Our frequent correspondent “Occasional Correspondent” writes,

Mention of books, and movies, makes me wonder — which of your books, Dr. Boli, would make the best film? Galahad? but the movie Galahad might employ nuggets from the Encyclopedia of Misinformation (each introduced with “I was just reading in the Encyclopedia that [etc…]”) so you might get compensation for TWO books in a single movie.

In Dr. Boli’s opinion, the book that would make the best movie would be the one for which a Hollywood studio would be willing to pay the most money. But we must admit that there is a bit of petitio principii here, since one must have sound marketing reasons to persuade a studio to pay for the movie rights, which is to say that one must be able to articulate why a particular book would make a good movie, and so we are back where we started. Another frequent correspondent, “RepubAnon,” suggests,

The movie version of Devil King Kun would be a suitable commentary on the superhero genre.

In fact the story of Devil King Kun was conceived as a 1930s movie serial in thirty episodes, though by doubling up on episodes it could be reduced to a more manageable fifteen. That would certainly be a good candidate for a forward-thinking producer with ambitions to revive the movie serial as a genre. It would probably not, however, fit well as a superhero movie. The only extraordinary power its hero possesses is the power of extreme cleverness, which is not appropriate for the superhero genre.

Dr. Boli’s first instinct was to say that his Encyclopedia of Misinformation would make the best movie, but then Occasional Correspondent beat him to that idea. Dr. Boli’s implementation of the idea would have been different, however. We imagine a protagonist (of any gender you like, but we shall pick one and say “she”) who works at the office of a well-known encyclopedia, and whose job is to perform exhaustive research and write articles on fossil clubmosses and extinct congressmen. Her drudgery earns her no respect, and she despairs of being able to have any romantic life at all, until she discovers that she can greatly improve the readability and entertainment value of her articles, and make room for a fulfilling personal life, by simply making up the facts. To pad out the running time, there would also be a villain who wants to blow up the earth.

The real answer to the question, however, is the same as the answer to the question of which book Dr. Boli thinks is his best. The answer to that is always the same: the one that hasn’t been written yet. Dr. Boli has written some books with which he is moderately pleased, but the next book is always the one that will top them all. That remains true until the book is published; then it will be the book after that. Since it will be the best book, it follows by reasonable inference that it would also make the best movie.


  1. Occasional Correspondent says:

    Seems to me that the Marvel and DC Universes are movie serials (albeit with very long chapters/episodes) (and branching crazily instead of running on a single, episode-1-to-episode-n track).

  2. The streaming market would perhaps be interested in a 15-episode limited series of something along the lines of Devil King Kun. Disney is always looking for more ways to wring dollars out of their Star Wars license, and what is Star Wars but a 1930’s Flash Gordon serial expanded to feature length. Given the numbered episodes, they didn’t even bother to file off the serial numbers, so to speak. Indiana Jones is similarly a 1930s jungle-adventure serial expanded to movie length, but since the main storyline of that universe has suffered some disappointments lately, maybe they’d be interested in something similar in its love of reveling in genre convention and tropes, but without the increasing stench of box office poison, or reliance on the star power of an increasingly geriatric leading man. This way, you could keep the increasingly geriatric old guy safely behind the camera, even behind the typewriter, and leave the on-screen swashbuckling adventures to someone younger and more marketable to key demographics.

  3. John Salmon says:

    The Adventures of Pleonasm Man and Interjection Boy would make an exciting and thrilling movie.

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