Well, I haven’t felt much like talking about comics over the last day or two, hence the paperback book stuff from yesterday. If you don’t mind (and even if you do, I’m going to do it anyway), I’ll respond to some of the comments left:
- Martin noted the original Star Wars novelization, famously ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster. I still have my original copy of this, though I can’t remember if I got it prior to the film’s release or shortly thereafter. It is something like a fourth printing, if memory serves.
The last time I looked at it, it seemed to me that some of the more expository bits of it seemed to mesh up fairly well with the new info revealed in the prequel movies…or at least some of the elements referred to in the book felt a little more fleshed out. Well, not that Foster introduced Gungans or anything.
- T. Hodler mentions the original E.T. novelization by William Kotzwinkle, which, as T. says, was quite good. (And, as an amusing footnote, the book prominently features the M&M candies, which were replaced by Reese’s Pieces in the film when M&Ms’ manufacturer decided against having their product in the film.)
I seem to remember liking Kotzwinkle’s novel sequel, The Book of the Green Planet, well enough, as we get to see more of the world E.T. came from, and the repercussions for his actions on Earth. But then, I liked the Atari game, too, so judge my opinion accordingly.
Kotzwinkle does has a light, breezy style the makes the story go down easily and entertainingly, and after reading his novelization and sequel, I sought out his other novels and short story collections, all of which were quite good. The Fan Man is likely his most famous non-extraterrestrial book.
More on Kotzwinkle later.
- Bill makes me feel old by saying he wasn’t sure if his parents would let him see the first Tim Burton Batman movie if it had a R rating, but luckily he had the novelization. I’m pretty sure I had it to…I think I still do, though I didn’t notice it during my recent paperback survey of the house. I wasn’t immune to the rampant Bat-fever sweeping our great nation at the time.
Bill also mentions ordering books through the grade school order forms they’d periodically gave out to students. I remember doing this myself…there were two different companies we’d order from, and I remember preferring one over the other because one of them would take a lot longer to deliver. Hey, when you’re 8 years old, 4 to 6 weeks is a proportionately bigger chunk of your total lifespan thus far. A month is like an eternity, man.
I know I ordered a boatload of books through these services. The only two specific movie adaptations I remember ordering were Unidentified Flying Oddball (Disney’s sci-fi knock-off of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court) and The Cat from Outer Space. I’ve seen neither of these films, though after seeing the cast for The Cat from Outer Space (Sandy Duncan? Harry Morgan? Roddy McDowall? Alan Young? Hans freakin’ Conried? McLean Stevenson? Two M*A*S*H colonels? Well, one lieutenant colonel, anyway), I may have to reconsier.
- Monty informs me that there exists a Grease novelization that incorporates the songs’ lyrics in character dialogue, and now I must own this. That’s just pure nuttiness.
Monty, and others, also mentioned Alan Dean Foster’s Alien novelization, including info and scenes not found in the film (at least, not the original version of it). This was particularly fascinating for a young Mikester who loved this movie (and still does!), as there was a whole lot left vague or unexplained, and any additional droplet of information was greatly welcomed.
This just popped into my head, and when I have more time I’ll Google around for more info, but I seem to remember that there were two different versions of Foster’s novelization being marketed…one for the general adult audience, and one for the junior high/high school market (presumably with the dirty words cut out). Is this just a crazed fever dream of mine, or can anyone confirm?
- Bobh brings up the Elliot S! Maggin Superman novels, which featured Christopher Reeve Superman covers, contained photos from the films inside…but weren’t adaptations of the films. Not that I minded…the books are great.
Bobh (along with Mike McG) also had Superman III, which is an adaptation of the film, and was written by the previously mentioned William Kotzwinkle. It wasn’t a bad adaptation, as I recall…slapsticky, but then, so was the film. I do still own my copy, which I had scanned and posted when Richard Pryor passed on.
- Customer Rob brings up the novels based on the Infocom games (as does “Just Some Guy”) and notes that they weren’t especially good. (Though Previously-Mentioned Monty defends the George Alec Effinger Zork novel). I did buy one of these…they were packaged under covers that resembled the Infocom packaging of the time, and as a big ol’ Infocom fan, that was enough for me to try one.
Well, that didn’t go so well, as I couldn’t get more than a chapter or two into it. I can’t remember which one it was, unfortunately. Finding out that Effinger wrote one makes me want to look into these books again.
- Bill Reed shamefully admits ownership of the Superman IV novelization, which I’m jealous of, though I know full well I shouldn’t be. How many Atomic Men show up in the book, Bill? Did this novelization contain the deleted scenes?
- Angin owns the Total Recall novel, by Piers Anthony. Yeah, I got it, too…another hand-me-down from the folks. It’s…okay, for what it is, providing some additional background for the events in the film. But read Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” instead.
- Both K26dp and Sarah talk about the novels based on V, the show with the rat-eating reptillian aliens and Robert Englund as the friendly alien named Willy. I read some of these novels myself…a couple of them were notable for focusing on characters and teams not on the show who were also fighting aliens.
- “The Thing” brings up “sequel novels,” which provide more adventures with characters from the films, like, to use his example, the multiple Indiana Jones books. I didn’t read those, but I did try to read the Star Wars equivalent, which started with Han Solo at Star’s End by Brian Daley. I just couldn’t get into it at the time (1979…I was 10), and I think I made another attempt or two later and still found it a chore. Ah, well. I know some people really like these. Maybe I’ll try again at some point. (There was also a Lando Calrissian series that I never saw at the time, because otherwise I’d totally own ‘em now.)
He also blasts my mind with the knowledge that there exists a Carnosaur novel.
What a world, what a world.
For reading all that, have a link to the weirdest film I had a novelization of.
In other news:
- Sorry for the late update yesterday…there was another Blogger FTP outage preventing my updating of the site. Ah well.
And while I’m blogging about blogging, I should note that if you use the online RSS feed readers Bloglines and Google Reader, you should finally be able to see the images in the feeds. I’m working on adding more readers to the “allowed” list, so please be patient. (And if you do use feeds, even after I get the images working, please still click over here once in a while and click on the ads and buy things through my Amazon links, and look at the weekly new sidebar icon/title banner, too.)
- Happy birthday to the cocreator of Swamp Thing and Wolverine, Len Wein!