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Which Science Fiction Novels Should Be Made into Films and TV Miniseries?

And which previously adapted works failed to receive the treatment they deserved? What needs a remake? *Updated*

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PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

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May 26, 2014 - 3:00 pm

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In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: 5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

A great email suggestion from Allston, one of PJ Lifestyle’s most thoughtful regular commenters, to start this week’s debates:

In regard to a new debate, here’s one – Science Fiction novels that should be made into movies/TV Miniseries, but never have been. In that regard, I’d throw out there Jerry Pournelle/Larry Niven’s Mote in God’s Eye. As a second choice, I’d mention Roger Zelazny’s 9 Princes in Amber.

Patrick Richardson: The New Human Wave in Science Fiction Literature

Book Plug Friday with Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin: Future Shock

Walter Hudson: Is Man of Steel the Year’s Best Sci-Fi Film?

Chris Queen: John Carter: Old-Fashioned Sci-Fi Leaps to Life

Sarah Hoyt: 20 Things You Might Not Know About Robert A. Heinlein

This week we’ll  begin a discussion about the best — and worst — ways to adapt stories from one medium to another. Your ideas and suggestions are always appreciated.

Updates from Tuesday, May 27:

From Sandy C via email:

Be made into a movie?

I think that Rebirth (or the original English title The Chrysalids) would be a good movie. Have thought so since I first read in the 1950′s. I enjoy it every time I read it. Thanks for letting me voice my input.

From Brian M via email:

Hello There,

I would love to see the Stainless Steel Rat brought to life, think it would be fun and proper adult sci fi shows are hard to come by.

Also would like to see the Papa Schimmelhorn series by Reginal Bretnor. He was Douglas Adams before Douglas Adams, but ruder and bawdier.

Slightly more serious one would be an adaptation of the Culture novels by the late and much missed I M Banks. Consider Pheblas is ready made for it!

Cheers

From George T via email:

The Gray Prince by Jack Vance. Great conservative novel that refutes some of today’s most bogus issues. Other Jack Vance novels would make great movies, too, but his series novels would be too tempting for Hollywood to screw up.  Of course, what isn’t?

Thank you

PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates Features a new prompt each weekday to weigh the good, the bad, the overrated, the unbelievable, and the amazing throughout the worlds of books, film, and TV. We can't figure out how to build a greater pop culture until we dissect the mess we already have. Want to contribute your perspective to the debate? Email PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle with your take: DaveSwindlePJM [@] gmail.com Image via shutterstock/ DarkGeometryStudios

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Top Rated Comments   
Another great one would be "The Stars My Destination" by Alfred Bester. Not nearly as prolific as Heinlein, Bester's best was still pretty darn good. This might be my nomination for best sci-fi novel of all time.

The story centers around a new skill discovered finally by mankind -- the ability to "jaunt". Jaunting was simply the learned ability to teleport yourself instantaneously to a location that you've been. Some people were better at it than others, some could not do it at all, but the typical person could jaunt a distance of fifty miles or so per jaunt. This changed the economic system profoundly. This would be enough for most sci-fi writers to spawn a series of books, but for Bester it provides merely the backdrop for his story.

The story is really about one total loser named Gulliver Foyle. He makes a living as an low-level spaceship crewman and lives a purposeless life -- until he finds himself stranded. When another spaceship sees his S.O.S. and refuses to rescue him, it gives him a purpose -- seeking vengeance against those who left him to die. He completely transforms himself into a formidable and dangerous man, determined to do justice as he sees it.

To call it a riveting story barely does it rudimentary justice.

Also: a call-out to A.E. Van Vogt. His "Weapon Shops of Isher" would make a great movie.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would like to see a remake of Forbidden Planet. Can't imagine who would play the Ann Francis role though.

