SF novels destined for the silver screen

Some of most cinematic literary releases of the last few years.

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Usually, the news that a science-fiction, fantasy or horror novel is being adapted for cinema leaves a feeling of cold dread in the pit of your stomach, not unlike the kind you feel when you realise that you’ve sent a text message to entirely the wrong person, who probably shouldn’t have read it. Sometimes, however, a book comes along that feels as if it was made for film. We’ve put our picks of the last few years below.

SF novels destined for the silver screenOld Man’s War
John Scalzi

Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series is the cream of modern SF pulp. His action is visceral and spellbinding, his characters likeable and the world that he’s created so immersive that you could easily picture it on the big screen. It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like these novels and, we’d imagine, they’d make for excellent feature films. As long as they don’t bother with Zoe’s Tale. Sorry Scalzi, that was redundant.

SF novels destined for the silver screenAltered Carbon
Richard Morgan

Yes we know, there’s already something in development for Richard Morgan’s futuristic, ultra-violent, post-cyberpunk detective noir novel, but it’s stalled so many times that we’re not particularly sanguine about ever seeing it appear. It would be a real shame, though, as anyone who’s read this will tell you they’d go see it in a heartbeat. Takeshi Kovacs could, and should be a name in SF cinema.

SF novels destined for the silver screenThe Forest Of Hands And Teeth
Carrie Ryan

Alright, so it may as well be The Village with zombies, but that doesn’t detract from the cinematic quality of Ryan’s gorgeous descriptive skills and her ability to imbue tension in every paragraph of her narrative. We’re hearing that there are talks already in progress to bring this excellent novel to cinemas everywhere, and we certainly can’t wait for it to show Shyamalan how it’s really done.

SF novels destined for the silver screenA Knight Of The Word
Terry Brooks

The Elfstones Of Shannara, from Brooks’ other series, is apparently in development, but we’re struggling to understand why nobody’s picked up this option yet. From the hair-raising chase through Seattle that Nest endures, to the climactic and emotionally charged showdown between John Ross and the Demon, to the visions of the future in Ross’s dreams, this would be an electrifying entry in the world of urban fantasy and film in general, as it’s easily the most action-orientated of the trilogy.

SF novels destined for the silver screenThe City & The City
China Miéville

Done properly, by the right director and with the right resources, this could go down in history as having Blade Runner-esque levels of significance. The novel itself was by far our favourite of 2009, and while it would have to be altered dramatically to transit to film, we have no doubt that a great detective yarn could be made out of it. Just think, an intelligent SF film made from an intelligent SF property – how often does that actually happen?

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