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Did anybody used to be an avid reader of movie novelisations? I used to gobble them up when I was a kid. They'd come out a few weeks before the film (I wasn't even aware of the concept of a 'spoiler' then) and a lot of the time they would have scenes that were cut from the film itself, it was the closest you could get to having special features before the invention of DVD. The king of the ropey movie novelisation must be Alan Dean Foster, check out the dude's bibliography:

Luana (Italian film) (1974)

Dark Star (1974)

Star Wars (1976)

Alien (1979)

The Black Hole (1979)

Clash of the Titans (1981)

Outland (1981)

The Thing (1981)

Krull (1983)

The Last Starfighter (1984)

Starman (1984)

Pale Rider (1985)

Aliens (1986)

Alien Nation (1988)

Alien 3 (1992)

The Dig (computer game) (1995)

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

Star Trek (2009)

Terminator Salvation (2009)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

I now have a burning desire to read the adaptation of Krull.

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Hah, I've got ADF's Alien trilogy. I loved it as a kid, then I re-read it a few years ago and it was pretty ropey. I mean, they're not terrible and in fact there are some good bits, especially in the first book, but he has a tendency to throw in some really odd descriptions that pull your right out.

One that sticks with me in particular was when he was describing a character winking at someone, then realising that the other person wouldn't appreciate being winked at. So the winker stopped halfway through the wink. I mean, WTF? How do you stop halfway through a wink?

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There is Peter David who did Iron Man, Transformers 3 and who I know of from writing Star Trek books. I've not read his movie novelisations but from reading other books I'd imagine they follow the film except the protagonists are even more awesome, amazing, cool, with an even sharper wit as if Peter David himself is playing all the parts.

Mary Sue writing hack.

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I remember reading Craig Shaw Gardner's Batman Returns and Back to the Future 2 novelisations. According to Wikipedia he also also did some computer game novelisations, like The Seventh Guest!

I read Raymond Benson's novelisation of the Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies before I saw the film. It was the first time I realised that novelisations could be based on early drafts of the script, because in the book the henchman character Stamper had the fun villainous quirk that the pleasure/pain responses were "wired" the opposite way round. :D That never made it into the movie, although the following Bond entry The World is Not Enough had a villain who couldn't feel pain at all...

There is Peter David who did Iron Man, Transformers 3 and who I know of from writing Star Trek books. I've not read his movie novelisations but from reading other books I'd imagine they follow the film except the protagonists are even more awesome, amazing, cool, with an even sharper wit as if Peter David himself is playing all the parts.

Mary Sue writing hack.

Never read them, but Peter David's Hulk, Supergirl and Young Justice comics are pretty well-regarded aren't they?

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Yeah I used to read a lot of these as a kid, and in fact I was thinking about them recently. Mainly because I remembered my 9-year old self carrying around a copy of The Search for Spock for a while. I mean... Jesus... the film was dull enough for a kid but I went and read the novelization as well.

From ADF I read Star Wars, The Black Hole, and Alien.

One thing I did like about them (and I haven't actually read any novelizations since I was a kid) was the extra details you got out of the environment descriptions and the inner monologues of the characters. I remember the Return of the Jedi book waffling on quite a bit about space, for example.

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I remember when a relative bought me a copy of the 'novelisation' of The Running Man.

D4Zas.jpg

Imagine young me going in expecting a rollicking tale of a muscular man offing colourful villains in a futuristic version of Gladiators. :o

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I used to sort of, in a very half-arsed way, collect them. I had loads at one point, I used to like the slightly more obscure ones like say Dirty Harry or Deliverance that you wouldn't expect to find a novelization of. The best ones can actually be pretty good, expanding on the story or sometimes just illuminating bits that in the film don't make sense. The worst are utter garbage though, Star Wars tie-in novel level awfulness. Sadly I think I chucked most of them when I moved house a few years ago.

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Yeah, I remember loving the Alien 3 novel. Couldn't have been more than 10 at the time and I read it long before I watched the actual film.

I remember when a relative bought me a copy of the 'novelisation' of The Running Man.

