the point where what will happen next becomes both inevitable and likely somewhat boring to read about. I mean, look at the Cryptonomicon, if he'd written a next chapter what would there really have been to say?

"And then they took the gold and used it to back their cryptDollars and made a gazillion bucks and became major economic players who were always watching out for the Dentest's possible revenge. Meanwhile Waterhouse and Amy [broke up / stayed together / something else]."

The Diamond Age has a similar ending. We *know* what will happen next, namely that the Chinese will finish the seed research (after that there's space for at least another novel exploring the consiquences of the seed, but that's a sequel material not ending material), but what would really be the point of a chapter talking about how Dr. X managed it? We know he's going to finish it up, the details really aren't that important or interesting.

I think his novels end at exactly the right place. Actually, if there's anything I'd change about Pratchett's writing style I'd get him to write endings more like Stephenson does, usually the last chapter in a Pratchett book is a bit dull because he feels compelled to spell everything out.

Re:Fantastic! (1)

RedOctober (10155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623286)

The issue people have with Cryptonomicon is that there is no denouement following the climax, so the ending appears abrupt. It's almost certainly deliberately done by Stephenson - the effectiveness of this is up to the individual reader to decide. IMO, there is nothing wrong with the climax itself.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denouement [wikipedia.org]


As the article states, lack of a denuouement is a stylistic device, used for instance in Lord of the Flies.

Re:Fantastic! (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623308)

It wasn't the ending, or lack that annoyed me about Cryptonomicon. It was the speed of the last hundred pages or so, after the detail of the first 800 or 900. After so much detail through the rest of the book, suddenly things started happening with little or no explanation, especially what the heck that attorney just happened to be in that jungle, and just happened to have his hobby weapons along, and felt moved to practice his hobby while pretty badly wounded, just so spite someone.

After what preceded, it was a pell-mell rush.

Re:suit hunt (1)

jonskerr (217459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623790)

I was rather of the impression he wasn't so much an attorney as a whack-job on the hunt who had some legal qualifications. And that he'd been ON the hunt for a while. He was originally an outdoorsman and wildman type who'd become briefly domesticated.

Re:Fantastic! (1)

Jett (135113) | more than 7 years ago | (#17624552)

I agree. It was a great scene, it just lacked a real set up. The last 100 pages of that book did feel rushed, I imagine the book could easily have gone the Baroque Cycle route if his publisher/editor would have let him. Perhaps the set up for how the crazy bow-wielder got there was in the missing ~200 pages.
I don't think Stephenson deserves to get so much shit about not being able to write an ending at all. Hell, each of the books in the Baroque Cycle has a nice little ending and he was under no obligation to wrap things up tightly. He maybe deserves some shit about not being able to write anything but epic novels, I personally like my novels epic as long as the author is good and Stephenson is excellent so I'd say that would be unwarranted criticism.
   

Re:Fantastic! (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627390)

I've never read any of the Baroques. I looked in on the coverleaf in the store, saw the names "Waterhouse" and "Shaftoe", (Both!) and put it right back down. Carrying both names into the past smacked too much of fanfic/crossover to me.

Besides, I still haven't read much Iain Banks. Finished "Consider Phlebas" a week or 2 ago.

Re:Fantastic! (1)

Mountaineer1024 (1024367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623760)

I agree, I'm an avid Pratchett fan, but there have been several novels where there has been a whole "chapter" (interesting considering he doesn't really use them in most of his works) of what I can only describe as bleh.
Blind IO striking Dorfl with lightning at the end of Feet of Clay was perhaps humourous, but not really relevant to the story.
All of the story that happened after the vampire was imprisoned could easily have been saved for the next watch story, if told at all.

Re:Fantastic! (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17624736)

But, then they wouldn't be Discworld novels. Everybody important gets screwed over some way in the end of a pratchett novel, whether or not the consequences of said screwing over will be beneficial to the person overall.

