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The literary counterpart to The Film of the Book: A novelization retells the story of the film in novel form. In some cases, this can even go as far as a book based on the movie of the book (distinct from just re-releasing the original novel with a film poster slapped on the cover).
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At best, the novelization is a faithful rendition of the film's story that takes additional time to explore and explain things the movie didn't have time to do itself, like the characters' inner motivations or justification for certain plot holes. At worst, you end up with something that reads like someone copied the film script and added "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" at the top.

Novelizations are also often put together quickly, using an early draft of the film's script so the author can finish writing and have the book published to tie in with the movie's theatrical release. This work process that incurs a genuine risk that the script copy the author was working from may differ vastly from the film's final version. This mishap occurred with Chris Claremont's X2: X-Men United novelization and Peter David's Spider-Man 3 novelization, amongst many others. If the movie winds up having its release delayed, the book might be in something of a no man's land when it comes to sales, while the film itself is potentially spoiled by anyone who reads the novel (which happened to Penelope). On the other hand, sometimes the book is better than the movie, mostly if the movie wasn't great in the first place or was subject to a lot of Executive Meddling.

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Many novels are either ghostwritten or with authors writing under pen names, with some writing a few of them under various aliases.

The novelization isn't exclusive to film; episodes of popular television shows may also be novelized: i.e., almost all of the original series Doctor Who serials were novelized, as can Comic Book Story Arcs, and even video games (usually the ones with strong narrative elements, like RPGs). These vary from Expanded Universe material to complete bastardizations that only bear the name of the original.

See also Tie-In Novel.


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Examples:

    open/close all folders 
    Anime and Manga 
  • Pokémon: Certain anime episodes (some books even compile several episodes within its pages) and at least two of the movies (some of the later films have been released in manga format).
  • Sailor Moon! Scholastic had a few Sailor Moon books that were essentially adaptations of the anime (specifically, the DiC dub since they used their character names. Interestingly, they covered some episodes skipped by DiC). They covered roughly the first arc.
  • Dragon Ball has an English-language junior novel series based on the manga and features images taken from it for illustrations.
    • In Japan, all three animes were adapted into an "animanga" using screenshots of the show, despite the show being based on a manga. The main appeal was that it was in color, but then the Full Color edition of the original manga was released using Toriyama's stronger artwork. As Kanzenshuu's Julian says, it's redundantly redundant.
  • Robotech was adapted into a successful 12-volume novel series by "Jack McKinney" (a pen name for James Luceno and Brian Daley). The series led to more than one Tie-In Novel, creating a 21-volume novel series that significantly expands on the original television series. The novels based on the unproduced scripts for The Sentinals were later adapted into the comic book series.
    • The novelizations were declared to be Canon Discontinuity by the current head of Robotech licensing and production... and then the ones based on the T.V. series were later re-issued with new covers under the current Robotech branding. However, the novel-exclusive stories and related omnibus remain out of print, although some are officially available as e-books. All of the novels are easy to find through the used book circuit.
    • The original Macross franchise has had novelizations of Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Macross: Do You Remember Love?, and Macross Frontier (the DYRL? one, in particular, restores several plot points from SDF and adds new scenes [such as a mock combat between Hikaru and a newly-recruited Max Jenius). However, good luck finding translations, as the folks at Harmony Gold haven't budged...
  • Most of the Gundam series have had novel adaptations, sometimes resolving very differently from the anime. And some side stories and sequels originate as novels. Notable is Beltochika's Children; initially, it was Yoshiyuki Tomino's rejected plot for Char's Counterattack, which, in turn, is an adaption of Tomino's novel Hi-Streamer. In other words, it's a novelization of The Film of the Book (by the same author).
  • Even the Slice of Life yonkoma Hidamari Sketch was adapted into Light Novels.
  • There is a three-installment novelization of Digimon Adventure, which expands on the leading cast members' characterization while having several scenes play out differently than they did in the anime.
  • Tamagotchi had a series of light novels retelling the entire first installment of the anime.
  • PriPara got two: one retelling the series' first story arc, and another retelling the events of the Big Damn Movie, Let's Go PriParis.
  • One Piece had one for each of its first eight or so non-serial movies, but the most interesting of the bunch is a little-known novelization of the canon Loguetown arc. Allegedly, this novel contains a number of ideas Oda had intended to put in the manga, but had to cut so the Straw Hats could make the Grand Line by Chapter 100.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • The Story Arc of the Superman comics where he died and returned was made into a novelization by Roger Stern. It's generally considered better than the original, partially due to cutting out the various running subplots, crossovers, and Dark Age tropes.
  • Likewise, the novelization for the Batman: No Man's Land story arc is also better. (Except for completely removing Catwoman, Superman, and Azrael from the plot.) With a plot that spread out over a year and, like Superman's death, was covered in at least four different titles with different writers, the novel brilliantly smoothed the rough edges.
  • For every good adaptation, however, there are crappy ones. 52 omitted large portions of the storyline. While Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis are written under the assumption that the person reading it is familiar with the story, meaning casual readers will have no clue what's going on...
  • There are many instances of novelizations in comic book form, outside of Recursive Adaptations of comic book-based films. Many of Marvel's Super Special books were novelizations of late 70s/early-mid 80s films, and adaptations of Star Wars (back when it was just Star Wars and not Episode IV) and The Empire Strikes Back appeared in serialized form as issues of their ongoing Star Wars comic, though Return of the Jedi was published as a separate mini-series (and both Empire and Jedi were published as Super Specials as well. DC released novelizations of some of the Star Trek films as one-shots while they held the rights to publish Trek comics.

    Fan Works 
  • Hail to the Jewels in the Lotus has the short story "Son of the Sun", which is a novelization of the events of the Warframe's "Sands of Inaros" sidequest.
  • The Boy Without a Fairy is a much darker and realistic retelling of the The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time with Link's backstory given much more detail, and since he's able to talk in this story, he's able to form and express his own opinions of his adventure. Since he can speak, there are much more dialogue and interactions between the characters, with Link and Navi's bond being the most prominent.
  • Invader Zim: The Series is primarily a novelization of Invader Zim, though the author pads it out with original subplots and OCs, especially upon reaching the episodes that went incomplete and unaired when the canon series was canceled.

