Wow, ces graphismes !
|We started by revisiting Scalzi’s own discovery of the original Little Fuzzy, spotted on a friend’s bookshelf when he was around 14 years old: |
John Scalzi: I saw the cover and I picked it up and started reading it. Immediately, two things jumped out at me: One, this was easy to read; and second of all, the author – whoever he was – had a writing style that actually spoke to me. He’s very clean in his prose, he does dialogue pretty well, and he gets you into the story without drawing attention to himself. He’s more interested in telling the story than in amazing you with the complexity of his prose. I’m much more in tune with the storytelling than the sentence-making aspect of writing, and even as I was reading it, some part of my brain was taking notes. Piper was one of those folks like Heinlein who I very much studied and emulated when it came time to do my own writing. That clear and transparent way to get people into the story is valuable.
GeekDad: Science fiction fandom, even in its niches, can be a possessive and protective arena. Talk a little bit about reworking a book that many fans have a longtime connection to, even while you’re introducing Piper to new audiences.
JS: I was talking to my agent Ethan Ellenberg about it and I said, “If we do something with it, there’s a good chance that about half of science fiction fandom will come and stab me in the night.” It’s one thing for Paramount to reboot Star Trek – Paramount owns Star Trek. Or for Marvel to reboot Spider-Man, or DC to reboot Batman. These things are expected. It’s a little bit heretical for an author to look at an older work – this book (Little Fuzzy) is 40 years old – and say, “I wonder what I can do with that?” It is beloved by fans, but it is beloved by fans of a certain age, and there is a cutoff: most science fiction fans over the age of 40 are aware of Little Fuzzy; under 40, most of them don’t know about it.
For me, one of the interesting things about science fiction is that it is a community. And it is a community that has a lot of elder respect: most people do try to read the classics; they do try to get engaged with it in one aspect or another. The reason Paramount reboots is partly to keep Star Trek in the eye of the public – H. Beam Piper is not around to do that. He’s not releasing books and most of his work is out of print or in the public domain.
(I saw this) in much the same way that musicians will try to cover their favorite tunes from other musicians. Like the (Jennifer Warnes’) Famous Blue Raincoat tribute to Leonard Cohen: it did well enough that it sort of launched him into a new spotlight.