Cormac the Miniseries — I wish.

Paul Swan’s post reminded me: Some years ago great excitement ensued when Tor US received a query from Blue Train Entertainment about the film rights to Gridlinked. This excitement increased when, after a bit of research, I found out that they had been involved in producing the Jackie Chan movie The Tuxedo along with a couple of other production companies including Dreamworks. Nothing came of this, however.
Frankly, I would love one of my books to be bought by Hollywood, especially if that involved me trousering some silly money. It would also raise my profile and probably lead to more book sales. However, I think it was Terry Pratchett who said that such a sale virtually guarantees the book won’t be seen on the screen. Many thousands have been bought, but how many get turned into a films? Usually all we see are remakes of 60s SF series, something new where when a book is written it’s usually after the film, or stuff produced filmed from books by authors who have made the transition to sainthood and ‘literature’ by shuffling off their mortal coil. The big problem with this book to film thing is, of course, that books are big. They’ve got a lot of stuff in them and large amounts of it get sacrificed so the rest can be packed into two hours of screen time. Also, a lot of the concepts put across in the narrative of a book are difficult to translate to the screen, especially in that limited time. Really, film directors are better off taking up a short story and running with that. We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, anyone? When a book is turned into a film it can succeed artistically (though not necessarily financially – like Dune), but it often isn’t the same beast any more. Much better, I think, when a book is taken on by a TV production company. First it stands a lot better chance of getting filmed, and if made into a series there’s room for the book to sprawl itself out (Hence the excellent Dune & Children of Dune mini-series’ being true to their source). So this is why I’d like to see the Cormac books made into a series of five seasons with about twelve episodes each. Not too much to ask is it? Anyone out there buying? (Snort!)

17 thoughts on “Cormac the Miniseries — I wish.

  1. you know i was just watching the 12 hour Shogun on dvd, the miniseries (on NBC?) from 1980 based on clavell's novel of the same name.

    12 hours. wow. really, looking at the whole thing back to back was really something, not to compare historical fiction to sci/fi but one would think a gridlinked miniseries on the sci/fi channel would be brilliant.

    i could finally put to good use aside from a vanity host for myself. ;p

  2. Sounds great to me!

    A friend and I have always thought it would be awesome to see Gridlinked on the big screen, or for that matter any of your books! But a TV series, as you say, would allow for a more true adaptation.

    It makes you wonder if TV/Movie producers really read regularly. With the crap that they churn out on a yearly basis, it would appear not.

  3. Hey Neal!

    I would love to see Cormac make it onto film. However, with the complexity of your stories I would be afraid the filmmakers would butcher your work.

    I think the Polity would be better explored on HBO or a similar channel (NOT SCI-FI CHANNEL!). A multi-season series perhaps? I'm not sure if you've read George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, but it was just picked up by HBO. Each book would be one season. I believe your books would be much better served in that type of format. Plus its on cable! Mr. Crane could be as diabolical as he is supposed to be!

  4. I'd buy the DVD set definitely, but unfortunately I can't afford to buy the rights, sorry 🙂

    Thinking about the comments a while back about who would make a good Cormac… I reckon Christian Bale could do him justice?

  5. Any of the stories from The Engineer Recon could be a film. So many ideas and new concepts to try and explain and portray. The short nature of the stories should help a script writer somewhat.

    Snairls would be my choice. The scenery, hive tech, and slime sex. Thats enough for me for 2 hours.

  6. Kirby, I liked Shogun. And I guess if my dreams came true that might be worth a few bob. Best of luck!

    Adam, I don't think they do read much. I think people that have an obsession in one area tend not to step out of it so often.

    Come on, Cameron — let's see it. You can contact me at ndotasheratvirgindotnet.

    Maynard1977, well, to prevent that problem they need to pay me a retainer to oversee the script … or get me to write it.

    elliot, indeed.

    Paul, well, I do have and agent. Macmillan act as my agent.

    Matthew, my wife Caroline would like Keiffer Sutherland.

    Mark, I think you're getting an unhealthy obsession with sex and molluscs.

  7. I remember being excited when Richard Morgan's debut, Altered Carbon, was optioned by Joel Silver for a shedload of money just a little while after Ariel and I had been interviewing him on the old Alien Online (the Guardian ran an article on it and nicely nicked quotes from the interview without asking or crediting the site – annoying, but since it was highlighting a good new writer in a national paper what the hell).

    And here we are several years and books later and no sign of a movie – Richard said he saw a script draft but that's been about it. The good thing about options is that the writer can often get more money than they make from their books, so it helps finance them being a full time writer, regardless of the movie being made or not and the other thing is that options normally only last for a certain period of time. So if they don't make the movie by then, the rights revert to the writer and he/she can sell the to another movie mogul again.

    I do think that HBO or someone similar would be better for your books, doing them as a series rather than a movie or two to be honest – if they can make Garth Ennis' Preacher work at HBO maybe they can do Cormac. Just don't let them get confused with the sickly sweet old kid's choccy bar and rename it Caramac…

  8. Pratchett made a spot-on comment in SFX regarding the Sky production of "Hogfather": Hollywood offer more money, but you have a better chance with TV of actually seeing the book actually filmed.

    Anyway, Pratchett also said that why should be appear on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" when he's already a millionaire? 😉

  9. I'd definitely want to see the Cormac books on film, hopefully not too dumbed-down by the producers.

    Also, I'm curious about what the Spatterjay books would be like on the silver screen. Maybe not films to go to see on a first date, but definitely, horribly entertaining nonetheless!

  10. Greetings Mr. Asher! I live in the eastern US and am an avid reader of your books. I totally agree that, with many important SF works, the miniseries format is better able to remain true to the source material than hoping people will sit still through a 3-plus-hour theatrical release (I’m looking at YOU, David Lynch’s “Dune”!).

    This being the case, I really, REALLY want to see the Skinner stories brought to life on screen. Is there anything in the works to adapt to film or telly?

  11. I think bearing in mind you wrote this in 2007, at the time I would have probably just thought “who’s ever heard of anyone making a success by converting books to TV series?”

    how times have changed

    I’d love to see a whole Polity Universe TV Empire

  12. Deffo need to see a series, and a few films from your work. Hollywood has done Terry P, is doing Ian M B, you must be next with the vivid solarscapes you have depicted so well!

  13. Neal I was introduced to you by a friend lending me The Skinner 10 years ago. That book blew me away! I then proceeded to read your whole works and am bang up to date 🙂

    The Spatterjay series on TV would we awesome, if they could do it justice and recreate the terrifying creatures of Spatterjay well on screen, I’d be first in line to watch it!

    I’ve read all of Iain M Banks’ works with the Culture as well, but for me, Polity wins every time.

  14. Having been a fan and an avid reader of your books from gridlinked, I keep searching online for anything movie-related, be it official or fan related on the off chance something appears, only to be sadly disappointed.
    With the glut of other unfilmable books now on the screen, I hope that, as mentioned earlier some production executive has the guts and vision to make it happen.
    Has anyone spoken with or dropped some novels to G Bezoz or E Musk?

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