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Realising Sci-Fi Novels w/ Modern Film-Making Techniques? 103

caitsith01 asks: "Like many of you I recently downloaded and watched the full-length Matrix Reloaded trailer . The glorious special effects contained therein caused me to reflect on how, up until very recently, it would have been impossible to effectively realize many great science fiction novels on film. In many instances, the sheer grandeur of what is described and the inherent difficulty in representing complex future technologies realistically would be nearly impossible to overcome without using computer-aided special effects. A case in point are the novels of William Gibson: apart from the lamentable Johnny Mnemonic and the little known New Rose Hotel (both based on Gibson short stories rather than novels) there have been no major films based on his work. With today's computer generated effects Gibson's descriptions of cyberspace and future technologies in Neuromancer and Count Zero could finally be presented in visual form. What other sci-fi novels would you like to see turned into movies with the benefit of modern special effects? Before the flaming about how plot and characters are more important than eye candy starts, perhaps you should take some time to reflect on how far we've come."
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Realising Sci-Fi Novels w/ Modern Film-Making Techniques?

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  • How about Ender's Game []. I think it would make a great animated movie, provided it was done well.
    • Exactly my thought and I know at one time it was going to be made into a movie but I have no idea where that project went
    • its already in development as a live action flick....Card himself wrote the script.
    • Am I the only one who thinks Ender's Game is overrated? I remember reading it because everyone was saying how great it was and being somewhat disappointed (it was OK, but hardly a classic IMHO).

      • No. I read it when it first came. I wasn't impressed. When I got to college, the guy teaching Speculative Fiction in Literature named it as a classic in the same breath with "Left Hand of Darkness", LotR, "Stranger in a Strange Land" and Neuromancer. I was shocked. I've read better fiction in role-playing game licensed novels. It was like saying "The Book of Mormon" is of the same quality as "Psalms" (I'm an atheist, folks, but Psalms are better at least on a literary level).

        Of course, I got to /. and foun
    • Actually Orson Scott Card comes out about once every 18 months or so and asks for creative proposols on how to make Ender's game into an interactive movie... he wants to release it on the web. Some kind of immersive flash presentation.

      Now if you wanna pitch the animated movie idea (which I'm personally in favor of over some clunky flash web thingie), I can put you in touch with him...
    • I'm pretty sure that this is already in progress. This article indicates they have a director and gives a little about their plans:
      News about Ender's Game: The Movie []
    • The whole Xelee series could be fun. I'd love to see RAFT from Baxter.

      Greg Bear's Blood Music would be quite timely with the whole bio-tech industry being in the limelight for last decade. The F/X on that movie wouldn't be all to expensive either.
  • It seems to me that the movies with the nicest special effects are also the most expensive ones. Special effects are getting better, but only slowly cheaper.
    • This is just relativity catching up with you. The special effects in the cheapest movie in mainstream theaters today still blows away the most expensive movie you can find from ten years ago. The cutting edge is still expensive, of course, but you can get beautiful results with much less expense.
  • Asimov's robots/foundation series come to mind.

    In the more modern type, Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy would make an excellent (and pretty long) miniseries... maybe if it was made into 3 movies per volume or so, it might have enough space to tell the story properly :-P

    Oh, and don't forget Iain M. Banks. Now that would make some seriously good movies...

    • Nah, make it a series with a three-(five?)-year arc a-la B5. But then again, you'd need a 15-minute intro for each episode....
    • The problem with something like the Foundation series is the story isn't really about a character. The 4 book series covers millenia about the evolving story, with character development at a minimum.

