Most of the time, I don’t end up leaving posts in my drafts, but for some reason, I never got around to finishing this one…after I started it in December. Oops.
But I’m in the mood to do a book tag, so I figured I’d go ahead and trawl through the (many) book tags I have in my blog sticky note. I found this one over at Riddhi’s blog, Whispering Stories, and I was also tagged by Book It With Becca (thank you!). Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find who originally created the tag. If anybody knows, please let me know so I can credit them! I have lots of opinions about book adaptations, whether they be TV shows, movies, or otherwise, so this sounds like a lot of fun!
Let’s begin, shall we?
📚THE BOOK ADAPTATION TAG🎥
What is the last book adaptation movie you saw?
Not counting my re-watch of Fantastic Mr. Fox on New Year’s Eve, I think it might’ve been Dune! I loved both the book and the movie, and the cinematography and special effects were stunning. I went to see it with my brother and his friends for his birthday, and we all just stared at each other silently SCREAMING every single time the sandworm came on screen
2. What book movie are you most excited about?
This one isn’t a movie, but they announced last year that Warcrosswas going to be adapted for a TV series! Plus, it’s going to be on FX, the same streaming service that has Legion, Fargo, and What We Do in the Shadows!!
3. Which upcoming book movie will you definitely not see?
I’ve never been a fan of Sarah J. Maas, and I heard they’re making a TV show out of A Court of Thorns and Roses, so…nah. My mom and I agreed that we might hate-watch it together, though…
4. Which book movie would you never watch again?
I wouldn’t say that I would never watch Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (the 1994 one) again, but it certainly was…not great. Very weird. And not in a good way. Just…uncomfortable. At least Frankenstein’s monster was good in this one.
5. Is there a movie you saw that made you want to read the book if you had not yet?
6. Conversely, is there a movie that made you never want to read the book?
I watched The Man Who Fell to Earththinking it would be old sci-fi vibes and David Bowie, and…well, David Bowie was great, but the movie was 2.5-ish hours of pure discomfort. I’m not sure what kind of creative liberties that Nicolas Roeg took with the book, but either way, I don’t think I’ll be picking the book up.
7. Name an adaptation that has almost nothing to do with the book it is supposedly based on.
The movie version of How to Train Your Dragonis very different from the books—but in this case, the movies were better. It’s been a while since I’ve seen any of them, but the most notable difference that I remember is Toothless—in the books, he was a lot smaller and could talk. I like movie Toothless a lot better, though; he reminds me of my cats.
8. Have you ever left the theatre during a movie adaptation because it was so bad?
I don’t think I’ve ever left the theatre during any movie, so that’s a no.
9. Do you prefer to watch the movie first, or read the book first?
Most of the time, I prefer to read the book first, but I’m human and make mistakes, so that barely ends up happening. Most of the time, I don’t even know that I’m watching an adaptation when I go into it (ex. I’m Thinking of Ending Things)
10. How do you feel about movie adaptations that age characters up? (ex. Characters that are in middle school, but in the movies, they’re all 18+)
The only example I can remember is the (highly forgettable) Percy Jackson movies, but it does rub me the wrong way when they age characters in a middle-grade adaptation up. Like Riddhi said—if they could find a bunch of fantastic child actors for Stranger Things, then what’s stopping everybody else?
11. Do you get angry when actors don’t look like you thought the characters would?
Most of the time I don’t—for me, it’s near impossible for actors to look super close to the image I had of the character in the book. But I’ll admit that I’m still seething over the fact that the Darkling in Shadow and Bonelooked nothing how I imagined him. Not nearly as goth as he should’ve been.
12. Is there a movie you liked better than its book?
Even though I liked the original book, Wes Anderson’s adaptation of Fantastic Mr. Fox is leagues better! He gives the story a new meaning, and all of the characters have so much more personality than they did in the book.
I’ve been trying to think of more original posts to do, and I figured that this one would be something really fun to explore. I’ve seen a lot of posts talking about tropes, but genre-specific ones are always interesting to think about/discuss, and in much of the YA book fandom, I feel like sci-fi doesn’t get as much love. So I decided to look at six tropes that are specific to sci-fi (for the most part). Sci-fi is my favorite genre, so I got super excited thinking about all of these different tropes, and some (mostly) YA books that use them in different ways.
