I love this list of unfilmable novels.
What would you add to it?
I also think this brings up a serious point: more novels should be unfilmable. Because this speaks to what about the form cannot be replicated in other art forms. When I was writing Shriek, one thing I had foremost in my head was to create something that couldn’t be filmed (well, except for little excerpts of it…). I’ve been thinking a lot about the influence of movies and television on novels. Some of it has been good–different ways of editing scenes, or jumping from one scene to another, just to name some simple ones–but in other ways it has been extremely bad. The immutable and yet completely fluid thing about novels that differentiates them from practically every other art form is that the reader creates the images and scenes from the information given to him or her by the writer. Each version of the novel is slightly different in each person’s head. There is some of this effect in film, but not that much. Novels, to me, seem much more open to interpretation as a result.
Originally posted on my old blog, with 11 Comments:
At 7:37 AM, Matt Peckham said…
Since Hollywood reliably proves, year after year, that nothing is “unfilmable,” (i.e. “sacred”) I’d call it my “Please, At All Costs, Don’t” list. Quick before-I-must-dash top of my head’ers:
- Anything by Mark Danielewski (‘cept maybe The Fifty Year Sword).
- Anything by Gene Wolfe.
- Anything by Pavic, e.g. Dictionary of the Khazars.
- Kris Saknussemm’s Zanesville.
Oh geez, I guess I’m with Kelly “short form” Link here–my bookshelves are lined with either collections of shorter works or “conventional enough” novels I could at least conceive of a proper studio doing them justice, e.g. M. John Harrison’s Light, Kevin Brockmeier’s The Brief History of the Dead, Jonathan Carroll’s White Apples, etc. All the really abstruse stuff like Barth and Borges is short