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Here’s where I’m at as a huge, hard science fiction fan: I’m watching old episodes of Stargate SG-1. It’s not a good show. I’m watching it because I’ve watched almost everything else that’s even remotely science fiction related and, the truth is, Hollywood just isn’t making good science fiction anymore. Source Code is what passes for science fiction in theaters these days, and for a hardcore sci-fi nerd, that just doesn’t cut it. It’s all but gone off television, the Sci-Fi Channel doesn’t even exist anymore, replaced by some zombie version of it which now mostly plays shows about ghost hunting, shows that real science fiction minds like Ray Bradbury, would be pretty quick to decry.
It’s at times like this that the sci-fi world turns to people like Bradbury, looking for good ideas which might help bring the genre back. A few months ago we heard that Fox had optioned Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, but now it’s gone to Paramount and they’re actually doing something with it. Producer John Davis is pushing forward with a movie version of Bradbury’s classic sci-fi title, though just exactly how he’ll do it is anyone’s guess.
The thing about The Martian Chornicles is that it isn’t one story, but a bunch of completely different ones. They don’t really tie together into a single narrative. It’s more a collection of Mars themed short stories, than one story itself. In part of the collection Bradbury tells the story of man’s first attempts to colonize the red planet while being fought off by Martian natives. Later man faces a nuclear war which causes a return to Earth. Then even further into the future, in the aftermath of the war humanity becomes the new Martians.
Putting all of that in one movie probably wouldn’t work, it seems likely they’ll simply pick one story or group of stories to develop into a feature. Maybe they’re hoping for sequels in which they can tell the others. Right now THR says they don’t even have a writer, so it’s likely that the team producing this adaptation isn’t even sure what direction they’ll go with it. What’s certain is that Bradbury is a science fiction master, and if you’re looking for good sci-fi to develop for features, he’s the right author to run with.