Imagine young me going in expecting a rollicking tale of a muscular man offing colourful villains in a futuristic version of Gladiators. :o

Haha, pretty sure I've got the Bachman compilation kicking about somewhere. As much as I love the Arnie version, a proper adaptation of the book would be awesome.

The Long Walk was great too.

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I remember when a relative bought me a copy of the 'novelisation' of The Running Man.

D4Zas.jpg

Imagine young me going in expecting a rollicking tale of a muscular man offing colourful villains in a futuristic version of Gladiators. :o

That's not even the most inaccurately adapted King story, The Lawnmower Man must surely take the biscuit.

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I use to love all those ADF novelisations, but one of my favourites is The Abyss by Orson Scott Card. Rather than a simple "follow-the-script" style of book, he does an excellent job expanding the three main characters with a very good prologue section; especially Coffey, who becomes much more sympathetic than in the film.

Would 2001 be counted as a novelisation?

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Bit of a strange one with 2001. Found this on Yahoo Answers:

Actually, the thing that came out first was a short story by Archur C. Clarke called "The Sentinal", which was publihsed in 1948. Thab became the basis for the screenplay of "2001", which Clarke and Stanley Kubrick worked on. While the movie was in production, Clarke was working on the novel version, with the idea of publishing it before the movie came out. But for he wasn't finished with the book by the time the movie was released in 1968, so the novel came out later. There were always probably bound to be some differences anyway, because movies show while novels explain--and as I'm sure you know, the movie is ALL about showing rather than explaining!

ADDENDUM: again, it went in this order: short story, then movie, then novel. But the source of the idea was Clarke all the way.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I used to sort of, in a very half-arsed way, collect them. I had loads at one point, I used to like the slightly more obscure ones like say Dirty Harry or Deliverance that you wouldn't expect to find a novelization of.

Deliverance was a novel before it became a film, no? Though it isn't completely unheard for someone to publish a novelization of a film that is based on a novel. :wacko:

Anyway, I owe my love of reading and writing to movie novelizations, such as the Star Wars novel written by Lucas himself, and the the Alien books by Foster. For some reason my secondary school had all 3 of the Alien novelizations in the library and their battered covers and yellow stained pages were always in demand.

As a young male I had no interest in reading anything unless it was based on something else. I accredit my hopes of becoming a writer to this...

190px-Aliens_vs._Predator_-_Prey_-_cover.jpg

I think it still delivers on what it tries to do.

Before the age of the internet and director's cuts, novelizations were the only way to continue the movie experience at home. Hopefully videogame novelizations will continue making readers of kids today.

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I'm almost tempted to read ADF's take on Riddick. That must be totally epic.

Another great novelisation is Total Recall by mad pervert author Piers Anthony, which features the cruelly excised part in which Arnold dreams about an alien ant farm on Mars.

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What I think is quite interesting about the ADF Star Wars novelisation is how close to the premise of the Phantom Menace the opening 'Journal of the Whills' prologue is. Lucas clearly retrofitted TPM to fit his original vision but at least he remembered this original premise buried in the original novel from 1976.

(incidentally, this also betrays how Dune influenced Star Wars with its reference to an ancient history of events a la Princess Irulan's diaries, iirc)

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Deliverance was a novel before it became a film, no? Though it isn't completely unheard for someone to publish a novelization of a film that is based on a novel. :wacko:

Yeah, I think you are correct. It seems it was a novel before the film. just dug out my copy and I guess it's a re-issue to tie in with the movie.

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I had the ADF Alien and The Thing novelisations when I was younger (indeed, might still have them knocking about somewhere).

The Thing was notable in that it had a sequence that was subsequently excised from Carpenter's movie (where some of the surviving sled dogs escape and the researchers chase them on snowmobiles and get involved in an attack from beneath the ice). I read the novelisation before I saw the movie.

All I can remember from the Alien adaptation is the description of dust particles hitting the visors on the crew's space helmets as they head out to explore the crashed alien vessel. It was something along the lines of "Pick, pock. Let me in." as the grains hit the visors.

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  • 3 months later...

Resurecting this thread from from the dead - Arise!

