back to article Vote now for the best sci-fi film never made

Note: This poll is now closed. Thanks to all of you who voted. You can see the final result below... Poll Results Well, the time has come to vote for the best sci-fi movie never made from the list of 50 heavyweight contenders nominated by you, our beloved readers. Before getting down to it, we'd like to point out that we' …


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  1. Another One

    No ALL button?

    'Tis a shame there is no "ALL".

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      "If you can't resist voting more than once, come back in an hour for another go."

      Woot! Can we have a countdown to voting too so we can optimise our time for the next long is the poll open for again?

      1. Naughtyhorse


        at least AV <liddle bid-a-politics there>

    2. Code Monkey


      Not voting at all is effectively a vote for all.

  2. The Jay

    What about...

    So there are a couple of Heinlein entries, however, Stranger in a Strange Land (despite being my choice) would make an epic movie that would be rubbish compared to the book...

    Now if "I Shall Fear No Evil" was up there, THAT would be an awesome movie... the weird twists and dark undertones would make it not only a strong philosophical Sci-Fi but would also be quite a chiller...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      (Off topic) I would have liked...

      A proper adaptation of Starship Troopers.. The Voerhoeven one was sooooooo bad.... The book itself is so interesting on so many levels not explored in the film.

      1. lawman

        I'm glad

        that my choice "Legacy of Heorot" by Niven, Barnes & Pournelle" is unlikely to be made into a film. Having witnessed the travesty that is Starship Troopers I can't imagine what Hollywood would do to screw up such a good story.

        I mean- the whole point about Starship Troopers is that Heinlein was questioning the way our democracy works, about how the right to vote is a right to be earned. The whole war against the bugs is just the backdrop. And Voerhoeven made a film about the backdrop. Doh!

        Every time I reread the book I'm amazed that Heinlein wrote the book to be read by teenagers. He'd been putting out books featuring teenage heroes for about ten years but his publisher turned it down. He took it to another publisher who released it to the mainstream sci-fi market and the rest is history. Without the success of Starship Troopers there would have been no "Stranger in a Strange Land" (which kind of influenced Bowie's film "The Man Who Fell To Earth") and my life would have been poorer for it.

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: I'm glad

          Verhoeven is a lot more subversive than people think he is. Of course Starship Troopers wasn't just about the bugs.

          1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

            I don't know Verhoeven's style all that well

            But, Sarah, if you've not done so already, read Heinlein's Starship Troopers and then compare the themes presented by both. I think you will see there is a big difference.

            Some of the most memorable passages in the book are the discussions between the protagonist and his moral philosophy instructor. As noted by a poster above for example, the argument of the franchise to vote being something that has to be earned. Other interesting discussions are on the reasons of why wars should be fought, why infantry will always be needed...

            Verhoeven made the film into a satire of right wingedness, which is hardly true to the book. It was truly sickening.

            Although this is less of an issue (it's not central to the book to me), to add insult to injury, he made the MobiIe Infantry seem lame - the Japanese anime potrayed the MI in their gorilla suits truer to the novel, but I guess they're used to this powered suit/mecha type thing I guess....

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I don't know Verhoeven's style all that well...

              Erm... So you wanted a film full of intense polemic ...?

              You must be French.

  3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

    This is hard...

    I dunno, I dunno, I dunno.... I'll have to go re-read some of these.

    1. Trollslayer
      Thumb Up


      One of the best things about this poll.

  4. Nash

    HG Wells

    Where is War of the Worlds???

    or Blade Runner???

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Not your strong point?

    2. Heynonynonymous


      Haven't they already been made into films?

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Where is?

      <<Where is War of the Worlds???

      or Blade Runner???>>

      Because this is a list of Films that have never been made.

      "War of the Worlds" made about x5 if you count DVD of Jeff Wayne's (which is better to watch than most of the "straight" flims), not counting the at least two sequels!


      Blade Runner is the FILM title. The book is "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

    4. Andy Fletcher


      ...sorry Nash, looks like at least nine people don't know what irony is eh? Or worse, 9 people thought those were "films" rather than "crimes against humanity".

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Shame Fail

        I'm sure we know perfectly well what irony is, however the following quote is taken from the original article:

        "Your nomination should not ever have been made into a film, no matter how bad the result"

        So while irony may have been the intent, the result was far more like idiocy.

        1. Andy Fletcher
          Thumb Up

          So in summary....

          My reply to Nash's ironic posting was in itself idiotic but not to be outdone my idiot post has been replied by a pedantic one. Everybody wins!

          1. Richard Scratcher

            What about War of the Worlds II ?

            The Earth Strikes Back?


            We capture a Fighting Machine, learn how to make 'em ourselves and then wallop!

            Our turn to do some wiping out! Whoosh with our Heat Ray.

            Whoosh! And them running and dying, beaten at their own game.

            Man on top again!

            1. John G Imrie

              Re: What about War of the Worlds II

              There's one problem with your plot. You missed the part where humanity is wiped out by the Common Martian Splob virus.

              1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                @John G Imrie

                There is an answer to that:

                With just a handful of men,

                We'll start,

                We'll start all over again!

                Take a look around you at the world we've come to know,

                Does it seem to be much more than a crazy circus show?

                Maybe from the madness something beautiful will grow...

            2. Captain DaFt

              You never heard of the sequel, "Edison's Conquest of Mars"?

              Written by Garrett Putman Serviss, it was the first Science fiction story to feature disintegrator guns, space suits, and the first book to claim the Martians built the pyramids.

              It was written as a sequel to "War of The Worlds", and it is one of the cheesiest, Deus Ex Machina filled books you'll ever read! Here's the Gutenburg link if anyone's interested:


            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              That's largely the plot of Footfall

              The major plot elements of Footfall go:

              * Aliens attempt to invade earth

              * Humans (Merkins naturally) build a homebrew war machine

              * Humans kick relevant portions of alien anatomy

              * Aliens surrender

              * Humans win.

            4. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

              War of the worlds II

              Actually, there was a (at least one! possibly more) pulp sci fi novel sequel, I just can't remember what it was called. Apparently Thomas Edison or some scientist of the period discovered some way to make space ships and as the story went we went up to Mars to whup ass... I'm shitting you not, I just can't remember the title. Yes, it was forgettable.

            5. IsJustabloke

              I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

              Actually, there is already a "War of teh worlds II" its shown ad nauseum on the horror channel, which TBF is the best place for it because it is truly horrible

    5. Conrad Longmore

      I think you'll find..

      I think you'll find that they've been filmed already..

    6. Sir Runcible Spoon


      rather missed the point there Nash I'm afraid

    7. Willington


      Have you ever seen any of the movies on this list?

    8. Iainn

      House Rules

      Difficult to decide whether this is a simple troll as we've now had 2 previous topics on this... or if this guy just missed the bus.

    9. Dapprman

      Did you read the title ?

      Firstly War of the Words - been made as a movie 2 or 3 times now and also has had a TV series.

      Secondly Blade Runner - this was Only a movie, and I challenge you to read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and think it's a great book.

  5. irish donkey

    Wot no multiple votes

    what sort of democracy is this...?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      We want AV!!

      How the fuck am I supposed to choose just one! Impossible.

    2. Willington

      No AV here!

      Quite clearly a FPTP system.

      Vote for AV!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      dont you mean

      "wot, no AV"?

    4. lglethal Silver badge

      Its called Plurality Voting

      Also known as First-Past-The-Post...

      But your welcome to turn any of the other ones into movies as you like... Just follow the rules about Michael Bay, Paris and Lindsay Lohan, ok?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    So many choices...

    Found myself scanning the list, picking one, then changing it as I continued down the list, thinking oooh, now that one would be... no, wait, this one... aargh! Can't we just have them all?

