Books You Want to See Adapted for the Big Screen


I have concluded another one of my unscientific polls and the final results are in. The question this time was "Which never-before-filmed book would you like to see adapted into a feature film?"

Here are the results with the percentage of those who voted for them. (Voters were allowed to vote for multiple books, so that's why the totals equal more than 100%.)

Stranger in a Strange Land (52%) - Robert A. Heinlein's classic might seem dated by some, but the tale of a man who grows up on Mars and then returns to Earth as a messianic figure still has relevance today, and the majority of you think it's time to bring it to life as a movie. Tom Hanks and others have unsuccessfully tried to make a film out of it. Has the time finally come to see Valentine Michael Smith walk among us?

American Gods (41%) - Neil Gaiman is a master storyteller with a remarkable imagination for fantasy tales. This is one of my favorites about Old World ancient gods (Odin, Anansi, Anubis, etc.) confronting the modern gods of the New World (manifestations of modern life and technology). The story is seen through the eyes of an ex-convict named Shadow. It's a terrific book and would make an amazing movie.

The Man in the High Castle (41%) - I'm surprised that this Philip K. Dick classic hasn't already been adapted to death. It's an alternative history masterpiece about the after-effects of a longer World War II that was won by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The award-winning novel has influenced countless other stories and ripoffs, yet no live action adaptation.

The Catcher in the Rye (35%) - Almost everyone has read and studied J.D. Salinger's controversial and ground-breaking novel, but no official film version has ever been produced. Despite rumors that Salinger didn't want anyone except his own son to ever portray the character of Holden Caulfield, there have been attempts to bring this to the silver screen, but so far without any results. Maybe someday.

The Dark Tower (35%) - You can bet your life that at some point every single thing Stephen King has ever written will be made into a motion picture. So far, however, his fantasy opus about the surreal quest of a Gunslinger has inspired a popular comic book but not a live action version. It's a massive, seven volume tale (and King hints that he might write even further adventures). I'm sure it will eventually be adapted, but the question is who will have the cojones to take on such a project and do it justice? Apparently, J.J. Abrams was considering it, but recently stated that he would not be doing it. If the guy who brought us the intricate Lost was intimidated by it, can anyone make it happen?

Ender's Game (17%) - Orson Scott Card's beloved science fiction book about a future in which talented kids are trained in a Battle School in preparation for a war against an invading race of insectoid aliens seems like the perfect storyline for a big budget movie. Card has written a number of screenplay adaptations himself, but so far no film has been made.

Otherland (17%) - I wrote about my admiration for the writing of Tad Williams before, and I still would love to see Hollywood take a stab at an adaptation of his cyberspace epic.

Are You There God, It's Me Margaret (17%) - Judy Blume's young adult novel has faced censorship for its depiction of a teenaged girl's experience with religion (and for the tale's frank treatment of pubescent sexuality). Since when has Hollywood shied away from controversial subject matter?

Snowcrash (11%) - I was positive after the success of The Matrix that other cyberpunk movies would flood the cinema, but then the flops of the Matrix sequels turned the tide. I still hope Neal Stephenson's futuristic tale becomes a film some day.

Infinite Jest (5%) - Some say that David Foster Wallace's massive tome is unfilmable, but I disagree. Surely a story like this, listed by many as one of the greatest works of literature, can inspire a filmmaker to try to bring it to life.

Some stories work best on the written page and don't merit a live reinterpretation, but others, like the ones I've listed above, might be interesting to see on film with actors retelling the tales. Thank you to all of you who agreed with me and voted.

There were 17% of you who voted for "Other," indicating that there are even more great books out there that have never been adapted but that you'd love to see come to life on the big screen. Let me know what they are.

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