Top Ten Tuesday: books I’d like to see on screen

Text only: top ten TUESDAY

Top Ten Tuesday is was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s all about books, lists and sharing the love we have of both with our bookish friends. This week, I’m going off topic with a throwback prompt.

Yes, I could pick some red, white and blue colours, but it’s not my holiday and currently I’m so angry with my own government, media and countryfolk that I’m not really inclined to celebrate our national colours even as an excuse to admire book covers. So I’m going with a throwback topic instead and looking at books I’d love to see on screen.

We’re in a golden age of possibilities. With the success of fantasy and science fiction dramatisations on small screen and big, it feels like almost any book could end up optioned. There’s lots on the way – some of which I’m excited about (wheeee A Darker Shade of Magic), some I’m nervous about (can they really do The Fifth Season justice?) – but what else could we dream about?

Certain Dark Things – Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Vampires in Mexico City always had me at hello, and here it’s vampires as cartels. Visually, this would want to be modern, edgy and darkly stylised – neon lights, deep shadows and silver nitrate filters so that the only warmth onscreen came from the well-meaning young garbage collector whose head gets turned by the glamorous girl who unexpectedly approaches him on the tube…

The Murders of Molly Southbourne – Tade Thompson

If Orphan Black has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t need an epic budget to make us believe one person is 3. Or 5. Or 10. This film would live or die by the talent of the actress playing Molly and in the talent of the writer/director to capture the psychological drama. Anyone got Alex Garland’s number?

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

I’m sort of amazed that PC Grant hasn’t been optioned for TV already – there’s 8 solid seasons in the bag already, although his talent for collateral damage is as expensive as the creature effects. It might also require some judicious editing to pass any sort of ratings test, but there’s more than enough material here for some brave, very well-funded team to take on. Surely?

Witches of Lychford – Paul Cornell

This could only be made in the UK, not least because a US team would probably want to relocate it to Massachusetts or something. I’d be tempted to give it a relatively low-budget treatment and let it ride the back of a well-penned script and central performances.

Feed – Mira Grant

I like a good zombie movie, ok? And this is a zombie political blogging thriller, which is fast-paced, snarky, and centred on how if the apocalypse doesn’t kill you, it only makes you more paranoid. It has all the ingredients to make good cinema, so why isn’t it on our screens already, hmm?  If we can’t have this, I’d be amenable to seeing The Boy on the Bridge being made (preferably by the same team) to partner the excellent film version of The Girl with all the Gifts.

The House of Shattered Wings – Aliette de Bodard

Post-apocalyptic Paris is going to be a hefty investment for the production team, but I’m just twitching in delight at the thought of the Gothic set design. This one is big on atmosphere and character, so like Game of Thrones you choose excellent lesser-known actors to carry it and sit back to wait for the screaming. Motion to bring Asmodeus in a silk dressing gown forward to season one? Yes, I thought so too.

Revenger – Alastair Reynolds

With a tiny tweak, this is a stand-alone movie with all the drama. Sisterly love, coming of age, learning to be a badass, space tomb raiding, tense action sequences with pirates, complicated relationships with robots – the budget is going to need to be epic, to be sure, but it screams summer blockbuster.

Under the Pendulum Sun – Jeannette Ng

MOAR GOTHIC PLEASE. Yes, it’s a theme today, No, I’m not going to stop. Although maybe I could be fobbed off with a rewatch of Crimson Peak. 

The ExplorerJames Smythe

I love claustrophobic films in space. Especially when you know it’s going to end badly and you still have to watch the crew get picked off one by one. Add in some timey-wimey confusion and a knowing narrator (the mission is played for the cameras in-story, so let’s get one involved), and this will all hinge on one central performance. Someone with the charm and intensity of Cillian Murphy for Cormac please.

The Secret History – Donna Tartt

This is one of my favourite books of all time, so I include it with trepidation – but I’ve wanted to see it on the big screen forever. The young Philip Seymour Hoffman was my pick for Bunny or Henry back in the day; now I’m not sure how I’d cast it, but I’d still love to see it as a Talented Mr Ripley style emotional rollercoaster.

What stories would you like to see on screen?