OK, I’ll start with the obvious – “Beastmaster” by Andre Norton. Made into a movie AND a TV series.
Sorry, it was one of her weakest and least original works. A guy who can communicate telepathically with animals, big woo. Doctor Doolittle did it earlier and better.
Why not try some of her much better works, like:
Judgement on Janus – A race of forest-dwelling sentients who have been rendered extinct by Earth settlers leave various “traps” in the woods that slowly transform human settlers into mental analogues of the aliens – told from the POV of a settler who has fallen under the spell of such a trap. Fucking brilliant!
Galactic Derelict – Three archaeologists who are conducting their studies with the newly discovered tool of time travel find a derelict alien spacecraft during a visit to prehistoric times. Accidentally activating it, they find themselves unwilling passengers on a journey to unknown stars, while having to figure out how to feed themselves and so forth on the alien vessel, and eventually, how to navigate and return to Earth in some time resembling their own. Another brilliant concept.
The Last Planet – Against the background of a rapidly collapsing interstellar empire, the crew of the Space Patrol vessel Starfire are sent to remap a group of distant star systems, a mission which the crew doubts they’ll return from, since dwindling supplies and spare parts are making interstellar travel very difficulty. They dutifully try to complete the mission, but predictably get stranded, and have to figure out how to make new lives on the strange planet they find themselves on, with only the resources on their ship, the Empire being incommunicado. A great story.
Sargasso of Space – An interstellar cargo ship (think “tramp steamer”) buys rights to a “burn off” planet (a planet that was more or less destroyed in an ancient interstellar war) then discover too late that it still has a functioning alien weapon that can pull ships out of space and make them crash land on its surface. The minds of the aliens that created it are so different that just looking at their wallpaper can drive men mad. And someone or something is using the installation for evil purposes. Really imaginative!
But the fricking morons who make movies went for cow-birthed Dar (and of course they used very little of the actual story from the novel anyway). There are a LOT of much better works than Beastmaster by Norton … almost all of them in fact.
Any other examples of moviemakers inexplicably picking a work by a strong author who has much better stories to tell than the one that got picked?