  7. irish donkey

    Rendezvous With Rama

    Not sure if I want to see this made by Hollyruined!

    Better just watch this short on Vimeo instead:

    1. Anonymous Coward


      You've now posted that link enough times that I will have to take a look tonight when I get home.

      One thing though, are you Aaron Ross?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. irish donkey

        Just too good to miss....

        And no I'm not Aaron.

        if I had the money I would give it to him just to see the whole film.

        Just trying to help out ther poor creatives.

        enjoy when you get home and challenge you not to say WOW!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up


          Spot on! That was well worth the watch, hell of a talented guy. Thanks for the link. I'd recommend it to anyone else reading...

  8. John I'm only dancing

    The Creeping Terror

    Was a brillant film so I'm not sure CGI type remake would do it justice

    1. Jake Rialto 1

      Never heard of that one...let me Google it.

      From Wikipedia -

      The Creeping Terror is widely considered to have been one of the worst films of all time...

  9. liquidphantom


    the hell was Market Forces on that list?

    1. Gordon 10

      Coz it's inferior to altered carbon

      Good book but see above

  10. Mage Silver badge


    Too hard....

    Possibly pick what will be good Hollywood and won't look trash compared to book.

    i.e. Footfall rather than Foundation.

  11. Goatan


    Sure I saw a manga animation of this ages ago

    1. Cthonus


      Lensman was an anime series from the mid 80's but diverged wildly from the original books.

      Dorsai I believe is currently being made as a *children's* series... (

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Yep Lensmen should be be removed from the list. It has already been ruined.

      Dragon Riders and The Honor series should be made into Five season series and not movies. You can't get stories like them down to a two or three hour movies format.

      1. AdamWill


        That one where she escapes from prison which was a Prisoner of Zenda rip-off would work great as a standalone movie.

    3. Term

      Yep seen it

      wackypedia says that the anime was made in 1984.

      Therefore it shouldn't be in this list.

  12. Heynonynonymous

    Getting old

    For decades I have been convinced Neuromancer would make an amazing movie but properly reconsidering it now I've just realised how dated it is. Bye bye another part of my youth...

    1. Esteis

      Try the BBC's radio play of Neuromancer

      It is magnificent. Everything you could wish for in an adaptation, and more. Especially the voice casting and acting – Armitage, the Dixie Flatline, Molly, Peter Riviera, Maelcum – is inspired, I can still hear the characters and their lines in my head.

      One Daniel was kind enough to put it up (after writing to the BBC repeatedly, and receiving no reply).

      However, we probably ought to use the torrent, lest we wreck his bandwidth allotment for the month.

      On a related note: It's a crying shame that the World Service's entire radio drama department got axed in the recent cuts. :-(

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You won't have to wait too long to get it back then,

      1. Msan

        Agree a lot of William Gibsons work has dated badly...

        That whole cyberpunk thing covered for a lot of bad writing, and Gibson is one cack handed kick, his only strength being the actual story idea. A lot of his books and short stories have been optioned - but after the fiasco that was 'Johnny Mnemonic', who knows?

        On the plus side Abel Ferrara really kicked ass with his adaption of 'New Rose Hotel' - starring Chris Walken, Willen De Foe and Asia Argento, but that was one of his 'techy' stories and had a relationship at it's heart.

    3. Daniel B.
      Thumb Up

      Not so dated

      It is probably still far away from what we have, the Matrix was basically the Internet with a VR interface. They even had their "home location", as Case always appeared near the Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority, no matter where he was jacking in from. The only thing dated is the fact that it occurs a couple of decades after WW3 between the US and the *Soviet Union*. Orson Scott was able to sidestep on this simply making the "Warsaw Pact" the "NEW Warsaw Pact" in Ender's Game.

      I would still like a Neuromancer movie, though some people might think it's a Matrix ripoff instead of the other way 'round.

  13. Chris Miller

    May I suggest

    An AV system?

    Kudos to Lester and the Reg readership - I'd be happy to pay money to watch any of these titles*. This won't stop Hollywood screwing them up, of course.

    Well, apart from 'Dragonriders of Pern', obviously.

  14. Trollslayer


    To many great books and too much to squeeze into a mere week of film per book!

    The Culture books by Ian M. Banks are epic but couldn't be shown properly on the screen.

  15. Jonathan 29

    Not Foundation

    I understand Foundation is in pre-production and almost soon to be ruined by Roland Emmerich. Probably should be replaced by something else.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Radio kills the video star

      BBC Radio 4 dramatised the Foundation Trilogy in the mid-70s - it was superb and it turned me on to Asimov. The special effects were wonderful - imagination is far better than any CGI could be. It's out there on the interwebs if you want to hear it - in eight glorious 1hr episodes. Perfect for commuters.

      1. Anomalous Cowturd
        Thumb Up

        Re: Radio kills the video star.

        My Plug is currently downloading the torrent.

        Thanks for reminding me.

        Have a thumb...

      2. Term

        I remember that...

        I was young and fell asleep listening to it but I still remember how it started.

      3. Anomalous Cowturd

        And a BIG thank you to...

        62.254.***.*** for seeding all of mine so far.

        Will seed for at least a month.

        Say cheese.

  16. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

    Wot no AV?

    Missed a trick would make an interesting demonstration.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Don't make me choose!!

    It's just not fair that there is no "ALL" button - I loved so many of these stories I just can't choose!!!

    Paris: because I feel I've been screwed!!

  18. Adrian Jones

    Sorry, can't do this

    There are too many there that I want to see.

    If only there were a voting system which allowed me to select several options and order them according to my preferences.

  19. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Sounds good

    "Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan...get blown"

    Oh, sorry I was think of another film genre!

    Thanks, its the dirty mac with the cinema tickets and tissues thanks...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thomas Covenant?

    ... don't think its been a film at least

    1. Gordon 10

      But gap cycle would make a far better film imho

      As above

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon


        Agreed about the Gap books, but do you really think Hollywood could render the darker stuff from those books and do them justice? Downright dark some bits were, a really good example of story driven sci-fi (i.e. more about the people than the toys).

        In the end I had to vote for the Rat, coz he is a childhood favourite and fairly trivial for Hollywood to translate. D-U-P.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      My first thought too

      Well, actually my first thought was "Damn, what's the name of the one about the leper?"

      The great thing about it is that it isn't action-packed and therefore can't be ruined by turning it into a CGI fest.

    3. AdamWill

      It was in...

      ...the runners-up list.

      1. BorkedAgain
        Thumb Down

        Good God no.

        I read through six of those bloody Thomas Covenant novels, waiting for them to get to the good part. "Surely there must be a good part coming, any time soon!" I thought to myself.

        I was wrong.

        There is no good part.

        And don't tell me it gets good if you read the next trilogy or the next because I'm not giving that guy any more of my life. I'd rather read Mills and frickin Boon.

        Okay, that was a bit harsh, but still...

  21. Chris Eaton

    Drinks all round - thanks guys

    The best present ever from all Reg readers for me - a really nice comprehensive list of great sci-fi books - many thanks:)

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      I was thinking that

      What with this list and the also-rans, there is a solid, well-recommended library.

      Now what was the tale about time machines like motorbikes that included the butterfly effect before mathematicians ever thought of it?

      1. Anomalous Cowturd
        Thumb Up

        Re: I was thinking that

        I saw what you did there!

        Or am I being slow?

        No Ironic icon...

        Pick up a hitcher?

  22. Keith 21

    Some excellent...

    ...suggestions there, it was hard to pick just one as so many would make excellent films (handled properly).

    But whoever wins, please let it NOT be that overhyped bloody Neuromancer! I finally gave in and read it last year, after being frequently told it was the best SciFi story ever and aother such hype, only to find it was a mediocre story at best *shudder*

    1. AdamWill

      Try his more recent books...

