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Inside the Blogosphere: What SF/F Stories should become Lego Construction Sets?

In this latest edition of Inside the Blogosphere, the irregular column in which I ask bloggers from across the internetz to respond to a personal question, my question comes out of my two loves (after my wife), books and Legos:

Lego has a history of turning popular stories like Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, and Star Wars, into Lego building sets. If one of your favorite books could become a Lego series, which would you choose and why?


Niall Alexander @ The Speculative Scotsman:

I’ll admit that I’m perhaps not so well-read as some of the other Inside the Blogosphere contributors – there are several, shall we say… classic-shaped voids in my conception of the landscape of speculative literature – but I don’t honestly doubt a Robin Hobb or a George R. R. Martin would change my mind as to which of the genre’s respective settings I’d most like to see re-imagined in Lego. Jeff VanderMeer’s Ambergris comes close, though given its abstract fungal motif I don’t believe it would lend itself particularly well to the necessarily angular forms one can achieve with (real or simulated) Lego blocks. Given that, I’d have to say China Mieville’s New Crubuzon – in any of the three books it’s starred in so far, but specifically Perdido Street Station.

The gloomy metropolis itself would be a remarkable thing to behold, rendered in Lego or chunky polygons or otherwise. At once smooth and sharp, punctuated by seedy streets and spectacular sights, the vast industrial sprawl of New Crubuzon is dominated by the great twisting spire of Perdido Street Station rising impossibly into the sky. Beneath its watchful eye: the markets and the Plaza of Statues, the Glasshouse, the University and the Parliament building, architectural wonders of sand and smoke and stone.

New Crubuzon would be an incredible place to slap a Lego guy in the midst of, no question, but what would really seal its deal as a prime candidate for reconstruction in colourful hunks of plastic are the horrifying feats of imagination that walk its streets. Giants cobbled together from scrap metal, the ghoulish biothaumaturgical horrors of ReMade men and women, the glinting carapace of a slake-moth pinioning in from the shadows. What better and more varied roster of bad guys could there be?

But what good is Lego anything without an uncountable number of things to collect? I’d go once more against the grain and suggest dreams. The sleeping sickness that ravages New Crobuzon in the slake-moth’s unthinkable wake has stolen the dreams of its people; they’d be add-ons to the construction set, individual builds drawn from the experiences of the myriad races that call New Crubuzon home. In Lego Perdido Street Station the video game, it’d be your job to recover each one and restore REM to the city’s sleepless denizens.

[Editor’s Note: Like Steampunk and Lego? Check out the Lego Steampunk group on flickr.]


Shaun Duke @ The World in the Satin Bag:
I don’t think I can imagine any of my favorite books as Lego sets, mostly because many of the books I like would look terrible in Lego. Can you imagine Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler or 1984 by George Orwell in Lego form? The former would basically be a highway with a bunch of Lego characters and busted-up cars. Fun for about twelve minutes, and then suddenly very boring. The latter would be so utterly mundane as to render it pointless to any modern audience (well, unless you turn the flying fortresses, which may or may not even exist by the way, into Lego sets, in which case, that would be quite cool indeed).

Then again, maybe Tobias Buckell’s Sly Mongoose would look wicked in Lego form. Spaceships, creepy zombie things, flying cities over a planet with an acid-ish atmosphere like Venus, and really strange semi-living mechanical whatchamajigs. Come to think of it, that would be pretty cool indeed! Likewise, I think Ringworld would be awesome just for its creativity factor. Two-headed Lego-puppeteers, a giant ring around a Lego star, and lots of other fun and exciting things. Oh, hell, let’s expand it to Niven’s entire Known Space universe so we can toss in the Kzinti! Really, those two would, in my opinion, make great Lego sets. You could do so much with both (especially if you take in Buckell’s other books in the series, which have fun Aztec stuff. It would be quite awesome to have a giant Lego replica of a more science fictional version of the beheading scene from Apocalypto).

Those are my picks, and if the Lego people don’t listen, they’ll get some very angry emails from me. And nobody wants angry emails from me, right?


