Communion Of Dreams

I watched a movie…

This brief post is about the recent science fiction movie Looper. It contains spoilers.  You’ve been warned.


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Last night I watched Looper. This in itself isn’t unusual, since I try and keep up with interesting science fiction movies, usually watching them some time after the release hype has calmed down.

Looper generated a lot of discussion in reviews and related discussion threads. Lots of people really liked it, though there were the usual arguments about the theories of time travel that you almost always encounter. Personally, I thought that this was handled reasonably well in the film, and I was able to maintain suspension of disbelief.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. Not really. Rather, because I am deep in the middle of writing St. Cybi’s Well, another aspect of the movie really stood out for me: it is a meta-narrative on the process of writing itself.

I just Googled the phrase “Looper as meta-narrative“. Over 600,000 hits. I’m not going to get into what others have had to say — I don’t have time this morning (er, so to speak). You can look for yourself.

Instead, just let me say this (and here’s the spoilers part): as depicted in the movie, when events in the past are changed, we see how those changes play out in the bodies of people in the future. If a character gets shot, a scar appears on his future self. If someone loses a finger, we see the person in the future go from having four fingers to three. And in a couple of instances characters will inscribe a message to their future self literally into their own flesh.

And this is just *exactly* the same process that an author uses as he or she revises a text. If I decide that I want to change something that a character says or does early in a book, I need to track that change and make sure that it appears through all aspects of that character through the rest of the book. Same thing for description, plot, background, … everything.

I’ll leave it at that. I have a busy weekend ahead of me, and I need to get things ready for that. And, unfortunately, I don’t have a time machine at hand to allow me some extra leeway.


Jim Downey