Top Five Books That Should Have Been Adapted Instead of Ender’s Game

It’s sort of awesome that fantasy and sci-fi adaptations have become the hot properties in Hollywood. Even though I rarely read comic books I am a huge fan of superhero movies, space adventures and time travel flicks.

Considering that, and considering how significant Ender’s Game is within the canon of speculative fiction it’s not entirely surprising that there is an adaptation. However it’s still unfortunate. I am continuing to encourage people to donate to War Child rather than going to see Ender’s Game but I’d also like to propose five classic Sci-Fi and fantasy books that need an adaptation more than Ender’s Game.

5. Foundation (Foundation’s Edge / Foundation and Earth or Second Foundation)

Ok, so I’m already cheating a bit with this one since it’s actually three books. To be fair they’re all part of one overarching story. Foundation is a hard one to film. I suspect part of the reason that producers have shied away from Asimov’s epic vision of a far-future galactic empire has been the trouble structuring a suitable narrative through line.

Certainly the first two books of the Foundation series resist a cinematic treatment. Foundation itself is effectively a short story collection. The second half of Foundation and Empire could make for a compelling story but the rise of the Mule might be difficult to make into compelling and tense cinema.

Introducing him already in power and hunting for the dangerous and mysterious group that might make for a slightly stronger story.

Although arguably a weaker story than Second Foundation the Foundation’s Edge / Foundation and Earth duology might make for better film. It has a hollywood friendly protagonist and adventure elements that might let its extended warning regarding the danger of false utopias and exploration of the difficulty of deciding between individualism and collective good into an exciting film.

4. A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea classic coverYes, there is an “adaptation” of A Wizard of Earthsea. Well, kind of… Le Guin has effectively disowned the miniseries after she was cut out of the creative process for it. Furthermore much of the thematic complexity of the original work was lost by mashing a hodgepodge of elements from A Wizard of Earthsea and Tombs of Atuan together effectively at random.

And then there was the whitewashing…

There are two fantasy series that defined my love of the genre when I was barely old enough to read. Tolkien’s work and Le Guin’s. I recall the first time I ever read a book in a single sitting was the first time I picked up the Tombs of Atuan and could not put it down.

I would love very much to see a Wizard of Earthsea film that actually considers Le Guin’s vision of the world both chromatically and thematically.

3. Neuromancer


2. Snow Crash

This is another entry both in the “cyberpunky” category and in the just make it already category. Snowcrash has been in a state of partial production since before the dawn of time and there are rumours that it has entered a casting phase as recently as 2012.

Still it would be nice to see a sci-fi novel with an honest-to-goodness sense of humour become a film. A lot of our adventure movies have become grim affairs. The Zach Snyder / Christopher Nolan “gritty reboot” syndrome is the tip of this iceberg only but it’s certainly worth noting that about the only films coming out of Hollywood that managed to successfully balance spectacle, drama and action in the last two years were Avengers and the Hobbit. That’s a pretty slim success rate considering how many movies have come out in that time.

1. Just about anything by Guy Gavriel Kay

There’s no two ways about it. This man writes beautiful books. I’d personally love to see Under Heaven published. It’s my favourite of his novels. But that being said, just about any Kay novel would make for an exceptional and beautiful fantasy film.

His lyrical stories that seamlessly blend fantasy and history into secondary worlds that feel like our own are chock full of fascinating characters, beautiful settings and interesting plots.

Beyond that though there is a depth to Kay’s writing that could elevate an adaptation of one of his books, well executed, above just another fantasy adventure and into a work of cinematic art.

Of course there are so many other deserving stories just begging for adaptation. Share your favourites in the comments.

The Orson Scott Card / Ender’s Game Boycott

If you’re involved in the speculative fiction scene you’ve probably seen a lot of talk this week regarding a boycott of Ender’s Game. You’ve probably also heard about Orson Scott Card’s request for “tolerance.”

Chuck Wendig has done a terrific job of laying out why this is bullcrap on his Terribleminds blog. Rather than just repeating what ┬áhe had to say I’ll wait here while you go read it…

Ok, so there’s all that. And, for the record I agree 100% with Wendig regarding his arguments on this issue. However there’s another reason to avoid OSC and it’s my original reason for disliking Ender’s Game.

That’s the child soldier issue. This isn’t a matter of the Hunger Games, where the antagonists force a minor on the very cusp of adulthood into a situation where she must fight. Rather this is one where the protagonist is deliberately recruited and used as a child soldier… to save all mankind.

I am filled with a certain level of disgust by the concept of the book. I was uncomfortable with it when I read it as a young man and I remain uncomfortable with it now. Even if OSC were not intolerant I’d not go to see Ender’s Game because I don’t want to pay money for a movie so uncritical of the use of child soldiers.

So I’m going to boycott Ender’s Game. I would have even if not for Card’s long history of bigotry. And I’m going to ask you this. Instead of going to see Ender’s Game I propose you make a small donation, equal to the cost of the movie ticket in your local theaters to War Child – an organization dedicated to helping children affected by war.

You can donate to them here.