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story Sci fi Writers - What authors do you read

Now that there are a few sci fi writers here, what writers inspired you? I was a prolific reader of sci fi for decades, and there have been a lot of amazingly creative people out there. It seems strange that you never hear anyone talk about them, since this is one of the most creative groups of authors of all time.

Just looking to start a discussion, who is your favorite author in the genre (books only), do you have a favorite novel? Why do you think Hollywood has almost never adapted the work of a real sci fi author?
 

Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
Why do you think Hollywood has almost never adapted the work of a real sci fi author?

Because "real" sci-fi novels are just that, novels.

As we have seen too often, the film becomes nothing but a visualization of the book, losing the essence in an attempt to make it "marketable."

Or...

They try to turn the novel into something it is not. As an example, has for many years tried to adapt Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels, but they always want to turn it into a dragon war (which she absolutely forbids), when the whole point of the series of novels is the partnership between dragons and their riders, and Dragon Weyrs position as the protectors of Pern. The entire premise of White Dragon (third in the series) is the prevention of the worst situation the culture can think of - dragon fighting dragon.

That's what annoyed me about Will Smith's "I Robot." They took the title and the character names and tossed the story into the dumpster.

Someday someone will do justice to the Elijah Baily/R. Daneel Olivaw novels by Asimov.
 
Because "real" sci-fi novels are just that, novels.

As we have seen too often, the film becomes nothing but a visualization of the book, losing the essence in an attempt to make it "marketable."

Or...

They try to turn the novel into something it is not. As an example, has for many years tried to adapt Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels, but they always want to turn it into a dragon war (which she absolutely forbids), when the whole point of the series of novels is the partnership between dragons and their riders, and Dragon Weyrs position as the protectors of Pern. The entire premise of White Dragon (third in the series) is the prevention of the worst situation the culture can think of - dragon fighting dragon.

That's what annoyed me about Will Smith's "I Robot." They took the title and the character names and tossed the story into the dumpster.

Someday someone will do justice to the Elijah Baily/R. Daneel Olivaw novels by Asimov.
I always thought "Caves of Steel" could be great with the right director. "Robots of Dawn" could be a decent miniseries, I think a 90 minute cut would likely ruin it.

I do take your point though, many of these sprawling and complex novels would be a tall order to transition to film. We have however seen it go both ways, from last years disastrous rendition of Asimov's foundation, to the Sci fi channel's surprisingly decent adaptation of Clarke's "Childhood's End". Ender's game could have been a lot worse than it was. It's too bad they probably won't ever make "Speaker for the Dead".

While not really classic sci fi at all, the worst butchering I've seen yet was "The Dark Tower" in which they tried to condense a 7 volume story into 90 minutes. It was similar to "I Robot" in terms of fidelity to the original. Battlefield Earth was another disaster, an 1100 page book condensed into 2 hours with a c list lead.

Who knows what will happen though with Netflix printing money at their current rate. Maybe we'll see "The Past Through Tomorrow" or "Footfall" turned into an 80 million dollar series soon. Alien was an Alan Dean Foster novel, so it doesn't always go bad.

Did you notice when Pixar stole Heinlin's Orphan's of the Sky plotline and used it in Wall E?
 

Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
I always thought "Caves of Steel" could be great with the right director. "Robots of Dawn" could be a decent miniseries, I think a 90 minute cut would likely ruin it.

I do take your point though, many of these sprawling and complex novels would be a tall order to transition to film. We have however seen it go both ways, from last years disastrous rendition of Asimov's foundation, to the Sci fi channel's surprisingly decent adaptation of Clarke's "Childhood's End". Ender's game could have been a lot worse than it was. It's too bad they probably won't ever make "Speaker for the Dead".

While not really classic sci fi at all, the worst butchering I've seen yet was "The Dark Tower" in which they tried to condense a 7 volume story into 90 minutes. It was similar to "I Robot" in terms of fidelity to the original. Battlefield Earth was another disaster, an 1100 page book condensed into 2 hours with a c list lead.

Who knows what will happen though with Netflix printing money at their current rate. Maybe we'll see "The Past Through Tomorrow" or "Footfall" turned into an 80 million dollar series soon. Alien was an Alan Dean Foster novel, so it doesn't always go bad.

Did you notice when Pixar stole Heinlin's Orphan's of the Sky plotline and used it in Wall E?


