Friday, December 28, 2007

I have no idea what to entitle this...

Winter was asking:
"...can we submit sketches for the character studies? Or will it all be text?"

A most excellent idea. Indeed, the thought did cross my mind to have illustrations of your characters. It should work so why don't we give it a bash. Send your picture of your character to and I shall see what I can do to include them the featured profile.

Lawrence ponders:

"I'm wondering what, if any, fantasy films which have been adapted from books you've enjoyed, and which ones you think fell short of their source material."

Hmm, I sense dangerous waters ahead. I have to say of the few adaptions I have seen not very many at all come up to snuff (IMHO - this is all to be taken simply as my own perspective). Some are very fine to look at and are so thoroughly done.

For example, I am thinking of Mr Jackson's fine go at LOTR - my own response to Mr Tolkien's work was and is so strong I was never going to be 100% satisfied with any adaption. I own all three extended versions of the films and just LOVE the hours of behind the scenes documentaries (as an illustrator it is my deep wish to be involved in such a process); I love the passion and earnest hard work of the whole team of folks who made the films and had I not known what love they had for the text and the work I would like the films as much as I do. LOTR is just to unwieldy to make in a more pure form and would probably appeal to far fewer folks (just us die-hards).

The Narnia series is promising to be wonderfully thorough - much simpler stories to adapt; the battle at the end of Lion,Witch, Wardrobe is astounding - that pause in the sound just as the armies are about to clash sublime.

The Conan films are not anywhere near the texts.

H.P.Lovcraft adaptions always turn into shlocky nonsense, and so far from the grim and serious tensions of the text.

I have to humbly admit the most horrendous crime that I got into Harry P only after seeing the first three films and began reading from there. Having confessed that I find the films adequate precis and very expertly done but the books hold more as they almost always will.

There is much more - I am sure I am making some huge oversight, missing something, but this response is not exhaustive.

Of spec-fic the one adaption that has actually improved my sense of the book is David Lynch's Dune - superb, new visions, improved understanding, a complete work in deep respect to the text and abridged so thoughtfully. 10/10.

Another would be a non-fantasy (if I may): Peter Weir's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, a perfect coagulation of all that is brilliant about Mr O'Brian's astounding set of books - I did not mind its very loose adaption at all, it caught the very soul of the text and distilled it beautifully. The Extras DVD is very insightful too.

In a perfect world I would very very very much want to have Mr Weir do a version of MBT - or for it to have a vibe more like Master and Commander rather than say the Dungeons & Dragons films, more honest and low-key, not the smash-bash-treat-the-audience-like-they-have-no-subtlety that is the norm; music scores that are in the background not out in front demanding and dictating audience reaction - string quartets not full orchestras (a much more Half-Continent sound anyway), big "empty" audio spaces, fights filled with the drama of the sounds of combat rather than overwhelming musical stridence (sic), fulgars fighting with flickers and flashes of electricity like a subway train not great arcs of lightning spraying all over the place, etc etc etc... You can see that I have thought about this a bit.

Anyway, I had always said to myself I would not put up too much of my opinions of others work and here I am doing just that. You tricked me into it Lawrence, dang it.

What are other people's thoughts?


Lawrence said...

DM. That's very interesting. I definitely see what you mean about "Master and Commander" - I've not read the book, but I love the gritty real-life feel of the film, and the attention to detail. Who've thought a director could pull off such a riveting narrative when the whole film is set on a small boat?. I guess my feelings about MBT (so far, at least) is that it isn't an *epic* fantasy as such. I really enjoyed the fairly low key narrative (that's a compliment, honest!) which was mostly about the day-to-day goings on of everyday people. My fear would be that in the hands of a less subtle director, too much stock would be placed in the monsters, and not enough in the small, human dramas. (How brilliant is Little Dog as a character? Now there's a kid who deserves a chapter in a book of Half Continent short stories.)

OK, well, I'm about to finish up work for the year. Thanks for the reply to my rambling post. May seems to far away ....

Anonymous said...

I must say I do really like Lawrence's idea of a Half Continent short story book...

Anyway, I can't say I've read Master and Commander, but I really did like the adaption, and that is quite close to how I would imagine a MBT adaption should be like. Subtle would be great (although I don't know if it's how you get the box offices happy, sadly), I would especially love to see the threwd and fear that poor Rossamund (and the reader) feels throughout the book at varying situations, and not have it overclouded by "HOORAY WE HAVE MONSTERS AND SPECIAL EFFECTS!!!!". :)

Doing an illustration of our MBT selves sounds fun. I shall try to keep close to your own style (well, considering how great your illustrations are, near enough). :D

Anonymous said...

Sorry I'm late, I just want to take a minute to gush about the book. I began reading it yesterday morning and finished last night. Not too unusal, but I never go through a book in one day. The sad part is I have to wait for book 2 now. =(

I read quite a bit and I can honestly say it has been a long time since a book has captured my imagination quite like this one. I even had dreams about monsters and falling into a colorful, vinegar ocean last night. Of course then I ended up on the island where "Lost" is filmed and met all those folks... weird.

I'm pleased that not all monsters are "evil". I had quite the same reacton as Rossamünd did when Europe fried the Misbegotten Schrewd. I called her a few unpleasant things, to be sure. I still don't trust her. =\

Monsters are nice and fluffy, they just need a little love and understanding. It's not their fault that humans are so sweet and juicy. Yes, I'm a sedorner and proud of it!

Anyway, just wanted to express my thanks for writing this series. The world you've created with all the detailed maps, colorful characters and believable day-to-day "operations" rivals anything you'd find in Middle Earth. As fans of Tolkien call themselves "Ringers", I'm proud to call myself a "Bookchild". Keep up the good work Mr. Cornish!!

D.M. Cornish said...

Oooh I am so gagging to write a book of short stories, Laura; I'd love to make such a work my next project yet my publishers do not think it will be much of a seller. Who knows; might get a chance to prove them wrong one day. I can see stories about Fouracres, Sallow - even Little Dog now you put it to me, Lawrence. Still be worth doing surely; money is not the be all and end all (just helps).

I could not agree more about Special Effects [TM] v a subtle and apt cinematic adaption - such a long way from any actual production we'll just have to wait and see.

And thank you so much, Sylvenger, for these encouraging words. I have and, Lord willing, will continue to work hard on making the Half-Continent as absorbing and solid and, well, thrilling as possible. Tolkien is my inspiration - not about elves and dragons and magic rings and all that, but in depth and detail and feeling like the pretend place might just really exist. From one sedorning Bookchild (what a great idea!) to another, I thank you in return.

Anonymous said...

Good call DM. Let the shiny box office flops keep their giant showy special effects that (although they might sell movies) just aren't good silver screen material. MBT deserves the kind of eternal film-fame that comes from being understated... On having a great script, great acting (blimey who could play a decent screen-adaptation of Rossamund?! or Europe? certainly not Angelina Jolie...), and lots of subtlety. Always hard with film though. I remember watching bits of BBCs adaptation of Gormenghast and thinking "That's not how it was! Too frivolous - not dank and eerie enough..." Keep up the good work D.M.C! I've just finished FOUNDLING for the second time and am now reading it to my kids each night. Counting down for Lamplighter. :-)

Anonymous said...

Okay, so I was on IMDB and I thought, "Hey, let's search Monster Blood Tattoo!" so I did, and it came up with a film by that name, said to be released in 2010.

Is that a related project or something else entirely? It's only available to paying members, so I couldn't see anything other than the title.

Here is the link, by the way: