Disney’s adaptation of classic science fiction novel A Princess of Mars may not have achieved the critical and commercial success it deserved but there’s plenty of other sci fi novels of decades past that could succeed where John Carter couldn’t.
From alien invasions to galactic epics, here’s just some of the classic sci fi novels of yesteryear that could make awesome movies…
1. The War of the Worlds (H. G Wells, 1898)
Of course, this classic alien invasion novel from H. G. Wells has already been adapted several times for the big screen, first by George Pal in 1953 and more recently by Steven Spielberg in 2005. But both replaced the original 19th century England setting with modern day USA and the 1953 adaptation, as good as it was, didn’t even feature tripods.
There was a more faithful adaptation from Pendragon Pictures in 2005 but that was a low-budget attempt.
The original 1898 novel remains a chilling read and is arguably the most influential science fiction story of all time, inspiring both scientists and other authors. So even more than John Carter, this is one novel that deserves to be adapted right.
2. The Kraken Wakes (John Wyndham, 1953)
Aliens arrive and land in the deepest parts of our oceans. First contact ends in disaster and war is declared. Ships are destroyed and the aliens use ‘sea tanks’ to capture humans from land and as the war escalates they start melting the ice caps to flood the cities of the world.
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? That’s the plot of 1953 science fiction classic The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham. Not as well known as The War of the Worlds or as influential, this is still an alien invasion story that begs to be adapted to the big screen.
3. The Lensman Series (E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith, 1934 – 1948)
One of the classic science fiction epics of all time, and arguably the inspiration for the Green Lantern, the Lensman Series by E. E. “Doc” Smith started life in magazines before being collected together in a series of novels.
Featuring amazing technology, warring aliens and some of the biggest space battles ever written, this is science fiction on a grand scale. If any series of movies could rival Star Wars, this is it!
4. When Worlds Collide (Philip Gordon Wylie & Edwin Balmer, 1933)
Already adapted for the big screen by George Pal back in 1951, this remains one of the ultimate disaster stories.
Two rogue planets enter our solar system. One will hit the Earth and cause our extinction and the other will settle in an orbit around our sun. Giant starships are built to transport a lucky few away to the rogue planet that will survive.
It’s an incredible story and fortunately a remake is currently underway from director Stephen Sommers. A sequel, After Worlds Collide, was also written that tells the tale of the survivors on the rogue planet as they attempt to rebuild civilisation.
5. Foundation Series (Isaac Asimov, 1942-1993)
One of the most acclaimed science fiction sagas of all time, the Foundation Series has it all. Galactic empires, space combat, high technology, generations of history and more.
Already adapted for radio back in 1973, the Foundation Series may be better suited for TV but that’s not stopping a planned big screen movie adaptation by Roland Emmerich.
And it could amazing!
So that’s five great science fiction novels. What others do you think deserve to make it onto cinemas?