content by

Sam Reader

Overlooked Cyberpunk Classic When Gravity Fails Would Make a Perfect TV Series

George Alec Effinger’s When Gravity Fails is something of an overlooked classic in the cyberpunk canon: beloved by those who have read it, but rarely mentioned these days in the same breath as much better-loved novels like Neuromancer. It’s a shame that’s the case, since its mix of violent pulp, focus on a more terrestrial used-future setting, and dark, sardonic humor elevate it well above the usual somber city noir cyberpunk calls home. It’s also just begging for a full-series adaptation on a channel or platform that could do justice to the sprawling red-light districts and larger-than-life characters of the Budayeen.

The book offers something for practically everyone: the serial-murder investigation and the conspiracy behind it offer plenty of twists and turns for mystery fans; there’s a heaping helping of horror in discovering exactly how depraved the villains and setting actually are, plus some tense and absolutely brutal fight scenes and a very grim, deadpan sense of humor tying it all together. With its sprawling, diverse, and inclusive cast of characters, a setting that bucks the usual trend of American or East Asian-influenced cities, deep attention to nuance and detail, and offbeat take on classical detective-novel tropes, the right writers’ room and a decent budget could make When Gravity Fails into an instant classic.

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Frank Herbert’s Dune: Science Fiction’s Greatest Epic Fantasy Novel

Frank Herbert’s Dune is rightfully considered a classic of science fiction. With its expansive worldbuilding, intricate politics, complex and fascinating characters, remarkably quotable dialogue, and an epic, action-packed story, it’s captured the attention of readers for over half a century. While not the first example of the space opera genre, it’s certainly one of the most well-known space operas, and indeed one of the most grand and operatic. In recent years, the novel is also gearing up for its second big-budget film adaptation, one whose cast and ambitions seem to match the vast, sweeping vistas of Arrakis, the desert planet where the story takes place. It’s safe to say that Dune has fully earned its place as one of the greatest space operas, and one of the greatest science fiction novels, ever written.

Which isn’t bad for a work of epic fantasy, all things considered.

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