Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2001 and HOL: Rough Draft

Adaptation is the biological characteristic that improves the chance of survival of an animal and its descendants (need to cite). An adaptation can be a part or a behavior that makes a living thing better able to survive in its environment. In the book House of Leaves, Johnny Truant adapts Zampano's book -- that is an adaptation of a film called the Navidson Record -- that is an adaptation of the real life of the Navidson family. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick adapts a book written by Arthur C. Clarke. I think that Danielewski included this movie more than once because of its director and what he did with this movie. Although, it could be more than just about the film adaptation of the book. 2001 is a story about evolution through adaptation of your resources, just like House of Leaves is an adaptation of its narration. These two films and books can be connected through adaptation of narration and the adaptation of technology.

2001: A Space Odyssey begins in two million B.C.E with apes roaming savannah. These ape men are starving because they have never adapted to their surroundings. Even though they are surrounded with plentiful animals to hunt they still do not know how to even do it. Then the monolith comes (which is a special crystal rock) that cast hypnotic spells on the animals to adapt to their environment and hunt animals, throw rocks, etc. The next part of the novel goes to the space where they are they find a monolith on the moon. They have a mission shuttle to go to Saturn (or Jupiter according to the film). On this space craft, we find the computer HAL 9000 that pretty much controls everything on the ship. In the end, he kills everyone but one person (Dr. Bowman). Finally, we see that the doctor shuts off Hal with just a screwdriver showing our evolutionary tools of the man apes come in handy after 4 million years. Then Dave gets in the pod to see another monolith that takes him to see his future self and his last meal.

Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Arthur Clarke's novel is different than you would think. The beginning of the movie is quiet and actually through out the entire movie you never really hear much talking. It is a slow movie at best. The man ape part is confusing at first if you never read the book. It starts out with many shots of the earth for about 20 minutes then finally the monolith shows then after about a minute it goes to the next scene. Another big part of this movie is the music score. (want to add more about movie score) There is a lot of heavy breathing when they are outside in space and a lot of music that goes with what is happening in the scenes. The movie is more of an art form than a novel interpretation. It looks at different aspects of film making and makes it its own -- especially the visual effects in the movie. In 1968 it was a masterpiece in the art of visual effects and it won an Academy Award for visual effects.

In House of Leaves, Danielewski made different adaptations of each story. First off, Johnny Truant adapts to the story of Zampano. The story is more about him, although he does make some references to the novel but mostly he rambles about his life. Zampano's adaptation of the film "The Navidson Record" is a lot of footnotes and tells us about the story through research, even though some of it is fake research. Lastly, "The Navidson's Record" is an adaptation of the family and the house. It takes us through a labyrinth of Karen and Navidson's problems and also through the labyrinth that is the house it's self. I think that each of these adaptations is different in their own right just like Kubrick's adaptation of the book 2001.

What I want to do from here is try to figure out how evolution is connected to house of leaves and how narration is connected to 2001. I want to connect the themes. I also want to find the precise moments in the book (I think I have them all) and discuss why they are there and hopefully there could be a connection to my thesis.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

I think you have some very clever ideas here, but they aren't coming across fully on the page. As a reader, I need to do a certain amount of head-scratching and even guessing to figure out what you're up to.

Take, for instance, your initial term "adaptation." You define it as biological adaptation, without acknowledging that the word has a separate definition in the context of works moving from one medium to another. *However*, I do think your attempt to connect these ideas is legitimate. Indeed, it's smart and interesting, and it's a great way of bridging 2001 and HOL, or of explaining the relationship between them. You just need to get your terminology right, and explain that not only is HOL about a series of authors adapting Navidson's work, but it's also uses 2001 as a metaphor for how adapting a work from one genre to another (say, novel to film) is like biological adaptation. I hope all of that made sense. It's a bit of a struggle for me, because I admire the idea, but have some difficulty following the details of it.

One minor issue - my understanding of 2001 is that Clarke and Kubrick worked on their different versions *simultaneously*, which makes the two versions almost like adaptations of one another (this idea, come to think of it, might relate very well to Zampano and Navidson's relationship).

I'm not sure what you're doing with your summary of 2001; your purpose could have been more clear. A lot of it seemed extraneous (say, the material about special effects), with your particular goals being less than clear.

Anyway, the short version is that your ideas, as I understand them, are very promising, but that I had to think a little two hard and long to figure out what you were up to - this needs a clearer argument and structure.