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Which Sci Fi book or short story should I make into a movie?

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Initial post: Aug 16, 2007 2:23:56 AM PDT
Which Sci Fi book or short story should I make into a movie? This is a serious question. I don't want to know which books or short stories are good. I want to know which ones have a marketable beginning, middle and end; and are still good. Most books are good only on paper, not on the screen. Thanks for any suggestions.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2007 5:26:15 AM PDT
C. McGowan says:
"The World Inside" by Robert Silverberg.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2007 7:10:21 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 3, 2012 7:37:07 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2007 7:35:52 AM PDT
K. F Harkin says:
World War Z by Max Brooks. It takes the form of interviews with people who have survived a mass zombie outbreak across the globe. Each one provides a different persepctive on the origins, spread, global panic and eventual turn in the tide against the undead. It would translate perfectly to a movie composed of shorts showing different aspects of the war with the undead in a way no other film has. Very entertaining.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2007 9:38:15 AM PDT
R. Langer:

Check out "The Caverns of Mare Cetus." Use this link - The book was entered in the Fall 2006 contest and made it to a semi-finalist. To be honest, the book was really written with a screenplay in mind and several early readers of the novel have told me the visualizations are superb. If you read it, you'll see what I'm talking about. See the first excerpt on the web site for example. Contact me from the web site if you have more questions. It was bad timing for "The Cave" and "The Descent" to hit the screens recently, just as I finished up the novel. MC was in production long before either of those movies were realized. Its plot is much more sophisticated than either of them, and the horror is most definitely not what one would expect in a typical horror movie.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2007 10:08:12 AM PDT
I am not completely clear on what you mean by "a marketable beginning, middle and end," but I think that I can nonetheless make two suggestions:

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan. I believe that this book, remade into a movie, would be marketable, because it's basic framework is a detective story. That framework makes it immediately familiar to the viewer. The element that Morgan adds to make it stand out from a normal detective story is the fact that human beings' consciousness can be transfered from body to body. So, to die "real death" (a phrase used in the book), a person's "stack" or personal consciousness hard drive has to be destroyed. If you can afford the back up procedures, you never have to suffer "real death", since you can be restored in a cloned - and perhaps younger - body. An added element to the marketability is the friction between rich and poor. Rich people can afford back ups; poor people can't. There is also a character who is sent to prison (a kind of large storage system for consciousnesses), and her body is sold, and that adds an additional subplot for the righting of an injustice.

Spin State by Chris Moriarty. Again, basically a detective story, which makes it familiar to viewers. Added elements to lift it above the crowd are the genetic tweaking that leads to a multi-class society (and our heroine has a secret in that regard which she is trying to keep) and the sentient AI, Cohen, who could be helping or playing a game of his own. Although I haven't read it yet, Spin Control, Moriarty's follow-on book, may offer hopes of a sequel (which is probably a Good Thing from the marketability stand point).

Other books which spring to mind, but which I am not ready to recommend are:

Joe Haldeman's Forever War, which offers the possibility for sequels (The Forever Peace, etc.), but would probably be more of a SciFi space shoot-em-up (kind of like what they did to Robert Heinlein's Space Troopers).

William Gibson's Neuomancer. Actually any of his books, with the exception of Pattern Recognition and The Difference Engine (a regrettable effort he shares with Bruce Sterling), would be good. I just can't recommend them because it has been a while since I have read them. I'd like to see Neuomancer, and the follow-on books to it, serialized, but I am not certain how it could be done well. And, I'd hate to see it done badly.

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. Great book. Could probably be a great movie, but I believe I've read that the rights have already been sold.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2007 10:42:58 AM PDT
One more possibility: Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Again, a detective story, but one along the lines of that classic movie in which the protagonist is trying to figure out who poisoned him before he dies. Except, here the hero of our story has already died and been restored from back up, and is now trying to find out who killed him. The society in which everyone is networked and enjoys wealth based on the amount of respect they command is interesting but might be difficult to portray in a movie.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2007 12:27:36 PM PDT
bibliolept says:
Yes, World War Z is marketable, as is apparently anything with zombies in it, more's the pity.

