CANON OR BALLS?
Some of the weirder film-to-book transfers
DR STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB
Stanley Kubrick’s apocalyptic Third World War classic is only borderline sci-fi, but there’s no doubt about Peter George’s novelisation. As in early drafts of the movie’s script, the story is bookended by sections where aliens arrive on Earth and discover a charred text – aka this book – detailing humanity’s demise. In a Twilight Zone-like, “get a load of those crazy humans” twist, they publish the historical documents in an anthology called The Dead Worlds Of Antiquity.
STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE
Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s prime directive for this novelisation was apparently sexing up Starfleet. That means we get to see Will Decker sleeping with the Ilia-shaped V’ger probe (for research purposes, obvs), and a rebuttal of Kirk/spock slash fiction. Effectively creating a reason for the internet to exist, James T casually addresses rumours about his relationship with the Enterprise’s Vulcan first officer: “I would not like to be thought of as being so foolish that I would select a love partner who came into sexual heat only once every seven years.” Fascinating stuff.
Remember the pornographic section of The Terminator? Us neither. British horror author Shaun Hutson saw things differently, however, and his UK novelisation made sure an intimate moment between Sarah Connor’s flatmate, Ginger, and her boyfriend left little to the imagination – it turns out you can’t unsee phrases like “hot cleft” and “rampant organ”. Eighties teens who grew up on the significantly cleaner US version (by Randall Frakes and Bill Wisher) are probably now feeling they missed out on an important formative experience.
Joe Dante’s movie never got hung up about the origins of the mogwai – all you needed to know was that Gizmo was implausibly cute and accompanied by three simple rules. Nonetheless, author George Gipe got extremely creative in his novelisation, crafting a backstory about the creatures being dispatched to inhabited planets by “galactic powers” who wanted “to instruct in the ways of living without violence and possible extinction”. With that blueprint, Gremlins 2 could have been so very, very different…