Logistical Fictions

“The mission was real, the movie was… also real?”

The thrills of 2012’s Argo are borne out of the real-life rescue of six U.S. diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis (the so-called “Canadian Caper”). At its core is a carefully constructed story about false film production, clandestine location scouting, and a science-fiction future that would never be realized. Adapted from the 1967 Roger Zelazny science fiction novel Lord of Light, the Jack Kirby drawings that sketched out the (real) cancelled movie and theme park (dubbed, “Science Fiction Land”) found a second life as illustrative evidence of the (fictional) cover-movie’s bona fides. And Kirby wasn’t the only name involved, the project also had brought in, in various capacities, the make-up masters from the Planet of the Apes and Buckminster Fuller. Vaguely Middle-Eastern and Mesoamerican in influence (with some Hindu and Buddhist tones), the original requirements for adapting both a novel and a commercial landscape produce a disjointedly ancient and futuristic field of logistical delight.