Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I Would Love To See As A Movie/TV Show (in a perfect world, where they do the movie right.)
I tried to choose a mix of my favorite genres, and included children’s books as well as YA and adult. I left out romance, mostly because nobody seems to be filming historical romance these days, except for adaptations of classics like Jane Austen. Title links take you to Goodreads; review links, where available, take you to my review. As usual, my picks are in no apparent order! And oh, yes, I only came up with nine, though I’m sure I could think of more if I had a little more time.
- Libriomancer (Jim C. Hines). This book was born to be a movie. I commented in my review on Libriomancer‘s cinematic pacing; it would also have a terrific plot and characters, strong visuals, great special effects. And besides, the whole concept of libriomancy — the ability to pull stuff out of books (from lightsabers to tricorders to Lucy’s magic cordial) is so freaking cool! (review)
- The Dragonriders of Pern (Anne McCaffrey). This would either have to be a series of movies or a television series; I’d vote for the latter because it would mean they could interweave the Harper Hall books with the original Dragonriders trilogy (they overlap chronologically, with events, characters and even scenes appearing in both trilogies.) This is one series that really has to be done right, i.e. faithfully, and until the last 5 or 6 years, special effects technologies probably weren’t good enough to pull it off. The series is currently optioned by Copperheart, but a number of previous attempts have fallen through and this one doesn’t appear be getting off the ground, either.
- My Enemy, My Ally (Diane Duane). This Star Trek (TOS) novel would make a terrific movie. Vulcan ships have been going missing. A Romulan commander, more loyal to the ideals of the Empire than to its current government, informs Kirk that the ships have been captured, their crews kidnapped in order to harness their mental power. She offers a daring suggestion: that Kirk allow her to “capture” the Enterprise so that their two ships, together, can enter Romulan space and free the captive Vulcans. Duane developed a rich and believable Romulan culture in this and subsequent novels, and there’s plenty of action, suspense, and humor to carry the story along. The only drawback I can see to making My Enemy, My Ally as a movie is that since the book was written, the TV series and movies took the Romulans in a different direction. (And we won’t go into how the rebooted series butchered the whole concept of Romulans…)
- The Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy (Patrick Rothfuss). Actually, The Name of the Wind (review) and the two subsequent books have already been optioned for television by 20th Century Fox, even though the third book isn’t finished yet. The challenges to putting this series on screen are considerable, beginning with casting: they’ll need at least three actors for Kvothe (young boy Kvothe, 15 to 20-ish Kvothe, who will get most of the screen time, and the older, sadder, wiser ‘Kote’ who narrates the book.) Actually, I suppose the challenge really begins with screenwriting, and the question of how to handle a lot of the mythic material as well as how to include the framing story (Kote the innkeeper.) And of course, no screenplay will ever capture Rothfuss’s incredible use of language.
- The All Souls trilogy (Deborah Harkness). A Discovery of Witches has also been picked up as a movie, and the first draft of the screenplay has already been written. This could be a fantastic movie if it’s done well! There’s been a lively casting discussion on this blog. (reviews of A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night)
- The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and the rest of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mysteries (Laurie R. King). Oh please? Pretty please please please? But only if they do them right. And for heaven’s sake, don’t play Mary with a completely American accent; it should become more and more English as the first book goes on. Seriously, these are fantastic books, and would film really well for television, particularly for BBC/PBS. (series review)
- The ‘Inspector Sloan’ mystery series (Catherine Aird). The Sloan mysteries would film very well for British television (and later American broadcast on PBS.) The stories are well-written, the plots very well-crafted, and the interplay between the intelligent (but not unusually so) Sloan and his insouciant assistant, D.C. Crosby, is always fun. It’s a mystery to me why the series has never been filmed.
- The Protector of the Small quartet (Tamora Pierce). This wonderfully-written fantasy series about the first girl to train openly as a knight would make a great family/YA movie series. There’s a good balance of character development and action. Like the Harry Potter books, the characters mature through the course of the books, and the tone gets significantly darker in the last book.
- The Dark is Rising sequence (Susan Cooper). Can we just all agree to forget the dreadful American film and start over? A really faithful adaptation would be wonderful. I think these books would do better as television films or miniseries than on the big screen. There’s plenty of scope for great visual effects, but lots of quieter, more character-driven moments as well. There’s also a sharp difference in feel between the first book in the series and the remaining ones, though I think that could be managed.