Sunday, November 12, 2017

Yet another attempt at a 'Ringworld' movie/miniseries plus bonus 'Snow Crash' from Amazon

For the Sunday entertainment feature, I'm recycling what I wrote on Dreamwidth.
Four years ago, I wrote Finally, a Ringworld movie!
That's the one in which I repeated my twenty-year-old grousing about how I wrote an adventure for Chaosium's Ringworld table-top RPG, but lost all that effort because the movie rights to the book were sold and the movie production company asserted that they had the game rights, too.  To add insult to injury, there was no movie.  Apparently, that will change, as SyFy announced that they will develop the book into a four-hour miniseries.
The good news was that it became one of the two most read posts of that year.  The bad news is that no "Ringworld" movie or miniseries came of it.

Not all is lost, as io9 reported this week Amazon Is Developing a Bonanza of Genre Titles: Ringworld, Snow Crash, and Lazarus.
Amazon just announced a virtual land grab of genre titles that it’s putting into development: Larry Niven’s scifi classic Ringworld; Neal Stephenson’s cult classic Snow Crash; and Greg Rucka’s acclaimed comic Lazarus. In a perfect world, we could be seeing all three made into drama series.

As Deadline reports, the announcement comes as the streaming network is hoping to land a “big-scope genre drama series in the mold of Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead.” There aren’t too many details yet, but the standout points include: the Ringworld project will likely draw not just from Niven’s 1970 original, but other books in the series; Rucka will be adapting Lazarus himself from page to screen; and Snow Crash will be co-produced by Joe Cornish, who at one time had the project on his own feature-directing slate.
I'm a lot more confident in Amazon pulling off "Ringworld" than I was about SyFy, so I'm looking forward to it.  The other project I want to see is "Snow Crash."  It may not be the best of Stephenson's novels, but it is the best-known and it's a lot of fun.  Here's to both of them reaching the small screen before the decade is out!
Here's to getting that "Ringworld" movie I was promised 33 years ago, even if it ends up being a series streaming on Amazon!


  1. I hope they do a good job with Ringworld. That would surely cost a ton of money, even on TV. But in the hands of the right people, it could be great. A lot will depend on how Speaker-to-Animals is presented. To me he's the most interesting character.

    Using TV might help with one of the major issues I see with the novel -- the fact that the Ringworld natives turn out to be human, and that the explanation of this is rather complex, even if you're familiar with Niven's extended universe. TV audiences probably expect human-looking aliens, due to Star Trek and other shows that went that route to save effects money. (Of course, Star Wars has humans in an alleged alien galaxy in the alleged distant past, and no one seems much bothered by it.) Maybe they'll just assume most viewers have read the book.

    And a miniseries is a good format for it. In most cases a complex novel can't be squeezed into the length of a standard movie and be done right, as Dune showed.

    If nothing else, this will finally give me an incentive to figure out how "streaming TV" works.

    1. I'm hoping they do a good job, too. Skimping on the CGI and other special effects may help the budget, but will do the story no favors. As for Speaker, later Chmee, at least he won't be the first Kzin to be on television. That honor goes to the ones in "The Slaver Weapon" episode of "Star Trek: The Animated Series."

      As for the explanation of genus Homo on the Ringworld, that goes back to the Pak and their Protectors, something that Niven could have left out of Known Space, but once he added them, they became central to the story. As a biologist, they annoy me.

      Yes, a miniseries will work better than a movie.

      As for streaming TV, welcome to the 21st Century, where Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are now the Big Three.

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    1. There is a chance that, even though this is the right Amazon, I'm tired of this spam. Deleted.