      Movies are completely character based. It'd be very difficult to port Foundation to a movie because individual characters come and go fairly quickly in the books. The Mule is a major character in the book, but even he's relatively short-lived and really only a plot-movement device to show the problems in the
  • If there is any book I'd like to see filmed, it would be "Veils of Azlaroc" [] by Fred Saberhagen -- geometric landscapes, various groups of settlers divided by the weight of veils, rendering them more and more transparent to each new generation, spectacular effects of a neutron that would be cool. Give me Liv Tyler as the not-really-dead beauty reanimated by the spores she was exposed to, and I'll even buy my own popcorn for once.
  • Just about any of the known space stuff demands effects that are only recently possible. Phssthpok's Toridial Gravitational playground would have been impossible to do well. The Moties would have sucked as puppets. The Ringworld's bizare horizon could have been done with bluescreen and nice mattes, but now could be pulled off very convincingly.

    I think doing Integral Trees justice might still be a few years off though.
    • While I love Integral Trees, the movie would have to spend the first half explaining the setup... the average moviegoer wouldn't have a clue where they were, how they got there, and the intriacies of balancing gravity in a rotating frame of reference.

      • I just re-read both of the IT books back-to-back, and was imagining how they might be done as a movie. And I came to a similar conclusion; the American moviegoing audience is just too stupid to understand something like tidal effects and gravity gradients. Plus minor plot details such as "day" and "year" not meaning what you originally think they mean.

        I also feel that the "surprise" involving who actually mutinied would not be able to be put off until the second book. (Niven planned both books at the

        • I think the mistake here is assuming you have to explain it. Consider Tim Robbins Lost In Space (aka Red Planet): the science goes right out the window, and the majority of the audience says "wow, how tragic," not "hm, orital mechanics is beyond me, uhuh."

          You're real problem is not explaining things - I mean, we understood a year to be a different length in The Dark Crystal for Henson's sake, and that was just muppets. It's selling the setting. A science fiction reader will buy the whole toroidal gas cl

          • Considering your average moviegoer didn't seem to care about the absurd and impossible "gravity" on the space station in Armaggedon, I'd have to agree - don't worry too much about explaining it, just show us some cool trees floating in a giant "smoke" ring!
    • Ringworld was the first book that came to mind when I saw this topic. (Actually, it's the example I used a couple of years ago when I submitted a very similar Ask Slashdot that was never posted.) Mote would be a pretty good choice too, along with Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
    • Personally, I would love to see the Ringworld or Iain M. Bank's Orbitals on screen (preferably Imax). Now that would be spectacular!!!!!!
  • Who would not love to see Robert Jordan's "Eye of the World" Series, if he ever finishes the damned thing, put on the big screen in CGI or film + massive CGI.

    Just pan visual of "The Waste" would be worth the price of the ticket...maybe the tel'aran'rhiod would end up pretty slick. I could go on for a good bit about what would be nice. I am sure others have ideas on the series they would like to see put to the big screen. Eitherway I see a bunch of really nice stuff coming down that pipe with the kind of pr
    • Wow, that would be unbelievably great, but could you condense it down to only a few movies? A dekalogy might have a few too many sequels.
      • Not to mention the length.. and how do you reduce pages of brooding thought to something physical?

        I still haven't read the latest.. I'm waiting for the hardcover to drop in price or to pick it up used.
      • could you condense it down to only a few movies?

        You probably could. The last four books, for example, could be condensed into about 10 minutes of film footage.

  • Redshift Rendezvous (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @08:17AM (#5788416) Homepage Journal
    OK, there are the obvious biggies: Ringworld, Rendezvous with Rama (but definitely NOT any of the so-called sequels), Have Spacesuit Will Travel and so on.

    But here's an interesting story that would be pretty damn cool as a movie:

    RedShift Rendezvous []. Here's [] a brief excerpt.

    Basically, just as Flatland used geometry to explore social mores, Redshift Rendezvous uses general relativity to set up a pretty good whodunit. The basic postulate of the story is that there are hyperspacial universes that are accessible to us that have 2 interesting properties - they are smaller than this universe (but map point-for-point onto this universe), and they have a slower speed of light. However, as you go "up" in hyperspacial layers, the rate at which the universe gets smaller is much larger than the rate at which the speed of light slows. So that in hyperspace layer 10, the speed of light is 10 meters per second, but traveling at 10 meters per second in that universe is equivilent to traveling 1024 times the speed of light in this universe. However, with the speed of light so low, you experience relativistic effects just walking around.

    Making this story as a movie would be pretty hard, and probably wouldn't make lots of money given that the norms would be "cornfuzed" by it, but it would be pretty cool.

    Maybe in a few years some indie will make it on his desktop 8-way 10GHz machine....
    • In the old days (early to mid-90s), I knew the author John Stith (casually) and spoke with him about the difficulties of making it into a movie. At the time, I myself was doing computer graphics for local TV commercials and industrial videos, so I'd noticed the unique challenge its setting represents, as had he. From my recollection, he felt at the time that technology would advance enough over the coming years to make it possible, and like most authors he was quite interested in seeing it made into a mov
    • This will sound incredibly ignorant, but could someone tell me what the big deal with this book is? I read it and the whole time I was waiting for the penny to drop, for something interesting to happen, but it just went on and on ratcheting up the 'suspense' and never giving any resolution.

      By the end I was tearing my hair out, and then the book just finished with no real conclusions about Rama or its contents.
      • In part, that is exactly why folks like the book - because in real life, sometimes you DON'T find out what is going on, you just get a glimpse of it.

        Also, there was the world that Clarke created - the idea of this long-term spacecraft and how Clarke described it.

        Then there was the way in which it was explored - these guys weren't walking around waving their tricorders at everything and beaming out whenever one of them had to use the bathroom - these guys were limited in the equipment they had, and were ma
  • by Judg3 ( 88435 ) <jeremy@pavlecEIN ... minus physicist> on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @08:34AM (#5788530) Homepage Journal
    That would be a great one to see. I'd love to see if the directors vision of Hiro and the Aleut racing their motorcycles at the speed of light in the metaverse would match my own.

    Or how about "The Diamond Age"? Cities made entirely of Diamond where glass used to be, that'd be pretty slick.

    Ohhh, hey, I think seeing Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" would be sweet as well. The battleroom on the big screen!

    Man, the list is almost endless now that I think about it. But I think I'd have to rate "Snow Crash" up at the top of the "wish I could see it" list.
    • The idea of a Snow Crash movie has already been mooted. IMO, it's not necessarily the best Stephenson book but its probably the most filmable (and, as the most -obvious- the most likely to do well commercially.

      For a previous /. article, read:
      • it's not necessarily the best Stephenson book but its probably the most filmable (and, as the most -obvious- the most likely to do well commercially.

        I agree with you on that. I'd really love to see Cryptomnicon as a movie, but it's not really Sci-Fi, so I didn't include it. And the Diamond Age, I think, would make a real good movie as well.
        Especially with the RActor's, and Nell's primer and all. Personally I feel that The Diamond Age is more well rounded book of his, and end up re-reading it more often th
        • Here's another interesting link re: Stephenson. Real vintage stuff from '94. It's an interview/transcript prior to the release of Diamond Age. Back when Wired Magazine's web outlet was called "hotwired"....
 b/special/transc ripts/95-01-19.stephenson.html

      • Actually, I'd like to see "Zodiac" or "The Cobweb" filmed. Neither would be difficult to do, as they aren't particularly science-fiction, but would make great, fun thrillers with interesting characters, good plots, and enough action to keep them lively. I think they'd make much better movies than "Snowcrash".

    • The whole I was reading Snow Crash, I kept thinking to myself "This would be such a great movie, if nobody screwed it up." That's the downside to adaptations, unfortunately. Still, a radioactive killer drug dealer, a sk8r grrl, a nearly impossible to cast accurately Protagonist (bad pun), an armored personnel wheelchair, the dentata, ancient Sumerian tablets of mind control, a pizza delivering Mafia, and The Greatest Cybernetic Dog Ever, who can resist it?
      • >a nearly impossible to cast accurately Protagonist (bad pun)

        Nope, the bad pun is intented :-)

        But me thinks, Samuel Jackson in his early years may be apropriate, but i fear they will cast Will Smith.

        5 years ago Wesley Snipes may have been right, but today ?
  • Rather than expound on how some things just can't be created visually, no matter how fast your computers are, I'll let William Gibson do the expounding for me [].

    • Gibson's newest, Pattern Recognition, wouldn't require any fancy CGI or animation, and personally I think it would make a very good movie.
      • I think that would be a case (no pun intended) of the movie not living up to the book. It would be very difficult for an audience of the movie to accept the footage as being a work of genius unless the footage actually is a work of genius. In the book all Gibson needed to do was say "she watched the footage. It was neat." and the readers accept that the footage was neat. Everyone has their own vision in their mind of what made the footage so mesmerizing, and that would most likely be lost in the movie.
        • Simply dont show the "footage" just show the characters reaction to it. Old trick. Then the viewer is left to imagine what the awesome sight must be.
  • The novel was so much more epic than the film - primarily because of technique constraints at the time (1967?). They could do some amazing stuff with the rocket at the end, and the cathedral bits.

    Pitty York is far too old now - he was the best bit of the film.
  • by Mononoke ( 88668 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @08:57AM (#5788686) Homepage Journal
    The glorious special effects contained therein caused me to reflect on how, up until very recently, it would have been impossible to effectively realize many great science fiction novels on film.
    Actually it is quite easy to 'realize' a great scifi story on film. Unfortunately, most people would dismiss it as "a cartoon" and wouldn't allow themselves to enjoy it.

    It's called 'animation.'

    Actually, most scifi movies now are just animation, but at a much higher resolution and framerate.

    All the technology in the world doesn't make the storytelling any better. (*cough* Star Wars Episode 1 *cough*)

  • by ngibbins ( 88512 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @09:06AM (#5788756)
    [...] apart from the lamentable Johnny Mnemonic and the little known New Rose Hotel (both based on Gibson short stories rather than novels) there have been no major films based on [Gibson's] work

    There is a third, even less known adaptation of Gibson's work, namely Tomorrow Calling []. This short (11m) film is a fairly faithful adaptation of the Gernsback Continuum, if you ignore the change of location from California to the British northwest (plenty of Art Deco buildings in Blackpool), that was made for Channel 4 (UK broadcaster) and featured a post-pop career Toyah Wilcox. Well worth watching if you can track it down.

  • I think that this excellent novel would be directed well by Brian Singer. He has the kind of quality in a director that really portrays character-driven stories... His work with "The Usual Suspects" and "X-Men" was brilliant, and I think he could bring this Hugo and Nebula award winning story from Orson Scott Card to the big screen with humanity and depth.
  • by cmpalmer ( 234347 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @10:25AM (#5789278) Homepage
    I was rewatching Attack of the Clones the other day (yes, it sucks, but it does have cool eye candy) and thinking that if anyone spent as much money as Lucas and if ILM put in the same effort they applied to the Star Wars films, almost anything would be filmable. Instead, they blow it all on crappy stories, poor direction, and mediocre acting. Look at the chase scene on Coruscant and think about all of the work that went into that -- all of the 3d models of speeders and buildings, the alien billboards, the crowds. Many man-months of work and they all flash by in a few frames.

    However, when I think of the adaptions of "classic" SF that I have seen, none of them really impress me, yet I can't pin the fault on the SFX (weak as they have been). I love movies, but I think that books are superior -- the movie in my head is *always* better than the movie on the screen.

    Having said all of that, it I had a huge budget to work with and ILM or WETA at my disposal, my dream project would be a "straight" adaption of one of the Heinlein juveniles. It would be set in an alternate universe/timeline where the future progressed exactly as it did in the novels -- Mars is populated, Venus is a smelly swamp, digital computers never really kicked in -- interplanetary ship pilots plot their courses with sliderules, and we built huge wheeled space stations in the 1960's. Red Planet, Space Cadet, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. None of them campy, just done as top notch period pieces...
    • Attack of the Clones really illustrated what shoddy directing is.

      One example: the droid factory. Amidala is about to become part of a vat of molten metal, but R2D2 shuts down the system and saves her. Shoddy directing point: R2D2 sprouts jets and is able to fly across the chasm to the control terminal. To illustrate this, Lucas fills the entire screen with R2D2's leg, showing the jet emerging from it. Cue dramatic near-victory music, even an amoeba now knows that R2D2 has jets and where they are located. I
      • by ChadN ( 21033 )
        either way, I'd call bullshit. If artoo just showed up right at the climax of the scene, out of nowhere, because all of a sudden he could *fly*(??), I'd have thought "Fucking bullshit!" He never flies later on (when he should have; like getting off the X-Wing on Dagoba, or off the Jabba's sand ship on Tattoine, etc.) In this case, I just thought it earlier.

        Instead of the tired old damsel in distress gets rescued routine, Amidala is able to get out herself, using powers of the force which she never reall
        • Not to sound like a wicked geek, but Lucas covered his ass on that whole R2 not flying later thing in a pre movie website. The site was designed to familiarize everyone with the state of the galaxy, since 10 years had passed since EP1. It was laid out as a news portal, with stories about politics, sports, business etc. There was an article posted that stated the R2 line had a limited warranty on their built in boosters as they were unreliable, or hard to maintain, or something. My guess is that R2 never use
    • Well, Starship Troopers did use really, really awesome effects to bring a Heinleein novel to the screen, even if it did diverge massively from the book.

      I would love to see Heinlein's "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" - a great read, and as much about politics as science fiction.
  • This book is of course Nine Princes of Amber by Roger Zelazny. If there every was a sequence impossible to film without heavy-weight year 2003 CGI it is a chase through the dimensions, not Gollum or Ringlworld.

    Here [] is some information about the possibility of mini-series by SCI FI Channel and old news (1998) about Ed Neumeier (Starship Troopers) planning to make a movie.

  • I would love, love, love to see "Planet of Adventure" [] as a quadrilogy on the screen. The races are astounding in their complexity and grandeur, the action is funny and breathtaking and the hero has physical and mental excellence.

    Even a single book contains enough details to make a full mini-series.

    But alas, I fear the trap of turning it into a joke costume drama with pancake characters would be too big to avoid by filmmakers.

  • by Glass of Water ( 537481 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @10:57AM (#5789573) Journal
    Blade Runner was great, by Ridley Scott, as adapted from "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" by Philip K. Dick. Not too many advanced special effects, just good acting, a good concept, and a good story. These days, it's becoming too much about the effects and they start to all look the same. To me, the original Star Wars looks ten times better than the new ones. THat's because they actually BUILT the sets and the robots/aliens.
    • But Blade Runner had so many cool special effects, some of them advanced for the time - the police spinners, the city itself, the amazing set and costume design. I agree that most of it didn't require computers to animate, but the film was still given its unique ambience thanks to good production values, which is what we're really talking about I guess.

      • But it was good production values with actual physical models and sets, not with computer graphics. I think that was his point, and I'd have to agree - a lot of the stuff in Blade Runner and Star Wars just looks real - really grimy, really beat-up, really real. Sometimes the CG stuff is just too perfect and too clean - kinda distracting, though pretty.
  • The Forever War by Joseph Haldeman. My all time Fave
  • a few thoughts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Clover_Kicker ( 20761 ) <> on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @11:18AM (#5789774)

    Awesome books/stories that should never be put on film:

    Asimov - The Gods Themselves
    Vinge - A Deepness in the Sky, A Fire Upon the Deep

    A big part of these books is imagining things yourself, and using the hints in the text to clarify your concept of the world until you suddenly understand what is going on. I still remember the thrill of discovery as I "figured out" the Tines - awesome!

    Awesome books/stories that would make great movies but the plot is so fucked up/hard to follow that it will never happen:

    Zelazny - Creatures of Light and Darkness

    You could easily CGI Typhon and Anubis and the Norns etc. But what I really want to see is Wakim and the Steel General in a temporal fugue fistfight.

