A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Here I am becoming excited about a movie again, and a thought experiment on reading

I mean, the last movie I was excited for was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and before that, it was The Lord of the Rings.

Ender’s Game, yay.

You know, I am always amused by the process of having my favorite books turn into movies.

Just think of it this way: until a book is made into a movie, I’m the only person sitting in a virtual room representing the book, full of its characters, ideas, and stories. Sometimes, random people who have also read the book visit my room, and we get excited together for a few minutes. Then these random people drop back out of my life.

I try to get my friends and loved ones to visit my room and enjoy it like I do, but most people hate reading, especially reading science fiction. For years and years and years, the room is mine and only mine, which is annoying, because I want to share my pleasure with others.

“Please come play with me in my room,” I say again and again (such a dork, I know). “Please read this book.” But people are lazy. People don’t read.

Then one day, Hollywood takes these books and makes them into movies and TV shows, AND BAM! Everyone is suddenly sitting in stadium-sized rooms of distorted characters, ideas and stories, surrounded by massive amounts of noise and idiocy. Of course, I have no interest in these stadiums, I am happy in my room, where I have spent years building nurturing, two-way relationships with the characters, ideas, and stories. The Hollywood layer is alien to me, because I usually don’t bother to watch the Hollywood adaptation.

A few examples: I was a child when I read the first Harry Potter book, at a time when no one had any idea who he was. Then I watched the world go crazy over Harry as the movie star was born. I was a child when I read The Lord of the Rings. Most people had no idea what The Lord of the Rings was, beyond being a big fat book. On the bright side, bless Peter Jackson and his brilliance for making the movie adaptations genius too.

The worst of the books-cum-Hollywood adaptations has been “Game of Thrones”. Everyone and their dog has fallen in love with the series, crassly saying things like “Winter is coming”. I want to beat people who stay stuff like that up. Not because it’s a crappy show (though I was unable to watch more than 2 episodes of the first season as the books are so much better), but because I CAN HEAR THE YELLING FROM THE DAMN STADIUM IN MY ROOM ALTHOUGH I HAVE ALL THE WINDOWS SHUT.

Shut up. I don’t want to hear you yelling. You’re giving me a headache.

In November, one of my all-time favorite books, Ender’s Game, is being turned into a movie. I am excited, at this point at least, because I spent so many hours of my life lost in the Ender universe. I’ve written about it on this blog many times, expressing my passionate love for the genius of Orson.

No one cares. No one has even heard of Orson, Ender, or the Formic race. It’s my room, and my room alone (although I did manage to get my brother Omar and my mother to visit me). Come November, I’m going to share this post again. The Ender craze better not be as bad as the one for “The Hunger Games”, or “Game of Thrones”.

I just can’t comprehend the power of movies.

Ok. Rant complete.


Curiosity Self-Portrait




  1. Omar Assi

    Ok, watching that teaser got me really excited for the movie… yalla november?

  2. Craig

    Ender’s Game must have been published about when you were born? I read it sometime in the mid 1980s when I was in the USMC. I don’t recall it very well now, but I can remember how brilliant I thought it was. I tried Orson Scott Card’s next couple of books and had much less luck getting into those, but that doesn’t diminish how great I thought Ender’s Game was.

    The worst of the books-cum-Hollywood adaptations has been “Game of Thrones”.

    No, that would be Dune :P

    I’m genuinely curious why you’re so down on the HBO version of Game of Thrones, though? I think they’ve done a pretty good job. They’ve skipped a lot, but mostly stuff that was just filler in the books. And they’ve gotten a lot of the characters wrong, such as Arya being too cute and too nice, and Cersei being too transparently malicious, but overall I’m really surprised at how close it is to how I imagined it when I was reading the books. And the production values are really high for a fantasy TV series.

  3. Omar, 3anjad, hehe. I hope you’ll be back in Jordan by then ;)

    Craig, I haven’t watched Dune’s adaptation, actually. I am sure it’s crap, though. For Game of Thrones, I don’t know, I just found it too slow and unimaginative. Maybe because it was so much more epic in my head. You shuold try reading the rest of the Enderverse. The first book is very dull compared to the genius of the rest, especially “Xenocide” :)

  4. Craig

    I’ll take a look in my book stacks and see if I can find the first one. I’ll have to reread it before I read anything he wrote after, anyway. It’s been a long time. Thanks for explaining about Game of Thrones :)

  5. Amina

    One of my biggest pet peeves is watching movie adaptations of any of the books I’ve read. I get weirdly attached to the characters on the pages, and when I watch an adaptation, and it’s poorly made(by my standards!) I get very upset. I like to read books that I like many times over, and watching a disappointing movie adaptation usually means that book ends up covered by dust on my shelf.

  6. super devoika

    I wish I can say that I’m excited about this movie from what I saw already. But I’m not. Harrison Ford puts me off with his history as Indiana Jones who vilified and demeaned many cultures. So as a person and actor I hold no respect for him. And then there is a tattooed face that appears somewhere that seems to be borrowed from the Pacific Islands culture. And having a dear Samoan friend who explained to me how displease they are in general to see their tattoo motifs and practices being misused and commercialized whereas for them it is considered sacred. Not sure if this is part of the novel or Hollywood stealing as it always does.
    I really hate it when Hollywood adapt any novel. Film adaptation that are done outside of Hollywood are the only success stories I’ve known.

  7. Amina, agreed. They have a magical ability to ruin a good book forever!

    Super Devoika, have you read the book? In the book, the tattooed man is actually from Australia :) But yes… I agree. Hollywood needs to stay away from books. I am still pissed off at I, Robot.

  8. super devoika

    Roba, I said I didn’t read the novel. Well, Pacific Islands are not Australia. Though many Australian nowadays are of Pacific Islands origins. With Complex politics governing us it is hard to be politically correct nowadays.
    I don’t mind that the novel has a tattooed faced man. I’m just sure that Hollywood stole the tattoo motifs from cultures with no respect or understanding to those cultures.
    If you end up seeing this movie, let us know what you think. =)

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