So i’m getting my weekly fix of Heroes when a teaser comes on during the commercial break and within 3 seconds, i realize it’s an adaptation of Lewis Padgett’s Mimsy Were The Borogoves! I’m jumping up and down thinking, “Finally someone recognizes a true Sci-Fi genius!”
You know, i always thought that if i anonymously sent a copy of Padgett’s Robots Have No Tails to Spielberg, he’d see the light and give us a little something better than Serling’s adaptation of We Have What You Need but i honestly never expected this. I broke out my copy of The Best of Henry Kuttner to refresh my memory and can’t wait for it to hit the theater.
Can anybody fill me in on this? Other than the info i can glean off the IMDB i can’t find anybody that’s heard a thing about it.
So is this a fairly obscure story or is it well-known among a certain crowd or what? I mean, there aren’t going to be a lot of short story lovers coming in to whine that the movie doesn’t look anything like the printed version, and proclaim that they refuse to watch the film, even though the film might well, indeed!, be extremely faithful to the printed version, will there?
Well, i gotta tell you first off that i’m a huge Kuttner fan (Lewis Padgett is just one of his pseudonyms) and first read a few of his short stories in Adventures in Time and Space, possibly the best science fiction anthology of all time. I find that he had a quirky sense of humor but also wrote some thought provoking fiction as well. Mimsy Were The Borogoves falls into the latter category although a bit of humor would not be a surprise in the movie.
Yeah, i suppose you would consider him obscure, but a number of posters on this board will likely accuse you of being ‘not well read’ (actually, i’m just kidding, folks hereabouts generally don’t poke fun; rather, they will help point you to some excellent reading).
My advice, see the movie. It may or may not be any good and, without the reference of the short story, you will be able to judge it as it stands without the fuss of comparison. Myself, i’ll see it and won’t be able to help but compare. Hopefully i won’t be too disappointed. Regardless, anything that get Lewis Padgett’s name (or Henry Kuttner, if you prefer) into the minds of the general population ain’t a bad thing. Were it not for Blade Runner, Total Recall, The Minority Report, etc. Many would never have read Philip K. Dick…
You don’t have to talk me into seeing it. I was in the “I’m so there” mode after seeing the trailer. I was really poking fun, well, ok, sticks, at Bridge to Terabithia readers, who condemned the movie on the basis of a freakin’ trailer, when it was actually an excellent movie and very faithful to the book.
As far as not being well-read, I suppose I’m not, but that’s mainly because I have always preferred non-fiction to fiction. I grew up reading Encyclopedias and Books of Knowledge for fun (not that I ever made any use of it, I probably should have been reading Alice in Wonderland, which I’ve still never read, but at least I know where the title of Kuttner’s story came from).
So how the Hell do they get from “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” to The Last Mimzy? Why would they change a great title? (Maybe because they’re pitching to a semiliterate audience.) If they keep the ending, I’ll have some respect for them.
It’s very well-known among SF fans. It’s in the premier anthology The Science Fiction Hal l of Fame Vol. I, and in The Best of Henry Kuttner, and a bunch of other anthologies. I just saw an ad for it, too, and immediately realized what it was, long before they got to the title. I was a bit disappointed that they changed the title, to tell the truth – it suggests that a lot of people wouldn’t recognize the Lewis Carrolll line, which is pretty damned sad. I’ll bet the British, if they made this, wouldn’t have done that. But I’m grateful that this is being made at all, so I won’t squawk.
Unless they mess it up. Moviemakers have less respect for sfience fiction and fantasy than for any other genre – even less than for espionage works. For every Lord of the Rings you get a bunch of I, Robots and Starship Troopers and Puppet Masters and Martians, Go Homes and Mimics and too many others it’s painful to recall.
Ah well see, there you go. I’m ignorant, but know just enough to be dangerous. I was thinking Lewis Carroll, and all I knew of him was Alice In Wonderland.
