Adapt This!

So I believe that the adaptation of any book into a TV series or movie is the bastardization (is that a real word? if not, it should be) of the source material (see Roswell vs. Roswell High, True Blood vs. The Southern Vampire, the Harry Potter films vs. the books, Legend of the Seeker vs. The Sword of Truth, etc.). The movie/show never lives up to the intensity and creativity of its source material, but is watered down and re-shaped for its new, blander media venue (there’s way more censorship for movies and TV than there are for books). Still, there’s always that urge to see your favorite characters light up the screen and become open to a wider audience. Here’s my list of books I’d like to see get dragged through the Hollywood mud:



The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix — (Movie) I’m a big Garth Nix fan, his stories are very visual and it would be a wonder to watch the characters brought to life. There are only 3 books in the series, so it would be a great movie set to have. Set in one a fairy tale-esque kingdom, it revolves around the daughters of an Abhorsen (necromancer) who fight the forces of darkness that threaten to destroy their world using the tools he and the generations before have left behind. While the stories feature female leads and anthromorphic wise-cracking spirit guides, I’d think this would be a great juxtaposition to the vampire trend. Zombies, betrayal and lots of action I don’t see how this wouldn’t be a smash hit at theaters. (As much as I don’t like Twilight, I am grateful that it’s made the way easier for marketing sci-fi/fantasy which is a small but devoted niche market.)

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The Midnighters by Scott Westerfeld — (TV series) Another author I’m a big fan of, there was already talk about making the books into a TV show. I’m partial to agreeing with Westerfeld, Kern diminished the quality of the Charmed series when he took it over. But I’d still like to see what a world in blue without wind would look like. The series follows four friends who were born at midnight and have access to the mysterious 25th hour of the day where creatures from long ago reside, biding their time in the hopes of reclaiming the world. During the 25th hour, each of the friends has a unique power that they use to out maneuver their enemies. Though I doubt that a TV series will do justice to the ideas of child neglect and abuse (because if we don’t see it, it doesn’t happen, right?), I still hope to see this series on the small screen.

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The Named Trilogy by Marianne Curley — (TV series) The story traces an ancient prophecy that foretells a universal battle royale for a group of time-travelers and the Queen of Chaos. A mix of sci-fi and fantasy, the series had tons of twists, betrayals, questionable alliances galore, along with ambitious yet flawed characters who safeguard the flow of history in order from those who seek to bend it to suit their own will. Though set in Australia, it wouldn’t be difficult to switch to American back-drops.

Lord Byron vs. Don Juan

Once more perusing Slate.com when I stumbled across this gem, Lord Byron’s Great Insight and it brought me back to my British literature course on the Romantic period. The article itself looks exactly like the mini-biographical excerpt from my anthology and only summarizes what is pretty much considered common knowledge for anyone who would ever care to know more about Byron. I have more information scribbled on two pages of an old notebook about his life than what the writer offers to us. But that is by far not the most grievous thing about the article. No, that award goes to the supposition that Byron understood knew what women wanted.

Don’t get me wrong, Lord Byron is one of my favorite poets, just like I enjoy Nietzsche’s philosophy. But that does not stop them from being complete lunatics and incestuous, misogynistic pigs. Lord Byron just knew what women wanted to hear and used it to his advantage. He was a selfish and manipulative scumbag who showed no remorse for his actions. As one of the commentators put it, reviewing Byron’s homosexual pinings and the way it caused him to lash out at his female consorts in an effort to assert his masculinity. Of course, there are also plenty of closeted gay men who don’t resort to the kind of extreme behavior Byron did. We should try to steer clear of generalizations though.

An actual review of what the book provided as a new angle or information on Lord Byron would have actually made sense rather than positing some childish notion based on one man’s promiscuous outings.

Image Credit to Limite Magazine

And the Fangs Come Out

While doing my daily perusing of Slate.com I decided to stumble on over to Double X, the “female” off-shoot of the popular online magazine. I found yet another article raving at the anti-feminism of the rebooted vampire genre focusing on Twilight and True Blood. Being the sci-fi/fantasy geek that I am, it is eye-rolling when someone not into the genre attempts to combat the forces of misogyny. The writer couldn’t seem to make up her mind about True Blood‘s stand on the vampire misogyny, but Twilight was clearly hardcore Mormon. The two works are then held against the vampire feminist icon of the 90s, Buffy. I too have ranted that Bella is the absolute anti-Buffy, and nearly choked on my coffee when a commenter called Bella a “strong female character.” Yes, my strict, traditional parents taught me that tripping over myself and crying for someone to come and save me was a hallmark of a strong person… (Actually, it was more like ‘Get your ass off the ground and give back twice what you got.’)

Buffy and Twilight are easy to compare because they’re both in the teenage fare. They share the girl loves vampire scenario common to this subsect of the vampire genre. The major difference is that Buffy slays vampires and demonstrates that even if you love someone, bending to their will is not in your best interest. Buffy made her own rules, not only feuding with the Watchers but coming back from the dead. Bella on the other hand is subject to the whims of the vampire she’s in love with and waits for him to come and save her. Twilight‘s mores make me cringe, and I come from a marriage based, wife cooks and cleans and raises the kids ethnic background. Bella just lives to pleasure Edward, and has childish fits when he leaves her. She doesn’t fight or assert herself. At least keep some garlic handy if your boyfriend needs help (or wants to suck all of your blood out)!

True Blood/The Southern Vampire books should be set apart in 1) they are adult fare and 2) it’s less along the lines of female/male dynamic than it is a sort of satire of minority vs. majority. I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of the characters, but it’s this intrinsic difference of what vampirism stands for that puts it away from Buffy and Twilight, more towards Anne Rice’s vampires and social commentary.

Now here’s where I take offense. The idea that the vampire subjugation fantasies are “bad for women.” The title is too provacative for a fluff piece that was featured. While I would like nothing better than to Fahrenheit 451 all of Stephanie Meyer’s works (which are cheap knock offs of actually good books), I wouldn’t go so far as to start calling them “bad for women” (bad for literature and a butchery of the English language, by all means yes). I tend to leave people and their sexual fantasies alone. To say these books are “bad for women” is crossing into the territory of “violence in music, TV, movies and video games caused Columbine.”

I will now refer back to the Aristotle’s idea of “catharsis.” Unlike Plato who thought that everything should be publicly censored (please tell me they haven’t swapped out Republic for Twilight just yet), Aristotle believed that exposure to our darker natures through entertainment would sate our need to act on them. In other words, we get off on seeing someone being shot rather than getting off on actually being Deerhunter ourselves. Slasher movies are a big part of American movie fare, but how often do we hear in the news that someone took a hacksaw and went on a killing spree? Some of the people who I’ve found enjoy reading Twilight novels are actually really assertive women. I just chalk the subjugation up to another kink fetish, like feet. Not really that harmful until it moves into reality.

I abhor the model of waiting for a guy coming in to save the day rather than saving yourself, and the free fall of “girl power” in the late 90s to the “lying, cheating backstabbing best friends” business that we’re currently in is a altogether disconcerting. But all in all, it’s just a phase that one can only hope passes quickly before it really does set the feminist movement back. If you want to be that tough chick who gets the job done, you’ll find a way. If you’re that girl who drops her keys to bend over so you can catch a guy’s attention and wallet, you too will find a way. There isn’t just one female archetype running around. I’d say the scary part is the fans who’ve lost touch with reality and mistake the books for some kind of psychotic bible instead of enjoying it for the entertainment value it holds.

Image Credit to Fanpop.com