There are two movies that have crushed the world of independent book publishing. The first was Wool. I just can’t even say enough about how amazing Hugh Howey’s books are. Idea driven, gorgeous characters. The whole package – and all originally blog serials that took his readers on a ride for free. That is, until he started selling the books for a steal… and then he had the entirety of the book publishing world begging for him to sign a deal. Wool has been picked up and will be filmed by Ridley Scott and his Scott Free. Apparently Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy writer) has been brought on to do a rewrite before they pitch it for a director. That is going to be a slick film when its finally green lit for shooting.
The second book is called The Martian. And holy frick is this a great book. Another independently published title that just totally caught the book publishing world flat footed. (Seriously jealous… seriously seriously jealous. I think I’ve had 4 people read through the entirety of my NaNoWriMo book Glitches – granted is sucks, and since I wrote it it’s been redone about a million times. Most notably by the film Chronicle and the Steelheart series. I’ve also scrawled another book that is more of a middle fiction medieval animal book in the vein of Redwall that I have a whole lot more hope for… if only I could find the time to redo the ending. But who cares about my failures as an author.
The Martian was obviously a stunning success as a book seeing as though it was not only purchased in a bidding war, but it is being directed by none other than Ridley Scott. And wow, look at this cast. Damon and Chastain? What is this? Interstellar the sequel? They survive the Tesseract in an alternate universe and now the bad guy is a good guy, and Cooper’s Daughter now has to save the day? Hahaha. Apparently after seeing how much fun Damon had on Interstellar she thought playing an astronaut looked like a ton of fun and she had to try it seeing as though she was left on Earth in Nolan’s space hopping adventure.
Anyway, check out the trailer and we can keep talking afterwards:
But can I talk to those of us now who have already read the book? Go read it and come back, that’s fine. But for right now, scoot. I want to talk a bit about the trailer from the perspective of the book, and I’d prefer not wholesale ruining it for everyone.
So yeah. Can I just say that in the book there were a few critical surprises, some much more important than others. The first “surprise” which isn’t really a surprise, but its critical all the same – Mark survives the storm. Earth doesn’t know it. And the crew heading back to earth definitely doesn’t know it. Then Earth finds out Mark is alive and they choose to keep it from the grieving teammates of Mark’s because they would feel horrible and might do something stupid. Which leads us to surprise three – the crew find out – and do something really really stupid.
And all of this is completely spelled out in the trailer. They state exactly that its mutiny to go against ground control. They state that they have to hit the maneuver going around earth perfectly. The only thing – the ONE thing that they don’t detail out is the actual grab over Mars. That is the only detail of the movie that is left out that I can think of anyway. Obviously there is a whole ton of “I’m going to science the SH** out of this” going on throughout the movie. That was actually the fun part of the book for me. His running internal dialogue… his funny responses to the complications he encounters all along the way.
But dang if the entire movie isn’t right here for your viewing. What is happening these days? I guess they worry so much about getting butts into seats initially on that first weekend they don’t care whether or not they spoil the movie. In my mind I think, oh wow, that was probably the first 20 or 30% of the movie they showed me there, the rest is going to be intense. But no. They showed you 90% of the narrative arc right there. Yes, the didn’t show you any of the potato farming. But they did show you the explosion in his attempt to make water the first time. They didn’t show you his four wheeling half way across Mars because that probably was too boring to studio execs to even include in the movie! hahah. All I’m saying is, most of the book is here for you. I know they are staying with the ending of the book because the book’s ending was good. It was very good.
Which brings me back to my books. After writing two books in NaNoWriMo which discourages pre-prep and planning (don’t cheat on your word count!) I think that was the big failure of both books I’ve written. The ending. In Glitches the ending was bolted on. When I need more page count I bolted on a whole new city and a whole new echelon of bad guys to account for. Which is fine, for TV writing. But doesn’t work in books. And in my Paladin’s Pendant (you know the medieval thing?) the ending landed where I’d planned it but I was too focused on book two and book three for it to be very exciting. I’ve realized you need to leave it all on the table in book one. Surprise. Confound. Blow minds. And if it sells, duct tape the hell out of it to make book two. But get past the readership thing first. And that’s what The Martian did. It told a fantastic story of a man abandoned 4 years on Mars fighting for survival in a biosphere that is only intended to last a month. That’s a compelling story with a compelling rescue.
Never mind the fact that the trailer basically unmasks all the surprise and intrigue that there was in the book. And for the enormous world who’ve read the book… we know already. So excite us Ridley with those awesome visuals of yours. I for one am very excited about seeing this one, spoilers or no.