Great Science Fiction Books That Shouldn't Be Movies

There are a lot of very popular science fiction books which people talk about making into movies. And I can certainly understand the desire to see your favorite book as a movie. I too love Foundation, Ender’s Game and many other books on these lists, but the truth is that the idea of turning many of these into movie’s worry me.

An Ender’s Game movie for example sounds like a good idea, but there are a few problems. The first is that this is a movie that would require a large number of child actors and many of them would have to be good. This creates two problems, the first is finding that many kid actors which is not going to be easy. The other is that there are a lot of rules about how much child actors can work and other problems. In addition to this while it is a brilliant story in order to make it a movie you’re going to end up with the actual games they played through most of the book being mostly ignored or done in flashes. A TV miniseries might be able to overcome that. In addition to that you have other, important, parts of the book, such as the virtual reality game and most of Ender’s siblings which would likely be cut completely. A good director might convince me otherwise, but in large part I’m just not convinced that this book can really fit into a 2 hour movie and keep the same feel.

Even harder for me to imagine being made into a good movie is Foundation by Isaac Asimov. The problem with  Foundation as a movie is that Foundation is not a single story and the single stories that are in this are largely unconnected and have very few similar characters. On top of that many of the events of Foundation happen to people who are not actually shown. This leads to an epic story with brilliant ideas, but one that is not going to fit into a single Foundation movie. It covers too much time, too many people is too broad and is generally not an easy story to tell at all. So while I will watch a Foundation movie if it comes out I suspect it will be an Isaac Asimov story in the same way that I, Robot was, using some of the ideas but none of the basic plot.

While most good science fiction could be made into movies, some of the best books are good because they are able to cover much more than any movie could and while special effects and computer graphics have dramatically improved the possibilities of movies that doesn’t change the fact that some books are simply not going to fit into the format of a movie, no matter how good the book is.