What universe should become a media empire?

Here’s a “mind meld” post at Barnes and Noble in which a whole lot of authors answer that question. What book or series would they most like to see explode into a bunch of other media — games, tv series, movies, whatever?

Cassandra Rose Clarke suggests The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, which I think would give rise to a delightful Star-Trek-y type of tv series. Tons of room in that universe for sure, plus just a fun attitude and a high energy level. I’d love to see that.

Foz Meadows suggests Tamora Pierce’s Alanna universe — that would certainly be entirely different from the above, but I could definitely see those books spinning off into charming kids’ programming and games, can’t you?

David Annandale suggests the Pern series. I wouldn’t have thought of that, but wow, with today’s special effects, those dragons would be FABULOUS on the screen. I admit that I hate, hate, hate the time-travel aspect of that world and would hope very much for that to vanish quietly away from a tv series, but ymmv.

While we’re on the subject of today’s special effects, Rene Sears makes a wonderful suggestion: The Raksura world. YES PLEASE. Moon is the perfect protagonist to anchor a tv series — or for this, I could see a series of movies. Bigger than Game of Thrones! I would LOVE to see that.

And to my mind, Paul Weimer makes the very best suggestion: Larry Nivan’s Ringworld. Talk about scope, right?

Novels though are just the beginning. Think of it. Ringworld the Roleplaying Game, a new edition with good mechanics and story options. Ringworld the CCG. Ringworld the coffee table map book, with gorgeous detail of the explored and known regions, and get some artist types to unleash themselves on the project. There’s room enough for anything, and it could plausibly be there. There is an ocean on the Ringworld which has life size models of the continents of Earth and a bunch of other planets sitting in it. And that ocean, tens of thousands of miles in size, is just a small portion of the Ringworld. (And there is an ocean of the same size on the opposite side of the ring). So you can have all sorts of societies. High tech civilizations looking for a way to get off the ring. Primitive, fallen areas where sword and sorcery (without the sorcery) are the rule of the day. And everything in between.

You could make an endless number of video games about adventures in various regions of the gigantic ring. I can imagine a Borderlands or Halo like game set in various parts of the Ringworld. (The Ringworld, by the way, is so large that you could drop the 10,000 km diameter Halo into it and never find it again). You could do a No Man’s Sky style game and just have the players explore various parts of the Ringworld, procedurally generating stuff for them to find and do.

And then there is the visual media. You could have multiple television series, movies and more set here. Every so often there are rumors and intimations that a series is going to happen, but nothing has come of it. At this point, CGI is good enough to show us the Ringworld, and it’s high time we did see it. It’s a property whose time has come to be known by all and sundry.

I would love that coffee table book! And I wouldn’t mind seeing the rest of this, either.

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6 thoughts on “What universe should become a media empire?”

  1. In honor of CJ Cherryh’s birthday I will say I have always wanted to see a Chanur movie. I would buy every related novelization, coloring book, poster, t-shirt and Happy Meal toy I could find.

  2. I think favorite Tortall series is probably a matter of taste (I like the Wild Magic books), but for the purposes of this question, they’re all the same world. I think Tortall would be great as a tv show – the great costumes and castles and whatnot of Game of Thrones, but more magic and feminism (and less brutality).

  3. I do like Protector of the Small better than the Alanna series — but I see no reason not to start at the beginning and work forward if you’re doing a tv series, and the situation in Protector was set up by Alanna, if I remember right.

    I keep meaning to read the Wild Magic series, but I haven’t quiiiite gotten around to those yet.

    And, Bret, YES, the Chanur series would make great movies! I would SO see those.

  4. I’m a little surprised that you didn’t read the Tortall books in order. Wild Magic sets up a lot of the events in Protector also.

  5. Varley’s Gaea trilogy would make an amazing miniseries. And the visuals could be as cool as the Ringworld. It’s basically a mini-Ringworld in layout.

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