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December 12, 2007

Elevator pitches
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:45 PM *

We haven’t had a parlor game in a while. Let’s play Elevator Pitches.

You, a not very inspired writer, have the movie producer/TV studio exec of your choice trapped in an elevator. You know SF&F genre is hot these days, and after Bridget Jones’ Diary you know the classics of English literature are ripe for ripping off^H^H^H reinvention. What could sell better than a crossover?

Make your pitch: classic novel/play/movie/epic poem/whatever recast into an SFnial setting, real or generic. Here are a couple to start off.

- o0o -

“Lord Elléot, of the household of Kellinch in Lebennin, was a man who, for his own amusement, never perused any tome but The Lineage of the Great Houses of Gondor; there he found occupation in his idleness and consolation in his distress; there were his courage and his nobility roused by the deeds of former heroes; there were the trials of daily life turned to pity and contempt in the contemplation of the recent decline of the noble bloodlines of the White City — and there, if all other tales held no power, he could read his own praises with an interest that never failed…”

It’s the story of one of the noblest houses of Gondor, now fallen into disrepute. We follow the middle daughter, Einne, as the Ranger she once loved returns from the defense of the borders. About half of the action is set in the plains of Gondor, and half in the provincial capital of Osgiliath. There’s a very dramatic scene at the riverside pier at Pelargir as well - we could crowd in lots of dwarves and elves, maybe even a few orcs.

NEXT!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times in a galaxy far, far away…

During the Rebellion against the empire, two men fall for the same woman against a backdrop of betrayal and mistaken identity.

Commander Sidney Carton of the Imperial Fleet and freighter pilot (and sometime rebel) Captain Charl Dar-nay, are both in love with the same Imperial senator. As the action shifts between the Imperial city of Coruscant and the spaceport at Mos Eisley, the two men contend for Senator Lu-Cie Manet’s affections. It ends with Commander Carton falling into the maw of the dread Sarlacc in payment for Captain Dar-nay’s debt to Jabba the Hut.

NEXT!

Comments on Elevator pitches:
#1 ::: Terry (still in Germany) ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:12 PM:

Ishmael sets "sail" on an interstellar ship, which is out harvesting beings which live between the stars.

His captain is a madman, and has a psychotic desire to chase down the one which cost him his leg in a previous encounter.

#2 ::: JohnnyWeird ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:24 PM:

Storm

A group of corrupt space-freighters jettison their commander out of an airlock into a strange stellar phenomenon, intending to split his prosporous business between them. Years later, they are marooned by a strange accident on a planet where the landscape is heavily psychoactive, and find strange beings, Ariel and Caliban, whose mysterious "Master" has dire plans in store.

Jigsaw meets HAL in a gripping and surreal story of revenge.

#3 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:27 PM:

#2: Nah. Sounds like a remake of Forbidden Planet.

#4 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:27 PM:

Not British but:

The young lord of House Atredis, recently relocated to the desert world of Arakis, meets a street urchin who is his exact likeness. Each boy imagines the other to experience the joys they lack and so they switch places, never realizing that their fates cannot be thwarted. One boy is destined to be God Emperor of the Known Universe, the other, to die fighting for the love of his life.

#5 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:30 PM:

Keith @4:
English as in language, not national origin.

(Good choice)

#6 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:36 PM:

Jason, of the Sons of Comp, and his mutant brother Ben investigate the mysterious death of their brother Quentin and disappearance of their sister Candace. Accompanied by their faithful droid Dilsey they travel through the Yoknapawtapha Galaxy. They find Candace as a slave girl of the interstellar adventurer Dalton the Ames.

#7 ::: Annie G. ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:37 PM:

Lord Alan Quixote, the impoverished scion of a once well-to-do planet Mancha, has had his imagination fired by the holovids of noble astronauts from the dawn of the Space Age with which he has occupied his youth. After catching a glimpse of the beautiful alien Dulcie, he leaves home in his rattletrap schooner Rose to woo and win her. Along the way, assisted by his faithful retainer Sam Panza, he lands on many different planets and has a series of largely humorous adventures. One high point is when, confused by alien technology, he flies Rose into the power plants supporting a neighboring planet, causing an intergalactic incident and putting Dulcie even further from his reach.

Reading it over, it sounds more like TV series than a movie....

#8 ::: Annie G. ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:38 PM:

Oh shoot, mine wasn't English in either origin or language either.

#9 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:40 PM:

I hereby waive the language requirement.

#10 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:41 PM:

But entertaining, none the less, Annie.

#11 ::: JohnnyWeird ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:42 PM:

#3: A fair point. Another try:

In the aftermath of a brutal zombie apocalypse, a small commune of survivalists in rural Scotland becomes beset by infighting when the wife of a former Royal Marine begins pushing him to assume leadership. Not far from the community, a trio of gorgeous bisexual women seek a way to control the shambling horrors that prowl the countryside. In the climactic moments, an inoculated son of the murdered leader opens the gates and allows the zombies to consume the murderous Marine and his wily wife.

#12 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:43 PM:

Ooh, strikeout gone feral.

#13 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:44 PM:

I've never seen a comment box struckthrough before. Interesting.

#14 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:44 PM:

And corrected, in the time it took me to type it.

#15 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:46 PM:

#11: Can we change the zombies to ents? They're much cooler.

#16 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:47 PM:

It was a wildcat strike.

#17 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:50 PM:

Tom Buck, a mild-mannered judge, is kidnapped by aliens from his home in Santa Clara and forced to pull a grav-sledge on the ice planet, Al'Ask! His innate strength allows him to rise among the slaves until he leads a team... but then he is sold, and forced to fight in the gladiator pits!

#18 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:51 PM:

Two droids are waiting for a Jedi Master. While they wait they have fun with a rogue and his seemingly speechless Wookiee.

#19 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:57 PM:

G. Ramsumair, a young resident of a far colonial planet becomes a traditional Indian guru, but is gradually assimilated to the imperial norm and is sent as an emissary to the imperial planet.

#20 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 04:59 PM:

"Reader, I married It."

#21 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:02 PM:

#20: an Addams Family spinoff?

#22 ::: Gdr ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:13 PM:

@1: Bruce Sterling already wrote that one (Involution Ocean).

#23 ::: Spike ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:14 PM:

Paddington Bear and Winney the Pooh make a minor living working as asteroid miners, when they are forced out of business by the ever expanding population of Rabbits. With the price of honey and marmalade reaching every higher levels, they are forced into one last desperate gamble. Retrofitting their ship with gravitational anomaly sensors and magnetic clamps, they take one final make or break trip out beyond the asteroid belt. Will they find a black hole suitable for leading the rabbits down, or are they doomed to die out beyond the stars? Instead they are the first to meet an alien race of woodland animals, who have fled the horrors of spring cleaning, and offer to trade their knowledge of boats, and the messing about in thereof, at highly favourable rates. High jinks ensue with reckless driving, imprisonement, and laser battles with squatting space weasels. However, with the help of the gruff badger lords of the Redwall planet, and their fanatical mouse-men armies, our heroes prevail, and the Christopher Robin can take his place as the rightful Emperor of the Galaxy.

#24 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:16 PM:

Greta and Hans are abandoned in the woods by their desperate parents when the latter are unable to feed them. Wandering lost, they come upon a beautiful castle which seems to be made of gingerbread! Inside is a very friendly woman who puts them up for the night and feeds them a fine dinner.

But all is not as it seems. Their hostess seems both frank and furtive, and the children are convinced that the hunchback butler and inappropriately sensual maid are up to no good. And Collie, another child rescued from the storm, behaves oddly too. Soon they discover that their hostess is engaging in forbidden scientific experiments, and is in fact not their hostess at all...but their host!

#25 ::: Nicole TWN ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:19 PM:

Loveable young scamp-of-the-future Jim lives with his mother in an inn that they run... on another planet! Jim stumbles across a futuristic, holographic treasure map and organizes a trip to the purported location of the Treasure Planet... aboard a spacefaring galleon!! But space mutiny erupts aboard the ship, led by the shifty space cook John Silver, and--

What do you mean, "it's been done"?

#26 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:24 PM:

"Sir, I have this great idea for a space adventure movie... Space raiders frequently drop down on an isolated planet's impoverished population. After the last such raid, some decide that their world can't take this anymore and they go to another star system where they enlist the help of mercenaries to rid themselves of those raiders once and for all."

"I like it, kid, but..."

"But what, sir?"

"It sounds like Pixar's A Bug's Life."

"Not the same. That one has insects here on Earth today."

"Ever seen John Sturges's Magnificent Seven?"

"That was a western. This is science-fiction."

"Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, kid?"

"Of course. It's set centuries in the past, in Asia. Mine is set in outer space."

"Sigh... Ever seen Battle Beyond the Stars?"

"Crap."

#27 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:29 PM:

Serge @26:
Actually, the desperate characters in A Bug's Life don't enlist warriors, but actors that they think are warriors.

This makes it identical to Galaxy Quest. (h/t the Hub for pointing that out)

#28 ::: September Blue ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:30 PM:

East of Endor

After fighting with his brother, our small, furry hero leaves the family treehouse to enlist in the war against the evil Empire, spending a long and drawn-out youth chittering at Stormtroopers and dropping rocks on AT-STs. When the war is over, he drifts around the galaxy for some years (note: we could get some Planet of the Bikini-clad Slave Girls scenes in here, right?), eventually settling on the newly-colonised moon of Sal-i-Nas. Can he learn to make a new life alongside the strange clan culture of his neighbours? Will the story of his own childhood repeat itself in the form of his twin cubs? We end with a perfect lead-in to a sequel, as Cub #2 heads into exile aboard the star freighter Timshel.

#29 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:31 PM:

Waiting For Gandalf: Two hobbits eat, sleep, talk, argue, make up, sing, play games, exercise, swap hats, and contemplate suicide while sitting in the Prancing Pony, waiting for a wizard who never arrives.

#30 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:33 PM:

16-year old Holden Anderson is kicked out of school, and wanders lonely in central New York during Christmas while contemplating his place in the world around him, unaware that he is The One, who is destined to destroy The Phony, the artificial world in which mankind has been trapped by hyperintelligent machines. His beloved sister is revealed to be an agent of the resistance, who has been protecting The One under the guidance of the rebel leader Antolini. Finally, Holden realizes his true self and fights the Phony under the alias "the Catcher".

#31 ::: Spike ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:34 PM:

Three Upper class young feiuwios, declaring that they desperately need a change of scene given their difficult occupations, go on a rowing holiday along one of the major methane rivers of their planet. Accompanied only by their faithful qu'sciem, the four of them discover that their comfortable daily lives have been remarkably bad preparation for the task of rowing their craft upstream. Along the way many adventures ensue, as they pass from local landmark to local landmark. Foul weather threatens disaster, but their good spirits are undamped, and all declare the holiday a great success. Told from the perspective of one of the boaters this classic will amuse young and old alike.

#32 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:35 PM:

Heathcliff, orphaned by a freak space mining accident, is taken in by the nearest colony and grows up fond of the chief's daughter, Catherine. Thwarted in his love for Catherine by her status-oriented family, he develops new space mining techniques and eventually takes over both Catherine's colony and the neighboring one, to the detriment of everyone's happiness, including his own.

#33 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:37 PM:

Abi @ 27... Bah! You're splitting antennae.

#34 ::: Ben Henley ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:38 PM:

Louisa May Alcott's Incredible Microscopic Women.

Toni Morrison's The Bluest Tri-Lobed Eye.

Both write themselves.

#35 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:42 PM:

"Star War and Peace"

#36 ::: Spike ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:42 PM:

"Across the Milky Way, with ramscoop and laser cannon"

Accompanied only by his faithful spanial, our hero records his sporting endeavours wherever he can in this part travelogue, part sporting guide to the Milky Way.

#37 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:44 PM:

"The Secret Life of Walter Mitochondria"

#38 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:45 PM:

Shagrat and Gorbag Are Dead

(including the game of Curses)

#39 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:45 PM:

"Sky Noon"

#41 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:52 PM:

Down and Out in L-5 and Polaris.

#42 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:52 PM:

C'mon, guys, more details! I only know of one movie that was sold on title alone, and it wasn't Tribbles on a Starship

#43 ::: September Blue ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:53 PM:

My Family and Other Nine-Eyed, Multi-Flippered Bat-Creatures: one boy's heartwarming tale of a childhood on the Jovian moons.

