Tag Archives: Philip K. Dick

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Became Great TV Shows

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s topic was a page to screen freebie. I’ve decided to narrow down my focus to five books that were made into wonderful TV shows. I’ve left off a couple of the titles that I always discuss on this blog (*cough* The Handmaid’s Tale) so I could focus on stories I haven’t talked all of your ears off about yet.

Tomorrow’s Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge prompt has what turned out to be a similar theme this week, so I had to divide my answers evenly between these two hops since so many of my answers would fit into both of them. I would have otherwise written a much longer post on this topic.

The Haunting of Hill House

Based on: Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House

Why I loved it: Paranormal stories always grab my attention, especially if they rely on psychological horror more than jump scares. The fact that this one had so much subtle foreshadowing on top of the psychological horror made it impossible for me to stop reading or watching it.

I also enjoyed the fact that the TV version found a fresh take on the characters while still remaining true to their personalities. That isn’t an easy thing to do…especially when some of the characters were of dramatically different ages and origins in each version!

The Magicians

Based on: Lev Grossman’s Magicians series.

Why I love it: This universe feels like Harry Potter for an adult audience. I love the unpredictability of the magic in it as well as the fact that the characters deal with serious issues like drug/alcohol abuse, depression, and abortion alongside delightfully joyful moments where talking rabbits deliver important messages or centaurs randomly cross your path.

Everything else I want to say about this series is filled with spoilers, so I’ll stop talking now.

True Blood

Based on: Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series

Why I loved it: I spent a year of my childhood living in the south, so southern food, accents, and culture can’t help but make my ears perk up. I also enjoyed the parallels the screenwriters made between the prejudice faced by vampires and the real-life prejudice that other groups deal with every day in our world. They did a nice job of gently nudging the audience into being more accepting without ever turning their episodes into an After School Special.

The Man in the High Castle

Based on: Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle

Why I loved it: Imagine what the world would be like if the Nazis had won World War II and taken over North America. This definitely isn’t the right thing to read or watch if you’re in the mood for something cheerful, but it is a fantastic alternate history for anyone who has ever wondered how terribly things could have turned out in a different version of Earth.

I’m actually taking a break from this show right now because of how dark and gritty it is. It’s absolutely worth watching, though, and I do hope to return to it in the near future.

Little House on the Prairie

Based on: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series

Why I loved it: This show ended before I was even born, but the stories it told are timeless. My step-grandmother taped some of the episodes on those old-fashioned VHS tapes people once had.  I used to watch those reruns in her living room while the adults chatted in another room.

It was so interesting to see how people survived in the 1800s when women cooked every meal of the day over roaring fires, antibiotics and automobiles didn’t exist, and everyone had to work under some pretty demanding (and often dangerous) conditions from sunup to sundown if there was any hope of the family making it through the winter.

This series seemed like an adventure to me when I read it as a young child. Seeing it play out on the small screen really drove home how much easier life is for us now.

 

 

5 Sci-fi and Fantasy Novels About Climate Change That Everyone Should Read

Spring was technically supposed to begin in Ontario almost a month ago, but I don’t think Old Man Winter ever received that memo. The last several weeks have been filled with snow, sleet, cold temperatures, and the annoyed mutterings of millions of Canadians who are beyond ready for a proper spring now.

While we’re waiting for the snow to melt away for good and the sun to eventually peek out from behind the clouds again, I’ve been thinking about how often climate change is talked about in the SFF genre. All of the books I’m about to discuss today show what happens to a civilization (or the lack thereof) long after the weather patterns destabilized and the seasons people thought they could count on became unpredictable.

1. The Book of Dave: A Revelation of the Recent Past and the Distant Future by Will Self.

It’s easy to forget what the past was really like when a society has to struggle to survive every day. This is even more true when it comes to documents that aren’t easy to understand to begin with and when the people reading them are only barely literate at all. This tale showed what happened when the journal of an frustrated cab driver was accidentally discovered five hundred years after his death and fashioned into a harsh, new religion.
The satirical elements made me laugh, but it also made me think about how easy it is to misinterpret something that was written a long time ago in a culture that was nothing at all like your own.

2. Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1) by Octavia E. Butler.

I must be honest with you here. Water isn’t something I ever worry about running out of in Ontario. It’s so abundant here that I can’t see us running out of it anytime soon.
Not everywhere on Earth is like this, though. There are places like California that are using water faster than it can be replenished. They’d be in trouble even if the climate in their area wasn’t already becoming drier than it has been before.
The characters in this book had to face the threat of running out of water at the same time their government collapsed, their home was destroyed, and their family was torn apart.
3. Mara and Dann  A Novel by Doris Lessing.
Take the crises of one country in Parable of the Sower and expand them to the experiences of millions of people across an entire dying continent in the distant future.
This was actually the first science fiction book about climate change that I ever remember reading. The fact that it was told through the perspective of an orphaned and often painfully hungry child only made her observances of how climate change can destroy entire civilizations even more poignant. Mara and her brother did nothing to deserve all of the suffering they experienced, and yet that couldn’t save their parents’ lives or fill their stomachs with food when all of the rivers dried up and the crops failed.
4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  by Philip K. Dick.
Climate change has already begun driving far more species to extinction than is typical in our world. How many more species we’ll lose forever depends on many factors, and I can’t even begin to guess what the final tally will be.
The interesting thing about the setting in this book is that it happened after humans have killed off so many other species that we began making robotic versions of various animals to keep us company. There were even robotic people who had no idea they were robots because they looked, felt, and sounded exactly like biological people.
 It wasn’t addressed clearly in the plot from what I can recall, but I always wondered what everyone was eating to stay alive in this universe after all of the old ecosystems had been destroyed.
5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
Only read this book if you’re comfortable with very dark and disturbing plots. I’m glad I read it once, but I was so saddened and horrified by certain plot twists that I don’t think I could stomach them again.
The Road could be the logical conclusion to any of the books listed above. It was set at a time when there were no plants and animals left on Earth and the few remaining humans were all slowly starving to death. The main character, an unnamed father, must try to keep himself and his young son alive against impossible odds.
What is your favourite science fiction or fantasy novel about climate change?