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May 15, 2017 9:58 PM   Subscribe

*looks at photo at top*

Who did this [crying laughing emoji x 5] [tears streaming down face emoji x 5] [skellington skull of death emoji x 3]
posted by turbid dahlia at 10:10 PM on May 15, 2017 [5 favorites]

I remember enjoying this script when I read it a few years back, but....of course what it made me visualise is different to what Gibson would have been visualising, plus I'm thinking back to 1989 with rose-tinted glasses, plus I really like Alien 3, but Gibson's script also felt wrong in a lot of ways.

Firstly, no Ripley? Contract issues or actor decisions or whatever, an Alien film without Ripley is just a clanker from start to finish (and we've seen this again and again with the four Alien films that have been released without her). I'm not saying we can't have a good Ripley-less Alien film, it's just that we haven't yet.

I also seem to recall the script was too tech-heavy, and betrayed the entire nature and conceit of the alien, which is that it is something that is so mind-bogglingly alien (like, that's it's name! COME ON!) and nightmarish that it cannot be understood or controlled. I think the first wave of Dark Horse books handled this pretty well: any scientific investigation into the alien yielded zero results, and everybody died badly. This was of course ruined by the hideous Alien Resurrection (and the "latest" spate of Alien books from DH), which perhaps Gibson should have asked to be credited for.

Also Alien III as he conceived it would have been the most expensive film of all time, so that's my guess as to why it got passed over.

Anyway, this was a real interesting article. Thanks.
posted by turbid dahlia at 10:34 PM on May 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

Gibson sat at his Apple IIc, fired up Microsoft Word (he didn’t have any script-writing software; the biggest challenge of the script was “doing all the tabulation by hand,” hitting keys a million times to center things), and got to work.

Was there ever a port of Word to the Apple II line? I can see him using WordPerfect, sure, or AppleWorks. But I don't think he could have been running MS Word on a IIc. And, man, the value of reading the software manual -- I'm pretty sure any word processor he might have been using on that system would have had a way to set center justification in three or four keystrokes max. WordPerfect and AppleWriter definitely did, anyway, and I think AppleWorks did too.

Also, "antiquated .txt file"? I remember reading that soon after someone uploaded it to a local BBS. Crap, am I ... old?

(This digression brought to you by the retro tech thread two doors down.)
posted by hades at 11:30 PM on May 15, 2017 [7 favorites]

Gibson fired up his Atari 2600, which he used to connect to his local BBS at 300 baud and started typing the manuscript into Google Docs.
posted by Literaryhero at 12:57 AM on May 16, 2017 [19 favorites]

Gibson fired up his card punch ... the sky was the color of falling chads ...
posted by mbo at 1:25 AM on May 16, 2017 [23 favorites]

Must have been Word Perfect.
posted by johngoren at 1:26 AM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Huh, I guess Word is much older than I remember, but it's not listed as ported to the Apple IIc:
Microsoft Word is a word processor developed by Microsoft. It was first released on October 25, 1983 under the name Multi-Tool Word for Xenix systems. Subsequent versions were later written for several other platforms including IBM PCs running DOS (1983), Apple Macintosh running Classic Mac OS (1985), AT&T Unix PC (1985), Atari ST (1988), OS/2 (1989), Microsoft Windows (1989), SCO Unix (1994), and macOS (2001).
The IIc was released in 1984... I don't think I ever realized that they were supposed to be "portable". There were a couple of them in addition to many other II-series ones around my school but I thought they just looked slightly different.
posted by XMLicious at 3:03 AM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thanks internet for ruining the thought that I could let go of a franchise after 2!
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:18 AM on May 16, 2017

Also worth checking out is Vincent Ward's Alien III script which contains a lot of the elements that eventually did become Alien³ - sadly we did not get a wooden monastery planet though.
posted by Molesome at 4:44 AM on May 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Since folks seemed concerned about what word processor Gibson used, I vote for a version of Apple Writer which was available starting in '79. Very serviceable on the ][+ and ][e
posted by grimjeer at 4:54 AM on May 16, 2017

In an interview with Gibson in Computer Gaming World, Gibson says it's an Apple //c with AppleWorks.
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:01 AM on May 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

Wasn't there a script with a space station that was made out of wood or something? Am I remembering a different script?
posted by selfnoise at 5:20 AM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Previously. :-)
posted by Artw at 5:51 AM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm disappointed that I helped propagate the word processor derail when we really should have been focusing on the Alien/Gibson photo derail, which is way funnier imho.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:20 AM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Man my eyesight is failing, I read this as "The Secret History of William Shatner’s Never-Filmed Aliens Sequel". And boy howdy would that have been a thing.
posted by ardgedee at 6:25 AM on May 16, 2017 [8 favorites]

Well, the Alien series did eventually cross over with that Mysteries of the Gods thing Shatner filmed in the 70s...
posted by Artw at 6:28 AM on May 16, 2017

An alien (left) and William Gibson.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:29 AM on May 16, 2017 [6 favorites]

Man my eyesight is failing, I read this as "The Secret History of William Shatner’s Never-Filmed Aliens Sequel". And boy howdy would that have been a thing.

"Excuse me ... Excuse me. I’d just like to ask a question ... Why does God need to fuck us over for a percentage?"
posted by Kikujiro's Summer at 6:31 AM on May 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Space commies fighting against space corporations in a dystopian cyberpunk megacity (well, that was a different Gibson draft probably) vaguely remind me of indie shooter game Brigador, though that game's storyline is more complex.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:27 AM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

One of the many problems with Alien 3 was its lack of escalation.

Hmmm. I'm not sure this going to go well.
posted by bongo_x at 12:14 PM on May 16, 2017

This might be one of the first cool things I downloaded off the internet. (porn is awesome, but not cool). And yes, I got it off a BBS.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:44 PM on May 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

That author has some, um, interesting ideas about how word processors work and worked. It's like he did zero research AT ALL.
posted by uberchet at 9:04 AM on May 19, 2017

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