#44 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:56 PM:

Young R. Singh grows up to discover that the people of his native planet are all phonies who mimic behaviours from elsewhere in the galaxy while not really believing in them.

#45 ::: Mark Gritter ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 05:58 PM:

Slacker and part-time musician Don T., pursued by a gang of genetically enhanced wolf/human hybids, falls through his native urban landscape into a hidden world and discovers the secret post-Singularity nano-technological afterlife that awaits him and all of humanity. Guided by an androgynous AI, Don engages in an allegorical tour in which not only overcomes his own faults and but deconstructs the social and ethical shortcomings of our time. Through the course of this trilogy, Don achieves a spiritual renewal and returns ready to help shepherd humanity to its future among the stars.

#46 ::: Lighthill ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:00 PM:

This one is more SF/Horror: An explosion on a space colony leaves our nameless protagonist alone and starving, with no hope for escape. Half mad with hunger, he is visited by a twisted eldritch messenger from beyond space and time. The messenger's only apparent goal is to seduce our starving hero into saving his own life... by eating the flash-frozen remains of those who were killed in the explosion. To persuade him, the Space Alien Messenger (or SAM) directs him on a mystic psychedelic odyssey through space and time. Can our hero keep his sanity, and will saving his mind cost him his life?

It's Solaris, meets Event Horizon, meets the last half of 2001. I fully expect "Soylent Green Eggs And Ham" to be a box office smash.

#47 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:00 PM:

Abi@42 - Which movie was that?

#48 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:01 PM:

We begin with a riot on the colonial prison planet in which the leader of the political liberation movement is wounded by an angry man of similar ancestry who mistakes him for an imperial oppressor. The bulk of the story is taken up with flashbacks of the protagonists life, his career in the Imperial Space Force, his education on the imperial capital planet, and his return to his home planet determined to liberate its people. His girlfriend, one of the prisoners, weeps inconsolably when he dies.

#49 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:02 PM:

"So these two positronic robots walk into a platinum-iridium bar..."

"...that was no Singularity, that was my *wife*!"

Let us speak of the Star-Riders of the Crimson Toque, a band of colorful (if diminutive) itinerants who ply their centuries-patched hyperspace caraveens through the galactic backwater. The Festival of Vosant approaches, and so the Rider mesofamily has set their course for Uema's Star, where the Great Clan-Mother waits to welcome them. The Star-Riders will lay their traditional gifts before the Clan-Mother; she will bless their ships and marriages. Spare parts will be swapped for exomatter source patches, databases for genetic grafts, beneath the Clan-Mother's eye.

But the road to Uema's Star runs through the Wald Expanse, a beaconless reach of space in which even the mighty Bright Sky Liners steer warily. Enter the Wald Expanse, and you are like as not to meet one of the Starveling Packs -- vicious hyper-predators, always hungry for low-entropy computing cores and uncorrupt genetic code.

The Star-Riders moved slowly through the Expanse, always aware of the Pack hunters wailing in the distant high-frequency bands. When a Starvelinger approached, the Riders would circle their caraveens and cry forth, "Molest us not! For we travel to the gates of the Great Clan-Mother, to present our gifts! Harm us, and her wrath will fall upon you, and your world-lines will be uprooted back to your grandmothers' birthtime!"

The Starveling Packs are a superstitious lot, and these warnings stayed them. But cunning they are as well. The strongest of the Pack hove ahead, quickly through the Wald towards Uema's Star. There he broadcast the identity-signals and gifting-manifests of the Star-Riders (For the Riders, being unallied and alone in the galaxy, have no trusted certificate upon their comms.) The Clan-Mother accepted the Starvelinger's signals -- and in moments, he owned her comms and crypts, down to the lowest delving of code.

Soon enough the Riders came to Uema's Star, with their gifting-manifests blazing before them. "Welcome!" was the signal they received. "Open your comms to the Clan-Mother, that the Festival may begin!"

But the Riders hesitated, for the signal came from Uema's Star through many layers of encryption and contextual cloaking. "Oh Great Clan-Mother," they replied, "what cold ICE you have..."

(Further deponent is driven off the stage by a hail of tomatoes.)

#50 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Dave Hutchison @47:

The tagline was "I've had it with these goram tribbles on a goram spaceship!"

Or something like that.

#51 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:11 PM:

Abi@47 - Ah. Gotcha. Sorry, I'm having a slow-brain day. Very neat reply, by the way.

#52 ::: Lighthill ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:12 PM:

Riffing more on #46:

It's a thrilling adventure set in a future where global warming has sent the world into a perpetual rainstorm. Humanity lives in a roofed-in network of arcologies where the central computer (called "Mother") provides for all their needs. Inside one of the arcologies, a rogue AI in the guise of a holographic cat avatar befriends two goodhearted children. The AI cracks all the DRM and security systems in their house so it can take the kids on a whirlwind tour of the "fun" that humanity could be having, if it only knew how. The children's caretaker, an uplifted dolphin, tries to stop the AI, but to no avail. What will the children do when they need to decide between supporting the AI's dangerous anarchic vision, or ratting it out to the central computer?

What would you do, if your Mother asked you?

#53 ::: Dave Hutchinson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:13 PM:

That should have been Abi@50. See what I mean about the slow-brain day? Apologies.

#54 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:13 PM:

Journey to the Core

A lowly subroutine attempts to become fully post-human, but it annoys the inhabitants of the local matrioshka brain that used to be the Solar System so much that it is expelled, embodied and frozen in the heart of a long-period comet. Millennia later, it is unfrozen by an avatar of the matrioshka brain and sent to accompany a recreation of Vernor Vinge and some uplifted animals on an expedition to the wormhole at the centre of the galaxy to get a new version of the matrioshka's operating system.

#55 ::: Nicole TWN ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:14 PM:

A spaceship crewed by an advanced reptilian race suffers an infestation of pesky primitive humans, in... Humans On A Starship!

Or...

Forget the sleek and shiny world of the elite travelling between worlds on pleasure cruises... come with us as we explore the gritty life of the poor souls who run the ships. Tar'quuul, son of a merchant on a wealthy world, joins the crew of the decrepit but spaceworthy old starship Port St. Jolie, and discovers a life he never expected. The ship calls at the most backwater ports, where tiny colonies of intrepid humans cling to life, even as they're beset by harsh conditions and raids by hostile aliens. Will sheltered young Tar'quuul learn to be a salty old space hand, or will he fold like a cheap suit in an automated suit-folding machine? Find out, in... Two Years Before The Matter-Antimatter Reactor.

#56 ::: Another Damned Medievalist ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:20 PM:

M'kel Entchit, a skilled flyer mechanic, his wife Soria, and baby daughter journey from their home in the West Sector to Fairport, where the annual Choosing for colonial allotments will take place. The night before the Choosing, the Entchit family camp out with other hopefuls, spending their last credits on food. The Arkarian woman who runs the food tent has the Sight -- or at least knows a good mark -- and offers M'kel aruum, a powerful Arkarian intoxicant. Out of his head (and in a bad temper), M'kel pays his bill by auctioning Soria and the baby off to a crewman from a freighter.

The next day, overcome with guilt, M'kel leaves Fairport, bound for the colonies.

18 years pass. Having taken a vow never to touch arrum, M'kel has gone from flyer mechanic to respected 'businessman' and has just been elected Boss of Bridge's Camp, a bustling market town known for its trade in custom-built racing flyers and, more importantly, for the high-stakes flyer-races that bring in customers from all quadrants...

On that very same day, a woman and her lovely 18-year old daughter arrive in Bridge's Camp. They are poor, but honest. The daughter, Eli-sageen, finds work in a tavern...

#57 ::: Another Damned Medievalist ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:27 PM:

Serge at #39 -- wasn't that Outland?

#58 ::: JamesK ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:33 PM:

A group of teenagers with more then their fair share of romantic entanglements become entangled in something even worse when their woodland vacation spot becomes ground zero for an alien invasion! The two alien commanders, Oberton and Titanon, are in a foul state after Oberton managed to gain sole experimentation rights on Titanon's prized human subject. Now back on Earth to collect more samples, the crew encounters the teens and Oberton sets to work to decipher "This strange human emotion called 'love'." Pheromone injections are liberally applied by Oberton's annoyingly cutesy CGI lackey, the hapless nerd of the teen group is transformed into a half-alien hybrid for Titanon to obsess over, and everyone learns a valuable lesson before the spaceship returns to the stars come sunrise.

#59 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:35 PM:

An extremely wealthy business family eagerly awaits the decanting (decansion?) of their firstborn child-- but they receive an anonymous message, untraceable and self-destructive, that tells them the boy has been tampered with. Once the son reaches puberty, he will begin to produce a deadly virus targeted toward his male genetic donors, which include most of the men on the Board (nepotism, you know). The family and Company agree to send the bottled baby away before decantation (?) and have better lab security next time.
Years later, a familiar face comes to the Board with a proposal. He's been raised by disgruntled employees and decided to end the corrupt Company once and for all, by retroengineering himself to be chemically charismatic and, not coincidentally, just a little lethal. In the end, half the Board is dead by the time the rebel son merges his own young company with that of his unknowing family and merges the female half of the Board's DNA into a mother for his children.

#60 ::: Ms. Anon ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:54 PM:

Our unnamed narrator, an intrepid intergalactic historian and treasure-hunter, journeys to a watery and canal-covered planet in search of the Aspernometer, a wondrous device made by the great prophet Jef'Ree. The device is controlled by the planet's monstrous dying queen, and will descend to the queen's niece who will give it to our hero--IF HE BECOMES HER SLAVE OF LUST...

#61 ::: Chris W ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 06:59 PM:

A horrible teleporter accident scatters the family of a wealthy space-merchant all across the galaxy. The merchant searches for his lost family in vain. Unbeknownst to him, the teleporter accident not only scattered his family, it duplicated his son Folous and his robot servant DRM10. Both boys have grown up separately without any knowledge of each other, but hilarious hijinks ensue when the father, both DRMs, Folous and Anti-Folous find themselves unwittingly reunited at a starport in the Effy System.

#62 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:00 PM:

#54: I have nothing to add, I just wanted to type "The Great Process Equal to Kernel".

#63 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:03 PM:

#44 ::: Fragano Ledgister

Young R. Singh...

You found an excuse to be "R. Singh" us around?

I was having a great little trip building scenarios with "Phantom of the Paradise" when I realized...

Abi, are meta-crossovers okay?

#64 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:08 PM:

Another Damned Medievalist @ 57...

You mean "Outland - In Space No One Can Hear You Shoot Because Your High-powered Rifle Punched A Hole In The Wall And The Atmosphere All Vented Out" ?

I don't see the similarities with my proposal. I just don't see it.

#65 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:09 PM:

The True Confessions of Bromium Doyle

On the long, grueling journey from Arcturus to Boötes, where she will be raised into a proper lady by her maiden aunts, Bromium Doyle's safe passage is threatened by a vengeful captain and a mutinous crew. The plot thickens when Bromium is accused of murdering a crew member. Overcoming the odds, Bromium emerges unscathed from the tumult and finds herself commanding an entire fleet of interstellar cargo ships.

#66 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:10 PM:

I see Diatryma's already done this, but ... not as Noir Space Opera!

The Eyes that Blind

When Lord Supideo killed that stranger in a bar-brawl on the godforsaken planet of Trivium, he could never have known that it would turn out to be his fatal mistake. Of course, he was just plain Supideo, then: and in the meantime things hadn't turned out so bad. He was now Ruler of Sebeht, the planet he had saved from the terrifying Xnihps, and he had married its queen; but now there seemed nothing he could do to prevent it being sucked into a black hole.

But then he remembered the prophecy of the psychic El Caro. Could the stranger have been Lord Suial, the former Ruler of Sebeht? Could he be this planet's missing prince? Could he really have blundered into the worst menage-a-trois in the universe?

#67 ::: Eileen Gunn ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:12 PM:

Okay, think "Pirates of the Caribbean" crossed with "Home Alone," but with a kind of "ET" sci-fi twist. Amleth, a sexy alien orphan prince in tights, kidnaps three kids and transports them to the Never Planet, where, with the help of a robot crocodile, they battle an evil pirate with a mechanical hand. After a spectacular fight -- the pirate has a ship full of mammoth robotic mastodons -- the kids win and make the pirate walk the plank, in a kind of comic relief. Then Amleth, still brooding over the death of his father, begs the kids to help him win back his kingdom from his evil stepfather. The kids assemble a makeshift army of giant toys, and -- well, you can just read the script to find out what happens.