      ...starting with All Tomorrow's Parties and working forwards. Somewhere around ATP he suddenly became a much, much better writer; his earlier books were more 'interesting-for-the-ideas' stuff, which obviously becomes less compelling as technology move on. Spook Country and Zero History are both wonderfully written books and two of my favourites of any genre from the last few years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Isint ATP the ending to a trilogy that started with Virtual Light?

        1. AdamWill

          Something like that

          Yeah, something like that, but it's definitely the point where his writing style got a lot more interesting, and his books usually work fine as standalones anyway. But you can always skip it and go to Pattern Recognition if you like.

      2. Keith 21
        Thumb Up

        Ta for the tip...

        ...I shall give those a try some time then.

        I've nothing against the author, no problem with trying some of his newer work especially as you have said how much you feel he has improved.

        It's just that bloody book that I don't like given all the worship and hype which surrounds it!

        Mind you, he'll have to wait, I'm currently thoroughly enjoying my journey through Peter F Hamilton's excellent Evolutionary Void :-)

    2. Term
      Thumb Up

      Good but...

      Hardwired was better, by Walter Jon Williams.

  23. Kelvin Clements

    Dragonriders of Pern

    I read last week in the Anne McCaffrey web site ( that this is in going to be adapted into a film. see link

  24. George Kapotto


    (If the Canadian election had this many great candidates I wouldn't care who won.)

    I wrestled with all the necessary criteria: Suspense, action, cool aliens, cool technology, a distinct and comprehensible ending that could translate to the silver screen (in < 3hours).

    I had a personal favorite but the author's prose was so beautifully rich and the ideas so complex that I would likely have to burn the book after seeing what Hollywood did with it. (For those who remember, sort of like Postman. Damn you to hell, Kevin Costner!)

    In the end, I discovered that my opinion was shared by many people so here's hoping that Hollywood is listening.

  25. David Hicks


    Also can we please make it a decent version of the book? There are so many terrible adaptations.

    For instance - everyone involved in "I, Robot" and the Tom Cruise version of "War of the Worlds" needs to be taken out back and put down like a lame racehorse. Either that or just barred from making more movies, you know...

    1. Daniel B.

      You've seen the original War of the Worlds, right?

      It was kind of an insult to the book. By the end of the movie, you could swear that the Martians were prayed to death!

      Interestingly, the Spielberg remake was actually truer to the story, but ruined by changing the main character from "separated from wife during the first attacks" to "father of two stupid and incredibly annoying brats". Dakota Fanning's character is a jackass that adds nothing to the plot. And then they had to stick the stupid family plot at the expense of cutting out better stuff: the main character's brother's adventures are mostly shaved off and partially added to the main character's plot; they also fused the likeable drunken artillery soldier with the least likeable character: the despiseable vicar.

      But all in all, it was kinda truer to the book.

      1. BorkedAgain

        Apart from...

        ...the whole "they buried their tech under our civilisation millennia ago then teleported into it when they felt like doing it for real" thing, you mean? Plus making it modern-day and U-S-of-A.

        Still, I get your point. It had its moments. That booming call the fighting machine made as it activated was pretty blummin effective...

        1. Daniel B.

          Oh dear ...

          I had forgotten about the whole "stuff buried zillions of years ago" bit. Yeah, that didn't make sense. The whole "it's in the US instead of Britain" was also done in the original movie, and the (in)famous radio broadcast by Orson Welles.

          To be fair, there *was* an attempt at doing a War of the Worlds movie in its original 1890's setting and geographical locations. Unfortunately, this was made by The Asylum of "Transmorphers", "Snakes on a Train" and "Terminators" fame. According to those who watched it, the movie adapted all the boring parts of the book and extended them.

  26. g e

    So many classics

    An ALL button would be good.

    Glad EON by Greg Bear made it to the list, and Ender's Game, too.

    Is it too late to nominate Stephen King's Gunslinger series? (Is that maybe not scifi?) :oD

  27. Chris Eaton

    Mars Attacks

    Also my vote would be stranger in a strange land which is an amazing book;although thinking about it some of it seems ideal as a film but then I think it might kill some of the magic of the story trying to capture it like that.

  28. John G Imrie

    The Gap Series

    Would be an 18 if it was done properly, and Hollywood seams to have an aversion to 18 cert sci-fi

  29. Conrad Longmore
    Thumb Up


    Well.. that's a seriously good reading list if nothing else. I've read about half of those, perhaps I need to read the other half.



    ..the polling stands at 24% for Mote, so I know there are a lot of Niven and Pournelle fans out there.. but have you READ Footfall? I don't think you could get much more awesome a movie than that..

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Couldn't get much more awesome than Footfall?

      Baby elephants invade Kansas by parachute. I agree, that's a pretty cinematic scene. And Michael going up would be pretty spectacular as well. This got my vote, because I think you could make a good 2 hour film without buggering up the story. I see a lot of unfilmable books in that list.

      Probably my favourite would be Downbelow Station, but it's complicated. I have a feeling that filming almost anything by Cherryh would make me have to go out and buy a chainsaw plus tickets to Hollywood. Can you take a chainsaw as hand luggage on a plane?

      Starship Troopers probably isn't all that bad a film, but it's not Starship Troopers, so I hate it. Mel Gibson's Edge of Darkness remake had me reaching for my Chainsaws'R'Us catalogue, but I managed to hold back. There's a few things there which could go horrendously wrong.

      1. John Gamble

        Pity There Isn't A "Top Five" Option In HTML

        Yeah, there are multiple choices there that I wanted to click (there were also a couple that I wanted to vote "you're kidding right? That piece of crap made the list?").

        I finally went with Downbelow Station. But it was close.

      2. Robert E A Harvey

        Star ship troopers

        "not that bad a film"????


        It was even more vile than Avatar. Unsubtle, bombastic, trash. Not sure what the american eqivalent of jingoism is, but thats what it was 99.9% of the time. UShigh school coming-of-age-stock story line in Rio? ugh. Vietnam war style dropship troops in space? urgh. Ugly=bad? bleearch.

        Nastyy, lowest common denominator yah-hoo trailer trash fodder without any artistic merit.


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re: Star ship troopers (REA Harvey)

          "Unsubtle, bombastic, trash" ... well, yes, there was indeed a lot of that; and the lack of subtlety, bombast, and trashiness of it was deliberate.

      3. MJI Silver badge


        Borrow this one

  30. Kevin Johnston

    Voting Reform

    Could we not have a nod to the forthcoming referendum and list them by order of preference...please...pretty about just our top ten then...huh?

    1. Rattus Rattus

      @Kevin Johnston

      Top ten? How about top forty-five?

  31. fourlights

    Hyperion already in production??

  32. Bruno Girin

    Any of the Ian M Banks

    would be great! Or probably completely wasted by being put on the big screen.

    @Nash: RTFA, it's about films that were NEVER made.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Night's Dawn??

    A difficult choice, to be sure, and without wanting to make it any harder surely you could have picked one of Peter F. Hamilton's better books? ie One of the single novels and not the multi-parters that just seem to go on forever! (All I remember from Night's Dawn is the mud...)

    1. AdamWill


      'One of the single novels'? He's only written two and a half. Lightstorm is a kid's book. Fallen Dragon is more or less a condensed edition of Night's Dawn. I'd count Misspent Youth as sort-of standalone, though it's been partially retconned into the Commonwealth continuity...but it's also by far the worst book he ever wrote and one of the worst I have the dubious honor of owning.

      I think most PFH fans would pick one or other of the giganto-series as their favorite.

      1. getHandle

        You need to go further back

        Mindstar Rising, etc...

        1. AdamWill

          That's a trilogy

          That's a trilogy, the Greg Mandel trilogy.

  34. TeeCee Gold badge
    Dead Vulture

    Hmm, something not right.