Kristen @ Fantasy Cafe:
If I had to pick one favorite book to become a Lego set, I’d cheat and select a trilogy, The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb. Not only are the books wonderful, but there could be such diversity in the Lego set – ships on the high seas surrounded by sea serpents, pirate towns and lush jungles. Plus the ships made out of livewood were sentient and I’d really like to see talking Legos that absorb the memories of those who play with them.


Charles Tan @ Bibliophile Stalker:
When you talk about porting over a series to Lego, the series in question needs to be strikingly different in terms of visuals to justify its existence. For example, one of my favorite series’s is George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, but I doubt that they’ll make a good Lego set. The former would look like generic medieval Lego while the latter either generic real-world Lego.

Having said that, what are the series that I think have great Lego potential?

I’ve always been a fan of Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman’s Dragonlance series. It’s still mostly follows the trappings of most second-world fantasy, but at least it tries to stray from the Tolkienesque elements (Draconians instead of Orcs for example). And besides, who doesn’t want to play with giant Lego dragons? At the very least, they make good substitutes for miniatures in my D&D game…

[Editor’s Note: Here is how one DM used Lego to add to his gamers roleplaying experience.]

If we want to really stray away from the pack, Jeff Vandermeer’s Ambergris and China Mieville’s New Crobuzon are great candidates. You get a wide variety of monsters, errr, creatures (or fungi in the case of Ambergris) and the city itself is quite unique, while leaving room for Lego designers to play around with. And because their respective worlds are vast (or have different timelines), there’s also a wide variety of Lego spinoffs that are possible.


Mark @ Praeter Naturam:
I would like to see Avatar in Lego. CGI special effects are massively over-rated and I think a Lego version of Avatar would allow the actors and director to concentrate on deeper characterisation, better acting and improving the script.

(c) Jakuko

(c) MasterChief 1


Ian Randal Strock @ SFScope:
While The Princess Bride is one of my favorite books (the movie not so much; it’s a pale imitation of the book), it would be fairly easy to turn into a Lego set. I’m more interested in seeing what Lego could do with Michael Flynn’s Firestar series (for the tech gear). For the characters, have they ever figured out how to do The Lord of the Rings?

[Editor’s Note: See one Lego designer’s “Inconceivable” Princess Bride design]


Alec @ Only The Best Sci-Fi / Fantasy:
I would absolutely love to see a large Lego rendering of the Shrike from Hyperion. This would be an exceedingly difficult piece to produce because of all the spikes protruding from the nightmare creature. But more importantly, Hyperion has never been rendered on the screen and so the Lego ‘artist’ would be forced to produce his own vision the series. Given the variety of landscapes and characters, I can’t think of a more ambitious and rewarding Lego project.


Rebecca Ryals Russell @ Plotting Worlds: I chose War of the Worlds because of the tripods destroying cities and such. I know my 10-year-old would love it! He plays with Star Wars and Harry Potter Legos all the time, in person and in video game format. We couldn’t remember if Lord of the Rings was done, that would be awesome, too. It was my first choice, actually.


Patricia/paltner @ Patricia’s Vampire Notes:

I would love to see Bram Stoker’s Dracula made into a Lego set. Perfect for Halloween.


Neil @ Library Dad: I think my “old school” answer would have to be Drizzt. Having grown up with his adventures in the Underdark, in Icewind Dale, and beyond. There are so many mini-sets I could see just from his adventures alone. Think about it. The dragon’s cave where he and Wulfgar swam through the icy water. The giant spiders of the Underdark. The drunk Wulfgar of later years.

[Editor’s Note: Check Out Justin Stebbins work on Legoizing Baldur’s Gate and Drizzt Do’Urden.]

But with that said, I think I’d also want to see something a little more edgy. Something more modern that would set the Lego community on fire with controversy. Maybe some adult-only sets would be in order. What story? The First Law trilogy. Imagine Logen Ninefingers or Glotka in Lego form. Maybe a Glotka torture chamber complete with tools. It would be like Deadwood, only in the fantasy world.


drey @ drey’s library:
I’d love to see George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire adapted. Why? Because it’s my all-time favorite series (yes, even if it’s not finished yet). Can you imagine the bleak Wall and Winterfell? And all those castles and standards? What about the landscape of Westeros? I don’t know how they’d do a dragon though.

