Left. Jude Law's Gigolo Joe with Haley Joel Osment; Law again.

with Pleasure Mecha: bottom right. Osment in the robot scrapyard

ln 198-1. the two extraordinary lilmmakers started to discuss the Brian Aldiss short story .S'rr/n'r-Im's lust All Summer lmrg. which would later turn into ,'l.l.. a modern-day retelling of l’inmv‘lrin in which a mechanical boy wants his ‘mother’ to love him as her own. Many phone

calls and faxes were exchanged between London and [.os Angeles over

the years. ‘I paid for all the calls. because Stanley would always call me collect.~ Spielberg says with a smile. Kubrick made around 850 concept drawings for xl.l.. but when he asked Spielberg to direct the film in l‘)‘)4. the blockbuster champion knew he had to make the story his own.

‘l'd lost myself in his world for ten years and then 1 had to lose myself

in my own world in order to write the screenplay and tell my own story.‘ The 54-year—old admits that his view of the world has changed since the more adult stories of .S'r'lrim/li'r's list. xliiiiSlUl/ and Saving Private Ryan: “it‘s not that I'm more cynical now. I‘m just more realistic about the world and I think I have more of a responsibility to tell authentic stories. That's why I purposely didn't make the Harry Potter movie. That would have been a slam-dunk for me. no challenge at all.‘

A]. has used internet marketing aggressively. with a web—based search game whose codes only a small few have been able to crack - not including Spielberg himself. "l‘he internet is an

‘H P arry otter been a slam- duniilfglr me,

at all’

imagination and from a promotional point of view. it's a great new tool.‘ he says. admitting that computers can take over even his own life on occasion. ‘We have to be a little more resistant to how much time it takes out of our lives.

o‘clock in the morning by hammering away on the keyboard e-mailing friends in lnndon.‘ 'lhc Al. website can be found at http://ainitivie.wamerbr‘oscom/ But the idea of combining his love for his wife. the actress Kate (‘apshaw. and seven children with his fascination for gadgets holds no appeal. The thought of a son of artificial intelligence like David (played in the movie by Haley Joel ()sment) gives him the creeps: ‘I would not like to see the day where my laptop computer gets up and starts walking around the house. I‘d also always prefer a real person over a mechanical child or mechanical lover. .-i.l. is a story with a big warning label to not let this happen.’

A.l. Artificial Intelligence goes on general release on Fri 21 Sep.

inspirational medium that feeds our

Sometimes my wife wakes me up at four


about the future

BRIAN ALDISS, author of the 1969 short story Super-toys Last All Summer Long, which inspired A.I. Artificial Intelligence, talks to The List.

Words: Miles Fielder

You’ve said, ‘You might think I’d written no other stories since 1969’, but in fact you’ve written upwards of seven million words.


science fiction, but it depends who you want to communicate with. if you want to communicate simply with the SF field you go into more technical detail; it you want to communicate with the wider world - always provided they're listening you would write more straightforwardly. The Super-toys stories are examples of communication But that'soneof the attractions of the SF field; it’s almost as though you were talking to a secret movement.

What can SF do thatother fiction can’t? ItistentoBBCRadio4andthestories theyhaveareteniblysimpieandail aboutthepast-thescnofanold carplewhodoesn’tlmowmietherhe lovesaginandeventuaiytheymeetona bus,thenaigoesweH—lsmpose peopleenioystoriestikethatBLntdon't; tthirkthey’recrapAscienceflction storyhasalotmoregoingforitinits knowledgeoftheworld,itsguesses aboutthefutLre.Thecrdinaryreadership seesthepresentasaproductofthe pastthescienceiictionreadershipsees whattheydointhepresentmay


to be interested in the future.

What are some of the benchmarks in 8? writing and film?

There was an extraordinary success in the 608 for Robert A. Heinlein’s Strange/n A Strange Land. the first popularSF. Inthe50$therewerealot of low budget science-fiction movies that were really quite good: Them. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, The Incredible Shnnldng Man. Then things Changed; we started getting big budget science fiction, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.

Have special effects spectacles killed the science fiction movie?

Every now and then something extremely good comes up. Alien. One ofthebestofrecentyearswasThe Truman Show. it’s not really billed as science fiction, but it's my idea of really thoughtful, metaphysical science fiction it‘s as though Philip K. Dick had collaborated with Katka.

You remain extremely prolific.

After my wife died. well it's true I've got the shopping and the washing but I havenothingmuchtodo, andsotdo my favourite occupation and tell stories.

Aldiss is releasing three new books over the next year: The Cretan Teat, Jocasta and Superstate.

20 Sepd Oct 2001 THE LIST 1 1