    Why didn't you roll all the Banks "Culture" novels in as one entry? There are a few others in there that are series of books rather than specific titles of the series.

    Should I vote for the Apples or the Pears here?

    1. AdamWill


      The Culture books are pretty independent of each other, they're rarely just the-next-600-pages-of-the-plot stuff like the ones that are rolled up into series as options. So it makes sense to have them separately; some are much more filmable than others, and filming one wouldn't naturally lead to filming the others as sequels if it were successful, because of how little they have to do with each other.

      Fr'instance, I voted for Use of Weapons, but I wouldn't ever vote for Excession, though at first glance it seems more filmable (i.e. lots of shiny spaceships zooming about).

    2. OrsonX

      Use Of Weapons or Consider Phlebas

      UoW* is the better book, bit I voted CP as I think it'd make a better film, particularly as it sets the Culture as the baddies!

      Personally I'd love to see Inversions made into a movie, with the absolute stipulation that the means of the lead female characters escape trick isn't revealed... let the viewer decide if she's a witch or whatever.

      *Use of Weapons is one of the best Culture books, I've read it a few times..... but am never quite sure what happens at the end? Your explainations are welcome!

      1. AdamWill


        I refuse to explain the end of UoW as it would be a huge spoiler for anyone who hasn't read it :) I never thought it was too tricky to understand, though? Remember to keep the chapter structure in mind so you have the chronological order of everything right.

        The structure and the ending of UoW would both work great in a movie and are the main reasons I think it'd be the best of the books as a movie (closely followed by Inversions, which I don't think was on the list), but CP could certainly work if well adapted, it has lots of bits which could be filmed really well for sure.

        1. OrsonX

          Synopsis needed!

          chapter stucture eh?

          to be honest I must have read it a fair few times... and never quite got it, doh!

          I'll have to try harder!

          1. AdamWill


            I haven't read it for a while, but it's roughly this - both odd and even numbered chapters start off around the middle of the story; odd numbered chapters move forwards towards the denouement, evenly numbered chapters move backwards towards the beginning...but the whole thing's very cleverly structured so that the revelations at the end of the book (and hence _both_ the very end _and_ the very beginning of the story) work perfectly together. It's really very cunning. (And it wasn't actually Banks' idea, he credits someone else for it in the intro, I forget who - maybe Ken MacLeod?)

  35. Dapprman
    Thumb Up

    Quite a hard one

    There are a few damn fine reads on there that I can't see being too successful as a sci fi movie - which is a shame (big A Canticle for Leibowitz fan here).

    It's also interesting to note how the same authors keep cropping up (not a bad thing if you ask me)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Quite a hard one...

      You needed the paris icon on that...

    2. Nigel 11

      Filming Canticle

      "A Canticle for Liebowicz" could make a great movie, but would almost certainly be made into a truly dreadful travesty of the book. It's chances would be somewhat better if it were made into a 2-hour drama or 3-episode series by an independent TV company or by the BBC (please? ). Unlike most, it could manage with a very small special effects budget. Spend the money on good actors instead.

      Why probable travesty? Because most directors would not put their prejudices aside and let the characters speak for themselves. In a book the author can let you know where he stands without warping his characters. In a film, that can't be done.

      BTW, it could also make an excellent stage play, unlike just about any of the others. Even better chance of getting it right in that format?

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Wot no Asher

    Would have voted for Neal Asher's The Skinner if it had made the list.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Mote In God's Eye?

    Gonna have to look that one up since it is winning...

    1. Ian 56

      <title here>

      And with 100x the votes of any other competitor, I smell a rat...

      1. Jedit Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        And not a stainless steel one

        Though it does appear someone has read The Stainless Steel Rat For President. Julio Zapilote couldn't have rigged a vote better.

        1. Trevor 3

          Stainless Steel Rat

          Would make an awesome set of films.

          Its got the right mix of humour, stunts and Angelina desperately trying to be good.

          Stainless Steel Rat gets Drafted would be a good one. Or the one where he ends up on Kekkonshiki with the grey men. Or any of the time travelling ones. Saves the world was quite good and has an apocalyptic view of Earth, or Dirt.

          So many to choose!

    2. bnt

      On the Gripping Hand ...

      That's what I voted for, and was pleasantly surprised to see it in front. I don't think it's _quite_ the greatest SF book ever written, but it would make a seriously cracking movie, so I think the poll is right.

      1. IsJustabloke

        I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

        No... No.... a million times NO.

        The Gripping Hand should have been strangled at birth. It really should never have been written. I bought it and took it on holiday with me, I thought it so bad that it darn near ruined my hols!

        The Mote tho... oh, yes please, make a proper film of that please.

        TBF tho' I'd say yes to pretty much all of those, the notable exceptions being E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensmen / Skylark stuff.

        except maybe unless they were done as kids movies and then I think they might work.

    3. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      That's the great thing about this series of articles....

      I remember Jerry Pournelle from Byte, I knew he was writing sci fi but never got round to reading his stuff, kind of because he was just "Jerry" from "Chaos Manor" and I was kind of more used to reading his column more than anything.

      I must remedy this...

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        He still writes the colum

        Should you be interested.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    What happend to the AV system?? :-p

    I own about 90% of the books on the final list; Enders Games SHOULD make a great film, but the previews I have seen of the upcoming film do not look good; they seem to have gone for CGI over the actual storyline.

    Downbelow Station gets my vote because it is a great story AND has plenty of room for great CGI space battle scenes.

    If we get this made, perhaps they will get really brave and do "The Pride of Chanur" next; I am sure all the lolcat fans would love it.

    I think a couple are great books but unsuitable for conversion; I do not see how "A Fire Upon the Deep" (Or a Deepness in the Sky), could be translated into a film that would capture more than a tiny fraction of the storyline.

    I think EE Doc Smith's stuff, would make great Manga; and "The Stainless Steel Rat" would make a great TV series !!!

    (Mines a gfi thanks!!)

    1. Trevor 3

      Mines a Syrian Panther Sweat...

      Followed by 2 drive right pills.

      I don't think that SSR would be good for telly. Jim DiGriz is a pill popping junky. Especially in the later books.

      I think I still have the SSR For President comics somewhere though as HH wrote a version for 2000AD

    2. Nigel 11

      A Fire upon the deep

      True, far too much to make into one movie. Would work as a series (but how to afford the special effects in something made for TV?) Anime?

      Sad, because it has something I haven't found elsewhere in literature (except possibly, Lord of the Rings). A sense of what it's like to be caught up in vast events ot only utterly beyond one's control but beyone one's comprehension, armed with little more than hope that one might be able to do something rather than nothing.

      (Also the really cool idea that interstellar FTL bandwidth might be measured in mere bits per second, making the galactic net look a lot like the internet of the early 90s! )

  39. aurelian

    Dan Dare?

    Has there been a movie of this that I somehow blocked out - like the Judge Dredd movie that people keep trying to tell me was made but I know never actually happened..

  40. seven of five

    I *would* vote,

    but wouldn´t Hollywood ruin it anyway?

    So why let them choose which of my memories they are to trample on?

  41. Ally J

    Can I be the first to complain

    - that some of these are already (so we're told) in production? (Not naming names, so as not to interfere with the voting.)

    1. AdamWill


      For two reasons:

      1) you're not the first.

      2) the article specifically calls this out and justifies it.

      Back of the class!

  42. JonP
    Paris Hilton

    problem is...

    ...most of these would make REALLY bad films. The bits that make these books special (and i'll admit to only having read maybe 60% of them ) just wouldn't translate to the 'big screen'.... saying that i think Altered Carbon would (and the sequels) so it got my vote despite the fact it's not one of the better books on the list...

    Paris - gotta be an obvious casting for Hari Seldon!

  43. AbortRetryFail

    Some wouldn't work

    All great books, but some just wouldn't work.

