DAVID BRIN on science fiction films

David Brin's best-selling novels include The Postman (filmed in 1997) plus explorations of our near-future in Earth and Existence. His award-winning novels and short stories explore vividly speculative ideas through a hard-science lens. His nonfiction book, The Transparent Society, won the American Library Association's Freedom of Speech Award for exploring 21st Century concerns about security, secrecy, accountability and privacy.


Here are Brin's science fiction film articles, analyses and insights — beginning with the film based on his novel.

The Postman

A movie version of The Postman premiered December 1997, and was promptly killed by both Titanic and attacks by cynical critics. If you missed it, do see the flick in video. It's a flawed and uneven but ambitious rendition of the novel, with some stirring moments and wonderful visual imagery that make it well worth looking at. It's far better than the critics said... though not what it could have been if Costner had stayed closer to the book. (For Brin's personal reaction to Kevin Costner's production, see "The Postman, the Movie.")

options info

Some of DAVID BRIN's novels and short stories have been optioned, while still others are awaiting their Hollywood treatment.

Brin is negotiating rights to the short story "Dr. Pak's Preschool." As for other film possibilities, discussions continue regarding Earth, Glory Season and The Uplift War.

("Discussions" in Hollywood are always "preliminary"... until suddenly things happen.)

film & media queries

Queries about film or media rights to any DAVID BRIN books or stories can be addressed to his film agent:

Vince Gerardis
Created-By Agency
email: rightsqueries@gmail.com
(with cc: to David Brin)


science fiction film analyses and insights

Because I'm a best-selling and award-winning science fiction writer I've been asked to pen a few comments about science fiction and fantasy films.

Star Wars ubermenschen

Star Wars' "Dark Side"

mythology and ingratitude

My most infamous film review was the series I wrote about Star Wars for Salon Magazine. I've posted a page on this site which provides links to the Salon articles and follows it up with my comments and responses to the heated online reaction.

One of the problems with so-called light entertainment today is that somehow, amid all the gaudy special effects, people tend to lose track of simple things, like story and meaning. They stop noticing the moral lessons the director is trying to push. Yet these things matter.

learn more about STAR WARS ON TRIAL

Star Wars on Trial

let the jury decide

In Star Wars on Trial, two dozen wonderfully articulate authors 'testify' either for the prosecution or the defense. Is SW fantasy disguised as science fiction? Does the series spread doom-pessimism about democracy? Has it been a let-down since 'The Empire Strikes Back'? Does it even make any sense? Be prepared for a wild, extravagant 'trial' — brash and entertaining and downright fun!

science fiction films

Films that Help to Teach Science

fun for children and adults!

From Apollo 13 to The Right Stuff, from Lorenzo's Oil to Awakenings, from Contact to Gattaca, these historical and science fiction films can be used to illustrate basic science concepts in the real world.

Sci Fi & Cinema: Should Movies include Civilization?

want to make a more exciting movie?

why films (and books) should include civilization

What criteria do you use to judge whether or not you like a movie? Or a novel for that matter? We all have our standards, considering issues such as story-telling, consistency of plot, whether the work is dramatic enough, whether the characters seem plausible or believable. But there’s one you never hear mentioned, and that is civilization. It’s the context within which we all live. It’s what we depend upon for our daily life, our food, our electricity... for the livelihood that enables us to be able to buy movie tickets! So why is civilization almost never a topic, never a character in our films? Indeed, the assumption that civilization is useless dominates most films, because it makes it easy to put your hero in pulse-pounding jeopardy.

detail from 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey

shining light on how far we've come

Arthur C. Clarke's brilliant book was made into a 1968 movie. Yes, its pace is glacial by today's standards. No, we don't have a vacation destination on the moon and probably won't. Is the film still as relevant and "fresh" as the books or as dead as Pan Am? Ponder the following two hoary old clichés: 'Isn't it a shame that human decency and justice haven't kept pace with our technological progress?' and 'No past era featured as much cruelty and misery as this one.'

