Novelization

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The counterpart to The Film of the Book: the novelization retells the story of the film in novel form, often put together quickly to ride the film's coattails to success while people still know it exists. The most extreme examples are books of The Film of the Book.

At best, the novelization is a faithful rendition of the story where the inner motivations of the characters are explored. At worst, you end up with something that reads like someone copied the script and added "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" at the top. There's also a very real risk that the copy of the script the author is working from is invalidated by later versions (this happened with Chris Claremont's X2: X-Men United novelization, amongst many others), since the book has to hit the stores before or just as the movie hits theaters and thus can't wait for its final edit. If the movie winds up having its release delayed, the book might be in something of a no man's land when it comes to sales, while the film itself is potentially spoiled (this happened to Penelope). On the other hand, sometimes the book is better than the movie, especially if the movie wasn't great in the first place.

The novelization is not exclusive to film; episodes of popular television shows may be novelized as well (for example, almost all of the Doctor Who original series serials were novelized), as can Comic Book Story Arcs. More recently, computer games with a significant story element have been novelized as well. These vary from Expanded Universe material to complete bastardizations that only bear the name of the original.

See also Tie-in Novel.

Examples of Novelization include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Robotech was adapted into a successful 12-volume novel series by "Jack McKinney" (a pen name for James Luceno and the late Brian Daley). The series led to several Television Tie in Novels.
    • The novelizations were declared to be Canon Discontinuity by the current head of Robotech licensing and production... and then the ones based on the TV series were later re-issued with new covers under the current Robotech branding. However, the novel-exclusive stories and related omnibus remain out of print.
    • The Super Dimension Fortress Macross franchise likewise had novelizations of the series and movie, (the movie one, in particular, restores a number of plot points, and adds new scenes [such as a mock combat between Hikaru and a newly-recruited Max Jenius]) though good luck finding translations, as those folks one entry upward haven't budged...
  • Most of the Gundam series have had novel adaptations, sometime resolving very different from the anime. And there are also side stories and sequels that originate as novels. Notable is Beltochika's Children; it was originally Yoshiyuki Tomino's rejected plot for Chars Counterattack, which, in turn, is an adaption of Tomino's novel Hi-Streamer. In other words, it's a novelization of The Film of the Book (by the same author).
  • Even the Slice of Life Yonkoma Hidamari Sketch was adapted into Light Novels.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Story Arc of the Superman comics where he died and returned was made into a novelization by Roger Stern. It's generally considered better than the original, partially due to cutting out the various running subplots, crossovers, and Dark Age tropes.
  • Likewise, the novelization for the Batman No Mans Land story arc is also better. (With the exception of completely removing Catwoman, Superman, and Azrael from the plot.) With a plot that spread out over a year and, like Superman's death, was covered in at least four different titles with different writers, the novel smoothed the rough edges brilliantly.
  • For every good adaptation however, there are crappy ones. "52" omitted large portions of the storyline, while Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis are written under the assumption that the person reading it is familar with the story, meaning casual readers will have no clue what's going on....
  • There are many instances of novelizations in comic book form, outside of Recursive Adaptations of comic book-based films. Many of Marvel's Super Special books were novelizations of late 70s/early-mid 80s films, and adaptations of Star Wars (back when it was just Star Wars and not Episode IV) and The Empire Strikes Back appeared in serialized form as issues of their ongoing Star Wars comic, though Return of the Jedi was published as a separate mini-series (and both Empire and Jedi were published as Super Specials as well. DC released novelizations of some of the Star Trek films as one-shots while they held the rights to publish Trek comics.


Film[edit | hide]

