Good answer, but quite telling that there is even a “usual example”.
Jaws is my often used example, but it is very much a case of exceptions rather than the rule.
I guess I’m in the minority here but I disliked the film so much I think I’d rate the book higher if I someday read it.
Haha Have you ever read a Palahniuk book? They’re all the same.
Apathetic protagonist loses the will to participate in and contribute towards a society that’s characterised by a certain highlighted trope of the Western modern world. Finds an underground community that subverts said characteristic of society. Feels alive again. Through happenstance and escalation of events, the protagonist gets caught up in a caper that spirals out of their control until it is far bigger than them. They desperately try to stop it, but what they’ve started is a runaway train. This is usually used as some weak metaphor for Absurdism, demonstrating that all individuals in society are just desperately trying to find some plane to relate with one another and find meaning in their lives, no matter how ridiculous the answer. Twist ending.
Fight Club had the 9-5 rat race. Invisible Monsters had vanity, modelling and beauty products (and a bit of advertising). Survivor had celebrity culture and daytime talk shows, some mass media voyeurism as well (and instead of falling into a subculture subverting the trope, the protagonist is thrust into the centre of the trope and struggles to cope).
Choke and Rant were a bit more vague and abstract. Choke had isolation, seeking approval/love/validation and a bit of religion. Rant had the general moving from small town America to a big city with a work hard play hard economically divided heirarchial society. Rant also relied on B plot contrivances to drive the main plot forward… not one of his best.
Oh, and you know that " I’m Jack’s [adjective] [body part]" mantra in Fight Club? The use of a repeated thematic mantra is repeated in all the books too! Invisible Monsters had “Give me [BLANK]” in the style of a fashion photographer. Survivor used the rule of three a lot (three sentences with the same beginning phrase), but didn’t use a central mantra. I can’t remember what’s used in the other books off the top of my head.
(A few like Lullaby, Diary, and Haunted stray from that format, moving more towards urban legend/creepy pasta territory, but the main novels all have the same pacing)
…I can’t believe I’ve read so many Palahniuk books. For what it’s worth, Survivor and Invisible Monsters are the best of the lot IMO. The rest do the same thing in not such a good way.
The Godfather. Much better than the book.
I find it’s very rare. Books are almost always better. You’re talking to a man whose read Jurassic Park and Fifty shades of Grey.
I did read Choke a decade ago, and while not being blown away I quite enjoyed it. I guess one starts to see the recurring structure of the novels after reading more by him.
It did not suffer from the two main issues I had with Fight Club, the ridiculous twist ending (at least I can’t remember one in Choke), and people liking it for all the wrong reasons (weak social commentary, male empowerment through violence).
I guess you did like his books somehow, because you ended reading a bunch of them?
Did someone say Fifty Shades of Grey?
(Not read or seen either, but I love this breakdown of how the movie fixes the book and why the book is so bad)
Nope. I read them out of happenstance and a series of escalating events. Read a few (Survivor and Choke), thought the pattern was interesting/kinda funny but they were poorly written. A few years later I was backpacking and these books kept popping up in book swaps. It was either Palahniuk or crime thrillers.
Admittedly I did choose to read Invisible Monsters some time later as I kept hearing Fight Club, Survivor and Invisible Monsters mentioned as his best books. And they definitely are. Not such a fan of Fight Club, but I guess that’s because I saw the film first so the book didn’t really surprise.
…having said that, Rant came out years after my travels so I must have chosen to read that for some reason.
PS To be fair, the book swaps while travelling did give me a chance to read some great books like Dorian Grey and The Selfish Gene. I also read A Million Little Pieces on a boat… Probably wouldn’t have read that out of choice.
The film refers to events that are in the book, but have been cut from the film. (What is it about us and elevators? Asks Christian, the first time the two of them encounter each other in an elevator.)
Also it removes almost all the detail of Christians tortured history and why he is distant and fears normal relationships, which just makes him look like a sociopath, who is in no way interesting.
But Jurassic Park lost points for not recreating the “Oh shit” scene.
Or the bike scene. Or the viewing platform scene.
…one or both of those might be in Lost World book, but it’s criminal they haven’t been used in any of the films.
I fell off reading for awhile but after finally finishing the book I was reading for about 8 months, I’m digging into The Wheel of Osheim. Its by Mark Lawrence, and is the third book in the Red Queens War trilogy, which is the second series in his Broken Empire world. I haven’t enjoyed this series as much as the first, The Broken Empire trilogy, but it is a bit more fun and light hearted…at times.
Is the film ever better than the book?
My go-to for this is “The Hunt for Red October” in which the movie cuts out 500 pages of Tom Clancy techno-wanking over military hardware and gets down to the actual gripping storyline.
I now imagine the film with Tom Clancy just technowanking in the background of every scene. Good work!
While many films are disappointing compared to books, some films live up to a book impressively. Here I’d put The Lord of the Rings (the Peter Jackson trilogy only) and The Remains of the Day both of which bring the books alive pitch-perfectly, but could hardly be said to be better. I’d need very serious persuasion to watch films of any Cormac McCarthy books because the chances of being anywhere near as good as the book are so slim. Does The Road stand up as a film? Or No Country for Old Men for that matter? [That one I could probably be persuaded to watch, because of the Coen Brothers]
After waiting for several months to read it, Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris finally showed up in my library loans (via Kindle). Just ripped through it. It’s his first novel, I believe, and it clearly serves as the template for every novel he’s written since then. As in all of his books that I’ve read, there is a cool and unique magic/powers system that his fantasy world is built on, that has gone horribly wrong sometime before the start of the story, and which the main characters must somehow set right through a process of self-discovery and reversals.
Doing so will neatly wrap up all the narrative threads, leaving our squeaky-clean, absolutely sexless characters ready to safely marry each other (no pre-marital sex, please!) and restore harmony to the world.
Sanderson is an astonishingly prolific writer and I’m beginning to understand how he does it the more I read.
I’ll have you know, @FuchsiaRiptide, it is solely because of your post that I’m now reading We Are What We Pretend To Be, a collection of two of Vonnegut’s previously unpublished stories, allegedly his first and last, Basic Training and If God Were Alive Today. The forward by his daughter, Nanette, is itself not a bad read, either.
I was planning to pick up Broom of the System when I gave Brief Interviews With Hideous Men back to the library, but I couldn’t deal with any more of DFW’s seven-page run-on-sentences in the footnotes. Seriously, he can be exhausting.
Yeah I wasn’t into that series as much. Still I think he writes quite interestingly.
Well I’m quite far into Remender’s Black Science now. It’s pretty transparent in being Sliders meets Lost in Space. I was hoping for a bit more story within each world, but so far it’s mostly chase scenes running away from weird tribal alien animals, with the occasional thing carried through the portals with the main characters. The characters are trite clichés, but it’s starting to get interesting. Getting fed up with all the inner monologues during chases talking about FAMILY and HOME and LOYALTY. Quite hammy in that way Remender likes to do.
The art is top notch, but often quite difficult to follow. The way it’s drawn, many times I’ve failed to notice the cells stretch across the double page rather than down each page. All the panes are quite busy with lots of colours, and the seam between pages isn’t perfect so it doesn’t really bridge between pages well. For me, fluidity of reading the panes is one of the most important things in a comic - reading 4-6 panes and then realising I have to back track to read everything in the correct order really takes me out of the moment and ruins the flow of the comic. For chases, flow is really important!
Not sure if I’ll follow it past the 3 volumes I already own, but I’ll see how everything else grabs me. Next up is Kill or be Killed!