There is a small buzz beginning around the revelation that a film adaptation of Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life” is in the nascent stages of development. A script draft has been written by Eric Heisserer, a director (newcomer Nic Mathieu) has been chosen, and funding has been assembled courtesy of Shawn Levy. This is all really good news.
I reviewed Chiang a couple of times this year, and he’s without a doubt my favorite discovery in fiction in a very long time. His writing is clean and smooth, his imagination appears boundless, and his fearlessness for asking deep philosophical questions is astounding. He is doing exactly what great fiction should do, regardless of genre.
I’m getting my hopes up, and trying to temper those hopes with the awareness they could do a terrible, terrible job on this. It wouldn’t be the first time great source material was ruined in adaptation. This is a short piece, but there’s a lot of complexity here. I’m interested to see how far down the rabbit hole of Whorfianism they decide to go, or how they visualize the Heptapods. I sincerely hope this adaptation is excellent, because while there has been an explosion of Sci-Fi films in the last couple of years, the preponderance of them has been on the darker aspects of science fiction. The future has looked bleak and frightening and, while that can certainly be fun, I do miss seeing more films about the wonder and potential of science, rather than the dangers. “Story of Your Life” is an elegant novella, and could make a beautiful, mind bending film. Here’s hoping we see something incredible come out of this.