Let A Hundred Radio Adaptation Flowers Bloom

If you’ll tolerate me for one more moment, Bloggers, I have a real, genuine, interesting Christmas MEME for you.

It’s possible you’ve heard me speak in the past of the CBC-Radio science fiction show that I loved so much, that for some unGodly reason didn’t make it…

I have since been informed that its name was Faster Than Light, and that it was only on Sundays…

But you know, some Sundays are pre-empted…

And thus my challenge to you: given, say, six episodes per season of adapted SF-story radio play to try grabbing the listeners with…

What would YOU do?

This will be an actual game, though with as-yet-undetermined prizes. Also, I hope to solicit the services of an unknown judge (who is not me, because he/she is far too qualified to be me) to evaluate your first-season submissions…those making it through the first round will be asked to submit their second-season schedule in a further post of mine. And from that round the winners will be chosen.

There will be no physical prizes for this, of the sort that RAB and Sean W. can expect in January when I get some dough (actually I may already have one of these prizes in hand), but instead I think I may be able to offer a non-physical prize or two that may meet with your approval. Or, who knows, I may find myself with an extra of something come the end of this Christmas season. It is simply up in the air. It depends on the quality of the responses, I guess. I may be moved.

Hell, knowing the quality of response I usually get from you freaks, I probably will be so moved. Damn it. Okay, so the winner gets a real physical prize, to be sent in January along with the two long-overdue Time-Travel prizes. And by February 1st you will all either be singing my praises, or talking about what a jerk I am.

And given such conditions:

Six one-hour radio episodes, of which NO MORE than fifty-five minutes may be devoted to one or more SF-adapted scripts or imaginary interviews or whatever as you see fit (five minutes at least must be saved for the host saying hello and goodbye)…and an audience of bored people living in the North is yours, to do with as you will. Why if your program is good enough, you may even gain popularity among the Laplanders…no higher possible praise existing.

I’ll give you my version of it:

EPISODE ONE: Adaptation of “Scanners Live In Vain” by Cordwainer Smith — 30 minutes. Adaptation of “Into Darkness” by Greg Egan — 15 minutes. Host interview with Harlan Ellison about SF — 10 minutes.

EPISODE TWO: Adaptation of “Home Is The Hangman” by Roger Zelazny — 45 minutes. Retrospective of Roger Zelazny including excerpts from various works — 10 minutes.

EPISODE THREE: SPECIAL “ASTOUNDING” EPISODE: Adaptation of “Foundation” by Isaac Asimov — 50 minutes. Host retrospective of the John W. Campbell era of SF and its engineering biases eats up the rest of the time.

EPISODE FOUR: Adaptation of “The Santaroga Barrier” by Frank Herbert — 45 minutes. Host discusses the changing nature of the 60s SF — 10 minutes.

EPISODE FIVE: SPECIAL AMERICAN FANTASY EPISODE: covering Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison, selections from “The Martian Chronicles” and “Deathbird Stories” interspersed with host commentary and interview snippets.

EPISODE SIX: “Neuromancer” by William Gibson, part one — 55 minutes. And keep those cards and letters coming folks, if you want to know how it turns out…

I swear to God, I don’t know why this show isn’t still on. I loved this show.

Resurrect it for me, won’t you, Bloggers? And then I’ll have the transgresso-fiction bit up as soon as I can.

Personal guarantee.


(Oh, even among us that’s probably an obscure reference…anyway use what you like, even something I’ve already said.)


5 responses to “Let A Hundred Radio Adaptation Flowers Bloom

  1. I should be sure to mention: the Writers/Artists/Bloggers post is in production as we speak. Because somehow I don’t think I’ll reasonably be able to wait for January…

  2. I thought I wasn’t going to have anything for this but I do.

    First, let me hang a lantern on this: I know that the stuff I’m talking about adapting for radio is too long for the format. So let’s just say it’s being abridged or that only a representative chapter, or whatever, is being radioized. Whichever. It’s the concept I’m trying to sell here. (I’ll use Canadian stuff where I can, but will often prefer imports to domestic.)

    My groupies will no doubt recognize a couple of the ideas in what I’m proposing; I’ve used ’em before.

    I call this show ‘The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be’. The theme is that our ideas of the future have changed over time. We keep thinking things are going to turn out different from how we used to think they were going to turn out. Here are six episodes dedicated to that proposition:

    The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

    Hosts: Jim Roeg, Robert Sawyer

    1. Theme music: ‘Popcorn’, Boomtang Boys
    Adaptation: Paris in the 20th Century – Jules Verne (20 min), The Time Machine (the parts in the future, anyway) – H.G. Wells (20 min), Discussion with special guest David Sedaris on Paris in the 20th century (15 min)
    The early days of science fiction, and the kinds of predictions the pioneers of the field leaned toward.

    2. Theme music: ‘Der Kommissar’, After the Fire
    Adaptation: It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis (40 min), discussion on how science fiction of the 30s and 40s anticipated a totalitarian future (Anthem (Rand), Brave New World (Huxley), 1984 (Orwell)) (15 min)

    3. Theme music: theme from ‘The Jetsons’
    Adaptation: ‘Rosey the Robot’ (first episode of ‘The Jetsons’) (20 min), ‘The Legion of Super-Heroes’ (Adventure Comics #247) (20 min), discussion with special guest Christopher Bird on the optimistic whitebread techno-future of the 1950s (15 min)

    4. Theme music: ‘In the Year 2525’, Zager and Evans
    Adaptation: Barbarella (15 min), 2001: A Space Odyssey (10 min), discussion with special guests Margaret Atwood and Spider Robinson about the counterculture of the 1960s and its changing visions of the future–sometimes idyllic, sometimes postapocalyptic, sometimes sexualized, sometimes after ecological catastrophe… (30 min)

    5. Theme music: ‘Transverse City’, Warren Zevon
    Adaptation: Chapter 1 of Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson (10 min), Blade Runner (25 min), discussion with special guest Neal Stephenson on cyberpunk (20 min)

    6. Theme music: ‘The Circle Game’, Joni Mitchell
    Round table discussion with the hosts, Neil Howe (author of several books on using generational cycles to understand the past and predict the future), William A. Sherden (author of The Fortune Sellers, which is about how futurists are generally full of it), Paul Wolfowitz (created the Project for a New American Century cabal which currently occupies the White House). Topics include Isaac Asimov’s psychohistory. Special guest: Canadian demographer David Foot, who will show up for five minutes so that Neil Howe can blow a few holes through him. (55 min)

    Well, I’d listen to it, anyway.

  3. Hey, me too, Matthew! I like the way you go with a plan, here…and naturally I love the idea of Jim Roeg as radio host for such a program, GREAT IDEA, wow! Unfortunately now I’ve got “Popcorn” stuck in my head, damn it.

    I do believe you could get away with excerpts from longer pieces, given the theme-heavy nature of your idea: just give me one complete story per episode, even if short, and I think I’d be more than happy with the rest of it being a bit more freewheeling.

    Wonder what our celebrity judge will make of this style of show?

  4. I don’t think I’m sci-fi savvy enough for this and I have no clue how long audio adaptations would be, but I’d go the supernatural horror route if that’s acceptable.

    The series on the topic would start with Lovecraft’s essay “Supernatural Horror In Literature”, then “At The Mountains of Madness”. This would probably take two or three episodes. Supplemental commentary could discuss the relationship between Mountains and Poe’s “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”.

    Another series could discuss the influence of Robert W. Chambers and “The King In Yellow” on Lovecraft and his ilk up to modern variations like “The Ring”, with a serialization of “The Repairer of Reputations”.

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