  • James Cameron, director of The Terminator, Aliens, and other films, has gone on record in the preface to the novelization of The Abyss that he hates most novelisations because of his respect for books and the crass way most novelizations are written. He then goes on to laud Orson Scott Card, the writer of the novelization for The Abyss, as getting it right. Cameron actually gave pages of Card's draft to his actors for character backstory.
    • In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the topic of an Avatar novelization came up. Cameron made a point of stressing that it was the novel, not the novelization.
  • The novel to Batman Forever throws in some deleted scenes from the film, and is generally thought quite good. Bizarrely, the Riddler briefly wears a robotic muscle suit for a few pages, like in the licensed game version.
  • Rarely, The Film of the Book will itself have a novelization.
    • Particularly notable: Bram Stoker's Dracula by Fred Saberhagen, a tacit admission that Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film didn't quite fit the original story.
    • Likewise, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein by Leonore Fleischer, the novelization of Kenneth Branagh's 1994 film. (Saberhagen reportedly offered his services for this novelization as well, primarily because it would then have been "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, by the author of Bram Stoker's Dracula".) Fleischer is a veteran novelizer, with "Based on..." works including Rain Man, Three Amigos, Annie and even Fame. (Yes, that's right, the book of the musical.)
    • Furthermore, there was a novelization of the 1979 version of Nosferatu, which was a remake of the 1922 Nosferatu, which was an unauthorized adaptation of Dracula.
    • Piers Anthony did a novelization of Total Recall, which was based on inspired by We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, a novella by Philip K. Dick.
    • The 1980s remake of The Thing, based on the short story "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell, was novelized.
    • And the Little Women movie had one.
    • They even had one for the live-action version of The Cat in the Hat. A "junior novelization," but still.
    • And a very bland version of The Secret Garden.
    • The 1998 version of Great Expectations, starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow and based on the Charles Dickens novel, was novelized.
    • All three Jurassic Park movies got junior novelization, even though the first two movies were based on books. To be fair, the movies were (especially the second one) fairly different from the source material.
  • The novelization of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, introduced several plot points not elaborated on in the movie, including the first official reference to Darth Vader as a "Lord of the Sith" and the name of the Emperor (Palpatine). Interestingly, it was released before the movie came out.
    • Matthew Stover's work on Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith had a tremendous amount of character detail and background information is shoehorned into the text, greatly explaining some of the seemingly inexplicable actions of some characters; dialogue is also added, even to scenes which the film itself covers; and even the action scenes are written with a vision and style that simply puts the film to shame. Not for nothing does a portion of the fandom regard the novelisation as better than the original film. Which is saying something, given the film itself is often seen as one of the better Star Wars prequels.
      • There is also a novelization of the film by Patricia C. Wrede. Though the book itself is not labeled as such, it is essentially a "junior novelization" and Amazon's description refers to it as that. This novelization provides the basics of the plot and does provide a bit of additional insight into the characters, but doesn't provide anywhere near the depth or detail of Stover's novelization. It's about 190 pages and also includes some photos from the film.
  • Isaac Asimov agreed to write the novelization of the movie Fantastic Voyage; between him finishing early and delays in the film's production, much of the audience believed the movie was a Film Of The Book when it was released. His frustrations with Executive Meddling lead him to write Fantastic Voyage II, a non-movie-based take on the same themes, years later.
  • Two above-average novelizations that take greater than usual liberties with the source material are Orson Scott Card's novelization of The Abyss (which introduced backstory that director James Cameron gave to the actors) and William Kotzwinkle's novelization of ET the Extraterrestrial (which he wrote with the screenwriter, and which includes many details on E.T.'s home planet and motivations that do not appear in the film - it also includes the scene with Elliot's principal [filmed, with Harrison Ford as the principal, but cut] and most importantly it retains the M&M's). Kotzwinkle later wrote a sequel, E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet, a sequel to the film that is based on a story by Steven Spielberg.
  • Another is The Return of Swamp Thing novel by veteran comics writer Peter David, often considered to be more faithful to the source material.
  • Event Horizon's novelization was superior to the film in many areas, especially character development.
  • The Alien films have also had adaptations made, usually featuring scenes that were shot, but wouldn't be used in a version of the film (at least, in the book for Aliens, which included subplots not used until the Director's Cut of the film, as well as a scene where Company sleazebag Burke is cocooned in the Alien hive) for many years.
    • The Alien novelisations probably had it better than most: all of the novelisations up until Alien Resurrection were written by Alan Dean Foster, the same guy who ghostwrote the original Star Wars novelisation. Foster, at least, did care about the tone of his books and they're written quite passably, if not well. The consistency of author also means there's little, if any discontinuity between these three novels, the style and mood is the same across all three, and Foster even gives his readers a wink by using similar images for the opening of each book, even though the films were the better part of a decade apart in each case.
  • The Cult Classic Phantom of the Paradise has a notoriously bad novelization. Not only did it remove every single supernatural element, including the Deal with the Devil that the film's plot centers on, but it also threw the characterization into a shredder. A prime example is Phoenix, the Phantom's love interest. In the movie, she's a sweet, innocent Idol Singer; in the novelization, her first appearance sees her come out on stage topless and sing about anal sex.