    For example, Snow Crash predicts a Metaverse and we now have them. Plus, like a lot of Neal's work it would be fairly inpenetrable for the average Joe.

    Cryptonomicon even more so.

    The Legacy of Heorot is "Aliens done properly" and people would just see it as a remake of Aliens.

    Ringworld would be interpreted as Halo, even though it predates it.

    Deathworld would be seen as another Starstip Troopers - all guns and shooting aliens and... actually, that sounds pretty good. :o)

    1. David Evans


      I kind agree about a lot of these not working (I made that very point about Snow Crash and Ringworld in the original vote), but I don't agree about Cryptonomicon; it would need a great script, but I think it would be actually pretty accessable as a combined thriller/action movie. On the gripping hand, I've voted for Moties anyway.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    "maintain a decorative silence"

    That's what I'm here for honey.

  45. Terry Cloth


    C'mon, you're not gonna maintain that there's any real relationship between the book and the movies of the same name?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the mini series...

      was much better then the film

  46. Ian 56


    Neuromancer on the single condition that Keanu Reeves has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

  47. Whitter

    Just one vote?

    Haven't you heard of AV?

    I didn't vote for my fav book, but rather the one I thought would best adapt to film.

    Seems I went the same way as everyone else then!

  48. Graham Bartlett

    @Thomas Covenant?

    Already voted off, sorry. You've got the Gap Cycle instead though, which is better in many ways. (At least it doesn't repeat itself anyway. The third chronicles - WTF was the point of that?)

  49. PatC

    Where's ..


    .. "REG Finally Gets Global Warming"

    .. or should they go under Fantasy ..?

  50. TonyHoyle

    I vote none

    I really don't want to see any more good books ruined by Hollywood.

    If the producer of I, Robot is publically flogged, hung, drawn, and quartered, then his ashes thrown into the sun, then I might start to respect Hollywood.

  51. Mage Silver badge

    Will Lewis Get a vote?


  52. Colin Millar

    Do we get to choose the director?

    If so I'd go with The City and The City by the Coen Bros

    But - if it has to be from the list I guess Stainless Steel Rat by Paul Verhoeven

    1. AdamWill


      "If so I'd go with The City and The City by the Coen Bros"

      oh, ten points! nice call, sir.

  53. lawndart

    And now, Lester, we need:

    The best SF short stories to be made into an episode in a series of half-hour TV programmes (Varley's "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank" has already been done).

    The best High Fantasy novels never filmed.

    I must admit, my mouse hovered over Mote for an interminably long time before suddenly clicking on Titan.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      High Fantasy...

      Just remember they've already done World of Warcraft.

      Can't remember who first documented the similarities - it's out on the net somewhere... but... remember this film?

      1. Noob huntard aggros mobs in forest.

      2. Gets saved by high level huntard. Some power levelling maybe..

      3. Levels up and eventually does his mount quest.

      4. Eventually even gets his epic flying mount.

      5. Epic end-game raid vs boss.

      6. Most importantly, protagonist has issues getting back to reality.

      Also, consider... all the CGI has been seen one way or another in WoW... ie floating islands in the sky in Nagrand etc...

      The film was called Avatar....

  54. James Micallef Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    I am humbled by the realisation that there are so many apparently great sci-fi books I haven't read (or even, in some cases, heard of).

    Nice reading list !

  55. MJI Silver badge


    It seems that you have voted already (or maybe someone else on the same IP did it - nn.nn.nn.nn). If you can't resist voting more than once, come back in an hour for another go

  56. David Given
    Thumb Up

    For anyone who voted for Eon...

    ...a few years ago CGSociety did a competition to produce full film trailers for a non-existent movie adaptation of Eon. And they hauled in Greg Bear to do the judging. You can watch them here:

    They look pretty decent but, of course, are not how I would have done it.

    1. MJI Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      We could get good films

      If we use new up and coming talent, involve the author (if still around), and keep it away from Hollywood.

      Some of those student examples are really good.

  57. Nash
    Dead Vulture


    ...i did missread the title, and for that, i have suffered the consequences, i have brought shame on my family and for that i must be punished. PUNISHED I TELL YOU!!!!!!

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    old fashioned

    Hmm, there are some really old fashioned titles in this list - anything by Jerry Pournelle tends to read like something from the vietnam war era while of course the Lensman series makes the first ever TV series of Star Trek look contemporary in comparison. Some Heinlein and early Asimov also feel dated, but other work by the same guys wears its age much better.

    ( I'm talking about writing style, depiction of characters/society, etc, not any technology/science )

  59. Titus Aduxass


    I'm gutted there aren't any Robert Silverberg stories in there.

    I'm even more gutted I failed to nominate any...

    1. nyelvmark
      Thumb Up


      A good thought - "Up The Line" would make a great comedy. Silverberg is also very long on description, which is good for conversion to movie format. But see my longer comments later.

  60. Sim

    PK Dick -'Man in the high castle' already in production

    Blade Runner director Ridley Scott is returning to the work of the late Philip K. Dick to executive produce a BBC TV adaptation of one of the American sci-fi writer's novels.

    Howard Brenton, the playwright and Spooks writer, is adapting Dick's Hugo award-winning dystopian novel The Man in the High Castle into a four-part BBC1 mini-series.

  61. sisk

    So many good choices

    It's a tough choice...gonna have to think about this one.

    Though I do have to say I think some of my favorites on the list are much better off being left on paper. Some of them, while damn good books, wouldn't transition well to the big screen. There are others that it would break my heart to see cut down to a point that you could actually get them into a movie that people would sit through.

  62. Aldous
    Thumb Up


    i have half of this list and consider them amazing books. looks like i need to go get the other half now. thanks for the recommendations el reg

  63. Gobhicks

    Pavlov's Dogs

    "Sci-Fi related list" and they're like fanbois on a Jobs bigjob.

  64. Jeremy Bresley
    Thumb Down


    I'm disappointed Reg. Not a single Pratchett title on the list? The entire Discworld series would be my first choice to be made. Give it the LoTR treatment and release the director's cut to the theaters.

    1. Tom 38
      Thumb Up

      @Jeremy Bresley: Discworld is not SF

      It's Fantasy. I went right off SF once I discovered Discworld though. Thumbs up for Discworld.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      not after Sky...

      ...destroyed Going Postal - I still haven't watched the second half of that and I've had the DVD since it first came out (over a year ago ?).

      Also of course its not sci fi, but then I'd say one or two titles on the list aren't really sci fi either.

      1. Tom 38

        I quite liked Sky's Going Postal

        I thought Richard Coyle (Jeff from Coupling :) had Moist down to a tee.

        Although whoever thought Rincewind was a 70 year old David Jason deserves to be hung, drawn and quartered, particularly for the first two books, where he is described as young.

        Truly, truly awful, every single adaptation he has been in.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      not after Sky...

      ...destroyed Going Postal - I still haven't watched the second half of that and I've had the DVD since it first came out (over a year ago ?).

    4. nyelvmark

      Discworld isn't SF

      If you want to read science fiction by Pratchett, he wrote 2 such books. "Strata" and uhhh.. google it. I seriously don't recommend it, though.

    5. Term


      Not Fantasy, there is a difference. But saying that Strata could be on the list as it was about a Sci-Fi Discworld.

  65. Anonymous Coward


    Yeah, 'Use of Weapons' for me. Is Banks stuff inherently a bit unfilmable though? Just assuming some sort of budgetry contraints here.

    My vote for best sci-fi book least likely to ever be made into a movie: 'Star Maker'.

  66. Stevie


    Zelazny's "Jack of Shadows" would be more filmable than half those listed, and more watchable than all the Neal Stephenson ones, which arguably would be better reserved for mini-series a-la "Game of Thrones".