Challeges for a director? (1)

peterlynam (255050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622992)

This will be fascinating. I've always wondered whether Stephenson's books would be filmable or not. How to handle the drummers (feral undersea tunnel dwellers who burn up when used as human information processors)? The army naked of teenage girls that lock their bodies to create a human amphibian landing craft to rebel against their creator? The sea of intelligent defensive and move with an auto-correct for the wind? I think a huge budget or great CGI is required to give merit to Stephenson's WFT elements, else they may become lame/silly or simply omitted. The touching story of the voice actress of the original Primer I think would make a great story for TV if well acted and written.

Teh awesome!!1 (4, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621748)

Excellent.

Never mind the book's prophetic predictions about the impact of nanotechnology. Far more important, I think, is its identification of the "subversive" worldview. If only all parents and children were exposed to a book like Diamond Age, or anything similar, which gives a real defense of the subversive mindset. Perhaps then, more children might be rescued from becoming another generation of social ballast.

Diamond Age won a coveted spot in my "Thou shalt read and discuss" box of books for my sons. :)

Re:Teh awesome!!1 (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621808)

Diamond Age won a coveted spot in my "Thou shalt read and discuss" box of books for my sons.

Thus ensuring that they'll never read the book until well after they've moved out of the house. : p

Re:Teh awesome!!1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17628666)

Exactly. "Under my authority, you shall read this book about why you should question authority".

Hear hear! (1)

jonskerr (217459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623828)

I agree completely. I remember getting a book from the library when I was in 3rd grade about Mars colonists in some rocket-based was against their rightful earth government. Halfway through the book I realized the colonists were getting screwed by the government edicts and SHOULD rebel. And today, over 35 years later, I can still see when the powers-that-be are drowning us in bullshit other people seem oblivious to.

Re:Hear hear! (1)

Kong the Medium (232629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17625888)

Robert A. Heinleins "Farmer in the Sky" has this plot. It's one of his juveniles. Consider reading also "The Moon is a harsh Mistress" or anything else by him.

heresy (2, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621752)

I realize I'll probably be labeled a heretic by some of you, but the Diamond Age is probably my favorite Stephenson book (Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash come in a close second and third, though). It'll be interesting to see how this whole thing pans out. Thankfully, even if it sucks, the book will still be amazing. However, with Neal handling the screenplay, there's a decent chance that he'll adapt it well. Then it'll all be up to Clooney to make it good...

Re:heresy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17621818)

Then it'll all be up to Clooney to make it good

I don't have great hopes for that. Clooney's new political phase is just going to use this movie to attack the neocons. Great, but then it'll look really stupid in 10 years.

I'm sure he will be smugly patting himself on the back for his incredible social commentary and how he's trying to make a difference. In the meantime, the message of the Diamond Age will be torn to shreds.

Re:heresy (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623036)

I don't have great hopes for that. Clooney's new political phase is just going to use this movie to attack the neocons. Great, but then it'll look really stupid in 10 years.

I'm sure he will be smugly patting himself on the back for his incredible social commentary and how he's trying to make a difference. In the meantime, the message of the Diamond Age will be torn to shreds.


I'll never take actors seriously again since I've seen Team America [wikipedia.org] ... especially when they get political. They're all members of the Film Actor's Guild.

Uh, Team America wasn't real, it was puppets. (1)

jonskerr (217459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623930)

Your comments are particularly funny, because (according to the commentaries from Trey & Matt on the DVD) they were all pissed about when entertainers get political. But they themselves are entertainers. And the whole movie is predicated on the idea that people in the entertainment business shouldn't try to make the world a better place, but should just keep their own opinions quiet and "Just Sing" or whatever. But they ignore the idea that people who OWN show businesses (Rupert Murdock owns Fox TV for example) do all KINDS of bullshit to mislead the public. Also, it implies actors are stupid and easily misled. They're typically somewhat intelligent, since they have to be to get jobs in showbiz. And since they're well off, they don't have to spend their evenings glued to the boob tube, sucking down the bullshit Rupert Murdock is foisting on America.

Watch "Outfoxed! Rupert Murdoch's War on Modern Journalism". It's fascinating.