Plural! Who knew there were more than one? Ok, ok, everyone but me, but I knew where Paraguay was located and the capital–Asunción, but I had to look up the spelling–and the population and its exports when I was 9! I really think Lewis Carroll would have done me more good.
Cool. I’ve read some science fiction. I was obsessed with Cordwainer Smith and read some of his stories, like A Planet Named Shayol and Mother Hitton’s Littul Kittons, over and over in utter fascination. I should have continued with him too, but all I ever had was The Best Of Cordwainer Smith.
Anyway, this movie has gotten me interested in Henry Kuttner.
Basllantine/Del Rey later published a second collection of his stories – The Instrumentality of Mankind (I guess they didn’t want to call it “The Second-Best of Cordwainer Smith”) and his novel Norstrilia, both circa 1980, and that was most of his SF output. It wasn’t in print again until recently – NESFA press now has the complete SF short stories by him in a single volume (including a couple not in any previous collections) under the title The Rediscovery of Man. They also published the definitive edition of Norstrilia, and the extremely useful concordance to Corwainer Smith, which is well worth it if you want to understand the gazillion weird references and sources for Smith’s universe. buy those three books and you’ll have Smith’s SF complete.
as for Kuttner, he’s well worth reading, too. Remember that his stuff also appears under the name Lewis Padgett 9for he co-wrote with his wife, atherine L. Moore. Both the best of Henrykuttner and the Best of Catherine L. Moore are worth getting, but by no means complete. Reaf robots Have no Tails, if you can find a copy.
They previously filmed a version of his story The Twonky (which appears in the first major SF anthology, Adventures in Time and Space, but i understand it wasn’t very faithful.
I’m glad to see they’re reprinting it. Ballantine/Del Rey’s The Best of… series were excellent collections of the often hard-to-get short fiction of classic (but sometimes overlooked) authors. The series ran throughtout the 1970s, with a handful of reprints. Unfortunately, the entire series has been long out of print for decades. the sole exception I know of was the Best of Lester Del Rey, which i have a copy of. It’s got an additional new foreward. This tie-in in thus the second resurrected one in the series that O know of, and maybe there will be more. (After years of searching, I’ve got the whole series, except for The Best of Philip K. Dick)
Let me emphasize that nobody knows who actually wrote how much of any story by Henry Kuttner or C. L. Moore after their marriage. They tended to work so much together that one would start typing a story and have to go do something, so the other would sit down and finish the story without consulting the first person. Lewis Padgett should be thought of as a joint pseudonym.
If this film is the same The Twonky mentioned in Son of Golden Turkey Awards, and I somehow doubt there were two Twonkies, I certainly hope it wasn’t very faithful. The book quotes a review in Variety saying The Twonky “bears no resemblance to motion picture entertainment other than being on film.”
I cannot think of a way to make the story into a film without pissing all over it. The ads have not reassured me. The story could be done right as an Outer Limits episode. But the movie seems to be ‘impending crisis and only two kids who recieve messages from the future can save us’
I agree with DocCathode. I have a strong feeling after seeing the trailers that the story is going to be more like: “These kids have crazy contraptions that can help them bring down the Man/Save the World/Cure Cancer and parent figures will try to stop them!”
I don’t see any of the psychological themes from the story. But then I remind myself that in a trailer we see about 60 seconds of actual film and a lot more marketing hype.
Honestly, you’re not missing much unless you just want it for the sake of being a completist. That book was my first exposure to PKD and I was pretty confused upon reading it–I’d kept hearing that he was such a great author, but the material in the book wasn’t really all that good. His novels are far better.
And could somebody refresh my memory? Were the toys in MWTB supposedly from the same future/timeline/whatever as the Little Black Bag? I was somehow under the impression that they were the toys for the smart peoples’ children, but I’m not sure whether Kuttner made an explicit connection at some point or whether I just, y’know, hallucinated it or something.