What makes a great movie. Is it tons of action? Or is it serious drama? Maybe it is mindless comedy. Who is to say that it can’t be all of these things and more? The simple truth is that your favorite films may not be well liked by others. We can all agree, though, that many great movies have been based on books. Some of them have been wildly successful novels while others are obsure titles that you would never see on the main displays of your local mega book store. There is the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Forrest Gump, The Men Who Stare at Goats, How to Train a Dragon; and the list goes on and on. Here we are going to focus on three novels that would make wonderful films.
First up is a bit of a stretch because it is technically not a novel. It is not even a graphic novel. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series from Vertigo Comics is a dark and entertaining world that dares movie makers to step up and create a film version that can compare. It is the story of the eternal being who rules the Dreamworld known as Dream. He is one of the beings known as the Endless who control the seven aspects of humanity. Neil Gaiman uses historical fact, mythological lore and a healthy knowledge of the supernatural to create a vivid and imaginative world that draws you in completely. With eighteen different collections of stories, there are plenty of rich ideas from which a film maker can draw inspiration.
Next is a series of books from Piers Anthony. This author has written dozens of books in science fiction and fantasy, but none have the heart and depth of the Incarnations of Immortality. These books tell the story of Death, War, Time, Fate, Nature, God (Good) and Satan (Evil). With the deftness of a master story teller, Piers Anthony weaves a web that intertwines these incarnations throughout each of the books. Each of the incarnations have at one time been human. Their lives are turbulent, erotic, romantic dramatic and adventurous. The series begins with Death in the novel On a Pale Horse, Followed by Time in Bearing an Hourglass, then Fate in With a Tangled Skein, next is War in Wielding a Red Sword, Being a Green Mother tells the story of Nature, For Love of Evil is Satan’s story then And Eternity completes the original series with the story of God. There has been a new novel published titled Under a Velvet Cloak and it tells the story of Nox, the incarnation of Night. The great thing about this series is that all of the incarnations are related in some bizarre twist through marriage or directly descended from an earlier time in someone’s history as a human. This creates great drama and intrigue.
Finally we look at the Alvin Maker series. This series of books was created by Orson Scott Card and tells the story of a seventh son of a seventh son born into an alternate world during the American Revolution. Much of the country is divided and the British are winning the war. George Washington was caught, tried and convicted of treason against the crown and beheaded. Alvin is born with the power to create life and his life is threatened by the Unmaker, a supernatural being whose very existence is threatened by Alvin’s. His family struggles to live in a frontier town and balance that with the supernatural happenings as well as the constant threat of war from the British and the Native Americans. Orson Scott Card skillfully creates an epic that continues through five novels; Seventh Son, Red Prophet, Prentice Alvin, Alvin Journeyman, Heartfire and ultimately The Crystal City.
Much like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, all of these books would make a visually stunning motion picture that also contains great drama, action and comedy. That is, as long as they are trusted to the right film maker. Only someone who has a vision that equals the imagination of the authors’ will be able to accomplish a successful movie version of any one of these books.
Whether they are ever made into a movie or not, you could do a lot worse than picking up one of these books and escaping into the world these writers have so masterfully created.