  • The novelization of the Spider-Man movies and The Incredible Hulk movies was given to Peter David, who had previously written the comic book series of both characters. Notably, the novelization of Spider-Man 3 included many scenes that were cut from the movie to make room for less interesting themes.
  • First Blood was based on a book. The sequels weren't, but the original author wrote novelizations of the first two. They're quite good.
    • David Morrell, the author, lampshades the trope by addressing perhaps the most significant Canon Discontinuity between novel and film. In the preface to the first sequel he explicitly acknowledges that, "In my book, Rambo died. In the films, he lives."
  • The novelization of Forbidden Planet is one of the better ones, which treats some issues skimmed over in the movie with more depth.
  • The first James Bond film not to take its title from an Ian Fleming story, Licence to Kill, got a novelization from John Gardner, who was writing Bond novels at the time. Gardner had the interesting task of of reconciling the film continuity (such as it is) with that of the Fleming novels. For instance, in the film Felix Leiter gets his leg bitten off by a shark. But in the Fleming books, to which Gardner's novelization was meant to be a sequel, Leiter had already lost a leg to a shark (which happened in Live and Let Die). Gardner simply had the shark bite off Leiter's prosthetic, without the bad guys noticing.
  • Related to this are various tie-in books aimed at kids. Depending on the film, particularly when you hit the PG-13 rating, this can overlap with Misaimed Marketing. A single film can be given:
    • Paperback picture books - Sometimes focusing only on a segment of the story, depending on the length of the film.
    • Easy readers - Simple prose for beginners.
    • Storybooks - Mini-novelizations, particularly in the early-to-mid 1980s, generously illustrated with stills. Sometimes happens with The Film of the Book adaptations (for instance, The Golden Compass) where younger kids might not be ready for the original book.
    • "Junior novels" - mostly with action/adventure films, these are distinct from the formal novelizations by way of different authors, much shorter lengths, and occasional sanitizing (the Iron Man one drops the sex-related material, for example).
    • Coloring books, puzzle/activity books, trivia books, and the list goes on...
  • Transformers had a novel and comic book based on the 2007 movie which was based off the TV show which was based off a toyline which had a movie that many would say is loosely based off of Star Wars in the same way Eragon is. The novel also had a prequel novel; its plot varied greatly from the prequel comic and seemed to take place on the planet Dune.
  • The Mortal Kombat movie was novelized shortly after its release. It was quite good, and much better than the movie.
  • When Grease was novelized, the novelization dealt with the songs by turning them into prose dialogue. It was awkward. On the positive side, however, the novelization is a vast expansion of the film, starting before Danny and Sandy actually meet, and incorporating loads of extra scenes, such as the characters dealing with the death of Buddy Holly. Scattered throughout are profanities more representative of the original stage version (Kenickie calls Danny a "faggot" at one point), and there is a T-Bird named Roger, as in the play - Doody is merely the name of an otherwise unimportant Rydell student. But that's not all - the entire story is told from the point of view of Sonny, whose girlfriend is a Pink Lady named Marcia; the addition of whom causes all of the Pink Lady/T-Bird romances to be shuffled around.
    • Grease 2 has a novelization as well, this time geared towards a young audience. As the book is clearly based on a rough draft of the film, now-lost deleted scenes can be read (such as the rest of the Frenchie material, and a scene at the talent show which completely spoils the 'Michael drove off a cliff and died' concept). The real fault, however, lies in the pure stupidity evident in spots - for example, Cool Rider Michael rides his motorcycle *up* a flight of stairs.
  • Because Jim Henson himself supervised their writing and provided tons of material to author A.C.H. Smith (as revealed in a 2012 Empire magazine tribute to Henson), the novelizations of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth contained information and scenes that didn't make it into the finished films. For the former, this included the names of all the Skeksis and Mystic characters, the alternate name for the Mystics (uRu), the passages in invented language which were changed to English for the final script, the deleted funeral scenes, etc.. The Labyrinth novelization was again very close to the movie, but contained expanded versions of the doorknockers and Fireys' sequences, the backstory of Sarah's mother leaving the family for an actor she worked with (and whom Jareth is the fantasy world equivalent of), and so forth.
  • Spaceballs: The Movie has Spaceballs: The Book. By Scholastic Press. Think about that for a second: the novelization of a Mel Brooks movie was marketed expressly to elementary school students. Fortunately, the plot and humor are largely intact, but the language is heavily bowdlerized.
    • Heck, they ran ads for the movie on the back cover of Junior Scholastic magazine.
  • The novelization of Final Fantasy the Spirits Within was so half-assed it got Hironobu Sakaguchi's name wrong on the front cover. (He's both the director of most FF games and the "original story writer" for the movie.)
  • The novelization of Howard the Duck was exponentially better than its source material.
  • Pretty in Pink had one which featured the original ending, as opposed to the theatrical ending.
  • The Master Mystery had one. In 1919.
  • The Constantine novelization was a lot better than the film: the scenery and events were amazingly detailed, the characters were better defined, and there were even more elements from the original Hellblazer comics incorporated into the story—Constantine being stalked by the ghosts of his old friends, the inclusion of pagan Gods, references to Midnite's gladiator games, etc.
  • The novelization of Gremlins includes a metric buttload of additional information, such as the fact that the mogwai are an artificial, disposable slave race created by an alien scientist named Mogturman (and later almost destroyed the civilization that created them), the secondary mogwai all have names (like poor doomed Clor), and that the movie-ending line "Bye, Billy" was the result of hours of personal angst and effort by Gizmo, resulting in his own personal Crowning Moment of Awesome (What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome??).
  • The novelization of Ghostbusters is pretty notable. The author explicitly writes it as a comedy, just as the film is, but it's written in true Deadpan Snarker fashion, just as Venkman is. Few novelizations have such a grasp of the characters that they can sum up Egon Spengler like so:

"Nobody has explained the facts of life to Spengler. He worked them out for himself on a pocket calculator and vaguely suspects he came up with the wrong result."

    • It should be noted that Ghostbusters actually has two different novelisations, one written by Richard Mueller (who later wrote for The Real Ghostbusters), the other written by Larry Milne and published in Britain - the latter, unusually, is written in the present tense and also contains bios of key cast and crew members... and, bizarrely, virtually all of the film's credits ("From Columbia-Delphi Productions").
    • The Ghostbusters II novelisation isn't quite as good, but does have this line:

"Legend has it that, even as a child, Peter Venkman was incapable of a sincere smile."

  • The novelization of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is relatively faithful to the movie, except for one entire chapter (two) which deals with Short Round's life before meeting up with Indy, and some info about one of their elephants being named Large Short Round, leading SR to assume it's the reincarnation of his dead brother.
  • The novelisation of Star Trek the Motion Picture was written by Gene Roddenberry himself (to the disgust of Harold Livingston, who wrote the script for the movie). Notable because he gave a massive boost to the Kirk / Spock slashers by stating outright that the honorific Spock uses for Kirk "t'hy'la" was interpreted from the Vulcan language as "brother/friend/lover" and what the shippers have reinterpreted as meaning "soulmate".
    • The novelizations of Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III the Search For Spock had several important plot points that were missing from the movies. It was established that Commander Sulu was to be promoted to captain and commanding officer of the USS Excelsior immediately after returning from the training mission, but the Genesis controversy caused Starfleet Commmander Morrow to rewrite his orders.
      • In Wrath of Khan, we see a developing mentor/protégé relationship between Lt. Saavik and Cadet Peter Preston, the latter of whom has a crush on the former. The members of the Genesis team are all named and given plot development, including one who was Carol Marcus' lover. The torture of the Genesis team (sans three people) is shown in explicit detail, and towards the end we see the beginnings of a friendship between Saavik and David Marcus.
      • In Search For Spock, Saavik and David's friendship blooms into romance, which was unfortunately not seen in the movie. And when David is killed, Saavik becomes so enraged that she takes on three Klingon guards by herself and is only taken down after two disruptor blasts. (Also, Kirk doesn't say the famous line "You Klingon bastard, you've killed my son!"; he calls him a "spineless coward" instead).
      • The Voyage Home was novelised by Vonda McIntyre, with some style. Spock and Sarek in particular get further upgrading via backstory and other lines. The famous What Could Have Been scene with Sulu meeting his great-great-grandfather is faithfully included, and Macintyre plays up (to the point of being Anvilicious about it) the conservation themes of the film, with Spock occasionally stopping by nondescript plants to say "Fascinating. An extinct species." Even McCoy's ranting gets an upgrade:

McCoy: Good Lord. Why don't they just drill a hole in his head and let the evil spirits out?