Herman Wouk's "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance" were made into passable mini-series, as was Clavell's "Shogun." I really liked the re-interpretation of "Contact" by Carl Sagan. Although lots was changed, the essence, the feel of the book holds true.

I was very disappointed with "Enders Game;" too much focus on the visuals and not enough on Ender, Valentine and Peter. I did think Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham was a good choice, not so for Harrison Ford. And as for Butterfield's performance....:tongue:
 
Herman Wouk's "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance" were made into passable mini-series, as was Clavell's "Shogun." I really liked the re-interpretation of "Contact" by Carl Sagan. Although lots was changed, the essence, the feel of the book holds true.

I was very disappointed with "Enders Game;" too much focus on the visuals and not enough on Ender, Valentine and Peter. I did think Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham was a good choice, not so for Harrison Ford. And as for Butterfield's performance....:tongue:

I thought they did very well with Wouk's stuff, considering the size of the original books, and how much of the core content they managed to get into the 2 miniseries. Shogun is a personal favorite, and it reminds me of Tom Clancy, where I actually enjoy the stripped down movie version more than the original book. Both of those authors tended towards the verbose IMO. I remember reading a Clancy book in high school, and it would go on for 3 pages about the specifics of some ordinance.

I'm always amazed when I go back and watch Shogun, because of that fleet of ships they built back in the pre cgi days. People in the early 80s just had unlimited time and money it seems like.

In terms of Ender's game, I do realize that what we got wasn't really a great rendition of the classic novel, since they basically turned it into a kids movie, but honestly, it could have been a lot worse. I agree that Kingsley was a great casting choice. To me the worst thing about it was the fact that the decision to turn it into a kids movie meant that there was no way they could make the sequels, since the audience would be completely different. There was no way to turn "Speaker" into a kids movie, and I knew as soon as I saw it that they would never make the sequels. It's a shame because the second novel is actually the best of the series.
 

Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
I'm waiting for someone to do justice to the Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey. The power plays, politics, cultural dichotomies, some very interesting characters, an undefeatable enemy (at least not until about a dozen books later) and, of course, the dragons telepathically linked to their riders for life.
 
I'm sure there are a lot of people that want to. Dragons are extremely expensive to animate well, especially at photorealism, so I expect that's part of the holdup.

I personally want to see the Elric of Melibone saga brought to the screen, but I kind of doubt that will happen.

Wheel of Time and Foundation got made though, so there's some hope for Pern.
 
Because "real" sci-fi novels are just that, novels.

As we have seen too often, the film becomes nothing but a visualization of the book, losing the essence in an attempt to make it "marketable."

Or...

They try to turn the novel into something it is not. As an example, has for many years tried to adapt Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels, but they always want to turn it into a dragon war (which she absolutely forbids), when the whole point of the series of novels is the partnership between dragons and their riders, and Dragon Weyrs position as the protectors of Pern. The entire premise of White Dragon (third in the series) is the prevention of the worst situation the culture can think of - dragon fighting dragon.

That's what annoyed me about Will Smith's "I Robot." They took the title and the character names and tossed the story into the dumpster.

Someday someone will do justice to the Elijah Baily/R. Daneel Olivaw novels by Asimov.
I don't read science fiction but I will watch it... Having said that? They do the same thing with movies in just about ANY genre. LOL. A few years ago, I watched AMERICAN ASSASSIN with Michael Keaton. Why? Because I LIKE Michael Keaton. LOL. I watched the movie. Loved Keaton's character but the rest of the movie?

Meh.

But at the same time? I discovered that the movie was adapted from a Vince Flynn book of the same title. So I read the novel and I gotta tell ya... Much more BELIEVABLE. LOL. They did things in the movie that were NOT believable in my humble opinion. Plus? They changed the Antagonist from a terrorist into a disgruntled former Seal who used to work with Keaton.

Meh.

Hollywood simply isn't happy unless they RAMP UP THE STORY to huge proportions. I'm not saying this is a bad thing but when it gets RIDICULOUS storywise?

Meh.
 

Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
I know you don't read sci-fi, but have you read Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land?" The character Jubal Harshaw commented that you always had to leave an error in every work you wrote so the editor could fix something, because "He won't like the flavor until he pisses in it." But by leaving that one glaring error the editor will fix s/he won't start screwing around with anything important.
 
