Hi all, it’s Sabrina! Sometimes I read a book and I get a very vivid idea of exactly how I would adapt it into something else – whether it’s a movie, tv show or video game. Today I want to talk to you about a few of those books and the ideas I have for them – I’ve got two movie, two video game and two TV show ideas for you. I would pay good money for these ideas to come to life and some of them are already on their way to it, so I’m very excited for those! Let’s get into the list.
M O V I E S
Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
The first thing I have to tell you about this book is: don’t read the synopsis! It gives away too many little details – ones that make the book much more entertaining when you don’t know them, in my (experienced) opinion. All you really need to know is that a woman accidentally commits a crime and gets her aunties to help her fix it – plus there’s a little romance story on the side.
It didn’t come as a surprise to me when I read in the acknowledgements for this book that it has already been picked up by Netflix – and I am super looking forward to that! – because the book is perfectly suited for a movie, and I might even enjoy the story better in that format. For example, in the book, though the characters were fun, I found them a bit underdeveloped and the same goes for the romantic side plot. However, I think I would expect those things from a movie, so it probably wouldn’t bother me as much that way. On the other hand, the scenery really came to life in the book so I could easily imagine some beautiful set designs. I’m expecting some gorgeous, dramatic opulence from this movie!
Some other details that I’m hoping for, but not necessarily expecting are: dramatic zoom-ins, a little comedic slow-motion and a few voiceovers from the main character. I feel like the book lends itself to these and I adore a good zoom-in, so I hope we get at least one of those, lol.
The Bone Snatcher by Charlotte Salter
Switching gears to a completely different genre and age group, I could totally see The Bone Snatcher being adapted as a stop-motion animation in the vein of Coraline. This book is a middle grade fantasy horror that really creeped me out. It follows Sophie Seacove who has been sold by her parents to be a servant in a dilapidated mansion on a remote island. She’s a very strong-willed character who is determined to escape.
The setting would be perfect for this kind of movie, because of its dark, creepy nature, and the fact that it’s entirely set on a single island, so that would limit the amount of set pieces required. The characters are all distinctly described as well and have solid personalities, which could make for some interestingly exaggerated designs. Plus, sea monsters! Perfect for stop-motion.
Another part of the story that I think lends itself well to animation is the fact that Sophie is a storyteller, and there are multiple times in the book where she shares a story with other characters. I think it would be so cool to see these little tales brought to life with a different style of animation.
V I D E O G A M E S
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
Don’t get me wrong, I really didn’t like this book, but despite that, I think it would make for an interesting video game. The story is framed as dark academia, and it’s about a (bad) group therapist, Mariana, who travels to Cambridge University and inserts herself into a murder case.
My idea for the game came about when I was lamenting the fact that this book simply seemed to be a series of meetings. Each chapter was about Mariana speaking to a different person – there were about five other characters that were on rotation. I thought it would be more interesting if I was playing a game through Mariana’s perspective and got to choose who I spoke to and when while also searching the university campus for clues. Each conversation could have a few preset options and your journey through the game would be different depending on which option you choose. In my vision, some of these options would actually be logical 🙂
One of the big problems I had was that the book lacked atmosphere, which was the main thing I was hoping for when I picked it up. By putting the story in a video game, you can’t help but experience the atmosphere through beautiful dark academia inspired graphics and classical music and sound effects playing in the background at all times.
Finally, as I had no shortage of issues with the story, I do think the video game would work best as a very loose adaptation – keeping the essence of the plot, but changing the details entirely. I would especially want the resolution to be different, and the rest of it would end up changing anyway because it’s likely the player would make better choices than Mariana.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The Broken Earth trilogy is one of my favourite series, and one of the very few where I loved the last book the most. The Fifth Season is honestly hard to summarise because there’s so much going on, but essentially: the world is ending and people are struggling. I’m elated that this series is being turned into movies by N.K. Jemisin herself, but when I read it, I had a vision for it as a game so that’s what I’m going to talk about.
One of the incredible things about this story is how expansive the world building is, and I think that would suit an open-world RPG really well. There are so many different settings and characters plus many aspects of this fictional society that could be explored through this format. It would be really fun to create your own character and choose where they come from and how they navigate the apocalypse. I imagine about a quarter of the game would take place before the Season starts. This is when you would develop your character’s skills and personality, which could include orogeny – a kind of ability possessed by some characters in the books. The rest of the game would be trying to survive during the apocalypse using and further developing your character’s skills. I think it would be so visually interesting to play the game while ash rains from the sky.
Can some big game studio please make this? I really want to play 😭
T V S H O W S
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
This has to be one of my favourite books I’ve read this year! I absolutely love the characters and the way the plot develops over the course of the novel. I’m impatiently waiting for the sequel to be released later this year! This book follows a few different stories, but the main one is of Lin, the emperor’s daughter, who has to master bone-shard magic in order to become the heir.
Not only is this a fantastic book, but I think it has the foundation for a great TV series too! Book One would make for an amazing season of television, especially with the inevitable convergence of multiple storylines – that’s always so satisfying to me. Because there are so many characters with their own situations and backstories in this book, there’s plenty of content for multiple episodes that wouldn’t be either repetitive or too stretched out. Plus, a show could treat each character with more care and attention than a single movie ever could, so that’s the obvious choice of medium, in my opinion.
Another factor that points to a television adaptation is the variety of settings covered in the book. I can imagine some very intriguing set design and scenery, especially when it comes to Jovis’ journey and also the Emperor’s palace. So, I hope that if this series is ever adapted, this is the way they do it!
Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
This is the final hypothetical adaptation I want to talk about today, and there’s only one possible satisfactory way it could be done. The Monstress graphic novel series is “set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk”, and primarily follows Maika, a girl connected to a monster, on her travels. It’s a dark, horrifying fantasy story like no other.
As with previous books mentioned, there are multiple characters and storylines to follow with this, though they are more obviously interconnected here, in my opinion. In part because of this, I think it would be fairly easy to expand upon the scenes depicted in the graphic novel, which would ideally see some of the minor characters having more “screen time” than they do in the books. I would kill for this show, especially if it did this sort of expansion.
I said in my first paragraph here that there’s only one way I could see this show being created – it would have to be a 2D animated version of Sana Takeda’s artwork. As if the story wasn’t magnificent enough, it is paired with some of the most beautiful and intricate artwork I have seen – and not just in a graphic novel, but in any context. To take that away would be to strip the book of an integral part of its soul, so it’s simply not an option. It would be a lot of work, but it would be worth it.
What do you think?
What are some of your favourite adaptations? Do you know of any book-to-video-game adaptations? What other adaptations would you like to see? Let me know!