is some genuinely cool news: Hollywood wants to make a movie out of Isaac
Asimov’s brilliant sci-fi novel, The End of Eternity!
With Hollywood churning out so many sequels to movies
which shouldn’t have been made in the first place and remakes of movies
that weren’t that good to begin with, it is actually refreshing to see
them tackle a bona fide (albeit underappreciated) science fiction classic
such as this one. While one news report has described Asimov’s novel
(first published in 1955!) as “epic”, it is hardly the case. Instead it
clocks in at mere 190 pages or so. All of which will make a movie
adaptation even easier. In fact, The End of Eternity begs to be
made into a movie!
For starters, the novel boasts a killer concept. How
about this one: set in the distant future, mankind has mastered time
travel. A well-meaning organization, which exists “outside” of time,
called Eternity spends most of its time changing time lines with an eye on
improving the lot of humanity. They would interfere and change both the
future and the past by doing unobtrusive things such as cutting the brake
line of a Congressman who would cause a major war. Sometimes the
interventions are even more minor such as for instance ensuring that
someone is late for an important meeting by hiding that person’s car keys,
thus preventing some major decisions to be taken at the meeting in
Sometimes the effect of their intervention would only
be felt hundreds of years later. Their interventions even go so far as to
“fine tune” time lines by interfering in “realities” which they have
already changed. Before each such intervention they would even remove
major cultural pieces (such as paintings, books, music) from the time line
in question and store it at their headquarters which often results in
multiple “versions” of the same work of art.
To ensure complete and utter partiality, the members of
Eternity are yanked from their respective timelines as children and made
to work on timelines far removed from their own. They are also forbidden
to have any sexual relations with so-called “Timers” (people within the
“normal” timeline), which makes them all some kind of secular monks. Of
course, one day one of these “time cops” of course falls in love with a
woman. Things are complicated by the fact that not only is this forbidden
by Eternity, but that the secretive organization will soon change the
woman’s timeline, which would result in her never having been born at all!
To save the woman’s very existence becomes a literal race against time for
our hero . . .
"Think a time travel version of Minority Report!"
See why this particular novel has us thinking a time
travel version of Minority Report? It is
exactly the sort of clever science fiction concept that quickens one’s
pulse rate and makes us read the genre in the first place. That Asimov
manages to cram in some more wholly unexpected subplots and twists (which
we don’t want to go into right here) into the story is only a bonus.
novel End of Eternity is excessively talky and sometimes overly
complicated, but with the right director and screenwriter at the helm of
things, The End of Eternity can be a genuine future science classic
blending SF high concept and action into one seamless whole. (Good as
Asimov’s novel is, there is no doubt that it would require updating. In
his distant future print books no longer exist because they have all been
put on film. Um, yeah. And one character is referred to as “queer”, and it
is no reference to that person’s sexual preferences.)
As long as any screenwriter manages to keep Asimov’s
several plot twists (as well as the ending) then all would be fine. And
oh, just don’t let Will Smith and Akiva Goldman anywhere near the project
. . .
No director or screenwriter have been announced as yet,
but we would like to suggest the following:
Dark City director Alex
Proyas (Proyas is a talented film-maker and has to make up for the mess he
made of the previous Asimov adaptation, I,
Robot); Stephen Dorff (Dorff can do action hero – check out the
upcoming XIII TV mini-series); screenwriter Scott Frank (who else but the
Minority Report scribe for writing duties?); Eva Green, the
Casino Royale temptress as the woman who seduces Asimov’s hero).