What Heinlein Book Should Be Made a Movie?

Robert A. Heinlein arguably shaped the course of science fiction after his 1939 advent on the scene. He wrote either the first full treatment or the definitive treatment of things that became staples, from convoluted time-travel stories (“By His Bootstraps”) to the giant generations-long-trip starship (Orphans of the Sky) to Einsteinian time dilation and FTL communication (Time for the Stars ). For purposes of this thread, I’m asserting that as a given, a view shared by a large part of the SF community; those wo wish to debate it should take their opinions to another thread.

AFAIK, only three Heinlein stories have been made into movies: “Destination Moon”, on which Heinlein consulted and for which he wrote the novella as a 'novelization" of the movie; Starship Troopers, about which one may hold varying opinions of Verhoeven’s work but which can be fairly said to have not been a faithful adaptation of the book; and The Puppet Masters, which was not a horrible film but which I felt suffered from the director or screenwriter’s decision to turn it into a film noir – the novel, while rough and gritty, was significantly brighter in tone than the movie. (Any arguments about why these two movies are (a) bloody abortions every print of which should be burned or (b) masterpieces of cinematic art, need to go, you guessed it, into a new thread.)

So my challenge is this: Pick, from Heinlein’s published works, what you feel would be a good movie, at least as true to the book’s storyline as Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” movies were to Tolkien’s, and explain why it’s your choice.

Okay, I guess I’ll be the first to say Starship Troopers just to get that out of the way.

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, I think- great story, nothing too weird in it (besides the unusual “Line Marriage” thing that really wouldn’t detract from a cinematic adaption if it wasn’t there) and- ideally- a chance to bust out some retro-futuristic designs (I’m thinking something like 2001: A Space Odyssey) to create a really compelling but also accessible science fiction film.

I took a level 3 English course in college on Science Fiction and did my final project on Stranger in a Strange Land. I thought it was a fantastic book and wouldn’t mind seeing a film adaptation.

As an aside, I thought it was unspeakably awesome that my college offered a course on Science Fiction. Did a lot of good reading in that class.

Seconding TMIAHM. I also think Glory Road would be a fun romp, properly done. Maybe if John Carter of Mars hits it big…

I think Stranger in a Strange Land would be an awful movie, unless someone of genius did it. There’s a huge amount of discussion in the book, and you want to try and present the ideas visually, without boring the watchers to death.
I’d like to see The Puppet Masters remade pretty much as it was written – the film that was made in the 1980s had its good points, but trying to make it a contemporary film pretty much spoiled it (although it wasn’t the only thing).
Double Star could be a great flick. The novel’s not too long, and the basic plot idea has been used enough that it won’t by itself confuse people, allowing them to concentrate on the alien setting and the maneuvering. On top of which, it’s not a very long book. They can do it justice in the time a normal movie runs. Stranger or Moon is a Harsh Mistress are long books, and would need cutting to make a not overlong movie. They might make good mini-series.

I’d love to see this one made! It would be a technical challenge-how do you show the passage of time (while the hero is in “coldsleep”?)

Farnham’s Freehold should be doable, I think, but seems unlikely to be attempted.

Podkayne of Mars might see some success, but has a juvenile lead.

The Rolling Stones would have to use the other title Space Family Stone

Red Planet also has juvenile leads, but is otherwise a good story.

JOB: A Comedy of Justice would likely draw mobs of fundie protesters.

I think that the line marriage is an essential part of the story. It shows how the lunar society adjusted to the severe sex imbalance, and that imbalance affects all of lunar society.

And yes, Mistress would be great as a movie. There’s plenty of action scenes in it that would be a lot of fun to watch, for instance, throwing rocks at the Earth.

There was a animated version of Red Planet, but they changed too much of the story – probably to make it “kid friendly”. It was OK as far as it went, but the subversive stuff they cut out was what really made it interesting.

Tunnel in the Sky

All of my choices have already been picked.

I agree that Stranger, as interpreted by anyone who would be likely to do it, would be dreadful. Kubrick might have been able to pull it off.

Moon is a Harsh Mistress would be, perhaps, the easiest to do right. Puppet Masters - would you do the published version, or the uncut version? The uncut version of *Stranger *didn’t really add much, as it was only cut for length. Puppet Masters was cut for content, and the full version is not only eye-opening, but markedly different in tone than the published version.

The juveniles have real potential - they aren’t classics for nothing, after all. How about Between Planets? The personal growth undergone by the main character would provide a strong story line. Even the relatively weak Starman Jones could be a fun romp, although I would insist they leave in the astrogating by slide rule and binary entry of numbers into the computer!

Another enthusiastic vote for The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I think the line-marriage stuff could be jettisoned without too much trouble.

Starship Troopers, if it actually showed powered armor in use, could be awesome as a movie. Might be more likely to be made now that Avatar is such a hit.

I’ve always liked Glory Road and would love to see it made into a movie. Also Time for the Stars or Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, both of which could be made into good Gen-X space adventures. Likewise Friday as a futuristic espionage thriller. I liked the early Nineties version of Puppet Masters well enough, but a version truer to the original book would just kick ass.

I never really cared for Stranger, I have to admit. Probably better just to leave it on Hollywood’s shelf.

Friday would work as a movie, I would think.

I would love to see the adventures of Lazarus Long done in an epic, multi film series.

Methusaleh’s Children
Time Enough For Love
To Sail Beyond the Sunset.

I’d love to see Nathan Fillion play LL, but I’ve always pictured him somehow as looking like (pre-bald) Robert Urich. Don’t know why.

Between Planets would make a great movie, if we could somehow get past the whole bit about Venus and Mars being habitable…

*The Moon is a Harsh Mistress *is my first choice.

The Rolling Stones would be fun though people would think the flat cats were a ripoff of Tribbles.

I would love to see a well done, power armored Starship Troopers. I actually enjoyed the movie that had little to do with the book, but now I would like to see a movie based on the book.

I think Citizen of the Galaxy could be great. It does not suffer from the retro view of the solar systems alien life that is so key to so many of RAH’s stories. It could translate well.

I would love to see Have Space Suit—Will Travel or Starman Jones but I think much of the stories would be tough to translate to today. What I would really enjoy is the entire series of juveniles done as true to the books as possible but I doubt they would build an audience.

Just posting another vote for Glory Road. I will usually read this book at least once if not twice a year. My wife still can’t understand how I can read the same book that often.

Another vote for The Door Into Summer. It’s not especially lengthy, so it could be adapted better into a movie than his other works. The story is coherent and pretty easy to follow despite the use of time travel. There’s intrigue, some action, shiny robots, and romance (even if it is a little squicky). The story doesn’t rely heavily on the protagonist’s internal thoughts or on abstract political meanderings; most every plot-critical element can be portrayed visually or verbally.

I would love to see Job: A Comedy Of Justice, but I’m not sure how well it would translate to a movie. Plus there’s the heavy deconstruction of Christianity, which most people wouldn’t take well to. (It amazes me how Dogma ever got past the protestors.)

Door into Summer.
This. My favorite Heinlein novel.