I know you don't read sci-fi, but have you read Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land?" The character Jubal Harshaw commented that you always had to leave an error in every work you wrote so the editor could fix something, because "He won't like the flavor until he pisses in it." But by leaving that one glaring error the editor will fix s/he won't start screwing around with anything important.
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. I have NOT read that BUT? Sounds EXACTLY like many Hollywood meetings I've had after the spec has been read. Everyone wants to see just a little of their piss on top of your piss. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

EDIT: Or is it smell? LOL.
 
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Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
I remember reading a Clancy book in high school, and it would go on for 3 pages about the specifics of some ordinance.

But that is Clancy. At least as far as the technology that appeared in his books, it was as realistic as possible. He is, quite obviously, a supporter of those who serve in the military. Part of the explanation to the reader is a reminder that a soldier has to actually know all that stuff, because their lives can depend upon it.

In, "The Sum Of All Fears" (the movie was nothing like the book), there is an entire, short chapter devoted to what occurs during the three milliseconds a nuclear weapon detonates. A large portion of the book was devoted to the manufacture of the weapon by terrorists.

To me the worst thing about it was the fact that the decision to turn it into a kids movie

100% agree. Enders Game was a very ugly book, in some ways. Just because children are in the story, that does not make it a story for children.
 
I know you don't read sci-fi, but have you read Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land?" The character Jubal Harshaw commented that you always had to leave an error in every work you wrote so the editor could fix something, because "He won't like the flavor until he pisses in it." But by leaving that one glaring error the editor will fix s/he won't start screwing around with anything important.
I knew when I started this thread that it was only a matter of time until we started talking about Stranger in a Strange land. That was an amazing book that I don't think will ever be successfully turned into a movie. RH is one of my favorite authors of all time, and a good part of that is because he writes fictional worlds in a way that often exceeds what the medium of film could effectively convey. His interpersonal dynamics have a lot of spark and originality, and it's something that works on the page but would come out as sort of silly in the visual format. Though he's not the same caliber of writer, I've seen this happen with Dean Koontz as well, where his characters come out kind of cartoonish on the screen.
 
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. I have NOT read that BUT? Sounds EXACTLY like many Hollywood meetings I've had after the spec has been read. Everyone wants to see just a little of their piss on top of your piss. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

EDIT: Or is it smell? LOL.
Great work on writing this post buddy, but I, and my nephew, just have a few NOTES on how you could improve it........
 
Best note I've ever had...

EXEC #1
Can we make the dog a pitbull mix?

EXEC #2
I feel like he's more of a Rottweiler.

EXEC #1
Hmmm.

ME
(joking)
Why don't we make it a pitbull Rottweiler mix?

EXEC #1
Perfect!

EXEC #2
Love it!
now, you have a real movie! Thank god those heroic executives were around to fix this for you. I can't imagine any plot surviving with the wrong kind of dog in it.
 
Over the years? I found it extremely beneficial to stick dogs, cars, guns, etc. in a story where eventually... You know people are going to piss on it. If you throw in inconsequential shit like this -- more or less -- where it doesn't really matter to the story what they are? Men execs have a propensity to turn those into specifics while Women execs seem to go after the emotional aspect of the story... Which is fine with me.

God forbid we don't give them SOMETHING to do. LOLOLOL.

P.S. I LOVE WRITING BOOKS.
 
Over the years? I found it extremely beneficial to stick dogs, cars, guns, etc. in a story where eventually... You know people are going to piss on it. If you throw in inconsequential shit like this -- more or less -- where it doesn't really matter to the story what they are? Men execs have a propensity to turn those into specifics while Women execs seem to go after the emotional aspect of the story... Which is fine with me.

God forbid we don't give them SOMETHING to do. LOLOLOL.

P.S. I LOVE WRITING BOOKS.
I think we should ship all the film execs off to the Nascar circuit. I would enjoy watching them run along side the race cars yelling at the drivers.

"That's great steering, but can you steer with a little more Pizzaz?"

A winded assistant runs along side the exec running by the car, and nods in sagely approval at this insight.

Another exec pulls into formation at the turn.

"I know you have to ride the gas all the time to win the race, but the guy who made the brake system is watching from the stands today, so could you try and work a little more braking into your driving?"

You win the race, and when you walk up to the podium to accept the trophy, the assistant pushes you aside, and the executive steps up to accept it.

"Thanks everybody, Sure, I won this trophy, but really it was a team effort, after all, without the driver there, there would have been no one there to accept the advice that won the race!"
 
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