    • Star Trek V the Final Frontier's novelization by J.M. Dillard does a lot to redeem the movie's Idiot Plot, adding considerable backstory to Sybok and his mother, and explaining that "God" had telepathically sent Sybok a formula for configuring a starship's deflector shields to penetrate the Barrier. After Sybok gets Scotty to set up the Enterprise's shields in this way, Klaa's Bird-of-Prey copies the same shield configuration in order to follow the Enterprise. It also gives background information on St. John Talbot, General Korrd, Cathlinn Dar, and J'Onn, and tells what led them all to their current circumstances on the godforsaken world of Nimbus III.
  • The novelization of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (a Recursive Adaptation) is mostly faithful to the movie but includes a few extended scenes, such as Brent badgering Flint at the tackle shop, and Flint's food fight with the Mayor.
  • Serenity, the movie that tied-up the loose ends of Firefly, was novelized. Most fans enjoy the added depth to the characters, especially River (who, according to the book, makes up her own languages)
  • The novelization of The Funhouse gives its characters more depth and is slightly more disturbing than the film. It was written by Dean Koontz.
  • Enchanted has a novelization. It retains almost all of the scripts and story elements, though the songs are only described. The novel does, however, occasionally give added info on what characters are thinking and also includes a few scenes that in the film are available only as deleted scenes on the DVD release. The novel also removes a couple of the more suggestive moments from the film, such as Nancy's comment about Robert having some "grown-up girl bonding time" with Giselle, and Morgan's line that boys are only after one thing, but nobody will tell her what it is.
  • 1935's Werewolf of London got a novelization long, long after its release (sometime in the 70's) by someone under the house pseudonym Carl Dreadstone. While it told the same basic story as the film, about a botanist who becomes a werewolf, it had some differences (not the least of which is Glendon's first name is inexplicably spelled "Wilfrid"). This included a radically different ending: Glendon and his fellow werewolf, Dr. Yogami, attempt to stave off their transformation by seeing a hypnotist. It fails, and the two transform and fight. Glendon kills Yogami and then the hypnotist. The novelization then concludes with Glendon turning back into a human and contemplating killing himself with the hypnotist's gun.
  • The movie Stargate has a novelization written by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, the movie's writers (Emmerich was also the director). The book is slightly better than the movie. While it has the exact same ending, dialogue, and even shares its cover with the poster, the book provides more insight into each character's motivations, particularly Ra and the inhabitants of Abydos.
  • Tron's novelization was written up by Brian Daley (same guy who gave us the Star Wars radio plays). Notable for amping up the roles of minor characters, fleshing out the dynamic among the three human heroes, providing a few Word of God details about the cyberspace society, and added Deleted Scenes (including that one) back in.
  • The Toxic Avenger had a novel written for it...21 years after the release of the original film. It adds considerably more backstory, characters, Refuge in Audacity, Refuge in Vulgarity, and Gorn.
  • National Lampoon's Class Reunion, bizarrely, is a photographic book.
  • The Goonies, penned by James Kahn, has its chapter headings in the forms of summations of the events in each chapter ("...We Stop For Provisions...") and is narrated by Mikey, except for chapter six ("Chunk's Story") which details what happened when Chunk was taken by the Fratellis in his own words.
  • The Adventures of Smokey and the Bandit combined the plots of Smokey And The Bandit and the sequel - but put "the pregnant elephant caper" first chronologically.
  • The novelization of The Untouchables differs in several respects from the movie, with a different climax.
  • The novelization of Kung Fu Panda 2 actually portrayed its villain, Shen, as a more sympathetic character than in the movie, while the film's prologue had Shen develop his cannons for evil for no reason, the novelization stated that the real reason why he was evil was because his parents hated him because of his pale coloration and poor health.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show spawned a tie-in book calling itself a "Movie Novel" - though it isn't. It's merely a comic book that adds speech bubbles to poor-quality screencaps from the film. There were several of these in The Seventies; Hair was another example of them.
  • The novelization of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was, uncharacteristically, written by the screenwriter of the film, and seems like an elaborate attempt to repair a broken story. Heartland's inhabitants are described in elaborate detail, more characters are added to BD Records' staff of shifty record-biz personas, and the story wraps up with an outlandish ending in which Sgt. Pepper's band magically gains the members of hundreds (literally) of other popular bands, all of whom are listed over the last several pages of the book. Unlike the Grease novel, musical numbers don't become awkward dialogue - the characters actually sing as if in a musical movie. The story stops, the lyrics of a Beatles song are printed in full, and the story continues.
  • The novelization of John Carter includes the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novel A Princess of Mars. Compare and contrast!
  • The novelization of The Cabin in the Woods features some great additional description that didn't make it from script to film, including a description of the infamous Kevin.
  • The junior novelization of The Avengers hit bookstores before the movie hit theaters, so it took an unusual approach to avoid spoilers and get the reader up to speed on the Marvel Cinematic Universe up to that point—it retold the plots of the previous five films in alternating chapters for each hero, and wrapped up with a rundown of the first act of this one, ending as the heroes are initially brought together.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Star Trek has novelizations for many episodes. Alan Dean Foster's Log books, novelizations of Star Trek the Animated Series, do an especially good job at fleshing out the stories and characters and adding depth, so much so that it's hard to enjoy the series if you read the books first. Nothing against the series here, except Filmation's ultra-cheap animation. The Log books are just that good.