King King is Back! cover detail

king kong

a trio of films

Release of this film inspired a book in the Smart Pop series, King Kong is Back! David Brin wrote the Introduction which examined the ape's relevance to a 21st Century audience (as opposed to a 1933 or 1975 audience).

King Kong is an ape, but so much more. He's proto-man, primitive, solitary and fiercely proud, representing everything about us that the architects and builders of our great and grand civilization aimed to ignore, or leave behind.

Lord of the Rings film trilogy

lord of the rings

a trilogy of a film

In this review Brin looks at the way Tolkien's book reflected his experiences in WWI (and between the two Great Wars) and how Jackson's films reflect post-Cold War (and early 9/11) attitudes about heroism and evil-doers.

What was there not to like? As William Goldman said about another great fantasy, The Princess Bride, it has 'Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True Love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad Men. Good Men. Beautifulest Ladies. Spiders. Dragons, Eagles. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Magic. Chases. Escapes. Miracles.'

Seven Seasons of Buffy cover detail

buffy

vampire slayer for the ages

Glad to see this old tribute of mine — "Buffy vs. The Old-Fashioned 'Hero'" — re-posted by SmartPop Books. It was written a decade ago, when the "kick-ass" female warriors were Xena and Charlie's Angels and of course, the Buff-Maistress herself — archetypes who challenged us to "change the way people view authority."

The Matrix

the matrix trilogy

might tomorrow be different?

Did The Matrix start a trend? Is Cyberpunk a new form of Romantic nostalgia? In retrospect, cyberpunk was probably the finest free promotion campaign ever waged on behalf of science fiction. Brilliantly managed, and backed by some works of estimable value, it snared and reeled in countless new readers, while opening fresh opportunities in Hollywood and the visual arts. True, the self-important rhetoric and whines of persecution sounded ironic — at times even hilarious. However, the CP rebels did shake things up.

Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged

the hidden context of book and film

So we rented Atlas Shrugged. After all, I often talk about Ayn Rand, and her passionate followers have effectively taken over the U.S. Libertarian movement and influence much of the rhetoric we hear from the Republican Right — even though no libertarian policies have ever actually been enacted during Republican rule. So, I thought, why not give her acolytes one more shot at selling me on her biggest, most-central tale? An honest person does that. Whereupon, with a sigh but opening my ears and mind, I slid the disk into the player....

learn more about THROUGH STRANGER EYES

Through Stranger Eyes

#12

Several of David Brin's book and film reviews, and a number of other essays, have been collected into Through Stranger Eyes. From sober reflections on Jared Diamond's Collapse, and Rebecca Solnit's River of Shadows, to scientific ponderings on Feynman and Gott, along with appraisals of great authors like Brunner, Resnick, Zelazny, Clarke, Verne, and Orwell — more than two dozen reviews and commentaries that are sure to enlighten, entertain, possibly infuriate or even make you laugh, but above all, offer some perspectives you never imagined before.

read Star Trek Shows We Can Live Long and Prosper

is there a Star Trek in our future?

David Brin published an article in the NY Daily News about how we can 'live long and prosper.'

And watch a vivid History Channel show "Star Trek: Secrets of the Universe." Brin was one of the pundits illuminating both scientific and dramatic themes of the wonderful Star Trek cosmos.


a brief intro to science fiction author DAVID BRIN

To learn more, visit his books page, or see his "about me" page or detailed biography.

