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The Translated Man (and Other Stories)

September 7, 2011

So, a couple weeks ago, I said something funny on the internet. Which, you know, I try. But this time I touched a nerve, my tweet was retweeted by Wil Wheaton — who has 1.8 million followers — and then all hell broke loose. Retweets and responses started flying, my email started buzzing with one new follower after another.

Realizing I had, for a fleeting moment, the potential attention of all those people, should they click through to my account to see who this wisecracking jackmook was, I began casting madly about for stuff I could promote. Among other things, I mentioned, almost offhandedly, that I am working on the film adaptation for a novel called The Translated Man.

Not exactly the way I wanted to announce it, but I kind of panicked (and also the author saw what was happening and yelled at me for not mentioning it). But this is a project that I’m very, very excited about, and it deserves more than the 280 characters I was able to devote to it.

I first heard about The Translated Man when it was recommended by the screenwriter John Rogers on his blog. This was just when I had gotten my Kindle and I was ravenous for good new books to read, and he even dropped the L-bomb (Lovecraftian), so I went and snatched it up immediately.

The Translated Man is an industrial horror-fantasy, set in the richly-textured city of Trowth, in a world where the line between magic and science is heavily blurred, and dangerous sciences — such as necrology (the reanimation of corpses), and translation (cross-dimensional travel) — are declared heresies by the theocratic Church Royal. The enforcement of anti-heretical measures falls under the jurisdiction of the Coroners, Trowth’s version of the FBI, authorized to use lethal force with any confirmed heretic, on sight. The story begins with the Coroners’ investigation of a brutal murder, an investigation which leads them down a path toward a secret that threatens to destroy the city.

Like Rogers, I loved it, and my manager at the time was encouraging me to seek out potential properties for adaptation that I could take on, so I contacted the author and discovered that the film rights were still available, and we made a deal.

Which brings us to the present. One of the reasons I’ve previously held off saying anything about it was because I wanted to finish writing the script first. And then I struggled for a long time with how to take such a detailed, evocative, interesting book and distill it down into 150 screenplay pages or less, without losing what made it so great and worth adapting in the first place.

So it took me a while, during which time I was chipping away at it without making major headway. But in the last few months I got my head around a cinematic way to structure the story — aided by my re-examination of the successes and failures of the HARRY POTTER adaptations, and the immensely well-executed adaptation of GAME OF THRONES — and had a breakthrough. I’ve finally completed the first draft of the adaptation (which came in at 125 pages), and gotten the go-ahead from the author to start sharing it with some of the producers and other contacts I know and see if we can’t get something moving along.

You, my friends, can help.

See, one of the reasons adaptations are so popular in Hollywood right now is because the studio gets a sense that the movie they’re making has a built-in audience. It’s not a slam-dunk for the film’s success — nothing is — but it makes it seem like a surer thing than the completely original screenplay they got great coverage on this week.

What you guys can do to help this movie get a little closer to happening is head on over to Amazon and pick up a copy of the book, either in print or on Kindle. The book also comes with four short stories, set in the same world and expanding on its mythology, and already has a sequel, with another on the way. If you like the book — and I think you probably will — spread the word about it. Recommend it to a friend, do a blog post or even just a tweet, and give it a review on Amazon so it can start to rise through the rankings and get even more attention, and make it easier for me to stand in a room with some executive and go “See? The people want this movie.”

Setting my personal interest in its success aside, it’s just a great book that deserves more exposure and that I really think, especially for the people who share my sensibilities enough to read my blog, it’s something you won’t want to miss out on. So check it out, and I look forward to updating you guys on the project’s status in the future.

One Comment
  1. M.D. Scott permalink

    It is an excellent book and well worth the read!

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