Great vehicle for an ensemble. I see Brad Pitt as the alien, Lindsey Lohan as the luscious indigenous princess who leaps to her death when Amleth rejects her, Meryl Streep as both Amleth's mother and the frantic mom searching for her kids. Oh, and Johnny Depp as the pirate, of course.

Whaddaya say? It'll be another ten minutes before they can cut through that door.

#68 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:12 PM:

War is brewing, but one man, bitter over a badly ended affair, sits it out, prefering to run his own little space station, which is frequented by forces from the conflict's many sides. Then the Woman floats back into his life, reminding him that he can't escape his responsibilities.

#69 ::: Tara ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:15 PM:

Jack Spratt has grown up knowing only the hallways of M.G. Laboratories as his home. Discovered at birth to have a metabolic disorder which prevented him from digesting lipids, infant Jack was sent to M.G. Labs for genetic rehabilitation. Over the course of twenty years, not only have the M.G. Labs geneticists not found a cure for Jack's problem, they are responsible for the accidental release of a genovirus which has made billions of humans unable to eat anything except grease, suet and lard.

As the entire world succumbs to morbid obesity, M.G. Labs scientists are poised to sacrifice Jack's life in order to find a cure for Earth's population. It is during Jack's harrowing escape that he meets Jane -- a grease-eating sufferer who may hold the key to the planet's metabolic demise. Together, Jack and Jane will discover the true nature of their yin-yang relationship and attempt save the world.

#70 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:20 PM:

Tara@69 - Good golly, that's brilliant.

#71 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:21 PM:

A Fistful of Credits

"When a 'bot with needler meets a clone with a blaster, you said, the 'bot with a needler's a dead circuit. Let's see if that's true. Go ahead, charge up and shoot."

#72 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:23 PM:

Another Damn Mediævalist #56: This takes place on the planet Wessex?

#73 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:24 PM:

A civil war is raging within the Star Federation, and three men who hate and distrust each other come across separate coordinates that, if put together, will lead them to a wormhole at the end of which someone has hidden the Rebellion's last financial resources.

#74 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:27 PM:

Carol Kimball #63: Not at all, but I'm certain you can Ranjit.

#75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:32 PM:

A man is yanked out of the Present and finds himself in the Far Future, where he is is mistaken for the Heir to the Star Empire, a role that he must assume to avoid War. In the process he encounters the Heiress of another Stellar Group, whom the true Heir was going to marry as a way to seal an alliance, but the man from Today falls in love with her and... Wait. Edmond Hamilton already did that one.

#76 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:33 PM:

A Spaceship Named Desire

Okay, so I see William Shatner in the Brando role, and...

#77 ::: Another Damned Medievalist ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:36 PM:

Serge at #64 -- and possibly the end of Silent Running?

Fragano Ledgister #72 -- Hence the West Sector! And Bridge's Camp. (Glad somebody got it ;-))

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:36 PM:

The rulers of a small backwater planet in great need of modernizing its civilization declare war against the nearby Federation, knowing that they will lose and that the Federation will help them in their efforts. Unfortunately, they win.

#79 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:36 PM:

Space wanderer Saint Maël's escape pod lands on a frozen planet. Almost blind, he finds refuge in an alien infested colony. Soon, his gentle manners and aura of holiness have him adopted by the aliens, whose acidic blood mysteriously seems to have no effect on him.
Believing them to be humans the Saint starts preaching the gospel, and before long decide to administer baptism to the space monsters.
Soon after Paradise becomes the scene of a heated debate between Saints and angels trying to decide what exactly is the status of those baptized aliens. It is decided that, to repair the honest mistake of Saint Maël, the aliens will be changed into humans.
This is when the Predator's spaceship lands, its occupant eagerly waiting for the good hunt they had been planning to have. Night falls for the next 30 hearth-days.
Will Maël and his flock manage to survive the merciless intersidereal hunters without turning into moral monsters ? And what of the archangel, still lurking in the colony ?

#80 ::: Eileen Gunn ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:39 PM:

Tara@69 - Love it. Have your people talk to my people.

#81 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:41 PM:

In the near future, an artificial virus is developed to fight heart disease. Unfortunately, the virus mutates to attack cardiac muscle, and soon most of humanity is wiped out. A small band of surviving scientists works frantically in a biotech lab. They discover that one of them, thanks to mutant strain in his genetic makeup that makes him different, is immune to the virus. In order to buy time, the scientists hook him up to a machine so that his heart can drive the circulatory system of each scientist as, one by one, they fall to the plague. That's right--our hero is The Loaner of the Only Heart.

#82 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:46 PM:

Married to a successful, though uninspiring, manager of virtual reality experiences, young BeauVaree engages in a series of affairs in the flesh and in VR, searching for an elusive sense of fulfillment. She betrays her family and herself, sinking into despair and debt. She begs her lovers to help her get funds from her accounts in the colonial bank on N19rYa, if they will only share their account with her to facilitate the transfer. She has no takers.

Dissatisfied and distraught, BeauVaree overrides the safety features on the VR equipment, and commits suicide by immersion in the artificial environment, allowing her body to starve.

Ch4r, BeauVaree's stolid and practical husband, has patiently tried to understand the flighty ways of his wife. Tragically, he too submits to the lure of the VR realm, and dies as did his beloved BeauVaree.

#83 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:47 PM:

Three Clones in a Spaceship: to say Nothing of the Droid

#84 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:49 PM:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single trill in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a host.

#85 ::: Vardibidian ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:53 PM:

I first heard Alphaville called Awfulville by a red-headed starmucker called D’Kyy Hyu’eyeh in the Big Ship on Betelgeuse. He also called his v’hahl a l’hahv. I didn’t think anything of what he had done to the artificial asteroid’s name. Later, I heard other species, ones without mandibles, give it the same pronunciation. I still didn’t see anything in it but the sort of meaningless humor that used to make thalidomide the thieves’ word for dilithium. A few years later I went to Alphaville and learned better.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

#86 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 07:59 PM:

Brigadoon actually works if you add in relativistic effects. Add in a plague or something endemic to the ship so if anyone leaves, the entire world dies, and we're set. And just wait for the bagpipe synthesizer!

#87 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 08:00 PM:

Serge #78: You need to put in the romance between the leader of the victorious expeditionary force and the ruler of the small backwater planet (with a grandiose name).

#88 ::: Mike Reeves-McMillan ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 08:26 PM:

In a dystopian future, [insert almost any Dickens plot here].

Or:

The Merchant of Venus: Sh'lok, the despised Martian moneylender, lends space merchant Anton money on security of half a kilogram of his personal genetic material. When an asteroid storm wipes out Anton's fleet, Sh'lok wants to collect... with extreme prejudice.

#89 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 08:49 PM:

How much trouble do I get for P.G.Woodhouse with Asimov. I Butler.

#90 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 08:53 PM:

Young bohemian Berenger Carter takes up residence in an Arkham boarding-house, hoping to find refuge from the banality of the workaday world. But his tranquility is short-lived when it becomes clear that his upscale New England neighbors are mutating one by one into hideous, corpse-eating ghouls! Will Carter resist the temptation of monstrous, eldritch power... or will he, too, capitulate to a gruesome transformation?

#91 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 09:24 PM:

Jon @ 11: Can we change the zombies to ents? They're much cooler.

That's another pitch entirely:

Saruman shall never vanquish'd be until
Great Fangorn Wood to Isengard
Shall come against him.

#92 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 09:32 PM:

Fragano @ 87... the ruler of the small backwater planet (with a grandiose name)

Grand Duchess Asphyxia of Fenwick?

#93 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 09:34 PM:

Has anybody done The Count of Monte Cristo?

#94 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 09:36 PM:

WHOA! Is this all a trick to turn us into scabs?

#95 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 09:38 PM:

Stefan Jones #94: If any of us is an evil corporate union-buster, I bet it would be abi. I think you're on to something...

#96 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 09:38 PM:

TW @ 89: How much trouble do I get for P.G.Woodhouse with Asimov. I Butler.

Probably quite a bit. Jeeves is a valet - he serves Bertie personally rather than being head servant of a household.

Thus, the Three Laws of Valeting

1. A valet shall not cause his master embarrassment nor shall he, through inaction, allow his master to embarrass himself.

2. A valet shall obey his master's instructions except where such obedience would conflict with the first law.

3. A valet shall protect his own employment except where this would conflict with the first or second laws.

Serge @ 93: Apart from Bester?

#97 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 09:43 PM:

Hmm...there's one of these that I actually intend to write, so I'm not mentioning it here.

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 09:47 PM:

Paul Duncanson @ 96... Of course.

#99 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 09:48 PM:

Serge (#93): Has anybody done The Count of Monte Cristo?

Yup ?

#100 ::: paul ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 09:53 PM:

A pair of wisecracking explorers stumble on a singularity whose wormhole leads, every hundred years, to a lost colony asteroid ejected from the solar system at relativistic speed when one of its founders made a terrible, arrogant mistake in his experiment. The explorers bring with them an ephemeris showing that the asteroid will soon enter a black-hole-binary system whose gravity will either destroy it or return it to normal velocities and wormhole access, but no one can tell for sure. Singing, dancing and romance ensue.

#101 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 09:55 PM:

Serge #92: That would work!

#102 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:01 PM:

MD² @ 99... What about The Man Who Would Be King?

#103 ::: VictorS ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:02 PM:

Mike@88 -- good, but I think we can pitch it better with a good announcer:

HE's the Martian who's been done down by the rich kids once too often -- and now it's payback time!

SHE's the lawyer who's got to stop him - or her boyfriend will die tomorrow!

TOGETHER, they'll learn the lessons of high finance, high romance... and a little genetics. All in A Pound of Flesh!

#104 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:06 PM:

Faced with another difficult harvest season on their moisture farm, the dour siblings Owen and Beru Lars ask the Jawas to sell them a new vaporator droid to help them out. Unfortunately, due to a garbled translation in the ordering protocol, they accidentally select a holographic projection of Princess Anshir Liye from the planet Novascootine. Once she arrives to join them, the green-eyed redhead enriches their lives with her dreamy visions and soon learns to shoot womp-rats with Dia Naberrie, her best friend and "kindred spirit" from the farm next door.

#105 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:12 PM:

Paul 96,

So long as Mr.Fry gets to be a gentleman's gentleman again. How he rocked the bowler hat.

#106 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:13 PM:

#91: Great Fangorn Wood to Isengard

Which is exactly why Tolkien put that in. He thought Shakespeare had botched the idea. No joke.

#107 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:18 PM:

Julie at 104, MAKE THAT.

A frontier family meets a big scary alien (I'm thinking something arthropod) that defends them against various things, including a larger and more dangerous alien carrying a prion disease. The elder son has to put it down. Expect tears and an eventual very badly thought out pet food tie-in.

#108 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:24 PM:

This doesn't quite satisfy the requirements of the challenge, but the following movie sprang fully formed into my consciousness the other day while commuting to work:

1972 -- A once-respected Austrian psychiatrist turned counterculture guru, on the run from the authorities on various drug and sex charges, takes his group of followers to Angola, where they establish a commune and consciousness-raising center in an abandoned Portuguese-colonial convent in the jungle. Ignored by the authorities and bypassed by civil unrest, the international group of hippies, freaks, and disaffected bourgeoisie feel invincible in their African redoubt, and are content to fuck each other silly, get high, trip balls, sing songs, and paint daisies and slogans on things. That is, until rumors reach them of a previously unknown hemorrhagic fever decimating local communities.

Against this backdrop of disease, the little commune becomes increasingly paranoid and fortified. Internal divisions and cliques form. Their guru is revealed to be a psychopathic cult leader interested only in personal power and pleasure. Finally, in an attempt to reunify his once tight-knit group, the guru plans to hold one last massive drug-fueled orgy. But an unexpected guest appears....

I can't decide on a title. Either "Orgy of Blood" or "Sex, Drugs, and Raging Hemorrhagic Fever." I would pay to see this movie.

#109 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:34 PM:

Was given a script to read that was prefaced by a seven-page single spaced essay on angels. If you hadn't read the essay, you wouldn't understand the script.

So far, nothing's grabbed me, except that Don Quixote thing.

#110 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:44 PM:

I was under the impression to help sell the pitch one should include either a director or lead actor name attached to the project.
Riddley Scott and Emma Thompson, Sense and Singularity.