Re:Uh, Team America wasn't real, it was puppets. (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 7 years ago | (#17624098)

Sure it was puppets, and hypocritical of Matt and Trey, but still it's a pretty hilarious movie all the same.

Also, I'd gouge my eyes out before watching Fox News. Or almost any other cable news. It's very sad when a comedian is pretty much the best journalist [slashdot.org] on TV here.

I guess I should clarify. I know that movie wasn't a documentary, but that whole associative memory cause me to thing of Team America's portrayal of them every time the subject comes up. Similarly because I've heard so many commercials for the Daily Show, every time I hear the phrase on the radio "When news breaks..." I mentally complete it as "... we fix it!"

Re:heresy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17622750)

I've read everything he's published, and Diamond Age is also my favourite. I've often imagined it being adapted as anime (no, not because everything is better animated, but because there are lots of scenes that will be very hard to do in live action), but we'll see how this conversion works. As you said, there's always the book to come back to.

Re:heresy (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17628912)

While I agree that Neal doing the screenplay is really important, the director (and the special effects guys/budget) are going to be much more so. It's going to take some really good visuals for the operation of the Source/Feed, the Book, toner wars, and, to a lesser extent (but really important for exposition), the bespoke engineering lab. Actually (visually) explaining the nano-tech is going to be really difficult. Then there's the problem of the Drummers exchanging information and nano-tech via *ahem* bodily fluids - on SciFi. Sadly, I doubt Castle Turing, the chevaline, the dog-pod grid, the birthday party island or the nano surgical implants will make it into the final story.

The Star Trek universe always hand-waved the social and economic importance of matter replicators, yet it's central to this story. How they're going to explain the Seed vs Feed is beyond me. I think we'll probably end up with a social drama, heavy with conversations about the Victorians (Finkle-McGraw), their moral code and control over the Source, versus the Han (Doctor X) and the Seed. Centralisation vs decentralisation. Expect the Seed to come out way earlier in the story, probably when Finkle-McGraw sends Hackworth "undercover". I'm guessing the story will be more about Hackworth, and less about Nell.

Oh - and I want to nominate Harry Anderson to play Judge Fang (assuming the Fang subplot remains) - but only if he plays it real straight.

Um, wrong summary on Sci Fi? (1)

Rastl (955935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621762)

When a prominent member of society concludes that the futuristic civilization in which he lives is stifling creativity, he commissions an interactive book for his daughter that serves as a guide through a surreal alternate world.

The book has the Primer being commissioned for a granddaughter and the engineer pirates a copy for his own daughter. And then there's the quarter million of them for the other girls. I wonder what else is going to be left out? The Fists? Harv and Tequila? This is why I so dread them 'adapting' the books I like.

Re:Um, wrong summary on Sci Fi? (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622078)

Gack! Without the 250,000 (later 300,000) mice, the book doesn't lead up to anything.

But deconstructing things, the Fists are only really necessary to fight the army of mice. And the drummers are probably too confusing to survive television... as are the Castle Turing (and all the other puzzles after that).

I know I'll be branded a heretic, but I think you could make a pretty good screenplay that stopped right around half-way through Nell's stay with the Vickys. The whole Alchemist thing never appealed to me -- although it's essential to the message of the book, it just was as fun to read as the adventures of Princess Nell.

Re:Um, wrong summary on Sci Fi? (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622122)

Supposedly Stephenson is writing the screenplay, but you have to admit there's no way a 600 page book is going to survive the conversion wholly intact. At the very least, the idea of a distributed sexual computer's going to have to be presented differently!

Re:Um, wrong summary on Sci Fi? (1)

jonskerr (217459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623966)

Not necessarily. It's going to be a six hour miniseries, so a lot of it can be done. I just hope they do a very brief, silent scene where Nell's last 'stepdad' gets his just desserts. It would take less than 30 seconds, but could be such a beautiful visual poem.

Re:Um, wrong summary on Sci Fi? (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622134)

Since it is being adapted by Stephenson, there's a good chance that whatever changes are made they will be true to the spirit of the book.

