‘As the usher brings forth the Ice cream and snacks, we wait for the main feature to resume’
Use your Imagination
I remember a time when Science Fiction and Fantasy wasn’t the massive behemoth it is now. Don’t get me wrong it’s always been there, from ancient Hindu stories and Greek writers through to Verne, H.G. Wells and onward to Asimov, Bradbury, Dick, Tolkien and Ellison it’s always been bubbling under the surface across various forms of media.
An argument can be made that writing is the purest form of Science Fiction and Fantasy, reading a story gives you a chance to imagine the worlds as you believe they should be seen. That however is not to under estimate the power of the visual image even seeing stories on the screen or in a comic can expand your imagination.
When Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings was in Production I swore I would never go and see it. I am a long term fan of the work so this sounded strange, but my logic was that I had the pictures of middle earth in my brain that I didn’t want spoilt. I had been imagining the places and the people since I first read the book. I was afraid that the film would replace those images. Unlike a property that was written for the screen there was all this baggage I carried with me. When Fellowship came out I did not go and see it for those reasons.
Then in a strange turn of events I was admitted to Hospital one day (actually into the Hospital I worked in). The hospital was so crowded (it was Winter) I ended up in an overflow ward. There was around 6 of us in this side ward with a Nurse whom I knew on duty through the night. I was attached to drips so couldn’t go anywhere so all I could do was lie on my bed feel sorry for myself.
There was a Television and VHS in the ward. The Nurse then asked us all if we fancied watching The Fellowship of the Ring, which for some unknown reason he had the video tape with him. So on one Winters evening while I was feeling pretty ill I watched the VHS of The Fellowship of the Ring. It was probably being shown on a 30 inch CRT Television that was around 10 feet away from me and obviously a Pan and Scan version. The viewing conditions were not optimal as you can tell but surprisingly I liked it. I was impressed and from that moment my view on those films changed.
A year or so later the Two Towers was released, our local cinema decided to re-show Fellowship as well. It was then my Girlfriend (now Wife) and myself were able to see the films in all their glory, it was a masterful adaptation and surprisingly to myself it hasn’t destroyed my reading imagination. I have managed to keep them separate within my brain.
Thinking back on my stance it’s a bit silly as I’d already listened to the wonderful BBC radio Adaptation of LOTR and seen Ralph Bakshi’s animated version of Lord of the Rings and that had never destroyed my imagination either. I’m really not sure why I thought that Peter Jackson’s would. On a side note if you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings the Bakshi version is worth checking out. It’s flawed but still very interesting, oh and unfortunately stops halfway through The Battle of Helms Deep, there was meant to be a sequel but it didn’t happen. Also I recommend to definitely check out the BBC Radio adaptation of it as well.
There are so many things that I have seen, read or listened to, different versions of and one thing has never destroyed my memories or imagination of the other. The mind is a wonderful thing so capable of keeping both things separate and mixing them up, the most important thing though is to keep using your imagination and Science Fiction and Fantasy is the perfect vessel to enable that.
‘The lights dim, we now resume the main feature’