TTT: Film and TV

TTTThis was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. I love books, and I love films and TV shows, so imagining some of my favourite books in that media should be loads of fun. Right? Except it wasn’t so much. It’s not that it wasn’t fun, it’s just that, actually, there are a lot of books i’ve read that I don’t think would translate well to the screen. That a lot of the things I loved about the books would be lost. Some subtly, or a character’s inner conflict, or the underlying meaning of the entire book. So, it ended up being quite difficult to choose 10 books, to be honest.

This entire list also comes with a proviso: I would want to see these books made into films or TV shows that I would have creative control over. I would want them on the screen like they are in my head. I would get to decide what parts got left out and any details that would be changed. So often film adaptations let me down, but if this is my top ten—it’s my top ten.

American Gods – This is already getting a pilot for a TV series, but as far as i’m aware there is no cast, no date, and no guarantee of a full series. But yes, i’d have a lot of fun making this into a TV show. Actually seeing Wednesday and his merry band of ancient gods.

The Night Circus – The rights have been bought to adapt this into a film, but it doesn’t appear to be moving anywhere. I would be more than happy to be brought on as director. The visuals in this book are extraordinary, and I can imagine them working for the screen incredibly well.

The Girl with all the Gifts – This kind of plot is exactly what the horror/zombie film genre needs. Also that ending. Yes. It’s not even this specific book that i’d (necessarily) love to see on the big screen, but a film that takes the well-worn genre and adds some twists, approaches it from a new angle and generally does something different.

Apathy and Other Small Victories – Although this adaptation would need a voice over, I wouldn’t mind, because it would be hilarious. I’d even allow the narrator to break the fourth wall and address the audience directly. It would be cliché, but clichéd perfection.

The Vesuvius Club – Considering Mark Gatiss has written for both film and TV, it’s not a big surprise to find his book on this list. It’s just… perfectly set up to be a film (film series, even, with the two sequels). Imagine an Edwardian debonair James Bond-esque character with questionable morals and an even more questionable sexuality. Add hijinks, a sex club and an potential apocalypse.

All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye – I picked this book because it’s my favourite, but really, any Brookmyre book. He has about 18 of them, you could close your eyes and blindly grasp at them and you’d snag a good one. The characters, the action, the plot… it’s all so larger than life, it’s so easy to image watching it on screen.

Tiny Deaths – I’d love to see these short stories adapted into a series of TV programmes. They all focus on death as the subject, but are so wide-ranging and interesting. It’s also something I can see going beyond the book, with more writers and more stories.

It – Okay, this has already been adapted into a film. Both the book and the film were a huge part of my childhood. And guess what? I’ve always preferred the book. There is something in the book that the film just fails to capture (as most book-to-film adaptations do). From my youth i’ve always wanted to write a screenplay for a new adaptation, ergo, it makes my list.

Plugged – This book in another that I can so easily see working well as a film. It’s not got a huge amount of depth to it, it’s a more typical action-driven story with some real characters and some interesting details and settings along the way. A classic action comedy.

Apartment 16 – Really now, I love the horror. This book has some great and varied aspects that could work so well on screen. Such creepy, subtle shiver down the spine moments, as well as some more straightforward gruesome creatures. And an apartment building setting; corridor after corridor, door after door, a slow creaking lift… it’s just perfect.

Apathy and Other Small Victories

apathy-and-other-small-victoriesTitle: Apathy and Other Small Victories.

Author: Paul Neilan.

Summary: The only thing Shane cares about is leaving. But this time it’s complicated: there’s a sadistic corporate climber who thinks she’s his girlfriend, a rent-subsidized affair with his landlord’s wife, a dentist who won’t stop crying and a deaf woman who winds up dead. When Shane becomes a suspect he’ll have to clear the good name he never had and doesn’t particularly want: his own.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5

Review: This book in one word? Hilarious. I was hooked from the first paragraph when Shane, the first person narrator, talks about stealing salt shakers and waking up in bed covered in salt.

“I was cured meat. I had become beef jerky. Even as a small, small child, I knew it would one day come to this.”

If i’m not careful, this whole review could simple become quotes from the book. Every page made me smile, snort, chortle, giggle, cackle and, on more than a few occasions, lose control of my breathing.

Told predominately through flashbacks, as Shane tries to figure out what happened to now-dead deaf Marlene, where he was on the night of her murder and who could have killed her (because he’s fairly confident it wasn’t him).

For someone so indifferent, Shane paints a vivid and all too accurate picture of the world and people around him. He doesn’t judge positively or negatively (much), he simply observes. He observes people who work at the insurance company he temps at; he observes them fooling themselves into thinking their jobs, their cubicles and their colleagues are of vital importance in their lives. He observes his neighbours; an animal fetishist who sells fireworks and a bowling landlord who pays his tenants to sleep with his wife. He observes his severely and continually traumatised dentist and his stoic deadly force advocate local bartender.

The two main people he engages with are his sexually abusive ‘girlfriend’ and his dentist’s deaf serial adulterer assistant. The former he ends up with due to a night of hiccups rendering him monosyllabic, while his passivity leaves him unable to get rid of her. The latter he forms what resembles the closest he comes to a friendship—at least for him.

I genuinely loved every character. Or at least i loved them through Shane’s detached point of view. I particularly liked his relationship (or lack thereof) with Bryce’s wife, whose name we never learn, because Shane really doesn’t care (he does love her, though—because she doesn’t care).

This book is set in America, but every time something American was mentioned (ass, jaywalking, too many Z’s), it shocked me to remember that the book was American. The humour is distinctly reminiscent of typical surreal and wry British humour that i’m used to.

The people and the situations are 100% ridiculous, but the thought processes and delivery from Shane are perfection. If i ever need a quick gigglesnort in the future, this will be the book to pick up and randomly read a few paragraphs of.

Okay, one more:

“That’s when I realised I was naked, and that I had salt in my hair. Saturday mornings are always strange for me.”

What can i say? Salt plays a vital role in Shane’s world.