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Roots of the tale?

I finally got round to watching Bruce Wagner's follow-up to the excellent "Wild Palms"1 last night...

"White Dwarf" is a science fantasy, with dark swordsmen, alien prison-wardens, a shape-changing empathic disease, the punishment of eternity, and a wall that divides a world. Oh, and lots and lots of flying helmets and goggles.

A thousand years from now, on a horse and buggy colony world, a young doctor arrives to intern at a frontier medical station. He's after stories for his future private practice, but he's in for a surprise. In a twist straight out of early Jack Vance, the planet is split into light and dark sides, at civil war with each other. There are signs of peace, but factions on both sides want the wars to continue. There's a fly in their ointment: the planet itself is sentient (possibly as the result of a pre-human terraforming), and would rather everyone just got along. It's a resolution that needs an innocent abroad

It's clear that this was intended to be the pilot for a TV series - and to a certain extent it's a pity that it never happened. But may be it did happen, in a way, as there are elements in the background that map closely to Joss Whedon's excellent "Firefly" - the highly formal human civilisation (with its hidden decadence), the use of low technology where most appropriate, and the power of words and language.

This isn't action drama. But it's good drama - and it's good SF too.

Well worth watching.

</sup>And why no "Wild Palms" DVD outside of Australia yet? Is the idea of a world where Philip K. Dick invented scientology so uncommercial?

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
purplecthulhu
Apr. 25th, 2005 02:11 pm (UTC)
Wild palms did come out on video here... I wonder if they think that the market was saturated by that? Was it broadcast more recently in Oz?
sbisson
Apr. 25th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
Apparently there were issues with changes of ownership of the production company and it fell into limbo...

Still, I made with the clicky tonight just as soon as I saw the Australian version existed!
moral_vacuum
Apr. 25th, 2005 03:31 pm (UTC)
I loved Wild Palms. I've got it taped off the TV but I really would love to have a DVD of it. OK, James Belushi can't act, and the VR elements are somewhat ropey now. But it very inventive, and very dark indeed.
sbisson
Apr. 25th, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC)
Well, I now have a copy on its way from Australia.

Rar!

One of my favourite books of the time is The Wild Palm Reader. It's as if a copy of Wired had fallen out the Wild Palms universe into ours. Writers included Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, fastfwd, Hans Moravec, Brenda Laurel, NSK, Lemmy and Genesis P. Orridge (imagine him turning Philp K. Dick's exegesis into the scriptures of a religion...).
moral_vacuum
Apr. 25th, 2005 04:13 pm (UTC)
Oh WOW, that sounds fab. And somewhat disconcerting at the same time.
sbisson
Apr. 25th, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC)
Remind me to lend it to you some time.
marypcb
Apr. 29th, 2005 12:41 am (UTC)
OK, James Belushi can't act
but he can sing, and do standing somersaults and rock the House of Blues in Orlando; it was very odd, I was sure he had to be a lookalike but he was real!
moral_vacuum
Apr. 29th, 2005 09:22 am (UTC)
Ah, the standing somersaults thing must be genetic.

megadog
Apr. 26th, 2005 12:24 am (UTC)
I always liked Wild Palms - the thing which captivated me was that the technology was just-plausible while at the same time the politico-pseudoreligious machinations were oh-so-believable to anyone who's studied cults in detail

Time, perhaps, for my daily glass of Mimezine.
marypcb
Apr. 29th, 2005 12:40 am (UTC)
wait wait wait! Isn't that that book with the mayan alternative history and the investigator hounding the company salvage team?
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )