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Friday, November 8, 2013

The Schmantastic List of Fantasy: Fantastic Books that should have Movies

I started this post wanting to do a list of the best film adaptations of genre fiction novels, but after doing a little research and wracking my brain I realized that I'm just not enough of a cinephile to be qualified to make that list. So instead, I took the bibliophile path and present to you:

The Schmantastic List of 7 Sci-Fi / Fantasy Books that Should Have Movies


We've established that I consider graphic novels to be a part of the genre fiction category. I will fight about it. That said, taking the TOP SPOT of a book that should have a movie we have:

I don't know why she's wearing 80's high cut briefs.
But I dig it. Enough so that I have this hanging on my wall.
Wonder Woman

Any Wonder Woman comic. Seriously ANY WONDER WOMAN. I don't even care. I just want this to happen. Where is this movie? The past decade has been overflowing with some awesome and some really horrible superhero movies. And I LOVE it. But where is my Wonder Woman?

(For that matter, where's Super Girl, Batgirl, Black Canary, Hawkgirl, Zatanna, or any of the Birds of Prey team? Since when do we not make movies featuring hot women clad in skin tight leather/spandex?)

But seriously: WONDER WOMAN. Here's why she deserves a movie.

Her backstory is pretty sweet. Sculpted by clay and brought to life by the gods, this woman of Pygmalion origins has the power of the Greek Gods, and the upbringing of a warrior who has lived on a reclusive island with strong isolationist politics. Let's just say, Wonder Woman is more warrior than any other superhero we've seen to date, treats the non-founding members of the league like soldiers, and is not afraid to use force. Plus, a distrust of men, a lasso that usurps free will, and a penchant to go to the sword first gives this heroine some questionable morals for the modern world.

Stranger in a Strange Land

If you like it so much, why don't you marry it?
Because polygamy is illegal, mkay?
Yes, I know this is not my first time mentioning Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. But it's pretty damn good, so maybe it deserves some more buzz. This movie would not be the smash-all-the-things action-adventure-superhero awesomeness movie that is Wonder Woman. This would be a quiet, trippy, philosophical movie with some cannibalism thrown in for good measure. Would this actually transcribe well to the big screen, though?
Yes, I think it would. And here's why. As much as this would be a pretty cerebral experience, it doesn't take place just in Michael's head. There's a lot of interesting characters, there's conspiracies driving the plot along, there's cults and a good healthy, movie-friendly serving of sex. Now, I'm going to shock people. I'm not a purist. I believe that when a book is adapted for film, it should actually be -- you know -- adapted. I don't need the film version to be identical to the book version. I need the film to work as a film, the same way I want the book to work as a book. So script writers, feel free to add some explosions to this one.

A Wrinkle in Time

"But this one's already been a movie," you say?
I have revised history. That Disney-channel tragedy no longer exists. You're welcome.
There were a lot of problems with that movie. But a main problem was that, despite coming out 4 years after The Matrix, the special effects still look a bit Plan 9 From Outer Space.
This book deserves the movie treatment for a few reasons. The Hollywood reasons are: 1- People LOVE Madeleine L'Engle, and 2 - It's a series!
The real reasons are that it is a story with a lot of action, a lot of thinking, and a whole lot of heart. This movie has the potential to be thought-provoking, heartwarming and, like the novel, downright beautiful. Just so long as it isn't turned into a CGI orgy a la The Phantom Menace.

The Foundation Series

By far the geekiest item on the list. The Foundation Series, by Asimov, is spectacular. The basic premise is that a mathematician named Hari Seldon creates a branch of math called psychohistory, which has the ability to make fairly accurate predictions about the future. And he discovers that humanity is going to royally f*ck it up. I'm going to say some only vaguely accurate things now to avoid spoiling it. But basically he creates a contingency plan, and creates a human foundation away from the rest of civilization with the hopes that it will come to fruition as a new empire after the collapse and will bring an early end to a dark period. He uses psychohistory to try to prepare them and guide them through what is to come -- but he can't necessarily predict everything.
The scope of these novels is vast. Insane vast. Would this one be a good movie? It could be. Could something of this scale even be contained in a movie? Well, they did Lord of the Rings, so it's plausible. 
But I will admit -- this one isn't on the list because I know it would be a good movie. I have no idea how this would adapt. I just know it would be worth trying.

So You Want To Be A Wizard

In the timeline of my childhood, before there was Harry Potter, there was Nita and Kit struggling to figure out magic with nothing but their living books to guide them. As a nerdy little bookworm, I devoured these. I perused the aisles of the library hoping that a book would snag my finger and teach me to be a wizard.
How is this not a movie? It's sad to me that this awesome series by Diane Duane has been overlooked. These wizards are not the robed, castle-dwelling Luddites we've come to associate with the word. Look, I like those guys too. Have we discussed my love of Harry Potter? IT IS IMMENSE.
But these are modern wizards. They live in our world, they have very strict power limitations, they have to be smart and careful. And the biggest baddy force that they tackle? Entropy. Come on, that's pretty cool.
There is a wealth of material in this book series, and characters that aren't afraid to grow up as you read, which is something that I absolutely love. Nita and Kit need some time on the silver screen so you can love them too.

Any novel by Tamora Pierce

No, I'm not being a smartass. I love Tamora Pierce. All of it. I never felt so empowered as a young girl as when I read about Alanna kicking ass and taking names. I'd watch any movie based on one of Pierce's novels. But I would really want to start with Alanna: The First Adventure. Because then maybe, just maybe, we could get some kind of series going.

Gregor the Overlander

So maybe Suzanne Collins doesn't need anymore money, but I have no issue with putting some in her pockets. I like an author who's not afraid to take on issues of race, the distribution of wealth, voyeurism and gratification.
Gregor the Overlander is not the novel that does this (that's the Hunger Games, people) but it is the first book of what is a solid series that seems to be either underloved or underknown. More kid friendly than the Hunger Games, it still tackles some big issues like truth, destiny and free will. Plus, bonus points for people writing giant bats. This would be a big, cinematic film with all the makings of an entertaining movie: a hero, a villain, and an adventure.

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