Oookay. I’d completely forgotten about the movie Surrogates with Bruce Willis. It’s like taking I Robots a step further – instead of everyone owning a robot, everyone *is* a robot. Well, they use them in their place, I mean. It’s much closer to the film Logan’s Run, though, because it’s all concept without an engaging story. And I say that having watched almost FORTY MINUTES of Surrogates. (Okay, now that I read that back, actually, that was harsh. Nothing’s like Logan’s Run.)
Seriously, when is this not an issue in Sci-fi? You have this amazeballs concept that is just sure to blow everyone’s mind because “Whoaaaa” – and you have to say that like Keanu. And then, you spend maybe 1/4 of the time you spent on visualizing this place on actually developing a story.
Here’s the thing – you’ve already put baby in the corner when you make it where 90% of people are using surrogates and crime is all but vanquished. What could the stakes be? And even when you introduce – WAIT! Somebody did die when their surrogate died…I kinda don’t believe you? Because if it could happen, why hadn’t it happened before they got to this level of infiltration and also, how hard can it be for some super agile pack of surrogates to find the human responsible and apprehend him/her before s/he can kill the surrogates? And yeah, there’s this group of people who are staunchly – almost religiously – against the use of surrogates…but um why? They’re basically placeholders. Why do you care? And also…so? The cultish group looks kinda backwater anyway. (Also, why do they look backwater?)
These are things – as opposed to what Tom Hanks said in Sleepless In Seattle – I am not willing to get to the bottom of. (Okay, maybe I’ll go finish watching it but I won’t expect much and you can’t make me.)
More irritation: Why would surrogates keep calling regular humans “Meatbags”…the surrogates aren’t sentient robots – they’re remote controls for … humans. So. Me being human, but remotely controlling a surrogate, calling another human a “meatbag”…is just stupid. I get that it was fun lingo that the writer thought would add more pizzazz to the world but. It just makes no sense. And having every human be ugly and unkempt looses its shock value after an hour, you guys. (Yes, I’m liveblogging as I watch.) I also don’t believe that the majority of the world would do this anymore than I believe the majority of the world would get plastic surgery.
(Hey, I just finished the movie and I have a message for it. I don’t care. None of that meant anything to me. To the point of eyes at half mast as characters hyperventilated and tried to figure out how to stop the thing that honestly didn’t really matter from happening. Morst.)
So, since I haven’t put pen to paper (that’s not actually true but I’m using it more in terms of writing the book itself versus writing notes and outlines and mostly because it’s just a turn of phrase, geez) – I thought I’d consider this well before I start writing the story for my new concept. The thing is, I honestly am very interested in writing character-driven stories set to a vivid backdrop of sci-fi/magic realism goodness. But you sort of have to make that determination before you set up the story. Because if you open on the HIGH CONCEPT AND CAN YOU FEEL THAT, BUDDY thing and then the characters are just meh, that’s not so much an intentional decision as a half-baked fail pie. (You heard me.) If however, you somehow open on the character and we discover that, in addition to the rich emotional story, there’s this unique aspect of the world that isn’t quite our own…yeah. Oh, okay so like Ender’s Game. Orson Scott Card wins again.
(And I love you Bruce Willis. But you already knew that.)