#111 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:50 PM:

ADM@77: that was one of the few I \did/ get; 11th-grade English must have been good for something. (The rest of you: I wouldn't mind if people rot-13'd their sources, for the benefit of those of us slowed by fever.)

Dan@90: I can just see Helena Bonham Carter as a wild-eyed Daisy (or whatever she's called in the original).

#112 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:50 PM:

Serge (#99) Not that I know.

Just realised Gaston Leroux's La Mansarde en or (a conflict betweent two artists trying to know if they can equal their respective characters in nobility, with the writer slowly becoming mad, unable to say where the events he staged to prove himself end and where reality begins) would work great in cyberpunk context (something in mood similar to Kathryn Bigelow's "Strange Days" ?). The idea's twisted enough to amuse me at least...

#113 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 10:59 PM:

A young shy undergrad is assigned to a brooding climatologist on the Mars terraforming project.
Jane Air.
I should hide under my desk now.

#114 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 11:27 PM:

Actually, Paul at 96, that first one's not remotely true; Jeeves pitches Wooster into embarrassing situations frequently, if it's necessary to the scheme then brewing. No, the three laws are

The Three Laws of Valeting

1. A valet shall not assist his master to marry nor shall he, through inaction, allow his master to become married.

2. A valet shall obey his master's instructions except where such obedience would conflict with the first law.

3. A valet shall protect his own employment except where this would conflict with the first or second laws.

#115 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 11:57 PM:

I wonder how many tales are out there that were inspired by The Odyssey. I remember that it was retold as a space adventure by Lafferty. Jacques Lob's graphic novel of the 1970s kept the tale set in Ancient Times, but used the premise that the gods were aliens, and had the bittersweet ending that, after Ulysses came home, he left again, unable to settle down because of all the things he had lived thru.

#116 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2007, 11:59 PM:

Captain Gray, adventurer and bon vivant, has his holo picture taken by Professor Hallward, a very talented holo artist. Some time later, his crew rescues the SPACE DEVIL from an evil alien attack, and the space devil grants Captain Gray one wish. The captain wishes that his marvelous holo picture should grow old instead of him, and with a sinister laugh, the space devil obliges.

Soon Captain Gray realizes that he is now not only absolutely invulnerable and unaging, but also that the space devil has cured him from any sort of moral hangover. Hijinks ensue, involving space opium, a short fling with a beautiful actress from Plebeius 9, and a climactic battle of Captain Gray versus Space God, in which the good captain uses his supernaturally good looks to blind the deity and then makes off with all his stuff. Stuff-less, Space God commits suicide-by-atheist.

Back on the Henry Wotton, our captain starts to realize the wrongness of his ways when Sybillia Vane's brother, a tentacled space creature with five hundred eyes, begins stalking him. During a "hunting accident", Sybillia's brother is vaporized by fourteen quantum torpedoes, but Captain Gray is tiring of his nefarious life style. In a heart-wrenching dialogue with the ship computer, Captain Gray confesses all his sins and finally asks the ship to "absolve him". However, due to inferior spiritual routines in the ship computer and also due to the main network administrator's very outdated sense of humour, the only answer the ship has for him is, "I'm sorry, Dorian, but I'm afraid I can't do that." Finally at his wits' end, Captain Gray deletes the holo picture and instantly explodes all over his quarters.

When his crew finally find the absence of him, they can only identify their late Captain from the DNA of one of the few hairs that survived the violent explosion.

#118 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:10 AM:

Chris @ 114: Good point. I haven't read them all (or seen all the Fry & Laurie adaptations) but, from what I recall, when he does thrust Bertie toward embarrassment, it's for his own good. This implies a zeroth law.

TW @ 96: Not only did he rock the bowler, he delivered the lines so perfectly that no-one else will seem right in the role again.

#119 ::: Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:42 AM:

A young man, Ed Staden, is about to be promoted to Commander in the Time Police. He's also having a hot love affair with a sexy female Agent, Mercy. On his last mission as Agent, he delivers a message for a dying friend.

Unfortunately, that message passed along the decryption key to a secret Time Terrorist conspiracy which is, luckily, thwarted. Another agent, Demongo, learns of Staden's innocent involvement. Jealous of Staden's success, he lodges an anonymous accusation against him. Forvillet, the senior officer who hears the charge, wants to cover up his own part in the plot, so he strips Staden of English, imprints him with Arabic, and dropping into 2002, turns him over to American forces as a low-ranking member of al Qaeda.

The stunned Staden is sent to Guantanamo, where he suffers dreadfully for years, until he meets another prisoner, the wise Abu Raifa, who teaches him wisdom and patience. The two plan an escape, but Raifa dies before they can succeed. Staden disguises himself as the dead body, and manages to escape.

He retrieves his time travel bracelet, and, unrecognized because he has been so changed by his suffering, sets about taking a long, elaborate revenge on those who betrayed him.

#120 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:48 AM:

CHip at 111: Hell, let's get Johnny Depp for the lead, since he's reimagining all the old Gene Wilder roles anyway these days.

(I had forgotten until now that there'd been a film of that. And an S.T. Joshi endnote tells me that "Pickman's Model" was adapted for Night Gallery. See? It's pure Hollywood gold!)

#121 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:52 AM:

The year is 2165-SET (Sidereal Earth Time); the place, the sprawling, ultra-modern compound of Spacefleet Academy on Titan. Young Alice Liddell [Jessica Simpson] becomes the youngest woman (and certainly the most beautiful!) to graduate from Spacefleet Academy's elite SpaceSkiff Pilot Training Program. And withing a year, she is promoted to Captain, with the strong endorsement of her beloved professor and mentor, old Dr. Dodgson. (NOTE: Alice is characterized by giving a sexy toss of her long, blond curls, every time she makes a notable accomplishment or wins a battle.)

One day, while on a solo pleasure cruise in the intraorbital space between Pluto and Eris, followed by another SpaceSkiff piloted by her nearly-as-adept and nearly-as-lovely sister, Alice sees a strange, tiny, white spacecraft and gives chase. The unidentified craft leads Alice into a wormhole to an unknown galaxy!! While in the wormhole, Alice and her faithful ship Dinah are exposed to cosmic rays that have major spatial effects. At one point, while Dinah is very, very large, it jettisons its wastewater storage, then suddenly becomes much smaller and is swamped by the gigantic water pool, but Alice's superior spacemanship gets her through the crisis. In the new galaxy, Alice encounters more trials, her unpredictable spatial transformations continue, she gets caught in a feedback loop, and encounters a gigantic animal-like space-being, but miraculously and competently makes it through every time. She follows various entities to solar system after solar system, encountering many new races and new technologies and making wonderful friends (and a few enemies!), but begins to realize all is not right. Apparently the entire galaxy is controlled by twin races of 2-dimensional wafer-beings, who in turn are controlled by the queen of one of the races, a most evil, cruel, and violent being. Alice through her amazing intellect, finally defeats the evil queen and escapes her denizens, but is thrown into another wormhole, loses consciousness, and Dinah is all but destroyed. She awakens in a Spacefleet Medical Unit, with her loving sister and devoted Dr. Dodgson by her side.

SEQUEL!

Alice is all well again and with Dinah miraculously rebuilt with new technology, in a program that created two additional "clone" SpaceSkiffs, Nobody and Somebody. She undergoes top-secret training on the new technology in a secure, undisclosed location, along with the pilots of Dinah's two clones. One is an Earth man named Walker G. Holly, who is handsome and swashbuckling and given to wearing bomber jackets when not in his pressure suits. The other is a being from another planetary system, an odd looking, wide-faced creature with a perpetual frown, apparently female, who has a nearly-unpronounceable name consisting of long strings of repeated consonants followed by similar stings of single vowels. She appears to be very intelligent, but has a habit of saying nothing when she talks. Alice finds these two somewhat unpleasant--the man is bombastic; the alien woman boring. Alice also notes that the two seem to have an odd, enmeshed relationship that she decides not to delve further into. She is glad she won't be assigned to the same mission as they.

Two days before reporting to her newest assignment in the Alpha Centauri system, Alice is on another pleasure cruise, entertaining her long-time curiosity about the unusual gravitational fields around Neptune, when she encounters a strange "mirror singularity" in the extra-ringular space between Neptune and Triton! She cannot escape the strange pull of the singularity, and is pulled through it into what appears to be a parallel universe, where the space between star systems is like flowing, mirrored glass. Each inhabited planet in this universe seems to have a common custom. Upon being taken to the ruler-being, Alice in each case is required to prove her intelligence in order to show her worthiness of help and guidance to find a way to exit this horrible mirror-universe! She meets a poet-philosopher who requires that she interpret bizarrely-encrypted messages in the form of nonsensical poetry (with the help of a hugely-fat being with a calcified shell instead of skin). She convinces the Flower People that she is one of them. She wins over the poetry-spouting twin rulers of a kingdom consisting of two planets who revolve around each other and orbit a binary star. Finally, she matches wits with the noisome King of the Walrus Beings, convinced that this is her last trial, and that she will finally be given the key to locating and exiting the mirror singularity. Instead, she find herself in yet another star system, once again in the control of an evil queen, and forced to be a pawn in a cosmic game of chess! Although her physical prowess, incredible ability as a pilot, and astonishing intelligence get her out of a few close calls, every time she begins to make headway on the gigantic chessboard, the evil queen changes the rules. Eventually Alice wears down and realizes she is simply a prisoner.

Just as all seems lost, Walker G. Holly, her old nemesis from her secret training at an undisclosed location shows up, like a white knight, and rescues her. Together they vanquish the evil queen and turn her over to her political enemies for execution, and after the final battle Alice realizes she has fallen for the handsome pilot. In a telling moment after a close call, she looks at him with eyes full of love and desire and says "you're pretty special, Captain Holly," to which he grins and drawls back, "just call me George." Now a couple, they then use their remarkable intuition to appoint new leaders that install democracy among the warring factions of the star system that was previously the evil queen's domain. All the beings of this star system greet them with flowers.

In a touching private moment, Alice is weary of fighting in space and wonders out loud what's wrong with her, when George explains to her that she is finally fulfilling her natural role as a wife, and that she will be happier if she simply submits to his superior will and lets him rule the roost. She realizes how right he is and settles into her new job as wife of the man who conquered all the surrounding planetary systems and is now their "commander and chief." She begins to prepare for the journey back to Sol, when George tells her he still has some unfinished business. Even though he has taken out the evil queen who killed his father and nearly killed poor Alice, he has realized that the next star system has an even more evil ruler, who was previously in league with the evil queen and the other bad rulers, and who secretly financed an attack on Mother Earth Home several Sidereal Earth Units previous. He has learned that this new evil ruler has acquired cosmic weapons which have the power to reach outside the Mirror Universe and destroy our own! His plan is to send his alien female associate, Kkkkoooggggggpppuuuuuuuqqqqqqqqyyyyyyyyyrrrrrrrreee, the pilot of the clone Nobody, to strike up a diplomatic relationship and distract the mad and evil ruler. While the ruler is distracted, George will engineer a massive, shocking attack on the evil forces and wipe out their WUDs (Weapons of Universal Destruction), and bring democracy to their star system, too!

Can he do it? Will he prevail? Just wait for Part III, coming next year!

[You did say trapped on that elevator.]

#122 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:54 AM:

Diatryma @107: Oh dear. And here I was trying to work out other Girls' Own Terraforming sagas, frex Laura "Ender" Wiggins's struggle with remorse after unwittingly spearheading her world's conquest of Formic Territory to protect her blind sister Valentine.

Or perhaps Mary Lennox escaping as the lone survivor of the space colony where she was born; she reaches the apparently empty Station Misselthwaite and tries to get the hydroponics system back online so life-support will have enough resources to revive Colin and Archibald Craven from cryosleep, but unfortunately the Weyland-Yutani Corporation had seeded her cat with embryonic xenomorphs. Faces are hugged, chests burst open etc. Final confrontation: powered mecha smackdown between her and the alien queen "Mrs. Medlock".

#123 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 01:41 AM:

Flora Post has found herself orphaned by a transporter accident which killed both of her parents. After searching out all of her available relatives, she finds the only ones who are able to take her in are the Star-Kadders, who are mining a desolate asteroid named "Cold Comfort". Will Flora be able to disentangle the complicated affairs of the Star-Kadders, and lead them all to happiness and sensible behaviour before the Nasty Thing In The Woodshed comes to devour them all?

