A is For...

Writers do not operate in a cultural black hole. They are influenced by what they read, they watch and experience. They are influenced by texts from both their youth and their present. This is an unavoidable consequence of a free exchange of ideas. Many writers are happy to have influenced other writers – influence being a form of compliment, however big or small. New Historicism is a category of literary theory that deals exclusively with such a process. For New Historicists, ideas do not exist in a vacuum and there are no instances of truly isolated genius: all writers are influenced by history, their personal history of experiences and the cultural expressions of the time.

I thought it might be a good idea from time to time to pay compliment to the speculative texts (science-fiction, fantasy, horror etc.) that have influenced me – both in a big and small way. These might be books, pieces of non-fiction, cinema and television, cartoons and comics – anything that I feel has influenced me in some way and colours my creative perspective: an ‘Alphabet of Influences’. Today we start with A and perhaps on the surface an unusual choice. Arnold Schwarzenegger . He might be a limited actor, a staunch Republican and infamous womaniser - and I don’t think that I can forgive him for the last two of those – but his project choices across the 1980s and 1990s kept the science fiction and fantasy genre strong. Of course, full credit needs to go to the writers and directors of those films, but Schwarzenegger’s involvement did ensure certain projects got made and helped push such speculative genres further into the mainstream. There is some cheese among these choices – no doubt. I’m not ashamed to say that I did enjoy some of his films during that period and some are still very watchable today. The key thing for me is that he visibly championed a set of genres that other actors and creatives had neglected, helped make them commercially successful and therefore ensure their further expansion. Here are my top seven Schwarzenegger science-fiction and fantasy films. See if you agree.

1. Terminator 2: Judgement Day

2. Predator

3. The Terminator

4. Conan the Barbarian

5. The Running Man

6. Total Recall

7. Red Sonja


GMort. said...

The Running Man movie was a poor version of the original Stephen King story and probably hurt the genre rather than helped it. I'd agree with your other choices though :-)

GMort. said...

I also noticed that you'll be making an appearance at the next 'Black Library Live' event. Hopefully I can get you to sign my copies of Redemption Corps and Atlas Infernal for me :-)

Robert M said...

Solid list, like the guy above me the only one I am not sure about is The Running Man.

On an unrelated note why was the Alpharius story you were going to write for the Primarchs anthology disappear off of the description.