I am having a clear out and want to get rid of the following -

Back to the Future I II and III

Alien

Dirty Harry

Ghostbusters

Deliverance

Alien Nation

None of them are 'pristine' to be honest but if you fancy a bit of Alan Dean Foster or similar they are yours for free. Just pm me your address and I'll post them out.

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  • 8 years later...

@Mikes posted about this in the Scum of the Day thread: Disney currently refusing to pay Alan Dean Foster (who has cancer :() royalties for his Star Wars and Alien books:

 

 

https://www.sfwa.org/2020/11/18/disney-must-pay/

 

Quote

Dear Mickey,

 

We have a lot in common, you and I. We share a birthday: November 18. My dad’s nickname was Mickey. There’s more.

 

When you purchased Lucasfilm you acquired the rights to some books I wrote. STAR WARS, the novelization of the very first film. SPLINTER OF THE MIND’S EYE, the first sequel novel. You owe me royalties on these books. You stopped paying them.

 

When you purchased 20th Century Fox, you eventually acquired the rights to other books I had written. The novelizations of ALIEN, ALIENS, and ALIEN 3. You’ve never paid royalties on any of these, or even issued royalty statements for them.

 

All these books are all still very much in print. They still earn money. For you. When one company buys another, they acquire its liabilities as well as its assets. You’re certainly reaping the benefits of the assets. I’d very much like my miniscule (though it’s not small to me) share.

 

You want me to sign an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) before even talking. I’ve signed a lot of NDAs in my 50-year career. Never once did anyone ever ask me to sign one prior to negotiations. For the obvious reason that once you sign, you can no longer talk about the matter at hand. Every one of my representatives in this matter, with many, many decades of experience in such business, echo my bewilderment.

 

You continue to ignore requests from my agents. You continue to ignore queries from SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. You continue to ignore my legal representatives. I know this is what gargantuan corporations often do. Ignore requests and inquiries hoping the petitioner will simply go away. Or possibly die. But I’m still here, and I am still entitled to what you owe me. Including not to be ignored, just because I’m only one lone writer. How many other writers and artists out there are you similarly ignoring?

 

My wife has serious medical issues and in 2016 I was diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer. We could use the money. Not charity: just what I’m owed. I’ve always loved Disney. The films, the parks, growing up with the Disneyland TV show. I don’t think Unca Walt would approve of how you are currently treating me. Maybe someone in the right position just hasn’t received the word, though after all these months of ignored requests and queries, that’s hard to countenance. Or as a guy named Bob Iger said….

 

“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”

 

I’m not feeling it.

 

Alan Dean Foster

 

Prescott, AZ

 

Quote

Mary Robinette Kowal adds:

 

In my decade with the organization, the fact that we are forced to present this publicly is unprecedented. So too, are the problems. The simple problem is that we have a writer who is not being paid.

 

The larger problem has the potential to affect every writer. Disney’s argument is that they have purchased the rights but not the obligations of the contract. In other words, they believe they have the right to publish work, but are not obligated to pay the writer no matter what the contract says. If we let this stand, it could set precedent to fundamentally alter the way copyright and contracts operate in the United States. All a publisher would have to do to break a contract would be to sell it to a sibling company.

 

If they are doing this to Alan Dean Foster, one of the great science fiction writers of our time, then what are they doing to the younger writers who do not know that a contract is a contract?

 

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The Alan Dean Foster situation is disgusting.  (And I really enjoyed his Alien Nation novelizations).

 

Back on the topic of novelizations I recently re-read Gremlins, by George Hope.  (Which I thoroughly enjoyed as a kid, in lieu of being allowed to go to see it at the cinema).  Revisiting it as an adult ... It's alright, and nothing like as the Back To The Future novelization.  BTTF by the same author is gobsmackingly crackers. It's like Gipe was working from a different screenplay, but also completely reinterpreted the characters of Marty and Doc to make them utterly unlikeable.  Recommended reading (particularly when read alongside the amazing blog/ebook all about this legendarily odd/crap. novelization). Laugh out loud funny, for all the wrong reasons.

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