Re:Um, wrong summary on Sci Fi? (2, Interesting)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622252)

Apart from possibly changing the generation from grandfather to father, that IS exactly what happens in the book. Of course, a lot of other stuff happens *because of that* (the unauthorised copies, 256k mice etc.) but you are going to end up with a pretty convoluted press release if you want to cram the other stuff into the one sentence plot teaser that each of the new series announced gets.

You can't reasonably expect extrapolate from that one sentence to accurately predict anything after the 1st ten minutes of the first show, which is entirely to be expected from a document that is supposed to attract viewers who don't know about the book (and don't want spoilers) rather than fans who do know the book and want reassurances.

Re:Um, wrong summary on Sci Fi? (1)

Rastl (955935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622654)

I haven't had a discussion on this book in a very long while!

The element of having the engineer make a pirate copy for his daughter is in keeping with the entire concept of sedition being attemped by the Finkle-McGraw. The Mouse Army is the unintended result of that sedition.

The true, desired recipient of the Primer turns out to be a wanderer who turns her back on her people.

The first pirate copy ends up in the hands of Nell, pure accident and the best soil for the seed as it were.

The second pirate copy does go to the engineer's daughter and she gets lost in a fantasy world.

And the Mouse Army becomes a hybrid.

The Fists are more than just something for the Mouse Army to battle. It is the rise of the deep-seated traditional values of that culture. Once you get past the fine edge of violence at the fringes you find the well-ordered society.

So trying to change the order in which the Primers were created and presented to their owners takes a lot of the intertwining plot structure away.

I know that until we see this we won't really know what Neal is going to do with the story. But I think of what happened to Dune and I weep.

Re: Dune (1)

gaijin99 (143693) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622986)

Well, I was going to mention that Herbert wasn't involved in the Sci-Fi channel screenplay, but then I remembered that I really didn't like anything Herbert wrote after the original Dune, so maybe it would have actually been worse if he'd been involved...

Though, I'll admit I'm not sure how anything could be worse than a) the stupid "look, the Guild spokesmen make stupid poses when they talk" and b) the whole "look, the Imperial Princess wanders around on her own without a couple thousand sardukar bodyguards" crap.

Re:Um, wrong summary on Sci Fi? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623620)

Nell works out best because of the mother relationship with the book; part of the setup is that she is born to idiot fool parents and can't read. The book teaches her to think for herself.

Also, that's Finkle-McGraw's goal(the thinking), not sedition. The subversive thought is that thinking for yourself is a good idea; march to the beat of your own drummer and all that.

The order of the books being given out doesn't really change the plot; the presentation as written is excellent, and it would change if the books were given out in different order, but it isn't of particular importance to the plot.

not on Fox (or ABC/CBS/NBC) ... (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621768)

means it's got a chance of actually making it through a season before being canceled (after viewers invest their time into the storyline)

Re:not on Fox (or ABC/CBS/NBC) ... (3, Informative)

the phantom (107624) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621784)

It is a miniseries. That means that the entire story will be told in some number of episodes, probably 6-10, and it will then be done. Generally speaking, mini-series are completely filmed, edited, and finished before the first episode is aired. Your concern doesn't make sense in this context.

Re:not on Fox (or ABC/CBS/NBC) ... (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621854)

This is the Sci-Fi channel. You're talking about a channel famous for trying their hardest to find the worst place to cancel a series(see: SG-1, Farscape)

Re:not on Fox (or ABC/CBS/NBC) ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17622372)

miniseries don't last long enough to be cancelled

George Clooney?! (1)

the phantom (107624) | more than 7 years ago | (#17621800)

Well, at least he can't possibly fsck it up as much as he fscked up Solaris... I hope.

Re:George Clooney?! (3, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622510)

Well, at least he can't possibly fsck it up as much as he fscked up Solaris... I hope.
Christ! Clooney works on that, too?!? No wonder Sun couldn't give those DVDs away.

Too trippy? (1)

nten (709128) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622228)

Am I the only one afraid this thing will come off being too trippy? I have some hope since he is writing the screenplay himself, but there were some moments I was pretty sure he was typing under the influence just reading it, so I have trouble envisioning anything coherent coming out of those portions in a visual sense. Primarily the performance on the boat and the drummer sessions.

