Art imitating life imitating art

Published August 18, 2022

Before I started building up a digital bookshelf with seemingly every book available via Kindle or Apple Books, I used to pick up most of my reading material from charity shops. There’s usually a good variety to choose from and one of the great things is seeing the older books that are dropped off for re-use.

One of the best genres in this category is movie novelisations - an author’s official take on the plot of a film with more prose and less script. They can offer a lot of interesting insight where films don’t do so well, getting inside the head of the protagonists or antagonists, but at the same time can sometimes steer quite far away from your take on the original material. It’s always a bit of an adventure.

Three physical books laid out on a brown desk - from left to right: Ghostbusters II, The Sting, and Back to the Future II

I still have really old physical copies of novelisations for Back to the Future, Fame, The Sting and Ghostbusters II, and I love reading through them but have to admit their old and physical status isn’t up to much. However, a quick look through more recent and more digital output, the options seem to be limited to Star Wars and Doctor Who. The occasional other horror or sci-fi pops up but there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of choice.

Are novelisations not a thing anymore? Is there just too much content out there that you don’t really need to be devouring the same story in a different format? Or is it, more likely, that most films these days are based on a book in the first place, and there are few truly original standalone movies out there?

← Previous Podcast of the Month - Epic Gardening
Next → To the moon and back