    Film 
  • Animal House was created and released as an oversized book simultaneously with the movie itself. In true National Lampoon style, it was more than a straight novelization; parts are done as comic strips and as parodies of college documents of the period, such as the student orientation handbook, the campus newspaper, and the yearbook. (The original is both hard to find and expensive in good condition; a "29th Anniversary Edition" was released in 2007.)
  • Back to the Future had one unique and bizarre enough for it to get its own page.
  • The novelization of The Mummy Returns has an added bit where showing loyalty to the Scorpion King meant "cutting off your forehead" and chanting "Mi Phat As." Rick O'Connell tries to mimic it as best as he can: "My fat ass!" After Anck-Su-Namun abandons Imhotep, Rick pities him and offers to help him, but the heartbroken Imhotep refuses.
  • 1913 silent drama Traffic in Souls, which was probably the first feature film produced in the United States, also had a novelization produced, making it the Trope Maker for cinema.
  • James Cameron, director of The Terminator, Aliens, and other films, has gone on record in the preface to the novelization of The Abyss that he hates most novelizations because he respects books and the crass way authors write most novelizations. He then goes on to laud Orson Scott Card, the writer of the novelization for The Abyss, as getting it right. Cameron gave pages of Card's draft to his actors for character backstory.
    • There were two novelizations to the original Terminator movie. The U.S. novelization was written by Randall Frakes, a close friend of James Cameron, after Cameron gave him access to the movie's backstory. Thus, most of the book goes into in-depth details about the characters' motivations and inner feelings. The U.K. novelization by Shaun Hutson didn't have the same luxury and serves more as a direct retelling of the movie in prose form.
    • In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the topic of an Avatar novelization came up. Cameron made a point of stressing that it was the novel, not the novelization.
  • Halloween (1978)'s novelization by Richard Curtis (under the pen name Curtis Richards) is quite renowned by the film's fans for exploring more of the characters and depth that the movie wasn't able to cover. The novel has become a collector's item among modern fans since copies are harder to find. The book was so renowned that lines from it ("You don't know what death is!") appear in the sequel. Michael Myers' added backstory was incorporated into the sixth film. The second and third films were also novelized by Dennis Etchison (under the pen name Jack Martin), who was asked to write the script for Halloween 4 (however, while his treatment was used, his script wasn't). Nicholas Grabowsky novelized the fourth film. Halloween2018 was novelized by John Passarella (best known for writing novels from the Buffyverse).
  • The Human Comedy (1943) is a very interesting example. Writer William Saroyan wrote the story and screenplay for the film and was running to direct it. When he clashed with MGM head, Louis B. Mayer, Clarence Brown was selected instead. When Saroyan became dissatisfied with the resulting film, he wrote a novel that reflected his vision for the story and published it before the film was released. This action led many to believe the film was based on the novel when it was technically the other way around. Simultaneously, the film was later adapted for radio plays, a TV movie, and a musical. The novel was adapted as a film, released in 2015, entitled Ithaca, directed by Meg Ryan (in her directorial debut) and produced by Tom Hanks. In other words, it's the film based on the novel based on the film!
  • Batman:
    • Batman and Batman Returns both had novelizations by Craig Shaw Gardner.
    • The Batman Forever novelization by Peter David is generally praised as an improvement over the film. He throws in some deleted scenes from the film (like Two-Face's escape from Arkham) and rearranges some scenes that the film showed out of sequence to help the story make more sense. He added more character development for characters like Dr. Chase Meridian, Robin, The Riddler, and Two-Face. For example, Chase meets Dick Grayson and his father John early in the story after Dick comes to her aid when a thug takes her purse. Chase also figures out Bruce Wayne's secret identity after seeing him fight Two-Face's goons at the circus, explaining her seduction scene on the police headquarters rooftop and her spending time with Bruce to study him and see what makes him tick. Peter David gives additional insight into Riddler's obsession with Bruce, stemming from Nygma's childhood; when he finds a newspaper article on Thomas and Martha Wayne's murder, Nymga sees a photo of a young Bruce and immediately identifies with him. Peter David explains Two-Face's motivation for hating Batman is Dent believing that Batman failed to protect him as promised. Not only does he explore the film's duality theme in more detail, but Peter David also adds details that fill in plot holes from Batman Returns, such as how Batman clears his name. Unlike the film, the book has a stronger connection to the previous films with mentions of The Joker and The Penguin, and some classic Batman characters like Lucius Fox and Harvey Bullock have cameo appearances. There's even a mention of Poison Ivy. Bizarrely, The Riddler briefly wears a robotic muscle suit for a few pages during the climax, like in the licensed game version.
    • Batman Begins and The Dark Knight had novelizations done by Dennis O'Neil, who'd written and edited Batman comics for roughly three decades beforehand. As a result, he's confident in making a lot of expansions and outright changes. The changes made range from the minor (Joker is somewhat closer to the comics take, even using Joker Venom at one point) to the truly bizarre (Scarecrow's motivations are explained as those of a Well-Intentioned Extremist trying to create utopia through fear).
    • The Dark Knight Rises also had a novelization, this time written by Greg Cox, which reveals the fate of the Joker after the previous movie. He's the sole Arkham inmate left after the Dent Act forces all others into Blackgate Prison, although it's hinted he might have escaped the asylum.
  • Rarely, The Film of the Book will itself have a novelization.
    • Particularly notable: Bram Stoker's Dracula by Fred Saberhagen, a tacit admission that Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film didn't quite fit the original story.
    • Likewise, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein by Leonore Fleischer, the novelization of Kenneth Branagh's 1994 film. (Saberhagen reportedly offered his services for this novelization as well, primarily because it would then have been "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, by the author of Bram Stoker's Dracula".) Fleischer is a veteran novelizer, with "Based on..." works including Rain Man, ¡Three Amigos!, Annie (yes, that's right, the book of the film of the musical of the comic strip) and even Fame. (Yes, that's right, the book of the musical.)
    • Furthermore, there was a novelization of the 1979 version of Nosferatu, a remake of the 1922 Nosferatu, which was an unauthorized adaptation of Dracula.
    • Piers Anthony did a novelization of Total Recall (1990), which was inspired by We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, a novella by Philip K. Dick.
    • The 1980s remake of The Thing (1982), based on the short story "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell, was novelized.
    • And the Little Women movie (the 1993 version) had one.
    • They even had one for the live-action version of The Cat in the Hat. A "junior novelization," but still.
    • And a very bland version of The Secret Garden.
    • The 1998 version of Great Expectations, starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow and based on the Charles Dickens novel, was novelized.
    • All three Jurassic Park movies got junior novelization, even though the first two movies were based on books. To be fair, the films were (especially the second one) reasonably different from the source material.
    • It's a Wonderful Life got a 50th Anniversary Novelization in 1996. People aware of the filmmaking are most certainly aware that it was based on a Christmas card ("The Greatest Gift" by Phillip Van Doren Stern).
  • All the Star Wars films received novelizations.
    • The novelization of A New Hope, ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, introduced several plot points not elaborated on in the movie, including the first official reference to Darth Vader as a "Lord of the Sith" and the name of the first Emperor (Palpatine). Palpatine was only the first in a very long line. It has some scenes that didn't make it to the movie, like the special edition-exclusive Han and Jabba scene. Interestingly, it was released before the movie came out. (Unfortunately, since Foster wrote it before the script doctors got to it, you have to slog through a fair bit of George Lucas' original dialogue, about which Harrison Ford once said, "George, you can type this shit, but you sure as hell can't say it.")
    • The novelization of Return of the Jedi, written by James Kahn, features a handful of changes. It expands on some characters (Wicket has more characterization, Moff Jerjerrod is depicted as a sadist, etc.). It also makes the Rebel fleet larger, drawing out the battle more, and dramatically enhances the confrontation between Luke, Vader, and the Emperor. For some reason, it has the dialogue of many of the non-human characters written out in excruciating detail, down to emphasizing the pitch changes in Artoo's beeps and boops.
    • Nearly forty years later, Foster returned to the franchise to write the novelization of The Force Awakens. Like his previous work, it elaborates on some plot points and background detail, including a plausible (for Space Opera) explanation of how Starkiller Base works.
    • Matt Stover's work on Revenge of the Sith, which has its own page, has a tremendous amount of character detail and background information shoehorned into the text, broadly explaining some of the seemingly inexplicable actions of some characters; more dialogue is also added, even to scenes which the film itself covers; and even the action scenes are written with grand vision and style. Not for nothing since a portion of the fandom regards the novelization as better than the original film. Which is saying something, given the film itself has an 80% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
    • There is also a Revenge of the Sith novelization by Patricia C. Wrede. Though the book itself is a "junior novelization" essentially, and Amazon's description refers to it as that. This novelization provides the plot's basics and additional insight into the characters. But it doesn't offer anywhere near the depth or detail of Stover's novelization. It's about 190 pages and also includes some photos from the film.
  • Dragon Ball Evolution has a junior novel.
