Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Movie Novel: How not to handle

My previous post showed how much I liked the movie Edge of Tomorrow. But the people in charge have bungled the novel to go with it. When you see this cover, you would expect a novelization of the movie, wouldn’t you?

But it’s no such thing. Edge of Tomorrow was based on the Japanese novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Instead of a vast military force flying in from Great Britain to fight aliens on the European continent, the force is from Japan, fighting in China. Instead of Major Cage (played by Tom Cruise), the main character is a Japanese kid named Keiji Kiriya.

Since this is not a negative blog, I’ll just say the novel didn’t really seem to be my style. But it could be interesting to others, if the packaging were different. And there’s the rub.

When the 2001 Planet of the Apes movie came out, it was only loosely based on the 1963 novel by Pierre Boulle. A novelization of the movie was written, and both books were sold in bookstores. But they were packaged so a reader could tell the difference between the original novel and the novelization of the movie.

And that’s how to do it. Spend the money to make a true novelization, instead of just throwing (in this case) an Americanized cover on a significantly different foreign work. Science fiction readers are open enough that they could get interested in the original Japanese version. As it is, some fans will get deeply disappointed when they realize they’ve picked up something different from what the cover advertised.

Of course, if the publishers want to contact me to do a quick hack writing job based on the script, I’m available.   

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