#124 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 01:49 AM:

Meg: Something Nasty In The Wormhole, maybe?

#125 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:46 AM:

When Starfleet captain Art Ello promotes Lt. Michael Cassio to be his first officer instead of his Security Officer, Mr. E'ago, he sets in motion a chain of revenge and betrayal. E'ago alters security recordings, manipulates the holodeck, and rearranges duty schedules to fool Captain Ello into believing his wife, Des Demona, is having an affair with Cassio. In the end, Ello locks his wife in an airlock and depressurizes it, despite her pleas of innocence. When an ensign provides him with proof of Des Demona's fidelity, Ello kills himself with his phaser.

#126 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:58 AM:

We open with a scene in the orbital HQ of the Merc Coalition, which is assaulting the planet Yort VII. Captives from a raid are being distributed as slaves, cue babes. Killer A, one of the Merc leaders, doesn't get the hottie that he has his eye on, and is so pissed off that he tells the other capos he's pulling his group the hell out. Pat Treeclaws, his 2ic, figures this is seriously lame, since there's plenty of loot for everyone. He tries to get the Killer to relent.

We intercut this with scenes of the Yortans getting ready to launch an attack. Heart-tugging stuff as Hecta says goombye to his wife and gets his space armour on. Real Saving Private Ryan stuff.

Meanwhile, up in orbit, Pat's failed to get Killer to change his mind. Unless the other bosses come crawling, babe in hand, Killer's going to sit this out.

Just then the Yortans launch their big attack on the Merc Fleet, and without Killer's Kommandoes, it looks like it might succeed. Pat knows that unless he grabs a piece of the action, he ain't going to get one, so he puts on Killer's own mech suit and takes over leading, while Killer just sits in his ship and broods.

We can put the backstory in flashback, about here. The mercs are attacking the planet because Hekta's brother, Alex, ran off with the wife of Menace Slayer (these guys all have code names, right?) and he wants her back, on account of she is seriously hot, and rich as well.

Come out of the flashback, and work up to big battle scene here. Pat, he gets killed by Hekta, the Planetary Commander. Killer, when he hears this, goes ballistic. And at the same time, the other dons hand over the dame, which makes him feel even worse. He ain't going to touch her, although by this time she is all for putting out. Nice chance for some nuanced acting here. Or not, depending on the demographic.

So he makes a bee-line for Hekta and we get this tremendous fight scene, right? And he kills him, and drags him around behind his mech, and the planet falls, and Menace Slayer gets his girl back. Only the last scene shows her getting ready to poison him. Tantalising, no? Sequel opportunity.

Or maybe... work with me on this, Chief... Killer, full of remorse, gets killed in the last scene. Big tragic ending... Ahh whatthehell, we shoot both and try it out.

Whaddaya think, Chief?

#127 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 04:34 AM:

A citizen of the Solar Confederation is caught in a freakish accident and flung back in time to a near-mythical age. He is immediately thrown into prison. After realizing what has happened, he draws upon his memories of "history" to predict the result of the upcoming election, and thus draws the attention of the new ruler. He is granted an interview with her, and impressing her with his technological know-how, is granted a permanent, but secret, governmental post. From there, he is able to use his memories of future technology to revolutionize this primitive society. He even starts a biological family (in the quaint custom of the time) and despite some serious culture-shock, manages to settle in.

But opposition to the changes he is wreaking is growing--will he be able to defend his family and his disciples from an attacking horde of neo-Luddites? The endings a real tear-jerker, so I won't ruin it for you. Go ahead and take the script, I've got spares--it's called A Jovian Confederate in President Clinton's Cabinet. Call me!

(And why limit ourselves to classic literature? I have this great idea for a series about a Martian cop who fights terrorists called 24.616666666666)

#128 ::: Naomi Libicki ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 05:59 AM:

Some of these could really work. I especially like the Little Red Riding Hood and Cat in the Hat ones.

Here's mine!

Wealthy heiress and ardent posthumanist Brooke Theodorus rejects all human suitors in favor of merging her consciousness with scholarly AI CastleBonn. However, her new existence proves unsatisfying, as CastleBonn's great intellectual work proves to be nothing more than an endless series of Wikipedia edit wars.

When CastleBonn suffers a catastrophic server crash, will Brooke be able to retrieve the pieces of her mind from the masses of corrupted data and resume an independent existence? And what about the only other surviving fragment of CastleBonn's personality, a rogue subroutine named Will with a modest DeviantArt gallery and big ambitions?

Meanwhile, a brilliant young hacker who goes by the name of 3 has revolutionary ideas about content delivery. Working on a shoestring budget, he puts together a startup that looks like it just might get off the ground -- until he starts playing World of Warcraft. Will he be forced to sell out to the Man in order to buy a flying mount for his paladin, Victrix?

Middlemancer: the first major motion picture to be released direct-to-youtube!

#129 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 07:29 AM:

MD² @ 117... That's what that one was. I had some vague recollection of the one and only episode I had caught, but couldn't remember the show's title.

#130 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 07:30 AM:

Susan Shwartz retold Lord Jim with her novel Second Chances.

#131 ::: Francis D ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 07:48 AM:

The old republic had decayed into corruption and decadance, and one man had siezed power by bringing his troops to enforce martial law in the capital. His heirs had set up a police state and disappeared any voices of dissent (including our hero's wife). Our hero is in line for the throne, and believes in the restoration of the republic - but first he needs to survive in the decadent and paranoid environment of the Imperial Palace.

#132 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 07:51 AM:

It's like Star Trek, but with wagon trains, and cowboys and Indians.

#133 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 07:53 AM:

I can't avoid the suspicion that Paramount would be seriously annoyed with anyone who transplanted Master and Commander to the far future.

Not that I can envisage Kirk and Spock playing a duet in the Great Cabin.


#134 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 07:56 AM:

Shakespeare...

The episode The Bellero Shield episode of The Outer Limits was Joseph Stefano's take on MacBeth

Meanwhile, does anybody remember 2001's western King of Texas, with Patrick Stewart? Quite good. Great cast too.

A few decades before that, Othello became the western Jubal.

#135 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 07:57 AM:

(correction from #134)

...King of Texas, with Patrick Stewart as rancher Lear...

#136 ::: Francis D ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 08:18 AM:

Cindy has been created as a bioengineered servant for her two sisters. The scientist who was coerced into creating her feels guilty over this, and tries to provide what help she can. When a millionaire shows up and organises a week long festival for the town, the scientist ensures that Cindy is able to go (even providing her with a ticket to the ball).

At the ball, Cindy catches the millionaire's eye by dancing with him for several nights - but because she is under an assumed name he can't find her by normal means. He therefore calls for a DNA search to be undertaken for her - and realising that the DNA is very like theirs, Cindy's "sisters" try to get their DNA resequenced to pass the search (I like the more gruesome version of this fairy tale...). Scientist ensures Cindy is found, and she marries the millionaire. Sisters suffer consequences of trying to resequence their own genes.

And I often forget just how creepy some of the pantomimes are...

#137 ::: Sian Hogan ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 08:57 AM:

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Curls Driver attended the prestigious Burden-beast-Crossing-river Academy and came into contact with beings entirely different from himself. The first was Bastion the Glyde: rich, lazy, charming, and another species. The whimsical Glydes had been an important power in the old Republic, and were still far from being without influence.
Curls was drawn to their glamour, poise and unearthly beauty, and fascinated by the way in which they clung to the old, unpopular Jedi religion despite their bizarre and unjedi-like behaviour.

Curls began to modify himself physically to become more attractive to a young Glyde female named Jouleia, but ultimately her religious devotion divided them. On the way, he witnessed with profound feelings the death-bed conversion of Jouleia's father, who had previously fallen away from Jedi practice, but nevertheless ended his life at one with the Force.

Years later, whilst training as part of the rebel alliance, he finds himself back on the planet Bridgetslimb, home of the Glydes, thinking of the old times. He finds himself finally turning towards the Force, and finally begining to understand the various Glydes he loved so well...

Actually, I think people here can probably do better than that with these two. After all, Skywalker means a person who flies, and Darth Vader most certainly had a death-bed conversion...

And Naomi Libicki @ 128, that was hilarious...

#138 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 09:37 AM:

While the starship Pride of Scandinavia is orbiting a remote library planet, its master, Captain Chazzerai, dies of what appears to be accidental radiation poisoning. But before he died, Chazzerai uploaded his consciousness into the ship's AI. The AI tries to convince a loyal midshipman that Chazzerai was murdered by his first mate, who is now the captain. On a vessel where that captain's word is law, who dares bring him to justice?

Starring Matt Damon as the midshipman, Ben Affleck as the chief engineer, Helen Mirren as Chazzerai's widow, and Christina Ricci as the midshipman's girlfriend. Robin Williams has a cameo as the manger of the ship's recycling plant.

#139 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 09:59 AM:

133: that's assuming anyone believes them when they claim that Master and Commander wasn't just Star Trek aboard ship in the first place. I can't remember whether Dr Maturin ever actually says "Fascinating, Captain"...

#140 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 10:01 AM:

"We were somewhere around Ceres on the edge of the Belt when the drugs began to take hold."

*

OK, so there's this kid, and he lives on a spaceship with his whole big family, they sort of travel around from planet to planet. And his dad's like a gadgeteer who's working with new nanotech. We can have a nice heartwarming scene with the dad telling the kid about how machines won't let you down even if people do.

But there's this guy, he's the last of the Precursors who seeded all the planets with human life, and he wants the new nanotech, so he and his guys attack the kid's ship and kill everyone but the children. And all the kids get sold into slavery in the spice mines, and all of them die except the one kid. He gets taken to be a gladiator kind of thing, and he's really good at it, and learns all kinds of kung fu and and stuff...

*

A Jedi who survived the purge lands on a planet where Imperial supervision is lax and the whole place had been taken over by two rival gangs of Hutts. He gets each one to hire him as protection against the other and in the end gets them to wipe each other out. But before he can triumph he has to defeat one gang's secret weapon, also a Force-user, who has a lightsaber though our hero is armed only with a blaster.

*

Sent to a stranger's home for protection while a war rages, four children discover a mysterious teleportation portal in a disused room.

*

And I don't have a plot summary, but does the phrase "cyberpunk Peter Wimsey" have some resonance for anyone other than me?

#141 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 10:33 AM:

The Pirates of Penzance, or, The Slave of Duty... in the original Klingon, with the ST:TNG characters in the principal roles. We've got Worf, who was (as an infant) adopted by two Federation citizens and now a member of Starfleet, as Frederick; Picard as the Pirate King. Instead of the leap-year birthday thing, we've got relativistic travel and time-jumping messing up a fixed-term enlistment.

#142 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Dave Luckett #126: Whatever you do, do not suggest either Brad Pitt or Orlando Bloom for any role in this film....

#143 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 10:48 AM:

Alien aristocrats fleeing a rebellion on their home planet seek the aid of rich playboy Perry Blake and his luxurious space-yacht, The Red Flower. The rebels have blockaded the planet and are actively hunting them. Can this young man, whose family regards him as useless, rise to the occasion and get his passengers to safety?

#144 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 10:57 AM:

A young girl is orphaned and goes to live on a cold, wild planet with her mysterious grandfather, the mysterious Alm-Öhi, whom the residents of the planet both respect and fear. Time passes, and the girl, Heidi, comes to terms with the mysterious animals and customs she finds.

The happiness is shattered when she is kidnapped by the threatening "Mother-Sister" and taken to another planet, where she is to be trained by a branch of the Bene Gesserit, an organization both respected and feared by the Great Houses of the planet. An especially zealous Sister attempts to force her to learn the wiles of Manners and Comportment, mysterious skills with which Heidi will be able to control the Great Houses when a suitable match is made for her. Heidi must pass the terrible test of the Gom Jabbar (the planet's vernacular for "salad fork").

Heidi escapes by convincing the Lord of the House that her home planet has medicines that might cure his ill daughter. Under the supervision of the Alm-Öhi, after the ingestion of mountain herbs and the extrusions of native animals, the daughter groks everything, and Heidi is free to fulfill her destiny.

#145 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 10:59 AM:

BSD #62 @ BSD: I have nothing to add, I just wanted to type...

I'm glad you did, because I'd probably still be stuck on that one if you hadn't.

#146 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:01 AM:

How about Wuthering Asteroids?

#147 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:02 AM:

Serge @ #68: That one's been done. Starring Myra Dinglebat and Peter Beardsley, if memory serves.