  • Dragonheart has both a regular novelization and a junior one. The novelization, written by the film's screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue, is based on his early screenplay before creative differences with director Rob Cohen and executive meddling from Universal changed it. Compared to the family-friendly nature of the film, the novelization has the Darker and Edgier feel the movie was meant to have. It expands on the world, the characters, and their relationships and gives previously minor or unnamed supporting characters larger roles such as the dragonslayers introduced near the end. It also includes vital scenes and moments of character development cut from the film, rearranges some scenes and dialogue to help the story flow better, and removes elements added to the film that Pogue disapproved of, like the pigs in the swamp village. While the film received a mixed reception, the novelization is praised by readers and fans, deeming it superior to the film and lamenting What Could Have Been. The book notably features more direct interaction between Draco and the other characters than shown in the movie that was limited due to the CGI technology at the time.
  • Isaac Asimov agreed to write the novelization of the movie Fantastic Voyage; between him finishing early and delays in the film's production, much of the audience believed the movie was a Film Of The Book when it was released. His frustrations with Executive Meddling lead him to write Fantastic Voyage II, a non-movie-based take on the same themes, years later.
  • Two above-average novelizations that take larger than usual liberties with the source material are: Orson Scott Card's novelization of The Abyss (which introduced backstory that director James Cameron gave to the actors) and William Kotzwinkle's novelization of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (which he wrote with the screenwriter, and which includes many details on E.T.'s home planet and motivations that do not appear in the film - it also consists of the scene with Elliot's principal [filmed, with Harrison Ford as the principal, but cut]. Most importantly, it retains the M&M's). Kotzwinkle later wrote a sequel, E.T.: The Book of the Green Planet, a sequel to the film based on a story by Steven Spielberg.
  • Another is The Return of Swamp Thing novel by veteran comics writer Peter David, often considered more faithful to the source material.
  • Event Horizon's novelization was superior to the film in many areas, especially character development.
  • The Alien films also had adaptations made, usually featuring scenes that were shot but weren't used in a version of the film. At least, in the book for Aliens, which included subplots not used until the Director's Cut of the film, as well as a scene where Company sleazebag Burke is cocooned in the Alien hive) for many years.
    • The Alien novelizations probably had it better than most. All of the novelizations up until Alien: Resurrection were written by Alan Dean Foster, the same guy who ghostwrote the original Star Wars novel. At least, Foster cared about his books' tone, and they're written quite passably, if not well. The author's consistency also means there's little if any discontinuity between these three novels; the style and mood are the same across all three. Foster even gives his readers a wink by using similar images for the opening of each book, even though the films were the better part of a decade apart in each case.
  • The Cult Classic Phantom of the Paradise has a notoriously bad novelization. Not only did it remove every single supernatural element, including the Deal with the Devil that the film's plot centers on, but it also threw the characterization into a shredder. A prime example is Phoenix, the Phantom's love interest. In the movie, she's a sweet, innocent Idol Singer; in the novelization, her first appearance sees her come out on stage topless and sing about anal sex.
  • After previously writing the comic book series of both characters, Peter David handled the novelizations of the Spider-Man Trilogy and The Incredible Hulk movies. Notably, the novelization of Spider-Man 3 included many scenes cut from the movie, most notably several scenes in the final battle that make it play out much differently than it did in the film. David also added the touch of giving names to background characters that went unnamed in the The Incredible Hulk film, which corresponded to similar characters from the source comics.
  • The 1927 lost film London After Midnight with Lon Chaney got a novelization, which still exists, and is a crucial reason we even know the film's plot.
  • First Blood was based on a book. The sequels weren't, but the original author wrote novelizations of the first two. They're quite good.
    • David Morrell, the author, lampshades the trope by addressing perhaps the most significant Canon Discontinuity between novel and film. In the preface to the first sequel, he explicitly acknowledges that, "In my book, Rambo died. In the films, he lives."
  • The novelization of Forbidden Planet is one of the better ones, which treats some issues skimmed over in the movie with more depth.
  • Peter David's novelization of Hulk contains the same dialogue as the film in parts but expands on the film's premise with differences here and there closer to the original script. It raises many characters' backgrounds, and feelings such as Bruce, Betty, David, General Ross, Talbot (whom Betty considers the son her father never had), and even gives insight into the Hulk's thoughts. The book fills in some plot holes like how Benny Goodman died (David fed him to his dogs), and why the Gamma Dogs found Betty after the Hulk did if David sicced them on Betty before telling Bruce about it; in the book, David unleashes them after telling Bruce. Even Bruce's adoptive mother, Monica Krenzler, reappears near the end, seeing Bruce embracing Betty on the news. Some of the early script's notable details include the Hulk's fight with the mutant dogs, Talbot's death, and Betty calming the Hulk in San Francisco, where he kneels in pain and shame upon seeing her, and she gently touches him.
  • The first James Bond film not to take its title from an Ian Fleming story, Licence to Kill, got a novelization from John Gardner, who was writing Bond novels at the time. Gardner had the unusual task of reconciling the film continuity (such as it is) with Fleming novels. For instance, in the film Felix Leiter gets his leg bitten off by a shark. But in the Fleming books, to which Gardner's novelization was meant to be a sequel, Leiter had already lost a leg to a shark (which happened in Live and Let Die). Gardner simply had the shark bite off Leiter's prosthetic without the bad guys noticing.
    • Licence to Kill was the first Bond movie to get a novelization since Moonraker, which was novelized by the film's screenwriter Christopher Wood as James Bond And Moonraker. While it stays close to the movie, for the most part, Jaws (here The Voiceless again) is missing from the freefall scene at the beginning and the waterfall chase, and he doesn't have a girlfriend. (Also, in the Venice chase scene, 007's gondola doesn't sprout wheels.)
  • Related to this are various tie-in books aimed at kids. Depending on the film, especially when you hit the PG-13 rating, this can overlap with Misaimed Marketing. A single movie can be given:
    • Paperback picture books - Sometimes focusing only on a segment of the story, depending on the film's length.
    • Easy readers - Simple prose for beginners.
    • Storybooks - Mini-novelizations, particularly in the early-to-mid 1980s, generously illustrated with stills. Sometimes happens with The Film of the Book adaptations (for instance, The Golden Compass), where younger kids might not be ready for the original book.
    • "Junior novels" - mostly with action/adventure films, these are distinct from the formal novelizations by way of different authors, much shorter lengths, and occasional sanitizing (the Iron Man one drops the sex-related material, for example).
    • Marley & Me has a junior novel entitled "Marley: A Dog Like No Other" in addition to a reissued edition of the original book with a movie tie-in cover.
    • Coloring books, puzzle/activity books, trivia books, and the list goes on...
  • Transformers had a novel and comic book based on the 2007 movie, which was based off the TV show which was inspired by a toyline which had a film that many would say Star Wars inspired in the same way Eragon is. The novel also had a prequel novel; its plot varied greatly from the prequel comic and seemed to take place on the planet Dune.
  • The Mortal Kombat movie was novelized shortly after its release. It was quite good and much better than the movie.
  • When Grease was novelized, the novelization dealt with the songs by turning them into prose dialogue. It was awkward. On the positive side, however, the novelization is a vast expansion of the film, starting before Danny and Sandy meet and incorporating loads of extra scenes, such as the characters dealing with the death of Buddy Holly. Scattered throughout are profanities more representative of the original stage version (Kenickie calls Danny a "faggot" at one point); and there is a T-Bird named Roger, as in the play - Doody is merely the name of an otherwise unimportant Rydell student. But that's not all - the entire story is told from the point of view of Sonny, whose girlfriend is a Pink Lady named Marcia, the addition of whom causes all of the Pink Lady/T-Bird romances to be shuffled around.
    • Grease 2 has a novelization, which is geared towards a young audience. As the book is based on a rough draft of the film, now-lost deleted scenes can be read (such as the rest of the Frenchie material and a scene at the talent show which completely spoils the 'Michael drove off a cliff and died' concept). However, the real fault lies in the pure stupidity evident in spots - for example, Cool Rider Michael rides his motorcycle *up* a flight of stairs.
  • Because Jim Henson himself supervised their writing and provided tons of material to author Anthony Charles Hockley Smith (as revealed in a 2012 Empire magazine tribute to Henson), the 1982 novelizations of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth contained information and scenes that didn't make it into the finished films. For the former, this included the names of all the Skeksis and Mystic characters, the alternate name for the Mystics (uRu), the passages in an invented language which were changed to English for the final script, the deleted funeral scenes, etc.. The Labyrinth novelization was again very close to the movie but contained expanded versions of the doorknockers and Fireys' sequences, the backstory of Sarah's mother leaving the family for an actor she worked with (and whom Jareth is the fantasy world equivalent of), and so forth.
    • Labyrinth also had a children's picture book version with drawn illustrations, written by Louise Gikow. It stuck closely to the film, with one big change — the issue of Jareth being a Stalker with a Crush isn't brought up. Not only is the Dream Ballet sequence presented as a delaying tactic, but the climax also has him destroyed by The Power of Love (specifically, Sarah's love for Toby). In the film, Sarah figures out that his Reality Warper powers don't include control over her, and a declaration of this is enough for him to admit defeat. This change didn't apply to the novelization or the Photo Album's telling (which used dialogue excerpts and stills from the film), aimed at older audiences.
  • Spaceballs: The Movie has Spaceballs: The Book. By Scholastic Press. Think about that for a second: the novelization of a Mel Brooks movie was marketed expressly to elementary school students. Fortunately, the plot and humor are largely intact, but the language is heavily bowdlerized.
    • Heck, they ran ads for the movie on the back cover of Junior Scholastic magazine.
