Sunday, May 2, 2021

James L. Cambias's "The Godel Operation"

James Cambias has been nominated for the James Tiptree Jr. Award and the 2001 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Here he dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, The Godel Operation:
The Godel Operation is a tricky book to cast, in part because at least two of the main characters are faceless machines or cyborgs, and thus would rely heavily on voice actors. Still, recent superhero spectaculars have shown that there's almost no limit left to what can be filmed. So here are my thoughts on casting The Godel Operation.

Zee Sadaran is my "leading man" character: young, athletic, very good-natured, and smarter than most people who meet him realize. He's on a journey across the Solar System to find his lost love, which is an almost hopeless quest since there are literally a billion worlds circling the Sun at the end of the Tenth Millennium. If we stick to contemporary actors, Channing Tatum or Adam Beach would be good candidates. If I can pluck anyone from time and space I think I'd cast the late Brandon Lee.

Daslakh, the narrator, is a spider-shaped machine controlled by a smart aleck digital intelligence. It is helping Zee on his quest but has a secret agenda of its own. It constantly describes itself as "old and cunning" so I'd choose a voice actor with a good deadpan comedy delivery. Alan Tudyk is the obvious choice, with Robert Downey Jr. as a good second.

Kusti Sendoa, Zee's "imaginary girlfriend" who draws him into the search for the legendary superweapon called the Godel Trigger, has to be an actress who can convey to the audience that she is a chameleon, always playing a role herself. Florence Pugh would be good for the part, or Charlize Theron a couple of decades ago.

Adya Elso is Kusti's rival for Zee's affection and the Godel Trigger. She's a shy but brilliant young woman from a wealthy family, and is a literal chameleon with skin that changes color to fit her mood. Anya Taylor-Joy with an animated skin seems like the best casting, or perhaps pluck Audrey Hepburn out of 1953 for the role.

Pelagia is a spaceship with the brain of a killer whale uplifted to human-level intelligence. She should have a voice which can be both comic and threatening — possibly Scarlett Johansson or Kathleen Turner.

Summanus is an artificial intelligence thousands of times smarter than a human, who rules a huge space station in the shadow of Jupiter and is more than a little bit paranoid. It's not quite a villain but it's certainly an antagonist for Daslakh. Tom Baker would be a wonderful voice for Summanus, or Christopher Lee in his prime. Or go farther back in time and cast Orson Welles. He's played a planet before, so it should be no stretch.

Muro, one of the villains, is a fat orange cat with human-level intelligence and some illegal high-tech gear. She should probably be voiced by someone like Judi Dench. (I understand she's got some experience in feline roles.) Or go back in time and hire the incomparable June Foray.

Ketto and Chi are a murderous duo also after the Godel Trigger. They need to be both funny and scary. Tom Holland could be Chi, and Tom Hiddleston could be Ketto.

Varas Lupur is the self-proclaimed Greatest Thief in History. I'd cast Gary Oldman and disable all his safety features.
Visit James L. Cambias's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Darkling Sea.

My Book, The Movie: Arkad's World.

--Marshal Zeringue