So let’s begin, shall we?
WARNING: This post may contain some book spoilers (Aurora Cycle & Dare Mighty Things series), so read at your own risk!
CRYOSLEEP, BUT FOR WAY TOO LONG
Ellen Ripley – and Aliens in particular – probably set the blueprint for this one, but as the trope gets more popular, authors have started to push the limits on this one, which I think is a really cool move.
It’s most often the protagonist that this happens to – our hero, on the eve of something great, is put into cryosleep for an interplanetary mission, only for something to go terribly awry and stay in cryosleep for longer than they were supposed to. Ripley got an accidental 50 years, Auri from Aurora Risinggot 200 years, and Andra from Goddess in the Machinegot a whopping 1,000 years.
This trope presents two main advantages for writing: a vehicle for exploring the novel’s world through fresh eyes, and internal conflict within the character. If your cryosleep character is completely unfamiliar with the world, seeing it through their eyes gives the reader a more in-depth look at the world than they’d get with a character that’s already familiar with it. They’ll inevitably notice more things and fixate on different things than another character might, which gives the reader more insight about what’s unique about the world that the author has crafted.
As for the internal conflict piece, this part’s always touched on, but in most of the novels I’ve read with it, it’s a lot more shallow than you’d think. There’s the existential crisis that inevitably occurs when the character realizes that everything they know and love is all but gone, but beyond the first few chapters from their POV, they get over it…relatively quickly? It seems like the kind of trauma that would leave lasting psychological scars, and probably physical health repercussions as well. I’ve yet to read any book that explores all that in depth, but it seems like the perfect setup for a sci-fi novel.
So this one’s a trope that can make for a lot of creative choices, but often has a lot of untapped potential.
GOTTEN INTO A SITUATION YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF? TIME TRAVEL!
Apparently this one is a lot more common than I thought, but I’ve only started to see it in YA more recently. (Well, there’s Avengers: Endgame, but it took me a while to realize how common of a trope it is…)
This trope has the possibility of ENDLESS freaky hijinks whilst traversing through time. Sometimes it’s just pushing the events of the past so that everything lines up a little bit nicer, and sometimes it’s rocketing back to another time period entirely. It usually happens only with the last book in a trilogy or duology, just so everyone can fix the mess they got into in the first books.
I have mixed feelings on this one; one the one hand, there’s never a dull moment – time travel jokes, fitting VERY badly into a different time period, and very high stakes, most of all. If the first books have followed a similar formula, it might be good to try for something else to end the series with a bang.
On the other, though, something about it almost feels…lazy to me. Often, this trope arises from The Gang™️ getting a situation so bad that there may not be a feasible way out of it, but…maybe they could? If done wrong, it can feel like lazy writing – an easy way out, and one that provides instant comic relief. And often, the means of said time travel are vague, and often reduced to technobabble from The Smart Character™️, which, hey, I don’t know much about the science of it either, but maybe at least put a little time into it?
So this one’s a double-edged sword: instant plot, or lazy writing? The choice is yours!
*this one doesn’t come out until November [screams] but we know that time travel will play a big part in this one, so…
ALIENS THAT BASICALLY JUST LOOK LIKE HUMANS (BUT WITH A FEW MINOR DIFFERENCES)
Most of the other tropes I’m going to be discussing in this post are ones that I like on some level, but…this one gets on my nerves. For the most part.
Far too many times, I’ve fallen into the trap of picking up a sci-fi book that promises aliens, only to discover that the aliens just look like humans, but with either a) unusual eye colors, b) some sort of powers, or c) a combination of both. And of course, they have to be ✨ridiculously attractive✨ as well. 🙄
Now, I completely get making your aliens humanoid (hey, I’m doing it with some of my aliens for my sci-fi WIP), but there’s a certain point where it feels a bit lazy. Unless there’s some way you can back it up, it seems weird to me that in this entire universe, the only other intelligent beings, by some cosmic chance, are similar to us in almost every way.
But I’ve seen some authors use it to their advantage – in particular, One Giant Leap(the sequel to Dare Mighty Things) does this especially well. The main alien civilization there look exactly like humans, but it’s because of genetic modifications performed so that they could survive on Earth. See? That’s actually a really good way of turning the trope on its head, and doing so in a practical way!
