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Book-Talk Monday: Novelizations and Book Spinoffs of Movies/TV Shows

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Movie Novelization
We’re all accustomed to the movie based on a novel: all the classics from Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, the Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games films, all of those movies from Steven King’s and John Grisham’s books. But what about those that are movies first and then someone is paid to turn it into a novel?

We all have our preferences when it comes to movies that are based on a book as to whether or not we read the book before or after (or at all). But what about when the movie comes first? What would drive you to read a novelization that springs from that?

The Book Spinoffs
One of the shelves in my office is dedicated to books set in the Star Wars and Star Trek universes (more SW than ST, though). In fact, I have the novelizations of each of the six Star Wars movies (and I must say—the novelization version of the last movie, Revenge of the Sith is SO much better than the movie could ever have been!). In the world of Star Wars, the dozens or even hundreds of books that have come out over the past thirty years are referred to as the Extended Universe. While the novelizations of the movies give us more insight into the major characters, the extended universe books go well beyond that—continuing the stories of Han Solo and Princess Leia (one of my favorite EU books is The Courtship of Princess Leia) and Luke Skywalker after the events of Return of the Jedi. And for those of us who are obsessed with secondary characters, the EU gives us a chance to spend time with/learn more about our favorite secondary characters—mine just so happens to be Wedge Antilles, who features prominently in the nine-book Star Wars: X-Wing series, in which he’s given command of Rogue Squadron. I’ve also read spinoff novels from Dr. Quinn (there were only a few, and they weren’t all that great), Highlander (I needed me some more Methos!), and over Christmas, I picked up a book that has three Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels in it (it was under $5).

Unlike novelizations of movies, which give us the storyline we already know from the film, but with more insight into the characters’ thoughts as well as more details and possibly additional scenes either cut from the film or made up for the book, movie/TV-series spinoff books actually give us more adventures, more episodes in our favorite characters lives. If they’re done right—and if those in creative control of the property maintain strict guidelines for the cannon of their storyworld—spinoff novels feed the fans’ longing for more and more and more of the world, the characters, and the situations that couldn’t necessarily be explained in a film or TV series.

Do you read novelizations or spinoff novels from movies or TV shows? If so, what are some of your favorites?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Kav permalink
    Monday, January 16, 2012 7:41 am

    I don’t at all, but the kids at my school are Star Wars crazy! And novels featuring television series are popular as well.

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  2. Monday, January 16, 2012 8:55 am

    The only time I read such a book was the novelization of Ever After (Drew Barrymore/Dougray Scott star). That’s because I was writing a sequel to amuse myself and a few close friends, and wanted the book for background research. 🙂

    I’m just recalling now, that wasn’t the only time. I think I read a Star Wars novel as a preteen, when I was really into those movies. If so, the title escapes me now.

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  3. Sherrinda permalink
    Monday, January 16, 2012 10:13 am

    I read a few Pride and Prejudice books from Mr. Darcy’s point of view, but they were so disappointing, I couldn’t do it anymore. I’m thinking nothing is going to be as good as the real thing, you know?

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  4. Monday, January 16, 2012 10:55 am

    I’ve read several of the Star Wars novelizations (completely agree with you about the one for Revenge of the Sith, SO MUCH BETTER than the movie!) and sequel books, but not for ages. I remember Kathy Tyers and Barbra Hambly being favorites as far as SW books go. I’ve also read several of the Doctor Who novels, some better than others of course, and those that are good, well it is fun to “read” instead of watch an episode!

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  5. Monday, January 16, 2012 12:01 pm

    This isn’t quite the same, but I read the first Nikki Heat novel (supposedly written by the character Richard Castle from the TV series “Castle”). I have #2 on my shelf now and #3 as an audiobook on loan from my library. (Let me tell you, I was SOOO disappointed that Nathan Fillion didn’t read the audiobook–it’s his voice I heard in my head as I read the first book.)

    I considered reading the Jericho Season 3 graphic novel–I couldn’t believe how the series finale left us hanging!–but I never actually got around to it.

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  6. Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:05 pm

    I read Memoirs of a Geisha, which was just as good as the film. And the same for The Notebook. As a teen, I did read SW books from Kevin J. Anderson, that are written after The New Republic was formed. It featured the next generation jedi’s as well, Han and Leia’s kids. And now remembering, I did happen to read The Secret Life of Bees. That was a really good book.

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