Stories I read before I knew they were going to be filmed.

There's nothing like a film adaptation to boost sales of a book. However, here is a selection of books and short stories which I read long before a film or TV version was announced.

I've ordered the list by date of film/TV release. I was going to order it by date of publication of the original story, but that would require more research than my slothful tendencies would allow.
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1.
The Hobbit (1977 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A homebody hobbit in Middle Earth gets talked into joining a quest with a group of dwarves to recover their treasure from a dragon. (77 mins.)
“ I started reading "The Hobbit" in 1973, but I don't remember finishing it. ” - Quornhog
 
2.
The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (1981 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An Earth man and his alien friend escape Earth's destruction and go on a truly strange adventure as space hitchhikers. (152 mins.)
“ All my friends bought/borrowed/stole this book as soon as it was published. Some of us even read it. ” - Quornhog
 
3.
2010 (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A joint U.S.-Soviet expedition is sent to Jupiter to learn what happened to the Discovery. (116 mins.)
Director: Peter Hyams
“ Still waiting for the other two. ” - Quornhog
 
4.
Enemy Mine (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A soldier from Earth crash-lands on an alien world after sustaining battle damage. Eventually he encounters another survivor... (108 mins.)
“ I read Barry B. Longyear's short story when it was first published (in "Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine") in 1979. ” - Quornhog
 
5.
The Twilight Zone (1985 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A collection of tales which range from comic to tragic, but often have a wicked sense of humor and an unexpected twist. (45 mins.)
“ This series adapted a number of stories which I had already read including Arthur C. Clarke's short story, "The Star". Shame that TZ gave it a schmaltzy ending. ” - Quornhog
 
6.
Pet Sematary (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Behind a young family's home in Maine is a terrible secret that holds the power of life after death. When tragedy strikes, the threat of that power soon becomes undeniable. (103 mins.)
Director: Mary Lambert
“ It was recommended to me. That's my only excuse for reading it. ” - Quornhog
 
7.
A Shock to the System (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
When you think you're at the top of the corporate ladder and then discover they have managed to pull that ladder away... (88 mins.)
Director: Jan Egleson
“ My main interest in Simon Brett's work is his "Charles Paris" stories. However, this was quite an enjoyable novel. ” - Quornhog
 
8.
Misery (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After a famous author is rescued from a car crash by a fan of his novels, he comes to realize that the care he is receiving is only the beginning of a nightmare of captivity and abuse. (107 mins.)
Director: Rob Reiner
“ I read "Misery" soon after it was published. A film hadn't been announced then, but I guess it was only a matter of time...

BTW this is my idea of a real horror story. No ghosts, vampires or werewolves; just one human being inflicting suffering upon another. ” - Quornhog
 
9.
Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less (1990 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Four victims of a stock swindle meet and plot to get their money back from the crooked financier responsible... (120 mins.)
Director: Clive Donner
“ I never saw the TV serial, but the novel was more entertaining than Archer's detractors would have you believe. ” - Quornhog
 
10.
Chimera (1991 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A journalist investigates the death of his girl friend at a fertility clinic where she worked and uncovers... (60 mins.)
“ I used to know Steve Gallagher (vaguely) so made a point of reading his stuff. Until I didn't know him any more. ” - Quornhog
 
11.
Schindler's List (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans. (195 mins.)
“ I read "Schindler's Ark" soon after it was published. I seem to recall that I wasn't interested in the subject matter so much as the controversy over the book being awarded the Booker prize, which is for fiction. ” - Quornhog
 
12.
Trapped in Space (1995 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  
After an accident during a routine trip to Venus, a spaceship has only enough oxygen left for three people... out of five on board. (87 mins.)
“ Based on Arthur C. Clarke's short story, "Breaking Strain". ” - Quornhog
 
13.
Contact (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Dr. Ellie Arroway, after years of searching, finds conclusive radio proof of intelligent aliens, who send plans for a mysterious machine. (150 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
“ I read this in the 1980's and reread it a few weeks ago (in July 2012). Not a bad read, and I love the idea of a message being encoded in...but why should I spoil the surprise? ” - Quornhog
 
14.
Starship Troopers (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Humans in a fascistic, militaristic future do battle with giant alien bugs in a fight for survival. (129 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
“ I read this in the 1980's. I preferred "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress", which itself would make a great film or serial (or "mini-series" for American audiences). ” - Quornhog
 
15.
The Postman (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A nameless drifter dons a postman's uniform and bag of mail as he begins a quest to inspire hope to the survivors living in post-apocalyptic America. (177 mins.)
Director: Kevin Costner
“ I don't care what people say about this film; I enjoyed the novel. ” - Quornhog
 
16.
From the Earth to the Moon (1998 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
Dramatized portrayal of the Apollo manned space program. (60 mins.)
“ Based, in part, on Andrew Chaikin's book "A Man On The Moon". Excellent reading, and I'm so pleased to own the 3-volume, photo-illustrated hardback edition.

