The best SciFi/Fantasy you’ve never seen on the screen

bluestrain writes, Sci/Fi and Fantasy has long had the tradition of the epic. My definition of epic is a sweeping story line with lots of characters, battles, good, evil, politics, and religion. Some of my favorites have made either the big screen (Dune, Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings) or the small screen (Dune again.) I first read C.J. Cherryh’s Downbelow Station many years ago and wondered if could ever be adapted for a movie. I came to the conclusion a movie couldn’t do it justice and a mini-series couldn’t pull off the effects. Times have changed. Eye-popping effects are commonplace and a cast of thousands or a fleet of a thousand spacecraft can be assembled digitally. Maybe someday I’ll be there for the premiere of Downbelow Station. What work of SF or fantasy have you always wanted to see in a darkened room with a big tub of popcorn?

12 replies on “The best SciFi/Fantasy you’ve never seen on the screen”

  1. salgak says:

    Definitely the Lensman Saga… but with a twist…
    I’ve love to see Doc Smith’s Lensman saga done, but with one caveat: I want JMS to do it. Anyone else would let marketing and the suits turn it into a typical action-thriller. . .

    Of course, JMS could do this in his copious free time….

  2. Rademir says:

    The Space Merchants
    Okay, i too want to see Lensmen (4-6 movies i think), Stephenson (Zodiac wouldn’t even be expensive!), Gibson’s Neuromancer, Vinge (maybe True Names).

    Some of David Brin’s Five Galaxies stuff, and The Practice Effect

    I don’t know about directors, but WIlliam Goldman seems to do a good job with sf screenplays.

    But the book i’d really like to see on the big screen is The Space Merchants by C.M. Kornbluth and Frederik Pohl. Something like Brazil (maybe Gilliam would do it) but differently dark, and…well, i won’t give away the ending.

  3. Dave says:

    True Names. Hm.
    It’s one helluva story, but True Names just wouldn’t (IMO OC) convert well to the screen. It’s a bit too character-driven, and the only way I can see to get it to work at all well would involve making half the movie in some sort of cheesy, “Tron”-like cyberspace environ.


    (Also: The link above doesn’t work well in Netscape. Seems to work alright for MSIE, and of course Lynx.)

  4. fiziko says:

    Ringworld
    Ringworld is one fo my favourite novels. Now, there are rumours that it will be coming to the big screen, with Chow Yuen Fat (sp?) as Louis Wu. I’m not sure how I feel about it. We’ve finally reached the point where the special effects can be done right, but I’m not sure the story can be handled properly in anything shorter than a miniseries.

  5. junior says:

    Lensman Series
    Hi Folks,

    I’d always wanted to see “Grey Lensman” or “Second

    Stage Lensman” by EE ‘Doc’ Smith on the big screen.

    They are probably not the best SF (or Space Opera)

    around but for sheer exuberance and scope they are

    amongst the best there is.

    Junior

  6. Scorpio1 says:

    A Fire Upon The Deep
    One of my all-time favorite epic sci-fi novels is A Fire Upon

    The Deep by Vernor Vinge. I’ve wanted to see a film version

    of it for years, but for a long time I never thought the

    special effects technology necessary to make it a quality

    flick was there, but now with movies as visually stunning as

    The Matrix or Episode I (low quality movie, great effects) I

    think it could be done.

  7. m0rpheus says:

    PKD novels
    Well, the reason they haven’t been movies yet isn’t special effects, but I have always wanted to see either The Man in the High Castle or Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said as movies. These have even less chance of being made into movies than the special effects bonanzas, due to the thought that would be necessary to process the plots, something which Hollwood has been missing for some time.

    m0rpheus

  8. toddbert says:

    Something that I’d like to see…
    Neuromancer (or any of the original Trilogy) by William Gibson would be great, although the book’s feel may be a little dated, and there have been too many really bad movies using alot of the story elements found in this cyberpunk classic. I would also hope that it would be taken a little more seriously than Johnny Mnemonic which was based on a short story by Gibson. It was a little preachy and not dark enough. Interestingly a key character in the short story (Molly) was replaced by a similarly styled character (Jane). I believe Gibson did this so that he could use Molly in the Neuromancer movie. Also, I would LOVE to see any of Neal Stephenson’s books made into a movie. Especially the book Snow Crash. Awesome story, and perfect for translation into a movie, it has great characters and wonderful visuals. But if they plan on dumbing the movies down for mass consumption then they might as well not bother making them. It would only cheapen the experience for true fans of the genre. Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.

  9. theangrymob says:

    A Few Ideas
    Any of David Eddings’ Belgariad series or the beautifully written Shannara books from Terry Brooks. I think the primary cause is that the average movie-goer IQ is just too low for most Sci-Fi or Fantasy. If the Rendezvous with Rama project ever solidifies, it will be a great piece to view, but the most people will scratch their heads in utter bewilderment.

  10. wyvernlord says:

    Thieves’ World
    I would love to see Robert Lynn Asprin’s city and tales of Sanctuary in film format. The story would not work as a movie, but as a series it would be great! Small stories about various characters across a consistent timeline. The effects would need to be good, but with todays technology wouldnt be hard. I would even be okay with an animated series. 12 books of about 10 stories, would make a great series.

  11. WaywardSon says:

    My Favorties
    I would love to see the Honor Harrington novels by Webb made into movies. Great space opera, political intrigue, conspiracies and epic space ship battles. What more could you ask for?

  12. quux says:

    Consider Phlebas!
    C’mon, if you don’t think that would make a great

    action sf novel that would make tons of money, you’re

    crazy. And if you haven’t read Iain M. Banks’ Culture

    books, you’re just ignorant. :)

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