I want to put in my vote for the White's Sector General novels, if you want a book with lost of aliens and special effects and just generally fun and original ideas.
If I were making a short movie, I'd want to do Harlan Ellison. "Repent, Harlequin, said the Tick Tock Man" or one of his darker works like "I have no mouth and I must scream."

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2007 3:45:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 17, 2007 8:48:59 PM PDT
Jude says:
Hi R Langer
Well new sci fi author john Otto's' novels 'Footprints in the Dust' and the sequel 'Broken Planet' have 5 star reviews. Some of the reviewers have said that the 1st novel would make a block buster of a movie. Another said it would make a great TV series. And although the 2nd novel has just been released it too has 5 star reviews and would also make a great movie.Both books would lend themselves to fantastic special effects!!
Don't take my word for it. Check out reviews on

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2007 7:17:08 AM PDT
Yes, either would be great. Or his "Eco-Wareness" (spelling?). It would have a VERY abrupt ending, but the point-would-be-made, bigtime. Show it right after Al Gore's stuff.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2007 8:14:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 21, 2007 12:24:36 PM PDT
Stirling's "Conquistador" or Drakes' 1632, Ring of Fire. I'd pay to see 'em. Sci-fi, action and adventure and you can either end them or continue as a series.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2007 8:56:11 AM PDT
Certainly "Ringworld" by Larry Niven. The special effects industry can finally do this one right, making the world, its inhabitants and its explorers/rescuers subtly amazing without overpowering the senses.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2007 4:36:51 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2007 7:00:02 PM PDT
Roger Zelazny's "The Doors of His face, The Lamps of His Mouth".
For gods sake change the title though.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2007 12:00:53 PM PDT
Fathers of Myth by Richard Wyatt

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2007 6:25:03 PM PDT
The Witch of Dragon Swan

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2007 7:50:05 PM PDT
AA says:
Legacy of Heorot by Larry Niven and Pournelle. This short novel reads like a movie. The plot: Colonists arrive on the planet too far form earth for any help. Planet, oddly, has very little biological diversity and seems very safe, causing friction between the man sent for defense and the scientific community (ie, the rest of them) The only animals are these plentiful fish-like creatures which they eat, and all the animals the colonists bring (as embryos.) Soon they have the attention of a highly intelligent carnivore, one which when wounded, seeks terrible vengeance. They destroy it, and the others like it, so all seems safe. But they have upset the delicate balance on the planet and worse follows. Of course it ends with the colonists shaken, diminished, but not destroyed. To add interest there are romantic entanglements between the colonists and some suffer hibernation sickness, a lessoning of their intellect and/or personality. I have always wondered why it hasn't been made into a movie.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2007 10:49:16 PM PDT
Dan Neumann says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2007 10:39:13 AM PDT
D. J. Foley says:
Roger Zelazny's "Lord Of Light" would work wondefully as a film. A "Bollywood" feel overlaying a SERIOUS look at power, and it's mis-use. A lovely cross-cultural experience with Philosophy and Revolution as seasoning for a truly personal story.

I can still remember the first lines "His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -Atman, however and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a God. But then, he never claimed not to be a god."

A story that serves as a good example of Clarke's Law (Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishible from magic) And even though it ranges over several Incarnations through several Centuries of history, it DOES have a Beginning, Middle and End. Satisfyingly so.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2007 3:07:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 21, 2007 8:35:07 PM PDT
AA says:
Enders Game movie is in the works

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2007 3:22:37 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2007 8:38:52 PM PDT
Actually, a good book to make into a movie would be the Gideon Mantell story as told by Deborah Cadbury in <i>Terrible Lizard</i> - from the discovery of Ichthysaur Teeth by the Annings through to the display of Mantell's collections in the Crystal Palace; it is a tale of politics and intrigue, revolution in scientific thinking about origins. It is a tale of tragedy and loss and it is a wonderful lead in to the 150th anniversary of the initial publishing of <i>On The Origin of the Species</i> as well as Darwin's 200th birthday. Without Mantell and Buckland, Darwin would have been laughed at. Richard Owen would be considered the chief antagonist, as a deceitful and spitefully jealous scientist determined to steal or destroy Mantell's glory.