    I love that some nitwit thinks four multihundred page books will film in about 2 hours. Yes, by all means let us have a "Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle" in the definitive Director's Cut. I'm sure they won't leave much of it out.

    And all those books that hinge on politics. Those should film with as much success as "Dune" did (both times). Can't wait.

  67. N_Wanzer

    Oh come on!

    How am I supposed to vote when I want to see 50% of them. I have to pick just ONE!? You are cruel. Very Cruel! I can't put into words just how painful this is.

  68. chromoplastic

    Gordon R. Dickson's Time Storm

    Damn! I missed this post the first time so it's late to submit it, but Gordon R. Dickson's Time Storm is one of my favorite scy-fi books and i think it would be a fantastic movie. Well, i think there's no movie based on it, correct me if i'm wrong.

  69. Andrew Baines Silver badge

    Can we unmake I, Robot

    If I, Robot could be unmade, could we then add it to the list to make again, but properly this time (ie by someone who has read the books)

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Converse All-Stars are cool.

    2. Gavin McMenemy

      I' Robot

      To all of you that are complaining about I Robot.

      It wasn't originally intended to be have Asimov's name attached. It was originally going to be called Hardwired but the producers secured the license to use the name late in the production cycle. You CANNOT, repeat for the hard of thinking - CANNOT, make a single film out I Robot because it has no narrative. It's a collection of short stories for god's sake. Please pay attention at the back.

      Just think that I Robot is film of the same name about rebellious robots and leave it at that.

      1. Stevie


        Actually, I rather like the script Harlan Ellison wrote for doing just what you say cannot be done.

        It's been around for decades.

  70. Trevor 3

    Why so negative against the Skylark series?

    Oh yeah, maybe its the blatant sexism!

    And the fact that every exciting bit is written in a completely off hand and boring way.

    Oh I've invented a perfect sphere of force. Oh no! We're being attacked by the Fenachone, we can't sit here forever. Umm choppy up time with the shield.

    It never actually had a good ending either as DuQuesne got away and everyone lived happily ever after.

    I did like the idea of levels of force though. And the computer the size of a planet...that was awesome.

  71. Rentaguru
    Thumb Down

    it looks a bit foolish

    with so many being from just two authors - Niven and Banks.

    Niven writes nothing but kids stuff and the Banks nominations are basically Culture 1 to (the two latest rubbish ones that spoil the whole series ..... bit like stars wars really!).

    Could we have a poll for the Sci-fi film that completely ruined the book ..... although to be honest that would just be one huge tie of every sci-fi book made into a film.

    That rises the question of why anyone would want to ruin a good book by making it into a film (rival author spring to mind but that's all*).

    *oh and people whose lips move when they read.

    1. OrsonX

      Matter was Iain's Ringworld

      "and then they all got bored and went home."

      THE END

      I haven't read any reviews of Surface Detail.... are you saying it's a pile of Phantome Menace? Hope not! I was hoping for a return to form after the brilliant Transitions.

      Surface Detail, any good?

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

        On the shelf...

        Sceduled for a re-reading, after the following (re-reads):

        Wilson, RC - The Chronoliths (Damn, I should have nominated this, it would have tranlated well)

        Modesitt, jr - The Eternity Artifact

        You know you'll have to read Surface Detail, just go ahead and do it :)

        1. OrsonX
          Thumb Up

          Surface Detail

          Yup, you're right!

          I'm getting lazy in my old age... so I've just downloaded the audiobook... can't wait to get started!

          I've now listened to a few Culture audiobooks, as read by Peter Kenny, highly recommended, his narration is superb!

  72. Brian Miller 1

    DAMN, voted too soon

    I handily suggested both stranger in a strange land and snow crash on the original call to arms.

    I missed that Snow crash was in there at first and now I think it probably would make a better movie.

    EVERYONE VOTE SNOW CRASH, or at the very least read it.

  73. Simon Harris

    In true Reg style....

    Once the results are in, will the winning film be an animation using PlayMobil figures?

  74. Trevor 3

    You missed a brilliant one

    Plague from Space by Harry Harrison.

    Has spaceships, mysterious plague, nutty ambulance driver, guns, a love interest, military vehicles, an alien and lots of people rioting over pigeons and dogs.

    What more could you need?

  75. Brian Miller 1

    perhaps we should use

    The alternative voting system where we rank our top five and they get counted like the new voting system.

  76. Brian Miller 1
    Thumb Up

    @ Trevor3


    Bill the galactic hero is another fantastic HH book. Could be HILARIOUS

  77. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Take your fave novel...

    -=sarcasm on=-

    ...add a deceased authors heirs who cannot agree on anything save they want the majority of the gross...

    ...add a Hollywood committee who tries to make it universally appealing by adding romance, children in danger and new 'exciting and modern' characters...

    ...add one Director who has his own take on what needs to be done to the story and characters to "make this work" (You know it will not be Spielberg, Jackson or Cameron at the helm)

    ...add a producer who "keeps the budget in check" by using a lowest bidder special effects company in Uzbekistan

    ...add a few "big name stars" who interpret their characters with the "Ben Affleck" acting method and

    ...above all, keep your expectations low.

    If all of those hurdles are successfully navigated, then you might have a decent chance of a making a timeless film like:

    Chronicles of Riddick

    Time Cop

    Starship Troopers

    Event Horizon

    The Librarian

    My one wish is that they leave the Jar-Jar angle unexplored.

    -=sarcasm off=-

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      you forgot

      lead actor(s) who casually mention that they've never read the book, or indeed anything else by the author, and go on to prove it with their performance

    2. Svantevid


      "If all of those hurdles are successfully navigated, then you might have a decent chance of a making a timeless film like:

      Starship Troopers"


      Oi, while Starship Troopers isn't faithful to the book it is still a great film on several levels... works as a satire, works as an action film. This is one of two film adaptations ("Shining" being the second one) where I prefer director's version. Even without mecha-suits.

  78. Efros

    Stranger in a strange land

    Purely for the apoplexy that it would cause amongst the scientologists.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      In that case

      Add "Heads" by Greg Bear to the list...

  79. Alan Watson

    Best Mini-Series Never Made

    Some of these could work well as films (Altered Carbon for example), but many really need a bit more space to breath and not be compressed into an incoherent rush.

    So if anyone from HBO is reading this, how about a 6-10 episode version of Consider Phlebas?

  80. chr0m4t1c

    Where's "I, Robot"?

    Yes, I know there's a film with that title on it, but neither the story or the characters have very much in common with what's inside the book.

    Asimov said himself on several occasions that he wrote his robot stories deliberately to get away from all the ones he had read by other authors that were basically just the Frankenstein story. So naturally, the idiots in Hollywood decided to bring his work to the big screen by making another Frankenstein movie. Ba*ds.


    I'm off for a little lie down now.

  81. Cazzo Enorme


    Where's Zamyatin's "We"?

  82. Andrew the Invertebrate

    Difficult choice

    Obviously anyone who doesn't vote for "The Stars My Destination" is wrong and needs therapy, but on the other hand I just know that Hollywood would complete clusterfuck of it by the time it ended up on the screen.

  83. Phil 54

    Baroque Cycle

    I really really loved it, but I really, really can't see it being a good movie

    1. David Evans

      @Phil 54

      Neither can I, but HBO are doing a bang up job with Game Of Thrones...

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *sigh* full of errors

    'if Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan appear, they should merely maintain a decorative silence and blow me in an airlock at the earliest opportunity.'

    There, fixed it for ya..

  85. Shane Orahilly

    Mawhrin-Skel will not be amused.

    My name is Shane, and I am a Banksoholic, M. or no M.

    I foresee knife missiles being delivered to many voters for their misguided ignorance of The Player of Games for the top spot.

