Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Clooney to turn The Diamond Age into a six-hour miniseries

I was just wiki-wandering and I stumbled across the news that George Clooney is the helping to produce a six-hour miniseries based on Neal Stephenson's novel The Diamond Age. I am so excited about this; I think doing it as a miniseries makes a lot more sense than trying to cram the story into a 2 hour movie. Incidentally Stephenson is working on the adaptation so there is no need to worry about his novel being butchered by hacks.

For those unfamiliar with the book, it is a wonderfully-crafted bildungsroman that follows Nell, a young girl finding her way as a thete (or one without a tribe) in a futuristic "neo-Victorian" world where nanotechnology is pervasive. Wikipedia rather clumsily describes it as a postcyberpunk novel but there are too many themes at play in this work to allow for easy classification.

Like the work of Neil Gaiman, the beauty in this story is how Stephenson takes fairy tales and re-contextualizes them so that we can look at stories that we've heard a hundred times from a fresh perspective. The protagonist is aided in her development by a technologically advanced primer (the full title of the book is "The Diamond Age or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer"). With a nod to Constructivism, the primer is constantly adapting the methods it uses to teach Nell based on the situation that she is in and her current level of experience.

In any case, if you haven't read the book yet I definitely encourage you to do so right away. I have a feeling that even those who aren't fans of the book will enjoy the miniseries when it comes out - George Clooney's name in production credits is becoming a guarantee of quality (except perhaps those Ocean's N movies).

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