Winner of more Hugo and Nebula Awards than any other science fiction author, Connie Willis is one of the most powerfully imaginative writers of our time. In Remake, she explores the timeless themes of emotion and technology, reality and illusion, and the bittersweet place where they intersect to make art.
It's the Hollywood of the future, where moviemaking's been computerized and live-action films are a thing of the past. It's a Hollywood where Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe are starring together in A Star Is Born, and if you don't like the ending, you can change it with the stroke of a key.
A Hollywood of warmbodies and sim-sex, of drugs and special effects, where anything is possible. Except for what one starry-eyed young woman wants to do: dance in the movies. It's an impossible dream, but Alis is not willing to give up. With a little magic and a lot of luck, she just might get her happy ending after all.
Willis (Doomsday Book), a fan of old movies, uses them cleverly and thoughtfully in Remake, her fourth solo novel. Roughly 20 years into the future, computer graphics have ended live production in Hollywood. Tom, the narrator, reluctantly pillages old films for remakes starring dead actors or alters them to suit the politico-social correctness of the moment. When he meets Alis, who has come to Hollywood burning to dance in movies no longer being made, he falls hard. As in Willis's Lincoln's Dreams, while boy is obsessed with girl, she is obsessed with her purpose. Boy loses girl, then sees her, impossibly, dancing in old musicals which couldn't have been altered. After several red herrings he finds both her and an explanation, but, given her higher passion, finders aren't necessarily keepers. Willis's writing, as usual, is transparently clean and deft. She has fun playing with old film references and with the levels of illusion in a Hollywood more irreal than ever, and is discerning both about the way movies inform our imaginations, giving us roles to play, and about desire, purpose and possibility. One flaw is a scene of requited love that neither the form nor tone of this bittersweet romance can support. But if the characters are mostly stock and the sentimentality easy, this is still popular fiction at a high level, entertaining, thoughtful and often touching.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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December 31, 1994
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