Here’s a really terrific project that illustrates, in a very succinct way, the history of creativity. It’s thesis is that there is a fundamental through-line which connects all human creation and that is to copy, modify and mix (or remix) the creations of the past to make something new.
One example, not cited in the series so far, is this thread of remixing:
Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (1888) -> David Butler’s Just Imagine (1930) -> C.M. Kornbluth’s The Marching Morons (1951) -> Mack Reynolds’ Looking Backward From The Year 2000 (1974) -> Robert A. Heinlein’s For Us, The Living (written in 1938, published 2003) -> Mike Judge’s Idiocracy (2006)
In fact, we recently posted an audiobook reading of C.M. Kornbluth’s The Marching Morons, which took inspiration from the 1930 film Just Imagine. Robert A. Heinlein’s first novel (which went unpublished until 2003) was also a response to this movie. But Just Imagine itself likely took its inspiration from Edward Bellamy’s immensely popular 1888 utopian novel Looking Backward 2000-1887. Science Fiction writer, Mack Reynolds, wrote a couple sequels to Looking Backward but he wasn’t alone – in fact more than a dozen sequels, responses and inspired works followed. The history of Science Fiction is a flowing and knotted tapestry of scientific discovery, theory, ideology, adventure, and drama that cannot be summed up with any simplistic bag with the names like “inspiration” or “genius.”
Posted by Jesse Willis