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Thursday, December 16, 2004

MORE LE GUIN ON EARTHSEA

In Slate today Ursula K. Le Guin trashes the series vaguely based on her beloved Earthsea books. I find it interesting that the complaint she spends the most time on is that they made everyone white -- in her books, few people are white, and certainly not Ged, who's Inuit-brown. Maybe there's nothing she can say about what they've done to her plot.

It does strike me as odd that no one bothered to talk to her about what her books were about. Why buy the series if you're just going to make stuff up? There's an awful Jon Peters-inspired atrocity theoretically inspired by The Sandman. What's the point? The fans aren't going to like it. And if you're going to reduce him to a superhero who bashes people, why not just make up your own superhero, a la The Incredibles.

This is one reason I am always telling reader who want to adapt someone's book not to bother with the rights. You need them if you're going to use the original book's title, or the original character names. But unless you have a practically-written-for-the-screen-anyway John Grisham or Michael Crichton novel, you're going to wind up doing so much "adaptation" the original plot is going to disappear. So why pay for the rights if you're a writer? Change the names and call it an original work.

If you're a producer, of course, you buy the rights so you have a "property" and so you can theoretically lay claim to the legions of devoted readers. But all you're really doing there is buying something so you can sell it to someone else.

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