Essay Question

So, today is a day off.  My plan is to wrestle the kitchen counter into a semblance of order while listening to trashy rock ‘n roll music.  Beat that, Bermuda!

But, before I retire into this day-dream of sybaritic delight, I have a question for y’all.  It’s a serious question, and may eventually produce real-world events.  Or not.  Which pretty much sums up the freelance lifestyle.

What I’d like to know is this:

Which short Liaden work — by which I mean, NOT a novel — do you think would best translate to TV/cinema?  Note that I’m not asking for your “favorite” story, here, but the story-or-stories that would best translate.

For instance, I have a sneaking fondness for “The Space at Tinsori Light” — but!  I’m well-known as someone who has not a clue regarding the demands of/what can be conveyed by visual media.

So!  Have at it, if you will; I look forward to seeing what y’all have to say.

And now?  The countertop calls.


13 thoughts on “Essay Question”

  1. A Day at the Races.

    It’s what popped into my head the minute I read your post, and I just reread it to be sure. The special effects for the race are, I think, feasible, and the story itself stands on its own.

  2. I rather like the one where Val Con meets the turtle clan…really it was the giant turtles rather than the young scout that hooked me into the Liaden Universe back in the late 80s.

  3. Oh, wow… either of those has its points; the meeting of Edger’s clan is a quite discrete ‘story’, but a bit hard for TV adaptation without much cheese.
    The day at the races… F/X doable, but without background on who these people are & the mindsets/family frictions, don’t know how well it would translate.

    I’d opt for Miri’s introduction to Liz Lizardi & joining the mercenaries, I think.

  4. Wow, that’s a toughie, Sharon. But I will say that I do love the story of Edger’s clan meeting up with Val Con, and I also adore the Kinzel story. A number of your short stories would translate, I think, but I also would like to point out that if anyone could condense The Tomorrow Log into a script, it would make a fascinating TV movie on the SyFy channel. I know you said no books, but that novel has stayed with me for its sheer brilliance and inventive characters and plotline for so long, that I can’t help mentioning it for the small screen.
    I hope that you have a grand time with your day of cleaning and relaxation.

  5. I think “Lord of the Dance” would translate very easily – no special effects nor wild make-up and prop problems – though some dialog would be needed to show who Kareen is, and what she has done with her talent. The dance sequences could be very lovely.

  6. What first popped in to my head was King of the Cats. Though the crowd of cats would probably be hard to manage (in several senses). The advantage is that you don’t really need to know who these people are to understand the story, though more knowledge makes it better. Also cool special effects with the gate(s).
    A Day at the Races is good too – flashy but not complicated special effects and I don’t think the relationships are all that complicated. Independent youngsters and disapproving elder…with the twist at “not actually in charge”.

  7. I have always thought that “Breath’s Duty” would work well – its got space battles, a couple different sub-plots and lots of tie-ins to other story lines should they want to deviate from it as written – which they almost always have to do. Maybe not as self-contained as some other stories. However, those tie-ins make for launching points for sequels. I’m not an expert at what would translate well, but there you have it.

  8. I’ll agree with “A Day at the Races.” The social stuff would give actors acting to do outside the action, and the races would be manageable F/X. Serenity used a crane arm for the movie instead of massive CGI. The story is small enough to fit in a movie, doesn’t require any universe knowledge, and is nice hook for later stuff.

    Turtles and cats would be nice, but nuch less budget friendly. Jar-jar is the patron demon of stuff done before the tech was ready. ILM and the other big studios coudl do that, but backers would be less willing to spring that it be done right. (Costs are why the Pern stuff was doomed)

  9. Does it have to be a separately-published story? because if not, the chase scene from Balance of Trade, including the jump into the zeroG shaft (and the explanation that it might not have been zeroG) has a lot of strong visual elements… Might need a bit of editing to make it self-contained, I suppose.

  10. If not requiring a Happy Ending, there’s the story that introduced Ren Zel–it’s got character interaction, it’s got a character with a fatal flaw whose selfish actions doom her and cause tragedy to the protagonist, it’s got a spaceeship and a showy horrible crash, and it does have hope at the end.

    I’m averse to the idea of A Day at the Races because car chases/races in films and video, I have decades’ surfeit of. Possibly my life tolerance of such scenes got exceeded years ago. I don’t want terrestrial vehicle races or chase scenes, and particularly not in SF/F! (One of the thing I really really really really likes about the Lord of the Rings movies–NO CAR CHASES/RACES!

    I liked A Day at the Races, it’s far from one of my favorite Liaden works, but I generally liked it. But it’s near the bottom of the list of my preferences as regards what would appeal to me as film/video.

    Hmm, what about the original Balance of Trade story? It’s got the scenes on the spacecraft, it’s got a spaceport, it’s got an endearing intrepid hero, its got novelty in cultural contact….

  11. There are lots of parameters that make answering this question difficult. Who is the audience? The audiences on SyFy are different from A&E or AMC. The former might be more interested in “Balance of Trade” or “To Cut an Edge”, while the latter would probably enjoy “A Day at the Races” more. Are you looking for a “portal” story to introduce an unfamiliar audience?
    What resources would you have access to? Back in the mid 1980’s Ryan K. Johnson made some terrific fan films based on Dr. Who & Star Trek TNG by clever use of suitable locations, volunteers, appropriate scripts and very little money. One of my favorite professional films is “The Lathe of Heaven”. It was made for PBS with very limited special effects, but a really engaging story and access to some cool locations.
    Special effects are also overrated. One of the reasons the first Star Wars film was so good was all the things it didn’t show. I found Jaba a bit of a disappointment when I finally saw him on screen, and I’m one of the legion that thinks the many other bits that Lucas has added over the years just water things down.
    Finally, how willing are you to adapt the story? The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter books were made into very good movies, but there were lots of changes to accommodate the differences in mediums.
    So what do I think would be good? I would like to see “A Conflict of Honors” as a mini-series. Because the story is a series of incidents it could be broken into relatively brief chunks that could be shown independently. Each piece is compelling by itself, but also contributes toward the whole. Most of the action takes place in settings that could easily be filmed on location, and the few sets required could probably be adapted from existing ones. By today’s standards it wouldn’t require too much in the way of special effects, and most of that could be CGI with a bit of makeup and a few practical effects.

  12. I dunno. Someone said the one with Ren Zel. Changeling. Yes.

    Or Eleutherious, or whatever it’s called. About the organ. Rich characters, good plot. Easy to follow, with no prior knowledge. Clear conclusion.

    I like To Cut an Edge, with Clutch and dragon slaying. But I think that — for those who havent read the series — that story might lend a falsely cartoonlike feel to the series.

    Or the one where Daav gets stuck on the planet, and gets his ear ring. Calamity’s Child? It introduces two major characters, Daav and Clonak.

    Not A Day at the Races. Race scenes. Chase scenes. Boring and overdone.

    Perhaps from Shadows and Shades, the one about Pat Rin helping 12-year old Nova through her first vision. Good characterization of a major player.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.