Today I did discuss the subject of fiction disclaimers for the “fiction” part of my “Do Ask, Do Tell III” book on the notes WP blog.
There’s a remaining question: when people write fiction, should they write stories modeled after situations they have been in or could be in? Is fiction expected to be “politically correct” with respect to gender and race interchangeability? It’s true, the most successful novelists seem to do well with scenarios far away from their own surroundings.
One of my screenplay treatments largely occurs on another planet, and the main one occurs on a “space station” near or on Titan, a moon of Saturn. But unlike “fantasy” (which is essentially a “parallel universe” concept with no possible contact with Earth), my scenarios all assume that contact with “aliens” is possible and should happen. In fact, the changes that would happen for life on Earth, over time, is of interest to me. So I have to deal with problems like speed of light limits, black holes (maybe miniature), and wormholes.
That’s also true of the novel “Angel’s Brother”.
Generally, not all my characters can be interchangeable. Usually, at least one is similar to me, but “I” and not always a “main” character (except in DADT-III as already published, and in the DADT-Conscripted screenplay). In the novel, my past writings provide a lot of the “real” and rumored “backstories” for the main characters. At least a few of them have to be “sexually attractive” in my value system, which means they have to be (fit) young adult white males. Otherwise, there is no “tension”. So be it. But in the “conscripted” play, there should be at least one major character who differs from what “he” wants in order for him to understand the context of his mission.
As for the examples from other writers: Tolkien would be the prime example of fantasy (with Hobbit and Lord of the Rings), along with all other fantasy like “Game of Thrones”. “Harry Potter” is a kind of special case of fantasy. Clive Barker’s “Imajica” has a richness comparable to Tolkien, with a major difference: In this 1991 fantasy, the five “dominions” (essentially planets) are reconciled (by wormholes) so contact between them and Earth increasingly drives the apocalyptic conclusion of the plot, with a particular interpretation of Christianity. This novel would be very controversial if filmed, but it is definitely Imax 3-D material (it would require two 150-minute films to cover the story). It seems a natural for a company with a lot of contacts with British and Canadian film. I prefer Lionsgate for this effort. A lot of it would get filmed down under.
Another comparison is Frank Herbert’s “Dune” books and movies (80s), in which the various worlds have contact with one another but not Earth. The same is true of “Star Wars”. “Star Trek”, however, was simply far in the future for Earth; same for the “Alien” franchise. “Pitch Black” (2000) was interesting. So is “Jupiter Ascending” where there is contact with Earth.
Update: March 16
I saw Disney’s remake of “Cinderella” tonight (Branagh’s direction, Weisz’s writing) and, yes, I am struck by how relationships and “marriage” are presented as mattering for the future of a people. I also see that the movie still would work (even better) if you do introduce race into it. There were some gremlins in the kingdom that sound familiar from the other “Imajica” dominions.