6 Books That Would Make Great Movies
With Hollywood so eager to kick off multi-movie franchises, and so scared of doing anything original, it has been no surprise that they have been strip mining the world of literature for ideas. The focus so far though has been on Young Adult fantasy mostly. There are some great fantasy and sci-fi books out there geared toward adults or general audiences that are being overlooked, and even a couple of older young adult series. Here are 6 books or series that I think need to be made into movies or television series.
The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time follows Rand Al Thor as he discovers he is the reincarnation of a man who broke the world and tainted the male side of the source of magic with the very evil he tried to destroy. He is destined to fight that evil again, aided by Perrin, who has a multi-dimensional connection to wolves, and Mat, who is given the memories of past lives that replace some of his own. He also has to contend with the Aes Sedai, female channelers (what magic users are called in this world), and the Children of the Light who are your basic militarized religious fanatics. The Wheel of Time books at first glance might appear to be just another YA fantasy series. All of the main characters initially are teens. They each gain or discover new strange powers and abilities. They are fighting an archetypal evil being mostly referred to as the Dark One. Many of the characterizations and relationships can be pretty juvenile at times. What sets these books apart is the fantastic job Robert Jordan, the original author, did in world building. He draws from Authurian legend, but twists it and makes it his own. He sets up a system of magic that is totally unique and has its own consistent set of rules. He populates his world with different distinct cultures. He hints at a broader world outside, but for the most part leaves it to the imagination. He builds a backstory that goes back thousands of years and includes a lost advanced civilization. In fact the most interesting parts of the books are when he goes back to show how that civilization degraded to the sorry state the world is in when we start the first book. This is also one of the finest epic fantasy series I have ever read, despite its many obvious borrowings from earlier fantasy works.
A Dirty Job
A Dirty Job follows Charlie Asher, owner of a thrift shop and newly single father after the tragic death of his wife. He is chosen to become a death merchant, someone who collects the souls of the dying in an object, and sells the object to someone who is in need of a soul. Not everyone has one you see. He also has to keep the souls out of the clutches of the monsters who are lurking under the city. This sounds like a dark and grim set up, but this is actually a very funny book. The author Christopher Moore has a wild and vulgar style that will keep you laughing the whole time. There are a few nods to his previous novels, all of which take place in the same world. It is not necessary to have read those books to enjoy this one though. The characters are a riot. The book does explore the process of dying and what it means. It also explores the process of moving on after a loved one has died. At no point does it get too heavy though, and would make a good fun movie.
The Prydain Chronicles
This serires follows an orphaned pig farmer named Taran, whose lot in life is to look after an oracular pig named Hen Wen, for his caretaker the wizard Dallben. Taran is bored with his life on the farm when events throw him right in the middle of the conflict between the High King and Arawn Death Lord. He befriends a prince, a princess who is a not very competent enchantress, a dwarf who wants to be able to turn invisible, a bard with a propensity for stretching the truth, and a creature whose loyalty is only matched by his appetite. The books start off as pretty light fare, but as the story progresses the characters get fleshed out, the stakes get raised, and the story begins to take itself a bit more seriously. What starts out as a Harry Potter ends up as a Lord of the Rings. Disney tried to adapt some of the story in The Black Cauldron, but took a buffet line approach to the books and ended up with a messy story that was kind of dull. A more faithful live action adaptation could be a lot more entertaining.
The Tripods Trilogy
This series takes place in a future where the earth is ruled by aliens who roam the world in gigantic metal tripod machines. Humans are forced to live in small communities with no technology to speak of. At a certain age they are required to be capped, so they can be controlled by the alien overlords. Will, Henry, and Jean-Paul decide to run away before their capping, and join the resistance movement. The characters play important roles in the fight against the aliens, and in freeing the planet. I think there was a BBC series made of this, but it is not widely known so I still think this one counts. These books were very definitely geared to a younger audience, but minor tweaks in tone could make them appropriate for all ages. Everyone seems to love post-apocalyptic, dystopian future tales. This definitely falls in that category, and was a pretty fun read as a kid. Heck, I even enjoyed re-reading them later as an adult.
The List of 7
Number 5 on my list of 6 is the List of 7.This is a murder mystery starring Arthur Conan Doyle and a secret agent who ends up giving Doyle inspiration for a character who would later prove quite popular. The story starts with a murder at a séance, which leads Doyle and Agent Sparks on an adventure with ties to the occult. Doyle is not the only historical figure who shows up in the book. Madame Blavatsky and Bram Stoker also make an appearance. The book has a conspiracy, occult ceremonies, and of course a great mystery. If you like books that play with historical facts then this is not one to miss. At one time it was apparently being considered as a film project by Guillermo Del Toro. I think this would make for a fun movie that would play with historical figures, and Sherlock Holmes is still quite popular. This would be a new twist on a character that some might feel is a little overdone right now.
The Illuminatus Trilogy
Illuminatus is a story about what would happen if all the conspiracy theories turned out to be true. It is admittedly dated, and would need to be updated in some parts, but the ideas are sound and the jokes are funny. The story is about the mystic Hagbard Celine and his group of mystic psycho-warriors in their golden submarine fighting the Nazi Illuminati rock group The American Medical Association and their plot to resurrect a lost Nazi army and free Yog Sothoth from the pentagon. The book is funny and vulgar and political and psychedelic and more. There are sub-plots galore, and more twists and turns than you can shake a golden apple at. The Mafia is involved, Atlantis is integral to the plot, the Cthulu mythos is invoked, actual history is mixed with conspiracy theory and pure fantasy in such a way that it becomes difficult to distinguish the difference. There is so much more going on in these books, I don't think any summary can do them justice. It would admittedly be difficult bringing some these pages to the screen, due to the stream of consciousness style they are written. But with the Illuminati being such a popular topic these days, the time to make these movies is now.