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back to article The best sci-fi film never made: Also-rans take a bow

We're obliged to all those readers who took the time to throw over their nominations for the best sci-fi film never made, and we're delighted to report that we've whittled the contenders down to a final 50. We simply waded through all your emails and comments and picked those titles which had received the most support. On …

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LPF

ACE TRUCKING CO FTW :D

Seriously would be best movie ever, better yet series, you could stuff your firefly up your bum lol

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surely this was ripped off by...

Space truckers starring Dennis Hopper and the Dorffmeister

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120199/

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Please God

Not the Heinlein 'classic' The Number of the Beast. I read a lot of SF, and that is perhaps the worst pile of tripe I have ever had the misfortune of reading. Even now, many years later, the phrase "Gay Bounce" brings back tears of pain. A truly terrible book. I only read the whole thing because I thought that at some stage it would get better. It didn't.

'Startide Rising' on the other hand, I'd vote for that.

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Number of the Beast isn't Heinlein's worst, only his second worst.

His absolute worst is that piece of crap "Fear No Evil" which made me give up trying to read anything else he ever wrote.

Either way, making Heinlein movies into books is a bad move. If they make a good movie out of one of his bug hunt books, his acolytes complain they made it into a bug hunt. If they make anything else he wrote, audiences will ask WTF?

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I live at No 664

I'm the neighbour of the beast....

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WTF?

Heinlein requires one to develop a certain taste in his works....

If you look at his stories, some are really good, like the 'Moon is a harsh Mistress'.

But others like 'The cat who could walk through walls' also goes in to his 'series' of stories that play around 'The number of the Beast' story line. And then there are other authors who also wrote about alternative universes. Zelanzy ?sp? is another one.

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Fear No Evil and Number of the Beast

Number of the Beast was written as a demonstration of bad writing. It backfired because it is actually one of Heinlein's most enjoyable read's imho. Not his best writing, that's for sure, and not his most serious work, but damned good fun.

Fear No Evil was also thoroughly enjoyable purely as a thought experiment... the very embodiment of the "what if" nature of science fiction.

I have to go now... the black hats are coming....

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Megaphone

Re: Number of the Beast

Well, it did produce one of the more entertaining book reviews I've ever read:

http://ansible.co.uk/writing/numbeast.html

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It's been ages since I read "Moon is a Harsh Mistress."

I recall it as being one of his readable books, but also one of the warning signs. IIRC, at the end of the book he didn't know how to handle one of the primary characters from the thick of the plot, so he killed him off. But it really was "Fear No Evil" that put him on my permanent Do Not Read list. Not a thoughtful experiment, just badly written soft porn.

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Go

Phew!

Proof that I'm not a Sci-Fi geek - I haven't seen anything on the list of also-rans (or at least I don't remember any of them).

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Bugger.

That means that I am definitely one then, because I recognise almost all of them, and have read more than half!

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It proves something

Whether you're a sci-fi geek or not is immaterial.

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FAIL

Well, I am a SF geek...

and I haven't seen any of the either...

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Happy

@Peter Gathercole

"I recognise almost all of them, and have read more than half!"

---

Right with you, brother... although I'm slightly lesser geek: recognised only two thirds of them, and read slightly less than half of the list.

This means I'll have several weeks of sleepless nights, until I read everything on the list.

You bastards. :-)

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Same here

Somehow I take some pride in that. :)

-dZ.

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<- Geek

I've read a good chunk of them myself, probably around half of them. The ones I haven't read I don't recognize (which is probably why I haven't read them). Looks like I've got a few more books on my reading list.

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Yep,

I've been using the comments on the previous artilce (and now the list in this one) to find stuff to add to my ebook reader.

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Most are too long...

An average novel - particularly those by Peter F Hamilton or almost any Culture novel - needs to be cut to pieces to fit into a film - almost all of those would either have to be 6 hour epics, or savaged to the point of irrelevancy to be filmed.

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Length

I'd say you'd struggle to fit one of those books into a 10 hour epic, the Reality Dysfunction trilogy (which I assume has made it into the final shortlist) weighs in at 1200 pages per tome, and something on the order of 20-30 main characters. Mindstar is a little smaller and more manageable though, so this would be an easier option, and given its post-Warming setting, somewhat apt for the modern audience.

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Coat

So go for a novella

The Charlie Stross novella "The Concrete Jungle" would be a decent enough one to go for, since you're not going to be dropping a huge amount of new info onto the viewer. So, the Government has departments so secret not even the politicians know about them. OK, and a sci-fi weapons system that relied upon CCTV? So that's why we've got so much of it, eh?

The key here is to involve the viewer in the action quickly, and drop info onto them fairly slowly without too much in the way of info-dumping. Granted the public are then going to want some more of the same regarding Bob Howard, and really there isn't all that much more of his adventures which you can shove into the brain of the average movie-goer without leaving them reeling from shock (although I would like to see the "James Bond on a budget" customised Smart car).

