Ten SF/F Books I’d Love To See On The Screen

June 2, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 18

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I’d Love to See as Movies/TV Shows.

There are quite a few fantasy and science fiction books/series that I think should be made into films or TV shows – but only if they’re done right!  Which to me means: well-written, faithful to the original book in the important things, well-cast, and visually “right” for the feel and style of the book. The Lord of the Rings movies got it right, for the most part; so did the Harry Potter movies. The Percy Jackson movies, not so much. And we won’t even mention A Wrinkle in Time. Or I, Robot, which, though it was entertaining, completely distorted the whole point Asimov was trying to make.


Movies and TV series I’d love to see:

Temeraire. Cover art by Todd Lockwood for His Majesty’s Dragon, Science Fiction Book Club edition.

  • The Temeraire series (Naomi Novik: His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, etc.) Alternate-history Napoleonic Wars with dragons as the Aerial Force. Think Master and Commander crossed with Anne McCaffrey’s Pern, with social commentary, terrific character growth, and of course dragons. A TV series would be best, because it would give time to really develop the characters and explore the complexities of the social and political issues. (As of 2009, Peter Jackson had optioned the books and was reportedly considering doing them as a miniseries. Nothing has happened since, though, and he’s currently working on the Tintin movies, so don’t hold your breath.)
  • The All Souls Trilogy (Deborah Harkness: A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, The Book of Life) Take the magical-world-beside-our-own appeal of Harry Potter, and recast it for adults, adding vampires and daemons in addition to witches, conspiracies and an ancient bespelled manuscript, cross-factional romance and scholarly erudition, Oxford and Salem, London and a French chateau, time travel and modern genetics and nonhuman politics. That should give you some idea of why the All Souls Trilogy has been so popular, and why it would make a good movie or TV series – it has similarities to Harry Potter, Twilight, and even The Da Vinci Code without copying any of them. My 2013 post about a possible movie has generated more page views and comments than any other  post in my blog by a factor of at least ten; most of the comments are about casting.  (In February 2015, Harkness announced that the books are “in development” by the BBC for a television adaptation, but she hasn’t given any details.)
  • The Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Meyer: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter) Fairy-tale retellings with wonderful (and diverse) main characters, set against a SF backdrop of interplanetary conquest, imperial politics, espionage, and genetic and cyborg engineering. These would make fantastic movies! (In 2013, Meyer indicated that the Lunar Chronicles books had been optioned, but there has been no news since, and IMDB doesn’t list Cinder among their titles.)


Young Kvothe, by Kim Kincaid (fattylumpkin50 on deviantART)

  • The Kingkiller Chronicle (Patrick Rothfuss: The Name of the Wind; The Wise Man’s Fear) These books are amazing, and I’m honestly not sure if even a Game of Thrones-style TV series could do them justice. But if they could be done well, they’d be amazing. The main character is fascinating – a brilliant, talented young musician and rogue with a propensity for getting himself into and (usually but not always) out of trouble, an insatiable curiosity, and a curious mixture of street-smarts, naivete, mature wisdom, and folly. The books, which Rothfuss describes as picaresque fantasy, mix humor, suspense, mystery, adventure, and heartwrenching emotional scenes. Done right, it could indeed rival Game of Thrones. (In 2013, Twentieth Century Fox optioned the books for a TV series, and has actually released a description of the series. It’s clearly not going to be entirely true to the books, and the production staff isn’t great… so “done right” isn’t looking too hopeful at this point.)
  • The Protector of the Small Quartet (Tamora Pierce: First Test, Page, Squire, Lady Knight) Although I’d love to see almost any of Pierce’s books on the screen, I think this series would do particularly well, especially as a TV series. There’s action, character development, plenty of conflict and medieval-style fighting, humor, animals, magic, and one of the best “ordinary” heroines I’ve ever come across in Keladry of Mindelan. Sadly, it’s never even been optioned. (series review)
  • The Dragonriders of Pern series (Anne McCaffrey) I’ve been waiting for decades for someone to do a movie or TV series based on the Pern books. It’s gone through several false starts, including a TV series in 2002 that almost went into production, but the writer pulled out when Warner Brothers changed it so much it was no longer recognizable. Now they’ve optioned it again (as of last summer.) Hopefully this time around they have learned from the success of the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Hunger Games franchises that fans are much happier (and films are more successful) when you Stick. To. The. Books. Please, Warner, don’t ruin Pern!


  • The Magic Ex Libris series (Jim C. Hines: Libriomancer, Codex Born, Unbound, more to come) Libriomancer struck me as highly cinematic the first time I read it, and my opinion hasn’t changed. This series where magic involves literally pulling things out of fiction books – from lightsabers to Lucy’s healing cordial to ordinary revolvers – would make a fantastic, action-packed movie with broad appeal. (Oh, and did I mention the fire spider? And the appearance of both Gutenberg and Ponce de Leon?) Unfortunately, the difficulty of obtaining the necessary permissions to the myriads of fictional worlds referenced, from Twilight to Star Wars to Narnia to hard-boiled detective novels, will probably keep my dream of a Libriomancer movie from ever becoming reality.
  • The Ranger’s Apprentice series (John Flanagan: Ranger’s Apprentice, The Burning Bridge, The Icebound Land, The Battle for Skandia, etc.) Will, an undersized boy with a talent for mischief, sneaking, and climbing, wants desperately to be a knight, but ends up apprenticed to the Ranger Corps, who serve as the king’s eyes and ears throughout the kingdom. The series follows him through his apprenticeship and on to his early years as a full-fledged ranger. Along the way, he rescues a princess, is captured and enslaved by the equivalent of Vikings, helps foil several invasions, and falls in love. There’s plenty of humor and wonderful friendships. It would probably do better as a TV series. (According to Wikipedia, United Artists optioned the Ranger’s Apprentice books in 2008, but I can’t find any more recent information on a possible movie.)


