What an unbelievable joy to see Chan the Birdman and his gorgeous macaws at Dolores Park this weekend! I hadn’t seen him for at least 5 years and assumed he had left the area. There is nothing like seeing these gorgeous birds in flight.
To understand the magnitude of this change, consider the Xenogenesis trilogy. Octavia Butler published these cerebral alien invasion novels in the 1980s, shortly before she became the first science fiction author ever to win a prestigious MacArthur "genius grant." The books follow three generations of people after an advanced alien civilization of three-gendered, tentacle-covered creatures has created hybrid children with the dying, post-nuclear remnants of humanity. It's a multi-layered story about colonialism and survival, and it includes surreal scenes in which we enter the minds of aliens to experience their unique sensorium. Though critically acclaimed and widely read, the novels never made it to the screen.
The three novels in Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series are being adapted by director Ava DuVernay (A Wrinkle in Time and Selma).
One issue was pragmatic. Imagining these novels coming to life without a James Cameron-level budget is hard. Today, however, special effects are cheaper than ever. A clever combination of practical effects and CGI could render Butler's aliens and their biotech spaceships.
The Xenogenesis series is probably the most powerful sci-fi I've ever read. It's downright painful and thoroughly uncomfortable at times, but I can't recommend it enough. You will be a better person for having read it.