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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Remake by Conie Willis

This was May's Bookgroup selection and a 1996 Hugo Nominee. 

From It's the Hollywood of the future, where moviemaking's been computerized and live-action films are a thing of the past. It's a Hollywood where Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe are starring together in A Star Is Born, and if you don't like the ending, you can change it with the stroke of a key.

A Hollywood of warmbodies and sim-sex, of drugs and special effects, where anything is possible. Except for what one starry-eyed young woman wants to do: dance in the movies. It's an impossible dream, but Alis is not willing to give up. With a little magic and a lot of luck, she just might get her happy ending after all.

This book was a bit different from Willis's other books I've read (The Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, and Passage).  There was less of the frantic running around in circles that seems to characterize most of her books and more of an actual give and take of characters and an interesting plot that drew me to the end. 

The blurb makes it sound as if the book was written in Alis's POV.  It was actually from [          ] POV.  [        ] is a tech-geek, who is hired by ILMGM to "remake" movies.   As with most of Hollywood, he spends the bulk of his time hacking and slashing the movies to cut out cigarettes, booze and sad endings, but comes unglued when introduced to a young woman who wants to do more than have her image digitally plastered on the screen.   He initially doesn't understand her drive, her passion, but when he starts seeing her in movies that re-imaging shouldn't have been possible in, his perspective begins to change.

This was a stronger book than I thought it would be.  Of the 5 nominees for 1996, I have now read three of them.  I may go read The Time Ships, but probably won't touch Sawyer.  I simply just don't care for his books (I've read three and bounced off of all of them). 

1996 Hugo Nominees:
•The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson [Bantam Spectra, 1995]  (WINNER)

•The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter [HarperPrism, 1995]

•Brightness Reef by David Brin [Bantam Spectra, 1995]

•The Terminal Experiment (alt: Hobson’s Choice) by Robert J. Sawyer [HarperPrism, 1995; Analog mid-Dec 1994,Jan,Feb,Mar 1995]

•Remake by Connie Willis [Bantam Spectra, 1995]

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