Tag Archives: Ender’s Game

When Ka Decides Book to Movie Adaptations

The last time I addressed this topic I had been jaded and disappointed in Hollywood and most screenwriters for “screwing up” or “mis-interpreting” a beloved book/series. If you wish you can read it HERE. Warning, it is nit-picky and kind of pretentious.  My younger self (even just a few years ago) would throw out an entire movie just on some little details or expectations that far exceeding the truth of what book to movie versions represent.

This hard truth, a pill some fans are resistant to swallow (including my slightly younger self), is that each work of art (story, film, song) is interpreted by each reader/fan. They bring to that interpretation their own past, their hardships, their memories, which change the experience and perception of the art. And those interpretations that make it through the vetting process of a studio and a screen writer, the ones that make it onto the big screen might not match our own.images (1)

And it’s OKAY that the interpretations don’t match the source material. (Yes, even the most widely agreed upon as the worst of interpretations. Cough The Scarlet Letter with Demi Moore cough cough). Because the interpretation isn’t a reproduction. It is the viewing of the source material, quite literally, through the lens of someone else’s mind.

thought-policeThis may be an obvious reminder, but if we interpreted works of art the same then our lives would be worse than those in 1984 where they were spoon-fed their opinions by the government. If we are imposing on ourselves such an exclusive thinking, that our interpretations are better than other, then we are the ones to blame for hampering creativity. That’s the last thing the artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers of the world want. That’s the last thing the readers and fans want (even if they don’t know it). Because without the independent, unique thoughts of the individual, we would deprive ourselves of some of the most beautiful creations known to man.

I’ve had a few of my favorite books turned into movies (most recently the sci-fi favorite Ender’s Game) and out of every possibility that could go wrong (inconsistencies, plot changes, terrible casting choice) I always left the theater with a huge grin, squealing my fangirl squeals all the way back to the car.
Undoubtedly, the phenomenon of having a non-pictorial story come alive in a very graphic and visually-appealing format….is a satisfaction that goes beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. To have story, its characters, its setting brought to life in front of my eyes—how can I NOT watch in awe? Some books are so vivid and so rich that they can play like a movie in your head. The scenes and character descriptions built in your mind are now standing in front of you on the screen. Voices are given timber and accents, bodies are given shape and clothes, and gestures and mannerisms are played out on the screen.

Even if every scene has one flaw, there is something magical that happens when someone takes the colors of prose and paints the filmstrip with them.

Speaking of Ender’s Game. Yes, I’m a fan. No, I will not be discussing the author’s private views in this blog. Yes, I have read every book in the main series and still don’t care about the author’s private views.

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The movie…blew my mind. Not in its accuracy (since the ending did not match the book it was titled from), but in the simple fact that a book I had come to love and revere for its intricate analysis of human emotion and psychology and sociology, was alive before me.

Were the actors everything I imagined? I will admit my poor visual imagination (thanks to aphantasia-it’s a real thing, I swear) pales in comparison to what the writers and producers put together. I recognized Ender when he came on screen not just physically, but for how the actor portrayed him. I felt the admiration Graff showed him in the final moments of the battle and the horror his team felt when he found out the truth of his victory. THAT is why I learned to enjoy book to movie interpretations. Because it gives new life to something I already love. It brings characters new dimension by adding this visual facet that wasn’t there before.

Maybe it’s because I found myself overly criticizing other’s works and I needed to reign in my own elitist thoughts. Or because I’ve actually written a piece I can imagine becoming a movie, but I’ve slowly learned to appreciate the amount of work it takes to translate something that is so complex and detailed on the page into a new format successfully.

Let’s turn now to an upcoming adaptation that has already experienced the sting of elitism even before the entire cast list is set.

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Yes, my lovelies I am talking about the long-awaited adaptation of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger. To most, you know that I am a constant reader and dedicated fan to the writer who has astounded us for decades with his ability to merge genres and themes into beautiful, sometimes horrific portraits of humanity. He is not only a constantly evolving author, but an intense inspiration for any writer who simply loves the craft regardless of the paycheck.

His alternate worlds, science fiction, fantasy western is finally coming to the silver screen. And his fans are pissed. Let me preface this conversation with the fact that although The Gunslinger is one of 8 novels in the Dark Tower series, there is no plan to make the rest of them into movies. This will be important later.

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The crux of fan issues is in the casting choice and their displeasure lies in the elitism of what we as the reader view for the character in our minds as well as what we know to be true from the content. The casting the Man in Black as Matthew McConaughey was taken fairly well as he has played enough bad guy roles that he can characterize the elusive chaotic Man in Black with ease.

Yet when we come to the namesake of the movie, the gunslinger Roland Deschain of Gilead who would be played by Idris Elba. Although at first I agreed with some of the confused and annoyed fans that the choice was poorly made in reference to everything we knew about Roland: his description within the books (i.e. he was lighter in skin color-although still tan I imagine, blue eyes and silvering black hair) and the huge racial issues that occurred in the Drawing of the Three when Odetta (eventually Susannah), one of his ka-tet (destined companions), was battling a deeply wrathful and racist other personality Detta who hated Roland for his whiteness.

idrisHOWEVER, and this is a big HOWEVER. Most of the issues that would affect the story telling and character development (the racial and personality conflict in Drawing of the Three) will never reach the big screen. Therefore, the only real attachment to content here is based on physical description, which in almost every single movie adaption has changed based on what the interpretation needs. In this case, The Gunslinger as a standalone doesn’t require Roland to be fair-skinned. It requires a rough, sometimes cold personality of a man who has lost his love, his home, and his mind a few times in his unending quest to save his world from utter destruction. Idris Elba is capable of that character. Idris Elba will succeed well at bringing a new version of Roland to the fans of the Dark Tower series, if we have faith in the screen writers and the producers and the actors to be good to a story we hold dear.

Because, constant readers and new readers and never readers, how do we expect others to excel if we continue to doubt what they’re capable of?

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Again, the key here is…the movie will be someone else’s INTERPRETATION of King’s work. I began reading about the topic of The Gunslinger movie upset at why they would change the content. Until King reminded me (and the whole world) that someone else is telling the story now, and we should sit down, shut up, and enjoy the freakin’ ride, man! Just as many fans interpreted Roland as Clint Eastwood, there are others who would see Idris Elba as their calloused yet talented Gunslinger. The man whose obsession with Tower made him ignorant to the death of his friend until it was too late. This character, this man, this….Gunslinger is not what one person expects him to be. He remembers the face of his father. He follows the path of the Beam. He respects Ka above all other forces in the universe.

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I, for one, reigned in my inner critic really quick. Since I am currently reading Wolves of the Calla (Book 5), I tried imagining (poorly due to my aphantasia) Idris as Roland. And I pasted him in like a paper doll in a book. He fit right in. I find him just as easily subduing the Calla with the Commala Rice song and his quick footwork on the stage. I imagine him carefully following Susannah out into the swamp/woods to find out what’s going on. He is just as much Roland as I would have imaged the men who are drawn on the covers of the books. It’s just a new interpretation, a new version of the Roland I admire.

Book to movie adaptations are a hard subject among readers. We view the book as the superior source because it was there first and because it has more to the story that the movie ever will. I implore you friends and fellow constant readers. Set aside your personal images of the characters. Open your mind to a new interpretation of a story you’ve come to love. You never know what might surprise you about this interpretation. It may show you more to love about the story and characters than before.

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Happy reading and writing and watching my minions!

Don’t worry I didn’t forget the bengal cat picture for your viewing pleasure. Nyla says hello!

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Booker Award: I Am a Bibliomaniac and Proud Of It!

Thanks to my blogging buddy, The Other Watson, I have been nominated for yet another award. I am so happy to accept this award as books are vital to my existence as a writer and human being. My love for books has transcended hobby and soared to a life time commitment. I respect the art of writing/storytelling as one of the finest arts known to all of life.  Receiving the Booker award is truly gratifying, as I strive to write my own stories.

First, I must once more thank The Other Watson for nominating me for this award as he sees so much promise in my blog. We ironically started out blogs within days of each other, and we have been great support for one another.

Next, I’d like to nominate other bloggers for being as book fiend-ish as I am.

1) Wings and Water-One of my dear friends has a fantastic blog about her writing journey speckled with bits of politics, and fun topics of discussion. She loves fantasy books with her entire being, and will be a published fantasy writer someday.

2) Write to Perfect-This a fantastic blog dedicated to insightful advice/tips on writing. Of course, these are the stepping stones, which have made our favorite books great. It is only fitting that I should choose a blog that helps writers to create great books for us to read.

3) mywithershins-This blog is a lovely little outlet for an amazing writer. She has tons of tips for writers after having two novels published. Her ideas are interesting and fresh, with extremely well-written posts. Please check her out because it is definitely worth the trip to her page!

4) 101 Books– Since I received the Booker Award, it is only just if I nominate another blogger who appreciates books in all of their glory. He aspires to reading the 100 greatest books according to Time magazine, which has become the center of his blog. He has witty, interesting posts that always keep me coming back for more.

5) wanton creation-The man who nominated me deserves even more face time. His blog is full of  creative ideas in addition to his love of books/writing. He always makes jokes, and he has plenty of anecdotes to pull you in to each post. I suggest reading his blog at least once.

Now onto the main event–MY 5 FAVORITE BOOKS!

The following are five books that I have deemed well-written and entertaining for anyone who loves a story that will capture your heart.

1)  Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire- This dark novel follows the life of the Wicked Witch (Elphaba) throughout her life as she struggles to fit in with the people of Oz when she was born for something more extraordinary.  I fell in love with Maguire’s writing after I experienced the musical that was made from the book of the same title. The story you know from the movie The Wizard of Oz is not the whole story. Maguire gives us the dirty, and sometimes scary details of what happened before Dorothy came to Oz. In my opinion, one of the best books to expand upon an already popular story in an inventive way.

2) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury- This book is one of the most fantastic pieces of writing that I have ever purchased. The late Bradbury created a horrifying and realistic future where books are illegal and burned. It depicts the life Bradbury thought would come to pass if television became more popular than books. It subsidiary themes include love, censorship, and the power of knowledge. I will always hold this book close to my heart because I hope one day to create a novel that rises above my expectations, and inspires other in this field.

3) Being a Green Mother by Piers Anthony-  As one of the seven books in the Incarnations of Immortality series, this book should not be read outside of the series. While it is alright as a standalone, it is truly phenomenal as part of the series. What begins as a book about a woman trying to find her place in the world, it soon becomes a mystical place where ordinary people can become incarnations of the world such as Gaea (Mother Earth) and Thanatos (Death). It is a complex plot intertwining characters throughout 8 novels, and I hope that you enjoy it also!

4) Under the Dome by Stephen King- Ah, the man of my nightmares and dreamscapes. Stephen King may be known for gruesome horror fiction, but what his fans truly love him for is the character development he slaves over to achieve in every book. With around 6-8 central characters, the book creates a story that will never bore you. What would happen if you were trapped under an invisible dome and cut off from the world? Would people start killing because there was no one, but local people to enforce? The realistic quality of King’s writing allows your mind to melt with his ideas as if they were your own. His books are always exciting and hair raising, but this one tops them all!

5) Ender’s Game/Xenicide by Orson Scott Card-  My all-time favorite series to be published is the Ender series by science fiction writer, Orson Scott Card. He has mastered the genre of science fiction in these two books with gifted children, aliens, politics, and love. It is a culmination of what it means to be human in a world where aliens can potentially destroy the entire race or vice versa. Card flawlessly creates a world that you will get sucked into and love up until the final book (I have yet to read).

I can’t explain how much each and every person should read Ender’s Game, the first book in the series. If you can appreciate science fiction in any sense, you will most likely fall in love!

 

Hope you check out these books and the wonderful bloggers who have made a name for themselves through their fantastic blog posts. Happy reading/writing!

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Orson Scott Card is a Science Fiction God

Let it be known, Orson Scott Card is not the end-all-be-all for science fiction writers, but he’s damn close. Regrettably, I was only introduced to one of his best selling books a few months ago, so I am not a long time fan. I say regrettably because (like any fantastic author) he hooked me within the first page.

SPOILER ALERT: There will be spoilers in the following paragraphs!

Orson Scott Card's amazing novel!

The premise of Ender’s Game is simple: people of Earth discover alien species that “wishes” to harm them. We engage in epic wars that last decades, until the governments of Earth band together, and decide to enlist children in the International Fleet to help save the world. They train children as space soldiers, breeding them to be smarter and quicker than ever before. Ender (Andrew) Wiggins becomes a special student of the I.F. and soon learns he has been destined to save the world against these Buggers. Through the careful training and help of his friends he is able to defeat the Buggers through a battle simulation, controlling the real soldiers remotely. He saves the world, but unknowingly has destroyed an entire race.

The first of four books in the Shadow Series

Now, one of my friends had suggested this novel a long time ago, but the military/ genetic thing didn’t wet my whistle, so to speak. However, the trust of an old friend, and forcefulness of his attitude beckoned me to give it another shot. When I mean forcefulness I mean: taking out 13 books in the Enderverse and putting them in my car to make me read them, secretly knowing that once I read the first book I would not stop. And I didn’t stop, I have worked through the books at a slower rate than I would like (school books and all that stuff). I have finally finished all books on the Ender side of the collection. I have just begun the Shadow Series (Ender’s Shadow), which is  a mini-series following Bean, one of Ender’s comrades in battle school.

It has occurred to me that Card has knowingly/unknowingly created one of the most elaborate and well thought out universes I have ever seen.  Save for the elaborate books on Star Wars or Star Trek, I have never seen a collection of book so dedicated to one main story.  For me, I prefer a series or collection of books on one character or place rather than a standalone novel. It’s like a t.v. series that I can go back to every day, and have more and more to discover. I know they can’t last forever, but at least I have a steady stream of the same good writing, and a great story. So, discovering Card’s dedication to the Enderverse is like discovering a gold mine for me.

In addition, I think that I have found my source for constant inspiration. It happens every time I read Stephen King and now every time I read Orson Scott Card. He makes me want to stop in the middle of reading to write, but t the same time I don’t want to stop reading his amazing books! Just as I started Ender’s Shadow, I had ideas for my own short story, which I haven’t touched since I received notes from my mentor a few weeks ago. It has been slow starting after these comments, but somehow it’s always better if I’m reading about Ender and the kids from battle school.

On another note, I want to suggest all of these books. Just type in Ender or Orson Scott Card and it will take you to the list of books surrounding Enderverse. I as always read the series somewhat out of order, but it was very easy to piece things together. If you are remotely interested in space, aliens, or science fiction, this is the book for you. Even if you aren’t this book is not super heavy on advanced technology or weird languages for the beginner science fiction reader. I would/have suggested this book to everyone I can because it changed my perspective on science fiction. I can’t wait to be finished with Enderverse and explore the other worlds that Orson Scott Card has created. If his other books are half as good as these, I think I will have a lot of inspirational material to use in the future.

Happy reading!

 

 

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