02 March 2014

The Man Form Earth

A little something different today. I haven’t posted something not directly related to my worldbuilding in a while and I thought I’d mention a film I saw a few years ago and recently revisited, which I think has a lot to offer to worldbuilders.

The film, titled the Man From Earth (or movie, to people across the pond) has a simple premise – what if a man could not age or die of old age? The story is brought about quickly and concisely – a college professor is moving on from  his current life and invites his friends (professors, also) to cabin in the woods (no, not that type of Cabin in the Woods) as a sort of going away party. Their chatting evolves, quite naturally I think, into the departing professor confessing his ‘immortality,’ and the individual peoples’ differing reactions to his absurd story. They ask him questions about his life and… well I won’t spoil it for those of you who have not seen it J

I am posting this here because of the theme of immortality. To my knowledge no-one lives forever, which is one of those things that fantasy writes often write about, so we have little real-world research to fall back upon and I think that this film handles the subject matter wonderfully (though I do feel the last few scenes detract from its ambiguity, if I can use the word).

How do you convincingly convey such an aspect of fantasy to an audience who is unfamiliar with it, through a world in print in which such a phenomenon is real? What would a man who has lived for 14,000 years remember? If he doesn’t remember something from the 15th century will you use it against him in a bid to disprove him, where you have no recollection of where you were or what you were doing a year ago?

I think fellow worldbuilders will get a lot from watching this and it might give them ideas on how to flesh out the biographies and backgrounds of their immortal characters (hell, I know I have a lot of them lurking in the depths of the Encyclopaedia Elyden..)

Also, the screenplay was almost the life's work of the writer Jerome Bixby, who began conceptualising it in the early 60's and finished it on his deathbed in 1998 - almost 40 years! A true creater, much like my Demiurges, cannot stop himself! 


  1. Very interesting. I'll have to check it out. I think it would be pretty boring to live for thousands of years, especially in a fantasy setting without plumbing ;)

    1. :) amongst other things, hough i think such things are handled very well, apart from the last few scened

  2. It's a wonderfully evocative little film, very low-key but certainly makes you think. I've seen it several times. Interesting topic also, for writing immortal characters as believable as possible.

  3. yeah, it's quite a gem, i think. though i feel the ending is a little heavy-handed, the rest of the film is quite thought-provoking