Painful Truth: Better stories waiting for film adaptation

From real life or fiction, here’s a few stories that should be snapped up by Hollywood.

Look, I love superhero movies. I’m probably going to see Avengers: Fight for the Shiny Gems Part 1 just about as soon as it’s out in theatres.

Likewise, I love Star Wars. So yes, I will probably watch your spinoffs and sidequels and pretty much anything with a porg in it.

But I’m much more psyched to see adaptations of books by science fiction legends like William Gibson and Neil Gaiman. Not to mention that there are a dozen or more new works I’d love to see adapted to the large or small screen.

And then, beyond that, there are some real life, too-insane-to-be-fiction stories that are just sitting there waiting to be told.

So, as summer movie (and binge-watching) season kicks off, a couple of things I’d throw onto TV screens if I had the money and power.

All Systems Red, by Martha Wells

In a space faring future, a security android has malfunctioned, hacked its own brain, and begun to think for itself. Privately calling itself Murderbot, it longs for only one thing – to be left the heck alone to watch its vast archive of pirated soap operas. Unfortunately, Murderbot is assigned to protect a team of scientists exploring a distant planet. When someone tries to kill off its humans, Murderbot has to defend them from a sinister plot. Worse yet, it starts to get attached to the squishy, annoying humans.

Sailing to Sarantium, by Guy Gavriel Kay

The Canadian author’s big epic duology is set in a world very close to our own history – but with a bit of magic and the old gods still lingering in the background. A story of artists, chefs, emperors, priests, generals, and charioteers, it has the scope of an epic like Game of Thrones. And almost as much blood, considering it’s loosely based on the struggles around the court of the historical Emperor Justinian, including the Nika Riots.

• The Sin du Jour series, by Matt Wallace

I’m only four books into this seven-novella series, but I’m frankly amazed it wasn’t popping up on TV screens before the last volume was out. You know how many food shows have cropped up in the last few years, from reality contests to those based on travelling the world, sampling local cuisine? Imagine if you crossed those with a high octane action/comedy film, and you have Sin du Jour. The members of a small catering company have to serve food – often very specialized food – for the supernatural creatures who live hidden in the present day world. When things go wrong in the kitchen, they go really wrong.

Then there’s a couple of real-life stories I’d like to see up on the big screen.

• Mina Hubbard’s Labrador Expedition

If anyone is looking for some CanCon, this story is pretty much tailor-made. Mina Hubbard’s husband, Leonidas, died on the Ungava Bay Expedition to Labrador in 1903. Ill prepared or just unlucky, he and his companions ran out of food. The other two barely survived before being rescued by native trappers. When one of the other survivors wrote a book that essentially blamed the debacle on Leonidas, Mina was steamed. When he announced a return expedition, she launched her own. She made it across the same terrain, six weeks faster than the male-led expedition, in 1905, 12 years before women in Canada were finally allowed to vote.

• The St. Nazaire Raid

This one’s a bit of a cheat – there have been two movies made about the St. Nazaire Raid, but both of them were decades ago and heavily fictionalized. This is a raid that demands the Band of Brothers/Saving Private Ryan treatment. The real details are enough to make it endlessly interesting.

In 1942, Hitler’s biggest battleships, the Bismarck and the Tirpitz, menaced British shipping. The Royal Navy decided not to destroy the ships, but to destroy the only dry dock in France large enough to repair them, thus keeping them away from the English Channel for the rest of the war. They packed an outdated old ship with explosives set into cement, loaded it with commandos, and flanked it with a handful of lightly-armed small boats. Then they literally rammed it into one of the most heavily guarded ports in Nazi-occupied France.

Sequels are all well and good, but I’m hoping to see a few of these make it onto screens in the next few years.

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