    Yes, I'd rather the whole of the Culture repertoire was seen in film form.I was ecstatic when the BBC adapted The Crow Road for television, and prayed they would visit Banks' scifi offerings, or The Wasp Factory, damn their eyes for seemingly bottling it when it comes to real extremes of human/AI behaviour they dare not show on screen for fear of breaking people's tiny fragile minds.

    However, in a "Don't make me chooooooooose" scenario, I'd be most pleased to see how the games played in TPoG were represented visually, moreso if the concepts could actually be implemented as functional, wholly-playable games in some way or form. Also, you just know that Jernau's role as primary focus of the story would be foiled by the antics of Mawhrin-Skel, no doubt with ( written in for mass appeal) hilarious consequences.

    Just don't fucking Jar-Jar the little murderous bastard, or I swear I'll do time.

    1. AdamWill

      Not great for a movie

      I don't think PoG would film very well; if you look at it, until the end, not a lot _happens_ exactly. It'd be very static and tricky to make interesting. It and Excession (where, again, a lot of the 'action' is just people...or, rather, Ships...talking) strike me as the hardest to film for that reason. PoG might work great on the radio, though.

      1. Rentaguru

        They'd all be better on radio

        as they say the pictures are better that way as proved by Hitchhikers' Guide proved this.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh yes..

    Altered Carbon, one of my all time favourites, I was amazed at how many of the list I have read and own dead tree copies of.

    Now I just need to obtain and read the rest of them. Ahem, I may be some time..

  87. Anonymous Coward


    has been made into a film, a reasonably decent japanese anime movie.

  88. Daniel B.


    Either many of the ones answering the poll are reading obscure books, or I should turn in my sci-fi credentials, because the top two leading books (Use of Weapons, The Mote in God's Eye) are books that I have *never* *ever* *heard* *about*. I was half-expecting Neuromancer or Ender's Game to be in the top, neither of 'em have more than 4%. Granted, Ender's Game is already being made into a movie.

    1. AdamWill


      Neither of them is probably as famous as either EG or Neuromancer, but I'd expect most sf readers to have at least heard of one of them (no offence intended!) Iain M. Banks is one of the top British authors, and I always remember Niven/Pournelle as being a pretty solid library sf staple in my youth, including Mote, which is indeed a really good book. UoW is absolutely stunning, you should definitely read both.

      1. Daniel B.


        Given the poll results, I'm definitely adding both books to my reading list.

  89. AceRimmer

    Mars Trilogy?

    No Mention of Kim Stanley Robinson's epic Mars Trilogy

  90. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    With over forty of those books on my shelves

    I was looking for an 'all' button, too - but ended up voting for what is probably the best overall read: the science fiction bit is so subtle you hardly notice it... The Baroque Trilogy.

    Mind you, it'll make a rubbish film - they'll never be able to cope with the smells...

  91. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    Most of you are quite wrong. How else to explain that The City & The Stars is not top of the rankings?

  92. Paul 666
    Thumb Down

    only one missing...

    Alien := the greatest of all sci-fi movies!

  93. nyelvmark

    Lord of light? Please, no.

    Did you see what hollywood did with Zelazny's "Damnation Alley"? The chararacter Zelazny described as "the world's last Hell's Angel" is transformed into a cute bright-eyed all-American teenager who rides a 125cc trail bike.

    "Damnation Alley" is hardly Zelazny's greatest work, so I just found the movie hilarious. I would cringe at the same treatment being given to "Lord of Light", which is probably the best novel he wrote in his sadly truncated life.

    On a more general note, I'd like to point out that it only takes a few pages of writing to make a movie. The best example I know of is the 70s movie "Rollerball" which seemed to me to be a complete verbatim version of M. John Harrison's original story "Rollerball Murder" which, if I recall correctly, stretched to 7 pages.

    If 7 pages = 90 minutes screen time, how long would an accurate version of Asimov's "Foundation" (about 750 pages?) run for? Asimov was not Tolkein, and didn't spend long pages describing scenery.

    Another good example is the movie version of Frank Herbert's classic "Dune", which follows the story of the book with some accuracy for the first hour - by which time they'd reached about chapter 2 (and, according to rumours at the time, had spent all the budget). A ludicrously telegraphic version of the rest of the story then appears in brief flashes, followed by a contrived ending.

    Let's leave movies for fast-action adventure-type stuff. If you can't read, well - perhaps you can send your kids to school and then get them to read great books to you. You'll need an attention-span of more than 90 minutes, though, lol.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      I liked the book Damnation Alley

      But the film was naff

  94. corestore

    There's an error in these lists...

    ...or eles someone REALLY doesn't like Julian May. I'm damn sure I remember 3 or 4 nominations at least for her Exiles/Milieu cycle (one of them mine), but she hasn't even made the list that *didn't* make the poll.

    This needs fixing. I'm afraid you're going to have to start over with the poll.


  95. marrok

    For all Niven's faults...

    ...he did write one of the most filmable books on the list - but it wasn't Mote.

    Protector - if you haven't read it, you really, really should. Customised space suits, mohawk toting asteroid miners, utterly convincing, utterly scary, driven aliens, Bussard f******g ram jets and a reason to get old. 43 votes? Then only 43 people have read it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      what's that 'you type it in and animated characters mispronounce it' site?

      I don't recall, but most of the stuff i've seen done was along the lines of 'firefighters are underpaid, we only work 3 days/week and have a pool, sauna, gym in the back.. type of dialogue.

      It's like playmobil with electrons.


      Are there any inexpensive (or freeable) applications/web sites that I can cut/paste the works of HP Lovecraft and get an audio file back?

      1. Svantevid

        @ theodore

        "Are there any inexpensive (or freeable) applications/web sites that I can cut/paste the works of HP Lovecraft and get an audio file back?"


        Only if you don't mind that a correct pronunciation of some of the words will summon The Great Old Ones, which will flay you alive, make you suffer for aeons and extinguish the life on Earth as we know it.

        Just saying.

    2. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge


      Could see Gil the Arm as a series too.

      Hmm Cubes & Owen stuff Gil back in the '3' after the 'incident'

  96. Anonymous Coward


    I hope its been said, but erm they have made a film of Lensmen, ok its Animie and japanese, but it is called lensmen and it based on the book(s)

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Footfall... has been commented before is so cinematic already it is unlikely to be ruined. I would just love to see the launch of the nuclear bomb powered Orion ship brought to screen ('God was knocking - he wanted in BAD!'). But my personal favourite is Mote so not too displeased.

    Much as I like 'Weapons' it is so much a re-write of 'Ender's Game' that it doesn't deserve to be =the= Culture novel. 'Consider Phlebas', while the worse book, would translate to the screen much better.

    Ender's Game would work well because of the tension with the main character being a child bringing genocide.

    I need to read some more books... not heard of some of these


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Enders Game

      There ARE making a film, and with OSC having a lot of input..... sadly, having seen the trailer it seems they have gone down the all action route, so everything good about the book will have been stripped out to make way for CGI effects and space explosions.

      I will go and watch it when it comes out later this year; but I am 99% certain I will come away disappointed

      Paris to play his big sister - Valentine?? It would at least add some humour, watching Paris trying to act as if she were intelligent :-D

  98. Morningstar

    Eeny meeny

    I had to go for John Varley in the end, I still remember buying all three books at the WH Smith in Euston Station in 1985. I couldn't even begin to guess how many times I've read them now. With a decent director there's a good chance they would all be watchable.

    That doesn't mean I wouldn't want to see at least 50% of the rest of the list being made as well.

    It just seems sad that no one else seems to want to have seen the mechanical computers (babbages?) of the Cassini Division make it onto the big screen.

  99. Anonymous Coward

    Stephen Baxter?

    No votes for any Stephen Baxter stories? Or his collaborations with Arthur Clarke? Mighty disappointing for a British 'publication'.