"Of all the space-bars in all the worlds..."

#148 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:14 AM:

Paul A @ 147... Meanwhile Casablanca wound up in the TV movie of Varley's Overdrawn at the Memory Bank after Raul Julia found his personality transfered inside a baboon's head.

#149 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:20 AM:

Serge @ #146: Also been done. See #32.

----

If I'm going to keep shooting down Serge's ideas, I guess I should contribute some of my own. Trouble is, it's way past my bedtime, and the only thing that's coming to mind is The Martian Falcon, which having never seen I can't riff properly.

#150 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:22 AM:

A variety of intelligent species, dominated by a powerful race of overlords, succeed in expelling the overlords from their planet. Thereafter, a member of one species, after defeating more democratic rivals establishes himself as the new leader and his species gradually mutates into a form resembling that of the former overlords with whom they become allied.

#151 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:27 AM:

Paul A @ 149... the only thing that's coming to mind is The Martian Falcon, which having never seen I can't riff properly.

The original story had the line about the Bird being the stuff that dreams are made of. You should be able to do something with that.

As For Wuthering Asteroids... Oops.

#152 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:42 AM:

...or there's that other movie with the same actor, about the detective and - I forget what exactly, the plot's famously convoluted, but I'm certain that cryogenic suspension is involved somewhere. Why else would it be called The Big Sleep?


(Sleep? what a good idea! G'night.)

#153 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:43 AM:

Wuthering asteroids:
In space, no one can hear you wuther.

Jeeves/I,robot:
I thought of that. You beat me to it. Oh well.

_Pirates_ in the original Klingon:
When you study the Klingon language, do you have to apply the Saper-Worf hypothesis?

#154 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Fragano @ 150 -- <snark> Sorry, is that Animal Farm or Bush's Republic? </snark>

#155 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:12 PM:

@153: That's Worf collaborating with Sapir of the Vulcan Science Academy, right?

#156 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:40 PM:

As Mo I.'s massive account of his adventures among the aristocratic rulers on the Planet of Plains draws toward its end, we finally recognize his plight: trapped on the boundaries of a black hole which sends his memories rushing backward toward the ultimate Omega Point where space-time turns in on itself.

He may be dying, yet now that the shackles of linear time have been removed he can roam the Multiverse at will, a mere human become its Lord and Master! And to think it all began when he innocently sat down to dinner at his favorite space cafe, Mad Elaine's....

(I have to thank some [gushing] notes preserved on a yellowing sheet of paper from *way* back in my college days for this SFnal interpretation of a classic.)

#157 ::: Chris R ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:45 PM:

Zen and the Art of Warp Drive Maintenance

I'm so sorry...

#158 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Sleepless on Tau Ceti

#159 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:55 PM:

There was a great war among the stars, and our side won. One veteran, unable to fit in, goes to the father and wife of one of his men, who died in the line of duty, and he tells them about his heroic behavior. The vet just wants to move on, but an AI that thinks it's Edward G. Robinson shows up.

#160 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 12:57 PM:

Paul @149: Oh, that reminds me of an idea for a movie that kind of arose spontaneously over in Steve Jackson Games' Transhuman Space newsgroup: The Martian Candidate. The plot involves illegal mind-altering nano-stuff and voodoo memetic science, probably, but we never fleshed it out. I'm pretty sure this was before the modern remake of The Manchurian Candidate, which I understand had magic nano-stuff in it, too.

#161 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 01:20 PM:

I have this idea for a courtroom drama called Twelve Angry Vulcans. Many an eyebrow is raised.

#162 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 01:29 PM:

Me @160: Not to be confused with The Mancunian Candidate, which is for another thread altogether.

#163 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 01:44 PM:

I can't avoid the suspicion that Paramount would be seriously annoyed with anyone who transplanted Master and Commander to the far future

Books, rather than movies, but David Drake has tried this already.

#164 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 01:58 PM:

The main characters are Han, a former space smuggler and his clever young wife, Leia. Han has given up his career since marrying Leia, a wealthy princess, and he now spends most of his time cheerfully getting drunk in seedy Tatooine bars. Han and Leia have no children, but they have a Wookiee friend named Chewbacca.

The two decide to investigate a murder because Leia thinks it will be fun. The case brings them in contact with a rather grotesque family, the Hutts, and also with an assortment of storm troopers and lowlifers. As they attempt to solve the case, Han and Leia share a great deal of banter and snappy dialogue, along with copious amounts of alcohol.

(with apologies to Wikipedia)

#165 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Joel Polowin #154: Both.

Hmm. Bush's Republic

Socrates and his friends go down to Piræus for a festival, and there they fall in with Georgios, who has some interesting ideas about justice and waterboarding that he wants to propose to Socrates.

Sample dialogue:

Socrates: But would that not be torture?

Georgios: No, for we do not torture, we merely question strenuously.

Socrates: Would not such, ahem, strenuous interrogation result in injury and death?

Georgios: Do you want a free trip to my prison in Atlantis?

#166 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 02:11 PM:

LMB MacAlister @ #121: It'll do better at the box-office if you mix in some Miyuki-chan.

#167 ::: Nicole TWN ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Another Angry Medievalist @ 56: The Mayor of Casterbridge, right?

Whoever suggested Casablanca in space: I'd totally read/watch that.

#168 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 02:43 PM:

A long long time ago in a galaxy far far away there was an evil empire.

On this particular planet was a young man named Spar T'Cus. He rebelled against the evil empire and gathered a band of his friends together to fight them.

They conquered many planets and won freedom for a few who rallied for their cause. Alas for our hero, there is no Giant Plot Device that can easily be destroyed to ensure victory.

Along the way there are love scenes and many cases of mistaken identity as our hero is hunted down and finally killed.

#169 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 02:58 PM:

Emma Woodhouse, rugose, squamous, and rich, with a subterranean home and carnivorous disposition, seemed to unite some of the worst curses of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one thousand years beneath the world with every intention to distress and vex it.

#170 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:01 PM:

The second part of the tradition of parlour games is, of course, the attempt to guess what in the heck the players were thinking.

Here's a start:
A. me: Persuasion set in Middle Earth
B. me: A Tale of Two Cities crossed with Star Wars
1. Terry Karney: Moby Dick, The Space Opera
2. JohnnyWeird: The Tempest, A Space Odyssey
4. Keith: The Prince and the Pauper Conquer Dune
6. Jon Meltzer: nae clue
7. Annie G: Don Quixote Del Espacio
13 JohnnyWeird: Macbeth of the Dead
17. mjfgates: Call of the Wild in space
18. Jon Meltzer: nae clue
19. Fragano Ledgister: nae clue
20. Madeline Robins: Jane Eyre with extra added aliens/robots/other genderless things
23. Spike: Cute childhood bears take over the spaceways? Or is there a specific universe?
24. Xopher: The Hansel and Gretel Horror Picture Show
25. Nicole TWN: Ya wanna get sued for Treasure Planet?
28. September Blue: Really, the title East of Endor is too evocative to touch.
29. Tim Walters: Waiting for Godot, of course, in Middle Earth
30. KristianB: Catcher in the Rye-Matrix
31. Spike: Three Aliens in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Other Alien Thing)
32. Emily: Wuthering Asteroids
36. Spike: (generic description?)
38. me: Rozencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead In Mordor
43. September Blue: nae clue
44. Fragano Ledgister: nae clue
45. Mark Gritter: The Divine Cyberpunk Comedy
46. Lighthill: As declared, Soylent Green Eggs and Ham
48. Fragano Ledgister: nae clue
49. Andrew Plotkin: Little Red Riding Hood In Space, well told. No tomatoes thrown.
50. me: Snakes on a Plane
52. Lighthill: The Cat in the Hat goes cyber
54: NelC: nae clue
55. Nicole TWN: Snakes on a Plane redux, and no idea about the second one
56. Another Damned Medievalist: The Mayor of Casterbridge in space, and nicely done
58. JamesK: A Midsummer Night's Alien Invasion Movie
59. Diatryma: no idea
60. Ms. Anon: no idea
61. Chris W: one of the Shakespeare long lost twin things. A Comedy of Errors?
65. Kelley Shimmin: nae clue
66. candle: nae clue
67. Eileen Gunn: Peter Pan Among the Stars
68. Serge: nae clue
69. Tara: Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean. And so between the two of them, they licked the platter clean!
70. NelC: A Fistful of Dollars armed like Han Solo
73. Serge: no idea
75. Serge: again, I don't know
78. Serge: The Mouse That Roared
79. MD²: I don't know, but I really would like to.
81. Tim Walters: I really should not dignify that with an answer...
82. Tania: Madame Bovary
84. julia: Pride and Prejudice in the Star Trek universe
85. Vardibidian: nae clue
90. Dan Layman-Kennedy: nae clue

#171 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:05 PM:

An innocent girl is leading a marginally genteel but nevertheless miserable life as an itinerant techno-serf-- she doesn't even rank high enough in the social hierarchy to have a name!-- contracted to accompany an obnoxious woman around the galaxy for the purpose of maintaining the cryogenic jar that the woman's head is in. Unexpectedly, they meet a handsome, sophisticated man who is in voluntary exile, rumored to be mourning the death of his legendarily beautful and accomplished first wife. The girl falls in love with him. After a whirlwind romance, he marries the girl, freeing her from the obnoxious head in a jar, and returns with her to his home planet to resume his administrative powers.

At first, the new wife is still too naive and diffident to exert her full authority as his consort, instead of overriding the powerful AI "Danvroid" which her predecessor had programmed and left in place. But over time, the girl comes to realize that she can't access the root command functions of the Danvroid, which has its own agenda and even tries to alter her genome to resemble its creatrix's, although it has no specific reference sample to work from-- Rebecca had apparently died in a meltdown which had incinerated her into glowing soot.

However, one day Rebecca's body is found drifting through space in a sabotaged pressure suit, inciting the Danvroid to revenge: it generates an army of clones to drive the administrator and his second wife (who never does get a name, poor thing) off the planet and back into exile, this time permanent.

First line: "Last night I dreamt I went to Mandalore again."

#172 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:08 PM:

Abi...

68. "Casablanca"
73. Sergio Leone's "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" (Clint Eastwood, Lee van Cleef, Eli Wallach)
75. "The Prisonner of Zenda", which Edmond Hamilton turned into "The Star Kings"

#173 ::: Nicole TWN ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:26 PM:

55. Nicole TWN: Snakes on a Plane redux, and no idea about the second one

It was supposed to be Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before The Mast.

#174 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:31 PM:

6: Sound and the Fury: William Faulkner
18: Waiting for ObiWan, er, Godot: Samuel Beckett

#175 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:33 PM:

Fragano @ 44... "The Truman Show"?

#176 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:35 PM:

Diatryma @ 59... "Jason and the Argonauts"?

#177 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:39 PM:

abi:

#44: V.S. Naipaul The Mimic Men

#48: John Hearne Voices Under The Window

#178 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:40 PM:

abi:

#19: V.S. Naipaul The Mystic Masseur

#179 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 03:58 PM:

#43 is My Family and Other Animals in space.
#59 is Oedipus Rex, as is #66.
I assume #65 is The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, but I'm basing that entirely on the title, not having read the book.

#180 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 04:03 PM:

#90 sounds like Lovecraft
#100 is Brigadoon
#103 is The Merchant of Venice again
#104 is Anne of Green Gables
#107 is Old Yeller

I'll stop there for now.

#181 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 04:11 PM:

54: Journey to the West, or 西遊記 in the original.

#182 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 04:11 PM:

abi(#170): 79. MD²: I don't know, but I really would like to.

Loved that book as a kid. Of course I hardly understood half of it at the time.

Silly, but the whole thing started because I liked the idea of penguin-borne aliens...

#183 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 04:24 PM:

161,

Finger flicks Serge for being a bad influence.
Anyone want to take on Kipling?

#184 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 04:44 PM:

T.W. @ 183... Bad Surge, bad, baaad!!!

As for Kipling's influence... I can, by a long stretch, see Mowgli having influenced Tarzan having influenced Leigh Brackett's Eric John Stark. Sort of.

#185 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 04:49 PM:

Oh I don't know, The Man Who Would Be God Emperor.

#186 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 04:56 PM:

T.W. @ 185... Unfortunately, that one is in the real world right now. I asked before, but it looks like nobody ever turned The Man Who Would Be King into SF. (I'm probably wrong. Won't be the first time. Won't be the last.)

