} Fairly compact grovel there, suplicant. Nevertheless, benevolence is a
} virtue. There are several popular sci-fi variants, you would be pretty
} smart to invent something different, so I suggest you use one of these
} tried and tested formulas. Points are awarded for 'Screenplayability'
} (SPA), I take it you will wish your book to be made into a movie,
} and will need some pointer about which way to go.
} 1) A series of naval style missions aboard a spaceship that is named
} and operated like a boat. For: Get the mix of social stereotypes right
} and you've got a winner formula here. Nothing beats simplistic human
} relation issues than a U-boat style drama, with people crammed into
} 3 rooms of a 150 deck spaceship bigger than Rhode Island. Against:
} Long term success can ultimately be your downfall. The actors chosen
} for your Movies will eventually get all wrinkly and start bulging
} out of their lycra shirts. SPA: 9/10. Can be filmed on three sets
} (eg Bridge, Sick bay and Transporter room) a polystyrene cave may
} also prove useful.
} 2) Sci-fi being comes back from future to terrify specific present
} day people for things they haven't done yet. For: Your 'future'
} being can be made pretty exciting and scary since he is surrounded,
} not by his exiting and scary contemporaries but, by nerdy humans.
} Against: Your readers will need advanced boolean algebra to be able to
} understand the plot. They will then be able to conclude that the plot
} is in fact impossible. SPA: 7/10 Impossibility is not an issue with
} most punters wishing to part with ?4.00/$7.00 for a high body count.
} But this will not be a cheap movie to make, especially if you ever get
} to a sequel where movie go-ers will expect even more lavish special
} effects - like a robot made from silver snot.
} 3) Stranded alien left on Earth. For: There is incredible scope
} here for a stonking good story. The alien's search for its departed
} comrades, the psycholological effect of being marooned lightyears
} from your home planet and family, the fact that the alien can only
} survive by eating warm human flesh, the alien's ability to mate with
} other species and create vicious hybrids, the skill of the alien to
} manufacture a communication station to contact his home planet and
} summon an invasion, etc. etc. Against: You could really shit-out with
} a bald midget in the closet. SPA: 3/10 if you go for the bald midget.
} A higher score could be had by going for the body-count option.
} 4) Teleportation drama, where inventor is inadvertantly combined
} with something else. For: Spooky stuff. Lots of computers.
} Physical degredation of two beings into one. Lots of scope for
} fruitcake personalities. Against: Must chose the combining parties
} with some care. Insects or mammals are good. An anchovie doesn't make
} for a good drama (Man slowly becomes more salty to the taste and ends
} up on a pizza) SPA: 8/10 Cheapish sets (cellar, two 'phone boxes,
} yellow vomit). Cheap co-actors (fly or similar). Scope for satire
} (Man combines with pixie - turns into Michael Jackson)
} 5) Future shock. Earth in near future where andriods are hunted by
} present-day-style cops. For: Loads of scope for social issues,
} man-hunting, man vs machine, lonely cop stuff, romance with sexy
} android (who doesn't know she's an android - (hey, :-) aren't all
} chicks androids!)) Against: High intellect of reader required, it's
} easy to get lost in this one. SPA: 9/10 Near future means standard
} sets and plenty of rain. You'll end up having to dub on a narrative
} 'cos nobody understands it first time around.
} 6) Distant future, intergalactig struggle between good and evil. For:
} Epic tale to be told here. Bunch of stereotypes again (including a
} camp robot and a walking carpet). Makes for good swashbuckling stuff.
} Make sure good triumphs over evil - right kids? A Universe full of
} sequels available. Against: Not a lot. Keep the body count reasonable,
} or you might preclude the box-office from admitting a proportion of the
} population - and with this formula, you're going for 100% attendance.
} SPA: 10/10. Get ready to spend some serious cash. Inventing light-speed
} space travel and actually going there to film it might be cheaper.
} 7) Present day kid marooned in recent past, tries to get back to
} present day. For: The usual time travel stuff. Nostalgia for '50s
} America will work well (and will even export sucessfully to Britain,
} beats me!). Against: Don't use a Delorean. This plot is also defeated
} by logic. SPA: 7/10. Film studios around the world are crammed with
} props for '50s America, keep costs down by choosing a Delorean.
} 8) Friendly aliens come to visit present day people. Some people
} are strangely drawn to the landing site, which they have previously
} modelled in mashed potato. For: Use the 'present day' get out again.
} Against: No possibility of a body count. It's too nice. You don't
} actually see any aliens, which is strange for an alien story.
} SPA 6/10. Contemporary sets, flashing lights, and a trombone.
} Silhouetted alien at the end is all you need. Box office success for
} this movie will be stranger than the story itself.
} Distant future swashbuckling is the sensible way forward. Phone the
} bank and ask for a $100m advance. If you manage to get Carrie Fisher's
} phone number, I'd be most interested.
} You owe the Oracle Carrie Fisher's phone number.