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Re"V"lections: Ann C. Crispin on Novelizing "V"

Back at the height of the success of the original "V", author Ann C. Crispin took on the herculean task of novelizing the two miniseries and giving it a cohesive voice, despite the fact that the approach taken by the filmmakers in each instance was fairly different from the other. This interview with Crispin was conducted by Edward Gross back in the late 1980s.

V-STARTU VISITORS AMONG US: How did you get involved in the "V" project?

ANN C. CRISPIN:I happened to have a book on The New York Times bestseller list (the Star Trek novel Yesterday's Son) and they were looking for someone to write "V", and I was the only author Pinnacle had at the moment who did that kind fo thing. They looked at my Star Trek novel and said, "Oh, she knows how to write stories from a TV show." So that's how it happened with "V". Pinnacle bid for the novelization and then kind of realized, "Hey, this is a science fiction novel and we don't have any science fiction writers."

VISITORS AMONG US: What aspects of the miniseries appealed to you when you were writing the novelization?

ANN C. CRISPIN: I found myself liking the characters. I don't think I could spend very long with many characters without getting to like them. it's kind of like an actor who even finds himself liking Hitler.

VISITORS AMONG US: Because he's playing the role?

ANN C. CRISPIN: Right. He eventually feels sympathy with whatever he has to play. I found myself more and more sympathetic towards Kenneth Johnson's characters and added my own characters and touches.

VISITORS AMONG US: How difficult is it to write novels using somebody else's characters?

V - Diana 02 ANN C. CRISPIN: it wasn't really that difficult. I did a minor in theater, so I guess that may have helped me be able to adapt other people's stuff. I like my own characters a lot. I've created my own characters in both Yesterday's Son and "V". With "V", I had to take minor characters from the miniseries and flesh them out on my own. Whenever the workload got too rough, though, I would write one of Diana's scenes and off somebody. it was very cathartic.

VISITORS AMONG US: I guess that's how it is for the writers of Dynasty, when they write a scene for Joan Collins.

ANN C. CRISPIN: Diana was a lot of fun, because she was so wicked and evil But even Diana had some sympathy towards the end, and it's that aspect I tried to expand upon, and it gave her a bit of extra depth.

VISITORS AMONG US: What's your opinion of "V" as a concept?

ANN C. CRISPIN: Well, Robert A. Heinlein did it better 25 years ago [now 50!]. The whole idea of aliens coming to earth for food and to steal our water... I mean, there's ice throughout the solar system. They could have hauled off chunks of asteroids covered in ice. A star-spanning civilization would obviously be able to create water. We can create water, but it's a very expensive process and we don't have to. There is a lot of "V" that doesn't make sense. I've done the best I could by saying that liquid water is very rare, which it probably is. "V" as science fiction is somewhat mediocre, but "V" as TV science fiction is well above the norm. it's not on a par with Star Trek, but it is certainly head and shoulders above any other television science fiction.

VISITORS AMONG US: Why do you think "V" touched such a chord with people?

ANN C. CRISPIN: It was a big budget attempt to do science fiction. it certainly had some hype about it, what with "'V' is coming" appearing everywhere. I think Mr. and Mrs. Average American, who had never seen science fiction before, said, "Gee, the thought of aliens coming to earth. Who would have ever thought of that?" Of course, it was old hat to science fiction fans.

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