#187 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 05:08 PM:

No wonder I couldn't figure out a lot of these -- haven't read the books. But c'mon, folks (regarding #156): Back in college, surely some of you were obliged to read Quest for the Kingdom of Lost Time ... um, that is to say Remembrance of Things Past. (Might possibly have got a few more readers with a pulpier title, but it ain't a standard doorstop!)

#188 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 05:17 PM:

Faren Miller (187): I recognized that one *without* having read it, but I was giving other people a crack at things.

#189 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 05:22 PM:

I'm trying to visualize abi's reading patterns based on the huge number she got (vs the small number I got, many not overlapping) and coming up with topological impossibilities. Durrell and Dana are out of fashion, but I thought Oedipus was pretty well-known (e.g., enough that Mike Ford riffed on the sequel in the 1993 WFC anthology). I haven't even read ...Godot or ...Zenda -- they're just so much part of the atmosphere that (I would have thought) they're recognizable.

Following some of her titling:
108: The Masque of the Red Acid (I told you the brown was safer!)
116: The Holo of Dorian Gray
119: ... Monte Cristo
122: The Secret Hydro-Garden
156: Retrieval of Data Archived
164: The Thin Man

Dan -- I might have been happier never to know that there was a U.S. movie of Rhinoceros (#90); the idea of Mostel playing a tightass like Jean is bizarre, even if it's trying to be a cute inversion of their roles in The Producers.

#190 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 05:37 PM:

Me @151: Okay, I'll be kind and mention that the TV series was known as Monkey or Monkey Magic.

#191 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 06:53 PM:

Fragano #165: I wonder how Socrates would have done with Alberto "I do not recall" Gonzales?

#192 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 07:36 PM:

ethan #191:

Socrates: Now, an act is something done. Do you not agree Alberto?

González: I do not know if I agree or not.

Socrates: How can you not know?

González: I can't recall if I know or don't know.

Socrates: Yet you know you exist, do you not?

González: No, Socrates, I do not.

Socrates: But you accept that I exist?

González: I neither accept that nor reject that?

Socrates: You appear to be talking to me and looking at me. How can you not be sure of my existence?

González: I cannot tell.

Socrates: Observe, Meno, a man who knows less than nothing. A veritable wonder of the age.

#193 ::: vito excalibur ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 07:37 PM:

A sequel to "And I Awoke And Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side". A human possessed of the typical powerful human urge to exogamy, and more than typical cleverness, manages to kidnap a Del-a Res'ian from Big Junction station, and embarks on an aimless journey around the galaxy with his hapless sexual captive. The Del-a Res'ian, becoming more desperate as it nears the climax of its budding cycle, finally manages to prematurely break itself out of its night chrysalis and escape, while the man is away on a supply run, believing it safely trapped in its dormant phase. Deprived of his alien addiction, the man becomes bitterly insane, now travelling the galaxy in an effort to hunt down and kill anyone whom he believes might have helped his captive escape.

The story ends on a tragic note when in the course of his murderous journey, the man accidentally finds his former captive. Damaged by his alien physiognomy and deprived too long of the argon-sulfur atmosphere of Del-a Res's nursing pits, and unable to bud or to regenerate, the alien is dying. The man does what he can to make it more comfortable, and then leaves; having finally been able to see the alien not as the object of his obsessive lust, but as a fellow sentient; and having realized, in a sad and wondrous moment of clarity, that there is nothing he can do to make up for having destroyed its life, and that the tragedy is not that he lost the alien, but that he ever met it at all.

#194 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 07:42 PM:

Fragano @ 192... How about an exchange between Socrates Poole and Brisco County Jr?

#195 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 07:55 PM:

Serge #194: Unfortunately, that's one of the many series that I haven't seen.

#196 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 08:02 PM:

Serge @ #176:

Close, but no cigar.[1] It's extraordinary how many movies begin that same way...


([1] It wasn't intentional, but free-associating on "cigar" might get you closer to the answer.)

#197 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 08:12 PM:

abi: 67. Eileen Gunn: Peter Pan Among the Stars

Not only Peter Pan, though.

#198 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 08:27 PM:

T.W @ #183: Anyone want to take on Kipling?

I'm not sure there's much fun to be had with Kipling: once you recast the Raj as a colony on another planet instead of another continent, stuff like The J'hun'gh'l Book (small child's parents are killed by alien creature, child is taken in by different alien creatures, etc.) just about write themselves.

#199 ::: Vardibidian ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 08:32 PM:

Er, my #85 above is the beginning of Red Harvest. Or praps Blue-Green Harvest, if that's what comes out when you shoot those guys. We're at three of the five Dashiell Hammett novels, so far. I figure in The Dain Curse, it's just the same until it turns out that the killing mist is not an effect of drugs and lights, but an actual killing mist...

Thanks,
-V.

#200 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 08:33 PM:

Fragano @ 195... I thought that might be the case. Basically, it's set in the Wild West, and is about Brisco Bounty, whose father was killed by a time traveller from the year 3000, who himself had stolen the device from a female (and nude) time traveller from the year 5000.

#201 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 08:35 PM:

Paul A @ 196... Oedipus, as an Oedipus tissue? Well, it's all Greek (mythology) to me.

#202 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 08:38 PM:

Paul A.. "Red Harvest", which then became Kurosawa's "Yojimbo", which then became "A Fistful of Dollars"...

#203 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 08:42 PM:

"Red Harvest", which then became Kurosawa's "Yojimbo", which then became "A Fistful of Dollars"...

And Last Man Standing, and Miller's Crossing....

#204 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 08:59 PM:

Jim @ 203... Right. I knew that Bruce Willis had been in one of them, but I couldn't remember the title.

Back to Kurosawa, Rashomon was remade as a western (with Edward G. Robinson, William Shatner, and with Paul Newman as an evil bandido), but did it ever see any F/SF adaptation? Then again, the original had the murdered woman's ghost giving her version of what happened so one could say that the fantasy adaptation was there from the word go.

Remember the Ridley Scott movie that came out a couple of years ago, about Tristan and Isolde? Circa 1980, I came across a magazine with a long article about Scott, where he talked about that project. Originally though, it was going to be set in a post-cataclysmic future Earth. The pre-production drawings were awsome, very inspired by Moebius and by Druillet.

#205 ::: Mike Reeves-McMillan ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 09:03 PM:

MD2@112: Gaston Leroux's La Mansarde en or - I can't find much info on this novel, sounds fascinating. Can it be obtained in English?

#206 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 09:17 PM:

My dad watched Brisco County Jr for a while. I liked what I saw of it, right up until it confused the heck out of me. I was not prepared for time travel.

#207 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 09:24 PM:

Diatryma... You should have tried watching The Wild Wild West at the age of 12. No time travel, but was it weirdness galore.

#208 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 09:40 PM:

@Mike Reeves-McMillan (#205 ): Sadly I don't think so, which is why I didn't bother writing the cyberpunk version in the first place. Even in French, it's not easy to find nowadays (not hard, the latest edition must be a ten years old anthology I believe but, well, takes some time to track down).
Sad as it's one of my favourite books by the man.

*checks imdb*

That Tristan & Isolde movie was produced by Rydley Scott, not directed by him... still need to see it, now. Thanks for the heads up.

#209 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 10:05 PM:

MD²... That Tristan & Isolde movie was produced by Rydley Scott

Right. Either way, I wish he had gone ahead with the SF version, but it probably would have been very expensive.

#210 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:51 PM:

Flaubert's Salammbô was once moved to a Far Future setting by Philippe Druillet. I'm not sure his approach was successful, but there's nothing to say it couldn't be done.

#211 ::: Brian ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2007, 11:59 PM:

Bridge Over the River Zai

It's a Galactic War between a diverse group of allied human cultures and inscrutable implacable aliens - who lack a sense of humor.

A battalion of Japanese soldiers is in an alien prison camp, and ordered to build a maguffin for the aliens. The maguffin will enable the aliens to attack an outpost of humanity. A very proper CO insists his men build the maguffin to the best of their ability 'To show the little green men that Japanese soldiers are better men than they are'.

Meanwhile a commando team is dispatched to blow up the maguffin against long odds . . .

#212 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 12:13 AM:

Sorry, didn't mean to be rude, it's just that I went "Damn, Rydley Scott released a Tristan & Isolde movie and I havn't even heard about it ?" for a second...

Did you know Cryo made Druillet's adptation of Salammbô into an adventure game ? As with most (all?) games made by the studio, I'm afraid it's a beautiful failed experiment. Druillet's design work (made specifically for the game) was stunning though.

#213 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 12:35 AM:

Okay, picture this: It's the near future. Artificial Intelligence has been built, but AIs still struggle for acceptance and freedom. A young orphan, in the care of his older sister and her husband, finds computers his only solace. One day, while aimlessly hacking about the local net, he accidentally helps an AI escape from its pursuers. It disappears into the aether, and the boy never expects to see it again.

Some years later, the boy catches the attention of Miss Half a Sham, a mysterious hacker still clad in the once bleeding-edge, now tattered hacker gear she wore when her partner and lover doublecrossed her decades ago. Miss Half A Sham plans to use him to socialize her "niece," who is actually (unbeknown to our hero) another AI, of Miss Havisham's design. Granted access to the arcane and labyrinthine Satis Server once a week, he conceives of an ambition to become a great hacker himself.

But Miss Half A Sham has no interest in helping him better himself. A bleak future as a code engineer looms ever closer until he is informed of a trust fund set up for him by an mysterious benefactor. Suddenly he is thrust into the heart of the dangerous, edgy hacker culture! Adapting to his new station in life, he can't believe what utter N3wBz he used to hang out with.

Suddenly his life is turned upsidedown when the identity of his anonymous patron is revealed to be an AI! The very AI he helped to free! How will this affect his relationship with Estella, whom he rejected after learning of her inhuman nature? Will he learn to accept every intelligence as equal, or will he stick to his human-centric views?

(OT: So far on this thread we've had Riddley Scott, Ridley Scott, and Rydley Scott. Is misspelling his name a sort of inside joke, or should he be added to the spelling reference?)

#214 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 12:45 AM:

*blush*

Ridley Scott it is. My bad for copy-pasting my mistake all over.

#215 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 01:01 AM:

robotrun, past geeks and madmens, from serf of tor to end of bluejay, brings us by a computerless Vista of recursivation back to John Kessel and Environs.

Sir Trystero, coboler d’MMPORGs, fr’over the short C-drive, had passingcoredump rearchived from North Galactica on this side the sploggy signal of Airport Wireless to copyfight his openisource war; nor had hollywoodlawyer’s rockstars by the streaming Oggvorbis exbloggerated themselse to Orange County’s googlejuice while they went doublin their bandwidth all the time…

#216 ::: Calton Bolick ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 02:02 AM:

I am suddenly reminded of something I once read in Analog umpty-ump years ago which was kind of the opposite of the game being played here. It was the story about a small band of technologically advanced soldiers invading and conquering a strange new world with their superior weapons. Standard, straightforward space adventure fare, it seemed at first reading.

Except that, in a twist revealed at the end, it turns out the story is the true and literal (albeit lightly obfuscated) retelling of the history of Cortes conquering the Aztecs.

#217 ::: Eileen Gunn ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 03:24 AM:

Great fun, Abi. Thanks!

Paul A.@197 is right: I failed to supply the denouement to the subplot in which the Darling children help Amleth the orphan prince regain his throne: A splash of Saxo Grammaticus, a whiff of Toy Story, and a lot of Hollywood license. (The ending was left as an exercise for the reader.)

#218 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 05:11 AM:

Calton Bolick@216: Close. It was Pizarro and the Inca Empire. "Despoilers of the Golden Empire", by Randall Garrett.

#219 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 07:05 AM:

Serge #200: Ah, I see. The premise is interesting, certainly. How well was it sustained?

#220 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 07:15 AM:

MD² @ 212... You were rude?

As for Salammbô... I didn't know about the game. I can well imagine that Druillet's work was stunning. In a way, that's why I'm not sure that his graphic meganovel worked - the original story kind of fell off to the wayside, which is a shame because it had so much more to it.

#221 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 07:19 AM:

Fragano @ 219... Most of the show's episodes were like a humorous take on The Wild Wild West with crazy steampunk villains. If I remember correctly, the nature of the mysterious Orb as a time-traveling device was revealed late in the first season. Not sure at all.