And, although I do love the Lego sets, I much prefer the Lego game-adaptations. *grin*


Jared @ Pornokitsch:
The works of HP Lovecraft.


Adam Callaway @ The Weirdside:
China Mieville’s The City and the City would look incredibly cool in Legos. You could have a little Lego Borlu and a little Lego Corwi walk through gray Lego streets with gray Lego buildings. You could do some killer crosshatching with bright Ul Qoma bricks and drab Beszel bricks. Copula Hall would make a cool stand alone set, along with the Temple of Everlasting Light. Black bricks with subtle shading could be used to mimic Breach in a shadowed backstreet. I’d love to build the climatic bus accident. Wouldn’t you?


Amanda @ Fantasy Literature: I think it would be entertaining for Twilight to be make into Lego sets. This would be sensible for Lego, since EVERY GIRL on the planet wants to own RPattz, and I’m sure Lego form will be sufficient. The other reason is that the hard Lego bricks are a good representative of the vampires – and the plastic performance is much like in the films :-p


Elizabeth Barrette / Ysabetwordsmith:
I would like to see The Dragonriders of Pern as a Lego set. So much of Pern’s unique culture depends on its architecture — they have to live inside stone walls to keep safe from Thread. It would be fascinating to see a set designed to build the Holds, Crafthalls, and Weyrs. Plus the dragons, of course. One can never have too many dragons. Even if one plays with them by dumping tinsel over the whole display while chanting “Dragonmen must fly/when Threads are in the sky!”


Steve @ The Crotchety Old Fan:
oh my god

and

lol

hmmmm

Short answer(s)

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Why?

I can picture Manny and Wyoh and Bernardo de la Paz as those little Leggo people – and even Shorty Mikrum (missing his arm of course). The Lunar Authority goons would obviously be all yellow and black (the ‘yellowjackets’) and of course Mycroft Holmes would be real easy to do with gray Leggos and a couple of stickers, but mostly because I want the

ELECTRIC LUNAR CATAPULT set!!!

“Remember to play safe kids! NEVER launch a Leggo “moon rock” at your friends, your family or even your pets. Calcutta didn’t like having rocks dropped on its head and neither will you!”

PLAY THE LUNAR CATAPULT GAME

Set your target Earth across the room (up to FIFTY FEET!), charge up your catapult and start launching ‘grain’ (hah! hah! hah!) capsules at the hungry Earth people.

or

Starship Troopers

I’ve already seen a Lego Roger Young, so I know there’s a coolness factor already established. I’m also interested to see how the Lego people would depict the Bug underground.

To run with the general concept, I have to admit that I like armored vehicles almost as much as I like SF, so kits based on David Drake’s Hammer’s Slammers or Laumer’s Bolos would be pretty cool.

Maybe a set based on Pohl’s Heechee Saga…(hollowed out asteroid playset)

Dune of course is a natural (Sandworm, Ornithopter, Spice crawler)

Harrison’s Deathworld Trilogy would require a whole mess of new pieces (probably a good thing for Lego Inc)

Clarke’s Rama…Asimov’s Trantor (HUGE kit), just about anything I’ve ever read would make at least a half-way decent kit.


Adam Roberts @ Punkadiddle:

I’d like to see a faithful, shot-by-shot lego recreation of Tarkovsky’s Stalker. It would be block-tastic.


Gareth/Drosdelnoch @ Falcata Times: To be honest the whole thing that has to be remembered about the Lego Franchise is that its famed for its comedy aspects so to be honest I suspect that the series that I’d pick wld be one thats probably going to be nommed by a few others.

(c) captainsmog

[Editor’s Note: See lots more from captainsmog’s Discworld Flickr sets.]

For the reason of the humour and the pure enjoyment, I’d go for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. You’ve got tons of stuff you can do, you could have loads of seperate games to tie into the various series, an absolute load of fun with constructon and of course a whole host of characters to play.