    Zelazny - Lord of Light

    Could this be a good movie? They might have to re-order things, i.e. get rid of the flashback or at least make it obvious that a flashback is happening.

    Stephenson - Snow Crash, The Diamond Age

    Too many subplots to make a coherent movie. Hell, when I read the last 10 pages I wondered if there were too many subplots to make coherent books!

    Le Guin - Left Hand of Darkness
    Heinlein - Stranger in a Strange Land

    I loved em, but waaay too weird to make a commercially successful movie.

    Books that might make a good movie

    Huxley - Brave New World

    Very film-able. People would come see it, as long as they include the orgies.

    Heinlein - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

    A good book, easy to follow, and enough action to keep people interested.

    Halderman - The Forever War

    Great book, lots of gunfights, fairly straightforward plot.

    Niven - Ringworld, Footfall

    Ringworld (done right) would be a visual masterpiece, and the plot isn't too complex.

    Footfall has more then enough action to keep people interested. Doing it right would make a fairly long movie, though.

    • Heinlein - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

      A good book, easy to follow, and enough action to keep people interested.

      It would have to be spun right in the current paranoia.. make it a summer blockbuster type and release it July 4, like Independence Day (makes sense in light of the book).

      But more importantly, it has to be done right. I still refuse to see the abortion that was Starship Troopers, and TMIAHM ranks in my permanent top 10 books list.. Not to mention the cutting it would have to undergo. But don

    • Huxley - Brave New World

      They already made it. Twice [].

    • Huxley's Brave New World has already been turned into a film - twice - and both times as a telemovie. First in 1980 [], then again in 1998 [].

      I haven't seen the 1980 version, but the 1998 version was shown on the SciFi channel a few weeks back. It wasn't too bad a rendition; to my mind, it captured the intended ambience, but it fully mangled the ending into a "and they all lived happily ever after", rather than "and he couldn't take it any more so he killed himself"...

      Russ %-)
      • It's been years and years since I read it, so I'm a bit fuzzy...

        But I don't remember the protagonist killing himself. I thought he got to have a long heart to heart with the big world leader guy (Mustopha Mond, right?); where it was explained to him just WHY no one gets to read Shakespere anymore, and the like. Eventually, he comes to agree that he is a threat to society, and accepts banishment to the Falklands, where he can be intellectual in peace, without disturbing the unwashed, who are happy with th
        • You're mostly there - he goes all hermit, but then he kills himself. It's not said outright, though - its a really subtle reference to someone finding him, and finding his feet off the ground, spinning slowly in the breeze (i.e., he hung himself in the doorway).

          Unfortunately, I haven't got my copy of BNW with me, so I can't give you an exact quote.

          Russ %-)
        • >I don't remember the protagonist killing himself

          I suppose it depends on who the protagonist is :)


          The primitive Shakespeare loving guy hangs himself at the very end.
    • I've always thought that Creatures of Light and Darkness could make a great anime myself. But i think too much of the descriptions would be lost unless there was a narator. "Dead, Dead, Dead, color it dust".

      Something like Changling/Madwand or Jack of Shadows would be easier to do (as far as not losing the descriptions). Changling would give you the big battles for sure.

      • Now that you mention it, Changeling would be a great movie: short and simple, with a ton of action and neat visuals.

        I guess I was trying to think of really great books, instead of pretty good books :)
  • Donaldson's Gap Series -- I dare someone to take that on. It has an incredible amount of building tension and mounting climaxes; I think it would blow everybody away to see it. It has everything you could ask for in a movie.
    • I like Donaldson as much as the next guy, but you've got to be kidding. How do you suggest they film the following?

      She was still unconscious, perhaps because of his beating, perhaps because of the drugs the sickbay computer gave her. She had no idea what was happening as he undid her shipsuit and peeled it off her limbs.

      He couldn't stop trembling. After all, it was a good thing he'd hit her. The darkness and swelling of her bruises made her bearable: if she'd remained perfect, he would have had no ch

      • Yeah, I'm well aware of the 'sick' [sic] stuff in these books. And yes, the best stuff is internal monologue. That's why it would be challenging. That's why I said I dare someone to do it. Moviemakers have to have somewhere to go.

