Archive for September 17th, 2011

“Stop, Thief! Said author Harlan Ellison.”

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Some time ago I posted a youtube link in which Harlan Ellison rants about people taking writers’ work and not paying – it’s here.

He meant business.

Now the Hugo award-winning author is suing to stop the scheduled Oct. 28 U.S. release of In Time, a new science fiction  film starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, which he says is a rip-off from his 1965 prize-winning short story, “Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman.” He’s especially agitated because he has been trying to cut a deal to have a film made of his story.

According to the Guardian:

According to Ellison’s suit, both works are based on the premise of a “dystopian corporate future in which everyone is allotted a specific amount of time to live”. The writer also says In Time lifts other concepts from his story, including the presence of authority figures known as “Timekeepers” who track the precise amount of time each citizen has left, and similarities in the way those whose time runs out meet their end. …

It’s not clear whether Ellison has seen In Time, but he points out that critics such as Richard Roeper, who have attended advance screenings, claim that the film is based on his story.

Film clip of Andrew Niccol‘s In Time below.  Looks interesting. I’m tempted to catch it … if it ever opens in the U.S. … Maybe I’ll save my ten bucks (or whatever movies cost nowadays)  and read Ellison’s story instead.  Really, what protection do authors have nowadays for their ideas – which, after all, is a major criterion in the science fiction genre? Check out the Ellison rant. He’s right.

Dana Gioia, Amy Winehouse: “Pity the Beautiful”

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

In 2007 (Photo: Jonwood2)

The title poem of Dana Gioia‘s forthcoming collection of poetry, Pity the Beautiful, is paired with an excerpt from Guy Trebay‘s appreciation of Amy Winehouse, “A Bad Girl With a Touch of Genius,” in today’s New York Times.  Read it here.  (And I’ve written a lot about Dana, here and here and here and here and here.)

The comments are interesting, too.  In these fast and thoughtless times, I appreciate anything that makes me slow down and think about a poem.

I was intrigued by this analysis of Winehouse’s striking “look” in Trebay’s article:

“It’s hard to look that cheap and pull it off,” John Waters said admiringly of Amy Winehouse, some days after the English singer was found dead in her London bed.  …

“She took vintage looks and combined them with punk into brand-new looks that gave even bad girls pause,” Mr. Waters said. …

According to Mr. Waters, anybody else trying to pull off Ms. Winehouse’s look was doomed to failure. “It all looked like it came very naturally to her,” he said. “She didn’t look like Halloween, but you could go as her on Halloween, and there’s the difference.”