Scott J. Holliday's Punishment Reads Like a Movie But Not Every Book Does

by Ashley Adum

Most of us have experienced that dreaded or joyful sensation of learning one of our favorite books was going to be adapted into a film. Although there have been many successful adapatations in the past, there have also been quite a number of catastrophes. This can easily give us pause about whether we actually want this to happen.

The problem, in my opinion, with turning a book into a movie is that you need the right material. Sometimes a book can translate so well with very few changes. Then there are others that need to be altered so much the screenwriter might have been better off wriing an original film to begin with, or even saying their creation was loosely inspired by the book in question. This is where fans of the book tend to get the most pissed off, and typically they have every right; their beloved story was just butchered before their eyes. However, if the book was translated in its entirety, would it have been any better? Some novels really are not adaptable no matter how much we want to see them come alive on the big screen.

That being said, there have been a number of faithful adaptations over the years, and the final outcome was wonderful. Whether this has more to do with being very particular with the casting, directing, and other measures, or if the material really does lend itself to the movie process, is difficult to know. The biggest issue to me is that the tone of the story translates. Film creators can take liberties, but if you lose the message or feeling of the story, I'm not sure you should have ever handled the material to begin with.

After recently reading Scott J. Holliday's Punishment, I couldn't help but think how well this book would do as a movie. It feels like it could make the transition seamlessly; however, if the wrong group of people were to be given the rights to turn this sci-fi thriller into a movie, would they make the effort to do it justice? That's always the worry even when the images and dialogue seem to jump off the page like they do in this instance.

While it can be a daunting prospect, I do think Holliday or someone should begin the process of making this adaptation. The sci-fi element, a machine that reads memories, is so minimal yet so poignant that I think it could quickly become a classic, if done with care. Also, I don't believe many changes would have to be made from the book to the script, and Holiday could easily make some slight editing changes and have this script ready in no time. I even have a pitch he could use when trying to sell it: Black Mirror meets I, Zombie if she couldn't get rid of each new personality she aborbs.

To finish out this article, let's remember some of the more atrocious book adaptations we've had to sit through in the past:

What were some of the worst adaptations you've seen? What were the best? What do you think a book needs to have to really work on screen? Stop by the discord and let us know.

Image via Ivan Diaz on Unsplash

Posted in Reviews & Opinions, Science Fiction, Thriller on Feb 05, 2018, by Ashley Adum

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We want to see our favorite books on screen, but that's not always possible - or shouldn't be anyway.

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