The Screenplay-novel Manifestos

Less is more vivid

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Let's hope not

Grady Hendrix on the contemporary novelization:

The home-theater revolution may have wiped out a large part of the novelization market, but the lessons learned may wind up sustaining the genre. When DVDs first arrived, the studios quickly realized that they could get fans to "double dip" by issuing a bare-bones release of a movie and then following it with a "Deluxe Edition" loaded with special features. Now it looks like literary special features—expanded back stories, cut scenes, and deleted characters—might just make the novelization relevant again.

I'm not sure if the term needs explaining, but novelizations are novels based on movies (presumably that have been produced). They're marketing tie-ins, and part of the movie industry. And this is their ultimate irony: it's not so much a question of whether they're any good (couldn't say because I've never read one, though I did read some TV novelizations -- based on Sergeant Storm and Get Smart -- when I was a kid). Instead, what is tragic about them is they take a medium with great potential for individual creative expression, the book, and make it part of the
big studio machine.

That's the major problem with them on a theoretical level: they are not
artistically democratic. But that's exactly the characteristic we should be aiming for in our culture. We should be making books that function like movies, not making movies that curtail the function of books.

[See also this post at Wet Asphalt]


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