Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Simon Ings's "The Smoke"

Simon Ings is the author of novels (some science fiction, some not) and non-fiction, including the Baillie Gifford longlisted Stalin and The Scientists. His debut novel Hot Head was widely acclaimed. He is the arts editor of New Scientist magazine and can often be found writing in possibly the coldest flat in London.

Here Ings dreamcasts an adaptation of his newest novel, The Smoke:
No one in their right mind would make a movie of The Smoke, a story that ends more or less where it begins. TV could work, though: there's enough science-fictional fol-de-rol here to last at least six seasons.

One major point in The Smoke's favour is that it's a love story, and a fairly classic one at that: a conscientious young man trying and ultimately failing to hold onto a woman who's too bright for him.

Our protagonist, then, needs to be someone who can do awkward. Enter Domhnall Gleeson. He was Caleb in Ex Machina. For a real fish-out-of-water performance, though, you need to reach for Richard Curtis's ghastly 2013 romcom About Time. Is Gleeson playing a 21-year-old or a fourteen-year-old, or what? Add to this Gleeson's rabid, off-his-trolley General Hux in the new Star Wars movies and you have a drably wrapped little nail bomb just waiting to go off. Perfect.

His lover, Fel, is a hard one: not only do her smarts outweigh her looks, she's also funny, damn it. So Keira Knightley's out.

How about Maisie Williams -- Arya Stark in HBO's Game of Thrones? She has that corvid quality. She'd peck out your eye if she thought it was shiny enough.
Visit Simon Ings's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Smoke.

--Marshal Zeringue