Some weeks back, I came home after a day of "fetch" chores. I put the groceries away, then took a peek at the computer to check for mail. Propped against the monitor was a copy of Star Wars -- the novelization, written by "George Lucas". A sharp little birthday gift from a friend and neighbor.
A timely gift -- in more ways than one if this person's take on novelizations (and their fate) is accurate. I read Star Wars dozens of times, just because that was the only available way to experience the story. My copy of the Del Rey paperback was in tatters by the time I no longer had need of it, and I'm sure that ghost writer Alan Dean Foster's prose bears no small responsibility for the juggernaut that the Star Wars franchise became. He tucked in a number of tantalizing allusions, little timebombs of detail hinting that this epic story was considerably better conceived than it finally proved itself to be.
My other novelization experiences were entirely predictable. After watching the first three Star Trek movies, I pored through the novelizations hoping they answered some of the troubling questions raised by what I'd seen. And now that I think of it, I also received the novelization of Schwarzenegger's second Conan movie as a bonus with my popcorn. Talk about value!
The last novelization I glanced at was a true curiosity: Big Night, a sumptuous movie (one of my top 15, actually) which underwent a risible printed-word makeover by setting the narration in the brothers' pidgin English: "My brother say he no make-a the pasta!" After giggling over a few pages, I couldn't bring myself to try any of the recipes. Yep: I no make-a the pasta, either.
Ah, how the novelization becomes the blogger's Madeleine! Maud Newton remembers the effect The Rose had on her as a young adolescent, here. Any others out there?