Posts Tagged ‘adaptations’

Adaptations, Expansions, and Twists

Just FYI, I’m delaying the discussion on the first Foundation Trilogy book a week, so we’ll discuss on Feb 25 instead of the 18th.

So, over at Turtleduck Press this week, I posted about a conversation with my mother and how it’s interesting who can read stories based off of other stories, and what sort of changes authors can make before it annoys someone, and how everyone’s annoyances are different. (I, apparently, don’t like people to touch my 19th-century women-written literature, for example.) And I also talked about the ways people can change or expand on those stories, and how different people have different preferences in regards to that too.

And I got a comment asking about so of my favorite book-to-book adaptations, and instead of writing a giant comment over there, I thought I’d share with everyone over here. My brain is admittedly a little fried, so I’m also going to list some non-book adaptations that I’ve enjoyed.


Redshirts by John Scalzi – This is technically a TV-to-book adaptation, I guess. It’s not Star Trek, but it’s also not not Star Trek. Redshirts is a very interesting look at the structure of fiction and what the background characters go through. It gets a little overtly meta in places, but it’s definitely worth a read.

Ironskin by Tina Connolly – Ironskin is a retelling of Jane Eyre set in a universe with a very interesting magical system and background. It is, at times, a bit obvious about its source material, but it’s worth it for the worldbuilding.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – I haven’t gotten a chance to finish this yet, but it is essentially Cinderella. With cyborgs.

Other Media

Namesake – Namesake is a beautiful comic with an awesome and very intriguing storyline. While it kind of co-opts a number of stories (including the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, etc.), thus far it’s really only delved into the Wizard of Oz in any great detail, and, unlike a lot of Wizard of Oz adaptations, it utilizes the events and characters in the entire series. There’s also been a bit of expansion into the Alice in Wonderland universe, and I gotta say, the Cheshire cats (yes, plural) are my very favorite.

Hook – Yes, the mid-90s movie with Robin Williams and Dennis Hoffman. For those who are unfamiliar, the movie takes place after Peter Pan has left Neverland and grown up. It may be because I was the right age at the right time, but I love this movie a lot.

Lost in Austen – This is a BBC miniseries about a modern girl who switches places with Elizabeth Bennet and manages to almost single-handedly ruin the entire narrative. This admittedly gets dangerously close to my don’t-mess-with-my-19th-century-women-written-literature issue, but it’s so brilliant in places that I have gotten around that.

Tin Man – SyFy’s version of a modern day Wizard of Oz has a nice added sibling storyline and a lot of fun almost steampunk aspects to it. Plus the cast is ace. I would listen to Alan Cummings read the phone book.

Epic Mickey – A Wii game that came out a while ago, Epic Mickey is based on the concept that everything Disney has gone horrifically wrong. There’s a shadowy Magic Kingdom and dark versions of classic songs. And it’s nice to see Disney twist its own standard fare. It’s got an interesting gameplay method as well, if such things are your cup of tea.

And then there are, of course, things like Sherlock and Sleepy Hollow and many more television shows that I am not going to list.

I can’t seem to think of any true extensions–prequels, sequels, or the same story from an alternate point of view–that I liked off the top of my head. Can you think of any, Squiders? I certainly have some on my list to read–a couple of P&P related novels about other characters, and a Sherlock Holmes story called The Seven Percent Solution.

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.


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?