Anyway kudos to sci-fi channel, and my fingers are crossed that "Accelerando" or "Fire upon the deep" is next.

Re:Too trippy? (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17624348)

One of my favorite parts of the book was the story about Castle Turing. I can't wait to see how they pull that off..
(And I really hope they don't brush quickly over just a few parts of it.)

Trippy, _and_ educational.

Net presence?? (1)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622442)

I love Neal Stephenson, but for crying out loud, can't he hire someone to keep his website current? For a self-proclaimed hacker, he has absolutely horrid net presence. I would like to at least know that he is alive. Knowing what kind of thing he is working on might be nice, too.

It will be great television, or crap-no in between (1)

AdmNaismith (937672) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622692)

Since this is the SciFi Channel it will contain one badly CGd monster and an aging cast member of a much better science fiction franchise, and ultimately put me to sleep. Or it will be brilliant. Seriously, I just hope Stephenson is able to tighten up his writing and just tell the damn story. The 'Captain Crunch' scene 'The Cryptonomicon' just about put me off the rest of the novel, and did keep me away from his books written since then. Are there no editors left inthe publishing industry?

Re:It will be great television, or crap-no in betw (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622974)

"Since this is the SciFi Channel it will contain one badly CGd monster and an aging cast member of a much better science fiction franchise, and ultimately put me to sleep."

Oh, so you saw A Wizard of Earthsea too? or was it Dune, or or even Grendel ?

I hope theat this show will be great, but given what TV does to complex material to make things "accessible", I know I will be left disappointed.

Re:It will be great television, or crap-no in betw (1)

CreateWindowEx (630955) | more than 7 years ago | (#17624270)

The 'Captain Crunch' scene 'The Cryptonomicon' just about put me off the rest of the novel, and did keep me away from his books written since then.
I actually loved that part. I also loved the totally random digressions about whales and whaling in Moby Dick. But I also thought Diamond Age had a decent ending, and Snowcrash is the book by Stephenson I like the least, so I guess everyone seems to have a different opinion about him. My biggest beef with Stephenson, besides all the completely bullshit pseudolinguistics in Snowcrash, is just how he continually gets facts wrong in his books, and not just to advance the story, so I feel like I'm getting polluted with misinformation whenever I read his books. Maybe he could ship his books with a debriefing pamphlet that would correct all the mistakes that readers would be inclined to believe were true.

I'm not very optimistic about this miniseries, though, even with Stephenson in the credits, seeing how Gibson wrote the screenplay for the piss-poor movie adaption of Johnny Mnemonic. The potential is there, though, because Diamond Age really created a unique world, both in the nanotechnology and in the vision of culture in a world where nations have become obsolete, and a world that might make a better transition to live action film than cyberspace or the metaverse.

Re:It will be great television, or crap-no in betw (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17626322)

I loved the Captain Crunch sequence, myself. I thought it said more about Randy's obsessive attention to detail, bordering on full-blown OCD, than simply telling us he has it.

We see the same with Lawrence, obviously, but unlike Randy he doesn't have the social capability to tone that down in public.

Not optimistic (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17622898)

Scifi has a baaad history of hacking up books, cf. Dune and Earthsea. The only thing that could be worse is if they were given the rights to film the Hobbit.

earthsea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17627014)

Earthsea was so boring (the book) it deserved to be hacked up.

I've never read dune, so as a person who hasn't enjoyed the books, watching the miniseries was quite enjoyable. (I generally don't enjoy reading sci-fi but love watching movies/tv shows)

Have any of your watched Merlin? I really enjoyed that one. While the special effects weren't really all that "special" it was still a well told story that I've watched more than a couple times. I always seem to miss the very beginning though.

I read "diamond age". I enjoyed it but only the parts about the girl and her book and anything that had to do specifically with that. If the movie is just about her, her book, her life and the army at the end, I think it'll do just fine if there's any quality to it.