  • The novelization of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was so half-assed it got Hironobu Sakaguchi's name wrong on the front cover. (He's both the director of most FF games and the "original story writer" for the movie.)
  • The novelization of Howard the Duck was exponentially better than the film. Written by National Lampoon alumnus Ellis Weiner, he went wild with the source material, spicing up the action with sharp, funny descriptions, inserting long digressions that steered the reader from the silly plot. In some cases, he invented elaborate, absurd backstories for characters and items with only brief appearances in the movie. For instance, the disintegrator ray that plays a significant role in the film's climax was revealed by Weiner to have been thought up by President Reagan over a bowl of Smurfberry Crunch; this detail is not in the movie.
  • Pretty in Pink had one which featured the original ending, as opposed to the theatrical ending.
  • The Master Mystery had one. In 1919.
  • The Constantine novelization was a lot better than the film: the scenery and events were amazingly detailed, it had better-defined characters, and there were even more elements from the original Hellblazer comics incorporated into the story — the ghosts of Constantine's old friends stalking him, the inclusion of pagan Gods, references to Midnite's gladiator games, etc.
  • The novelization of Gremlins includes a metric buttload of additional information, such as the fact that the mogwai are an artificial, disposable slave race created by an alien scientist named Mogturman (and later almost destroyed the civilization that created them), the secondary mogwai all have names (like poor doomed Clor), and that the movie-ending line "Bye, Billy" was the result of hours of personal angst and effort by Gizmo.
  • The novelization of Ghostbusters (1984) is pretty notable. The author explicitly writes it as a comedy, just as the film is, but it's written in true Deadpan Snarker fashion, just as Venkman is. Few novelizations have such a grasp of the characters that they can sum up Egon Spengler like so:
    "Nobody has explained the facts of life to Spengler. He worked them out for himself on a pocket calculator and vaguely suspected he came up with the wrong result."
    • It should be noted that Ghostbusters actually has two different novelizations: one written by Richard Mueller (who later wrote for The Real Ghostbusters), the other written by Larry Milne and published in Britain - the latter, unusually, is written in the present tense and also contains bios of key cast and crew members... and, bizarrely, virtually all of the film's credits ("From Columbia-Delphi Productions").
    • The Ghostbusters II novelization isn't quite as great, but does have this line:
      "Legend has it that, even as a child, Peter Venkman was incapable of a sincere smile."
  • James Kahn's novelization of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is relatively faithful to the movie, except for one entire chapter (two) which deals with Short Round's life before meeting up with Indy; and some info about one of their elephants being named Large Short Round, leading SR to assume it's his reincarnated dead brother. It also negates a few of the movie's problems with Artistic License and even justifies some of them In-Universe; for instance, Indy and Captain Blumburtt discuss the un-Hindu gross-out feast at Pankot Palace, and turns it into a brilliant bit of Foreshadowing that all is not right at Pankot.
    • The one for Raiders of the Lost Ark features a good deal of Adaptation Expansion, with author Campbell Black adding his own scenes, one of which comprises an entire chapter. Of course, in the first chapter, Indy's failed quest to get the golden idol at the beginning. But instead of the second chapter being his return to the States and teaching his class, as in the film, it introduces Dietrich and has him being given his mission to obtain the Ark by a high-ranking Nazi named Eidel. Black also frequently cuts back to "meanwhile, with Belloq and Dietrich" style scenes throughout the book to make them (Belloq, especially) seem more like actual characters with their own story.
  • The novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture was written by Gene Roddenberry himself (to the disgust of Harold Livingston, who wrote the script for the movie). Notable because he gave a massive boost to the Kirk / Spock slashers by stating outright that the honorific Spock uses for Kirk "t'hy'la" was interpreted from the Vulcan language as "brother/friend/lover" and what the shippers have reinterpreted as meaning "soulmate".
    • The novelizations of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock had several important plot points that were missing from the movies. It was established that Commander Sulu was to be promoted to captain and commanding officer of the USS Excelsior immediately after returning from the training mission, but the Genesis controversy caused Starfleet Commander Morrow to rewrite his orders.
      • In Wrath of Khan, we see a developing mentor/protégé relationship between Lt. Saavik and Cadet Peter Preston, the latter of whom has a crush on the former. The Genesis team members are all named and given plot development, including one who was Carol Marcus' lover. The torture of the Genesis team (sans three people) is shown in explicit detail, and towards the end, we see the beginnings of a friendship between Saavik and David Marcus.
      • In Search For Spock, Saavik and David's friendship blooms into romance, which was unfortunately not seen in the movie. And when David is killed, Saavik becomes so enraged that she takes on three Klingon guards by herself and is only taken down after two disruptor blasts. (Also, Kirk doesn't say the famous line "You Klingon bastard, you've killed my son!"; he calls him a "spineless coward" instead).
      • The Voyage Home was novelized by Vonda McIntyre, with some style. Spock and Sarek in particular get further upgrading via backstory and other lines. The famous What Could Have Been scene with Sulu meeting his great-great-grandfather is faithfully included, and Macintyre plays up (to the point of being Anvilicious about it) the conservation themes of the film, with Spock occasionally stopping by nondescript plants to say "Fascinating. An extinct species." Even McCoy's ranting gets an upgrade:
      McCoy: Good Lord. Why don't they just drill a hole in his head and let the evil spirits out?
      • McIntyre's Voyage Home novel also elaborates and expands on the probe's nature. It's a sentient being of near godlike power, and is referred to as "the traveler." It's maintained contact with Earth's whales for centuries across the vastness of space and visited Earth previously before humans evolved. It considers whales a superior species because it enjoys their songs, and doesn't even notice or care about humans. Its reason for coming is it heard the cries of the whales as they were hunted centuries ago. It had come with the intention of rescuing them, but the journey took so long that the whales are all dead by the time it arrived. When it discovers this, it plans to purge Earth of life and begin it anew - until George and Gracie are brought to the present and answer its call, persuading it to spare the planet. This explanation and backstory for the probe were eventually rendered non-canonical by a later novel entitled Probe, however, which revealed that [[spoiler space whales sent it]].
    • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier's novelization by J.M. Dillard does a lot to redeem the movie's Idiot Plot, adding considerable backstory to Sybok and his mother, and explaining that "God" had telepathically sent Sybok a formula for configuring a starship's deflector shields to penetrate the Barrier. After Sybok gets Scotty to set up the Enterprise's shields in this way, Klaa's Bird-of-Prey copies the same shield configuration in order to follow the Enterprise. It also gives background information on St. John Talbot, General Korrd, Cathlinn Dar, and J'Onn, and tells what led them all to their current circumstances on the godforsaken world of Nimbus III.
  • The novelization of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (a Recursive Adaptation) is mostly faithful to the movie but includes a few extended scenes, such as Brent badgering Flint at the tackle shop, and Flint's food fight with the Mayor.
  • Serenity, the movie that tied-up the loose ends of Firefly, was novelized. Most fans enjoy the added depth to the characters, especially River (who, according to the book, makes up her own languages)
  • The novelization of The Funhouse gives its characters more depth and back story and is also slightly more disturbing than the film. It was written by Dean Koontz (under the pen name Owen West) and released while the film was delayed. This led some to believe the film was an adaptation of the book, but it was actually the other way around.
  • Enchanted has a novelization. It retains almost all of the scripts and story elements, though the songs are only described. However, the novel does occasionally give added info on what characters are thinking and includes a few scenes that in the film are available only as deleted scenes on the DVD release. The novel also removes a couple of the more suggestive moments from the film, such as Nancy's comment about Robert having some "grown-up girl bonding time" with Giselle, and Morgan's line that boys are only after one thing, but nobody will tell her what it is.
  • 1935's Werewolf of London got a novelization long, long after its release (sometime in the 70s) by someone under the house pseudonym Carl Dreadstone. While it told the same basic story as the film, about a botanist who becomes a werewolf, it had some differences (not the least of which is Glendon's first name is inexplicably spelled "Wilfrid"). This included a radically different ending: Glendon and his fellow werewolf, Dr. Yogami, attempt to stave off their transformation by seeing a hypnotist. It fails, and the two transform and fight. Glendon kills Yogami and then the hypnotist. The novelization then concludes with Glendon turning back into a human and contemplating killing himself with the hypnotist's gun.
  • Clue: The Movie got a novel, which had a fourth ending that was filmed but now presumably lost.
  • The movie Stargate has a novelization written by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, the movie's writers (Emmerich was also the director). The book is slightly better than the movie. While it has the same ending, dialogue, and even shares its cover with the poster, the book provides more insight into each character's motivations, particularly Ra and Abydos's inhabitants.
  • TRON's novelization was written up by Brian Daley. Notable for amping up the roles of minor characters, fleshing out the dynamic among the three human heroes, providing a few Word of God details about the cyberspace society, and added Deleted Scenes (including that one) back in.
  • The Toxic Avenger had a novel written for it...21 years after the original film's release. It adds considerably more backstory, characters, Refuge in Audacity, Vulgar Humor, and Gorn.
  • National Lampoon's Class Reunion, bizarrely, is a photographic book.
  • The Goonies, penned by James Kahn, has its chapter headings in the forms of summations of the events in each chapter ("...We Stop For Provisions...") and is narrated by Mikey, except for chapter six ("Chunk's Story") which details what happened when the Fratellis took Chunk in his own words.