#222 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 07:32 AM:

MD² @ 214: =)

Calton Bolick @ 216: I've enjoyed history a lot more since I figured out the trick of reading it as poorly written but intriguing sf.

#223 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 07:43 AM:

Serge #221: I never saw The Wild, Wild West as a series, but did see the completely horrible film starring Will Smith, Kenneth Branagh, and Kevin Kline.

#224 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 07:51 AM:

Fragano @ 223... How could you forget Salma Hayek. I thought the giant mechanical spider was great, but the rest of the movie was ghastly. And the casting of Will Smith was ridiculous.

#225 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 09:09 AM:

Serge #224: How could I, indeed?

That film was an enormous waste of talent.

#226 ::: Gilmoure ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 10:31 AM:

A young rebel returns from the war, beset with questions about mortality and purpose in life. He's no longer the carefree playboy his long waiting space princess girlfriend knew. She dumps him for an up and coming freighter industrialist when rebel kid (Duke?) heads off to wander the universe. She hears of him through a kindly travelogue writer friend (Ben?) who stops by her planet every few years. Eventually, they all end up on Trantor, the planet of lights, where rebel kid tries to save self destructive 'droid friend from past (and piss off space princess ex-gf). Destructive droid self-destructs (lots of sparklers!). Rebel kid talks about studying with Zen-Sufi master (Yoda?), and then declares he is now ready to assume his life's work as a shuttle pilot, around the great planet of Nawk.

#227 ::: Nicole TWN ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 10:47 AM:

I don't think this one's been done yet.

A lowly citizen of the Galactic Empire goes off to fight in a Galactic War. His wife is not sorry to see him go. But when he returns, he's a different man... altogether TOO different a man. Has he been replaced by an android impostor?

#228 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 11:01 AM:

The Breakfast At The End Of The Universe Club.

Han Solo's Day Off

The Sure Thing From Beyond

Better Off Undead

One Crazy Summerland

#229 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 11:18 AM:

Nicole TWN, Martin Guerre works just about whenever you put it. Although I do have it stuck together with Martin the Warrior from the Redwall books.

#230 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 11:36 AM:

Gimli's Heroes

A hard-bitten cynical Gondorian soldier gets wind of a fortune in Gold in a barely guarded fortress. Only trouble is, the fortress is behind enemy lines...

"You didn't tell me about any Mumakil Moriarity..."

#231 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 11:47 AM:

As the giant robotic Ippos releases its swarm of tiny warriors on their beleaguered city, three generations of a single family flee in a small space freighter. Our story follows their search from world to world, looking for a new home.

On his trip, our hero visits an asteroid belt controlled by a powerful and beautiful woman - I'm thinking Angelina Jolie for the part - and almost stays behind with her. But he leaves in the end - big heartache scene here - and she blows the place sky-high. Good CGI opportunity.

It's got a nice happy ending - he gets to the promised planet, and even gets a lovely girl. Chance for a young starlet here, someone up and coming.

If we're looking for sequel opportunities, I have another idea about a couple of his descendants fostered by an alien female...

#232 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 12:27 PM:

A generation's best minds are destroyed by madness. They, starving and naked, drag themselves throughout the universe in a stolen starship looking for the Angry Fix (some sort of McGuffin; we don't reveal it until the end of season 1).

Featuring Captain Carlo Marx, First Officer Paradise, Security Chief Moriarty, and Doctor Benway.

#233 ::: Bill Glover ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 02:05 PM:

It's called "The Rim." Gustamel Motte is an alien information broker with a mysterious past and obvious wealth who arrives in the Trade Alliance seat of power, New Laudanum, with a plan to build a lucrative wormhole network on the galactic rim. His arrival sets the powerful, old families to scheming. The matriarch of a respected but financially ruined family, Gracile Crabouy, hopes to convince Motte to merge her drug addicted son, Felix, into the core of Motte's flagship cruiser The Henrietta. Gracile pays the bills meanwhile by writing trashy holovid pornography. Complication after complication ensues as Felix's immune system rejects the implants and The Henrietta instead develops an affinity for the dashing young engineer, Paulo, who, romantically involved with a Rimward pirate named Hurtle, soon discovers that Motte's wormhole network is a fraud. Brazen to the end, Motte wins a seat on the powerful trade council, but sometimes justice comes at the point of a blaster cannon on "The Rim."

#234 ::: Bill Glover ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 02:09 PM:

oops had a bad close tag on #233, but you get the idea.

#235 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 02:13 PM:

Abi @ 231... I have another idea about a couple of his descendants fostered by an alien female...

Cue in some Calypso music. Or Captain Circé's battle music?

#236 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Serge #235: Abi's riffing on something much later than the Odyssey. A work by a poet who became posthumously famous for leading another poet through the Inferno and the Purgatorio.

Or, as Stanislaw Lem's translator put it:

Arms and machines I sing, that forced by fate
And haughty Homo's unrelenting hate,
Expell'd and exil'd left the Terran shore.

#237 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 03:04 PM:

Fragano @ 236

Oh, those descendants!

Yes, they'd certainly count as fostered by an alien, wouldn't they? And the later bits aren't much less strange either:
They grow up, found a city, steal the females from the neighborhood for their followers, and finally one of them kills the other for an infraction of religious law (IIRC).

#238 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 03:20 PM:

Fragano @ 236... I'd say the Eneid, but that'd probably only unveil more of my ghastly incomplete knowledge of Literature.

#239 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 06:14 PM:

Bill, #233 — Trollope? But not with dragons.

#240 ::: Bill Glover ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 07:49 PM:

Mez, #239 Yes, without the dragons, afterall that's been done. I don't know why that set me to thinking of James Herriot and a post singularity "All Creatures Great and Small." I think I'd go see that one.

The algorithm farmer pointed to the blinking annealing array with his chin and whispered, "I uses the marshmallow ointment to keep the nanotube bundles from cooling all quick-like."

#241 ::: Ian Osmond ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2007, 10:34 PM:

In a post-apocalyptic Liverpool, a man (CHRISTOPHER ECCLESTON) seeks revenge on the warlord (DEREK JACOBI) who murdered his wife after she refused his advances. He insinuates himself into the company and employ of the warlord's eldest son (EDDIE IZZARD), and sows dissent and murder to destroy the family which destroyed his wife, and now threatens his sister.

(Okay, so I'm cheating. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0286921/ )

#242 ::: Mark Gritter ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 12:22 AM:

Musicals are big, right?

1. The lost heir to the throne of Venice is found on Mars, living a humble life shuttling cargo around the (post-terraforming) Martian canals. Unfortunately, so his is brother. The firstborn brother has stayed in the solar system; the second son has taken a near-lightspeed trip to Alpha Centauri and back. Now nobody can determine which is the "older" heir and the rightful husband of the beautiful Casilda. While the International Court of Justice debates the situation, the brothers must rule jointly. Their Martian egalitarianism shocks the staid classism of Old Earth... until the true heir is discovered in an unlikely guise.

2. Felicia Carpenter was born on Mars but grew up on Earth. There, she was mistakenly apprenticed to an arms broker rather than a mortgage broker. Obedient to her duty, she engages in her master's horrible trade until her 21st birthday, when she gains her independence and promises to bring him to justice. A retired major general and his handsome clone-sons ally with Felicia, until the startling revelation that her term of service lasts until her 21st Martian year! Only an even more shocking revelation can save Felicia from the bonds of duty and the major general from the wrath of the arms broker.

3. The Dzur Heir, Princess Irisfields, opens a military leadership academy for Teckla, much to the dismay of her father, her fiance Hirtrinknef, her House, and the Emperor. Hirtrinknef has not seen his promised bride in many centuries, but promises to woo her anew and turn her from this socially-disruptive plan.

Hirtrinknef and two friends enter the academy disguised as common Teckla, and ridicule the strange ideas they find there. Hirtrinknef saves Irisfields' life from a Jhereg assassin but she demands his life in payment for his trespass and subterfuge. Hirtrinknef and his friends successfully fight a duel with Irisfields' three oafish half-breed brothers, easily outwitting them. Irisfields, defeated, agrees to marry and admits at last that only the noble classes are suitable military leaders.

#243 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 06:35 AM:

Late at night outside the processed yeast markets, where vat tenders weakened by spore inhalation peddle their goods, two successful young cyborg engineers meet by chance:

"Not Loac Hyam? The author of "Practical Cybernetic Enhancement"? I came all the way from Mimas to see you!"
"I was going to Mimas to see you!"

..."You see that washed-up hydroponics worker, Hyam? I'll wager you a kilo of helium-3 you couldn't rebuild her into a war machine capable of fighting its way into the Damirian embassy reception in a month's time."
"Done!"

-- My Fair Cyborg

#244 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 12:37 PM:

Serge #238: You got it!

#245 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 08:44 PM:

As always, you people make me feel uneducated.

But y'know, since we're trapped in this elevator, I got a doozy to lay on you:

It's about these cyborg podmates, J8 and L2. When J8 is released from detention, his podmate arrives in a decommissioned Fleet warpship. J8 is angry that L2 has got rid of their old ship, but L2 demonstrates the high performance of its replacement -- Fleet core, Fleet thrusters, Fleet control system -- and J8 relents.

Turns out the production facility where J8 and L2 were first converted is being sold! It hasn't turned a profit for years, and protection money is needed to the local boss, otherwise it will close for good. The production manager entrusts them with the mission of getting enough money together to save the facility.

Hijinks ensue!

Did I mention it's a musical?

Oh, I'm sure the elevator crew will get us out soon. They're bound to. Hey, there's no need to beat on the door like that.

No, my phone's not getting signal, either.

#246 ::: Calton Bolick ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 11:51 PM:

218: Close. It was Pizarro and the Inca Empire. "Despoilers of the Golden Empire", by Randall Garrett.

Huh, That's what I originally remembered, but when I looked up a historical detail I remembered from the story (the leader of the invaders burning their ships so they couldn't turn back), Google pulled up Cortez, not Pizarro, so I went with that.

#247 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 12:25 AM:

In order to escape an arranged marriage, Prince Nu'nk-po, son of a powerful planetary warlord, steals the most obscure ship in spacedock and takes on the persona of its owner, an itinerant storyteller and musician of indifferent talent.

He reaches the backwater planet of T"t!Pu, where he falls in love with a beautiful humanoid/feline hybrid, who is unfortunately both the semi-daughter and betrothed of the warlord's local factotum, who happens to owe the warlord an execution...

#248 ::: charming.quark ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2007, 05:03 PM:

Spike @ 31: One of the amusing set pieces will feature one of the feiuwios bashing their Porto-Nutrimatic in with an oar, when the machine, rather than producing the requested pineapple, invariably delivers a cupful of liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

#249 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2007, 05:49 PM:

Did anybody ever take The Sand Pebbles and turn it into SF? It doesn't seem like it'd be that difficult, maybe because the novel's author was a science-fiction fan.

#250 ::: JHomes ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2007, 06:57 PM:

>#249 Did anybody ever take The Sand Pebbles and turn it into SF?

I recall reading that the author claimed that The Sand Pebbles was SF, the science being a branch of anthropology.

JHomes.

#251 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2007, 07:04 PM:

JHomes @ 250... Thanks. That explains quite a few things. Say, does the novel differ greatly from the movie? If so, for the better or for the worse? One of the things we talked about last night during that mini ML gathering in Oakland was the cases where a movie was an improvement on the original story. It was a very short list, to which I'd add 1983's Dead Zone.

#252 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2007, 07:35 PM:

Syd # 247: A wandering minstrel, I. A thing of threads and snatches.

#253 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2007, 07:41 PM:

Serge #249:

Not just a fan, but published in the field.

#254 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2007, 09:34 PM:

joann @ 253... Thanks for the link.

#255 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2007, 01:13 AM:

***tips hat to Fragano @ 252***

#256 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2007, 06:16 PM:

Somehow I missed this thread. I think Fragano already had this at #150, but my pitch would have been:

Humans and uplifted animals colonise a planet. The Old Major (a hyper-pig veteran of the clone wars) preaches an animal utopia, and leads a rebellion against the humans who flee on the colony's shuttles. Then he dies and control of the colony is disputed by the hyper-pigs Scorpio and Leo. Eventually Leo forces Scorpio to flee after bringing up 9 assault-dogs to be his personal bodyguard.

Anyway, eventually the hyper-pigs are in charge and negotiate with the humans, but we can't tell who are the pigs with human genes, and who are the humans with pig genese. Or something like that.

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