Novelizations once performed a noble service. Back in the early days, before VHS, before even Cable TV became commonplace, you had to catch a movie in the theater. Or you could watch a butchered print on network television. If you were lucky you might see one on public television. Other than that, if you missed your chance, movies were gone.

I bought numerous novelizations when I was young. Sometimes I wanted to re-experience a movie I had already seen and loved. Other times, and this was more likely, I missed out on seeing one. The neighborhood Moms weren't likely to carpool the kids on the block to an R-Rated feature. But we could buy a novelization.

Novelizations were considered the dregs of the publishing world. Many writers did them. Some good ones, and a lot of not-so-good. It was honest work that paid the bills for a month or two. Can't fault someone for bringing in much-needed lucre in tight times. Most writers scraped by on extremely modest incomes.

Good writers like Alan Dean Foster, Michael Avallone, Barry Malzberg, and even Isaac Asimov did novelizations. Often they were done under pseudonyms. We might be surprised to learn what novelizational skeletons are hidden away deep in author closets.

The modern horror fiction scene continues to mine some of the worst of the past. I'm half-expecting Thunderstorm or Dark Realms to announce The Deluxe William W. Johnson Library.

It started out as a trickle, but now I'm seeing novelization announcements on a weekly basis. No harm, no foul, as they say. Again, it's honest work, and your average indie author is likely to sell more copies of, say a Slaughter High novelization, than an original story. Sad, but true.

Some of my friends are doing them. I'm sure it's fun and we all can use a few extra bucks.

One of the latest I've seen is a novelization of the bugfuck Oingo Boingo weirdfest, Forbidden Zone. It's one of my favorite movies, but how the hell will it translate to prose form? I kind of doubt I'll pay to find out. I'd much rather simply watch the movie again. It's not like a book can get that outrageous soundtrack I love so much.

I bought a few novelizations here and there, but I believe I'll be putting a moratorium on them. My time, my spending money, and my patience has become limited. All that can more wisely go toward better things. It's not like I've even finished the ones I've paid for in the last year or so.

Written by Mark Sieber

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