From: Andy Moore
Location: Tacoma, WA
Just finished browsing some of the graphics for the Eon Challenge, and I have a lot of misgivings. Seems to me that few of the people slinging pixels around have bothered to read your careful and detailed descriptions of scenes, let alone read the novel to get the whole human story. Sure, each of us probably paints a different mental picture while reading Eon, and I'm all in favor of granting a certain amount of artistic license. But one the things that makes all of your novels in general, and Eon (and Eternity) in particular, so enjoyable is the beautiful and intelligent images you paint with words.
Take, for just one example, Axis City. Your descriptions of each of the components of the City are fairly specific in terms of geometry, color, scale, features, and so on. And yet the entries I managed to view on the Eon Challenge (the website is horribly slow) missed the point completely. They were interesting and beautiful to various degrees, but they clearly did not really read and understand your prose. And most of the various scenes I've seen fail the capture the scale and grandeur of your novels...
If the Eon Challenge is just an artistic exercise, and the art that is submitted need only be "inspired" by Eon, then feel free to ignore my criticism as being too anal. But if any of these graphics are destined to be used in a motion picture (and I certainly hope that someday we see such a movie), I implore you to be selective, to hold out for visuals (as well as story/plot) to be as true to your original novel as practical. Eon has been my favorite novel for several decades, and if it can't be faithfully executed as a movie, I'd rather see no movie at all...
From: Greg Bear
Thanks for writing, Andy! No one ever said that you can force artists to read. Still, there are a surprising number of good artists in the Challenge who do seem to get the vision--and we'll see how it all turns out in late January, when the judging begins. (Some of the artists face difficulties finding editions of EON in other countries, or understanding the English excerpts posted on the web site--I think they're doing very brave work under the circumstances.)
Your point is well taken. Professionals do their homework--wannabes get winnowed out by very stiff competition. And all it takes is a few with vision and talent. 'Twas ever thus, no?
I would never've known about this if not for this posting. Was Patricia black?.....I need to read this, again.
From: Greg Bear
Patricia is Hispanic.
From: David Markwick
Location: United Kingdom
Hi Andy, I am actually one of the competition participants, specifically the Eon Trailer competition.
There is a wide scope of interpretation going on at the site, remember that it's a showcase for talents, and some people are amazing modelers (not me alas) and would like to put something of their own into the outcome. I think some amount of interpretation and even re-imagining is desirable given the large number of participants, although I would expect winning entries to be recognisably Eon in nature. The final result is all important, but remember Greg Bear himself is one of the judges :)
As an aside, the trailer outcome is particularly interesting to me, as the brief for the project states that "story is everything" and yet we only have 90 seconds or so to distill the salient story points. My own thoughts are that only enough of the story needs to be presented to "hook" target audiences in, so much of the storyline has been discarded (by me) and only what I would think of as the 3 main audience hooks are presented. This further limits the showing-off nature of all of us who participate (yes we're showing off ;)) in that we can only show the scenes for these hooks, and not necessarily the scenes we would like to work on.
My only concern for some of the trailer work going on is that some amount of Eon knowledge might be being assumed, whereas a trailer (in my view) needs to grab people who know nothing, and leave them wanting to know more.
And if book literal interpretation is a prerequisite then I'm out of the running because I've put in scenes that are not even in the book :D
Modesty and fairness forbids me from mentioning my competition username here ;)
From: Greg Bear
Actually, I look forward to seeing things I didn't imagine in the novel--as long as a scene follows the spirit! Filmmaking is definitely a collaborative art.