As the movie adaptation of Spare Parts opens across the country (here’s the Washington Post review of “the feel-good story…that’s also pretty darn thrilling”), Joshua Davis has published a bracing and important op-ed in The New York Times about the fundamental difference between the Hollywood version—even when it’s fairly faithful to events—and the real-life version of the story, and what that means for the people involved and, really, America itself. The piece begins:
WHEN audiences watch the movie “Spare Parts” in theaters this month, they will see the kind of Hollywood ending that has eluded the immigration debate in Congress.
The film is based on my reporting about four young immigrants who built an underwater robot. In the movie, which closely reflects the true story, the students enter the nation’s pre-eminent robotics competition, an event sponsored by NASA and the Navy. They win widespread recognition for their accomplishments and, when the movie ends in 2004, their future is bright.
Unfortunately, that’s not how the story really ends.
We won’t ruin the suspense that Josh has worked so hard to build. But the gist is that you need to know the full story, so we encourage you in the strongest possible terms to keep reading here.
On the eve of the release of the movie version of Spare Parts this Friday, the Diane Rehm Show brought together author Joshua Davis with three of the main characters from his book: Oscar Vazquez , the motivated jROTC cadet who became the de facto leader of their land-locked (in a desert!) high school’s underwater robotics team (played by Carlos PenaVega in the movie); Lorenzo Santillan, the auto shop underachiever whose ingenuity saved the day more than once as their jerry-rigged robot took on high-cost machines from team MIT and others (played by José Julián); and Fredi Lajvardi, the unorthodox high school science teacher who came up with the idea that what a group of undocumented, impoverished high school kids needed was to enter a NASA-sponsored robot-building competition (George Lopez, obviously). It’s a remarkable hour of radio. Give it a listen here.
George Lopez and Jamie Lee Curtis, Carlos Penevega, and Marisa Tomei…straight out of the movie version of Spare Parts! It hits screens this month. Obviously, you should read the book first—the book, that is, that the Washington Post calls “a delightful book…a great American story” and Nature’s reviewer Noel Sharkey calls “perhaps the most gripping popular-science book I have read.”
Well maybe you can watch the official theatrical trailer first (above). Then read the book. And then in good conscience you can check out the movie’s website and join the #SPAREPARTS movement—we’re partial to The Brain ourselves, but there are other solid choices.
Last week, we published Joshua Davis’s Spare Parts. And, come January—hold your breath—a major motion picture is arriving in theaters. Spare Parts (the film) stars Marisa Tomei, Jamie Lee Curtis, and a serious-looking George Lopez. And it looks great. Just check out the trailer.
To mark all this success, Wired has republished the original story that inspired Spare Parts (the book)—Joshua Davis’s excellent La Vida Robot, which you can read here.
This week, FSG Originals is proud to release its very first hardcover publication. Area X is a beefy (“I don’t think the brilliance of the Corral cover is as clear until you hold the hardcover in your hands,” Jeff says), three-in-one volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s beloved Southern Reach trilogy: Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance. It’s also an appropriate capstone to the adrenaline-fueled, “rapid fire” publication of the series: twelve months, three—well, four—books, and one very intrepid author.
‘Tis the season for “visions of psychic dysfunction, inflatable lovers, worm regurgitation, cat appreciation, and Satan,” as the saying goes.
We’re very excited to usher in the holidays with a performance by SLOTHRUST—a trio whose music the press calls “heavy and raw,” “funny and fuzzy,” and “a dazzling balance of rock and blues”—at our next Originals Series, with Shelly Oria and David Rees on Tuesday, November 18th. (RSVP already!)
Tuesday, November 18, 7:00 PM
Issue Project Room
22 Boerum Place
Space is limited! You must RSVP to attend.
New York 1, Tel Aviv 0 is on sale November 4th and has been variously described as “dazzling and daring” (Karen Russell), “acutely feelingful” (Gary Lutz) and “fresh as the brilliant shock of new paint” (Honor Moore).
Book events should always include live owls, full stop.
Jeff VanderMeer has been one busy guy since Acceptance, the final installment of the Southern Reach trilogy, pubbed in September. This spectacular photo (courtesy Kyle Cassidy) is from Jeff’s visit to Philadelphia’s Academy of Natural Sciences, but he’s done readings all over the east coast and we’re running out of fingers to count all the wonderful reviews that have come in.