For the most part, this trope never ceases to bug me, but there’s a few ways to turn it on its head.
For me, at least, this trope is the most fun – and it presents some of the scariest and most formidable antagonists in sci-fi.
Villainous AI are some of the most fascinating characters to explore – they have unmatched power, in some cases, and whether they’re a pre-installed ship AI or an android, it’s always interesting to hear their perspective on all of us puny mortals.
Given that humans trust AI a bit *too* much in most sci-fi novels, they often have a fearsome amount of power at their disposal. AI installed inside of a ship? Access to all the security footage, navigation, communications, and controls of the ship. They know their crew up and down, and have the possibility to play everybody’s weaknesses against each other. They have the power to sabotage anything and everything, and more often than not, they do. WITHOUT HESITATION. A corrupt AI often harbors a hatred or jealousy of human beings, and if it’s not that motivating them, it’s some sort of technologically-stemmed god complex, which is always terrifying to watch play out. (Lookin’ right at you, David…) It’s even more of an interesting development if their moral compass shifts over the course of the series – if there’s one thing I’ve learned from sci-fi, it’s that benevolent robot overlords never stay benevolent for very long.
Corrupt AI as antagonists are often more compelling than human or alien ones (for me, at least) partly because so much is left up to the imagination about the inner workings of their minds. We’ve never developed any kind of artificial intelligence that’s become intelligent enough to have devious tendencies like many sci-fi villains, so a lot of it is the author’s personal choice. There are endless possibilities – but more often than not, they’re all terrifying.
And even if they aren’t main antagonists, the addition of a slight unstable AI as a character is always amusing; for all of its flaws, I loved Gregorovich’s existential musings in To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, and his character added some much-needed flavor to the rest of the cast.
TL;DR: There’s nothing more terrifying than a villain that knows everything about everything, and uses that power for its own gain at whatever the cost.
HIGH-STAKES COMPETITIONS TO GO TO SPACE…WITH SOME SERIOUS ULTERIOR MOTIVES
Scared to send your experienced, highly intelligent scientists to space? Send some teenagers instead!
This one tends to crop up the most in YA, as it’s primed for a book that has a primarily teenage cast. The ones I’ve read do tend to follow a formula, but for the most part, it’s one that’s actually a lot of fun!
The worldbuilding/motives behind it are always a little bit messy (again: sending teenagers into space! What could possibly go wrong?), but often times, you just have to hang in there; it’s a given that whatever program is funding the competition is doing something astronomically shady. (No pun intended.) Part of the fun with this trope is the mystery of it; slowly but surely, the competition starts dropping like flies, and things go very wrong very quickly.
More on the mystery aspect – the mystery that often occurs in these types of novels is very slow-burn, building on itself before the heartstopping reveal at the end (often a cliffhanger). From program superiors lying to scheming androids to deaths under mysterious circumstances, there are endless possibilities for many, many things to go wrong. Add in the not-so-friendly rivalries between the competitors (also scheming, along with everybody else), and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a nail-biting sci-fi mystery.
And once/if they get to space? Everything gets way worse. There’s bound to be aliens, but whether they’re intelligent or just parasitic, things are bound to go way, way south. But there’s never a dull moment – there’s no shortage of suspense, and our protagonist is often at a loss as to how to escape their situation.
Plus, for reasons I’ve yet to figure out, these ones always tend to have the most clever pop culture references. (See: all of the Radiohead songs in the Final Six duology)
EXPLORING OTHER PLANETS GOES VERY, VERY WRONG (Or, “Don’t do intergalactic colonialism, kids”)
Here’s another common – but by no means overdone – trope that’s always open to endless possibilities!
Because our planet was never enough, apparently (or if we destroyed it…probably), there’s a whole host of sci-fi stories that are set on entirely new planets, with the sole goal of making them a new home for humankind. But just like with our planet, it’s always unpredictable, whether you’re dealing with a foreign contagion, carnivorous wildlife, or superiors who aren’t what they seem.
I’m always a nerd for creature design in sci-fi, and life on other worlds presents all sort of possibilities for creatures lurking in the bushes. Whether it’s flora or fauna, exploring these sci-fi worlds along with the characters is an adventure, especially if the author is particularly creative. Of course, most of the wildlife ends up being carnivorous, or malicious on some level, so there’s all sorts of danger lurking.
