Books Versus Film and My Final Project (The Tube Riders)

As a separate part of my project review I wanted to not only share a handful of the designs from my novel to film project with the wider world but look at the book versus film scenario.

We’ve all heard the phrase “yes I saw the film but I preferred the book”. I see these comments posted regularly on social networks, but why is that?  As readers we have a personal experience when we read a book. The author will guide us and entice us with their own vision, but that doesn’t mean we all see the characters or locations in exactly the same way as another reader or even the author. Novels allow us to get inside a characters head whereas  film, by comparison,  can be more selective. It’s probably because we spend so much time with these fictional people. A book can take anything from a day or two to several months to read depending on the reader compared to a film which is normally set around 2 hours.

Perhaps it’s unfair to compare the two given the time constraints for film makers to produce a believable world. All we can do is to strive for the very best rendition we can, using the best technology, scripts, actors, talent available. Some film versions are better than others for this reason. In many cases some novels are just more adaptable.

My own opinion is that films and books should be treated as two separate  experiences, after all, there are a lot of people who don’t read. Films allow a window into an author’s mind albeit for a few hours and makes a story accessible to all.

What’s important is a good story and a set of characters that an audience can relate to.

For this reason I chose The Tube Riders by Chris Ward. Immediately I was drawn into the world from the first page. There was a great blend of character insight and world building without being too caught up in unnecessary verbal clutter. It also had the right pacing for a film and fell into the science fiction/horror/dystopian genre that is currently popular in both film and TV. Given the time constraints of the project I concentrated on a couple of settings and also worked on some visuals as future guidance for VFX. Working without the normal set up of director/art department/producer I had to make my own decisions through discussions with my tutor. I also used some artistic license as there was no screenplay to work from.

The purpose of this post is to firstly share my work, maybe get some opinions or comments and secondly to hear from those who have read books and seen them transformed into films. What are your experiences negative or positive? Feel free to comment below and let me know what you think about the designs or the subject matter.

tube riders visuals

Below are some photos of scale models for the Medical Research Centre reception area and arena.



arena render 4


The book can be found at:-


Categories: General research, MA Practical Project, MA project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Post navigation

7 thoughts on “Books Versus Film and My Final Project (The Tube Riders)

  1. I sometimes prefer books to the movies made of them, but not always. The book can let you take your time, dwell with the characters, inhabit the world, whereas the movie can create an immediate feeling of intimacy in the world. Also, the movie often has to curtail the intricacy of the plot in the name of time.

    • Totally agree. I think it depends on the person reading or watching. Sometimes you just want to sit back and enjoy a story without spending hours understanding backstory. I generally prefer to get to know a story inside out which you only get with books or long running TV shows. I tend to choose between a book, film or show depending on my mood. Sometimes I just want to get lost for an evening and get a good scare from a horror film. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  2. Graham Wright

    I think your designs are amazing! I totally agree with your comment – that a film and book should be treated as different experiences. I think a film can never be as good as the book as we do create our own view or concept of the world we’re reading about. So the film can never measure up to this as we’re always unconsciously thinking ‘that’s not how I imagined it’. That said, I have seen some pretty amazing adaptations. The Remains of the Day starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson (novel by Kazuo Ishiguro) is probably the best one I’ve seen as it captured perfectly the spirit of the novel.

    • Thank you Graham and thanks for the comment. You’re right, our minds are powerful tools and no one else’s imaginings can live up to our expectations. I do find that horror novels are more scary when compared to film, but maybe that’s down to me and the vast number of horrors that I’ve seen. Maybe it’s also a genre question…Are science fiction films or horror too caught up in the effects side of the film so sometimes neglect parts of the story? Perhaps historical films, drama or crime are different?

  3. I have just read this book, and it does lend itself to be made into a film. Regarding the ‘book is better than the film’ comment, yes, I’ve said that many times – however, it doesn’t detract from the fact the film is still good – I mean, not being a film maker, or a writer myself, I can see how difficult it would be to create and reflect every detail and nuance from a book – they are two different things and, as such, is unfair for people to compare. Of course, they are some cases where the film has just taken an idea from the book and completely changed it….then they just might as well not give it the same name, but mention ‘very loosely taken an idea from’ (EG Disney…).
    I personally become almost intertwined with a character from a book, and that is not so easy to do with a film.
    I love how you have put your take in the images above from the book. I saw it differently, and I think that’s a very important point that you made.
    Hope you don’t mind my little bit of feedback.
    Peace, Maxine x

    • Thanks for the comment. It’s been a while since I have used this blog and I intend on posting here again soon. I’m a lover of both films and books and I often find myself torn between what I prefer. It depends on my mood. I generally like to get to know characters which is why I watch a lot of TV shows that build on the story and background of characters. The fact that you saw it differently is a good reason why people often prefer books. It’s good to have both I think. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Sheila Walker

    I think the reason book V film is different is because the films cannot always put the authors passion into it as much as they try, although I feel tube riders would make for a perfectly thrilling film and would be the first to go see it. Sometimes it’s the little things that keep a reader interested there isn’t that much room in a film. The graphics above are fantastic by the way

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: