"Supertoys Last All Summer Long" was a matter of chance. This short story wasn't part of the reading list, but I found a copy in the library. Brian Aldiss won't ring a bell until John mentioned "A.I. Artificial Intelligence". This was Steven Spielberg's best work to date, he insisted. He could overlook the fact that the director made sweeping changes in the short story, such that the end product hardly resembled the original material. This was a common practice in Hollywood, he added. Foreign producers were guilty of it, he pointed out.
I don't have anything against a loose adaptation of a written material, as it was impossible to compress all the themes and scenes of a 500-page novel into a two-hour film. Some producers thought of a two-part movie for the final novel, which would turn off many moviegoers. (It was pretty obvious that profit was their motive for such a move.) I don't mind if many viewers would use the film as an excuse for not finding the original material (and reading it). One must love reading books. In my case, it should be a habit. But let's go back to "Supertoys Last All Summer Long".
Aldiss foresaw a dystopian world, where overpopulation prompted authorities to introduce a drastic way to deal with the problem. An artificial intelligence (A.I.) for childless couples. It could help them deal with isolation, but there would be a catch. The couples must request for permission to bear a child before thinking of that other option. What happened if the A.I. would have problems deciphering emotions? This was the case of David, an A.I. who looked like a boy, and Monica, his human mother.
The doom generation
Readers sensed the doom awaiting David (after Monica told Henry, her husband, that this A.I. was having a malfunctioning problem.) He was unaware of what would become of him when he finally figured out why his (human) mother was affectionate towards him. I thought it was happening at this very moment. (Social media wouldn't reveal what was really happening to those who use it. I could post my breathtaking images of the places I've been without telling about the flight delays and unexpected happenings that could spoil the journey. Otherwise, I'll post a lengthy note about it.) This story would highlight the absence of children, which prompted me to wonder about Pinocchio. Carlo Collodi wrote a beguiling novella, which could be interpreted differently. It would be a fairy tale, as Geppetto's hometown seemed to lack the noisy sound of frolicking children.
I would disagree with John's assessment, as Spielberg didn't stray far from Albiss's short story. I couldn't blame him for keeping some warmth, though. (If a filmmaker like Stanley Kubrick would helm it, then it could end up as a thinking man's motion picture. Albiss would give two thumbs up.) Spielberg did thought of Collodi's masterpiece, as the premise of "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" would resemble the book. Could Spielberg be thinking of demented viewers? I would suspect it. After all, the screenplay revealed a time period spanning a few thousand years. The Ice Age hardly changed the setting. Jules Verne turned out to be right at all.
The scenario seemed a remote possibility, but I felt the cold air the other day. Change might come at all.