The Next Big Science Fiction Movie Should Be...

…(1) From a book or story that would make a great movie and (2) is unlikely to ever be made.

Not counting the “comic book” films or the Star Wars/Star Trek franchises (albeit both help in showing that futuristic/space-set movies can be profitable). I’m more interested in ones like “Gravity” and “The Martian” (ok, “Interstellar” too, although I didn’t care for it much) which have shown a good SF story well-told can do well on the bottom line (which, after all, is what Hollywood truly cares about).

Yet for 2016 all I’ve seen is Independence Day 2 (Really? We asked for this?) and perhaps Avatar 2 (OK, first one made scads of money, but I’d rather reread the Poul Anderson story…). And that gripes me some, because there are buggering dozens of great stories out there that could make dynamite movies, IMHO.

I know that some (Rendezvous with Rama, The Stainless Steel Rat, Ringworld) have been optioned and discussed and re-optioned and re-discussed and in the end not made…maybe someday. I was excited when David Weber’s Honor Harrington was optioned by a group that had made a couple of major films, but after a couple of years that went away.

And those could be great films! At least IMHO (YMMV).

So after the above rant (I am coming to a point, mods, this is not Pit-material), I asked the assembled: In a perfect, just world, what would you like to see up on the screen as a big-production movie? (remember, it must also be profitable–not a John Carter).

For me, despite my board name, I have waited half my life for a Rendezvous with Rama movie and am prepared to wait the second half if I must.

A good version of Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light or Creatures of Light and Darkness. There’s probably enough meat in the Amber series for a trilogy, but I like the stand alone novels better. Other than the execrable Damnation Alley I don’t think any of his works have been brought to the screen.

My first thought was Zelazny as well. But I went with the “My Name Is Legion” stories. Plenty of material there for a couple of near-future movies.

I am going to avoid the “re-do this and do it right” list (e.g. Starship Troopers, another run at Hitchhiker’s, etc.)

Ones I would love to see:
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

For a while there was talk of an Honor Harrington movie, but the studio considering it closed.

I think the trend these days is to take a book series and translate it into a regular television series, rather than take one of the volumes of the series and turn it into a motion picture.

“The Expanse” is based on a series by James S.A. Corey, conveniently called “The Expanse”. John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” series is slated to become a series as well, called “Ghost Brigades” I think. To digress a bit into fantasy, George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series is translated into the hugely popular “Game of Thrones” TV series.

I think the decreasing production costs for CGI effects has a lot to do with it; it’s not a big deal to have CGI spacefleets, dragons, etc… anymore, and it’s not astronomically expensive, or requires the services of ILM either.

I have a feeling the next big sci-fi movie will either be based on a one-off book(“Footfall” would be a good choice), or will be an original screenplay.

(I have a feeling “Lucifer’s Hammer” is too close to “Deep Impact” and “Armageddon” to really be viable these days as a major motion picture)

Lucifer’s Hammer would make a good HBO series. For the big screen I’d prefer Footfall. I want to see hang-gliding elephants in disco shoes, dammit! :smiley:

Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash is action-packed enough to have plenty of cinematic potential.

Spider Robinson’s Callahan’s Cross Time Saloon series. Not hard sf exactly, but the story arcs would be great!
Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker series would be pretty interesting as well.

The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov.

Follow up with The Naked Sun, if desired.

Some fella wiser than myself once said that, when you sit down and think about it, the Foundation Trilogy is actually mostly people talking to each other - no action, so I guess that would be a nonstarter.

I would love to see Jack Vance’s Planet of Adventure (Tschai) brought to the big screen. It’s science fiction, but it’s not really about the technology, but rather about strange cultures, alien and human.

Vernor Vinge’s Peace War. Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man. James White’s Hospital Station. And yes, The Stainless Steel Rat.

With CGI-generated giant monsters making a comeback, I’d like to see Great Cthulhu on the big screen. He would have to be too vast to have discernable features like eyes. Tentacles would be the size of Panama. It’d be like if Mt. Everest uprooted itself and strode across the ocean floor.

