Sunday, May 29, 2011

On Stranger Tides

On Stranger Tides was the first book I read by my friend Tim Powers. I did it to familiarize myself with his work before going to a workshop where he taught in 1989. It's a good book.

I'm delighted to hear from him that the title of the new Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides film is no coincidence: it is indeed based on his book. Word is that the fee they paid can support him him for 3-4 years. And like often happens, I can't imagine that very much of the book has made it into the film, Tim's books are simply too... thoughtful, very little of them fit for today's Action-Is-King Hollywood world. So from one viewpoint, Tim gets the best of both worlds, he got the money, and they don't ruin his book because they are making another film basically.

Of course the eternal mystery is: what are they thinking? Why does Hollywood pay writers very, very handsomely to buy rights to books, and then change the story beyond recognition? It's like buying a house because you really like it, and then tearing down most of the walls and changing the layout totally.

Update:
Tim himself tells me:
"It differs entirely from the book except in having Blackbeard and the Fountain of Youth in it. Not the way I pictured the F of Y, either!"

7 comments:

Marcelo Metayer said...

Ja. I'm still waiting for a Tim Burton's version of The Anubis Gates :)

eolake said...

He might pull it off.

Tom Strong said...

The book looks pretty trashy, too, so I'm not sure he'd have to worry about his reputation anyway. It looks like it would be along the lines of a Cussler or Tom Clancy but with a fantasy element.

eolake said...

Well, you know what they say about books and covers.

Tim's books are unusual, in that several of them at least manage to be very entertaining and have many kewl new ideas, while also drawing deep on history and literature.

Tom Strong said...

Consider the opening sentence:

Though the evening breeze had chilled his back on the way across, it hadn't yet begun its nightly job of sweeping out form among the island's clustered vines and palm boles the humid air the day had left behind, and Bejamin Hurwood's face was gleaming with sweat before the black man had led him even a dozen yards into the jungle.

Not a very promising beginning.

eolake said...

His favorite books of mine are probably his later books "Last Call" and "The Anubis Gates".

Anonymous said...

He's not a friend of yours, though, really. You probably consider anyone you get an email from to be a friend. Maybe you wrote him a fan letter and got an answer back.