Walter Tevis

02021-01-06 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

Last week I learned that Walter Tevis wrote The Queen’s Gambit, after watching the first few episodes of the Netflix series. Then I discovered that he also wrote The Man Who Fell to Earth, which was published in 1963. I had seen the 1976 movie by Nicolas Roeg, staring David Bowie, in the early Eighties, but hadn’t read the book.

I found the audio book version of The Man Who Fell to Earth on Hoopla and have been listening to it – I am a little more than two thirds into it. I can see why casting David Bowie made sense on a lot of different levels. The alien, in book and movie, could be seen as an artist and his alcoholism seen as the artist’s way of shielding themselves from a world that can often be too much for them.

As is the case with most movie adaptations of novels, I find the book much more interesting. Short stories often adapt to the screen much better than novels do. I haven’t seen the movie in decades but might want to revisit it. There certainly are images from the movie that have stuck with me. For example Bowie, as TJ Newton, clumsily walking down a hill in Madrid, New Mexico, at the beginning of the film.

The idea of round balls that contain layers of data that would be scanned to reproduce music was an amazing vision in 1963. On the other hand the author could not imagine anything other than analog film for photography. Listening to the book I wondered how often scientists might turn to Sci-Fi as a predictor of future technologies.

1 Comment

  1. JaneParhamKatz

    Yes, I think scientists look at sci-fi, not so much as predicting future technologies, but as inspiring new technologies. In fact, many aerospace scientists, engineers, and Inventors I have known entered their field fueled by “2001: A Space Odyssey” and even more by STAR TREK, the original TV show.

    Search YouTube for: HOW WILLIAM SHATNER CHANGED THE WORLD. You’ll see inventions, like the flip phone, acknowledged by its Inventor to be inspired by Star Trek, and astronauts and scientists explain how they were inspired by Star Trek to be what they became.


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