Friday, 6 July 2018

My Screenplay Location Is Getting World Attention (Well, Sort Of)

This next, as Paul Harvey used to say, is partly personal.

As I write this, France and Uruguay are playing their quarter-final World Cup match in a Russian city
The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Nizhny Novgorod. Thanks to Culture Trip.
most of us Americans have never heard of: Nizhny Novgorod. And it gives me an odd feeling of almost surreal connection.

That's because Nizhny Novgorod happens to be one of the cities I chose to mention (chose to bomb into oblivion, actually, but I claim immunity because I later restored it) in a science-fiction screenplay. Here's an excerpt:

LOBI
(to Tejat)
I was just telling them, my last assignment was in a place called Nijny-Novgorod.
(to everyone at the table)
I hated that post, but now I kind of miss it. We used to go to this bar. It was very old, I guess, and some of the others liked it because you could get vodka there for cheap. But I miss it for the people. There were some crazy characters there. I'm going to go back and visit, if they don't post me on some starship somewhere.
FAINE
(shaken, but making an effort to be friendly)
You could always program the holodeck with it, if you do end up on a starship.
LOBI
(with her mouth full)
Yeah, Faine, great idea. I'm going to do that. You know, they say Leo Tolstoy was a patron there.
...
MOWROGH
What is that city, Lobi? Niv...
LOBI
Nijny-Novgorod. It's in Russia, on Earth.
Mowrogh walks to an empty workstation.
MOWROGH
Computer, display images of Nijny-Novgorod.
COMPUTER (V.O.)
Please specify parameters.
MOWROGH
It's a city on Earth.
COMPUTER (V.O.)
There is no record of a Nijny-Novgorod in the Sol system in the last five hundred years.
...
Nado sits at her desk having a videoconference with Admiral Lee.
LEE
Wow, Merenish, this could turn out to be something big after all.
NADO
I'm sorry to bother you at home, but I wasn't sure this should wait until morning.
LEE
No, don't be silly. I remember Nijny-Novgorod. Never been there, but I've certainly heard of it. Near Moscow, I believe. As soon as I get off here I'm going to send a couple of cadets out there, just to take a look at it. Ten to one, it's just a computer error and we can stop worrying about it.
NADO
(unconvinced)
That would be nice.
LEE
Yes, but meanwhile we should plan for the worst. If this really is a missing city, somehow removed from not only the present but the past as well, then you've got yourself one hell of a mission. What do you need, Merenish, if this turns out to be true? Your team was put together to catch a shapeshifter; this new mission would be very different.

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