Turn on the TV (or Netflix or Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus or whatever) or head over to the local movie theater and there’s one thing you are certain see: adaptations. People complain about it all the time. “Why don’t they release more original material?” But the answer is obvious. Not only is it less work to adapt something than to generate it from scratch, a preexisting story has a built-in audience, guaranteeing that at least some people will plunk down their dollars for (or point their eyeballs at) the movie/show/video game/novelization. No property is too small, provided the audience is believed to exist. If you need proof of that, J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is going to be a five film franchise! So studios keep looking for new properties to adapt. And the oft-dreaded reboots? They are just adaptations of existing shows or movies, some of which were adaptations themselves to start. Don’t even get me started about the Matryoshka doll of nested adaptations that is The Lego Batman Movie (not to be confused with Lego Batman: The Movie) As for original properties? They often underwhelm, discouraging creators from going down that path in the future.
Like it or not, adaptations are here to stay. But it’s not the end of the world. “There’s nothing original under the sun,” as the saying goes. As we delve into adaptations this month, we’ll see both examples of adaptations done well and discussions on how best to translate a story from one medium to another. It promises to be a very interesting month. So stop on by when you are taking a break from NaNoWriMo, and happy reading!
Rocket scientist by day, fantasy and science fiction author by night, Gregory D. Little began his writing career in high school when he and his friend wrote Star Wars fanfic before it was cool, passing a notebook around between (sometimes during) classes. His first novel, Unwilling Souls, is available now from ebook retailers and trade paperback through Amazon.com. His short fiction can be found in The Colored Lens, A Game of Horns: A Red Unicorn Anthology, and the upcoming Dragon Writers Anthology. He lives in Virginia with his wife and their yellow lab.