Thursday, September 22, 2011

Remake (Book)

Movies. Remakes. Computer Graphics. Drugs. Sex. Musicals. Dancing. Time Travel.

After reading so many Connie Willis novels, I thought I knew what to expect from her stories. Oh, what a surprise. Remake is nothing like To Say Nothing of the Dog or Blackout, which are fairly wholesome. Remake has casual sex and drug use. Yet, as I would expect from Willis, the story is well written. It does a nice job of juxtaposing cynicism with fresh-faced optimism. Not surprisingly, this short novel was nominated for the 1996 Hugo Award.

Briefly, Remake takes place in the near future where original movies are no longer being made. Instead movies are remade using computer technology. Tom is one of the technology wizards. Some of his jobs involve replacing the face of the original actress with that of an executive’s current girlfriend. Needless to say he is cynical, but part of him loves movies. He can easily quote lines. At yet another industry party, he meets Alis, who is nothing like the movie lookalikes he is used to. She has dreams of becoming a dancer in a musical. Tom tries to take her up to his room for sex. Instead he learns more about her aspirations. He tries to discourage her, and they part company. When she starts to appear in musicals that he is watching, he tries to uncover the reason. Is it a side effect of the drugs he took? Has another person put her in using computer graphics? Has she traveled back in time? Or is it something else?

Like Uncharted Territory, Remake feels more like a short story than a novel. I found it clever, but it is definitely not among my favorite works by Connie Willis. Remake is the second short novel in the omnibus Future Imperfect.

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