As I occasionally express here at Unreality, I’m no stranger to the zombie genre. Been a fan for years, actually. You want to debate Brooks canon vs. Romero canon over a casual brunch? Count me in. Itching to compare notes on end-of-the-world survival strategies? You’ve got a friend in me, good sir/madam. So obviously I was pumped last year when trailers for World War Z (which seem to have ganked the horns from Inception) started hitting the internet. And even though the script has apparently gone through more rewrites than a Calvin & Hobbes Christmas list, I dig a lot of the names attached to this project (Marc Forster, Brad Pitt, Matthew Fox, Bryan Cranston, etc.).
Anyway, World War Z is based on an incredible novel by Max Brooks, and I wanted to use this as a jumping-off point for a piece titled, “Seven Random Books I Want Made into Movies.” After compiling this list (without any initial research, swear to God), I went about writing the article. Then I started fact-checking. Save for one entry on my original list, every book already had movies or TV shows in the works. So either I’m psychic, or just as unoriginal as any other opinionated internet hack. Either way, I might not be the only oblivious book-reader out there, so here we go.
1) The Terror (2007)
I’m not usually one for historical fiction, but The Terror recounts the story of a lost expedition attempting to force the Northwest Passage through Arctic waters. When the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror get stuck in the ice, their immobile crew members are faced with starvation, scurvy, mutiny, and cannibalism—all while a vicious monstrosity stalks the frozen vessels.
Sound like a good time? AMC thinks so! I must admit, I kind of had my sights set on a movie for this one, but I also hadn’t considered what a good weekly drama this would make. The story spans several years, after all, and I can think of at least four logical breaks in the narrative that could separate it out into multiple seasons. Plus this is the same network that feeds me Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Mad Men. Color me intrigued.
2) The Forever War (1974)
Zombies aren’t the only war in town. This is quite literally the most epic sci-fi tale I’ve ever read, and with the proper handling of special effects, it could easily become one of the most epic visual ones, too. The story follows an interstellar conflict that lasts over 1,000 years, introducing a nifty little concept called ‘time dilation’: thanks to the theory of relativity, soldiers who leave Earth for the war age much slower than the world they leave behind (e.g., four years of subjectively experienced military service could equal several centuries of Earth-time, relatively speaking). The characters are well-developed, and the scope of their plight vast.
I think filmmaking technology has finally reached the point where the movie could actually do this book justice. And good news, it looks like Ridley Scott is going to take a crack at it! Couldn’t think of a better director for the job.
3) Ender’s Game (1985)
As long as we’re on the subject of space wars, Ender’s Game follows a similar narrative thread as The Forever War in that the battlefront is far from Earth. Ender is a young, strategically brilliant boy plucked out of school to join the International Military during a war with hostile aliens. Ender exceeds at his new academy, and what follows is probably best described as Battle Royale meets Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Not a bad cast list, either…
Putting Harrison Ford back where he belongs: in space.
4) The Last Exodus (2012)
OK OK, Paul’s book isn’t actually getting made into a movie yet. But if John Dies in the End can land a movie deal, so can TLE, I say.