        Personally I think that 'sick' [sic] stuff was necessary, too bad it alienated some readers but I think Donaldson took on a challenging story/idea and succeeded.

        Hey, I'm not saying it would be a blockbuster, but you don't necessarily need that kind of budget to do creative sp
    • Better yet, how about the dual trilogy of 'Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever'.

      I started reading the Gap series and figured that Donaldson must have only had one good idea for a book and that resulted in the 'Thomas Convenant' series, and all the rest of his writing was him under the delusion that he was a great writer. I hated the first book, and figured that Donaldson was a good writer, so I pushed myself 100 pages into the second book, and realized I was way wrong.

      His only good books are the dual trilogie
      • Does he write anything that dosnt involve rape? Really turned me off in the first book of the first trilogy.
        • Yes, that part bothered me as well. The only thing I can see that it did for the story was to instill into Thomas that he truly was a complete bastard and built on his unworthiness to have friends and to be able to enjoy this beautiful land he was in.
  • No thanks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sukotto ( 122876 )
    I'm not sure if I'm just getting cynical as I get older or what... but I don't want any big screen adaptations of the books I love.

    The main reason for that is how bitterly disappointing I find the finished product. The media corporations that make the movies typically:
    a) dumb it down for Joe Sixpack
    b) change the story to make it main-stream compatible
    (obviously a and b overlap)
    c) shrink the story to make it fit the 1~2 (sometimes 3) hour movie format
    d) merchandise the hell out of it (which I find
  • I'd be happy to see Hitchhiker's Guide [] or The Stainless Steel Rat [] on film. I know there are scripts for both... Or how about Zucker Abrhams Zucker doing Bill, the Galactic Hero []
  • I'd like to see someone remake "Starship Troopers" - the way it SHOULD have been done, not that god-awful parody Verhoeven (sp?) did. That thing was downright offensive.

    I think a great thing to do would be to make Eddings' Belgariad and Mallorean - but that would take many movies. Not that I'd mind.

    Some of Anne McCaffrey's "Pegasus" books would likely make for a nice series of movies, and certainly the Pern books would make for some great visuals - I'd _love_ to see those dragons and firelizards done well
    • Verhoven's version of Starship Troopers diverged from the novel significantly in terms of plot but the core themes (relationship between citizen and state, militarization of society and resulting need for random wars, violent human nature etc) were very faithfully rendered. I think that has got to be one of the most misunderstood and underappreciated movies of the last decade - the number of people who think it is just a dumb action movie is just frightening, because it suggests that the military-oligopoly

        That's my problem with the movie - it's satire.

        The book, however, was _not_ satire - far from it! The movie was made in the same style as Robocop, which is a _great_ movie, but it wasn't appropriate for such a serious novel as Starship Troopers.

        I also wanted to see a major technical element of the fighting in the book - the battlesuits. I think the special effects technology is up to the task, now, if they wanted to spend the money. Unfortunately, I don't see
        • Ok, maybe I shouldn't have said the book was a satire - but nor was it supposed to be a representation of an ideal. It's more an exploration of what things would be like if society was structured along somewhat different lines; Heinlein has said that the philosophies expressed in his work are the philosophies of the characters, not his own.

          Of course, one could take the view that the movie version was effectively a criticism of some of the philosophies in the book. By showing a sort of neo-fascist super-sta
          • > Ok, maybe I shouldn't have said the book was a satire - but nor was it supposed to be a representation of an ideal. It's more an exploration of what things would be like if society was structured along somewhat different lines;

            Exactly, not a satire, but a serious novel on serious subjects.