  • The Adventures of Smokey and the Bandit combined the plots of Smokey And The Bandit and the sequel - but put "the pregnant elephant caper" first chronologically. Which the sequels are universally regarded as weaker the original is understandable.
  • The novelization of The Untouchables differs in several respects from the movie, with a different climax. (The film's climax was completely rewritten after the original idea proved to be too expensive, but the novelization kept the original climax.)
  • The novelization of Kung Fu Panda 2 actually portrayed its villain, Shen, as a more sympathetic character than in the movie, while the film's prologue had Shen develop his cannons for evil for no reason, the novelization stated that the real reason he was evil was that his parents hated him because of his pale coloration and poor health.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show spawned a tie-in book calling itself a "Movie Novel" - though it isn't. It's merely a comic book that adds speech bubbles to poor-quality screencaps from the film. There were several of these in The '70s; Hair was another example of them.
  • The novelization of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was, uncharacteristically, written by the screenwriter of the film, and seems like an elaborate attempt to repair a broken story. Heartland's inhabitants are described in elaborate detail, more characters are added to BD Records' staff of shifty record-biz personas, and the story wraps up with an outlandish ending in which Sgt. Pepper's band magically gains the members of hundreds (literally) of other popular bands, all of whom are listed over the last several pages of the book. Unlike the Grease novel, musical numbers don't become awkward dialogue pieces - the characters actually sing as if in a musical movie. The story stops, the lyrics of a Beatles song are printed in full, and the story continues.
  • The novelization of John Carter includes the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novel A Princess of Mars. Compare and contrast!
  • The novelization of The Cabin in the Woods features some great additional description that didn't make it from script to film, including a description of the infamous Kevin.
  • The junior novelization of The Avengers hit bookstores before the movie hit theaters, so it took an unusual approach to avoid spoilers and get the reader up to speed on the Marvel Cinematic Universe up to that point — it retold the plots of the previous five films in alternating chapters for each hero, and wrapped up with a rundown of the first act of this one, ending as the heroes are initially brought together.
  • The novelization for Jaws: The Revenge is written by Hank Searls. Despite being the trope namer for Voodoo Shark, it is better than the movie (it would be hard to do worse.) It explains that a voodoo curse was put on the shark and that's why it was attacking members of the Brody family (though it's not clear why or who is doing this). It also has tighter and more action-packed scenes, chooses to not resurrect Jake, and has a subplot involving Michael Caine's character smuggling drugs, making it more interesting and more thought out than the movie.
    • It is explained who is responsible. It's a Voodoo witch-doctor named Papa Jacques, who cast a curse on the Brody family because Michael Brody was a jerk to him a few times, and Papa Jacques apparently lives by Disproportionate Retribution, and therefore finds murdering Michael's entire family to be a reasonable form of retaliation.
  • The junior novelizations of the live-action Scooby-Doo films were interesting in that they were told from a different character's perspective each chapter (rotating around Velma, Shaggy, Daphne, and Fred). For what it's worth, the character development was more fleshed out, and the story had more depth, while still being funny and entertaining at the same time.
  • Jonathan Maberry wrote a novelization of The Wolfman (2010). It's noteworthy that the author only had two months to pen the entire thing, yet the book is generally seen as a big improvement over the film. It mostly adheres to the movie's final cut, with a couple of scenes added (such as deleted scenes) and more fleshed-out characters. There is only one significant alteration: Lawrence figures out who the werewolf on his own and does so earlier on.
  • The junior novelization of Iron Man 3 tacks on an epilogue of the real Mandarin, supposedly the true leader of the Ten Rings group referenced in Iron Man whose identity was appropriated by Aldrich Killian for his fake terrorist campaign, watching news coverage of the events of the film. This has been confirmed as canon by All Hail the King included with the home release of Thor: The Dark World, where faux Mandarin Trevor Slattery is broken out of jail to face the true Mandarin's wrath for the impersonation.
  • The novelization of Men in Black adds onto a lot of the background aliens to flesh out the world a bit more without feeling like Padding, but the best part has to be the scene where the Bug (who in fact has a name) takes over Edgar. The Spock Speak voice that speaks to Edgar from the ship is actually a Universal Translator, and it has the problem of making everything sound overly stilted and formal. We get the way Bug actually said it in his own language (though the translator isn't word-for-word identical to the film.)
    Bug: Put the gun down, stupid.
    Voice from ship: RELINQUISH YOUR PROJECTILE WEAPON, LESS THAN OPTIMALLY-BRAINED ONE.
    Edgar: You can have it when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!
    Bug: There's a deal.
    Voice from ship: YOUR PROPOSAL IS ACCEPTABLE.
  • The novelization of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen reads more like the comic it was based on, then the movie. You can *feel* where the Executive Meddling ripped things apart.
  • Highlander had one that added tidbits about the mythology (or the film's version it contradicts the series many times already), a scene where Connor first met Kastagir, and a few added bits to scenes in the film.
  • Although the original Planet of the Apes film wasn't novelized, the sequels were. Conquest one has the film's original ending, not the altered one. The 2001 film also got one, though it omitted the twist ending.
  • The films Reptilicus, Gorgo and Konga all had tie-in novels published by Monarch Books in the 60s. All three are notorious for the fact that their author wrote in softcore sex scenes to spice things up. In the case of Gorgo, a film without any major female characters, author Carson Bingham had to invent an original female character for Joe to sleep with (the alternative was him and Sam).
  • The novelization of independent thriller/horror film Ten was written by script co-writer and cast member Jade Sylvan (who portrayed The Renegade). It was written while the movie was being filmed and based on an early version of the screenplay and therefore included scenes that were cut from the film; most notably, a major clue towards the main Plot Twist shows up halfway through the novel, but not the movie. On the other hand, the fact that it was written by someone on set at the time means that a few moments from the film that were purely Throw It In! were added to the book. The novelization also has an unusual structure where each of the ten main characters narrates one of the novel's ten chapters, which means the characters get more fleshed out than in the film.
  • John Milius's The Wind and the Lion received a tie-in novelization, reputedly by Milius himself. The book adheres closely to the movie's plot but is much heavier on Purple Prose and exotic atmosphere (a long description of Eden having a Moroccan steam bath for instance), rather than the film's action/adventure focus.
  • Sam Peckinpah's Major Dundee has a novelization based on a very early script draft by Harry Julian Fink (hence before the movie's notorious Executive Meddling). Though it maintains the plot outline (Union and Confederate soldiers teaming up to fight Apache Indians), it contains more characters than the movie, changes the fate of existing ones (Captain Tyreen most notably), and elaborated on numerous scenes deleted from the final cut - including the Apache massacre that originally opened the movie.
  • Maleficent has a novelization based on a much older draft of the script, though YMMV on whether it's better or worse than the film. While it includes a lot of interactions not found in the film (shippers have noted that it reads like a Maleficent/Diaval fanfiction at times), a lot of characterization is changed, making Stefan much more unambiguously evil and Maleficent retains her villainous nature for longer.
  • Superman:
    • Superman Returns's novelization includes a sizeable portion on Krypton - both the relationship between Lara and Jor-El and the Deleted Scene of Kal-El's return to Krypton. It has a good deal of internal monologue from Superman, particularly during the plane save scene and the island scene. It also notably lacks the controversial Superman's son element.
    • The 1984 Supergirl movie also had a novelization by Norma Fox Mazer which delved more deeply into characters, mainly Linda Lee and the witch Selene.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man Series, while not receiving complete novelizations, did receive junior novelizations.
  • Romancing the Stone and its sequel The Jewel of the Nile both had tie-in novels. Since the movies are about a romance novelist named Joan Wilder, both books were not only ghostwritten by someone writing as Joan Wilder (as in the covers literally say "by Joan Wilder"), but the cover artwork for both of them, as well, calls to mind the kind of cheesy romance novels Joan writes in the movie(s), especially the one for Romancing the Stone which depicts an enraptured Joan swooning in the arms of a shirtless Jack Colton.
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon had two novelizations, one by Vargo Statten which was faithful to the movie (other than a bit of Adaptation Expansion involving a man-eating underwater tree), and another by Walter Hariss writing under the pseudonym "Carl Dreadstone" which... wasn't.In fact,
  • In fact, there's a novelization of The Room (not authorized by Tommy Wiseau), written in the same terrible style as the original film. It also elaborates on certain plot points: Lisa cheats on Johnny because she's dissatisfied with him fucking her belly button, and Denny asks for baking ingredients because he is making meth brownies. It's also available for free.
    • Wiseau himself originally wrote the story as a play, and then a 500-page novel before he decided to make it as an independent film. The novel has never been published.
  • For the The Chronicles of Riddick, there are novelizations of the first two films. Pitch Black, by Frank Lauria, is mostly a cut-and-paste from an early draft of the script (so that one important twist from the movie doesn't appear), but it does add some backstory on how Riddick was captured and why he went to prison in the first place. The one for The Chronicles of Riddick by Alan Dean Foster added in tons of details, several extra scenes, and detailed backstory, including an appendix with more details on the Necromonger religion.
  • The novelization of Coco went into a lot more detail than the film did, particularly involving the title character's backstory.
  • Black Christmas (1974) was novelized by Lee Hayes. It's become a collector's item among fans.