As a television series I think one based on Granny Weatherwax from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels would be a hoot.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would love to see "The Mote In God's Eye", "Ringworld", "The Forever War" and "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" done right. And sure as hell Hollywood would screw them up, or at least market them as badly as they did John Carter. If they do them get Joss Whedon, Zack Snyder or Bryan Singer to direct. Then they might have a chance
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (74)
All Comments   (74)
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Vernor Vinge's "A Fire Upon the Deep" - best handling of the Singularity that I have come across. His "A Deepness in the Sky" is a particularly ugly prequel that would make a great movie.

I'd still like DelToro to do Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness."

Anything out of David Brin's Uplift series would be a lot of fun.

Niven's "Integral Trees" would look great.

Poul Anderson's "Long Afternoon of Earth."

Frank Herbert's Bureau of Sabotage novels.

Keith Laumer's Retrief novels. Cheers -
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another story I would love to see brought to the big screen: Howard Waldrop's "Night of the Cooters" (H. G. Wells' Martians try invading Texas). I think Robert Duvall would be perfect for the part of the Sheriff who teaches the Martians that you do not mess with Texas.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would nominate Freddy Wong as the producer. Josh Whedon would be OK, but he would probably try to instill "meaning" into it. Freddy is a guy that just wants to have fun...
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
David Gerrold, "The Man Who Folded Himself". The ultimate time travel novel, and very un-PC. And since so much of the action involves one guy arguing, fighting, or having sex with various versions of himself (at different points in his timeline) anyone who could actually film it coherently should get a medal.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The Stars My Destination" would be GREAT! Good suggestion.

All the suggested stories are old. How about something (relatively) new; "Old Man's War", by John Scalzi.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow. I can actually contribute some new ideas!

How about Anne McCaffrey's Pern series? Or the Ship series?

And, to give some equal chance for a "bleeding heart liberal" - how about Piers Anthony? The Xanth series could keep studios busy for ages. Phaze would also be good. Or for one-shot movies, there are "Realty Check" or "Hard Sell". (Skip "Bio of a Space Tyrant" though - utter dreck.)

There's also Asimov's Foundation (the originals, not the stuff churned out later - although the FIRST book of Hari Seldon's early life might do OK).
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Poul Anderson's Nicholas van Rijn, Interstellar Capitalist Pig! Besides the short stories (and of course David Falkayn as well), the ultimate fable of the fate of rent-seekers: Mirkheim.

Then lead into the Flandry series, because the one follows the other.

Speaking of Jack Vance (and we should, often) try Wyst and Emphyrio, cautionary tales about "Egalism" and the social insurance state. And then for pure unadulterated Space Opera, the Tschai books.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wooden Spaceships. Goofy enough to be a SyFy miniseries.

Little Fuzzy, et al.

The Honor Harrington series. Some of his BOLO stories are worth doing.

Any Diskworld book.

The moon is a harsh mistress.

Any and all of the Gil the Arm (Patchwork Girl)/ Sigmund Ausfeller stories, esp with Organleggers/ capital punishment = organ banks. Should put a stop to that socialized medicine crap.

Man-Kzin wars. Especially Destiny's Forge. I was doubtful about Kzin, but after seeing the halfway decent CGI job done on the wolves in Twilight, I'm convinced that it can be done without screwing it up.

CJ Cherryh's Chanur series.

Fantasy wise, I'd like to see Dragonlance done as something other than crappy cel animation. Same with the Darksword and Death Gate Cycle.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just a reminder - BOLO was Keith Laumer. Not that the few that Weber has written have not been excellent...

Oh, good, caught the edit timeout. Speaking of Laumer - how about the Retief stories? Now, those would give some Foggy Bottom types conniptions...
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wooden Spaceships? You reminded me of Pournelle's "King David's Spaceship", another clever use of a pulse-rocket.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Footfall. If only so I could see liftoff of The Michael done on screen. Big explosions... :D
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yup. Earth-shattering kabooms. (The only good reason, besides crashing cars, to watch Myth Busters.)
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Larry Correia's Monster Hunter series. Immediately, if not sooner.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Any Larry Correia series would be awesome.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Also, "Neuromancer" by William O. Gibson. Supposedly, a film is in the works.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
A film has supposedly been in the works for 30 years. I think its time has passed.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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