But beyond that, this trope is often a great commentary on colonialism. Human history is rife with frightening periods of raping and pillaging land that wasn’t ours to begin with at the cost of those who originally lived there; telling the same story on alien planets serves as a particularly potent comment on the malicious tendency of our species to overstep and overstay our welcome. Books like A Conspiracy of Starsand The Pioneer explore what happens when humanity comes in contact with intelligent life and unlawfully sets foot on their land; both of them do an amazing job of exploring the intricacies of the political implications, as well as the tense conflict that results. I think sci-fi as a genre is one of the best mediums for raising commentary on this kind of thing. Exploring new frontiers in space is bound to happen once we get the technology, but we must always ask ourselves if it’s the right thing to do. Just because we can doesn’t necessarily mean that we should. (Let’s be real: I would be SO excited if we found evidence of life elsewhere in the universe, but…let’s not have a repeat of all of human history, okay?)
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! What are your favorite/least favorite tropes in sci-fi? Have you read any of the books I listed, and what were your thoughts? This’ll probably be one of several posts on the subject, so I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Happy Friday, bibliophiles! I’m off a bit earlier than usual because of my school’s asynchronous Friday schedule, so I figured I’d do a nice little book tag. 🙂
I found this tag over at Whispering Stories. I don’t know who originally created the tag, so if anybody knows, please don’t hesitate to tell me and I’ll credit them! It looked super cute, so I figured I’d give it a go.
Let’s begin, shall we?
📚THE BOOKISH BLOG TAG📚
What are 1-3 of yourfavorite books of all time?
I’d have to go with Frankenstein, Aurora Rising, and Heart of Iron. In no particular order…kind of? I love them all, but I suppose they have varying degrees of sentimental value/specific memories attached to them…
What are 1-3 of your favorite authors of all time?
Oooh, that’s hard…Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, and Ashley Poston, maybe? I’d put Mary Shelley on there too, but I’ve only read Frankenstein…
Who is your favorite female character from a book?
Again, such a hard pick…but I love Auri from Aurora Rising! Since the book came out, her character has spoken to me on so many levels, the most prominent of which being the fact that you don’t have to be brave to change the world.
Who is your favorite male character in a book?
Jeez, that’s super hard too…
Just one? Again? I suppose I’d have to go with Jax from Heart of Iron, maybe.
What’s your favorite fictional world?
The entire Grishaverse is so detailed and beautiful, just the kind of fictional universe that I’d want to get lost in. (Maybe. Probably not. Definitely not the Unsea.)
What book has your favorite cover?
For me, it’s impossible to pick a single favorite book cover. I have an entire shelf on Goodreads of books with covers that I like, so I just had to trawl through that…
I eventually settled on Skyhunterfor this prompt, though. The colors are just so beautiful, and even the inside of the hardback edition I have is gorgeous!
What’s your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
Fantastic Mr. Fox, without question! Even though I myself abide by the general “the book is always better than the movie” adage, this is one of the few book-to-movie adaptations that’s even better than the source material. That’s just the magic of Wes Anderson, I guess.
If you could make any book into a movie, which would it be?
Illuminaewould make a super tense movie! Now that I’ve seen the Alien/Aliens movies, this novel gives off similar vibes, so I feel like it would be a good fit for the big screen.
What was your favorite childhood book?
The Search for WondLatrilogy shaped me as a person in so many ways…it made me fall in love with sci-fi literature, and it made me want to be an author. So for that, I’ll forever be in Tony DiTerlizzi’s debt.
Fantasy or sci-fi? (Or neither?)
Sci-fi, of course! Can’t say no to having strange adventures while hurtling through space. Plus, aliens are pretty cool, if I do say so myself.
It’s time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is books on my wishlist. I have a TERRIBLE habit of buying only one or two books from a series, mostly because I read so much at the library, so I have tons of lone sequels and threequels and such. So this list is mostly comprised of books I want to re-read, and that would complete a series I don’t fully own.
