The idea that language is not a stream but an "all-at-once" is interesting. That is, instead of reading the language in some order (left to right, right to left, top to bottom, etc) like all human languages, the alien language is meant to be read all at once, because the aliens' concept of time is not linear, but everything is "now".As I said, that doesn't bother me so much, especially applied to writing. But the suspension of disbelief comes in when the fact that she starts to understand the language means that she mentally steps outside the traditional time stream that we live in such that she is able to see the past and the future and the present all at the same time...that's a difficulty ;-)...you would think that that would make it very difficult to even have a normal conversation or thoughts...Still, what is fiction for if not to stretch the boundaries?Bill
Bill wrote, "she mentally steps outside the traditional time stream that we live in such that she is able to see the past and the future and the present all at the same time.."Yes, she does, which I don't have a problem with. It's science fiction after all. But *when* does she begin to do it? In the movie's timeline, it seems like she has been doing this all her life. Or are those scenes at the beginning of the movie flashbacks from what's happening at the end of the movie? I suppose such ambiguity could be considered a feature, not a bug, but it's also too easy for a screenwriter to use ambiguity as an escape hatch.
Yeah, as the movie ended, I started to realize that she had had a number of flash-backs/flash-forwards/flash-whenevers all through the movie. Of course, in the early part of the film, you would have no idea what was happening or that anything odd was happening at all...it was only in retrospect that it became likely that she had these episodes all through the movie...and wasn't there something about her learning the language much earlier, when she was younger?The adventure of film, trying to make something that's perhaps coherent in a book, anything but incoherent in a film - without a lot of narration...Bill
Bill said, "wasn't there something about her learning the language much earlier, when she was younger?"Good point. A picture of the language appeared in the book she had written before the movie began. That was undoubtedly a flash-forward. Maybe there was less ambiguity by the end than I inferred.I don't know if the short story the movie is based on has less ambiguity. Sometimes ambiguity is bad. Sometimes it's good. The best use of ambiguity in science fiction, by far, was "2001: A Space Odyssey." The movie was ambiguous as hell. The book by Arthur C. Clarke pretty much explained everything.
Post a Comment