Monday, October 29, 2007

Yautja



So, when the new Aliens versus Predator: Requiem movie comes out, there will eventually be a DVD/BlueRay of it. As you most likely know, on the expanded versions of these things, there are sometimes bonus features: outtakes, director's comments, and interviews with assorted folks connected to the project -- actors, producers, writers, all like that.

As it happens, in theory, I'm supposed to be interviewed for this project, as one of the writers in the Aliens, Predator, and Aliens versus Predator universes. (All of which are tradmarked and copyrighted, by the by.)

My contribution here is tiny. My daughter, who writes under several names, (mostly "S.D. Perry,") and I did the novelization of the AvP graphic novel(s) for the first AvP book, in 1994.

What this means is, we translated the comics into book form. The credit mostly goes to the artists, writers, editors, and publisher at Dark Horse Comics -- guys like Chris Warner, who came up with the idea, Randy Stradley, and Mike Richardson. They did the heavy lifting.

The one thing that we added of which we were proud was the first interior look at the Predator culture. We wanted one of the viewpoint characters to be a Predator, and in order to make that work, we had to get inside his head.

The powers-that-were at the time didn't want us to do that, but we did it anyway, and it turned out they liked it, and the fans liked it, so we didn't get fired. (That's happened on other projects, they didn't't want something, but once they saw how it played, decided it was worth keeping. Remind me to tell you the Shadows of the Empire story about the droids flying the Falcon.)

The Predator revelations spawned some controversy at the time, but eventually came to be accepted and used by other writers. Not movie canon -- yet, anyhow -- but if you goggle "yautja," which is the name we came up with for the Predator species, you get more than 82,000 links, so it's definitely out there now.

We tried to come up with a background that used what had been shown in the movies and comics, to make the Predators characters to whom readers could relate. And my daughter did most of the work.

We were pleased with the results, and it seemed to work. Last time I looked, the first AvP novelization -- Aliens Versus Predator: Prey was up to twenty-something printings ...

10 comments:

Dan Moran said...

You're hitting a question I ask -- not just of writers, though every writer I know does this -- "what effect have I had on the people and culture around me?"

It's stupid, but a bit I wrote about Boba Fett, on the nature of evil, was once cited in a Supreme Court pleading. Every now and again I think about that and just giggle.

What are you proudest of (righteously or otherwise) in the impact you've had on others, through your writing or otherwise? I threw that question at a girl once and had her burst into tears, but usually I get more verbal responses ...

Steve Perry said...

Harlan tells a story about being at an autographing. Guy shows up -- he's four hundred pounds, wearing a Let-the-Wookiee-win T-shirt, and he says, "Oh, Mr. Ellison, you changed my life!"

To which Harlan silently wonders, "Oh, my God, what have I done? What were you *before* ... ?"

Over the years, I've had fans tell me they've gone into writing or martial arts because of something I wrote. Or that my books got them through some hard times. Mostly, I don't figure my writing has much of an impact -- I'm writing for somebody's beer money, trying to make it entertaining enough so when the reader is done, they didn't wish they'd bought the six-pack instead.

My wife and I raised a couple of pretty good children, and have five grandsons, and that ripple through time means more to me than the books.

And that my wife is still around after forty-some years of putting up with me? That's the biggest accomplishment -- I taught her life-lessons, and and she did the same for me.

Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

Dan, I have to ask: what was the case?

Steve, you do know we had a lot of people write in and ask about silat during the NetForce run? A couple of them now train with Guru-- those who inquired from other parts of the world, we referred to other instructors if we could. I think there are some of those over in Michigan.

Steve Perry said...

I'm not sure being indirectly responsible for more silat death-machines is necessarily a *good* thing ...

Although it was kind of amusing when a new student showed up because of the Net Force books and then realized he was talking to the guy who wrote them. Great double-take ...

Dan Moran said...

The girl? I don't know exactly -- writing group I was talking to two lifetimes ago. She'd been depressed recently -- some of her friends were also my friends, and they assured me she wasn't a drama queen prone to bursting into tears, but she fled the room and didn't return, so I really don't know.

Steve Perry said...

I think Tiel was referring to the supreme court case and not The Case of the Crying Girl ...

Steve Perry said...

Interview went well -- I thought -- for the vid shoot. Guy asked good questions, I didn't fumble too much answering them.

Good crew -- interviewer/producer, make-up woman, guy on the camera, another on sound. Shot about an hour, maybe two minutes of which might be used, if that. My moment of glory winds up on the cutting room floor ...

Make-up woman said, "Okay if I touch up a little?"

"Sure, go ahead."

Apparently most of the writers and scientists interviewed for the piece didn't want make-up. Me, I said, "Hey, I need all the help I can get -- sorry I can't give you more to work with ..."

Movie comes out Christmas Day -- nothing like sneaking out of the house to get away from the relatives to go watch exploding heads for a couple hours. DVD will probably be three or four months after that.

I haven't read the script, but from the trailers I saw, I don't imagine many people will be falling asleep in this one ...

So much for my close-up, and thanks, Mr. Demille ...

Dan Moran said...

Sorry, misunderstood you. It was a guy at the university of Houston, I have no idea what the case concerned. I've got it in email somewhere, will try to dig it up.

Ed said...

Hi Steve - What did you think of the firs AvP movie? After reading your daughters and your book years earlier ( the best alien vs predator book - or for that matter any A or P book ) I was really dissapointed in that movie. I hope the new one is a lot better!!!

Steve Perry said...

Personally, I thought the first AvP movie should have been based on the comics/novelization that Dark Horse and my daughter and I did. There were bits here and there they used, but I wasn't impressed with the results. The story we all used was, to my mind, better, and it isn't just about special effects.

I hope the new movie does well. From the trailer, it will be violent -- R-rated for that -- and folks who like to see exploding heads will likely be pleased. From what I could tell, the story is pretty simple, and a lot of it will depend on how well-written it is, and how good the actors are, just like in any movie.

We'll see when it gets here ...