I'm leary of the Sci Fi Channel. (1)

Ranger (1783) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623502)

Sci Fi channel can take a perfectly classical story and turn it into total shit. Witness Dune. Witness Earthsea. They can have great stuff made for them. farscape and BSG come to mind. Whether the adaptation sucks or is great it'll be laden with CGI.

Re:I'm leary of the Sci Fi Channel. (4, Insightful)

tillerman35 (763054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17623774)

For that matter, witness how much they fsck'd up battlestar gallactica. I haven't seen their version of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files yet, but from the promos it looks like they decided to fsck up that too (I should probably withold judgement since I haven't seen it, though). Sci-fi channel didn't do it, but look at how Eragon was absolutely destroyed.

I always wondered how the visual medium could be so obviously run by a group of illiterates with no respect for authorship. It's intensely bizarre. What puzzles me even more are the large number of people who just seem to accept it as a usual practice. Even when their favorite character/scene/plotline/etc is missing or replaced by something entirely different - for no reason the bears any resemblance to a valid purpose- they don't seem to mind. A vapid "oh, well you shouldn't get upset- it's a different medium after all" is the closest you'll get from them to an acknowledgement of the change. Where's the rage, people?

There have been notable exceptions. The Princess Bride was the best adaptation of a novel as I've ever seen. The screenplay was written by the author of the novel, who had previous screenplay writing experience. That probably explains why it was so well done. The Disney version of A Wrinkle In Time came close too- but proved that some books aren't suited for movies no matter HOW good they are. I'm sure others can name many more.

We want to be optimistic. We love the written works so much that we long to see them come to life. Sci-fi fans are like Charlie Brown, earnestly hoping for someone in Hollywood to hold that football down just long enough for us to get a kickoff. And the studio execs are like Sally- teasing us endlessly with the possibility of something that won't suck shiat and pulling the ball away at the last moment.

/Sorry- done now.
//Goes to the meds closet to get a dose of Myranta.

Re:I'm leary of the Sci Fi Channel. (1)

rawtatoor (560209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17625852)

That was cool. I never heard a post in an English accent in my head before.

Re:I'm leary of the Sci Fi Channel. (2, Insightful)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17626950)

For that matter, witness how much they fsck'd up battlestar gallactica.

The new series may have flaws, but anyone who thinks the original was better immediately proves they have no taste. Any series whose pilot episode follows the genocide of the human race (which happens for no reason) with a journey to the casino planet, and follows that up with a dozen episodes about disco Egyptians fighting robots in space, is a dumb series. It might be cheesy fun, but it doesn't hold a candle to the new series.

Re:I'm leary of the Sci Fi Channel. (1)

tillerman35 (763054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627364)

Exactly! Any series that dares to call itself "Battlestar Gallactica" and isn't comprised of Disco Egyptians fighting robots in space is a complete sham. I know someone who KILLED himself when the original BG series went out the air. Yes, literally. No joke. He jumped off a bridge wearing his official warrior's jacket made of real simu-leather with the 14K goldesque-plate multi-buckles and insignia and DIED. Anything that's called Battlestar Gallactica and isn't mindless cheesy fun is an insult to his memory.

Is there anything from my childhood that's safe? What's next? Buck Rodgers without a little robot going "beedeebeedeebeedee" and freaky disco-minuettes? He-man in Hawaiian-print hammer pants? A transformer movie where Optimus Prime isn't a firetruck? Oh wait- that last one- I think I saw a trailer... Sigh.

Re:I'm leary of the Sci Fi Channel. (1)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627590)

Actually, it was Lucy who used to pull the ball away at the last minute. Sally was the little sister.

Re:I'm leary of the Sci Fi Channel. (1)

jitterysquid (913188) | more than 7 years ago | (#17627414)

Dune? Earthsea? Those are the highest art when compared the mercifully short-lived literary slaughter that was "Riverworld". Ugh. I threw up a little in my mouth just thinking about it.

best part - essay on hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17623860)

my favorite part of the book is probably different than everyone else's

it is a mini essay on how moral relativism has led to the elevation of hypocrisy as the chief sin above all others

it really hit me and coalesced several thoughts that had been running around in my head, it was like 'yes! that's exactly what has happened'

"So they were morally superior to the Victorians-" Major Napier said, still a bit snowed under. "-even though-in fact, because-they had no morals at all."

