n Things Make a Post

Mike Glyer tagged me for a meme a little while ago. It’s the “which sf novels that have been made into films have you read?” list. Bold if I’ve read it, italicized if I started but didn’t finish.

  • Jurassic Park
  • War of the Worlds
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park
  • I, Robot
  • Contact
  • Congo
  • Cocoon
  • The Stepford Wives
  • The Time Machine
  • Starship Troopers
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • K-PAX
  • 2010
  • The Running Man
  • Sphere
  • The Mothman Prophecies
  • Dreamcatcher
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Dune
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau
  • The Body Snatchers
  • The Iron Giant/The Iron Man
  • Battlefield Earth
  • The Incredible Shrinking Woman
  • Fire in the Sky
  • Altered States
  • Timeline
  • The Postman
  • Freejack/Immortality, Inc.
  • Solaris
  • Memoirs of an Invisible Man
  • The Thing/Who Goes There?
  • The Thirteenth Floor
  • Lifeforce/Space Vampires
  • Deadly Friend
  • The Puppet Masters
  • 1984
  • A Scanner Darkly
  • Creator
  • Monkey Shines
  • Solo/Weapon
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Communion
  • Carnosaur
  • From Beyond
  • Nightflyers
  • Watchers

(I’ve assumed that “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “Body Snatchers” both refer to The Body Snatchers, and combined accordingly.)

Just for once, I’m not too bothered about doing badly on one of these lists, since there’s not many books on it I actually want to read and haven’t. (Although, yes, I probably have read more Michael Crichton novels than strictly necessary.) Some of the entries, as noted at SF Signal, look a bit dodgy; the one that jumped out at me was The Thirteenth Floor, although it looks like that may have been based on a comic. I assume films like The Prestige and Children of Men don’t make the grade because they didn’t take enough money. Of course, the adaptation I’m looking forward to most at the moment is Blindness.

F&SF are doing another one of their blogger giveaways, this time of the October/November double issue. Since I don’t have a subscription at the moment (yeah, yeah, I know), I put my name in the hat, and was lucky enough to receive a copy. So far I’ve only read M. Rickert’s story, “Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment: One Daughter’s Personal Account” and, while I’m not as completely bowled over as Chris Barzak, it’s definitely a powerful story.

Other recent reading, and future plans: I’ve finished Benjamin Rosenbaum’s The Ant King and Other Stories, and am working on a review, although depending on how it turns out I’m toying with submitting it to the Virginia Quarterly Review Young Reviewers Contest rather than posting it here. Like Liz, I’ve read Anathem and enjoyed it; I’ve submitted my review to IROSF. I’m currently reading, on the one hand, Kairos by Gwyneth Jones (in advance of her BSFA interview on Wednesday) and, on the other hand, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, with the aim of writing a series of posts about various heroric fantasy stories for early next month. It’s the Gollancz Ultimate Fantasy edition, the best thing about which — as with the SF4U titles — is not the pretty cover (although that’s nice) but the fact that the text has been re-set so as to be legible. After that lot’s out of the way, I’ve got a number of review commitments for various places: Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi, Going Under by Justina Robson, Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon, Dogs and Nano Comes to Clifford Falls by Nancy Kress, The Quiet War by Paul McAuley and (if I’m honest, the one I’m most impatient to get to) Song of Time by Ian R MacLeod.

And now, some links:

10 thoughts on “n Things Make a Post

  1. “I assume films like The Prestige and Children of Men don’t make the grade because they didn’t take enough money.”

    Probably safer to assume they didn’t make the grade because the compilers of the list didn’t think to include them. I can’t remember where it was (on LiveJournal, somewhere) but I noted several omissions from the list which should’ve been there – chief among those I remember would be two Will Smith films, Men in Black and I Am Legend.

    Indeed, if you search on the Box Office Mojo site for the Prestige, you’ll find it made $53,089,891. And if you search for Children of Men, that made $35,552,383. Enough to put both films in the top 20 of the chart (the Prestige just misses out on the top ten).

  2. Fool that I am, I assumed they went down a list ordered by box office take and picked out the adaptations, rather than vice versa…

    That said, it may also be that the list wasn’t compiled recently enough to include most of these films. There doesn’t seem to be anything on it that was released after 2005. Fair point about Men in Black, though.

  3. Thirteenth Floor was based on Dan Galouye’s 1964 novel Counterfeit World aka Simulacron-3 (see imdb.com). I’ve read the book but not seen the film, so I am not sure how close they are in reality. The book, in a Matrix Dick fashion, tackles the nature of our reality.

  4. The Thirteenth Floor is, all things considered, a reasonably but not completely faithful adaptation of Simulacron-3. I liked both book and movie a fair bit. (It’s a bit unfair to compare it to The Matrix — not only does it predate it considerably, it’s to my mind a much better film.)

  5. I meant to say the book predates The Matrix considerably. The movie came out the same. Along with Dark City, from the previous year, it makes two films treating vaguely similar material to The Matrix that were both much better and both tanked in comparison. Ah well.

  6. Nicholas: ah, thanks.

    Rich: Dark City is brilliant, but I’m afraid I remember being underwhelmed by The Thirteenth Floor. And I do quite like The Matrix.

  7. They’ve recently released a director’s cut of Dark City which removes the much disliked opening voiceover that gives it all away. It sounds like it makes a few other changes to make it a deeper and more subtle work as well so I look forward to seeing it.

    The Thirteenth Floor always had the flavour of TV movie to me, albeit one with nice cinematography. If Dark City is the Art version of this story and The Matrix is the Pop version then The thirteenth Floor is an unhappy compromise.

    (Also, I think director Josef Rusnak based the film on Welt Am Draht (1973), a German TV movie based on Simulacron 3, ratehr than the source material itself.)

  8. It may be that my opinion of THE MATRIX is unfairly colored by 1) its sequels; and 2) the unutterably silly “aliens getting energy from people” thing. I did enjoy watching the movie.

    I think the comment that THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR has a bit of a TV movie feel to it is fair — it’s certainly not a great movie, but I liked it, I thought it did well by the central idea, and, well, Gretchen Moll.

    DARK CITY is in my opinion clearly the best of the three movies though. As far as I know it’s not based on any prose fiction, but when watching it I was reminded for some reason of Fritz Leiber’s novel THE SINFUL ONES. Which I highly recommend, at any rate. (I prefer Leiber’s 1980 revision of the full-length novel to the shorter version published as “You’re All Alone”. The novel version was first published in 1953 with some cheesy (so we are told) sex scenes added by the publisher. Leiber’s revision keeps the sex scenes but rewrites them to his taste, and I think they work. (I assume the original version, which Leiber lost, had no such scenes.))

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s