  • Santa Claus: The Movie has a novelization that has tons of additional World Building details, Backstory for several characters (Joe and Cornelia especially), and scenes that didn't make it into the finished film and often qualify as All There in the Manual material. They deal with everything from Santa's Weight Woe to Patch's nigh-precognitive ability to predict/create inventions to ALL of the issues the ending Left Hanging.
  • Tamara has one based on the earlier Hotter and Sexier script that has its own page. Tamara.
  • Orca: The Killer Whale has one that is substantially different from the film it is based upon. It has its own page. Orca: The Killer Whale.
  • 2018's Hocus Pocus & The All-New Sequel is both a novelization of the 1993 film Hocus Pocus as well as a Spin-Offspring sequel.
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms received an "extended" novelization by Meredith Rusu, titled The Secret of the Realms. It heavily expands on the backstories of both the villain and Clara's mother Marie in much more detail than the movie could cover and is generally considered the superior version.
  • A Fistful of Dollars was novelized in 1972 by Frank Chandler.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek has novelizations for many episodes. Alan Dean Foster's Log books, novelizations of Star Trek: The Animated Series, do an especially good job at fleshing out the stories and characters and adding depth, so much so that it's hard to enjoy the series if you read the books first. (Nothing against the series here, except Filmation's ultra-cheap animation. The Log books are just that good.)
    • Foster did it again with the reboot film, and he included scenes that would be cut from the final release.
  • A.C. Crispin novelized the entirety of The '80s TV miniseries V (1983), together with its sequel V: The Final Battle in one Doorstopper of a book. It works well, mostly because Crispin doesn't just stick to the scripts. However, the transition between miniseries and finale is awkward. ("Four months later", anyone?) The book contains a couple of shoutouts - a helicopter pilot is named "Joe Harnell" (Harnell scored the first miniseries); two of Mike Donovan's colleagues are named after T.V. writers, Sam Egan and Jeri Taylor Yes, that one. (who at the time were working at Universal (Egan wrote "Next Stop, Nowhere" the Trope Namer for The Quincy Punk), as creator Kenneth Johnson had done.
  • British police drama The Bill had scripts from its first seven seasons novelized as compilation volumes by author John Burke. This proved simple enough in the original seasons when there were only 12 episodes each year. After the program shifted to doing 90+ episodes a year, liberties began to be taken about which scripts could be adapted and which ones couldn't. One advantage of the novels was that they took separated episodes and wove them into a single, flowing storyline. Eventually, the T.V. series itself would do it, too.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and its spin-off, Angel), like many The WB/The CW productions, has a large number of both original novels and novelizations. The occasional good novelization (for example, The Diary of Rupert Giles, Vol. 1, ironically by Nancy Holder, author of the infamously atrocious original post-season seven novel, Queen of the Slayers) seeps in. But most appear to be nothing more than copies of the script with the stage directions edited into prose format, such as the T.V. series's novelization first episode, The Harvest.
  • This happens to a good number of Australian kids' shows. Both series of The Girl from Tomorrow got one, both series of Spellbinder had two each, and Blue Water High has had a novelization of the first season written from the viewpoint of one of the characters. These commonly are word-for-word transcriptions, with each episode taking up a chapter. The Blue Water High series is notable for breaking away from that—the series itself rotates the protagonists' viewpoints.
    • The first season of Round the Twist was novelized in a single book with extra behind-the-scenes info, and the third and fourth seasons had novelizations of each episode.
  • Home and Away has been novelized.
  • The 10th Kingdom was co-written, under the pseudonym Kathryn Wesley, by the husband and wife team of Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. It was based on an earlier version of the screenplay that suffered from invalidated script syndrome. The final result contains some things which would have made for intriguing scenes in the movie: the Queen telling the Dog Prince a "bedtime story" about how she ended up in prison, the literal burying of the magic ax, Virginia's Recurring Dreams about Wolf, or an interesting variation on the Swamp Witch's cottage scene with Clay Face rather than Acorn). Other sections have some surprisingly deep explorations of character and motivation: the longer conversations between Virginia and the Huntsman, Virginia and the Queen, Virginia and Snow White, or Virginia and Tony about her mother; or where they hear in Little Lamb Village about the Trolls ravaging the kingdom and Tony, who accidentally golded Wendell, feels responsible. And some explanations for otherwise head-scratching moments are included, such as the old woman in the forest and the Cupid girl in Kissing Town, both being Snow White in disguise. There's also lots of fun snarking in the characters' thoughts, especially Wolf's and Tony's.
  • A large portion of Monty Python's Big Red Book consisted of sketches from Monty Python's Flying Circus edited into humor book format. (As the show was Sketch Comedy, the book isn't a novel per se.)
  • A few early Murder, She Wrote episodes received the novelization treatment. The author used the extra space to add depth and plug the occasional perceived plot/characterization irregularity.
  • Doctor Who stories began to be novelized soon after the show debuted. From 1973 to 1994, Target published almost every single Doctor Who story from the original series run in novel form, plus several unbroadcast stories such as audio drama The Pescatons and three stories slated but never made from the canceled Season 23. In the era before home video, the Doctor Who Novelisations were the only way many young fans had to relive the story. Despite their literary shortcomings (with some honorable exceptions), they are still sought-after and fondly remembered to this day.
    • After Target's demise, BBC Books filled in some of their gapsnote ; in 1996, they novelized the T.V. movie; in the 2010s, they novelized Douglas Adams' Who stories, including Shada, which were abandoned during production. In 2018, they released four novelizations from the revival series.
    • The Sarah Jane Adventures also has novelizations of all the first season, the first two stories of season 2, and "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith". They use the space to add scenes that explain a few things (like adding events from "The Sontaran Strategem" and "The Poison Sky" shown from Sarah Jane's viewpoint to "The Last Sontaran") and add Ship Tease for Characters (like Luke/Maria in "The Last Sontaran").
  • Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister found their way into print not as straight novelizations, but in the guise of James Hacker MP's "diaries", including some additional material not featured in the T.V. scripts. The "editors" of Hacker's papers ([[Direct Line to the Author, in fact, the series' creators]]) included the points of view of other characters such as Sir Humphrey Appleby and Bernard Woolley via segments supposedly gleaned from such things as correspondence between civil servants, or "private papers" allegedly released to the public under the Thirty Year Rule — meaning the authors' preface was dated decades into the future.
  • British-published novelizations of American T.V. shows were everywhere in the 1980s; some only had one book because of the parent show's short run- basically these would be novelizations of the pilot episode (Automan, Shannonnote ), others got into plural figures (like Knight Rider and Street Hawk - the latter only lasted for 12 episodes after the pilot, but there were four books published covering said pilot and six regular episodes), with the champion being The A-Team (which clocked up ten books, all but one of which were based on episodes - only the first six of which were published in the U.S.).
  • Both seasons of the CBBC sitcom serial BAD Boyes were novelized by creators Jim and Duncan Eldridge, as BAD Boyes and BAD Boyes And The Gangsters. Written in First-Person Smartass, they add plenty of extra detail, and lots of Hypocritical Humour as the High School Hustler is outraged by everyone else's dishonesty. The forward to the first book also did some Canon Welding, revealing that Boyes was the unnamed diarist in the Eldridges' How To Handle Grownups series.
  • Dempsey and Makepeace had six books by various writers, with the first by Jesse Carr-Martindale (one of the show's writers). Unusually, the first book wasn't based on the premiere as much as on a later season one episode, "Makepeace, Not War" - and the next two by Starburst regular/author John Brosnan under the pseudonym John Raymond. Brosnan got into trouble with London Weekend (the show's producers) when parents complained that he'd made the stories somewhat more explicit than the series was - in Lucky Streak (based on the episode of the same name and "Judgement"), Makepeace shoots a rapist in the crotch, which does not happen in "Judgement."
  • The Red Dwarf novels are somewhere between a novelization and an original Tie-In Novel, taking elements from the episodes and connecting them with original material. (The first one, for instance, combines elements of "The End", "Future Echoes", "Kryten", "Me2" and "Better Than Life" with an original plot in which Lister comes up with a plan to get back to Earth.)
  • The Mork & Mindy pilot was novelized both in standard and photo-novel forms.
  • The Battlestar Galactica (1978) pilot and a few episodes were novelized. A photo-novel included a picture of the cylons attacking Caprica with an expletive spelled out in the city's lights. Rumor has it this was from the effects team to Universal.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: During the show's run, 12 novelizations were released, covering 15 episodes (including two multi-parters) from the first two seasons: It's Morphin Time! (adapting "Food Fight"), Rita's Revenge! (adapting "Big Sisters"), The Terror Toad (adapting "Power Ranger Punks"), Megazord to the Rescue! (adapting "Clean-Up Club"), Putty Attack! (adapting "Something Fishy"), The Bad Dream Machine (adapting "Crystal of Nightmares"), The Bumble Beast (adapting "Grumble Bee"), The Super Zords! (adapting "Enter... The Lizzinator"), Lord Zedd Strikes Back! (adapting "The Mutiny", parts 1-3), Bloom of Doom (adapting "Bloom of Doom"), Tigerzord Power (adapting "White Light", parts 1 and 2), and Alpha, the Hero (adapting "Blue Ranger Gone Bad").
  • Sliders: Brad Linaweaver did one for the two-hour pilot episode, incorporating several deleted scenes and the author's additions to the plot. These include Professor Arturo's dislike of his first name and more background on the Soviet Earth's history.
  • The novelization for One Foot in the Grave reassembles plot elements from the first two seasons in a different order, so most of the same things happen but often for quite different reasons.
  • Porridge had a novelization for each season, written in the first person from Fletcher's point of view.