DAVID BRIN author

novels

David Brin's science fiction novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages. They range from bold and prophetic explorations of our near-future to Brin's Uplift series, envisioning galactic issues of sapience and destiny (and star-faring dolphins!). Learn More


shorter fiction

Short stories and novellas have different rhythms and artistic flavor, and Brin's short stories and novellas, several of which earned Hugo and other awards, exploit that difference to explore a wider range of real and vividly speculative ideas. Many have been selected for anthologies and reprints, and most have been published in anthology form. Learn More


Contrary Brin blog

Since 2004, David Brin has maintained a blog about science, technology, science fiction, books, and the future — themes his science fiction and nonfiction writings continue to explore. Learn More


social media influencer

Who could've predicted that social media — indeed, all of our online society — would play such an important role in the 21st Century — restoring the voices of advisors and influencers! Lively and intelligent comments spill over onto Brin's social media pages. Learn More

DAVID BRIN scientist

scientist

David Brin's Ph.D in Physics from the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. Every science show that depicts a comet now portrays the model developed in Brin's PhD research. Learn More


transparency expert

Brin's non-fiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, continues to receive acclaim for its accuracy in predicting 21st Century concerns about online security, secrecy, accountability and privacy. Learn More


speaker & consultant

Brin speaks plausibly and entertainingly about trends in technology and society to audiences willing to confront the challenges that our rambunctious civilization will face in the decades ahead. He also talks about the field of science fiction, especially in relation to his own novels and stories. To date he has presented at more than 200 meetings, conferences, corporate retreats and other gatherings.Learn More


future/tech advisor

Brin advises corporations and governmental and private defense- and security-related agencies about information-age issues, scientific trends, future social and political trends, and education. Urban Developer Magazine named him one of four World's Best Futurists, and he was cited as one of the top 10 writers the AI elite follow. Past consultations include Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and many others. Learn More


other points of departure

visit other pages on this website

pages about science fiction

  • Brin's novels and books
  • Brin's short stories and novellas
  • all about Brin's uplift universe
  • a selection of book reviews
  • Brin's advice for new writers
  • Brin reviews sci fi films — including The Postman
  • a compilation of great sf books to read
  • recommended sf films
  • science fiction that teaches
  • nonfiction explorations

  • The Transparent Society
  • privacy, security, accountability and transparency
  • designing and crafting our amazing 21st Century
  • predicting and projecting our near and far future
  • leading and following our politics and economy
  • keeping track of changes in science and technology
  • scanning our sky for habitable (inhabited?) worlds
  • an ornery, contrary blog, and other insightful rants!

    Do not enter if you want a standard "Party" line! Contrary Brin's community pokes at too-rigid orthodoxies, proposing ideas and topics that fascinate and infuriate.

    wormholes

    A few spacetime anomalies and side-trips, for your entertainment.

    Questions? Concerns? Email Me

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    testimonials

    endorsements and recommendations

    praise for The Postman

    "Brin slathers a sober and hard-edged landscape at one turn, and in the next pinpoints with pixel clarity the humanity all jumbled up in the epic action. On every page we see the dirty, lined, broken faces of hardscrabble existence, but we also see them light up at the simple gesture of receiving a piece of mail from a long-lost loved one. And we see mythopoesis right in our faces."
    SF Site Reviews

    praise for Glory Season

    "Brin's canny sensitivity about the complexities of human nature transcends gender barriers in a novel that is not so much about 'women's issues' as the necessity for change and variability. As in Earth, the author demonstrates his ability to empathize with all his characters. This complex and gripping tale belongs in most libraries."
    — Library Journal

    praise for Heart of the Comet

    "A magnificent effort ... their story gets better, and better, and better."
    — Locus

    Vernor Vinge

    "More than any writer I know, David Brin can take scary, important problems and turn them sideways, revealing wonderful opportunities. This talent shows strongly in Kiln People, a novel which is deep and insightful and often hilarious, all at the same time."

    final thoughts ...

    ... for this page, at least ...

    an excerpt from "The Postman, the Movie"

    "The Postman was written as an answer to all those post-apocalyptic books and films that seem to revel in the idea of civilization's fall. It's a story about how much we take for granted — and how desperately we would miss the little, gracious things that connect us today. It is a story about the last idealist in a fallen America. A man who cannot let go of a dream we all once shared. Who sparks restored faith that we can recover, and perhaps even become better than we were. It would take a special kind of actor to play the lead role — a ragged survivor, deeply scarred, yet still willing to hope. In this era of cynicism, we need reminders of the decency that lies within."