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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 07:47 pm:   

...a story by Michael Shea called the Extra? Can you tell me what it's about?
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - 11:37 pm:   

I can and will. I read the original novella in F&SF and I believe he's recently expanded it into a novel.

As I recall, it's about a futuristic entertainment project in which hard-up citizens can earn a bit of cash by trying to survive in a cityscape infested by enormous alien arachnids. The citizens are anonymous extras in this real-time invasion, but if they manage to survive there's a cash bonus waiting at the end of it.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 04:57 am:   

Oh, Okay. Reason I asked, i was working on a story about extras on a movie set in Spain, when I learned of Shea's story. Wanted to make sure I wasn't stepping on his turf...
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 12:30 pm:   

Did he sell the novel?
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 01:47 pm:   

Not yet. I'm basing this on a recent conversation; I hadn't even realized he'd expanded it.
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 06:47 am:   

Sounds more like Shea is borrowing from Bester.
Besides, there's clearly something in the Zeitgeist--Ricky Gervais' latest TV vehicle is entitled "Extras" (written, directed and starring Ricky as an actor who's got to work as an extra because he keeps losing out to guys like DeNiro because they're "just lucky"--should be shootin fish in the barrel for this droll Brit, imho)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 08:33 am:   

Hi Jim,
Which Bester stoyr/novel did it borrow from?
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minz
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 09:23 am:   

Ack! I meant to type Bachman (aka Stephen King), as in Richard Bachman's "The Running Man"

I haven't read the Shea, but certainly the general setup reminds me of the Bachman/King novel (forget the Arnie movie).
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 09:31 am:   

Forget the novel, too. Ach du lieber! It's in the Zietgeist!
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 09:33 am:   

Is the Gervais project for American TV...?
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Robert
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 09:50 am:   

Yes, it's running on HBO now.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 09:58 am:   

Thanks, Robert...
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 01:23 pm:   

At least it was shorter and tighter than most of King's novels. I prefer his short stories.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 01:43 pm:   

I don't think Shea's was futuristic.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 02:22 pm:   

I prefer his... Never mind.

Now, I'm screwed for a title. Was gonna call it the Extra, then Ellen told me about Shea, then I was gonna call it Extras, then Minz told me about the Gervais deal.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 03:22 pm:   

I watched the full run of EXTRAS recently. It's a great series. I enjoyed it more than THE OFFICE.

I think Shea's was futuristic to the extent that the alien spider invasion hasn't happened yet. But the city is not a futuristic one, nor is the movie technology. I haven't read the story since it first appeared, though; could be misremembering.

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