5 Sci-Fi Books Hollywood Needs To Turn Into Amazing Movies



As you all line up to see Blade runner: 2049, sequel to the highly influential blade runner, this week, remember that the first film was based on an atmospheric story “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” by Philip K. Dick. So we started thinking: what other sci-fi novels need a big screen adaptation?

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Some might protest that I should put Asimov’s Foundation novels on the list, given their much wider scope and deeper insights. But I would suggest that this book, starring hardened human detective Elijah Baley and his humanoid robot partner R. Daneel Olivaw, is a bit easier to pull off, especially since it contains meaningful imagery.

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The first book is set on an overpopulated Earth – three millennia in the future, or so – that has condensed into confined cities. New York City is completely underground and no humans venture outside. When a visiting Spacer (a human who grew up in a less claustrophobic colony world) is murdered, Baley and Daneel, a robot created by Spacer, team up to find the culprit. The novel has all the makings of a moody noir adaptation that gives us a glimpse into a future of segregation and tech-created phobias.

The best of worlds

For such an influential dystopian novel with such vivid imagery and broad ideas, it’s incredible to me that this novel by Alduous Huxley never got a thoughtful cinematic treatment on the big screen. The novel is one of the sharpest looks at the concept of “utopia”, and specifically a revolt against the technological paradises proposed by HG Wells.

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In Huxley’s world, scientific and corporate tyranny has created a state where humans are born in hatcheries, sorted into Alpha, Beta, etc. castes, and the lower castes are mostly clones designed to mindlessly serve the castes superior. The book takes a particularly bleak view of the future of automation, so much so as to rename the annual label from Anno Domini (AD) to After Ford (AF), referencing the Model T and the innovator of the Henry Ford assembly line.

The tower of the sky

Although technology is not the focus of this Ursula Le Guin novel, it does play a part in its end result. The novel is a look at alternate realities created by its central character, George Orr, who literally dreams them. His gift is then tapped into by a doctor, who uses a machine to focus Orr’s dreams in an effort to make the world a better place…in the beginning.

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The novel is an embodiment of the phrase “be careful what you wish for,” and it would be interesting to see how a movie explores the visual differences between all of the alternate realities Orr imagined. They are wildly divergent – in one, for example, a dream of peace on Earth causes an alien invasion that unites the world against a common enemy. Finding a way to explore them while not making it look like several different movies put together would be tricky – but amazing if a good director could pull it off.


Snowfall by Neal Stephenson is one of those novels that wouldn’t seem possible to adapt just a decade ago. It’s an adventure novel set in a cyber punk future and involves a hacker battling a mental virus. It was also hugely influential – if you played second lifeor used Google Earth, or said the word “avatar” in the context of an online character, you were influenced by Snowfall. The book even predicted the presence (and importance) of memes.

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A film version of Snowfall would probably look a bit clunky, and the challenge would be to explore its more in-depth parts while doing the action sequences justice – because I would like to see them. And we should perhaps change our conception of AR and VR to be more in tune with the perception of the modern user. But it would be a particularly fun movie where the others on this list might need more thought.

The moon is a harsh mistress

One of the original novels to feature a supercomputer as a character, Robert Heinlein’s novel is awash in political commentary and is generally a more down-to-earth view (ironically, given the setting) of a technological future. The moon has become a penal colony for Earth malcontents and criminals, who have developed their own society over the years. The brutal but just society spawns a revolution when it comes into contact with people born on Earth.

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You’ll recognize some of the pitfalls of older science fiction – the supercomputer fills an entire room and uses physical paper, for example. But it’s not like Robert Heinlein could see our relatively small but powerful computers. Humans have cybernetic augmentations, but they’re not exactly more powerful than what we have today, and they’re not considered a desirable thing. Any film version of this could probably use practical effects on CGI, to some extent.

Which sci-fi novels do you think are ripe for a big-screen adaptation? Let us know in the comments.

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