Many years ago I have read a novel in Polish SF&F magazine "Fantastyka" (or "Nowa Fantastyka"), where main character job at a moment was to modify existing movies removing smoking and/or drinking from them (mentioned were "Dumbo" and "Casablanca"). Movies were stored in something like light-based memory, constantly refreshed and checked for unauthorized changes. There are no new movies made, only remakes, or movies made out of fragments of other movies (finding relevant fragments is one of jobs of main character).

The organization of the story was rather characteristic: before each section there was short description of trope, with example... and in the plot the trope was usually played straight, sometimes subverted.

One of supporting characters (female) had in Polish translation nickname "Heada" (not sure what it was in original).

Is anyone here able to help me identify this book?

  • tried to improve the title, feel free to roll it back if it's not to your liking. – Mark Rogers Mar 6 '11 at 18:46
  • @Mark Rogers: Thanks, it reads better after your edit. – Jakub Narębski Mar 8 '11 at 12:00

In this case googling leads to the answer (the top hit has a summary of the book, and the second hit is an (illegal) online copy)! Googling works because you've remembered enough proper names.

This is Remake by Connie Willis. Plot summary by Phil Neskew:

In the near future, every movie that comes out of Hollywood is either a remake or a sequel, and every one of them digitally borrows scenery, props, and even actors and actresses from earlier movies. Tom's job involves finding things to borrow from other movies, as well as digitally altering original films (like Dumbo and Casablanca) to make them less offensive. Tom meets Alis, who wants to dance in the movies, really dance, not just have her face pasted on the body of the original dancer. He thinks her dream is impossible, until he starts seeing Alis in the movies he's editing. He becomes consumed by a need to find out how she's doing it. Did she really sell out, or is she traveling back in time to dance in the musicals when they were first filmed?

  • 1995? Sounds like it's talking about the near future then. I get the impression we always get the same re-heated crap in movies. – Raskolnikov Mar 6 '11 at 21:30

Try William Gibson's 1984 novel Neuromancer.. I can't find it on my shelves and I have had no success googling it but I can think of nowhere else it might come from.

  • 2
    Welcome to the site! As you can see by the green check mark on the above answer, there is already an accepted answer for this question, so there's no need for more guesswork as to what the answer is. – gnovice Dec 14 '11 at 18:20
  • Also, I think you mean Idoru by Gibson, which features a paragraph about the practise of editing out cigarettes. – SQB Sep 22 '14 at 6:31

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