I have considered writing it as a screenplay, but I have never done a screenplay before, and there is no way I could do it justice. I also note that you asked about a sci-fi story, but this is a movie that should be made whether by you or by someone else. Soon.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2007 2:33:58 AM PDT
Lori says:
Try reading Dead Memories. The book starts with action and carries it all of the way through. The premise is "How to put a man's brain on CD-ROM." If you like fights, car chases, car duels, and strange fresh sci-fi, you'll like this book.
If you'd like to discuss it more, e-mail me at

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2007 9:58:39 PM PDT
Any of the "Wild Cards" series of novels. The series relates an alternate history of the earth after World War II. In 1946 an alien virus that rewrites human DNA is accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It kills 90 % of those who come into contact with it (referred to as 'drawing the Black Queen'). However, 9 % mutate into deformed creatures (known as 'Jokers') and 1 % gain superpowers (known as 'Aces'). There is also a class known as 'deuces' - Aces who have acquired useless or ridiculous powers, such as the ability to levitate up to two feet, or to grow bodily hair at will. The airborne virus eventually spreads all over the world, affecting tens of thousands.

The Wild Cards universe is distinguished from most superhero comic book fiction by several thematic elements. Early on the authors decided to pursue a more realistic, or naturalistic approach to storytelling. Few of the Ace characters in Wild Cards have secret identities, or are traditional crime-fighting superheroes in the mold of Spider-Man or Batman. Wild Cards remained set within a recognizably real world with recognizably real people and pop culture and, because of the historical setting of many of the stories, had characters who aged realistically during the course of the series. The majority of Wild Card victims live in the run-down ghetto of Jokertown, while the fortunate Aces become glamorous celebrities. In addition, Wild Cards took a more graphic approach to violence, and particularly to sex, than most superhero stories do.

Another aspect of the series is its use of real people, such as Buddy Holly, Grace Kelly and Richard Nixon. Unlike most superhero universes, the events of Wild Cards alter history in many ways - a notable example being Fidel Castro remaining in New York to play baseball, and the lack of a Communist takeover in Cuba thereafter. As of 1986, Castro was the pitching coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers, who never moved to Los Angeles, and still play at Ebbets Field. Thus, L.A, not New York, got an expansion team called the Stars after the Giants moved to San Francisco. In the Wild Cards universe, the Dodgers are the equivalent of the New York Mets, with their history after the 1950s coinciding with the Mets' history, including victory in the 1969 World Series over the Baltimore Orioles. The Los Angeles Stars are the equivalent of the real Dodgers.

Other notable changes: Mick Jagger is a lycanthropic ace. Frank Zappa became a general in the US Army rather than a musician. Buddy Holly did not die in a plane crash, becoming a washed up has-been, working in dingy venues, covering Prince and Billy Idol. Thomas Marion Douglas (an analogue of Jim Morrison), lead singer for the rock group Destiny, was an ace called the Lizard King, and died not of an overdose in France, but from a dose of the experimental trump virus, which cured him and removed his immunity to many years of drug abuse. The botched Iranian hostage rescue of the Jimmy Carter administration was bungled by a team of aces (including Popinjay and Carnifex) rather than Marines(and was later proven to be part of a conspiracy to prevent Carter's re-election due to his pro-wild card stance). President George H. W. Bush promised "no new exotics (a politically correct term for wild carders) laws" rather than "no new taxes," but still went back on his word.

I would think with the ongoing and increasing popularity of super hero movies and tv (X-Men, HEROES) and the vast cast of characters and ideas all ready for merchandising that a property like Wild Cards would be a sure bet. From what I understand, the Sci Fi channel was going to develop it as a series of movies or mini series but dropped the ball. Hell, If you don't do it then I think I might.

For more info:

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2007 10:34:56 PM PDT
Mr. Grim says:
Hello, R. Langer,

Mars is currently a hot topic. Interest in the planet runs high with people of all ages because of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers; new discoveries are being made there almost daily. The novel, Maurice and the Doomed Colony of Mars is in press now and will be released this winter. It is the second book in the series by Dr. Daniel Barth. The first book, Maurice on the Moon is used in both literature and science classrooms across the United States and has been highly praised by both teachers and students. You can visit if you want more information.
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  577
Total posts:  782
Initial post:  Aug 16, 2007
Latest post:  Nov 30, 2012

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