--start excerpt--

"You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices," Finkle-McGraw said. "It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of a climate, you are not allowed to criticise others-after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds is there for criticism?"

Finkle-McGraw paused, knowing that he had the full attention of his audience, and began to withdraw a calabash pipe and various related supplies and implements from his pockets. As he continued, he charged the calabash with a blend of leather-brown tobacco so redolent that it made Hackworth's mouth water. He was tempted to spoon some of it into his mouth.

"Now, this led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticise others' shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all vices. For, you see, even if there is no right and wrong, you can find grounds to criticise another person by contrasting what he has espoused with what he has actually done. In this case, you are not making any judgment whatsoever as to the correctness of his views or the morality of his behaviour-you are merely pointing out that he has said one thing and done another. Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy.

"You wouldn't believe the things they said about the original Victorians. Calling someone a Victorian in those days was almost like calling them a fascist or a Nazi."

Both Hackworth and Major Napier were dumbfounded. "Your Grace!" Napier exdaimed. "I was naturally aware that their moral stance was radically different from ours- but I am astonished to be informed that they actually condemned the first Victorians."

"Of course they did," Finkle-McGraw said.

"Because the first Victorians were hypocrites," Hackworth said, getting it.

Finkle-McGraw beamed upon Hackworth like a master upon his favored pupil. "As you can see, Major Napier, my estimate of Mr. Hackworth's mental acuity was not ill-founded."

"While I would never have supposed otherwise, Your Grace," Major Napier said, "it is nonetheless gratifying to have seen a demonstration." Napier raised his glass in Hackworth's direction.

"Because they were hypocrites," Finkle-McGraw said, after igniting his calabash and shooting a few tremendous fountains of smoke into the air, "the Victorians were despised in the late twentieth century. Many of the persons who held such opinions were, of course, guilty of the most nefandous conduct themselves, and yet saw no paradox in holding such views because they were not hypocrites themselves-they took no moral stances and lived by none."

"So they were morally superior to the Victorians-" Major Napier said, still a bit snowed under.

"-even though-in fact, because-they had no morals at all." There was a moment of silent, bewildered head-shaking around the copper table.

"We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy," Finkle-McGraw continued. "In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception-he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it's a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing."

"That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code," Major Napier said, working it through, "does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code."

"Of course not," Finkle-McGraw said. "It's perfectly obvious, really. No one ever said that it was easy to hew to a strict code of conduct. Really, the difficulties involved-the missteps we make along the way-are what make it interesting. The internal, and eternal , struggle, between our base impulses and the rigorous demands of our own moral system is quintessentially human. It is how we conduct ourselves in that struggle that determines how we may in time be judged by a higher power."

Sci Fi channel... (1)

Create an Account (841457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17625268)

...will screw this up, count on it. They don't make sci fi so much as soap operas with laser guns.

The OLPC/XO as a Primer prototype (1)

ncw (59013) | more than 7 years ago | (#17625690)

Does the Primer (The "Young Lady's Illustrated Primer") remind anyone else of the OLPC XO machine?

That was the first thing I thought of when I read about the OLPC project anyway.

Certainly both the XO and The Primer meet are a interactive "books" to educate children!

The XO is destined to have an entire schoolings worth of textbooks on it in PDF format.

The XO is more of a Primer prototype I suppose, but the similarity in purpose is striking.

No mention of the Baroque Cycle... (1)

Cinnamon Whirl (979637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17625880)

... yet? I have to say, the Baroque Cycle is my favorite Stephenson book, slightly pipping The Diamond Age. Why? Well, as someone pointed out above, a large backstory makes a book truly epic, and Quicksilver et al are based on history, the biggest, and most fantastic (in both meanings of the word) backstory ever.
If ever the BBC wanted to try something other than Pride and Prejudice (for the umpteenth time), The Baroque Cycle would make a great series!
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