I really shouldn’t comment on the Sci-Fi channel’s miniseries of Earthsea, based on Ursula Le Guin’s books. I haven’t seen it, since it’s not showing in New Zealand. Thanks by the way to you generous people who offered to tape it and send me a copy – I’ll reply to you individually.
So yes, I shouldn’t comment on something I haven’t seen myself. But I am a HUGE fan of Le Guin’s work – my NAME is taken from her Earthsea books, for those of you who haven’t cottoned on yet. I was wildly excited to learn that Earthsea would be filmed, and that Philippa Boyens, who is another passionately keen Earthsea fan, would be writing the screenplay. I was aware that she’d had to let go of that project halfway through, and I was disturbed when I couldn’t seem to make any contact with the film makers after that. “There is still hope,” I thought, “if somewhat diminished.”
But now the finished film has screened, and I’ve been getting emails from people whose opinions I respect saying things like ‘I watched it and I was sick to my stomach after seven minutes.’ I can’t stand by and let it look as though TORN will recommend and promote any rubbish just because it’s a well-known fantasy series.
What really made up my mind on this was Ursula Le Guin’s own reaction to the miniseries. She finally broke silence when the director was printed in Sci Fi Magazine, “explaining” what Le Guin supposedly meant by the books, and how “true” to that his film was. As she says herself:
“But then Mr. Lieberman published a statement telling people what “Ursula” (whom he has never met) “intended” by the books. That changed the situation. They were taking advantage of my silence by sticking words in my mouth. I put a reply on my web site, and since then have spoken freely to interviewers who have asked my opinion of the production.”
You can read all about it here in Le Guin’s article Earthsea in Clorox.