Off Topic: Movie Tie-In Editions

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Nathan, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. BobtheGunslinge

    BobtheGunslinge Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag?


    I still think the original short story for Ender's Game is better than the novelization. The movie was pretty bland, too. A novelization of the movie, however, would bring symmetry back into the universe. (I still wouldn't read it.)


    On the other hand, the Pacific Rim novelization was fantastic.
     
  2. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    I find it hard to get the point of novelising a movie that's based on a novel...
     
  3. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    That all depends on how closely the movie adheres to the source material. A novelization of The Bourne Ultimatum film would have no resemblance to the novel on which the film was based, for example.
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I generally resist that as well, although, yeah, there are some cases where the film/TV show is so different from the original than it almost makes sense. There's a new edition of Dracula (the original novel by Bram Stoker) that has the guy from the new NBC TV series on the cover, but anybody who picks up that book, expecting anything like the TV show is in for a big shock. That's a case where it might have made sense to commission a novelization of the TV show instead. (Too bad Fred Saberhagen is no longer with us.)

    But, yeah, I've never really seen the point of hiring, say, David McIntee to rewrite The Island of Doctor Moreau where there's already a perfectly good novel by H.G. Wells. :)

    And from an editorial standpoint, it's frankly easier to slap a new cover on an old book than produce a new book on a crash schedule . . . assuming you can get permission from the studio.

    There's another consideration, of course. If you're dealing with a public-domain classic, the studio or publisher may want something they can sell exclusively. The problem with a doing a movie tie-in edition of, say, Dracula or Pride and Prejudice or whatever is that everyone in town can put out their own edition to cash in on a new movie--and there are probably already multiple editions in print. Having the movie cover is a plus, but there's still going to be plenty of competition in the marketplace . . . .
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
  5. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I still remember seeing 12 Monkeys for the first time, noticing a blurb promoting a novelization in the closing credits and wondering how the heck they could novelize a movie like that.

    And now I've found the novelization online - http://www.amazon.com/12-Monkeys-El...TF8&qid=1388159695&sr=8-4&keywords=12+monkeys

    This seems like one case where the novelization couldn't possibly live up to the film.

    Then there's Starship Troopers, where they're practically two entirely different stories and I found the book disappointing after having watched the film. Then again, I think the political views Heinlein espouses in the novel aren't to my taste.
     
  6. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    One of my favorite examples, which I've mentioned before, is Paul Monette's novelization of Herzog's NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE, which, when you think about it, is a novel based on a remake of a silent movie based on Dracula by Bram Stoker.

    It's actually very well-written, though!

    Thank God Universal eventually dropped their plans to remake THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN as a wacky Eddie Murphy comedy. Matheson's original novel is not remotely a comedy, so I honestly wrestled with what I would do if the remake ever happened. Putting the comedy poster on the novel would have bordered on false advertising, but how do you not put out a tie-in edition when there's a big new movie version? As Matheson's editor, didn't I owe it to him to take advantage of any opportunity to sell as many copies as possible?

    (I once asked Richard, hypothetically, if he would object to me putting Eddie Murphy on the cover of his book. He sighed, but gave me his blessing.)

    Thankfully, I was spared this dilemma when the movie disappeared into Development Hell! :)
     
  7. BobtheGunslinge

    BobtheGunslinge Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, if it's something like The Princess Bride, Die Hard or The Godfather, where the movie is superior to the book, then it's possible the movie novelization could be superior to the original as well.
     
  8. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    True story: I briefly considered publishing a novelization of BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, but wimped out--mostly because I couldn't even imagine trying to explain the plot of the movie to the sales force. That would have been a challenge to novelize, too. I remember trying to figure out who might be able to pull it off.

    Terry Bisson? Howard Waldrop? Peter David?
     
  9. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    With such old works, it's probably less of a problem, yeah, especially when it's really just the character or central concept they're using - but then half the time they change the title anyway.

    And I'd happy novelise almost anything, just to check off the "novelised something" box, cos I've still never done that!
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I used to think I'd want to try my hand at novelizations, but Greg's horror stories about the novelization business turned me off of that rather decisively.
     
  11. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I could see you novelizing "Contact". :p

    Clarification: While joking, intention is complimentary. Christopher writes good stuff!
     
  12. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    I live for the masochism, where writing's concerned.
     
  13. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    More like war stories . . ..

    And I still enjoy writing novelizations. It's just that they make for great anecdotes sometimes.

    It's like dealing with copyedited manuscripts. You never talk about the good copyediting jobs, the ones that were deft and inobstrusive; you tell horror stories about that one horrible copyedit you got years and years ago . . . :)
     
  14. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    My freelance copyediting experience is purely in military history publishing, but yeah, this is absolutely true!
     
  15. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    IMHO the movie is the best thing ever comitted to celuloid - a perfect storm of direction, script, cast, cinematography and score, but the book is also superb. Just how could a novelisation improve on the novel, especially when almost all of the film is in the book ?

    You'd just be leaving loads out...
     
  16. nightwind1

    nightwind1 Commodore Commodore

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    Whereas I went into the theater hoping for Heinlein's story, MI-Armor and all, and instead, got a steaming pile of crap.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm with DonIago -- Starship Troopers isn't what I'd call a good movie (and it cast a bunch of very white actors as the Latino protagonists), but I'm more sympathetic to Verhoeven's biting satire of a fascist state than I am to Heinlein's flimsy arguments in support of one (which basically come down to "It works because I say it works" -- characters argue that the system is good because of the benefits it brings to the people, but there's never any proof that those benefits truly exist, just the ad hoc assertion that they do).
     
  18. nightwind1

    nightwind1 Commodore Commodore

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    Actually, Juan "Johnny" Rico is Filipino, not Latino. At the end of the book, they mention him speaking Tagalog.
     
  19. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well thanks Christopher! Nice to hear someone with your writing expertise backing my opinion of a movie!

    I think I "love" it because it can be appreciated purely as a popcorn flick, but there's some interesting stuff lurking beneath the surface if one cares to look for it.

    The stuff Heinlein espoused just creeped me out.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Ooh, right, okay. All the more reason to be annoyed with the movie's casting. (Although I am very very thankful for the Dina Meyer shower scene. That's one change I approve of; Dizzy Flores in the book was male and only mentioned in passing.)
     

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