ACE TRUCKING CO FTW :D
Seriously would be best movie ever, better yet series, you could stuff your firefly up your bum lol
We're obliged to all those readers who took the time to throw over their nominations for the best sci-fi film never made, and we're delighted to report that we've whittled the contenders down to a final 50. We simply waded through all your emails and comments and picked those titles which had received the most support. On …
Not the Heinlein 'classic' The Number of the Beast. I read a lot of SF, and that is perhaps the worst pile of tripe I have ever had the misfortune of reading. Even now, many years later, the phrase "Gay Bounce" brings back tears of pain. A truly terrible book. I only read the whole thing because I thought that at some stage it would get better. It didn't.
'Startide Rising' on the other hand, I'd vote for that.
His absolute worst is that piece of crap "Fear No Evil" which made me give up trying to read anything else he ever wrote.
Either way, making Heinlein movies into books is a bad move. If they make a good movie out of one of his bug hunt books, his acolytes complain they made it into a bug hunt. If they make anything else he wrote, audiences will ask WTF?
If you look at his stories, some are really good, like the 'Moon is a harsh Mistress'.
But others like 'The cat who could walk through walls' also goes in to his 'series' of stories that play around 'The number of the Beast' story line. And then there are other authors who also wrote about alternative universes. Zelanzy ?sp? is another one.
I recall it as being one of his readable books, but also one of the warning signs. IIRC, at the end of the book he didn't know how to handle one of the primary characters from the thick of the plot, so he killed him off. But it really was "Fear No Evil" that put him on my permanent Do Not Read list. Not a thoughtful experiment, just badly written soft porn.
Number of the Beast was written as a demonstration of bad writing. It backfired because it is actually one of Heinlein's most enjoyable read's imho. Not his best writing, that's for sure, and not his most serious work, but damned good fun.
Fear No Evil was also thoroughly enjoyable purely as a thought experiment... the very embodiment of the "what if" nature of science fiction.
I have to go now... the black hats are coming....
"I recognise almost all of them, and have read more than half!"
Right with you, brother... although I'm slightly lesser geek: recognised only two thirds of them, and read slightly less than half of the list.
This means I'll have several weeks of sleepless nights, until I read everything on the list.
You bastards. :-)
I'd say you'd struggle to fit one of those books into a 10 hour epic, the Reality Dysfunction trilogy (which I assume has made it into the final shortlist) weighs in at 1200 pages per tome, and something on the order of 20-30 main characters. Mindstar is a little smaller and more manageable though, so this would be an easier option, and given its post-Warming setting, somewhat apt for the modern audience.
The Charlie Stross novella "The Concrete Jungle" would be a decent enough one to go for, since you're not going to be dropping a huge amount of new info onto the viewer. So, the Government has departments so secret not even the politicians know about them. OK, and a sci-fi weapons system that relied upon CCTV? So that's why we've got so much of it, eh?
The key here is to involve the viewer in the action quickly, and drop info onto them fairly slowly without too much in the way of info-dumping. Granted the public are then going to want some more of the same regarding Bob Howard, and really there isn't all that much more of his adventures which you can shove into the brain of the average movie-goer without leaving them reeling from shock (although I would like to see the "James Bond on a budget" customised Smart car).
This is the problem with most sci-fi; the average film viewer just does not understand how physics in a vacuum works, so a trick like accelerating an asteroid at a planetary system from a few billion miles away, then exploding it to create a huge, rapidly moving cloud of debris that is just right for clobbering anything in orbit around the planet just won't work. The average viewer thinks "Right, it blew up, it has gone". To correct this you end up doing "Physics for dummies" which isn't enjoyable.
I really wish sci-fi films didn't get made with the public in mind at all. They won't appreciate good sci-fi, so why turn out shitty action flicks with a slight sci-fi flavour for them? I'd rather see sci-fi get made just for a niche audience - ie those who understand enough to appreciate good sci-fi.