    Music 

    Radio 

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has an impressive number of novelizations and short stories set in its universe. The quality of writing varies but is usually decent. At least one series supposedly changed the way the fanbase perceived an entire faction; Games Workshop (which both makes the tabletop game and publishes the literature under its own publishing branch) knew a good thing when it saw it and adjusted accordingly.
  • The number of novels based directly on or set in the various game worlds of Dungeons & Dragons is immense. In today's large bookstores, there can be multiple shelves of them.
    • Taken to a different level, with actual MODULES (pre-packaged adventures) having novelizations, including "Against the Giants" (G1-G3), "Keep on the Borderlands" (B2), Temple of Elemental Evil" (T1-T4), "Tomb of Horrors" (S1), "White Plume Mountain" (S2), "Descent into the Depths" (D2-D3), and "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" (Q1).
  • Magic: The Gathering has many novels and comics, as well, most of them of surprisingly good quality.
  • White Wolf has novels and anthologies set in both Old and New Worlds of Darkness. Rather than telling plots around the games, they frequently focus on staple NPCs. They have comic books as well. Many of these are out of print but can be bought in PDF format at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/ or https://www.drivethrucomics.com/

    Theater 

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate, a series Roleplaying Games from BioWare, had three novels corresponding to its three main story installments. (Dragon Age and Mass Effect also have novels, but they're side-stories, not straight adaptations of the games' storylines.)
    • Planescape: Torment, a game built with the same engine (albeit not by BioWare), had a novelization as well.
  • Star Control got itself a single paperback novelization titled Interbellum. Despite wearing the same cover as the Star Control 3 game, the content seems to be a story set just before the game involving the Commander of the previous game and his pet ortog (a creature never mentioned before or since). We think. Details of the alien races and the plot involved are so bizarre and short; that fans of the game aren't completely sure the book isn't simply the result of a crazed text replacement job.
  • The Tex Murphy adventure game The Pandora Directive has a hard-to-find novelization written by the Tex Murphy co-creator Aaron Conners.
  • Doom had a tetralogy. The first, Knee-Deep in the Dead, basically imitated the game's plot — think about that for a moment. Hell on Earth adapted Doom II and took place on an After the End Earth that had been overrun by demons and zombies. Partway through Infernal Sky, the series moves into far stranger sci-fi waters, virtually abandoning the source material by Endgame. Interesting reads, but definitely not what one expects when one picks up a book based on a game about killing monsters from hell. One interesting thing about the novels was that they went the Doing In the Wizard route in regards to the demons, which were revealed to be biotechnological terror weapons created by aliens, whose modus operandi was to design their bioweapons to resemble evil creatures from the mythology of each planet they invaded to spread fear among the populace better. Seems to be Canon Discontinuity, since most subsequent games have stuck with them being actual demons from an actual Hell (though the alien Supersoldier thing would explain where they got the rocket launchers).
  • Rand and Robyn Miller, the original creators of the Myst franchise, collaborated with David Wingrove on a trilogy of novels that served as a sequel, prequel, and an even earlier prequel to the games themselves.
    • There was a Myst strategy guide that read like a novelization. It included a brief backstory segment of the main character being a photographer (explaining the screenshots throughout the book) who found the Myst book in a library while looking for photography books. It also intentionally had him make mistakes on some puzzles to illustrate what you have to do if something goes wrong. The guide also included a more standard strategy guide format after the novelization version.
    • The answer book for Riven: The Sequel to Myst uses the same approach. It has sections that have varying solution reveals, from obtuse questioning the environment to a literal walkthrough of the game in short story form. The latter is a true novelization of the game and a decent read.
  • An interesting semi-example: Nintendo's official Strategy Guide for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was written in a novelization format (for example, instead of telling the reader directly "Light the torches to open the door", it was "Link saw some unlit torches. When he lit them, the door opened.") The guide also contained official art and background information that can't be found anywhere else. It was somewhat entertaining, but that extra atmosphere didn't do much good when you were lost in the Water Temple for four hours. (Nintendo apparently agreed — they haven't tried anything similar since.) There was also a straighter novelization of the game, about which the less said, the better.
    • They also made the guide for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past a pseudo-novelization complete with summaries of the previous games' plots, official art, and specious but interesting descriptions of Hyrule's culture and history (which were since contradicted by Ocarina of Time).
    • There are also several mangas of various games, including Ocarina Of Time, pretty fair themselves and sometimes include bonus side stories (some of which are dubiously canonical, but still fun). In fact, the side story for The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask manga details the origin of the titular mask quite well.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games had Gamebooks from Scholastic.
  • Several of Sierra's classic Adventure Game series had Strategy Guides (The Kings Quest Companion, etc.) that included novelizations of the games alongside more standard walkthroughs.
  • Alan Dean Foster's 1984 Shadowkeep is said to be the first novel based on a video game.
  • Infocom cashed in on the popularity of some of its text-based adventures by licensing Zork, Wishbringer, Planetfall and Stationfall to Avon Books.
  • Resident Evil
    • S.D. Perry wrote a series of novelizations that covered the earlier mainline entries until Zero. The novelizations of the first two games (Umbrella Conspiracy and City of the Dead) were published alongside two side-novels (Caliban Cove and Underground) that attempted to flesh out and expand the story beyond the events of the first two games when those were the only titles available at that point. Most of Perry's additions ended up being contradicted by Capcom when they released Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, resulting in Perry having to explain away her contradictions in the novelizations of those games.
    • A two-volume Japanese-language novelization of Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles was also written by Osamu Makino (who also wrote an alternate Japanese novelization to the first live-action movie, as well as novelizations of Damnation and Vendetta). It was eventually translated into German of all languages.
  • Blizzard's key franchises WarCraft, StarCraft and Diablo all have several novelizations (WarCraft has mangas, as well) of varying quality. The Warcraft Expanded Universe' ones have been mostly awful, but a couple of good ones are hidden in there. Some of the novels use scrapped material: Lord of the Clans was originally meant to be an Adventure game. Nova reveals the upbringing of the main protagonist of StarCraft: Ghost. Even those that don't are largely canon.
  • The Star Wars video game Shadows of the Empire had a novelization by Steve Perry, who also wrote for the Alien and Conan the Barbarian universes. This was particularly terrible and made it even clearer that Dash Rendar was a Han Solo knockoff.
    • The Force Unleashed, another big multimedia Star Wars project by Lucasarts, received a novelization written by Sean Williams. It not only expanded on Starkiller's thoughts and motivations but developed his love interest Juno Eclipse far more than the game did. It was decently-received and spent a week on top of bestsellers lists.
  • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars had a novelization, which alternated between surprisingly good to facepalm-inducingly bad. The main character got promoted from Private to Sergeant on his first day for no decent reason.
    • When a fanfic is written specifically to relieve from the distaste, and it's much better than the official novelization, it just speaks for itself.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series has tie-in manga for each game. They also have novelizations, with many characters made angstier and made-up scenes that wind up contradicting game canon as the series progresses. Game director Tetsuya Nomura noted this in one interview. It was probably a reason why he brought the novels' writer, Tomoco Kanemaki, on to actually help write the scenario for one of the actual video games, 358/2 Days, before writing the novel version (and even then, Nomura rewrote the script once she was done with it).
  • Devil May Cry 4: Deadly Fortune is a No Export for You two-volume novelization written by the game's scenario writer that further fleshed out the game's background, like a better explanation as to why Dante was in Fortuna. It also contains some details omitted from the game, such as Nero being Vergil's son, which was never revealed in the games until Devil May Cry 5. note 
  • Metal Gear
    • The original Metal Gear Solid had a novelization by Raymond Benson published in 2008. Since it was written a decade after the game's release as a tie-in to Metal Gear Solid 4, it incorporates some of the plot elements and retcons introduced to the series since then. It also turned Solid Snake from a stoic assassin to a one-liner spouting action movie star to inject some humor with some mixed results. The later Metal Gear Solid 2 also written by Benson, was a more straightforward adaptation of the game.
      I turned the corner only to find a pair of sentry guards near the door I needed to get to. I waited for one of them to look the other way, then shot the other in the head with a silenced pistol. Then I snuck up behind the remaining guard and whispered in his ear, "Merry Christmas." After that, I snapped his neck. "Oh," I added, "I forgot to tell you, Christmas came early this year."
    • Project Itoh, who was already a fan of Hideo Kojima's work before becoming a published author, wrote the novelization of Metal Gear Solid 4 published in Japan in 2008 and later adapted into English in 2012. It retells the game's story from Otacon's perspective and covers almost everything except the battles with the B.B. Corps (who are absent in the book). Itoh was set to write the novelizations for Metal Gear Solid 3 and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, but his deteriorating health and eventual death resulted in these projects being assigned to Beatless author Satoshi Hase and newcomer Hitori Nojima (a penname used by Kadowaka author Kenji Yano, who was already an acquaintance of Hideo Kojima) respectively.
    • Nojima would go on to write Metal Gear Solid: Substance, a two-volume alternate novelization of the first two Metal Gear Solid games that takes a metanarrative approach into adapting the story, as well as the novelization to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, eventually becoming one of the writers for Hideo Kojima's later game Death Stranding, also writing that game's novelization. None of Nojima's novels had been adapted into English yet.
  • The first X-COM game has had two novelizations made of it: An American one with a female Commander working to build up a new military base in Switzerland (written by Dianne Duane), and a Russian one that tells the tale of a member of your first eight recruits.
  • The RPG Betrayal at Krondor had a novelization written by the author upon whose work it was based. The book took the "script" route, mostly putting fight scenes into words and adding banter where it might have been missing in the game - and cutting many, many sidequests and much banter and content from the game, in turn.
  • Some Fan Fiction based on video games takes this route; just like official novelizations, the quality varies from "excellent exploration of the source material" to "wild tangents away from the plot of the game" to "glorified walkthrough". The same goes for Fan Fic novelizations, but for fairly obvious reasons, these have an alarming tendency to become Dead Fic.
  • The novelization of Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic was written by Terry Jones, who also voiced a parrot in the game.
  • The Heart of the Tiger (Wing Commander III), The Price of Freedom (Wing Commander IV), and The Movie (Wing Commander) expand further on the content of the games and novel, and in the case of the game novelizations provide the official storyline for the W.C. universe. (The players of the games get to decide what path they take.) The movie's novelization is the only place to see the Pilgrim traitor plot cut from the movie and generally fixes some plot problems caused by or missed in post-production editing.
  • Worlds of Power was a series of novelizations of various third-party NES games published by Scholastic and written by various authors under the collective pen name "F.X. Nine" (a name chosen for indexing purposes due to the first three letters of "Nine" matching Nintendo's). Since the books were aimed at children, the cover art from the games were retouched for the book versions to omit any weapon a character might be using (like Solid Snake's gun or Ryu Hayabusa's kunai knife). The stories were often altered to downplay or omit any deaths (most notably, Ken Hayabusa doesn't die in the Ninja Gaiden novel). There were eight regular books in this series, plus two "Junior Edition" books aimed at an even younger audience.
  • Descent had a trilogy of novels written. They're actually excellent, taking what little plot the games had and massively expanding it. The stories do diverge a bit but follow the same basic plot and themes. The author did an impressive job of taking the games' mechanics and providing believable parallels to them: for instance, Energy Centers, glowing hallways that restore the ship's power, don't exist in the novels, but the characters do plug the ship into the mine's power grid at one point to achieve the same effect.
  • ICO has a decent novelization by Miyuki Miyabe (with an English translation courtesy of Alexander O. Smith) that expands a lot on backstory (like why Ico and Yorda are in the castle at all) and answering a lot of questions (such as why Ico doesn't have a health bar in the game).
  • Assassin's Creed has a novelization for every game, written by Oliver Bowden. Most of these were Loose Canon, however starting from Assassin's Creed: Forsaken, the books were written with greater attention at filling in continuity gaps and took care to narrate incidents from Another Side, Another Story.
  • The first two generations of Pokémon had strategy guides there were written in the form of a story, making them informative and fun to read.
  • Warcraft II had a big, fat strategy guide where the missions are told from the perspective of a member from both sides. Both narrators have articles on the WOWwiki.
  • Crysis: Legion serves as one for Crysis 2. It's written by Peter Watts, which gives you a rather good idea about what to expect.
  • Undertale has an unofficial novelization named after the game called Undertale.
  • X: Beyond the Frontier received a novelization in 2005 called Farnham's Legend, written by X series lead writer Helge T. Kautz and translated into English by Steve Miller and Andreas Fuchs. Unfortunately, the English version is tough to find, and seemingly never made it stateside unassisted (you can get it from the Egosoft.com store, though).
  • Five Nights at Freddy's has a novelization called The Untold Story.
  • The Sakura Wars franchise has had a novelization based on the original game written by Satoru Akahori and one for The Radiant Gorgeous Blooming Cherry Blossoms OVA written by Hiroyuki Kawasaki. The novelization for the film, also written by Kawasaki, goes into greater detail on Ratchet's true intentions and history with Brent Furlong.