            >they don't understand that Verhoven is presenting the material in the form of a rather subtle parody

            It's about as subtle as Gallagher's Sledge-O-Matic, IMO. Being a fan of the novel doesn't necessarily mean bei
            • Not only Dizzy (boy, that was weird), but changing JUAN D. Rico from a Phillipino to a blond white guy named John. They really shouldn't have whitewashed the story, it took a lot away from it. Would've been the most multiethnic scifi ever if the racial composition was true to the book. They should've also left the pilots with shaved heads IMO, that would've caused a buzz.
      • You're talking about Starship Troopers? The one directed by Verhoven? The guy who decided he didn't want to have the battle suits, which would have been amazing with the SFX they put into that movie, because then he wouldn't be able to show people getting ripped apart by bugs? Get a grip. Any redeeming qualities in the movie beyond the effects, and any alignment with features of the book of the same name, are pure accident.
    • Definitely have to agree with you on the Belgariad. I've suggested this before on slashdot. I think you could compress it into 3 movies of ~3 hours each. Like most movie adaptions, you'd miss out on a few things, but it could still cover the basic ideas of the books. I'd love to see Peter Jackson involved with this project.
      • I'm not too fond of Belgariad. It's a bit too childish IMHO. It has a lot of "in this country everyone are thieves", "in this country everyone are great fighters (but we can beat them anyways)" and similar issues.

        An interesting fantasy story I can recommend is by Tad Williams "Memory Sorrow Thorn". Not sure if it'd be a good movie though. I actually think it's better to base a movie on a short story, that way it's easier to work around problems in the story by adding material.
  • by Randym ( 25779 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @02:00PM (#5791637)
    Because of the peculiar effects of hell-riding, movies from these books simply could not be made with traditional techniques and would benefit from the new technologies.

    (For those who don't know 'hell-riding': as a man is riding a horse [galloping], he is also seamlessly changing the landscape around him using his abilities. The landscape changes, the weather changes, the flora and fauna change, etc.]

  • by Esch ( 153438 )

    This series was almost made to be converted to a screenplay. And we have the CGI tech to pull it off now. The sexual content would have to be toned down quite a bit for American audiences, though.

    Considering what happened to JV with Millennium, however, dunno if it'll happen any time soon.
  • The Book of the New Sun series

    woo hoo!
    • Well, I'm glad someone else posted this, so I didn't have to make the suggestion. I seriously doubt we'll ever see a faithful adaptation of these books. They're just too densely layered. And as other posters have already pointed out, Hollywood loves to dumb things down for the single-celled moviegoer who's not interested in any of the references and nuances with which Wolfe filled his masterwork. Plus, I think a protagonist whose upbringing was as a torturer/executioner and who, in the course of the story p
  • Making a script (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unfortunateson ( 527551 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2003 @05:35PM (#5794074) Journal
    Here's the real challenge: a 120-minute movie has about a 120-page shooting script. This is wide-spaced, large-margin dialog and some scene directions.

    The flowery descriptive language is gone (production design is done elsewhere), but you've pared a 400-page novel to the bone to get this to work. Look at Stephen King's filmography. Some of the best adaptations were novellas (and not horror either, but that's not the point): Stand By Me (The Body) and Shawshank Redemption.

    If you have a 400-page novel, get a 400-minute mini-series (9 hours on commercial TV).

    So today's 10-pound novels are not great fodder for films. And publishers have little interest in novella-length, except as kids' books (Coraline by Neil Gaiman is being made by the director of Nightmare Before Christmas).

    Pre-1980 novels might be better sources, as you had some really short stuff out there: Heinlein, Zelazny and others were known for 95-page novels in really cheap paperback form.
    • As someone else pointed out, animation is the source for a lot of today's sci-fi entertainment. This makes a perfect pairing. You can do 18 half hour episodes to tell the full story.

      Then I'll wait for it to be released on DVD, and I'll get to practice my Japanese.
  • I actually just read New Rose Hotel in the Burning Chrome short story collection. I don't think its that great, and besides, he's done a much better Maas -> Hosaka defection story with Count Zero.

    So whats the big deal with New Rose Hotel?


  • Hey, they could make a really cool movie out of Herbert's Dune.... oh, wait...

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