Thursday, May 23, 2013

Finally, a Ringworld movie!


I've been a huge fan of Larry Niven's Known Space ever since I watched The Slaver Weapon.  I thought the Kzinti were really cool and promptly checked out a copy of Ringworld from the library.  I read through all the Known Space stories I could lay my hands on during the years since, right up to Ringworld Engineers and The Patchwork Girl.  After those books, no new Known Space stories appeared for a decade.

All was not lost, as Chaosium Games, the publishers of Runequest and Call of Cthulhu, purchased the game rights to Ringworld.  I convinced Chaosium that I knew enough about Known Space and tabletop role-playing games to let me develop a scenario for an adventure module.  I wrote the scenario, playtested it, submitted it, and was about to revise it when Chaosium told me to stop.  It wasn't because what I wrote was bad; in fact, it had nothing to do with me.  It turns out that Niven had sold the movie rights to Ringworld and the movie company asserted that it now held the game rights, not Chaosium.  Chaosium was too small to take on the movie company and its lawyers, so it gave up.

I was pissed.  Not only did it stop publication of a game that I really believed in, it meant that all my effort, about $300 worth in 1984 dollars, went right down the drain.  I decided to never buy another Niven book new ever again.  To add insult to injury, Niven used the game guide as source material for the Man-Kzin Wars series.  Worst of all, there never was any movie.  All that loss was for nothing.

That may all change, as Entertainment Weekly reports.

Ringworld' miniseries in the works at Syfy -- EXCLUSIVE
Michael Perry (The River, Paranormal Activity 2) is adapting Ringworld as a four-hour miniseries. The story follows a team of explorers that travel to the farthest reaches of space to investigate an alien artifact called Ringworld – an artificial habitat the size of one million Earths. As they crash land on this enormous structure, they discover the remnants of ancient civilizations, technology beyond their wildest dreams, mysteries that shed light on the very origins of man and, most importantly, a possible salvation for a doomed Earth.

For Ringworld fans, this news might cause some deja vu. Syfy previously considered making a Ringworld miniseries under a different production team nine years ago.
I might finally get a Ringworld movie--30 years later.  Maybe I can get some comfort from that.

9 comments:

  1. I bet you they will over glamourize everything, white wash the cast and dumb down the plot. I expect to be severely disappointed so when it happens and I am disappointed it won't suck as much.

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    1. 1. Over glamorize everything--I'm just hoping they have enough of a CGI budget to do Ringworld, the puppeteer planet Hearth, Chmee-Speaker-to-Animals, and expecially Nessus justice. What you're afraid of is the least of my worries. A glamorous 30th Century Earth would be cool to behold.

      2. Whitewash the cast--only Louis Wu would be a problem and he's only half-Chinese, if that. Teela Brown could be any color, although I recall she was more white than anything. As for the rest, they're aliens.

      3. Dumb down the plot--It's SyFy. About the only smart thing they've done is Dune and that was a decade ago. Everything else has been dumbed down and it's worked for them.

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    2. I retract that comment about "the only smart thing they've done is Dune and that was a decade ago." My wife and I watched all of the Reimagined Battlestar Galactica and it was very smart. Z Nation is not bad, either, although it's a deliberate joke next to The Walking Dead.

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    3. Also, I'm very pleased with how SyFy has adapted both "The Expanse" and "The Magicians." In particular, "The Expanse" bodes well for a "Ringworld" adaptation, as it has a very Nivenesque vibe to it.

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  2. I'd rather have some one like J.J Abrams pick up the movie than Syfy channel.. Just because some thing works for that crappy channel on television doesn't mean I'll be satisfyed with the movie they made of my favorite book.

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    1. J.J. Abrams? I wish. As big a deal as Ringworld is in science fiction literature, it just doesn't have the same power in scifi media and isn't likely to get as big a name. Even so, big names don't guarantee success. Dune had David Lynch as writer and director and Dino DeLaurentiis as a producer, but it was a mess on the screen. Morgan Freeman is still trying to get someone to fund Rendezvous with Rama, and Keanu Reeves has given up on a live-action Cowboy Bebop, as he's now too old to star as Spike Spiegel.

      Besides, Michael Perry is a very good writer with an Emmy to his name. I think he'll do well. My one worry about him is that he has a crime and horror background. A Ringworld that plays up the violence, deception, and weirdness of the plot and setting might be very interesting to watch, but would be very different from what a lot of fans of the book would envision the movie version in their heads.

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. I was hoping you were Katja. Instead, you're a spammer. Go away!

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