Books I wish they would adapt again… because the first movies were so bad

I’m sure we all have a short list of books whose adaptations were so bad, we’re secretly longing for a do-over.

  • The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper) I didn’t even see The Seeker, but Robin did, and hated it. They departed so far from the original book, it’s hardly recognizable. I’d like to see the whole series done right, or at least The Dark is Rising, Greenwitch, The Grey King, and Silver on the Tree.
  • A Wrinkle in Time. The TV adaptation was a bit saccharine, and not completely true to the novel. It does look like a new version is in development for Disney, written by Frozen director Jennifer Lee. Fingers crossed.
  • The Percy Jackson movies. OK, they got some stuff right, but they really messed up a lot of it – especially the stuff about the prophecy. And Percy and Annabeth started out too old, which makes going on with the series problematic.


So what SF/F books would you pick to adapt?


18 Responses to “Ten SF/F Books I’d Love To See On The Screen”

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Thanks! I’d be happy with pretty much any Tamora Pierce on film, too – though I think my second choice would be the Daine books (can’t you just see Emperor Mage as a movie?!)

  1. R_Hunt @ View From My Home

    Well, in answer to your question…I don’t know 🙂 I love the adaptations of Lord of the Rings and for some weird reason we started a tradition of watching one or two of the 3 movies DVDs on Christmas afternoon…they are sometimes just background noise or some of us actually sit and watch them—again. Definitely a favorite of our household. I could watch Aragorn all day 🙂

    I read the first in the All Souls trilogy and have the second on my kindle so I second that idea. I think I’m afraid to move ahead with the series because so many readers said book 1 and 3 are great, and 2 not so much, so I hesitate to crack it open.

    I buddy-read Cinder with my eldest and enjoyed it and she went on to read more in the series so it must be very good. Libriomancer looks like a lot of fun to read, even if they never can make a movie from it. So many great titles, food for thought, thanks Lark!
    R_Hunt @ View From My Home recently posted…June Reads: My Month of Summer ReadingMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I think that the reason some people didn’t like Shadow of Night as much as A Discovery of Witches and The Book of Life is that, because they are in the past, they are in less immediate danger than in the first and third books. But there’s still plenty of danger, along with a great deal of character and relationship development. And you get to know Philippe, which is a lot of fun. Plus, I’ve always been fascinated and enamored of the Elizabethan era, so the historical fiction aspect really appeals to me.

      • Rita @ View From My Home

        Your comment is the first to give me a succinct and helpful explanation as to why they didn’t enjoy book 2 of All Souls Trilogy. Now I feel I could read it and enjoy it, I’ve had it on my kindle for months, and am ready to go with it coming up soon.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Oh, I think you’ll really enjoy all three of those series! And yes, Robin and I were rather sad about the Percy Jackson movies. The things they did do well showed what the movies could have been, if only they hadn’t made some bad choices along the way.

  2. JJ

    100% yes to a redo of the Percy Jackson movies. We deserved better than we got! I haven’t read any of the books on your list but I am hoping to read The Lunar Chronicles since everyone seems to rave about them so much! Check out my list, there’s quite a bit of fantasy/sci-fi featured!
    JJ recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #7My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      The thing that made me mad about the Percy movies was that it wouldn’t have taken very many changes to do it right! I hope you enjoy the Lunar Chronicles – they are really good. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

    I so agree about The All Souls Trilogy!! And on the topic of remakes/reboots that are needed….Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle. That series is Epic in my opinion and not that I am in any way saying he’s as good as Tolkien…but I so think it could be LOTR good in the theater is done right. Eragon was so destroyed that I cried walking out of the theater in abject disappointment.
    Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf recently posted…Book Review: Sweet by Emmy LaybourneMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I know! Luckily the topic specified that they would be good adaptations. Still, I always feel a thrill of mingled anticipation and dread when I hear that a book or series I love is being adapted for the screen. If it’s good, yay, but it can so easily be awful.

  4. Cayt

    Heck yeah! The Dragonriders of Pern was on my list and my choice for the Feature and Follow meme. I adore Pern (hence the spelling of my name) and I can’t wait for a movie or tv show. I have faith that they’ll eventually get around to making it and it’ll be amazing!
    Cayt recently posted…Award – Beautiful Blogger AwardMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I’ve certainly got my fingers crossed! 🙂 Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply; a week of working overtime followed by two weeks on vacation with limited or no internet access puts quite a crimp in keeping up with comments.

  5. Stephanie

    I’d watch most of these movies! I had the Lunar Chronicles on my list as well. It sucks that it’s been optioned but not yet developed. I like that you identified some movies that you want re-made – I haven’t seen any of those movies and now I will avoid them:).
    Stephanie recently posted…Saturdays in the Garden – Peas and BatsMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      This was a fun topic to do! I love your choices, and enthusiastically second your request for movies or series of the Gail Carriger books, the Mary Russell series (though I think Emma Watson is too short to play Mary), and Maisie Dobbs. Also the Dresden Files and The Night Circus, even though I haven’t read them. 🙂