Just posted my review
. My analysis kind of devolves into a discussion of novelizations in general rather than this one in particular, just so you're forewarned!
From your review:
Because the vast majority of readers will have seen the film, Foster doesn't spend a great deal of time on descriptive prose, instead launching the reader into the action and presenting the story in a fast-paced manner. After all, we've already seen the sets, characters, and action sequences; why waste time describing every minute detail over again?
It's more likely that Foster just didn't know
what things would look like, just what was described in the script. Maybe he could've gotten some reference photos for certain things upon request, but given how secretive Bad Robot is about its movies, a lot might have been off-limits.
As for the idea that most readers of the novelization would've already seen the film, that might be true today, but I think the original reason for novelizations was to make the story available to people who hadn't seen the film. Back in the days before home video and Netflix, many people might never have gotten to see a movie if they missed it in the theater, unless they caught it rerun on TV sometime. That's also probably why past novelizations were freer to take liberties with the films' stories: because they were designed to work as standalone books for readers who had nothing else to compare them to, and thus the writers' decisions were based on what would make the best book rather than what would be faithful to the screen version.
Then again, I grew up in the days when movies tended to stay in theatrical release for months, even a year or more. And novelizations often came out before the movies they were based on, as for instance with the Star Wars
novelization (also by Foster, though published under Lucas's name). I think the idea was that if people liked the novel, it might make them want to see the movie version. (Or maybe it was to blur the line between original movies and movies based on books, since the latter might have had more prestige.) And we were more a family of readers than moviegoers. So it was pretty normal for me to read the novelization first, sometimes more than once, before I finally got around to seeing the actual movie, whether in the theater or when it eventually showed up on TV.