This is the problem with most sci-fi; the average film viewer just does not understand how physics in a vacuum works, so a trick like accelerating an asteroid at a planetary system from a few billion miles away, then exploding it to create a huge, rapidly moving cloud of debris that is just right for clobbering anything in orbit around the planet just won't work. The average viewer thinks "Right, it blew up, it has gone". To correct this you end up doing "Physics for dummies" which isn't enjoyable.

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Hamilton

Hamilton's stuff would work much better as a US-style 26-episode series, though the budget would have to be ridiculous. Something like what they're doing with A Game Of Thrones at the moment. If it were done right for any of his big series it could work really, really well.

Though the length is slightly misleading as the way he writes lends itself extremely well to editing: there are always tons and tons of sub-plots that aren't strictly vital to the central story, and you can cut out as many as you need while the overall flavour and thrust of the story remains the same.

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@Dr Dan Holdsworth

I really wish sci-fi films didn't get made with the public in mind at all. They won't appreciate good sci-fi, so why turn out shitty action flicks with a slight sci-fi flavour for them? I'd rather see sci-fi get made just for a niche audience - ie those who understand enough to appreciate good sci-fi.

It won't make a killing at the box office, though, so it'll never happen. Maybe someone should let execs know just how much geeks are willing to spend on a show if it's really good - first in the cinema, then buying the BluRay, any merchandising, etc. Over time, that'd add up to be way more than box office takings alone ever could.

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Please please please please please please please

DO NOT MAKE HALO JONES INTO A FILM

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Thumb Up

Just had deja vu there

DO NOT MAKE JUDGE DREDD INTO A FILM

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Re: Please (x7)

I don't think you have much to worry about, seeing that the list represents stories with the dubious twin honour of being utterly ignored by Hollywood, while at the same time missing the list of 50 movies that fans think should have been made.

-dZ.

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Paris Hilton

Halo Jones

...UNLESS PARIS HILTON GETS THE LEADING ROLE

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Films or books?

I thought this was a pole of sci-fi films, surely most of these are BOOKS?

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Are you going to tell him...

...or shall I?

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Read the article again please...

The pole was for the greatest sci-fi films NEVER made. I.e. those books people believe would be awesome when turned into a film. And the rule was that none of the stories could have previously been turned into a film (no matter how badly the first time)...

Fail on your reading comprehension...

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Troll

I'm not sure

I can think of any polish sci-fi films that should be made into books...

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Stop

Films never made

I could have sworn "Who Goes There" was the source for The Thing/Thing from Another World though...

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Troll

Don't feed him....

... he might be a trole.

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oops!

Just shows that we often just think we understand what we read, particularly with common phrases...

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Headmaster

Sir

"The pole was for the greatest sci-fi films NEVER made"

Are you going to tell him, or am I? :)

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Headmaster

Extreme fail

Not only for not reading the article, but for the incorrect spelling of "poll" as in Polling or voting

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poll

(Of course this could also be the pole which is actually a LART = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lart)

There are actually some pretty good bookson that list. Hopefully those on the final list will be awesome. Of course that doesn't mean any of them will actually become films - the Hollywoods suits are just that concerned about the story anymore, it's all about playing it safe by rehashing stories from the past.

I remember seeing a reference to Rocky XXXII in one film- can't recall what it was. I wouldn't bet against seeing that released one day, even if Stallone is dead and decaying.

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Headmaster

@IanPotter

Yep, you're right, the Bob Shaw title is "Who Goes Here".

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Future Rocky movies ...

"I remember seeing a reference to Rocky XXXII in one film- can't recall what it was. I wouldn't bet against seeing that released one day, even if Stallone is dead and decaying."

I think it was Airplane 2.

Colin

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And you would be correct.

Geek fail on somebody's part.

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Alien

Don't feed him...

he might be a gremlin. And it's past midnight...

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Headmaster

Right title-

Wrong author. The Thing was taken from a John W Campbell story...

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Maybe. It was definitely

a throw away shot in Back to the Future II, a mostly forgettable film and important only because it sets up III which was a much better one.

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tsk... sloppy research

OK, I'm a bit confused here... The second from last book "Who goes there?" is listed as being written by Bob Shaw. I asumed at firdt that this was the one that the classic movie "The thing from another world" was based upon, but that is credited to Don A Stuart, aka John W Campbell Jr. I can't find anything by that title credited to a Bob Shaw, so what gives?

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FAIL

Thank god this lot didn't make it!

There's a pile of shite with only a couple of gems.

<DUCKS>

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Much like the films

that do get made then...

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Unhappy

Halo Jones

The greatest missed opportunity of the twentieth century was Kyle Minogue not playing Halo Jones.

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Good idea, but

His sister Kylie would have been even better.

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My new reading list ...

thanks for suggestions for my new reading list for Easter!

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+1

something to do until Royal Wedding fever dies down.

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I found "Who Goes Here?" by Shaw, but I think "Who Goes There?" is

by Campbell and has had two movies made of it under the same title: The Thing.

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Yep ...

"Who Goes There?" by John W Campbell (writing as Don A Stuart). It was in the first SF hard back that I ever bought (cost 25/-). The first film was also known as 'The Thing from Another World".

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