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Time's Eye 
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Time's Eye
Okay, so this Arthur C. Clarke/Stephen Baxter novel came out in 2005; I'm not a stickler for currency. It is billed as an "orthoquel" to 2001, which apparently is Greek for "shameless rip-off". It reads like 2001 would if it had been written by Harry Turtledove after Guns of the South. In accordance with the alternate/shredded universe theme, it contains numerous direct quotes from 2001 barely distorted from the original and has virtually identical themes. Full disclosure of the relationship is no defense against a "Huh? What's the point?" reaction.

The world suddenly undergoes regional time shifts from prehistory through 2037, with inhabitants of each zone shifted into somewhere in the 13th century. This seems related to the appearance of shiny floating spheres whose origin and intention is left for a sequel that I have no intention of reading. Most of the action revolves around the fate of a UN helicopter crew who teams up with Rudyard Kipling and Alexander the Great to take on a team from the space station who deorbit to rendezvous with Genghis Khan; the two armies collide in a siege of Babylon. I skimmed large parts of the march through the Steppes because nothing was going on besides a historical travelogue (couldn't let all that research go to waste).

Any novel that starts with a one-sentence retrospective of the past billion years of human history is unmistakeably Clarkean, of course, and I was initially favorably disposed, but as one section of 2001 after another was recycled with little suspense aside from the battle of Babylon (there's no time pressure from the spheres, so one character eventually resorts to praying to them and for no adequate reason her prayers are answered), I grew steadily more irritated.

Contrast this with another novel I read this weekend, The Templar Salvation. Excellent verisimilitude, tension, action, and drive towards a goal, with a present day timeline interwoven with a historical thread in a search for a biblical Mcguffin. Some folks may have gotten their fill with The DaVinci Code, but I'll keep lapping this stuff up as long as it's done right, and this one was.


Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:00 pm
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Post Re: Time's Eye
Still, not bad fallout from a short-story written in 1948. Three movies with associated novelizations, and now a coauthor to carry it on into territory that might give angels second thought. Who'd have thought "The Sentinel" would have led to this?

[Sour grapes. Clarke gets Stanley Kubrik and a masterpiece, RAH gets Verhoaxer and a remake of Custer at the Big Horn. Sigh.]

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Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:47 am
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Post Re: Time's Eye
Three movies? 2001, 2010, and what am I missing?


Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:00 am
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Post Re: Time's Eye
Quote:
[Sour grapes. Clarke gets Stanley Kubrik and a masterpiece, RAH gets Verhoaxer and a remake of Custer at the Big Horn. Sigh.]


Which (forgive me for going out on a tangent) raises the question: Is there any past or present well-regarded director with whom Heinlein could have worked cooperatively, for a period of 3+ years, as closely as Kubrick and Clarke did on 2001?

(As to the initial post: The only Clarke/Baxter collaboration I've read, The Light of Other Days, while not obviously patterned after a previous Clarke novel, was in retrospect irritating nonetheless; not sure why, but have no desire to give any further thought to it.)


Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:08 am
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Post Re: Time's Eye
PeterScott wrote:
Three movies? 2001, 2010, and what am I missing?


2020, a brain-fart false memory, wistful thinking, or somesuch.

Never mind.

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Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:28 am
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Post Re: Time's Eye
jeepojiii wrote:
[Sour grapes. Clarke gets Stanley Kubrik and a masterpiece, RAH gets Verhoaxer and a remake of Custer at the Big Horn. Sigh.]


To be fair, a more appropriate comparison would be with Destination Moon. That was a decent flick in its day, and George Pal a decent director.


Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:56 pm
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Post Re: Time's Eye
My father told me that he and my mother sat through Destination Moon twice, because it was so exciting.


Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:27 am
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Post Re: Time's Eye
PeterScott wrote:
jeepojiii wrote:
[Sour grapes. Clarke gets Stanley Kubrik and a masterpiece, RAH gets Verhoaxer and a remake of Custer at the Big Horn. Sigh.]

To be fair, a more appropriate comparison would be with Destination Moon. That was a decent flick in its day, and George Pal a decent director.
You misspelled "Irving Pichel."

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Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:36 pm
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Post Re: Time's Eye
beamjockey wrote:
PeterScott wrote:
jeepojiii wrote:
[Sour grapes. Clarke gets Stanley Kubrik and a masterpiece, RAH gets Verhoaxer and a remake of Custer at the Big Horn. Sigh.]

To be fair, a more appropriate comparison would be with Destination Moon. That was a decent flick in its day, and George Pal a decent director.
You misspelled "Irving Pichel."


Wups. I used to be fuzzy on the distinction between director and producer when I was young and sometimes it still carries over. Thanks.


Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:25 pm
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Post Re: Time's Eye
PeterScott wrote:
jeepojiii wrote:
[Sour grapes. Clarke gets Stanley Kubrik and a masterpiece, RAH gets Verhoaxer and a remake of Custer at the Big Horn. Sigh.]


To be fair, a more appropriate comparison would be with Destination Moon. That was a decent flick in its day, and George Pal a decent director.


I stand behind no one in my admiration of Destination Moon, which I first saw at an old-fashioned kids Saturday Matinee in Oak Park IL on its second round in the early fifties. However, "That was a decent flick in its day," is the kiss of death for TV reruns, even on the non-premium movie channels. I last saw it several years ago on Turner Classic Movies (IIRC). Whereas both 2001 (and 2010, often paired) and ST (spit!!!!!) pop up every few months on one cable TV channel or another. [For the record, I don't recall either "Brain Eaters (Puppet Masters I, 1958)" or "The Puppet Masters (PM II), 1994" hitting any cable TV movie channels, either. "The Brain Eaters was, deservedly, uncredited, RAH must have disowned it. I never saw PM II.)

At any rate, I chose to compare 2001 to ST on the basis of availability. but I should at least have given a nod to "Destination Moon" and my reasoning.

[Confession. I have never seen Verhoaxer's ST from start to finish. From the time it hit the Premium cable channels after initial release I have tried. The first time, I lasted 10 minutes into it before I had to quit, lest I accede to the overwhelming temptation and throw the remote through the TV screen. Popped into it mid-stream a half-dozen/dozen times in ensuing months, with the same result. Never lasted longer than 10 minutes anywhere in the movie before my TV set became endangered.]

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Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:10 am
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