Saturday, August 9, 2014

Unaccompanied Sonata and Orson Scott Card's Work

Guest contributor Kate Voss takes a look at a sci-fi adaptation currently in development.

A film hesitantly dubbed Sonata, based on Orson Scott Card's 1979 short story Unaccompanied Sonata, was recently revealed to be in production. Unaccompanied Sonata, Card’s original short story, was met with much critical acclaim and success with both sci-fi audiences and literary crowds after it first appeared in an issue of Omni, a science-fiction magazine. Card later included the story in two of his books that serve as collections of his short stories: Unaccompanied Sonata and Other Stories and Maps in a Mirror. The story itself was awarded Best Short Story from both the Nebula Awards and Hugo Awards, and it is considered by card to be his best written work.

The story centers on a child reared in an isolated cabin in the woods by servants grooming him to be a musical genius – yet keeping him from hearing any music outside of what he has created himself. Using this method, the dystopian government intends to produce unadulterated, original music, coming solely from the heart and mind of the boy. When the boy first hears the music of Bach, to the dismay of those in charge of his training, the government works to have him legally prevented from ever composing music again. The story's focal point is the main character's struggle to harness his artistic desires so as to avoid the dangerous repercussions involved with noncompliance to the laws he has been subjected to.

The totalitarian environment to which the story's hero is bound ensures that Sonata will fit well into the dystopian sub genre of sci-fi film that is exceedingly popular right now. Like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Giver, the film version of Unaccompanied Sonata will offer caution against oppressive and suppressive systems of authority.

Director Yaron Zilberman has signed on to both write and direct Sonata. Chockstone Pictures will be responsible for the production and release of this second Orson Scott Card adaptation in the last two years. Last year's Ender's Game, based on Card’s most popular novel, did not prove successful enough to warrant the sequel that seemed almost inevitable prior to the film's release. Ender’s Game, though starring movie legend Harrison Ford, failed to make an impression at the box office and jumped quickly to DVD, and is now streamable from DirecTV (see for info) and Amazon. As such, Sonata appears to be a better follow-up for the work of Orson Scott Card than such a sequel could be.

Some blame Orson Scott Card, at least in part, for Ender's Game lacking the box office performance previously expected of it. Near the time of release, Card was highly publicized for controversial comments regarding marriage laws and President Obama. Whether a publicity stunt or a political statement, Card's behavior was not well received, and may have had an impact in the film's lack of success. Sonata, however, is in the early stages of production, hopefully providing plenty of time for these statements to be either dealt with on Card's end or simply forgotten by the public by the time of the next film's release. On the other hand, there is also plenty of time for Card to make further offensive remarks.

Regardless of all this controversy surrounding Card, "Unaccompanied Sonata" has a long history of respect by its readers and has a story that fits well with our zeitgeist. As such, Sonata should be a highly anticipated feature and holds the potential to be a great film.

No comments:

Post a Comment