Novelizations, i.e., adaptations in the form of a novel of the story of a movie, is a difficult task. Without much circumlocution, they do not always manage to live of their own life. Essentially, they are part of the promotional machine, an attempt to obtain as much dollars as possible from the fame of a film.
The writer of this novel, Alan Dean Foster, is a veteran of similar operations. He wrote novels drawn from the first three Alien movies, and many other adaptations from motion pictures, the latest being Transformers in 2007. Only recently it was discovered that he has acted as the ghost writer for George Lucas in drafting the novelization of Star Wars A New Hope, in addition to writing the Star Wars novel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye (Star Wars), a tie-in the SW saga of, situated chronologically between episode IV and episode V.
For Star Trek, Alan Dean Foster has contributed to the adaptation of the animated series and has contributed to the writing of the script of the first movie, Star Trek The Motion Picture.
He is a writer used to work on commission, so with characters not created by him.
The experience of reading an adaptation is almost always complementary to the vision of the movie it derives from. These products are made almost simultaneously with the movie, and based on a version of the script that presents scenes and dialogues that then, for various reasons, are not included in the final cut.
In this case the differences are few, and might clarify issues in the movie that were left to the intuition of the viewer. Small details of course. Nothing that really leave their mark.
The original movie is a good product, and one does not need to read the novel in order to enjoy it, while the opposite is not true. The novel does not linger on descriptions of characters and environments, and it seems assuming that you have seen the movie. Agile and lean in reading, it is certainly to be considered a suitable “summer” reading, easy and disengaged and nothing more. In any case I feel one needs to have seen the movie.
The writer has written better novelizations, here it seems he limited his effort to adhere to the contractual terms. The cover has the inscription “A Novel by Alan Dean Foster – Screenplay by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.” What this says is that we have here a novel based on the original screenplay by Orci and Kurtzman, but the wordings is ambiguous and creates a bit of confusion about the authorship of the novel.
For the rest we are confronted with a colorless flat literary style. Surely, the fans of the saga, who have enjoyed the movie, too, will enjoy anyway this adaptation. Honestly, it’s hard to think that anyone who hasn’t seen the movie will instead have the curiosity to read this book, which as reading experience of its own, has little to offer.
Massimo Marino is a scientist envisioning science fiction. He spent years at CERN and The Lawrence Berkeley Lab followed by lead positions with Apple, Inc. and the World Economic Forum. He is also co-founder of “Squares on Blue”, a Big Data Analytics service company.
Massimo currently lives in France and crosses the border with Switzerland multiple times daily, although he is no smuggler.
As a scientist writing science fiction, he went from smashing particles at accelerators at SLAC and CERN to smashing words on a computer screen. Is is now an author with Booktrope Publishing, LCC.
He’s the author of multi-awarded Daimones Trilogy.
His novels have received the Seal of Excellency from both AwesomeIndies.net and IndiePENdents.org
• 2013 Hall of Fame – Best in Science Fiction, Quality Reads UK Book Club