Chabon Discusses Genre Fiction

The Los Angeles Times has a Q&A posted this week with Michael Chabon on the topic of genre and pulp fiction as Chabon continues to promote Maps and Legends.

“Every so often a writer hacks and crawls out of the brambles of genre,” Chabon says. “Somebody like Philip K. Dick clearly began in the pulps, writing mass commercial fiction. Almost by dint of the passion of his fans, and the intensity of his vision, and all of that stuff, eventually he ends up getting canonized in Library of America. But those are much more the exceptions.”

Chabon gives a list of authors who have inspired him over the years: Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Ross Thomas, Ursula K. Le Guin, Frank Herbert, Michael Moorcock, Ray Bradbury, Jack Kirby, Steve Gerber, Alan Moore. “And there are a whole list of borderland writers — John Crowley, Jorge Luis Borges, Stephen Millhauser, Thomas Pynchon — writers who can dwell between worlds,” he adds.

The rest of the interview can be read here.

Kavalier Script Review Online

A blog that says it obtained a copy of Michael Chabon’s screenplay adaptation of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay calls the script “a skillful and faithful adaptation of wonderful source material.”

Big Shiny Robot!, a blog that describes itself as a source for “nerd news,” posted the positive review today of what it says was the seventh draft of Chabon’s script, dated May 12, 2002. The reviewer says while the story was compressed, “not for a minute did I feel like I was missing any part of the story.”

“Chabon included just about everything he could and he does it in a way that truly keeps the spirit of the story and makes you feel like you got the gist of the book,” the blog says.

The site acknowledges that the script was six years old and that Chabon had likely polished it more since the seventh draft. Indeed, Chabon told Comics Continuum back in October 2002 “it took eight drafts of the screenplay before the producer Scott Rudin finally said, ‘OK, you did it.'”

It is one of only two reviews to ever surface online of the script. In July 2002, the now-defunct site Coming Attractions posted a negative review of an unknown draft of the screenplay. The reviewer, Darwin MayFlower, called the script “the merest, most basic trace outline of the novel. I think it’s safe to say this is one of those cases where a novel simply could not be made into a movie, unless you wanted to go the Sergei Bondarchuk route and make it five hours long.”

Big Shiny Robot’s review disagreed. While the ending was “slightly different, it still had very much the same sentimental resonance.” Still, there were changes. The movie was narrated by Thomas Clay, and rather than ending in the 1950s, it ends in 1945 as World War II comes to a close. Thomas is only four when Joe Kavalier returns and isn’t into magic and escapism. “No rubber-band jumping off the Empire State, either,” the review adds.

But the review says other parts are still in, including Kavalier’s stint in Antarctica. The reviewer concludes saying producer Scott Rudin should “get this script into a meaningful production stage before it’s too damn late.”