10 Classic Science Fiction Novels That Need A Film Adaptation

Novels being adapted into books dates back to the dawn of cinema. It makes sense since it guarantees an audience of fans who love to see their beloved story put to the big screen. Of course, this plan doesn't always pan out. Plenty of adaptations flop hard or become critical disasters. For the most part, however, it is usually a safe bet.

One genre that gets plenty of love from Hollywood is science-fiction. Many of the most celebrated films were adapted from famous sci-fi works, including Blade Runner, based on Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?Things to Come,  based on HG Wells' The Shape of Things To Come; and War of the Worlds, also based on an HG Wells piece. 2001: A Space Odyssey deserves a special mention too, but the book and movie were created at the same time.

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Yet for all the classic science-fiction that has already been brought to life, there are plenty of books still lacking a Hollywood version. The following ten books are in desperate need of a film adaptation. Some already have television counterparts or an older foreign film, but a modern update taking advantage of new technology is what fans really need.

10 I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream

This short story is a brutal classic that presents one of the direst scenarios ever put to paper. A sentient supercomputer wipes out all of humanity, save for five unlucky souls who are subject to endless torment.

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A film adaptation would be incredibly difficult to pull off without straight up feeling like an exploitative torture movie, yet it could definitely be done. Given the small scale, it would not have to be expensive, either. It has been a while since Hollywood churned out a true sci-fi horror movie, maybe Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream could be the next one.

9 Pattern Recognition

pattern recognition

William Gibson's Pattern Recognition deals with the implications and dangers of the 21st century's burgeoning technologies in a creative way. Instead of a government conspiracy or Illuminati, it is about a woman tracking down the source of a series of short films that have transfixed the internet community.

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Gibson was previously known for creating the cyberpunk genre, but this more subdued story manages to stick out as perhaps his best work.

8 Cat's Cradle

Cat's Cradle novel

Kurt Vonnegut can't directly be called a science-fiction writer, but Cat's Cradle certainly has elements of the genre in it. The plot is centered around an invention called ice-nine, which freezes water upon contact, regardless of the current whether.

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It is a satire of man's carelessness with technology, written at a time nuclear weapons were being stockpiled en masse and nuclear war was a real possibility.

7 First Men In The Moon

The first men in the moon

Many of H. G. Wells' works have been turned into film, but Hollywood should consider taking another crack at The First Men In The Moon. The first ever science fiction novel adapted into a film was actually The First Men In The Moon, but it has been a good while since a proper high budget version was produced.

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This pulpy adventure novel may seem silly by today's standards, but it would make for a deliciously fun action movie. Besides, has anyone actually been inside the Moon? How can we know creatures don't live in there?

6 Idoru

Idoru William Gibson

Idoru was William Gibson's first novel that didn't involve people massacring each other (though he did write some less spectacularly violent short stories beforehand). Instead, the book follows a young teenager investigating the announced marriage of her favorite pop star to an artificial intelligence being.

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Yeah, it's definitely a weird one, but the characters feel grounded and real, making the whole thing a gripping tale.

5 Midnight Robber

Midnight Robber book

Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber is newer than most titles here, but it will be remembered for a long time to come. A girl's father is exiled into another dimension and takes her along with him.

From there, they must survive, eventually finding a colony of exiles. The plot takes several brutally uncomfortable turns, making it hard to turn the page, but it's beautifully written. The world draws influence from Caribbean culture and would be a fantastic sight to behold on the big screen. Unfortunately, it would be tough to get the required budget on what would surely be an R-rated film.

4 A Canticle For Leibowitz

A canticle for lebowitz book

This post-apocalyptic novel covers a thousand years of human history after it is brought to the brink of extinction by nuclear war. Its structure reminds one of A Shape of Things To Come, which also details the rebuilding of civilization after a devastating war, but A Canticle For Leibowitz takes a much more cynical view towards humanity and its penchant for repeating tragic mistakes.

3 Gravity's Rainbow

Gravity's Rainbow Thomas Pynchon

It wouldn't be right to call Gravity's Rainbow science-fiction specifically, but Thomas Pynchon's seminal novel is pretty much about everything. It details some of the darkest, most disgusting things humans could possibly do while also including sections of light humor.

It references obscure moments from World War II that only historians would recognize, while also acknowledging metaphysical science as fact. It's well over seven hundred pages and contains dozens upon dozens of characters. Doing it all in one film would be impossible, but a trilogy or a five-part series would be nice.

2 The Gods Themselves

The gods themselves isaac asimov

Isaac Asimov wrote more in his lifetime than one could possibly hope to read. The Gods Themselves stands as a great accomplishment in his fictional catalog.

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The plot involves a parallel universe's method of using energy that will eventually doom humanity, and maybe even the parallel universe too. It's split up into three parts, but the story is short enough to fit into one film.

1 Neuromancer

This novel kicked off the cyberpunk sub-genre. It's ironic that Neuromancer has had such an impact on film, but never been adapted itself. The closest it came was Johnny Mnemonic, which was based off a short story set in the same universe.

Giving this novel a true film counterpart would please many science-fiction readers. Hopefully, something might be in development.

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