Monday, June 3, 2013

Adapt Me

I'm kicking off a mini-series about adaptations: why they work, how they work, and some more why, because that's how I roll. Overalyzedly.

Just for funsies, these are the top three films that I would love to see made.

1. The Persian Boy

I know, I'm not hard to guess. But I absolutely adore Alexander the Great (I have an entire bookshelf devoted to him, and back in high school I wrote an ill-advised romance novel starring him. Let us never speak of this again) and although I actually own three different copies of Oliver Stone's Alexander (The Movie. Yeah, That Kind of Sucked, Here's the Actual Movie. No, Really This Time!), the thing is a travesty. Alexander may have had some interesting love life shennanigans, but the majority of his time was spent leading. Not crying.

Even Colin Farrell looks doubtful
about this.
2. Dragon

When I was a kid, YA wasn't what it is now, and I never really got into children's books. Between the ages of about idk young and 16, the majority of what I read was either scifi or fantasy. And I learned quickly that books with "dragon" in the title A) were almost never about dragons, and B) almost uniformly sucked.

This book did not suck.
This book is a horribly subtle and clever blend of scifi and fantasy with a truly nasty but delightful protagonist. Vlad is an assassin and mafia member by trade. He enforces a district. The text doesn't shy away from how brutal he is, and yet he's so singular and charming that we can't help but like him anyway.

I don't even know how this worked on paper; I can't see it working well on film. You would need to take the witty intelligence of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and dial it up to 11.

Still, want.

3. Protector of the Small

This is an accurate cover, but not a
very attractive cover.
I love Tamora Pierce's stories of Tortall. Her best known works center around Alanna (a girl who hides her identity to become a knight and bring glory to the kingdom single-handedly) and Daine (a girl with wild magic who can speak to and transform into animals). And while those are wonderful books, their protagonists are... em... Well, they have a lot going for them. Good looks, magical powers, strong in battle, everyone loves them...

Enter Kel.

Kel is plain and stocky and distinctly unmagical. She's not charming; in fact, her taciturn stoicism tends to make people dislike her. She wants to become a knight, and now the system allows for it. And yet the system goes out of its way to make everything near impossible for her. She's stuck in the middle - there's no cause for dramatic gestures like Alanna, and yet her situation is horribly unfair. All she can do is either give up or stick it out.

I really, really love Kel, and I wish I'd gotten to read about her growing up. I would have really related to her as a kid. Not only do I love Kel, but I absolutely adore the entire conceit behind these books. They're a deconstruction of the nominal vaguely European mystical King Arthurish fantasy world. Kel wants to be a lone heroic knight, but quickly learns that there's no real place for lone heroes in the world - what do they do? Ride around in circles until a quest appears? The world needs leaders, yes, but the kind that will attempt to train border patrols out of groups of unwilling ex-cons.

And a few honorable mentions...

4. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Snarky steampunk tragedy. Awesome.

5. The Odyssey. I'd really love to see a version of this that embraced the dangerous, fae feel of the journey he takes, and embraces Odysseus's cunning and intelligence. I could see Johnny Depp playing an excellent Odysseus.

6. The Hobbit.

Tell me what book you'd love to see get made into a movie!


  1. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
    Cry of the Peacock by Gina Nahai
    Tinker by Wen Spencer

    (I would also dearly love a TV show based on Michelle Sagara's Chronicles of Elantra books.)

  2. I think the Belgariad by David Eddings could be the next GOT.

    I'd like to see Barbara Kingsolver, like Prodigal Summer.

    And, I love Pamela Aidan's The Fitzwillam Darcy series. That'd make a fun PBS series.

  3. The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (but only by someone really good at filming subtly ominous menace). The Seville Communion by Arturo Perez-Reverte, mostly for the trio of secondary characters who are inept criminals from another era.

    I like this game!

  4. Yeah, Alexander was pretty bad...

    I would love to see Anne Rice's The Witching Hour on film.
    And L.J. Smith Dark Visions Series. And also her Forbidden Game Series. Those are some of my favorite books by her. SO much better than Vampire Diaries, but I do think that makes for a better TV series than movie.

    1. I actually thought about putting The Forbidden Game on my list of runners-up!!!! Those would be a fantastic movie/TV show.