One of my favourite science fiction short stories of all time is Junkyard by Clifford D. Simak. It tells of a team of astronauts who land on an alien planet to investigate a strange tower surrounded by discarded rocket parts and machinery. They climb the tower and discover an alien artifact inside, but soon realize they are stranded on the planet and can no longer take off.
I first heard the story on a late-night radio rerun of the vintage sci-fi series X Minus One; the themes of memory and loss of identity still haunt me today. I’ve toyed with the thought of adapting the story for a very … very long time, and I recently dug the project up again and dusted it off.
For a storyboarding exercise, I decided to tackle one of the opening scenes of the story. The team of space explorers have just touched down on the planet, and they set out across the airless wasteland toward the mysterious stone tower at the centre of the Junkyard…
Shot 001 – WIDE The tower looms on the horizon, silhouetted against the sun.
Shot 002 – The three explorers gather together their gear…
Shot 003 – … and set out toward the tower.
Shot 004 – They approach the base and peer up.
Shot 005 – One of the astronauts ropes in and begins an ascent.
Shot 006 – Picking a route along the aged, crumbling masonry.
Shot 007 – Success! A tiny figure silhouetted against the deepening sunset, he waves back down at the others.
Shot 008 – His companions look on in trepidation.
Shot 009 – One last look back before climbing inside the tower…
To be continued…?