Dan Simmons Hyperion series comes to mind, but it’s probably more suited for a series like Game of Thrones.

The movie they were purporting to make in the events fictionalized in the movie Argo was based on Zelazny’s Lord of Light. They really did want to make it (and follow up with a sort of Disneyland based on the book). The Jack- Kirby-drawn visualizations (Kirby is a character in Argo, although he’s kept in the background) included a lot of Eastern-style domes, which might be why they went with it as a premise.

as for what should be done:

1.) I’ll second Rendezvous with Rama. I’ve suggested it before on this Board. I think it’d be great (although Stranger seems to thin km it would be a flop)

2.) Fredric Brown’s Arena, filmed straight, for once, and using CGI. I’ve been shooting this one in my head for years.

3.) Alfred Bester’s The Stars my Destination. I think this one could be done, too. It has a KILLER opening, if nothing else, as Gully Foyle, thinking he is about to be rescued, is abandoned by the Vorga, and finds his Purpose in Life.

4.) You might be able to make a good film out of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress if you do it right. we’re due a good big-budget Heinlein film (Last year’s * Predestination* was good, but overlooked, and low-budget). Despite what people think, I doubt that Stranger in a Strange Land would make a good film. Maybe they could do one of the juveniles, or Double Star, or remake The Puppet Masters (although I think the sub-genre has been done to death by now).

5.) I think Clarke’s The Fountains of Paradise could be made into an excellent film.

I would really like to see Dragonlance done well either as animation or Live Action. The one movie they did was pretty bad. A script would let them fix Dragons of Spring Dawning to make a better climax (the one in the book left much to be desired). Then we could get the superior Legends Trilogy.

Well, that depends. Personally, I think that the Bayta Darell half of “Foundation and Empire” has enough action and non-talky drama to make a movie out of! Yes, you might need to rework some speeches and dialogs that wouldn’t work on film, but you wouldn’t need to really change the characters or the thrust of the story.

ETA: And now I’m chuckling picturing a Star Wars-esque crawl to establish the story so far. “It is a time of peace and decadence for the Foundation. Indbur the third, a man with the soul of a bookkeeper, has managed to keep a grip on the Mayorality that his grandfather and father seized. On the independent trader world of Haven…”

Seconded on all counts, although I’m not as big a fan of the last one. How about their First Contact classic The Mote in God’s Eye instead?

To tide you over - here it is done on a small budget, but quite entertainingly:

Yes to Fountains (high concept - no pun intended - and an interesting Man vs. Nature story), no to Rama (the book just didn’t grab me).


Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin - A plump, sarcastic starship captain uses ecological engineering to make entire worlds more to his liking. Brilliant sf satire.

All My Sins Remembered by Joe Haldeman - An interstellar spy, after repeated personality overlays and too many dirty deeds, starts to lose his sense of self.

Tool of the Trade by Joe Haldeman - A deep-cover Soviet agent in the Eighties develops a practical means of mind control and has to go on the run with both the KGB and CIA chasing him. Great story and an immensely satisfying ending (which is rare for Haldeman).

Looking over the Nebula list, I think there’d be potential for the following:

Rite of Passage by Alexi Panshin
Bug Jack Barron by Norman Spinrad
The Man who Folded Himself by David Gerrold
Gateway and Man Plus by Fred Pohl
Startide Rising by David Brin
The Anubis Gates or Dinner at Deviant’s Palace by Tim Powers.
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

The Wanderer by Fritz Lieber – Really, I have no idea why this hasn’t been considered already; it’s got everything and is a disaster movie to boot.

Any of Jack McDivitt’s Academy series.
Jack Vance’s “Demon Princes” series.
Some of Lois McMaster Bujold’s novels

These are the two I came in to mention.

Jodorowsky’s Dune.

You say that, but I figure SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE qualifies on both counts.