And I've owned 4 copies of the TV series. (Off-air VHS, commercial VHS, Region 1 DVD, Region 2 DVD. Roll on the BluRay edition...) ” - Quornhog
 
17.
Bicentennial Man (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
An android endeavors to become human as he gradually acquires emotions. (132 mins.)
Director: Chris Columbus
“ The story was as mawkish as the film. ” - Quornhog
 
18.
Nightfall (2000 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.1/10 X  
When a distant planet's six suns slowly disappear, the population is overwhelmed with fear and superstition. (82 mins.)
Director: Gwyneth Gibby
“ Based on the Isaac Asimov story. ” - Quornhog
 
19.
Fungus the Bogeyman (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Fungus (Mak Wilson) is a working class bogeyman who comes to the surface of Rutland to scare DryCleaners... (150 mins.)
Director: Stuart Orme
“ IIRC the TV series tells a completely different story from the book. ” - Quornhog
 
20.
The Constant Gardener (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A widower is determined to get to the bottom of a potentially explosive secret involving his wife's murder, big business, and corporate corruption. (129 mins.)
“ A choice from my book-reading circle. It might have been chosen because it was being filmed (but I didn't know that). ” - Quornhog
 
21.
Sahara (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Master explorer Dirk Pitt goes on the adventure of a lifetime of seeking out a lost Civil War battleship known as the "Ship of Death" in the deserts of West Africa while helping a WHO doctor being hounded by a ruthless dictator. (124 mins.)
Director: Breck Eisner
“ A colleague introduced me to Cussler's work. I don't know whether to thank him or to curse him. ” - Quornhog
 
22.
Fast Food Nation (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
An ensemble piece examining the health risks involved in the fast food industry and its environmental and social consequences as well. (116 mins.)
“ One of my choices for the book-reading circle. I doubt if it changed anybody's eating habits (and I was already a vegetarian anyway). ” - Quornhog
 
23.
Doctor Who (2005 TV Series)
Episode: Human Nature (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
In 1913, Martha watches in jealousy from afar as The Doctor learns what it is to be human and to fall in love with the local school nurse, Joan Redfern. (45 mins.)
“ The novel was written by Paul Cornell and published by Virgin Books in 1995 (long before most people had heard of David Tennant). ” - Quornhog
 
24.
Masters of Science Fiction (2007 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A series adapting science-fiction stories by well-known authors into 60 minute episodes, introduced by renowned physicist Stephen Hawking... (42 mins.)
“ One of the epsisodes of this series was an adaption of Robert Sheckley's short story, "Watchbird". I read this in 1980 (or thenabouts). ” - Quornhog
 
25.
The Golden Compass (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization. (113 mins.)
Director: Chris Weitz
“ Ignore the bigots and film the sequels. ” - Quornhog
 
26.
The Lovely Bones (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family - and her killer - from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal. (135 mins.)
Director: Peter Jackson
“ Another choice from my book-reading circle. ” - Quornhog
 
27.
The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A Chicago librarian has a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, creating complications in his marriage. (107 mins.)
“ Another one from the book-reading circle.

Back in the 1970's I read a much more innovative short story along similair lines. In this story, a man and women weren't travelling in time in the usual sense, but were experiencing their lives in a non-linear fashion and out-of-sync with each other. I wish I could remember the title of the story. ” - Quornhog
 
28.
Watchmen (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In 1985 where former superheroes exist, the murder of a colleague sends active vigilante Rorschach into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it. (162 mins.)
Director: Zack Snyder
“ I borrowed the graphic novel from a colleague. (Actually, I don't think he gave me a choice.) ” - Quornhog
 
29.
On the Road (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Young writer Sal Paradise has his life shaken by the arrival of free-spirited Dean Moriarty and his girl, Marylou. As they travel across the country, they encounter a mix of people who each impact their journey indelibly. (124 mins.)
Director: Walter Salles
“ It must be over twenty years since I read this. Whenever I think I can recall bits of it I wonder if I'm getting confused with "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". Man. ” - Quornhog
 
30.
The Outer Limits (1995 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A modern revival of the classic sci-fi horror anthology show The Outer Limits. Episodes often have twist-endings and involve aliens. Sometimes, story from one episode continues in a later episode. (44 mins.)
“ Adapted Larry Niven's "Inconstant Moon". ” - Quornhog
 
31.
A Sound of Thunder (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  
When a scientist sent back to the prehistoric era strays off the path he causes a chain of events that alters history in disastrous ways. (101 mins.)
Director: Peter Hyams
“ When I was at school the English teachers seemed to hate SF. It must have really honked them off when this story appeared in the textbooks. ” - Quornhog
 
32.
Beyond Apollo (????)
The first two-man mission to Venus is aborted in mid-flight and abruptly returns back to Earth. When rescue crews go to retrieve the space capsule...
Director: Michael Grodner
“ Filming New Wave SF is a dodgy idea. It'll be interesting to see how this turns out. (I'm writing this in October 2012 and I read Barry Malzberg's novel about 30 years ago.) ” - Quornhog
 
33.
After Henry (1988 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Sarah France is the 42-year-old widow of a GP, Henry. She lives in an often volatile family situation with her mother... (30 mins.)
“ Started life as a radio series, then adapted as a novel, then filmed for TV. (Just like HHGG.) I'm pretty sure that I read the book before the TV series came along. ” - Quornhog