    Webcomics 

    Web Video 
  • Escape the Night has received a fanmade one here. Yes, all the seasons, each installment having over 100,000 words.
  • Kickassia has an unoficial novelization, named Kickassia: The Novelization written by Xoanon.
  • The first season of the dramedy Pretty Dudes was adapted into novel form by its creator and showrunner Chance Calloway. A few minor characters change roles and names, but the most substantial changes include Eagle's race (from Asian American in the series to Latinx in the book), leaving out the subplot of Sunji's possible immortality, and detailing the lead characters escapades in far more detail than the show ever did (or could). This creates a far different motivation for the final actions of two of the lead characters, since the Homoerotic Subtext between two of the characters became quite literal text.

    Western Animation 
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas has been adapted into picture book format a number of times. Expect to see Early Bird Cameos by Marcie, Peppermint Patty, and Franklin, all of whom were absent from the original special as they hadn't debuted in the comic strip yet.
  • A lot of Disney and Pixar animated films have junior novelizations which change plot elements: including scenes not present in the film (e.g., the novelization of The Lion King (1994) adding an extra scene in the ending where Simba is alone at the top of Pride Rock at night), changing the fates of certain villains (e.g., the novelization of Cars 2 having Grem and Acer falling into a garbage truck instead of being beaten up inside a bar in London, England), etc.
    • Beauty and the Beast opens with a version of the originally planned, fully dramatized prologue dropped due to time and budget constraints. A mist springs up around the castle when the Enchantress's curse is cast (suggesting that this is why the villagers seemingly have no idea it exists), ending with the Beast on a balcony crying out for her forgiveness as she departs.
    • Atlantis: The Lost Empire fills in a key detail with regards to Kida's fate: she returns after the Heart of Atlantis uses her to save the city because the averted catastrophe isn't because of its powers being used for evil, as was the case when Atlantis fell and the crystal pulled her mother into it.
    • The Jr. novelization for Up condenses the movie heavily, eliminating some scenes, having important scenes take place off-page, making the pacing worse than the movie. This is most obvious in the climax, where a 15-minute climax takes ten pages to tell.
    • Frozen's Jr. Novelization does keep the main plot intact, but without the music, condenses the numbers greatly. It also gives some small changes and additions. While not so much adding Word of God stuff, it does give out some small details you don't always know about. For example, the novelization states that Elsa was eight when the accident happened and gave Kristoff a bit more to do during the coronation, including the fact that he didn't stay for it. He just went back to get more supplies before Elsa was crowned. It also has Kristoff punch out Hans for trying to kill Anna and Elsa during the climax.
    • Inside Out warranted two novelizations, one the traditional paperback "junior novelization", the other the longer hardback Driven by Emotions. The latter has each emotion recount the film's events from his/her first-person perspective in turn. Fear, Anger, and Disgust's actions are greatly expanded upon with details about how they guide Riley through a typical school day while Joy and Sadness are missing (and what they think of the environment). An entire additional scene involving Fear directing Riley to a library so everyone will have an idea what they might be facing as she runs away to Minnesota. Sadness's chapter (which closes the book) reveals why she made Riley cry so soon after she was born and suggests that her urge to touch the core memories and turn them sad, which she isn't quite able to explain/understand in the film, is the result of her being drawn to them because they want her to touch them.
  • The Shrek movies had novelizations.
  • An in-story example appears in The Simpsons episode "Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie". Bart is forbidden to see the titular film and tries to read the novelization (written by Norman Mailer, no less).
  • Recess had three novelizations and one picture book. The picture book was based on "The Great Jungle Gym Standoff", but adding Gus to the plot (who was absent during the episode), and the novels were based on "The New Kid", "The Experiment", and Recess: School's Out.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants had books based on the episodes "Big Pink Loser", "Tea at the Treedome", "Sandy's Rocket", "Naughty Nautical Neighbors", and "New Student Starfish".
  • One of the Arthur novels was based on the Arthur T.V. episode "Arthur And The Crunch Cereal Contest".
  • Each of the four BIONICLE Direct to Video movies have been adapted into novels in such a way that they fit neatly into the ongoing novel series. Since they were written according to pre-finalized scripts, they were all different from the films in various degrees and often contained deleted scenes. The book for the fourth movie, in particular, had a very different feel since the writer allegedly wasn't aware that the movie would take a more "cartoony" approach.
  • Inversion: three episodes of The Powerpuff Girls were derived from children's tie-in books, two episodes with the same titles as the books—"Powerpuff Professor" (on T.V. as PowerProf.), "All Chalked Up" (Him appeared as an old man in the book but as a butterfly on the episode), and "Substitute Creature."
    • The Powerpuff Girls movie's novelization was written by Amy Keating Rogers, who also co-wrote the movie and the comic book adaptation.
  • In the American Dad! episode "Season's Beatings", Jeff says he'll name his newly-adopted son Nemo after his favorite book: the novelization of Finding Nemo.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls was adapted into book form a few months after premiering. While retaining the basic plot and structure of the film, many scenes and details were altered. Since almost the entire novel is from Twilight's point of view, she had to be added to scenes she wasn't in for the film, with some of those Twilight-less scenes deleted altogether for the book. The beginning also mentions the events of Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell by the same author.
  • Batman: The Animated Series got three novelizations by Geary Gravel, each taking three or four episodes and combining them into a single narrative, such as Dual to the Death combined two two-part stories that both featured Two-Face as the villain. In contrast, Shadows of the Past combined several episodes thematically related by focusing on Batman's and Robin's reasons for becoming crimefighters. Gravel also wrote a novelization of the movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, which added a new subplot to fill a plot hole left in the movie (with the Phantasm supposedly going up in smoke at the end, how did Batman prove to the authorities that he didn't commit the Phantasm's murders?).
  • Ratchet & Clank (2016) was adapted into a novel, almost entirely accurate to the final movie's script. The addition of a few extra scenes have fans theorizing them to have been cut from the film.
  • There exist book versions of episodes from Ready Jet Go! aimed at young readers, such as "Sunspot's Night Out" and "From Pluto With Love".
  • Rugrats had a few chapter books. While many used original stories, some were adapted from episodes. For instance, "Star-Spangled Babies" was an adaptation of "Discover America". Several picture books adapted the show's episodes and one based on the All Grown Up! special.
  • One of the strangest examples of this trope was a King of the Hill book for use in elementary schools that adapted the episode "Bobby Slam".
  • The Fairly OddParents had several picture and chapter books, and a few of them were direct adaptations of episodes.

Alternative Title(s): Novelisation, The Book Of The Film

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