9.29.2009

Logan's Run / William F. Nolan : 4 of 5

Logan's Run has always been one of my favorite geeky movies (I have no idea how many times I've watched it!), so I've wanted to check out the original 1967 novel for quite a while, which unfortunately is nearly completely out of print. PaperBack Swap came to the rescue yet again, and I received a cool movie tie-in version that even included a nice color photo section as a bonus! Of course, the novel is tremendously different than the movie, but I totally enjoyed reading it and gaining new appreciation both for the source material and the way the story was adapted for film (which is pretty amazing, when you compare the two). The basic premise of a society so overpopulated that everyone must die (or accept "sleep") at a young age remains intact, but the novel provides some excellent background information on the "Little War" that started it all, in which the exploding youth population invented this radical and chilling solution. While the film takes place in one massive complex of domed cities, the book has Logan and Jessica traveling all over the country via mazecar, visiting an underwater city and even Dakota caves on their way to Washington, DC for the finale. In one city, there's a huge celebration with a robotic Civil War historic reenactment (Logan steals a costume to become part of the mock battle to escape), and there are also great scenes in a giant nursery complex as well as a chase from some seedy characters on something like Star Wars speeder-bikes! The writing style is a bit choppy, but this definitely works to speed up the action, although some scenes are overflowing with cool detail (such as the attention paid to the different types of bullets in a Sandman's gun, which have great names like Ripper, Tangler, and the deadly Homer!). The ending of the story contains a huge twist that completely shocked me, and although I think it was written too briskly, I liked the way things turned out. The plot of the film is much more concise and will always be my preference due to sheer geek nostalgia, but I'm so glad that I finally got to read the original book.