    • Foster did it again with the reboot film, and he included scenes that would be cut from the final release.
  • The entirety of The Eighties TV miniseries V, together with its sequel V: The Final Battle were novelised by A.C. Crispin in one Doorstopper of a book. It works well, mostly because Crispin doesn't just stick to the scripts. Having said that, the transition between miniseries and finale is awkward. ("Four months later", anyone?)
    • The book contains a couple of shoutouts - a helicopter pilot is named "Joe Harnell" (Harnell scored the first miniseries); two of Mike Donovan's colleagues are named after TV writers Sam Egan and Jeri Taylor (who at the time were working at Universal, as creator Kenneth Johnson had done).
  • British police drama The Bill had scripts from its first seven seasons novelised as compilation volumes by author John Burke. This proved simple enough in the original seasons, when there were only 12 episodes each year. After the programme shifted to doing 90+ episodes a year, liberties began to be taken about which scripts could be adapted and which ones couldn't. One advantage of the novels was that they took the separate episodes and wove them into a single, flowing storyline. Eventually, the TV series itself would do it, too.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and its spin-off, Angel), like many The WB/The CW productions, has a large number of both original novels and novelizations. The occasional good novelization (for example, The Diary of Rupert Giles, Vol.1, ironically by Nancy Holder, author of the infamously atrocious post-season 7 original novel Queen of the Slayers) seeps in. But most appear to be nothing more than copies of the script with the stage directions edited into prose format, such as the novelization of the TV series' first episode, The Harvest.
  • This happens to a good number of Australian kids' shows. Both series of The Girl From Tomorrow got one, both series of Spellbinder had two each, and Blue Water High has had a novelization of the first season written from the viewpoint of one of the characters. These commonly are word-for-word transcriptions, with each episode taking up a chapter. The Blue Water High series is notable for breaking away from that—the series itself rotates the protagonists' viewpoints.
  • The Tenth Kingdom was co-written, under the pseudonym Kathryn Wesley, by the husband and wife team of Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. Seeing as it was based on an earlier version of the screenplay, it suffered from invalidated script syndrome. The end result contains some things which would have made for intriguing scenes in the movie (such as the Queen telling the Dog Prince a "bedtime story" about how she came to end up in prison, the literal burying of the magic axe, Virginia's Recurring Dreams about Wolf, or an interesting variation on the Swamp Witch's cottage scene with Clay Face rather than Acorn). Other sections have some surprisingly deep explorations of character and motivation, such as the longer conversations between Virginia and the Huntsman, Virginia and the Queen, Virginia and Snow White, or Virginia and Tony about her mother; or where they hear in Little Lamb Village about the Trolls ravaging the kingdom and Tony, who accidentally golded Wendell, feels responsible. And some explanations for otherwise headscratching moments are included, such as the old woman in the forest and the Cupid girl in Kissing Town both being Snow White in disguise. There's also lots of fun snarking in the characters' thoughts, especially Wolf's and Tony's.
  • A large portion of Monty Python's Big Red Book consisted of sketches from Monty Python's Flying Circus edited into humor book format. (As the show was Sketch Comedy, the book isn't a novel per se.)
  • A few early Murder, She Wrote episodes received the novelization treatment. The author used the extra space to add depth and plug the occasional perceived plot/characterization irregularity.
  • Doctor Who stories began to be novelized soon after the show debuted, and from 1973 Target published almost every single Doctor Who story from the original series run in novel form, plus several unbroadcast stories such as audio drama The Pescatons and three stories slated but never made from the cancelled Series 23. In the era before home video, the Doctor Who Novelisations were the only way many young fans had to relive the story. Despite their literary shortcomings (with some honourable exceptions), they are still sought-after and fondly remembered to this day.
    • The Sarah Jane Adventures also has novelizations of all the first season, the first two stories of season 2 and "The Wedding of Sarah Jane". They use the space to add scenes that explain a few things (like adding events from "The Sontaran Strategem" and "The Poison Sky" shown from Sarah Jane's viewpoint to "The Last Sontaran") and add Ship Tease for Characters (like Luke/Maria in "The Last Sontaran").
  • Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister found its way into print in the form of James Hacker's memoirs. (With the editors sprinkling in additions gleaned from the private papers of Sir Humphrey Appleby and Sir Bernard Woolley.)
  • British-published novelizations of American TV shows were everywhere in the 1980s; some only had one book because of the parent show's short run (Automan, Shannon), others got into plural figures (like Knight Rider and Street Hawk - the latter only lasted for 12 episodes after the pilot, but there were four books published covering said pilot and six regular episodes), with the champion being The A-Team (which clocked up ten books[1] - only the first six of which were published in the US).
  • Both seasons of the CBBC sitcom serial BAD Boyes were novelised by creators Jim and Duncan Eldridge, as BAD Boyes and BAD Boyes And The Gangsters. Written in First-Person Smartass, they add plenty of extra detail, and lots of Hypocritical Humour as the High School Hustler is outraged by everyone else's dishonesty. The forward to the first book also did some Canon Welding, revealing that Boyes was the unnamed diarist in the Eldridges' How To Handle Grownups series.