It won't make a killing at the box office, though, so it'll never happen. Maybe someone should let execs know just how much geeks are willing to spend on a show if it's really good - first in the cinema, then buying the BluRay, any merchandising, etc. Over time, that'd add up to be way more than box office takings alone ever could.
Hamilton's stuff would work much better as a US-style 26-episode series, though the budget would have to be ridiculous. Something like what they're doing with A Game Of Thrones at the moment. If it were done right for any of his big series it could work really, really well.
Though the length is slightly misleading as the way he writes lends itself extremely well to editing: there are always tons and tons of sub-plots that aren't strictly vital to the central story, and you can cut out as many as you need while the overall flavour and thrust of the story remains the same.
Only 3 Banks novels in this list which leaves at least 4 others (from what I remember in the comments) in contention for the top 50. What will you do after the final vote is cast? Are you going to stump up some cash for the winning movie to be made? No? Oh well... maybe someone with the influence to make it happen will get to see the results, you never know.
The pole was for the greatest sci-fi films NEVER made. I.e. those books people believe would be awesome when turned into a film. And the rule was that none of the stories could have previously been turned into a film (no matter how badly the first time)...
Fail on your reading comprehension...
OK, I'm a bit confused here... The second from last book "Who goes there?" is listed as being written by Bob Shaw. I asumed at firdt that this was the one that the classic movie "The thing from another world" was based upon, but that is credited to Don A Stuart, aka John W Campbell Jr. I can't find anything by that title credited to a Bob Shaw, so what gives?
Not only for not reading the article, but for the incorrect spelling of "poll" as in Polling or voting
(Of course this could also be the pole which is actually a LART = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lart)
There are actually some pretty good bookson that list. Hopefully those on the final list will be awesome. Of course that doesn't mean any of them will actually become films - the Hollywoods suits are just that concerned about the story anymore, it's all about playing it safe by rehashing stories from the past.
I remember seeing a reference to Rocky XXXII in one film- can't recall what it was. I wouldn't bet against seeing that released one day, even if Stallone is dead and decaying.
"The Chrysalids", I remember reading that at school, back when teachers were still allowed to encourage students to think creatively, not just pump 'em full of facts and make them take exams to get government figures up to spec.
Anyway you know full well the second they made of those into films they would be massive abominations with way too much CGI and big named talent that has none to speak of!
for many, many years, before dear old Isaac (bog rest his overworked imagination) decided to go down the future history route, and tie all of his series together. Hardcore Asimov fans don't think of the later books as canon.
It was interesting to see how he did it while the books were being first published, but in hindsight, I think it would have been better keeping R. Daneel Olivaw out of the Foundation stories. It all feels a bit contrived now.
Still, I think that it could be good, but would end up a bit slow for the Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer generations.
I wish the BBC dramatisation of "Caves of Steel" still existed somewhere. If someone has it, they would be a real hero!
...and i thought Nevil Shute's "On The Beach" one of the most depressing books ever.. and it still managed to get made into a film, despite the lack of a happy ending. Still, a remake would probably include zombies and cannibalism, methinks , if made by hollywood..(. they certainly missed the point with "Watchmen"... No wonder Alan Moore gets p*ssed off)
oh I dunno... I thought the 1st Chronicles pretty good.. abit wordy and overlong in places but thats a matter of taste/ editing rather then a specific complaint about the writing.
The 2nd Chronicles OTH were an abomination that should never haveseen the light of day.... not unlike the Gap series.....
Not read much on that list but of those I have I tend to think they'd make pretty awful films...
The Kim Stanley Robinson "Mars" series would be sooooo monumentally plodding and uneventful on the big screen... and as for anything by William Gibson, be careful what you wish for, remember Johnny Mnemonic?
Should be onto a pretty safe bet with Philip K Dick though ;)
This is always followed with, "Hey, I could check it out at the library! Sweet!"
And then, "Oh, right, our library is utterly useless, and couldn't mail-order a book to save their lives."
I grew up with an awesome library, so having the only library in town be a complete waste of time is saddening... and also has put a severe dent in my reading. I'm now limited by budget, rather than check-out limit.
Thomas Covenant as sci-fi?! I think not. Hell, if that's sci-fi then I might as well have suggested Agatha Christie. Good job it got rejected early, for the person concerned not having RTFA, or indeed RTFbook.
Agreed that most of the books there are decent enough, but either
- aren't that good as fiction (step forward Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, Bova and Robinson);
- are too damn long (Tad Williams, I'm looking at you)
- are too much of their time and wouldn't translate to today (Ubik)
- wouldn't work as films (The Difference Engine, Ubik, Out of the Silent Planet)
But if the Atrocity Archives isn't in the shortlist, Mr Flibble will be very unhappy...
FFS save us all from tripe, sub-sub-sub Tolkien, so-so low as not even to be a worthy part of a coal seam deep beneath a blackwell's basement while it still honours a single page of 'The Hobbit' lying obscured, discarded and unloved behind a mass of Social Science research. Not to mention its puerile, nauseating, whinging one-dimensional arsehole of a main character who somehow succeeds in making mycobacterium leprae an even worse horror than it is already... of course with this being Hollywood the Reg has saved us 10 TIMES from the horror of emerging from 'The Land' (I mean, FFS! What imagination!) with slashed wrists and neck burns, ankle deep in the mantraps intended to keep us in the Cinema. Yet alone the directors uncut (we stole the razorblades) 30 Bluray boxed set special edition!!
Hinterlands, Integral Trees, Have Spacesuit, Difference Engine, even Iceworld...those that haven't read this list should not be put off from their rejection.
But I agree, none of these would make compelling movies these days...either too depressing, intellectual, or simply already done in other ways.
But you didn't list Niven's "Protector", so I still have hope for my nomination... :-)
I'm disappointed in that some of Niven's collaborative works got mentioned while a lot of his works from the 70's and 80's did not. Personally I didn't really care for some of his collaborative works...
Niven created an alternative universe which could be made in to both a TV series as well as a series of movies. Protector fits in to Ringworld, Ringworld Engineers, etc...
'A world out of time' also ties in to his earlier works but some of his themes might be too adult for the mainstream audience.
Like others of his era, they use Science Fiction/Fantasy to explore the changes in their current society. (Like the episode of Star Trek where two guys have 1/2 of their face painted Black and the other white... only they are mirror images of themselves trying to question the issue of race... (Stuff like that....) )
So if you have to choose, try and find stories that are:
1) relevant to today's society and social issues.
2) have enough action to satisfy Hollywood.
3) have some bits of drama and comedy intermixed.
I mean there are literally 100's of great stories that could be adapted to tv and movies. Even a safe bet and much better than remaking movies that were done 20-30 years ago and even some of them were remakes of moves from the 20's, 30's and 40's.
I agree that Larry Niven's works would translate well.
Mathew Riley's books would make great action flicks. and his first novel "Contest" would surely qualify as Sci-Fi.
even Ice Station would be a good action movie with an element of Sci-Fi to it. i started reading this book one morning while visiting the gov, got so hooked, that i called in sick and finished the book by afternoon.
I know how the story ends BUT have never made it past book 2... I get halfway through book 3 and have to stop before I lose the will to live completely.
I'd have to say that jack Chalkers books have a similar effct upon me.. I reckon he and Tilley came out of the same writing school
Surely there's a place for the 'Stainless Steel Rat' by Harry Harrison, several good un's in there.
On a related note, I'm pleased that there was a smattering of 2000AD related suggestions, although I'm not sure if Alan Moore would be too happy with an adaptation of Halo Jones. He's not a big fan of movie interpretations of his work.
I don't care about the arguments (as long as Ring World makes it #1 ;) ) however I'll be going through the list to see which I have not yet read and out of those, which authors I've not got a despising for. Should be good for 10+ more for my reading list.
