Modern Day Adaptations

Here’s a quick question, Squiders – is there a way for you to like a post without looking at it? Because sometimes a post will get more likes than it’ll get views in a certain time period, and I don’t know if the view thing is just delayed, or if there’s another way to do it. Assuage my curiosity.

Onward.

Modern day adaptations are all the rage right now. This is where you take source material (usually at least 100 years old) and modify the characters and plot to fit into the cultural and societal norms of today. It’s fairly common, and the more beloved the source material, the more adaptations you’ll find.

(You’ll also occasionally find fantastical adaptations, or science fiction adaptations, of these same stories. These are more awesome but less common.)

There’s many ways people do this. Let’s take Pride and Prejudice, because I can think of three modern day adaptations off the top of my head (and in three different types of media! Score). First, there’s the Lizzie Bennet Diaries – a currently on-going series of vlogs presented on YouTube. (For those familiar with the book, they’re about up to the party shortly before Bingley vacates the area.) This is a very true adaptation, with the plot more or less exactly following that of the book. Second, there’s Lost in Austen, a British mini-series that mixes the modern day with the original source material. And third, there’s Imperfect Bliss, a recently-published novel that is loosely based off of the original source material.

Like all things, some of these things are good and some are bad. And anything is fair game. Wizard of Oz, Sherlock Holmes, Jane Eyre, you name it. Of the three above ways to do a modern day adaptation, I admit I’m not very fond of the “loosely based” option. They don’t tend to be adaptations as much as vaguely related, i.e. something about the original inspired the creator of the new work in some way, and that’s about it. But they’re always marketed as a modern day adaptation, and then they’re not and it annoys me.

By that definition, my high fantasy trilogy is a modern day adaptation of Star Trek. (Hm.)

To me, if you’re going to bother to do an “adaptation,” part of the fun is the challenge of trying to take things that don’t fit in our modern society (to continue with the P&P example, the fact that a woman has to marry to be successful in life) and changing them enough so they make sense to both modern readers and the original intent of the story. Or, when you’re mixing the source material with modern day sensibilities, to see how modern people react to the story, and vice versa.

What do you think, Squiders? Do you like adaptations, or are they sacrilege to the original work? Any you would recommend?

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2 responses to this post.

  1. To your first question, I believe if you “like” something from the Reader page without actually going to the page, you get a “like” but not a hit.
    Personally, I’m a fan of adaptations. It’s always interesting to see themes and ideas brought forward, but I do agree there’s a line between truly adapting a work and claiming it’s an adaptation to draw more attention. For example, Jaws stands on it’s own both as a book and a movie, even though they could have pointed to Quint’s obsession with the Great White and called it a loose adaptation of Moby Dick. I think it’s better to let the reader/viewer draw the connection themselves, unless you’re using characters and scenes wholesale, in which case you should give credit where credit’s due.
    Nice post, by the way!

    Reply

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