Tabletop RPG[edit | hide]

  • Warhammer 40000 has an impressive number of novelizations and short stories set in its universe. The quality of writing varies but is usually decent. At least one series supposedly changed the way an entire faction was perceived by the fanbase; Games Workshop (which both makes the tabletop game and publishes the literature under its own publishing branch) knew a good thing when it saw it and adjusted accordingly.
  • The number of novels based directly on or set in the various game worlds of Dungeons and Dragons is immense. In today's large bookstores, there can be multiple shelves of them.
  • Magic: The Gathering has a large number of novels and comics, as well, most of them of surprisingly good quality.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Baldur's Gate, a Role Playing Game, had an atrocious novelization that couldn't even get the characters' basic looks and personalities right.
  • Games Planescape: Torment and Star Control, both noted for the quality of their plots, were made into books that... weren't.
    • Both Baldur's Gate and Planescape novels suffer from lousy writing and invalidated plot syndrome—when they're not making things up as they go along.
  • The Tex Murphy adventure game The Pandora Directive has a hard-to-find novelization written by the Tex Murphy co-creator Aaron Conners.
  • Doom had a tetralogy. The first basically imitated the plot of the game—think about that for a moment. The rest took place on an After the End Earth that had been overrun by demons and zombies, and then moved into far stranger sci-fi waters. Interesting reads, but definitely not what one expects when one picks up a book based on a game about killing monsters from hell.
  • Rand and Robyn Miller, the original creators of the Myst franchise, collaborated with David Wingrove on a trilogy of novels that served as a sequel, prequel, and an even earlier prequel to the games themselves.
    • There was a Myst strategy guide that read as a novelization. It included things like a brief backstory segment of the main character being a photographer (explaining the screenshots throughout the book) who found the Myst book in a library while looking for photography books. It also intentionally had him make mistakes on some puzzles to illustrate what you have to do if something goes wrong. The guide also included a more standard strategy guide format after the novelization version.
    • The Riven: The Sequel to Myst answerbook uses the same approach. It has sections that have varying solution reveals, from obtuse questioning the environment to a literal walkthrough of the game in short story form. The latter is a true novelization of the game and is a decent read.
  • The Halo series has several books connected to it, expanding the plot outside of the original parameters and filling in gaps, including but not limited to covering the deeds of the Spartans other than Master Chief John-117. They're quite decent.
  • An interesting semi-example: Nintendo's official Strategy Guide for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was written in a novelization format (for example, instead of telling the reader directly "Light the torches to open the door", it was "Link saw some unlit torches. When he lit them, the door opened.") The guide also contained official art and background information that can't be found anywhere else. It was somewhat entertaining, but that extra atmosphere didn't do much good when you were lost in the Water Temple for four hours. (Nintendo apparently agreed—they haven't tried anything similar since.) There was also a straighter novelization of the game, about which the less said, the better.
    • They also made the guide for A Link to the Past a pseudo-novelization complete with summaries of the previous games' plots, official art, and specious but interesting descriptions of Hyrule's culture and history (which were mostly Jossed by "Ocarina of Time").
    • There are also several mangas of various games, including Ocarina of Time, that are pretty fair themselves and sometimes include bonus side stories (some of which are dubiously canonical, but still fun). In fact, the side story for the Majoras Mask manga details the origin of the titular mask quite well.
  • Several of Sierra's classic Adventure Game series had Strategy Guides (The King's Quest Companion, etc.) that included novelizations of the games alongside more standard walkthroughs.
  • Alan Dean Foster also penned a novelization of Shadowkeep.
  • Infocom cashed in on the popularity of some of its text-based adventures by licensing Zork, Wishbringer, Planetfall and Stationfall to Avon Books.
  • Resident Evil has the S.D. Perry novelizations of the games (which adapts all the games up to Zero) and the Keith R. A. DeCandido novelizations of the first three movies. There was also Biohazard: The Beginning, a non-canon prequel to the first game, three original Japanese novels, and a Japanese novelization of the first movie unrelated to DeCandido's version.
  • Blizzard's key franchises Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo all have several novelizations (WarCraft has mangas, as well) of varying quality. The Warcraft' ones have been mostly awful, but a couple of good ones are hidden in there. Some of the novels use scrapped material: Lord of the Clans was originally meant to be an Adventure game. Nova reveals the upbringing of the main protagonist of Starcraft:Ghost. Even those that don't are largely Canon.
  • The Star Wars video game Shadows of the Empire had a novelization by Steve Perry, who also wrote for the Alien and Conan universes. This was particularly terrible and made it even clearer that Dash Rendar was a Han Solo knockoff.
    • The Force Unleashed, another big multimedia Star Wars project by Lucasarts, received a novelization written by Sean Williams, which not only expanded on Starkiller's thoughts and motivations but developed his love interest Juno Eclipse far more than the game did. It was decently-received and spent a week on top of bestsellers' lists.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars had a novelization, which alternated between surprisingly good to face-palm-inducingly bad. The main character got promoted from Private to Sergeant on his first day for no decent reason.
    • When a fanfic is written specifically to relieve from the distaste, and it's much better than the official novelization, it just speaks for itself.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series has tie-in manga for each game.
    • They also have novelizations, with many characters made angstier and made-up scenes that wind up contradicting game canon as the series progresses. Game director Tetsuya Nomura noted this in one interview, and it was probably a reason why he brought the novels' writer, Tomoco Kanemaki, on to actually help write the scenario for one of the actual video games, 358/2 Days, before writing the novel version (and even then, Nomura rewrote the script once she was done with it.)
  • The Metal Gear franchise has the two Raymond Benson novels based on Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, as well as a Japanese novelization of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots by Project Itoh which is soon going to be released in English with translations provided by Viz Media. There was also the F.X. Nine novel based on the NES game, but it was based on Konami of America's macekred localization of the game's plot (in which Vermon CaTaffy is the villain and Commander South is Snake's boss).
  • The first X-COM game has had two novelizations made of it: An American one with a female Commander as the main character, and a Russian one that tells the tale of a member of your first eight recruits.
  • The RPG Betrayal at Krondor had a novelization written by the author upon whose work it was based. The book took the "script" route, mostly putting fight scenes into words and adding banter where it might have been missing in the game - and cutting many, many side-quests and much banter and content from the game, in turn.
  • Some Fan Fiction based on video games takes this route; just like official novelizations, the quality varies from "excellent exploration of the source material" to "wild tangents away from the plot of the game" to "glorified Walkthrough". The same goes for Fanfic novelizations, but for fairly obvious reasons these have an alarming tendency to become Dead Fic.
  • The novelization of Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic was written by Terry Jones, who also voiced a parrot in the game.
  • The Heart of the Tiger (Wing Commander III), The Price of Freedom (Wing Commander IV), and The Movie (Wing Commander) expand further on the content of the games and novel, and in the case of the game novelizations provide the official storyline for the WC universe. (The players of the games get to decide what path they take.) The movie's novelization is the only place to see the Pilgrim traitor plot that was cut from the movie, and generally fixes some plot problems caused by or missed in post-production editing.
  • Worlds of Power.
  • Descent had a trilogy of novels written. They're actually very good, taking what little plot the games had and massively expanding it. The stories do diverge a bit, but follow the same basic plot and themes. The author did an impressive job of taking the games' mechanics and providing believable parallels to them (for instance, Energy Centers, glowing hallways that restore the ship's power, don't exist in the novels, but the characters do plug the ship into the mine's power grid at one point to achieve the same effect).
  • The first two generations of Pokémon had strategy guides there were written in the form of a story, making them informative and fun to read.
  • The second Warcraft game had a big, fat strategy guide where the missions are told from the perspective of a member from both sides. Both narrators actually have articles on the WOWwiki.
  • Crysis: Legion serves as one for Crysis 2. It's written by Peter Watts, which gives you a rather good idea about what to expect.


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • An in-story example appears in The Simpsons episode "Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie", where Bart is forbidden to see the titular film, and tries to read the novelization (written by Norman Mailer, no less).
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas has been adapted into picture book format a number of times. Expect to see Early-Bird Cameos by Marcie, Peppermint Patty, and Franklin, all of whom were absent from the original special as they hadn't debuted in the comic strip yet.
  • A lot of Disney and Pixar animated films have junior novelizations which change plot elements: including scenes not present in the film (i.e., the novelization of The Lion King adding an extra scene in the ending where Simba is alone at the top of Pride Rock at night), changing the fates of certain villains (ie, the novelization of Cars 2 having Grem and Acer falling into a garbage truck instead of being beaten up inside a bar in London, England), etc.
    • Beauty and the Beast opens with a version of the originally planned, fully dramatized prologue that was dropped due to time and budget constraints—a mist springs up around the castle when the Enchantress's curse is cast (suggesting that this is why the villagers apparently have no idea it exists) and it ends with the Beast on a balcony crying out for her forgiveness as she departs.
    • Atlantis the Lost Empire fills in a key detail with regards to Kida's fate: she returns after the crystal uses her to save Atlantis because the averted catastrophe is not the result of its powers being used for evil, as had been the case when Atlantis fell and her mother was pulled into it.

Notes

  1. all but one of which were based on episodes