    Well at least there were votes for 3 Alistair Reynolds stories. Despite those being fairly complex for film adaptations. Baxter and Reynolds are two of the finest contemporary sci-fi writers and they're both Brits.

    Many of those works chosen in the final list are musty old tomes. Good reading to be sure but the book lice and pseudo scorpions are probably spending more time amongst their pages than the owners.

    1. AdamWill


      I usually don't like to rank as it's all so subjective, but I've read and enjoyed quite a lot of Baxter but definitely consider him inferior to Banks, Hamilton or Reynolds; his characterization and pacing and a few other elements of his writing just have distinctly more flaws than those of the other authors. He's still a lot of fun, but he was one of the easiest to knock off my ballot...

  100. Graham Bartlett


    Nothing wrong with Event Horizon. Ending was a little weak, but the rest of the film was rather good. F*cked with my head for some time...

    And Chronicles of Riddick, whilst of course being woefully underscripted and underacted, is *the* definitive example of how to make sci-fi FX that are great.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      I enjoyed Pitch Black as well

      Rather a good film and no huge stars to ruin it.

      Of course it was Vin Diesels break out film, and one of the biggest names was an actress well know from Farscape.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Happy

    I voted, but I didn't really like clicking a button that asked for the book to be made into a film. All of my favourites are there and I'm rather glad that no-one has yet ruined them by trying to capture the magic of the stories in film. And besides, I bet you can find elements of most of them in one film or another, as script-writers have lifted good ideas / themes (eg Independence Day = Footfall without the elephants).

  102. The Morgan Doctrine

    What, no BLADE RUNNER or ALIEN?

    Wowzer, I must be really out of touch.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: What, no BLADE RUNNER or ALIEN?

      You're kidding, right?

      1. Oz


        Sadly, no - it appears not. Some people really can't read!

      2. amanfromearth

        How come?

        These numpties can't read, yet they can type?

  103. Sixtysix

    Tough call - Legacy creeps it...

    So many good books (and a few I obviously need to read) but many would fail to work due to concepts involved (..."A Fire upon the deep" for instance) but I suspect all of these would work at some level:

    The Player of Games – Iain M Banks

    The Mote In God's Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

    The Legacy of Heorot - Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes

    Footfall – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

    Altered Carbon – Richard K Morgan

    Legacy has the atmosphere, twist and beasts to work... but I'd LOVE to see parachuting Proto-elephants!


  104. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And the albatross around the neck for any winner,....

    will be the previous half-ar5ed american sci-fi movies that have plundered various plot points and now make the original look derived simply by having been made second.

    "Neuromancer", if made, will inevitably be compared to "The Matrix", rather than the other way around which it should be.

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Forget Robohunter

    was re-invented too many times by too many artists.

    What the zark happened to Strontium Dogs? I would have thought the mutant bounty-hunter, wild west style sci-fi would have been a shoe-in? (Look how popular Firefly was!)

  106. Anonymous Coward

    Too much choice...for disaster.

    So many classic novels for non-sf directors to ruin!

    Remember Dune & Starship Troopers anyone? Tough lessons.

  107. AbnormalChunks

    Mostly Completely UNFILMABLE

    Most of list this can never, ever be filmed what you've got here is a great reading list. Use you brain to make the special effects people! I'm not voting for this very reason... but if I did it would be for the Atrocity Archives at least there's a fighting chance of filming that, if it was made in the UK!

    1. Nigel 11


      I'm sure most of them could be filmed, even filmed well, if one counts Anime as film.

      Also judging by Smeagol in the film of LoTR, special effects these days is quite capable of realising any sort of alien life-form. It's our extreme familiarity with human beings that makes computer-generated people look slightly wrong. Give it another decade or two ....

  108. Ken 16 Silver badge

    I love 'Use of Weapons'

    but I don't know if it's visually striking enough to be made into a film, though the dark themes might work very well as anime. I love the ideas in Snow Crash but it's quite dated. The Baroque Cycle should be a BBC1 mini-series. In the end I voted for 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress'; It should appeal to Septic financiers, won't break the budget on CGI but can still slip in a few subversive ideas and might get people interested in the moon again.

    1. AdamWill

      Visually striking?

      The chair isn't visually striking enough? Handled right that'd give some people nightmares for _years_.

  109. h4rm0ny

    If anyone gets as far as this comment...

    Are you quite sure all of these are sci-fi? Chronicles of Amber doesn't fall into the definition in my not so humble opinion. And Dragon Riders of Pern is so far to the "soft" end of sci-fi that it's practically a cushion.

    Neal Stephenson is a writer of the cinema generation and his prose practically begs to be put on film.

    Neuromancer is boring old cyberpunk and has been ripped off so many times in cinema that the original would look like a pale imitation of its descendents. Please let cyberpunk die. The computers arrived, we didn't feel alienated by them, we started painting them funny colours and wearing them on our hip.

    I voted Enders Game on the condition that no-one is allowed to change the story at all.

    1. Ragarath

      Dragonriders of Pern

      I hope you have read all of the books?

      If you have then you will know it is very firmly based in Sci-Fi due tot he advanced way they got there and the advanced genetics that created the Dragons etc.

      Although reading a lot of the books is mostly what I would put down as Fantasy.

  110. Anonymous Coward


    Love the book, would make a terrible movie though. A blob appears, a bunch of spaceships have a conversation. Not really the stuff of cinematic legend. A bit like the Stephen King paradox...

  111. Lan ser


    disappointed to see the results rather skewed by script kiddies

  112. Jacob Lipman
    Thumb Up

    Some day I'll buy my own brass cannon

    The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. One of my very favorite books, ever. It set the stage for the modern ROTM fear of sentient electronics. The simplified English/Russian grammar in use throughout the book is difficult to adjust to at first, but the rhythm is addictive once you get into it.


    I'm a bit disappointed to see how few votes it's garnered.

  113. tanker1

    Looks like someone is trying to spoil the fun.

    Looks like someone has run up a nice script to vote for their favourites over and over ... too many script kiddies, not enough napalm.

  114. znep

    Pointless voids...

    " and if Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan appear, they should merely maintain a decorative silence and get blown out of an airlock at the earliest opportunity."

    And this should also apply if they turn up on a film set.

  115. PK
    Thumb Up

    No Poul Anderson?

    I'm sure The High Crusade would make a great Python sequel...

  116. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Not bad choices

    I haven't actually read the (dominant) top two choices, but based on wikipedia summaries they sound like they would be good as movies.

    I chose A Canticle for Liebowitz, it would be kind of a downer but I think it'd make a good movie. I actually would *love* to see Neuromancer or Snowcrash as movies, but I think it is FAR too likely anyone making them into a movie now would royally f*** them up to possibly vote for them.

  117. jon 72

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    There many fine works out there that would transfer well to the small or big screen.

    Jim Henson could almost certainly pull off David Brins epic 'Startide Rising' the same way he did with the Farscape series.

    Chris Claremonts 'First Flight' simply has it all, 'cute' aliens, pirates, space battles, self sacrifice, and a woman in the lead role teamed up up with an aging hard as nails space marshall.

    Even the with the lowest of budgets gems such as 'Healer' [FP Wilson] and

    'Emergence' [David Palmer] even the SyFy channel could create a cult classic.

    Somebody earlier mentioned Legacy of Hearot, great 'revenge of nature' story but fear it could be royally screwed up and become a B movie.. Hillbillys Vs Gators on speed kinda thing.

  118. neilrieck

    Need more choices

    It's too bad you didn't have people vote for their favorite 5 (sort of like proportional representation)

  119. HaplessPoet

    The Voyage of the Space Beagle

    enough said

  120. Ian Stephenson



  121. hokum
    Thumb Down

    The Gap Cycle?

    They're terrible books, be a waste of money making that garbage into a movie.

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