Happy Friday, bibliophiles! Man, I’m so glad to have a few days off…
Brianna @ Brianna’s Books and Randomness tagged me (thanks so much!), but unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find who created the tag. (If you know, please let me know!) I thought it sounded like a lot of fun, and the results were definitely interesting…
Pick 8 books off your shelves (try to not pick just your favorites!)
Arrange them into a random order (randomizers are good for this).
In the order they are arranged, open them to a random page and write down the first name you see. Don’t mix up the names!
In the last book, find the name of an animal/pet and write it down.
Put the names in the right category.
Tag people (spread the love) copy and paste these rules in your post, or write them out yourself.
Okay, so this tag leaves a lot to be desired in the fictional parent category (shoutout to my actual parents for being the most amazing and supportive people), but KADY WOULD BE AN AMAZING SISTER. SHORT GIRLS UNITE!
And on that subject, WHO’S EXCITED FOR MEMENTO? I preordered it, I can’t wait to read it!
Happy Saturday, bibliophiles, and happy August! [happy Leo noises]
Time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is enemies-to-lovers romance, otherwise known as my FAVORITE romantic trope…
UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR AUGUST:
8/1/20—Enemies to Lovers
8/8/20—Underrated Books/Hidden Gems
Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
As 2019 (and this decade) draws to a close, I’ve decided to make a comprehensive lists of all of my 5-star reads for this year, and, by proxy, my favorite books that I’ve read this year. Most of these are what’d you’d expect, if you’ve scoured my book tags and reviews, but I know there’s a few that I haven’t talked much about. These are in chronological order of when I read them, though their actual rankings vary a fair bit.
Now, without further ado…this year’s 5-star lineup!
KING OF SCARS–LEIGH BARDUGO
Bardugo’s veritable masterpiece, all at once a rollicking adventure and an exploration of internal conflict, was my first 5-star rating of this year. And…Nikolai. ‘Nuff said.
Hey, everyone, and welcome to the last Book Review Tuesday of January 2019! Man, this month has already gone by so fast…it feels like yesterday I was sitting downstairs watching X2 with my cats over winter break…*sigh*
Aaaaaaaaanyway, I actually didn’t get this book at the library this time (*GASP* PLOT TWIST); I bought it, along with Honor Among Thieves (for that review, see 6/12/18), which is now IN PAPERBACK! REJOICE!
Illuminae was recommended to me by a friend, and for the most part, I trust her book judgement. That, other than some other rave reviews I’ve seen and the dazzling cover art ultimately buy this book. I could barely fit it in my backpack, but MAN, it was completely worth it. The cover’s a teeeeeensy bit dinged up at the edges now (oof), but it was worth it all the same. Trust me. 😉
Enjoy the review!
Kady Grant and Ezra Mason thought that breaking up would be the worst of their problems. But after their colony is destroyed by a fleet of warships, fighting for dominance over their tiny planet, they are forced to flee on two seperate ships. Out in the midst of space, Kady and Ezra realize that the colony’s destruction was only the tip of the iceberg. A psychotic AI, a deadly virus, and the imminent arrival of one of the warships that destroyed the colony now face the crews of the two ships, and only those with adequate wits, strength, and bravery will live to see the next day.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Illuminae is like nothing I’ve ever seen.
The format is insanely creative, as well as fascinating. Illuminae is told not in ordinary writing, but in a series of transcripts from security camera footage, text messages between crew members, letters from the captain(s), and even snippets of dialogue from AIDAN, the maniacal AI aboard the ship Alexander. It takes a little getting used to, but in the end, I’m sure that you’ll appreciate it, 100%. Both authors skillfully weave a bleak, edge-of-your-seat dystopian tale set in the farthest reaches of space. Illuminae is a true gem of YA science fiction, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the first of its kind. Perfect for all fans of sci-fi, or anyone who wants something frightening, a thrill ride, or just something fresh to wash away the taste of some of the existing YA cliches. Solid 9.5/10 on my scale. 🙂
This series is a trilogy, but I haven’t gotten to the sequels just yet. The same friend who recommended this book said that book 2 (Gemina, I believe) was something of a let-down, but I was so pumped about this book that I’ve already tried to put it on hold at the library. (All copies are currently in use. Woe is me.)
Thanks so much for reading this review! I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day, and PLEASE, especially for those of you in the winter storm in the U.S., take care of yourselves, stay safe, and stay warm.