Media Adaptions, Books, And Why We Don’t Really Know Much

On his own blog, Serdar noted that in a way books aren’t being written as books anymore, they’re parts of franchises and larger efforts.  In turn, some books aren’t being thought of as books because of this – they’re franchises, or works that are made to transition over, or something else.

We discuss a lot of media transitions here, especially adaptions, which Scott has done a heroic job covering.  Those are important in the Geekonomy as they drive efforts and affect geek culture.  However one thing rarely discussed is that this is a comparatively new phenomena, and one we’re only now exploring as it’s new.

Right now things can go from book to TV, from video game to movie, from comic to game, from  . . . well you get the idea.  Merely looking at the ever-expanding media empire that is Star Wars, or the way “The Avengers” succeeded against all odds, gives you an idea of how far media translations and transformations can go.  It’s almost normal now to discuss what actor will play who in a film or what anime would be great as an adaption.

It just hasn’t been normal for most of human history.

How many movie or television adaptions only became viable when computer technology and special effects reached enough of a pinnacle to actually make them believable.

How many adaptions only exist because of chance-taking like HBO’s Game of Thrones that wouldn’t have taken chances a decade ago?

How many television shows, books, or comic adaptions wouldn’t have existed just due to cultural issues in the past

For that matter, so much technology we take for granted didn’t exist decades or a century ago.  I rather imagine radio adaptions seemed somehow radical at the time . . .

Then of course go back 200 years and 99% of what we discuss about adaptions is moot.  Your biggest worry was probably how well the play went or getting a certain book.  Hardly comparable to “Is Benedict Cumberbatch going to make a good Smaug?” being a big concern for people.

(The answer by the way, is yes).

So when we discuss adaptions, when we discuss what it means for culture or economics, we have to remember this really is new.  We have to remember that this is new in human history, in a serious new way.  We don’t have many models, we don’t have previous experiences, we don’t have a lot to extrapolate directly from.

We’re in new territory here, so when we discuss economics, careers, etc. there’s not a lot to go on.  Accepting that is going to make dealing with these crazy times and options easier, as we don’t have to delude ourselves to our level of knowledge.

We don’t have much.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at

The Big Adaptors

So, HBO, flush from well-deserved success with their adaption of 'Game of Thrones' is looking at the difficult-sounding task of adapting Neil Gaiman's 'American Gods' into a six season series.

Showtime has it's epic series, of course, as you know from hearing any reviews.

It seems the movie/premium channels are getting awful ambitious, from 'Spartacus' to 'The Walking Dead' and more.  Very ambitious.  Curiously ambitious.

I want to speculate that they may be onto something, and that movie channels may be uniquely positioned to become The Big Adaptors.  Their future may well be adapting works to films/television.

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Making Superheroes Work In Videogames: The Two Elements

So there I was, checking my Twitter feeds, when someone simply stated “no one can make a Superman videogame.”

I immediately took this simple statement is a challenge. It let me to speculate on superheroes, their use in video games, their more epic mismade video games, and what makes a good superhero videogame. It was a fascinating mental journey (and for the record, I do think a good Superman videogame is possible, but that is coming later in this series of columns).

Speculating on video games and superheroes is interesting, because the record of superhero videogames being good is highly inconsistent. There are games there praised quite rightfully, such as Arkham Asylum. There are games that are lambasted quite properly, such as . . . Okay, a lot of them, but Superman on Nintendo 64 does come to mind as kind of the iconic bad superhero videogame. Why such an erratic, and at times incredibly shameful and stupid record?

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