.... but held back because it is not strict sci fi; but then many other suggestions are leaning more to the fantasy genre.
But somebody must have heard my thoughts, as HBO are apparently in talks to film American Gods, with Neil himself on the script writing & production teams - so there is hope for some of our other favourites as well.
I just thought of another series of excellent books, some of which would make great movies.
All the Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold.
Spying, treachery, action, sex, and even a ROYAL WEDDING in one of them. <LOL>
You might even get yer main squeeze to go along to see "A Civil Campaign" if they made it a movie. Sci-Fi-Rom-Com anyone?
First, I do like the story.
But it would be too easy for Hollywood to screw it up and do a horrible job.
The Forever War? That is an excellent story and something which could be made in to a movie, however I think that you may find that parts of the ending story line would not go over too well for certain closed minded individuals.
"Omega Man" was made in to a movie staring C. Heston. Smith stared in the remake.
Going from memory, wasn't I Robot a collection of stories and not a specific story?
What Smith acted in resembled a bastardization of 'Caves of Steel'.
I think the problem we see in adapting sci-fi books to movies is that the directors and actors don't grok the initial storyline so that they hack it to shreds trying to please a crowd of people rather than keeping true to the storyline.
And as well as "Omega Man" and the Will Smith retread, the novel had previously been adapted to film as "The Last Man On Earth" with Vincent Price.
I'm ashamed to say that I've only seen 2 of those 3 movies and somehow never gotten around to reading the original novel. :(
...if the only thing in common is the title, and maybe one or two character names, like just about every James Bond film ever made.
I don't know if I should be proud or disappointed to see that list contain two of my nominations.
I think there's a book in the pocket somewhere...
1. A lot these are comics, some even only published in weekly serials and not even graphic-novelled - do we count comics as valid sci-fi literature now?
2. Is the fact that "The New Statesmen" (Genetic Engineering / Pop Culture missive; not Rick Mayall!) from the 2000AD offshoot Crisis (circa 1988) is missing from the list because is too esoteric or because it appears in the final 50? I await the answer with a worm on my tongue (nanu nanu).
"[D]o we count comics as valid sci-fi literature now?"
Yes, we do. There's been a Hugo category for them since 2009.
(And Watchmen won a Hugo way back when, too, but that was a one-off category that was basically designed just to give Watchmen a Hugo without properly facing up to the debate of a graphic novel category, so we generally don't count that one.)
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (there was a screenplay in the works for this at one time)
Stranger In A Strange Land (I know that Tom Hanks had this one optioned at one point)
Variable Star (Ok, perhaps more Spider Robinson than Heinlein, but still)
Surface Detail (I would LOVE to see the hells on the big screen!)
Consider Phlaebas (can't be bothered to check the spelling right now)
The Master and Margharita (some passing/slight similarities with Heinlein's "Job", to the extent that I wonder if Heinlein was influence by this at all)
"Remake or reboot? Or (shudder) sequel? That will be the question facing cinema audiences confronted by a new, big screen Judge Dredd movie that is to be filmed in South Africa in 2012 . . .
Most people (particularly in the States) will probably know Judge Dredd from the 1995 movie directed by Danny Cannon, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Diane Lane, Rob Schneider, Armand Assante and Max von Sydow. The character however has its roots in the weekly British comic book 2000 AD, where he appeared as long ago as 1977!"....
There's also a fanfilm - Judge Minty! http://www.judgeminty.com/
Would prefer a Ridley Scott directed film though. Blade Runner always reminds me of Robohunter, especially the Verdus series, before "hoagy" showed up.
Frank Herbert will be remembered 200 years from now as one of the strongest writers and most subtle thinkers amongst 20th century sci-fi writers.
Which is exactly why none of his books can be made into good movies - his books make sense only when the reader reads between the lines. Movies do not excel at presenting the stuff that lies between the lines.
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