(Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay )
I am a heretic. At least when it comes to my appreciation of scifi and, to a lesser degree, fantasy. I find myself drawn to and appreciating many of the things that general fans of the genre disdain and disliking the things they esteem. For instance, my favorite Star Trek film is the one fans seem to like least — Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I have loved it since I saw it in the theater with my father at age ten and went home to obsess about it by re-reading back issues of Future Life Magazine. I’m still obsessed with it. I recently watched the 4K remaster and enjoyed it as much as ever.
This tendency toward the heretical is especially true when it comes to favoring the film and TV adaptations of classic books to the novels themselves. For instance, I much prefer Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner to Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. It feels like a fuller story with more complete characters. For the same reason, I loved the Amazon TV series The Man in the High Castle, far more than Dick’s novel of the same name. The book had nice ideas, but it felt to me more like a detailed outline for a great novel than a great novel itself.
I feel similarly about another recent TV adaptation — Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. I found the book rather dry with most of the interesting action happening “off stage” and people talking about exciting things rather the reader getting a chance to experience them. I’ve read a lot of reviews by fans of the book series who were very unhappy with the changes the TV series made, but I found those alterations breathed life into what read to me like a husk of a story.
That is not my response to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I would still rather re-watch the films than re-read the books. I thought the novels were great. I enjoyed them, but I did not connect with them the way I did the films. And I know it’s not that I prefer the visual medium of film to books. Watching the Amazon adaptation of The Wheel of Time series made me want to re-read Robert Jordan’s books. In that instance, I feel the story is being told well in both mediums even when the TV show greatly diverges from the source material.
There are many other examples, of course, like The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 2001 A Space Odyssey, or The Thing from Another World, but I suspect those are not as surprising.
Anyway, please share your own fandom heresy. I’m always interested in how and why people love the stories, they do as well as those they don’t.