7 October 2008
Red Mars on TV!
Posted by Ryan Anderson
If you are reading this blog, which you are, and you have not read Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, you should drop everything and go get the book. I read it in high school, before I really knew much about Mars but when I was starting to think about planetary astronomy. It is the story of the first colonists to permanently setlle the red planet, and is more realistic than a lot of sci-fi. It does a great job of making Mars a vital part of the story: the setting almost becomes one of the characters, and the political and personal struggles that the (human) characters face are really gripping. It’s a long book, no denying that, but at the end I sat back and reflected on the sheer scope of the story I had just read and said “Wow.” And then I went and read the sequels: Green Mars and Blue Mars.
So, I am understandably excited to hear that AMC is seriously looking at making Red Mars into a TV series! Of course, as with any adaptation, this could be terrible. But I think that it may actually work to the story’s advantage. Much like the Lord of the Rings movies, a sweeping camera movement can accomplish what would have been pages of description, allowing the story to move along faster. We will just have to wait and see, but I have high hopes!
(I found out about this at the Tor.com blog, which you should be reading if you like sci-fi)
I never read the books (note: Perhaps I’ll pick up a copy from Amazon) although this would be a great way to engage the public.
Hopefully they would consider Josh Whedon (as he did an awesome job with Serenity), as he would know how to create excellent characters that can relate to people in the present without distorting the future (something I felt Star Trek often did).
Whedon would be excellent. I think this is the sort of story that he could do a lot with. It sounds like Jonathan Hensleigh is the head writer and executive producer though, so I’m not sure if Whedon could also help out. I just don’t know how these things work. I’m a little suspicious because Hensleigh wrote for Armageddon which, although fun, was not “hard”sci-fi like red mars.
They claim they’re going to make it character-driven though, which is a good sign… I guess we’ll see.
I hope “character-driven” doesn’t mean “lots of Maya”, though. Not even the Starbuck/Apollo drama in BSG was as annoying as the endless, pointless soap opera of her in “Red Mars”. By the end I just wanted to skim over whatever had her in it to get back to the hard sci-fi. I’d rather see more of Nadia / Arkady / Sax / pretty much any other character — the ones who actually did interesting terraforming-related stuff.
I agree, Maya was way over the top. I suspect all her drama will be appealing to TV producers though. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t eclipse the other characters… I especially liked the conflict between the Reds and the Greens (terraforming vs preserving) which is sort of personified in Sax Russell and Anne Clayborne.
Required reading for everyone with even a passing interest in Mars, and my favourite Mars novel. Ever. I read it once a year, just to “top up” on KSR’s vision of Mars, and it never fails to grip me all over again and fill me with a renewed sense of wonder.
I remember a few years ago there was a rumour that James Cameron was thinking of filming the trilogy, but that never happened. A TV version…? Oh, please, please, please, PLEASE don’t ruin it!!!! The ghost of the shambolic 1970s TV version of “The Martian Chronicles” still haunts me. If they do that to RED MARS I will personally find the writers and producers responsible and stuff torn out pages of the novel down their throats.