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Editorial March 2002
Flights of Fantasy

By Hilary Williamson

Have you noticed lately how much fantasy and science fiction have moved into the mainstream? (This is of course an appropriate trend in a millennium that began with the year 2001.) A few decades ago, those with a taste for speculative fiction were liable to be labeled as nerds. The success of the Star Wars series changed all that when it popularized science fiction. Nowadays fantasy is also common fare, growing ever more familiar to a generation cutting its teeth on Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that - with space tourism, cloning and gene manipulation - the world is becoming ever stranger than fiction. It certainly has a great deal to do with the evolution of techniques for special effects in movies - just compare the first unimpressive Rings video with the recent and fantastic rendition of the Fellowship. Consider how the movie Star Gate helped us visualize instant interstellar transportation, or the amazing effects in Final Fantasy that (almost) made up for its lack of plot.

But it's not only movies and books that have fed a growing interest in the genres. There are computer and console games based on Star Wars, on McCaffrey's Pern series and others. There are also many series which developed as games and then spun off books, for example Magic: The Gathering trading card (and computer) games and books. It's an exciting time for fans of speculative fiction as we can hope to see more of our old favorites move out of our imaginations and on to the big screen.

Which of your favorite fantasy and SF books would you like to see made into movies? In science fiction classics, my votes go to Heinlein'sThe Moon is a Harsh Mistress (AI Mike makes a great antidote to Hal), Arthur C. Clarke's Deep Range (it's time for some undersea SF), James Schmitz's Witches of Karres (for superb spaceship and sorcery) and H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy series (how can you miss with cute underdog teddy bear aliens?) From more recent authors I'd love to see movie versions of Orson Scott Card's brilliant Ender novels, Anne McCaffrey's beloved Pern, or Ian Douglas' thrilling Heritage trilogy; all action packed and highly entertaining.

Leslie Barringer's medieval Gerfalcon heads my classic fantasy wish list for movie renditions, along with Mary Stewart's incomparable Merlin trilogy. L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt's hilarious Incomplete Enchanter is always good for a strong dose of humor. Recent popular fantasy that could translate well to movie format includes Robert Jordan's never-endingly inventive Wheel of Time, Patricia Kennealy-Morrison's rich Celtic tapestry of a Keltiad universe, Michelle West's epic oriental Sun Sword series, Elizabeth Moon's exciting Deed of Paksennarion and, of course anything by Guy Gavriel Kay (such as A Song For Arbonne).

Those are my top picks, just in case anyone is listening. In the meantime, I look forward to Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and further thrilling episodes of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, which will only begin to prime a growing appetite for movies made from fantasy and science fiction novels.
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